Expressing its strong support for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the Security Council today called on all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire and an end to the fighting. Unanimously adopting resolution 2174 (2014) under the Charter’s Chapter VII, the fifteen-member body condemned the use of violence against civilians and civilian institutions, and called for accountability.




Government sources explain factors behind possibly postponing elections
Government sources said Thursday that disagreement among political parties, security, and redistricting are the three factors behind the possible postponement of Egypt’s parliamentary elections. The sources added that the easiest factor to address is the redistricting, which will ensure adequate representation in parliament. A judicial source from the High Elections Committee said that it is preparing for elections to take place before the end of the year, which is consistent with previous statements made by president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Democratic Current alliance criticized the possible postponement of the elections while the Independence Current held an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss electoral alliances. The Revolutionary Guards Party said in a statement on Thursday that it has not yet made a decision to join an electoral alliance. [Shorouk (Arabic), 8/28/2014]

Militants claim to behead four in Sinai
A Sinai-based militant group said on Thursday it had beheaded four Egyptians, accusing them of providing Israel with intelligence for an airstrike that killed three of its fighters. Four headless corpses were found in the Sinai Peninsula earlier this month, security sources said — the first time that any decapitations had been made public in Egypt. In a video released on Twitter, Egypt’s most dangerous militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, said the four men had been spying for Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Armed men in black masks stood over the kneeling captives as one of the militants read out a statement. Minutes later, the four men had their heads cut off. [DNE, Reuters, Ahram Online, 8/28/2014]

Lawsuit to ban Facebook and Twitter for security concerns
A lawyer filed a case with the Administrative Court on Thursday demanding a ban on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter until they obtain official permission to operate in Egypt. The lawsuit also stipulated that all social media accounts that are unknown and use fake identities should be banned, and users should be obliged to register verifiable personal details when they sign up. Lawyer Mohamed Hamed Salim, who filed the case, claims that foreign intelligence services and terrorist organizations used social media websites before the January 25 revolution to cause chaos in the country and incite protests against the state. [Mada Masr, 8/28/2014]

Renowned human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam dies at 63
Acclaimed human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam died on Wednesday after slipping into a coma following open-heart surgery earlier this month, his family announced in a statement. Seif died in a Cairo hospital after spending nearly two weeks in an intensive care unit. He was one of Egypt’s leading rights campaigners, and was imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s for his activism against government policies. Many political groups expressed grief over Seif’s death, including the Dostour Party, the Karama Party, the Popular Socialist Alliance Party, the April 6 movement, and the Arab Organization for Human Rights. Egypt’s Interior Ministry has decided to allow jailed political activists Alaa Abdel Fattah and Sanaa Seif temporarily out of prison to attend their father’s funeral. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, The Guardian, Shorouk (Arabic), 8/27/2014]


UN Security Council calls for immediate ceasefire in Libya
Expressing its strong support for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the Security Council today called on all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire and an end to the fighting. Unanimously adopting resolution 2174 (2014) under the Charter’s Chapter VII, the fifteen-member body condemned the use of violence against civilians and civilian institutions, and called for accountability. Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations warned Wednesday of “full-blown civil war” if the chaos and division in the North African country continue. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the U.N. Security Council that he had always excluded civil war as a possibility, “but the situation has changed.” [Libya Herald, AP, allAfrica, UN Security Council, 8/27/2014]

OPEC oil output rises in August as Libyan recovery holds
OPEC’s oil production has risen in August from July, a Reuters survey found on Thursday, as a recovery in Libyan supply held up and Angola and Iran boosted supplies, outweighing a further decline in Iraq. The twelve-member OPEC pumps a third of the world’s oil. In August, the largest increase has come from Libya, where supply is up by 100,000 bpd. Still, a linear recovery looks unlikely, analysts say, due to continued conflict. [Reuters, 8/28/2014]

Rights groups urge Libya to protect journalists
Human rights organizations and The International Federation of Journalists have called on Libyan authorities to provide protection for Libyan journalists who have been the targeted by armed militias–including investigation into the brutal murder of Radwan Ghariani, the owner of a radio station in Tripoli. Threats against Libyan media outlets have been on the rise since Muammar Qaddafi’s regime was toppled in 2011. Extremist armed militias in the country have targeted journalists and shelled television stations they see as not serving their agendas and interests. [Al Arabiya, 8/28/2014


ISIS executes dozens of Syrian army soldiers
Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fighters have executed dozens of soldiers from the Syrian army they took hostage after capturing an air base in the northeast of the country. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the soldiers who were executed had been trying to escape from the airport when they were taken hostage by ISIS fighters. [Reuters, 8/28/2014]

Hollande says Assad is no anti-terrorism partner but a jihadist ally
French President Francois Hollande warned Thursday that Assad is not the West’s partner in the fight against terrorism but an ally of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). “Assad cannot be a partner in the fight against terrorism, he is the de facto ally of jihadists,” the president told a Paris gathering of ambassadors from around the world. His comments came after Assad’s regime said on Monday it was willing to work with the international community, including Washington, to tackle extremist fighters in the war-ravaged country. [AFP, 8/28/2014]

Assad appoints eleven new ministers
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad formed a new government on Wednesday, two months after his reelection, leaving key ministries untouched. The new cabinet includes eleven new ministers, but leaves Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and Defense Minister General Fahd al-Freij in their posts. The ministers of interior, justice, religious affairs, information and presidential affairs are also among those unaffected by the changes. [AFP, 8/28/2014]


Tunisia’s ISIE reveals final voter registration figures
Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) announced Wednesday that 993,696 Tunisians registered to vote during the 2014 registration period. This figure brings the total number of voters to 5,236,244. ISIE estimates the total number of Tunisians eligible to vote at more than 7.8 million. “ISIE considers [the number of this year’s registrations] acceptable, given the socio-economic, political, and security conditions in which registration took place,” an ISIE communiqué on its official Facebook page reads. Tunisia will host legislative elections on October 26. Presidential elections will take place on November 23. [Tunisia Live, 8/28/2014]

Tunisia improves security, but terrorist threat remains
The global index of security in Tunisia has returned to 2011 levels despite a continuing terrorist threat, the Tunisian government said Wednesday. A report jointly released by the Tunisian ministers of the interior, defense, and foreign affairs said 1360 arrests have been made in the fight against terrorism, among them 367 Tunisian jihadists returning from Syria. The Tunisian president at the end of a cabinet meeting Wednesday decided to put the border areas of Ras Jedir, Kasserine, Sidi Bouzid, Kef, and Jendouba under the joint command of army and security forces. [ANSAmed, 8/28/2014]

Head of Libya’s Constitutional Drafting Assembly takes interest in Tunisian experience
Head of Libya’s Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) Ali Abdessalem Tarhouni said he hoped his country would make the most of the Tunisian experience. Meeting Wednesday in Tunis with NCA President Mustapha Ben Jaafar, Tarhouni spoke about Tunisia’s drafting of its new constitution amid an intensive dialogue between political players and civil society and a quest for consensus. A working session previously gathered delegations of the NCA and Libya’s CDA. The Libyan side also briefed the NCA delegation about the content of the future constitution. [TAP, 8/27/2014]


Three al-Qaeda suspects die in clash with Yemen troops
Three al-Qaeda suspects were killed in a clash with troops on Wednesday in Hadramawt. The suspects attacked troops setting up a checkpoint and camp on the outskirts of Shibam, sparking a clash that left three al-Qaeda militants dead and two others wounded. Three soldiers were also hurt, while the remaining extremists fled. [AFP, 8/27/2014]

Cabinet approves annual bonuses for public employees
The cabinet approved the annual bonuses for civil servants, military, and security personnel due since 2012. The payments are set to become effective on Thursday. The cabinet’s decision was made in an attempt to ease the economic burden on public employees that resulted from recently cut fuel subsidies. It is part of broader financial reforms that include adding 250,000 beneficiaries to the Social Welfare Fund’s lists. [Yemen Times, 8/28/2014]

ALESCO says Illiteracy exceeds 8 million mark in Yemen
Dr. Yahya Al-Saidi, manager of the Education Administration at the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), says that there are 8.5 million male and female illiterates in Yemen, which accounts for almost a third of the country’s population of 26 million. [Yemen Times, 8/28/2014]


Australia demonstrate their willingness to fight ISIS
Tony Abbott has outlined the preconditions that will allow Australia to contribute to a US-led military operation in Iraq which include a clear and achievable goals and an overall humanitarian objective. The prime minister illustrated his support in joining the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) by saying that “no human being anywhere would wish to stand by and watch the preventable slaughter of innocent people.” Abbott told parliament on Thursday that Australia was yet to be officially asked for military assistance to attack ISIS. [The Guardian, 8/28/2014]

Saudi Arabia jails more men for militancy in security crackdown
A Saudi Arabian court sentenced twenty-three men to jail terms of up to twenty-two years for their role in militant attacks, state media said on Wednesday. Those jailed were convicted of crimes including breaking allegiance to the ruler, espousing a militant ideology, traveling to fight in foreign conflicts, and setting up cells to attack foreigners and manufacturing explosives. [Reuters, 8/28/2014]

Saudi delegation discusses Qatar issue in Doha and Manama
A high-level Saudi delegation, including Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, arrived in Doha on Wednesday and held discussions with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. According to the Qatar News Agency (QNA), the Saudi delegation and the Emir discussed relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and ways to develop them, in addition to other issues of mutual concern. Diplomats described the visit as a final effort to heal the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. [Asharq Al-Awsat, 8/28/2014]