Top News: Proposed US House Bill Keeps Egypt Military Aid at $1.3 Billion


Leaders of the US House of Representatives panel in charge of aid to Egypt proposed on Thursday that military aid be kept at $1.3 billion next year, subject to conditions including the government planning and holding elections.

Egypt interim president addresses nation

Egypt’s Interim President Adly Mansour addressed the nation late on Thursday in a speech celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the 1973 victory against Israel. The anniversary falls on the tenth day of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which is Friday. Mansour was keen on reminding the people of what he described as a “glorious victory” during the war with Israel. Mansour drew a comparison between the time which preceded the 1973 war with the current times. He described the time being as a “critical stage of Egypt’s history.” He said that “some people” want this stage to be “the introduction to chaos” and “the beginning of violence and bloodshed.” In his speech, the interim president also pledged to restore security, preserve the revolution and work towards the state’s development. Mansour described the “peoples’ will” as the true legitimacy and said that national reconciliation will take place, without excluding anyone. Meanwhile, Ali Awad, advisor to the president for constitutional affairs, hosted Thursday the ten-member committee of legal experts who will amend the constitution. The presidency will not interfere in the process of amending the constitution, said Awad, adding that interim President Adly Mansour will issue a decree calling on the committee to convene within hours. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), 7/19/2013]
FJP leader: Friday protests aim to reverse army’s coup
Speaking about planned Friday protests, Freedom and Justice Party’s deputy head Essam al-Erian said the goal is to force “those who lead the army’s coup and their supporters” to backtrack on their stance and to reverse the army’s overthrow of the elected president. Egypt’s future is determined by the people not by a “rebel group,” he added. Speaking at Raba’a al-Adaweya Safwat Hegazy spelled out Morsi supporters’ eight demands, first of which is that Mohamed Morsi is returned to power. Mohamed Beltagy, also speaking at Raba’a, slammed interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi and his cabinet. He announced Friday as the launch of a revolution throughout all of Egypt calling for the freedom of all Egyptians. In an interview on Turkey’s TRT Arabic satellite channel, Bassem Ouda, the Muslim Brotherhood former supply minister, said on Thursday that ousted Morsi made mistakes but he should have been given time to correct them. The Brothers Without Violence Movement denounced the position of the Muslim Brotherhood group leaders who they accuse of continuing to pursue violence despite calls by the group’s youth to renounce it.  They say that the leaders are pursuing personal and political interests rather than the interests of the country or the group itself. Movement coordinator Ahmed Yehia revealed that a leaflet written by the guidance bureau and signed by Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei called for acts of banditry and for the besieging of public facilities and embassies. [Aswat Masriya, 7/19/2013]
Minister of Social Solidarity: Muslim Brotherhood will not be disbanded except through law
Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed Boraie said that the ministry is currently studying whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood, legalized last March, will be dissolved. He stressed that the decision on whether or not to dissolve the organization could not be taken without a legal basis, and that the final decision would not be politicized. The minister added that they are currently waiting for the results of investigations into clashes at the Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam which left eight dead in early July. He also said that the ministry’s decision would depend on the extent to which the Brotherhood is found to have violated the NGO law under which it was founded. The minister added that he is meeting with several civil society figures, among them Negad al-Boraie and Saad al-Din Ibrahim, to discuss a new draft NGO law. [AMAY (Arabic), 7/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
PM Beblawi to select justice, transport ministers Sunday | Ahram Online
Military spokesman: If Sisi retires from the army, it is within his right to run for presidential elections | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
Egypt diplomacy on thin ice after Morsi’s fall | Ahram Online
Salafist Yasser al-Borhami calls on Brotherhood Supreme Guide to resign | EGYNews (Arabic)
Foreign Ministry cancels diplomatic passports for Morsi and family | Aswat Masriya

Public prosecutor prioritizes corruption and protester death cases

Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat said on Thursday that in the coming phase, he will prioritize cases related to protester deaths and corruption, as well as attacks on citizens, and public and private property during demonstrations and sit-ins taking place in Cairo and other governorates. He said that the prosecution would not rush to bring charges against anyone, and would not refer any case to trial without being sure of the availability of evidence and documents to support the case. He added that after referring cases against the former president, Mohamed Morsi and thirty-three Muslim Brotherhood leaders that the case is entirely within the hands of the presiding judge, with the public prosecutor playing no further role in the investigations. [EGYNews (Arabic), 7/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Rights center gets nine verdicts in favor of abused women | Aswat Masriya

Egypt’s foreign reserves reach around $20 billion in Arab aid
Egypt’s net international reserves rose to reach more than $20 billion due to the oil-rich Gulf States’ recently sent aids, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported Thursday, citing the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) governor Hisham Ramez. Saudi Arabia will transfer $2 billion in promised aid to Egypt within the next few days, Egypt’s central bank governor told the state newspaper Al-Ahram on Thursday. Egypt’s central bank also said it received $3 billion in aid from the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, part of $12 billion that Gulf Arab states pledged after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi early this month. Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby said the aid Egypt received from Arab countries will allow the transitional government to operate without further adding to the national debt. He explained that the country aims to develop an urgent plan to fix its economic structural imbalances and to reach concrete and swift goals, the effects of which will improve citizens’ lives and contribute to the solving of important problems. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent 7/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Economic crisis affects charitable organizations | DNE
IHS cuts Egypt’s banking sector rating to “significant risk” | DNE
Minister of petroleum: Steps being taken to identify shale gas reservoirs | AMAY (Arabic)
Wheat stocks enough until November ends, minister says | Aswat Masriya

Military and security forces prepare for rival protests on Friday
Rival protests by supporters and opponents of former President Mohamed Morsi are taking place in Cairo on Friday. Both sides predict a high turnout. The armed forces cautioned against the use of violence or attacking any military installation during protests on Friday. The protests are taking place on the historical date of Ramadan 10, the date when the Armed Forces commemorate crossing the Suez Canal in 1973, forcing a retreat of the Israeli army. Colonel Ahmed Ali, the spokesman of the armed forces, released a statement on Thursday stressing the military’s commitment to foster the freedom of expression and secure peaceful protests. “Whoever resorts to violence and deviates from protesting peacefully on Friday will endanger his life; he will be dealt with very strictly according to the law to preserve the security of citizens and the country,” the statement read. [Ahram Online, DNE, 7/19/2013]
Morsi loyalists stage fresh round of mass protest
The National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy called upon supporters of toppled President Mohamed Morsi to mass on Friday, dubbed “breaking the coup,” in major squares in Cairo and elsewhere. The English Muslim Brotherhood website published a list of eighteen marches and their starting points. Protests have also been organized in Hurghada, Assiut, Suez, and Alexandria, among others. Sheikh Abdel Maqsoud, who led prayers on Friday at Raba’a al-Adaweya, said that protesting was a duty. Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya also condemned plans to break up the peaceful protest in Raba’a by what it termed “paid thugs” who claim to speak for the residents of the neighborhood. The rallies aim to show Morsi’s supporters are not ready to accept the new military-backed government. However, a Brotherhood official also told Reuters on Thursday that the movement had proposed a framework for talks mediated by the EU. [Aswat Masriya, AP, Reuters, AMAY (Arabic), 7/19/2013]
Secular forces continue to rally
A group of local residents of Raba’a al-Adaweya area in Nasr City, led a protest on Thursday against the alleged sufferings they have incurred from the thousand-strong protest that has been taking place for twenty-one consecutive days, since June 28. Locals released several statements in objection to the encampment of former President Mohamed Morsi supporters in their neighborhood; their first statement on July 5 claimed the residents are living in a “siege.” They released a statement on Wednesday night stating that they are neither with nor against the sit-in; they claim, however, that they have been harmed by the presence of the supporters. Other protests around Egypt have been held to express support in the armed forces, both in Sinai and Cairo. In Sinai, political activist Eman Farouga said the protest would be held in front of the military intelligence building in Arish, and would demand prosecution of those who commit acts of killing and terrorism against civilians and security. The Tamarod campaign and the June 30 Front have both said that they have strong misgivings concerning the roadmap announced by the Army, stressing that they want the constitution to be rewritten entirely. They have announced their dissatisfaction with the current constitutional declaration, and have called on the Egyptian people to participate in rallies in Tahrir and at the presidential palace on Friday to make those demands. [Ahram Online, DNE, AMAY (Arabic) 7/17/2013]

Also of Interest:
Press harassed, censored as Egypt’s turmoil continues | CPJ
Rights groups allege “hostile campaign” against Palestinians and Syrians in Egypt | DNE
Army in Suez distributes gifts to civilians | EGYNews (Arabic)
Egyptian Christians happy Morsi is gone but remain wary | Reuters

Military launches operation in Sinai
A military source said Thursday that the “zero hour” to rid Sinai of criminal elements begins Friday, which corresponds with tenth of Ramadan, the anniversary of the October War of 1973. The armed forces are cooperating with the police to face criminal elements in North Sinai, within a plan to tighten control over the situation in the region. The source said that ten armed elements were killed and dozens others wounded in the past forty-eight hours. The military campaign is equipped with heavy machinery, rocket launchers, and Apache helicopters, with tanks placed in numerous fixed and moving checkpoints. Meanwhile, suspected militants shot dead a policeman on Thursday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, medics said. Another policeman was wounded in the drive-by shooting targeting a police water truck in the restive north of the peninsula, the medics added. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 7/18/2013]
Six Syrians, one Palestinian arrested for assaulting security forces – state TV  
Police forces arrested six Syrians and one Palestinian after they assaulted security forces in front of al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo’s Gamaleya area on Friday, Egypt’s state television reported. Violent clashes broke out earlier between supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi and several revolutionary powers after the Friday noon prayers at the mosque. The clashes caused traffic to come to a halt in the Azhar area. Meanwhile, state daily Al-Ahram reported the arrest of thirteen Muslim Brotherhood supporters, among them one Syrian. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 7/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Sinai, Egypt’s unsolved problem | Ahram Online

UK revokes export licenses for Egypt
The British government said Friday it has revoked five export licenses for equipment destined for Egypt’s military and police in light of recent unrest in the country that has led to the deaths of civilians. Business Secretary Vince Cable’s department said Friday that the decision was not related to one specific incident, but rather a buildup of events and Egyptian authorities’ recent actions with regard to crowd control. The five licenses covered components for armored personnel carriers, machine guns, and armored fighting infantry vehicles, along with communications equipment for tanks and licenses for vehicle antennas and radio equipment. Cable said the government had not had reports of British equipment being used in Egypt’s unrest, but took the decision to revoke the licenses upon advice from the Foreign Office. It was not immediately clear exactly who the licenses had been issued to–whether they were private British companies or other entities that export such material. [AP, 7/19/2013]
Proposed US House bill keeps Egypt military aid at $1.3 billion
Leaders of the US House of Representatives panel in charge of aid to Egypt proposed on Thursday that military aid be kept at $1.3 billion next year, subject to conditions including the government planning and holding elections. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee today that aid to Egypt’s military should be maintained. “They are worth the investment,” Dempsey said, urging a resumption of funding as soon as possible if the law required a cutoff. However, the bill proposed by the Republican leaders of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid did not include the annual $250 million in economic assistance that has also been appropriated for Egypt in recent years. Meanwhile, speaking about the detention of Brotherhood leaders, the State Department’s deputy spokesperson Marie Harif said, “We have called on the interim government to end arbitrary arrests, to uphold the rule of law, and we will continue to make that point publicly and privately.” [Reuters, Bloomberg, EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 7/18/2013]
Egypt’s Brotherhood proposes first crisis talks via EU envoy
The Muslim Brotherhood said on Thursday it had proposed through an EU go-between a framework for talks to resolve Egypt’s political crisis, its first formal announcement of an offer for negotiations since President Mohamed Morsi was toppled. Brotherhood official Gehad al-Haddad, who represented the movement in previous EU-facilitated talks, told Reuters the proposal had been made to envoy Bernardino Leon before a visit on Wednesday by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. The proposal, as described by Haddad, was still in its early stages. He did not give details, described it as only a “framework” for opening a channel of dialogue, and insisted on the Brotherhood’s firm demand that the July 3 “coup” that brought down Morsi be reversed. At the same time, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Thursday slammed the European Union’s failure to denounce the military coup that ousted Morsi, after the bloc’s foreign policy chief met Islamist officials and called for his release. On Monday, European foreign ministers are expected to meet to discuss the current situation in Egypt. [Reuters, Egypt Independent, Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 7/18/2013]
Turkish PM defends stance on Egypt, denies interference in internal affairs
In a speech given at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) headquarters in Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended Turkey’s stance on Egypt. “As Turkey, we don’t follow a policy regarding Egypt that defends or looks after certain people or institutions. We follow a policy that looks after universal values and principles.” He said Egypt has paid a high price for democracy. He also criticized newly appointed Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, alleging that he had received 1.7 percent of the votes in last year’s presidential elections while Morsi received 52 percent, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported, despite the fact that ElBaradei did not run in the elections. He also denied that Turkey is interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs. At the same time, the Turkish foreign ministry confirmed its interest in achieving stability and peace in Egypt. Meanwhile, Turkey demanded Egyptian authorities provide information about an alleged seizure of guns from a container that reportedly originated from Turkey. An Egyptian TV channel reported on Wednesday that authorities seized numerous weapons from the container that arrived from Turkey. [EGYNews (Arabic), Hurriyet, 7/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Hamas urges new Egyptian rulers to keep tunnels open | Ahram Online
Merkel repeats calls for Morsi’s release | EGYNews (Arabic)
UN rights chief presses Egypt on Morsi detention | Reuters
Egypt risks civil war if Islamists shut out of power-AU | Reuters
FM to send six envoys to African nations | SIS
Fahmy to Kerry: We are committed to establishing a genuine and stable democracy EGYNews | (Arabic)

Photo: West Point- The US Military Academy

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