The United States will continue to seek out an international coalition to act together on Syria, despite a vote against military action by British MPs, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday. He added that Washington respected the British parliament’s stance rejecting participation in any punitive strikes against the Syrian regime and that it would continue consulting with Britain.


Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya member details reconciliation initiative
Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya leader Aboud al-Zomor stated on Thursday that the group is working on a reconciliation initiative to put an end to the political crisis and stop acts of violence and bloodshed, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. According to the Islamist figure, all sit-ins and protests in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi need to be peaceful and attacks on public facilities need to end, while the media campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood must also cease, the privately owned publication reported. [Mada Masr, 8/30/2013]

Egypt detains four Al-Jazeera English journalists in Cairo
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera English network says four of its journalists have been arrested by Egyptian authorities after they covered events in Cairo. Al-Jazeera English says correspondent Wayne Hay, cameraman Adil Bradlow and producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohamed were detained on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information released a statement condemning the closure of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr in Egypt, saying that any bias on the part of Al Jazeera toward the Muslim Brotherhood did not justify the decision. [AP, AMAY (Arabic), 8/29/2013]

Egypt government adds EGP 22.353 billion to investment budget as an urgent measure
The newly approved economic program will target an economic growth rate up to 3.5 percent from the 2.2 percent seen during the 2012/2013 fiscal year. Ashraf al-Araby, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation said that EGP 22.353 billion have been added to the investment plan budget as an urgent measure. The priority will be projects that have a positive impact on citizens and industries that encourage local production, he said. [Egypt Independent, 8/29/2013]

US envoy in Egypt blasts state newspaper Al-Ahram
The United States’ ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, has sent a strongly-worded letter to the editor of Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram criticizing a front page article that suggested Patterson was engaging in conspiracies with the Muslim Brotherhood. Editor-in-chief Abdel Nasser Salama, who wrote the article published on Tuesday, accused Patterson in the article of conspiring with leading Brotherhood figure Khairat al-Shater to “spread chaos” in Egypt through smuggling fighters from Gaza to “hit the country’s stability.” In her letter, Patterson attacked Al-Ahram for spreading what she said was false and misleading information. [Ahram Online, 8/30/2013]


September trial for Saif and Senussi
Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, one of the former dictator’s sons, and his spy chief Abdullah Senussi are among thirty former regime officials who will stand trial in September, according to Libya’s attorney general. Both are facing charges of committing crimes against humanity, and war crimes during the 2011 revolution. [Libya Herald, 8/30/2013]

Zidan: 50,000 needed in intelligence agency
Prime Minister Ali Zidan said that he expects up to 50,000 people will be needed in the new intelligence gathering agency. Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, Zidan said that his government had started rebuilding the army and the police and that the government needed the people’s help. [Libya Herald, 8/29/2013]

Libyan prosecutor probing Qaddafi-era officials killed
A blast on Thursday killed a Libyan military prosecutor in the eastern city of Benghazi who was in charge of cases involving Qaddafi-era regime officials. Yussef Ali al-Asseifar died when a bomb placed under his car exploded. [AFP, 8/30/2013]

Libyan rights organization objects to US attack on Syria
A Libyan rights organization has strongly objected to any attack against Syria by western powers on mere allegations of chemical weapons use. The Liberties Group for Development and Human Rights (LGDHR) called on the United States and Britain “not to slide and rush into a decision that may lead to declaring war on Syria outside of international legitimacy.” [Tripoli Post, 8/30/2013]


France says ready to punish Syria despite British no vote
France said on Friday it still backed action to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for an apparent poison gas attack on civilians, despite a British parliamentary vote against it. An aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a close Assad ally, seized on the British no vote as evidence that “people are beginning to understand” the dangers of military action. [Reuters, 8/30/2013]

UN wrapping up Syria chemical inspection early
UN weapons inspectors headed out for one final day of investigations after a delayed start this morning, as the United States signaled it is ready to launch a military campaign against the Syrian regime on its own. The UN team was seen leaving their Damascus hotel this morning, only to turn back moments later. [ABC News, 8/30/2013]

Hagel: US still seeks international coalition on Friday
The United States will continue to seek out an international coalition to act together on Syria, despite a vote against military action by British MPs, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday. He added that Washington respected the British parliament’s stance rejecting participation in any punitive strikes against the Syrian regime and that it would continue consulting with Britain. [Al Arabiya, 8/30/2013]

Clashes in Damascus suburb
Fierce fighting raged Friday in a town near the Syrian capital that a UN team visited this week to probe deadly gas attacks that allegedly took place there. According to the Observatory, the town was hit by more than ten air raids and hundreds of missiles and rockets on the day of the alleged gas attack.[Naharnet, 8/30/2013]


Tunisia to set up buffer zones along Libya, Algeria borders
Tunisia will set up buffer zones in the south of the country along the borders with Libya and Algeria to fight against “terrorism,” Defense Minister Rachid Sabbagh said Thursday. He did not give specific details of where the zones will be set up, but stressed that travellers to those areas will need special permits from the authorities. [Al Arabiya, 8/29/2013]

Tunisia ruling coalition in crisis talks with mediators
Tunisia’s ruling coalition on Friday met mediators working to end a political crisis sparked by the assassination of an opposition member of parliament, ahead of planned anti-government protests. The mediators have been shuttling between the ruling Islamists and the opposition in a bid to end the political turmoil caused by the killing of opposition MP Mohammad Brahmi on July 25, an attack blamed on hardline Salafists. [Al Arabiya, 8/30/2013]

Removed members raise tone and set an ultimatum
Party members of the Movement of the People party led by opposition MP Mohammad Brahmi, who was assassinated on July 25, gathered at party headquarters to explain the “Irhal” movement. They said they were united and determined as ever. [L’economiste Maghrebin, 8/30/2013]

Essebsi: elections by the end of the year not possible
Leader of Nidaa Tounes Beji Caid Essebsi said in an interview that the presidency is without power and that the elections announced by Prime Minister Ali Larayedh will not happen. He argued that the organization of transparent elections conforming with international norms would not be possible before April 2014. [Tunisia Daily (French), 8/30/2013]


Al-Qaeda leader al-Dhahab and companions killed in airstrike in al-Bayda
The tribal leader, who is thought to the a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed, along with five of his companions, in a targeted airstrike in al-Bayda province early Friday morning, according to a security official. The official said the strike targeted a car in which al-Dhahab was travelling. [Al Masdar, (Arabic) 8/30/2013]

Intelligence officer gunned down in Taiz
An intelligence officer was assassinated early today after unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire on his car in a central city of Taiz province, a security source told the Yemen Observer. Dr. Mansour al-Wasea was the director of personnel and officers’ affairs in the Political Security Bureau and associate dean of the college of law at the University of Taiz. [Yemen Observer, 8/29/2013]

Conciliation Commission recognizes Islam as the source of all legislation and Yemen as a federal presidential system
Sources within the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) have said that the Conciliation Commission agreed in a meeting yesterday, chaired by President Hadi, that Islam is the state religion and source of all legislation and Yemen is a federal state of several regions with a presidential system. The decision was almost unanimous, with the exception of the representative from the Houthi Southern Movement. [Al Tagheer, (Arabic) 8/29/2013]

Subcommittee of transitional justice team objects to a reparation fund
Members of the NDC’s Transitional Justice Working Group subcommittee met Thursday to discuss the possibility of establishing a reparation fund. There were a number of committee members opposed to the fund’s establishment, based on the argument that it did not fall under the committee’s scope of work. [NDC, (Arabic) 8/29/2013]


Syrian officer, four others charged in north Lebanon blasts
Lebanon charged five people Friday, including one Syrian intelligence officer and two sheikhs, over the twin Tripoli bombings that killed forty-seven people last week. Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr filed charges against Sheikh Ahmad Gharib and Sheikh Hashem Minqara as well as informant Mustafa Houri. [Daily Star, 8/30/2013]

Car bomb wounds four Bahrain police
A car bomb attack wounded four Bahraini policemen in a Shiite Muslim village near the capital Manama, the authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom said on Friday. Bahrain has been rocked by sporadic violence since its security forces crushed a month of massive Arab Spring-inspired democracy protests by its Shiites in 2011. [Naharnet, 8/30/2013]

Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for Iraq bombings
The Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Friday for bombings earlier this week that killed at least eighty-two people, mostly in Shiite areas of the capital, calling them retaliation for the execution of Sunni prisoners by the Shiite-led government. Wednesday’s attacks involved car bombs and other explosives that mainly targeted parking lots, outdoor markets and restaurants in Shiite districts in Baghdad during the morning rush hour. [Al Arabiya, 8/30/2013]