Syrian families affected by the country’s civil war need $1.4 billion in aid, a senior Syrian official said Thursday, adding that only 43 percent of that was being met. Administration Minister Omar Ghalwanji announced the figures during a meeting with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and thanked the United Nations for delivering aid to Syrian civilians. OCHA said this week that more than 600,000 people in Syria were in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, a large number of them in areas that are difficult to reach. [AFP, 9/12/13]


Eleven dead in air strike on field hospital; three Alawite villages attacked by al-Nusra Front
A Syrian regime air strike on a field hospital in the northern province of Aleppo killed at least eleven people on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “At least eleven people, including a doctor… were killed in an air strike on a field hospital in Al-Bab,” said the Britain-based monitoring group. Separately, fighters from al-Nusra Front and another rebel group attacked three villages near the city of Homs, killing twelve civilians belonging to Syria’s Alawite minority. [AFP, 9/11/13]

French Foreign Minister Fabius asserts that UN report will point to Syrian regime’s culpability
A United Nations report probing the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria will provide circumstantial evidence that indicates the Syrian government is culpable, Fabius asserted. Under the terms of the UN mandate, inspectors are only authorized to conclude whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria without apportioning blame. However, the testing of soil, urine, and blood samples, as well as of ammunition collected from the area have also reportedly supplied strong clues that point to the Syrian government as the perpetrator of the attack. “Only the regime had the [chemical weapons] stocks, the [firing] vectors, and the interest in doing it, so we can draw a conclusion from that,” said Fabius. [Telegraph UK, 9/12/13]

Russia sends more battleships to Mediterranean; US weapons reaching Syrian rebels
Russia has dispatched a “carrier killer” missile cruiser and other ships to the eastern Mediterranean in its largest naval deployment since the Soviet era. Both Russia and the United States have been beefing up their naval presence in the Mediterranean over the past several weeks. Meanwhile, the CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear—a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the US role in Syria’s civil war. [Guardian, Washington Post, 9/11/13]


Interim president extends state of emergency for two months
Ambassador Ihab al-Badawi, a spokesman for the presidency, announced interim President Adly Mansour’s decision to extend the state of emergency declared under Presidential Decree No. 532 for the year 2013 in Egypt for two months starting September 12, 2013. Al-Badawi, according to his statement, said that the decision was linked to developments in the security situation in the country, after the approval of the cabinet. [AMAY (Arabic), 9/12/2013]

Egypt’s court acquits Suez security officials over 2011 uprising killings
An Egyptian court acquitted on Thursday fourteen security officials and police officers being tried over the killings of protesters in the canal city of Suez during the 2011 uprising, judicial sources said. Former Suez security chief Mohamed Abdel-Hady, along with three other officials and ten policemen, were accused of killing seventeen demonstrators and injuring 300 others on January 28, 2011 dubbed “Friday of Rage.” Egyptian businessman and member of the now-defunct National Democratic Party Ibrahim Farag, along with his three sons, were also found not guilty of the same charges. [Ahram Online, Reuters, AP, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), 9/12/2013]

Egypt owes foreign oil companies $6 billion
Egypt is close to agreeing a schedule for repaying $6 billion in outstanding debt to foreign oil companies, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday. Beblawi also told Al Masry Al Youm that reaching an agreement would lead to a rise in investments from the companies to $15 billion within two years. The Egyptian state, racked by political and economic turmoil since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, has been struggling to meet soaring energy bills caused by high subsidies on fuel products for the country’s 84 million-plus population. [Ahram Online, 9/12/2013]

European Parliament passes resolution on Egypt
The European Parliament voted on a non-legislative draft resolution concerned with the Egyptian situation Wednesday, officiating its stance, and calling on all parties in Egypt to halt all acts of incitement to violence. The members of the European Parliament voted on their official stance on Egypt through the resolution, which also states that the EU “condemns the security forces’ disproportionate use of force to break up the Rabaa and Nahda Square sit-ins and the resulting tragic loss of life, but also the Muslim Brotherhood’s failure to prevent grassroots violence.” [DNE, European Parliament, 9/12/2013]


PM: Arrest warrants issued for oil strike leaders
Libya’s attorney general has issued arrest warrants for the leaders of oil strikers and will soon act against the protesters, according to Prime Minister Ali Zidan, who hinted at military action if the oil output stoppages do not end soon. Many Libyans have warned that military action could spark wider unrest. Deputy Oil Minister Omar Shakmak says the country’s oil production has risen slightly to between 230,000 and 236,000 barrels per day and that Brega is the only oil export terminal currently operating. [Reuters, 9/11/13]

Government co-chairs international meeting on border security
The Libyan government co-chaired a meeting with the European Union Integrated Border Assistance Mission in Libya on border security. Members of the Border Management Working Group, formed by Prime Minister Ali Zidan in June 2013 and tasked with serving as a focal point for various ministries on border affairs, was joined by international diplomats, reflecting the importance of border security for Libya and the international community. As part of Libya’s efforts to secure the borders, the General National Congress (GNC) is also seeking to get the UN arms embargo lifted to enable the purchase of warplanes and weapons. [Libya Herald, 9/11/13]

This is the birth of the new Libyan army, says Zidan
Referring to the recent attacks on special forces in Benghazi, Prime Minister Ali Zidan said members of the army were being targeted by enemies of the new state because they represent the new Libyan army. He stressed his determination to form a national army despite the challenges. Nineteen thousand members of the police force and a few thousand from the army have received training but have not met certain standards and will be sent abroad for further training. [Libya Herald, 9/11/13]

Finance minister refutes allegations of government fraud
Finance Minister Abdelkarim Kilani rejected rumors flying around media and social networks questioning the financial integrity of Prime Minister Ali Zidan’s government. Among other criticisms, Kilani refuted the story that the government had received 70 billion Libyan dinars from external sources in addition to the budget approved by the GNC and denied that there are pro-Qaddafi personnel within the ministry. [Libya Herald, 9/11/13]


Leader of Islamist Ennahda party visits Algerian president
Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s ruling Ennahda party, met with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algeria yesterday. During the meeting the two parties discussed Tunisian-Algerian bilateral relations and the challenges that the region is facing, according to a statement released by Ennahda. Tunisia and Algeria are combatting security threats along their shared border, including attacks carried out against the Tunisian state by militants on and around Chaambi Mountain. The two countries have cooperated in military operations in the area. [Tunisia Live, 9/12/2013]

Opposition leader meets with Algerian president one day after Ghannouchi
Beji Caid Essebsi, leader of major opposition party Nidaa Tounes, met with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algeria Wednesday. During the visit, both parties discussed “the current problems of the region, and the reality of the crisis in Tunisia,” according to Nidaa Tounes’ spokesperson Lazher Akermi. [Tunisia Live, 9/12/2013]

Ettounsiya TV Channel producer Sami al-Fehri released
A court order was issued by the criminal chamber of Tunis’ first instance court, stating the official release of Ettounsiya TV producer and owner Sami al-Fehri on Wednesday. Al-Fehri had been imprisoned for about a year based on allegations of corruption that stemmed from his former suspicious relations with the family of ousted President Ben Ali. [Tunis Times, Al Arabiyya, 9/12/2013]

Interior ministry denies attempted assassination of Ahmed Siddiq
The interior ministry denied on Thursday the news of an attempt to assassinate the leader of the Popular Front and Secretary General of Hezb Ataliah, Ahmed Siddiq. The ministry confirmed that rumors about the assassination attempt are completely untrue, noting that the appropriate authorities inspected a building in the area of the alleged attack and did not find any evidence. [Mosaique FM (Arabic), 9/12/2013]


Government sets up compensation fund for southerners
Keen to follow through on its promises to the Southern Movement and prevent yet another breakdown in the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), the coalition government has been pushing toward the concretization of some very contentious issues, including the creation of a compensation fund, worth a reported $1.2 billion, as well as the reinstatement of southerners to their jobs. [Yemen Post, Saba News, 9/11/2013]

NDC greets the return of the southerners with four state visions
The subcommittee formed by the Southern Issue Working Group on Monday has begun gathering different NDC visions for the southern issue. Southern Issue Working Group Spokesperson Shafe al-Abd reported that the subcommittee had revealed four popular visions for the future shape of the state: an independent southern state; a federal state consisting of two regions; a federal state with multiple regions; and a single state that offers stronger local governance.  [Yemen Times, NDC (Arabic), 9/12/2013]

Hadi calls on tribal leaders to stop the fighting in Amran
President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi on Wednesday summoned tribal leaders from Amran province, located north of Sanaa, to discuss putting an end to the fighting between Osaimat tribal members and a Houthi armed group. Members of the presidential mediation committee said that they will do their best to stop the shooting and help the parties to the conflict reconcile. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 9/11/2013]

GPC nominates eight people, including two women to run for 2014 presidential elections
Sheikh Yasser al- Awadi, the leader of the General People’s Congress (GPC), Yemen’s ruling political party, stated that the GPC will consider choosing one candidate from among eight names proposed to contest the presidential election on behalf of the party. He also noted that of the eight proposed candidates, five are from the south and two are women. [Yemeni Press (Arabic), 9/12/2013]


Tamarod’s Gaza campaign denounced by fellow activists
Following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in early July, much confusion has arisen regarding the Tamarod campaign in Palestine. Multiple groups in Gaza and the West Bank carrying the same name have emerged in recent months. The Gaza Tamarod group seeks to overthrow Hamas rule of Gaza and has come under scrutiny following allegations that it is a client of the Egyptian military and Fatah. Another group, originally called Palestinian Tamarod, recently changed its name to Qawem (resist) to differentiate itself as a group opposing Israeli occupation. [Al-Monitor, 9/12/2013]

Algeria’s ailing president reshuffles cabinet
Algeria’s president reshuffled the cabinet Wednesday, making changes in key ministries including defense, interior, and foreign affairs that analysts say strengthen his position after a long illness. The reshuffle, which puts close associates in top positions at the interior ministry and the defense ministry, strengthens the hold of Bouteflika’s camp. [AP, 9/12/2013]

Lebanon: Berri “annoyed” over “misinterpreting” his dialogue initiative
Speaker Nabih Berri expressed his “annoyance” on Wednesday over the “misinterpretation” of the dialogue proposal he come forward with during his latest televised speech. “Berri is upset at those who intentionally misinterpreted several clauses of his suggestion, especially in what concerns disassociating Lebanon from the Syrian crisis and favoring instead to wait and see how things develop in the neighboring country,” several lawmakers quoted the speaker as saying. They added: “Berri will give his proposal a push by forming a delegation tasked with explaining his initiative to different factions in the country.” [Naharnet, 9/11/2013]