Top News: Western Powers Stress Need for ‘Political Solution’ in Libya; US Respects Egypt’s Decision to Defend Itself

Western powers stressed on Tuesday the need for a political solution to the crisis in Libya, apparently distancing themselves from calls by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for military intervention in the north African state.


Sisi visits Egypt’s western military zone headquarter to review Libyan border security
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has visited the western military zone headquarters on the Egypt-Libya border. Sisi, accompanied by Defense Minister Sedki Sobhy, met with military forces and tribal leaders to stress the importance of fighting “terrorist groups.” They highlighted the importance of tribes living near the border helping authorities in their fight against terrorists. Egyptian authorities have stepped up security measures on the western and south-western borders to prevent infiltration by militants who wish to retaliate after Monday’s air strikes in Libya. [Ahram Online, 2/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • HEC: 5,053 candidates registered for parliamentary elections nationwide | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Sisi likens his situation to De Gaulle in French radio interview | Egypt Independent
  • 382 candidates registered in Aswan and Qalyubiya ahead of March elections | Shorouk ( Arabic)


Egyptian prosecutor says deposed president Morsi not sent to military trial
An Egyptian prosecutor denied on Wednesday that deposed president Mohamed Morsi had been referred to a military court, after the state news agency initially reported that he had. Morsi, who has been incarcerated in jail, is facing trial in several cases in civilian courts. “When the public prosecutor referred the case to the military judiciary, the names of Morsi and [Muslim Brotherhood official Khairat] Shater were not among the defendants,” said Haitham Gamal, a prosecutor in Suez City where the case originated. [Reuters, 2/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court postpones decision on designating Hamas as terrorists | DNE
  • Al Jazeera producer hopes to be cleared in Egypt retrial | AP
  • Morsi prison break trial postponed to February 21 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Sixteen Brotherhood affiliates sentenced to five to fifteen years in Beheira | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Egyptian student given prison sentence for atheist Facebook posts | DNE


Egypt’s return to bond market risks ultra-tight pricing
Egypt’s return to the international debt market after a five-year gap is set to attract heavy demand – so heavy that the new bonds risk pricing at precariously high levels. The Egyptian government plans to issue a $1.5 billion eurobond in April to return regularly to international capital markets in coming years. The yield on the bond is at 4.47 percent, near a life low of 3.98 percent hit in December and down from a peak of 11.09 percent in June 2013. [Reuters, 2/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Half projects in Egypt March investment conference to be in energy sector | Aswat Masriya
  • Government to raise energy prices in July | Egypt Independent
  • Half the projects in Egypt’s upcoming investment conference to be in energy sector | Reuters


Pro-Morsi students stage fresh protests at universities
Students supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood staged protests on Tuesday at a number of universities, resuming a year-and-a-half-old wave of campus activism against the government that ousted the former leader. At al-Azhar University in Cairo, security entered the campus and managed to disperse protests by firework-wielding protesters shortly after, later combing the facility to prevent further demonstrations. In Mounifeya University, dozens of students protested the prosecution of their colleagues by military courts, chanting slogans against the university’s board. The Muslim Brotherhood’s official website also reported protests by group backers in Alexandria University which demanded retribution for deaths among Morsi supporters over the past two years, as well as the release of detainees.  [Egypt Independent, 2/17/2015]

Egypt to block websites linked to ‘terrorism’
Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab is forming a committee to study possible amendments to national security laws in order to remove websites linked to “terrorism,” cabinet spokesperson Hossam Kawish said. The committee’s recommendations will help courts to issue verdicts to remove any content on the Internet that is related to “terrorism,” Kawish explained. The committee is to be headed by Justice Minister Mahfouz Saber and to be made up of representatives from the ministries of interior, defense, military production, foreign affairs and communications. According to Kawish, it is not yet clear what criteria the committee will follow to determine whether or not a website’s content relates to “terrorism.” [Ahram Online, 2/17/2015]

Egypt confiscates revolution-time graffiti book for “instigating revolt”
Egypt’s customs services in Alexandria have seized 400 copies of Walls of Freedom, a book depicting Egypt’s street graffiti art in the context of the 2011 uprising,  for “instigating revolt,” says the finance ministry. The ministry’s undersecretary said the book contains elements that give “advice on confronting police and army forces” and is therefore a cause for concern. The books had arrived from Germany and were to be delivered to Dar al-Tanweer publishing house. [Egypt Independent, 2/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Education ministry says new curriculum will help combat terrorism | Egypt Independent
  • Thousands of Sufis celebrate Hussein’s birthday in Cairo | Egypt Independent, AP
  • Security objects to planned demonstration over Libya beheadings | Egypt Independent
  • Families of victims satisfied amid activists’ criticism | DNE
  • Fierce crackdown on dissent no laughing matter in Egypt | Reuters
  • Cabinet approved EGP 100,000 compensation for Air Defense Stadium victims | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Saudi firm to renovate Azhar mosque | Egypt Independent


One civilian killed, two conscripts injured in Sinai
Two conscripts were injured when unidentified armed men opened fire on a security camp and checkpoint in Rafah Tuesday. A North Sinai citizen was also killed late Tuesday in a mortar attack on his house in Rafah, a police source said. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Aswat Masriya that the source of the mortar shell remains unknown. Meanwhile, a civilian road sweeper was killed in an explosion in the vicinity of the October 6 Police Station in Giza on Wednesday. Preliminary investigations reveal the victim was collecting garbage from the street when he found an odd device. When he tried to examine the device, it exploded, fatally injuring him. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 2/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Three Brotherhood members arrested in Alexandria | EGYNews (Arabic)


Western powers stress need for ‘political solution’ in Libya; US respects Egypt’s decision to defend itself
Western powers stressed on Tuesday the need for a political solution to the crisis in Libya, apparently distancing themselves from calls by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for military intervention in the north African state. The “brutal” recent beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Christians by militants affiliated to the Islamic State group demonstrated “once again the urgent need for a political solution to the conflict,” a statement issued in the name of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said. The United States Department of State, meanwhile, stressed late Tuesday that it respects countries’ desire to defend themselves, commenting on airstrikes carried out by the Egyptian air force targeting militants in Libya. “We certainly respect the right of countries to make their own decisions about their own self-defense and defense of their own country,” said US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki in a press briefing on Tuesday. She, however, stressed the need for a UN-led political solution as the best way out of the crisis in Libya. The Tunisian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said it “understood” Egypt’s request to the UN for military action in Libya, saying it would respond to proposed UN resolutions in this regard if and when they were tabled. Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has discussed with a number of fellow diplomats in New York the possibility of lifting an ongoing arms embargo on the Libyan government. [AFP, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya. DNE, 2/18/2015]

Sources say at least twenty-six more Egyptians held in Libya by ISIS
Relatives of another group of Egyptians allegedly kidnapped by the Islamic State in Libya has told an Egyptian news site, Masrawy, that at least twenty-six Egyptians are now being held by the militant group. Libya Herald, however, earlier reported on Monday that as many as thirty-five Egyptians had been kidnapped in the incident. Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said Monday that procedures are ongoing to ensure and facilitate the repatriation of Egyptians wishing to return home from Libya. The efforts come despite previous reports suggesting that Egyptians in Libya would prefer to stay. Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II has also called on Egyptians to listen to the state warnings and not to travel to Libya. [Egypt Independent, DNE, 2/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptians in Libya: A timeline | Mada Masr
  • Release of detained twenty-one Egyptian fishermen delayed until Wednesday | Egypt Independent
  • Copt says he escaped ISIS massacre | Egypt Independent
  • Number of Egyptians beheaded in Libya stands at twenty | DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • US ambassador to Libya: Unite against Libyan enemies  | Egypt Independent
  • Libyan plane returns to Tripoli after Egypt closes airspace | Reuters
  • Egypt denies imposing overfly ban for Libyan flights | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s locally praised airstrikes condemned by opposition | DNE
  • Qatari FM talks Egypt and the Middle East | Egypt Independent
  • Libyan website: Jihadist in Egyptians’ beheading video is half-British  | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt to attend meeting of Nile Basin countries in Khartoum on Saturday | Egypt Independent
  • Saudi Arabia detains thirty-five Egyptian fishermen for entering territorial waters without permission | Egypt Independent
  • Shoukry: Egypt recognizes only Tobruk government | SIS
  • US Congress delegation discusses Egypt’s human rights with activists| AMAY (Arabic)
  • Egyptian fishermen to be deported in hours: Libyan official | Ahram Online