Top News: Yemen’s Al-Qaeda Wing Seeks To Set Up Emirate in Hadhramawt
Yemen’s al-Qaeda wing has ordered men and women in Hadhramawt to obey its strict interpretation of Islamic law, saying it aimed to set up an emirate in the remote area. Al-Qaeda has been shifting its operations to Yemen’s eastern Hadhramawt province after the army, backed by US drones, helped drive it out of the south this year.


UN’s Ban and Kerry in Cairo to discuss Egypt’s Gaza initiative
US Secretary of State John Kerry began a diplomatic push in Cairo on Monday to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Following a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday, Kerry praised the Egyptian initiative, while in a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, he described it as the “framework” to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Kerry decided to extend his stay in Cairo for an additional day, opting to leave Wednesday. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also arrived in Cairo on Monday for talks with Sisi and other officials on the fighting in Gaza. The UN chief voiced support for the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire before he left Cairo on Tuesday. Assistant US Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet, meanwhile, also arrived in Cairo on Monday on a three-day visit to discuss issues of common interest with military officials, including Gaza. [AP, 7/22/2014]

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims responsibility for New Valley attack
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack on the al-Farafra checkpoint in New Valley that left 22 army personnel and border guards dead. The group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Twitter, MENA reported. The Twitter account has not been verified. The Ministry of Interior said that security forces have begun launching raids in response to the deadly attack in order to identify the perpetrators. On Monday, the US Statement Department released a statement condemning the killing of the Egyptian soldiers. It said that the US “continues to support the Egyptian Government’s efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in Egypt” as part of the strategic partnership between the two countries. [Egypt Independent, 7/22/2014]

Morsi supporters jailed for twenty-five years over ‘illegal protests’
A court in Minya has sentenced three supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to twenty-five years in prison for protesting without a permit. Another defendant was given a suspended one year sentence, while five others were acquitted. The defendants were also convicted of defying the constitution, obstructing state institutions, and rioting. [Ahram Online, 7/21/2014]

Egypt to pay off all arrears to foreign oil firms by 2017
The Egyptian government has reached an agreement with foreign oil firms to pay off all of its arrears by 2017 instead of its previous plan to pay EGP 21 billion ($3 billion) out of a total of EGP 42 billion ($6 billion) by that time. The ministry of petroleum plans to pay EGP 10.5 ($1.5 billion) by this September to companies including BG group and British Petroleum. [Ahram Online, 7/22/2014]


Several killed in clashes between army and militants in Libya’s Benghazi
Islamist militants attacked an army base in Benghazi on Monday, triggering fierce clashes involving helicopters and jets that killed at least seven people and wounded forty. Other reports put the death toll as high as sixteen. While Tripoli was calmer on Monday, after several days of armed struggle for control of the main airport, in Benghazi militants linked to the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia attacked an army camp and were repelled by troops and forces loyal to renegade retired general Khalifa Haftar, who has been carrying out a self-declared campaign against Islamist fighters. [Reuters, 7/21/2014]

Final results for House of Representative elections announced
The High National Elections Commission (HNEC) released the final results for the House of Representatives elections, revealing few changes to the preliminary results following two weeks for appeals. Only one winning candidate has been removed on the order of the commission that enforces the Political Isolation Law. HNEC announced that three winning candidates who had failed to hand over financial reports from their campaigns would have their cases referred to the attorney general. Twelve seats have been left vacant after boycotts and security concerns. HNEC has not said how it intends to fill those seats. [Libya Herald, 7/22/2014]

Zintan says airport attackers defeated; authorities put aircraft losses at $2 billion
Zintan forces claim they have beaten off the Misrata-led Operation Dawn force that tried to dislodge them from the Tripoli International Airport. In an undated and unsigned statement on defense ministry letterhead, the Zintan Revolutionaries’ Military Council declared their victory, calling the Operation Dawn attackers and their supporters “terrorists” who should be prosecuted. It also stated support for the new House of Representatives and called for a conference of all revolutionary groups in the country. Meanwhile, airport administrators put the cost of destruction of twenty-one aircraft over the last several days at $1.98 billion, though the statement is seen as unreliable and the figures do not include damage to the control tower and airport terminal. [Libya Herald, 7/21/2014]

Outgoing legislature plans emergency session on foreign intervention
Nuri Abu Sahmain, president of the outgoing General National Congress (GNC), plans to convene an emergency session to debate the Libyan government’s request for UN support in dealing with the country’s security situation. The issue of foreign intervention has become a point of contention between him and Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni. The government, however, has clarified that it only wants UN help in training the country’s defense and police forces so that they can protect important installations. Abu Sahmain’s emergency session is being viewed as an attack against al-Thinni’s government, especially given the GNC’s silence on the violence in Benghazi. Meanwhile, Abu Sahmain’s deputy is urging a speedy handover of power from the GNC to the new House of Representatives, which has planned an informal consultative meeting in Benghazi as early as Thursday. [Libya Herald, 7/22/2014]


ISIS selling captured Syrian oil to Iraqi businessmen
The jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, also known as IS) is selling oil and liquid gas products extracted from fields under its control in Syria to Iraqi businessmen across the border. “A considerable number of trucks with Iraqi number plates have in the past few days travelled to Deir Ezzor’s oil fields from Iraq, to fill up and transport oil towards western Iraq,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Monday. Each barrel of oil is sold to Iraqi businessmen for $20 to $40. ISIS also sells oil to Syrians living in areas under their control for $12 to $18 to draw the support of the local population. Oil sells at more than $100 per barrel on global markets. [AFP, 7/21/2014]

As battlefield shifts, regime and ISIS clashes increasing
The undeclared truce between the regime and ISIS seems to have run its course after both sides achieved all they could in their marriage of convenience. Nothing better illustrates this than the devastating assault launched by ISIS on the al-Shaer gas field in Homs on July 16 that may have left up to 300 regime troops and civilian employees dead. Meanwhile, the regime continues to launch airstrikes on ISIS headquarters and training camps in Raqqa. [Al Monitor, 7/21/2014]

Two Turkish soldiers, six Kurdish rebels killed in border clash
Two Turkish soldiers and at least six Kurdish rebels were killed in clashes in southeastern Turkey near the Syrian border, the Turkish military said Tuesday. The clashes erupted on Monday after a dozen Kurdish rebels—characterized as “illegal smugglers” by Turkish officials—attempting to cross from Turkey into Syria started firing at a patrol team in Turkey’s Sanliurfa province. [AFP, 7/22/2014]

United Nations in push to vaccinate 765,000 children against polio
The United Nations called for help Tuesday to vaccinate 765,000 Syrian toddlers against polio, in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the childhood killer across the restive Middle East. “Inside Syria, 765,000 children under the age of five live in hard-to-reach areas where conflict and restriction make it extremely difficult to reach them with humanitarian assistance including regular access to vaccines,” UN agencies said. [Naharnet, 7/22/2014]


Possible agreement on the extension of the deadline for voter registration
On July 22 a meeting will take place with the national dialogue and the president of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE), Chafik Sarsar. The meeting will focus on a possible extension of the deadline for voter registration, which is scheduled to pass at midnight today. Secretary General of Nidaa Tounes Taieb Baccouche assured that agreement, in principle, has been reached between the different parts of the national dialogue to extend the registration deadline. More than 495,000 new voters were registered as of midday Monday. The overall number of registered voters stands at 4,867,600. [Mosaique FM, TAP, 7/22/2014]

Tunisia hires Natixis and JP Morgan for seven-year USAID-backed bond
Tunisia has mandated JP Morgan and Natixis to manage a seven-year bond deal backed by the US Agency for International Development, according to a lead manager. Later in the day, the deal size was capped at $500 million. The deal is subject to market conditions, the lead said. Tunisia is rated Ba3, B, BB-, but the note is expected to have the ratings of the US government, at Aaa, AA+, AAA. [Reuters, 7/21/2014]

Ten people arrested for celebrating terrorist attack against Tunisian troops
Ten people tied to the Salafist movement have been arrested over the last twenty-four hours in Douar Hicher, Manouba, for having celebrating the recent terrorist attack that killed fifteen national army troops. They were arrested at the Ennour mosque in Douar Hicher and in homes in the area during operations conducted by National Guard units in Manouba. [TAP, 7/21/2014]


Yemen’s al-Qaeda wing seeks to set up emirate in Hadhramawt
Yemen’s al-Qaeda wing has ordered men and women in Hadhramawt to obey its strict interpretation of Islamic law, saying it aimed to set up an emirate in the remote area. Al-Qaeda has been shifting its operations to Yemen’s eastern Hadhramawt province after the army, backed by US drones, helped drive it out of the south this year. [Reuters, 7/22/2014]

Houthis flock to Jawf as government allocates 5 billion rials to rebuild Amran
In a meeting on Monday headed by Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa, the Yemeni government approved 5 billion rials to begin rebuilding Amran after Houthi rebels took over the city. In related news, Houthi rebels have gathered in Jawf province bordering Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the ceasefire agreement. Local sources reported that a presidential commission has entered into negotiations with Houthi rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi in the hopes of reaching an agreement to end the war. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 7/22/2014]

Na’aman: The path to reconciliation is by ensuring transitional justice
Communist party leader Yasseen Saeed Na’aman denied participating in a meeting between different political parties in Yemen on Monday. Local media sources announced that political parties met to discuss the national charter for political action and the political, economic, and security conditions in the country. In a public statement, Dr. Na’aman denied his involvement, stating that political national reconciliation cannot succeed before ensuring transitional justice. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 7/22/2014]

Saving Yemen
Salman al-Dossary writes in Asharq Al-Awsat that Gulf States have abandoned Yemen after the success of the Gulf Initiative, allowing the situation in Yemen to deteriorate and threaten to destabilize the region. Al-Dossary argues that it will be no surprise if Yemen becomes a failed state, and this is a prospect, which remains possible as long as the arena is left open to al-Qaeda on the one side and the Houthis on the other. [Asharq Al-Awsat, 7/22/2014]


Citizenship is revoked for five members of Kuwaiti opposition
Kuwait on Monday revoked the citizenship of the owner of a pro-opposition television station and a newspaper, along with five other people, in a clear move to crackdown on dissent.  The announcement came a week after the Kuwaiti government ordered a review of the citizenship of people who posed a threat to national security. The people affected will lose their rights to government jobs, benefits and voting. [AFP, NY Times, 7/22/2014]

Strong condemnation toward the persecution of Iraq Christians
Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s top Islamic body denounced Monday the persecution of Christians in northern Iraq, calling it an intolerable crime. The organization offered to help those displaced by a jihadist offensive and declared that the move is a clear indication of how ISIS’s practices have nothing to do with Islam and its principles. On its part, the UN Security Council has denounced ISIS persecution of Christians and other minorities in Iraq, warning such actions can be considered crimes against humanity. [AFP, 7/22/2014]

Arrest warrant issued for Saudi terror suspect
A military investigative judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday against a Saudi suspect, Fahed al-Qarni, on charges of belonging to a terrorist group and entering Lebanon with the aim of carrying out terrorist activities. The suspect was detained by intelligence forces in a security clampdown in Beirut’s neighborhood of al-Tariq al-Jadideh three weeks ago. [The Daily Star, 7/22/2014]