Syria’s neighbors are bracing for an influx of refugees fleeing their country in fear of US-led military action, compounding what the United Nations has branded a “disgraceful humanitarian calamity.” Correspondents and witnesses have reported an even greater exodus of Syrians into neighboring countries since President Barack Obama warned last week he was ready to launch military strikes on Assad’s regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons. [AFP, 9/3/2013]


Judicial advisory body recommends dissolution of Egypt’s Brotherhood
Egypt’s State Commissioners Authority, a body that advises the government on legal issues, has recommended the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood. In an announcement on Monday, the Authority also called for the group’s national headquarters in Cairo’s Moqattam to be closed. The recommendations were made in accordance with Law 84 of 2002, which prohibits non-government organisations and institutions from forming paramilitary groups. The Authority’s recommendations to the government are non-binding. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 9/2/2013]

Egypt names key constitution panel with few Islamists
Egypt’s army-backed government unveiled a constituent assembly on Sunday almost devoid of Islamists, and gave it 60 days to review amendments that would erase Islamic articles brought in by the Muslim Brotherhood and more hardline Islamic parties. The constitutional review is part of a road map unveiled by the administration that took power after the army deposed President Mohamed Mursi on July 3. Egypt will hold parliamentary and presidential elections only once the constitution is approved in a referendum. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 9/1/2013]

UAE to shower Egypt with additional $2 bn in deposits, grants
Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, has pledged an additional $2 billion aid comprising deposits and grants to support Egypt, Al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website reported on Monday. Al-Ahram has quoted anonymous sources in Egypt’s cabinet as saying that the Emirate’s prince vowed to support the country in several fields through making new investments in the domestic market. [Ahram Online, 9/3/2013]

Egypt destroys homes for possible Gaza Buffer Zone
Egypt’s military bulldozed twenty homes along the Gaza Strip border and caved in tunnels beneath them as a prelude to the possible creation of a buffer zone to reduce weapon smuggling and illegal militant crossings, angering residents who said they were evicted with no compensation, security officials and residents said Sunday. An Egyptian army source confirmed the military had intensified its campaign to close tunnels but said he knew of no instructions to put a buffer zone in place. Hamas said Egyptian authorities were continuing to limit to 250 the number of Palestinians allowed to cross daily into Egypt from Gaza. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 9/3/2013


Libya imports fuel to keep power on
Libya has begun importing diesel and fuel oil to fend off increasing power cuts. A senior official from the National Oil Company said Libya had imported “at least three times the quantities of liquid fuel” than usual to keep power plants operating. Armed groups, security guards, and oil workers with tribal loyalties have shut down most gas fields in the eastern region, which had supplied power plants, in the worst disruption to the country’s energy sector since the 2011 uprising. [Reuters, 9/2/13]

Oil sector workers protest outside Congress
Over one hundred oil sector workers protested outside the General National Congress (GNC) on Monday, demanding that the GNC and the government reopen the country’s oil fields and export terminals and protect the country’s hydrocarbon workers. In Zueitina, local people determined to get the terminal back up and running stormed the terminal that has been plagued by strikes for more than six weeks, but members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard said they would continue their strike. [Libya Herald, 9/2/13]

Ali Zidan should be questioned on his performance, says J&C Party
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party (J&C) has called upon the General National Congress (GNC) to investigate Prime Minister Ali Zidan on the “government’s poor performance.” Spokesperson for the J&C Party Bait al-Mal said the GNC should remove Zidan if he fails to provide convincing answers on how the government has addressed some key issues, including assassinations, shutdown of the oil fields, and deteriorating security. There have also been several diplomatic car-jackings recently, as criminal gangs seek armored embassy vehicles. [Libya Herald, 8/2/13]

Daughter of Libya’s ex-spy chief abducted
The daughter of Qaddafi’s intelligence chief and top aid, Abdullah al-Senussi and Anoud al-Senussi, was kidnapped after she left al-Rayoumi prison in Tripoli on Monday. The head of the prison says security forces are investigating. Anoud, who had served nearly ten months for entering Libya with a forged passport, had come to visit her father in prison where he awaits trial. [AP/Al Arabiya, 9/2/13]


Syrian neighbors brace for refugees fleeing US strike
Syria’s neighbors are bracing for an influx of refugees fleeing their country in fear of US-led military action, compounding what the United Nations has branded a “disgraceful humanitarian calamity.” Correspondents and witnesses have reported an even greater exodus of Syrians into neighboring countries since President Barack Obama warned last week he was ready to launch military strikes on Assad’s regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons. [AFP, 9/3/2013]

Opposition says forensic expert defects from Syria
A Syrian forensic medicine expert with evidence of President Bashar Assad’s involvement in a chemical weapons attack near Aleppo in March has defected to Turkey, the Istanbul-based opposition said on Tuesday. Abdeltawwab Shahrour, head of the forensic medicine committee in Aleppo, would make public his evidence of the Assad administration’s involvement in a March 19 chemical attack in Khan al-Assal, a Syrian opposition coalition spokesperson said. [Daily Star/Reuters, 9/3/2013]

Hezbollah mobilizes ahead of potential US strike
Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group, a close ally of the Syrian regime, is redeploying its forces ahead of possible US strikes on Damascus, according to witnesses in Lebanon. The reports come as the daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to both Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, said on Monday that the group had rallied its members. Residents in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre told AFP there appeared to be a general mobilization of the group’s members, even if such a movement was not being publicly discussed. [NOW/AFP, 9/2/2013]

Syrian forces capture strategic northern town – opposition
Syrian forces seized the strategic northern town of Ariha on Tuesday, an opposition group said, in a move that would open the supply line between the coastal stronghold and pockets of army control in a region that is largely rebel controlled. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported the Assad military gain, said loyalist paramilitary forces, known as the National Defense Forces, stormed and captured Ariha under the cover of a fierce army artillery assault. [Daily Star/Reuters, 9/3/2013]


Ennahda pressures assembly speaker to resume legislative activity
National Constituent Assembly (NCA) members from the ruling Ennahda party are meeting Tuesday to determine how to force the immediate resumption of the legislature’s activities, which have been suspended for the past five weeks. Ennahda NCA member Walid Bennani told radio station Mosaique FM Monday that his party will meet with members of the other parties within the NCA to discuss measures to pressure NCA Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar to resume the assembly’s work. Ben Jaafar will address the nation in a televised broadcast Wednesday. [Tunisia Live, 9/3/2013, Tunis Times, 9/2/2013]

Opposition proposal rejected; Troika announces response Tuesday
Ettakatol politburo member Mouldi Riahi said at a press hearing Sunday that the proposals presented by the opposition to resolve the protracted political crisis were rejected by representatives of the ruling coalition, known as the Troika. In his statement, Riahi urged all parties to return to the negotiation table. A Troika representative from Congress for the Republic party, Imed Daimi, said the government would announce a response to the opposition’s proposal Tuesday. [TAP, Mosaique FM (French), 9/2/2013]

Inmates break out of Gabes prison
Dozens of Tunisian inmates staged a prison break in a southern coastal town after overpowering guards, a top corrections official said Monday. Police and soldiers searched the town of Gabes for the forty-nine inmates and succeeded in recapturing thirty two of them, some of whom came back willingly, others who were returned by their families. [AP, Tunis Times, 9/2/2013]

Opposition plans Saturday rally in Brahmi’s name
The People’s Movement of slain Tunisian parliamentarian Mohamed Brahmi on Monday called for a weekend rally to mark forty days since the opposition leader’s murder plunged the country into crisis. “September 7, the 40th day after the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi, will be a decisive day for Tunisia,” party official Zouheir Hamdi told Shems-FM radio. The party is calling for a rally to take place on that day, Hamdi said, but gave no further details about the event. [Daily Star, 9/2/2013]


Three Libyan nationals arrested in Sanaa, accused of AQAP ties
Security forces arrested three men believed to be Libyan nationals in Sanaa on Friday, according to the interior ministry. The men allegedly belong to Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The men were also reportedly caught with $250,000 in cash. [Yemen Times, 9/3/2013]

Benomar denied that he proposed to extend the transitional phase in Yemen
Jamal Benomar, the UN envoy to Yemen, denied stories that appeared in various media outlets about his proposal to extend the current transitional phase in Yemen. He has stressed the need to “overcome the remaining challenges on some of the issues being discussed in the National Dialogue Conference as soon as possible.” [Al Masdar, (Arabic) 9/3/2013]

Yemen’s parliament condemns assassination attempt on PM
The Yemeni parliament condemned during a meeting on Monday morning the assassination attempt made on Saturday against Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa. It also condemned the abduction of a council member’s son as well as recent security issues. The cabinet stressed that the appropriate authorities will find and arrest the culprits and restore law and order. [Al Tagheer, (Arabic) 9/2/2013]

Southerners celebrate anniversary of southern military’s founding
Thousands of soldiers dressed in the original uniform of the Southern army marched in the streets of Aden on Sunday to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the armed forces’ inception. The parade is taking place at the same time that Southern Movement leaders are boycotting Yemen’s ongoing reconciliatory talks at the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). Leaders have suspended their participation until certain stipulations are met, such as moving the conference abroad. [Yemen Times, 9/2/2013]

Related Issues

Jordanian MPs request meeting with government concerning proposed Syria strikes
A majority of deputies in Jordan’s Lower House on Monday said they are against any military strike on Syria, calling for meeting with the government to discuss the situation and its consequences on Jordan. Seventy-seven parliamentarians signed a memorandum addressed to Lower House Speaker Saad Hayel Srour to be forwarded to the government, in which they requested a briefing on the authorities’ preparations and precautions in response to any strike. [Jordan Times, 9/2/2013]

Bahrain to host pan-Arab human rights court
Bahrain has said it will host a pan-Arab court of human rights in a move condemned by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights as a “PR stunt” by an oppressive state. The official Bahrain News Agency reported on Monday that the kingdom would host the permanent headquarters of the Arab Human Rights Court following its approval at an Arab League meeting in Cairo. [Al Jazeera, 9/2/2013]

Lebanese party urges immediate cabinet formation; warns of state collapse
The Lebanese Phalange Party on Monday urged forming a new government to safeguard Lebanon from the repercussions of the Syrian crisis. “The dangerous turn internal and regional events are taking requires hurrying up the formation of a new cabinet,” a statement released by the party said after the political bureau’s weekly meeting. It added that the new council of ministers should be based on the principles of the Baabda Declaration and that call for disassociating Lebanon from the Syrian conflict. [Naharnet, 9/3/2013]