Saudi Arabia said on Friday it will refuse to accept a rotating United Nations Security Council seat, saying the council is incapable of ending wars and resolving conflicts. “The kingdom sees that the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA. [Al Arabiya, 10/18/2013]


NSF member parties dispute over candidate for the presidency
National Salvation Front (NSF) member parties disagreed upon their candidate for the presidency, inside sources told Youm7 on Thursday. The dispute erupted after rumors that the liberal Free Egyptians Party Chairman Ahmed Saeed was pushed to run for the presidency in the upcoming elections on behalf of the NSF. According to the internal sources, the NSF will nominate Saeed only if General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi decides to not run for the presidency. [Cairo Post, 10/18/2013]

Egypt’s Army and Muslim Brotherhood Are Negotiating, Says Islamist Leader
A plan to end Egypt’s political deadlock will be unveiled after Eid al-Adha, al-Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Aboud al-Zomor told US website The Daily Beast. He said both the army and the Muslim Brotherhood have realized that neither is able to break the other. As a result, there was potential for a political breakthrough, adding that his attempts to re-ignite talks between the army and the Brotherhood showed signs of progress. The Daily Beast reported that he also expressed sympathy for the army’s position and refused to call the ousting of Morsi a coup. Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya, however, criticized Egypt’s media on Thursday, for mischaracterizing his statements, implying that the group does not consider June 30 a coup. [The Daily Beast, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 10/18/2013]

Morsi supporters hold limited Friday protests
Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi held protests in several regions of Egypt on Friday, continuing to demand that Morsi be reinstated. Small demonstrations were held in Cairo’s Helwan and Ain Shams districts, in Giza’s Haram district, in the coastal city of Alexandria and in Aswan. Army and police forces continued on Friday to seal off Cairo’s Tahrir, Abdel Moneim Riad, and Mostafa Mahmoud squares as well as the streets leading to them. Army forces sealed off Giza’s Nahda Square to both traffic and pedestrians and intensified their security measures. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 10/18/2013]

Egypt denies mistreatment of Syrian refugees
Egypt on Thursday denied it was mistreating Syrian refugees following a report by Amnesty International accusing authorities of unlawfully detaining and deporting hundreds of Syrians fleeing civil war. In a statement, Egypt’s foreign ministry said the content of Amnesty’s report was “inaccurate and does not reflect the reality of their situation in the country.” [AFP, 10/18/2013]


Militia rivalries threaten new war in Libya
The abduction last week of Prime Minister Ali Zidan, with one group seizing him and a rival militia being thanked for his rescue, reveals a struggle between rival tribal and Islamist leaders that threaten Libya’s democratic transition. The militia rivalries mirror a struggle within Libya’s government, with secular tribal alliances controlling the defense ministry and the Islamist-leaning Libya Shield Force working under the interior ministry. Parliament is split along similar lines. Zidan has said the government wants to build a state with an army and institutions but that there are some who want to obstruct these efforts. In an interview with Magharebia, Colonel Ahmed Bani, a former defense spokesman for the National Transitional Council, has said that the issue is not about “building” a Libyan army but rather “rearranging the cards” of a fragmented institution. [Reuters, 10/18/2013]

Ex-spy chief appeals handing his case to Libya
Former Qaddafi-era intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi has appealed the International Criminal Court’s decision to allow Libya to try him instead of being brought before the international court in the Hague. In his appeal, Senussi requested that judges order that his trial not begin until the appeal is settled. According to his lawyers, if the trial in Libya is not delayed, it is possible that Senussi would be convicted and executed before appeals judges issue a ruling. [AP, Libya Herald, 10/17/2013]

Attorney general’s office denies making Zidan bribery allegations
The Libyan attorney general’s office has categorically denied having said anything about Libyan politicians trying to bribe those involved in the eastern oil terminals lockdown. Media reports had claimed that Attorney General Abdel Qadar Radwan had said that documents found in Prime Minister Ali Zidan’s briefcase during his abduction proved the prime minister’s involvement in trying to bribe Ibrahim Jedhran, whose supporters, the Petroleum Facilities Guards, are blockading the oil terminals. [Libya Herald, 10/17/2013]

Top commander of Libya’s military police force killed by gunmen
Unknown gunmen shot dead the top commander of Libya’s military police force, Ahmed al-Barghathi, in Benghazi Friday morning. In another attack on security personnel, a Derna local army commander was murdered Thursday morning. Brigadier Hussein Hinshir was one of the officers who organized the resistance against Qaddafi during the revolution and who helped found the Derna Martyrs Battalion. Derna has no functioning local council or security directorate and is viewed as one of the most dangerous places in Libya. In Tripoli, gunmen attacked a police checkpoint, wounding two policemen. [Reuters, Libya Herald, 10/18/2013]


Rebel snipers kill high-ranking Syrian general
Rebel snipers killed a top-ranking general in Syrian military intelligence on Thursday. State TV said General Jama’a Jama’a was shot dead in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, which is in a province largely held by opposition forces. Jama’a, a member of President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle and one of Syria’s most prominent military figures, was also investigated for a suspected role in the assassination of the Lebanese statesman Rafik Hariri in 2005. In retaliation, Syrian air force jets bombarded Deir al-Zor on Friday after heavy overnight clashes. [Reuters, McClatchy, 10/17/13]

Russia, United States deny date set for Syria peace conference
A senior Syrian official said on Thursday that a long-delayed international conference aimed at ending his country’s civil war was scheduled for Nov. 23-24, but co-organizers Russia and the United States said no date had been set. A spokeswoman for the UN Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi also cast doubt on the statement, saying the timing of the conference intended to bring Syria’s government and opposition together had not yet been agreed. [Reuters, 10/18/13]

European Union gives 70 million euros in winter aid for Syrians in Lebanon
The European Union is donating an additional seventy million euros in aid to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon during the winter months. The EU representative praised Lebanon for welcoming nearly 780,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. With winter fast approaching, aid agencies are scrambling to prepare the vulnerable community for the cold and rain. The extra funding, which would cover a period from November to March, would go to help 90,000 families identified as the most vulnerable. [AFP, 10/18/13]


Two gunmen killed, others arrested; interior minister blames Ansar al-Sharia
Two gunmen were killed and others arrested in a large-scale military operation in northwest Tunisia, according to security sources, a day after alleged terrorist attacks killed two national guard officers. Tunisia’s interior minister stated that the gunmen who perpetrated the attack were members of armed terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia, and asked that all the efforts join against the single enemy of terrorism. In another statement, the interior ministry said that security and military operations in the region are still in progress. [TAP, Ahram Online 10/18/2013]

Protesters force Marzouki, Larayedh from national guard memorial ceremony
Protesting security force members on Friday drove Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki and interim Prime Minister Ali Larayedh away from a memorial ceremony for the two slain national guardsmen killed on Thursday by an armed group. The two leaders were told to “get out” by security forces, some of whom were in uniform. Marzouki and Larayedh, as well as parliamentary speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar, left after about twenty minutes of jeers from the crowd. [Al Arabiya, 10/18/2013]

NCA bureau plans examination of draft law on transitional justice
On Thursday the bureau of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) discussed the possibility to begin examining the draft law related to transitional justice during a NCA plenary session. The bureau submitted proposals providing for the amendment of a law related to the Independent High Authority for the Election to the general legislation commission, according to an NCA statement. [TAP, 10/17/2013]

Rapper Klay BBJ freed
Rapper Ahmed Ben Ahmed, who performs under the name Klay BBJ, was freed today after an appeal hearing, reversing an earlier sentence in absentia to twenty-one months in jail along with fellow rapper Ala Yaakoubi, better known as Weld el 15. The original charges of insulting officials, undermining public morals, and defamation relate to an August performance when police raided a concert following a complaint from officers who said they were offended by the songs performed. [Tunisia Live, Al Arabiya 10/17/2013]


Suicide bomber in south kills twelve; two killed and seven wounded in attack in Bayda province
A suicide car bomber killed twelve soldiers and wounded six others Friday in an attack on a military command center in southern Yemen’s Abyan province, security and military sources said. The attack in the district of Ahwar targeted the command center of the 111th Brigade, the security source said, adding that the commander of the brigade was “seriously” wounded in the blast. Al-Qaeda is believed to be responsible for the attack. In addition, two soldiers were killed and seven others injured in three simultaneous attacks on security and military sites by suspected al-Qaeda gunmen in Yemen’s Bayda province on Thursday. [AFP/Ahram Online, Al Masdar (Arabic), 10/18/2013]

Development and humanitarian projects will cost Yemeni government 5 billion dollars
A Yemeni government report estimated that the total cost of programs and projects for reconstruction and urgent humanitarian needs will reach 3.5 billion dollars this year and for the year 2014. The cost of the programs for social protection, youth employment, and poverty alleviation will cost an additional 1.5 billion dollars. The report, issued by the ministry of planning and international cooperation, stated that the funds are necessary to mitigate the negative effects of poverty and unemployment as Yemen looks to achieve stability. [Al Tagheer (Arabic), 10/17/2013]

Political sources caution against the failure of the dialogue
Yemeni political sources said that the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference (NDC) would fail if political factions refuse to move from their positions and compromise on the most contentious issues. Specifically, the sources said that the conference will fail if the 8+8 committee, working on the southern issue, does not come to a consensus about the form of the state and the final number of federal regions. The sources called on members of the NDC to compromise on their partisan interests and prioritize the needs of the nation as a whole. [Hona Hadhramout (Arabic), Wefaq Press (Arabic), 10/18/2013]

Rights group warns against alleged pillage of Yemen’s natural resources
Aseer, a Yemen-based human rights group, has warned against an alleged plan by Saudi Arabia to pillage Yemen’s natural resources in the northern province of al-Jawf, directly south of the Saudi border. Activists have stressed that tribes in the area are resentful over what they perceive as trespassing in their territories. Tribal chiefs said they are ready to defend their land and underground riches at whatever cost, hinting at potential military repercussions should tribesmen feel threatened. [Yemen Post, 10/17/2013]


Fugitive Iraqi leader to return home if assured of fair trial
Fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, sentenced to death on murder charges, said Thursday he would return home if the European Union (EU) could help guarantee him a fair trial. “My case is politically motivated and the charges are absolutely fabricated,” Hashemi said at a press conference in Brussels. “Nevertheless, I now express my readiness to return to Baghdad immediately… [if] the EU guarantees a fair trial,” he said. [Al Arabiya, 10/17/2013]

Moroccan police repel hundreds storming Spanish border
Moroccan police drove back 400 African migrants who tried to rush across the country’s border into Spain on Thursday, an official said. The crowd of “sub-Saharan migrants” rushed at the crossing from northern Morocco into the Spanish territory of Ceuta at dawn and “were stopped by the Moroccan security forces,” a Spanish government official in Ceuta said. He could not say whether anyone was injured, but said it “was one of the biggest groups in recent years” to make the attempt. [Daily Star Lebanon, 10/17/2013]