Top News: UK Will Not Ban Muslim Brotherhood But Finds Link to Extremism

 A British governmental review into Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood published on Thursday concluded that membership in or links to the political group should be considered a possible indicator of extremism, but that it should not be banned. The findings referred to the Brotherhood’s support for the Palestinian Hamas and its attacks on Israel as a sign of growing extremism, asserting that many groups affiliated with the Brotherhood perceive Britain as being “hostile to the Muslim faith.” The long-delayed review was first commissioned in April 2014 by Prime Minister David Cameron with the task of determining whether the group was a risk to British national security. “Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism. Both as an ideology and as a network, it has been a rite of passage for some individuals and groups who have gone on to engage in violence and terrorism,” Cameron said in a statement. He also described the group as “deliberately opaque, and habitually secretive,” as well as holding ideals “counter to British values of democracy.” The Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday criticized the report in a statement, calling its findings unacceptable and politically motivated. Lawyers for the Muslim Brotherhood also said that any “undue” criticism of the group will be subject to a legal challenge. [Reuters, AP, Mada Masr, Cairo Post, 12/17/2015]


Speculation that Egypt’s new parliament speaker will be from among presidential appointees
Political analysts expect that the speaker of Egypt’s new ‎parliament will come from a list of 28 high-profile ‎figures to be appointed next week by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. They predict that two public figures – former ‎foreign minister Amr Moussa, and current Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend – are most likely to be among ‎the appointees elected as ‎speaker of the new parliament. Other figures with long ‎legal and constitutional backgrounds such as Sirri Siam, a ‎former deputy chairman of the Court of Cassation, and Farouk Sultan, a ‎former chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court ‎‎(SCC) who headed a committee that took charge of ‎supervising 2012’s presidential elections in 2012, are ‎also expected to be on the list of appointees.‎ Informed sources said Adly Mansour, Egypt’s former ‎interim-president and the current chairman of the ‎Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) will not be one of ‎the appointees. Sources said Mansour refused to be ‎appointed, preferring to retain his position ‎as SCC’s head rather than becoming speaker of an ‎‎”unruly” parliament.‎ Meanwhile, several newly elected female members of parliament are planning to form a coalition for women inside the parliament, stressing that the women’s bloc aims to support the women’s experience in the parliament. Seventy-three women secured seats in the elections held over the past two months. [Ahram Online, 12/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • State budget, economic policies top Free Egyptians Party agenda | DNE
  • Cabinet approves business in existing private free zone, declines establishing new ones | DNE
  • Government expands ministers’ authorities in direct assignment operations | DNE
  • State TV has exclusive right to broadcast parliament sessions says official | MENA
  • Cabinet holds weekly meeting | SIS
  • Sisi receives credentials of 17 new ambassadors | DNE, SIS


Egypt court issues ten life sentences for thwarted Luxor temple attack
An Egyptian military court handed lengthy prison sentences late on Wednesday to all defendants charged for an attempted attack on an ancient temple in June, defense lawyer Radwan Touny said. Ten of the accused were sentenced to life in prison, while two were handed ten-year jail terms over charges that include “joining a terrorist organization, possession of arms, and using force and violence.” The sentence can be appealed through a military court. An Assiut military court on Wednesday also sentenced 108 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to life in prison in absentia and 26 others to ten years on charges of storming a police station and killing Captain Hossam Yasser and eight others in 2013. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 12/17/2015]

Trial of policemen accused of Luxor man’s death to start January 9
The head of the Qena Appeals Prosecution, Adel Ezzat, announced on Wednesday that the trial of the policemen accused of torturing a citizen to death inside a police station in Luxor will start on January 9, 2016. Ezzat added in a press statement that investigative documents have been submitted to the Qena Appeals Court and the defendants have been referred to trial. Egypt’s General Prosecutor Nabil Sadeq referred nine policemen from Luxor to criminal trial over charges of torturing a detainee to death, an incident that sparked clashes and protests against police in the Upper Egyptian governorate in late November. [AMAY, 12/16/2015]


Egypt’s CIB to sell investment bank to Orascom for $128 million
Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt’s largest listed company, said Thursday it had accepted an EGP 1 billion ($127.7 million) offer from Orascom Telecom and Technology (OTMT) to buy its investment bank subsidiary CI Capital. OTMT, which is owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, plans to merge CI Capital with Beltone Financial, which it bought last month for almost EGP 650 million. CIB said in a statement that its board had met on Thursday and given preliminary approval for the deal. “It is important to note that consultations remain in the preliminary stages,” CIB said. “Completion of the sale depends on the results of negotiations between the two sides, the results of due diligence as well as obtaining the necessary approvals.” Egypt’s stocks rallied Thursday after news of the possible deal. [Reuters, Ahram Online, Bloomberg, 12/17/2015]

Also of Interest

  • EGPC presents monthly petroleum needs to International Cooperation Ministry | DNE
  • Egypt’s Central Bank to meet government, reconvene on December 24 | Reuters
  • Saudi investments in Egypt focus on infrastructure over three years | Reuters
  • Egypt’s T-bill yields rise slightly at auction | Reuters
  • Egypt’s central bank to hold rate steady at FX auction | Reuters


NCHR calls on Interior Ministry to abide by Code of Criminal Procedure
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) expressed its concern regarding the increased number of forced-disappearance complaints in Egypt. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the council called on the Ministry of Interior to abide by the rules of the Code of Criminal Procedure with regard to referring those arrested to investigative authorities, in keeping with the constitution. According to the statement, breaching the Code of Criminal Procedure has led to ambiguities related to increasing complaints of forced disappearance. [DNE, AMAY, 12/16/2015]

Brotherhood launches alternative website as conflicts with youth deepen
The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood launched on Wednesday a new official website,, which is seen as an attempt to provide an alternative platform to replace the official youth-dominated The announcement came amid talk of internal conflicts within the organization following recent remarks by Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein, in which he defied calls for a wider influence for younger leadership at the expense of its old guards. On Saturday, Hussein defied calls to enable younger ranks to take over, stressing that the incumbent Guidance Bureau, the group’s top governing board currently led by acting Supreme Guide Mahmoud Ezzat, would remain unchanged. The declaration of the new official website was made by Talaat Fahmi, a new spokesperson appointed by the group’s leadership. The website opened with a message by Guidance Bureau member Mohamed Abdel Rahman, who urged members to “rally behind the organization’s leaders … represented in the Supreme Guide and his deputies as the legitimate leadership. [AMAY, 12/17/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Brotherhood medical facilities seized by state | DNE
  • Journalists’ Syndicate members largely support questioning Moussa says secretary | AMAY
  • I am not guilty and will not defend myself says Khaled Youssef | DNE
  • Challenges threaten legitimacy of Egypt’s student union votes | AMAY, Mada Masr
  • Eight Muslim Brotherhood instructors at Assiut University expelled | Cairo Post


CSF soldier injured in Arish IED blast
A Central Security Forces soldier was injured at dawn Thursday after an IED hit his vehicle near the city of al-Arish in North Sinai. The soldier was transferred to al-Arish Military Hospital for treatment. The IED was planted by unknown assailants on the side of al-Bahr Street and was remotely detonated as the armored vehicle was passing, eyewitnesses said. Security forces combed the surrounding area in search of the assailants and other devices. Meanwhile, security forces in Suez prevented an attempt to smuggle large quantities of explosive material through the Martyr Ahmed Hamdi tunnel on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by Military Spokesperson Mohamed Samir. [AMAY, 12/17/2015]

Acting head of Zagazig University wounded in attack in Egypt’s Sharqiya
Unknown assailants on a motorcycle opened fire on the acting head of Zagazig University Abdel Hakim Nour al-Din in Egypt’s Sharqiya governorate on Thursday, causing injuries to his legs. The head of the security directorate reported that three assailants targeted the university official and opened fire on him while he was leaving his house. The men were able to escape before security forces arrived. Nour al-Din was immediately transferred to the nearest hospital, and a medical source reported his condition as stable. Authorities are not yet sure whether the incident is criminal or terrorism related. [Ahram Online, AMAY, 12/17/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Sallum border guards arrest 30 for attempted illegal cross into Libya | Cairo Post


US military and economic assistance to Egypt renewed in spending bill, with conditions
The US House and Senate budget negotiators unveiled a $1.1 trillion FY2016 spending bill in the early hours of December 16 that boosts support for countries on the front line of the fight against terrorism. The bill retains the $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt but sets new conditions for its release, which the US Secretary of State may waive for national security reasons. The final bill will require an updated assessment from Secretary Kerry on the state of democratic reform and human rights in the country before some of Egypt’s military aid can be delivered, which could compel the Sisi government to make some improvements in these areas, said Deputy Director for Policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy Cole Bockenfeld. “And moving forward, the omnibus language will require the administration to consult with Congress on plans to restructure Egypt’s military assistance — a step that is long overdue for Egypt’s outdated aid package.” [Al Monitor, 12/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Putin says Russia to lift Egypt flight ban once travel secure | Reuters
  • Egypt plans to purchase two French-manufactured military satellites says La Tribune | Ahram Online
  • Shoukry heads to New York for Syria talks | DNE
  • Egypt, UAE sign MOU on tourism | MENA
  • Sudanese minister says six-way talks were positive | Aswat Masriya