The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen has voiced concern over the deteriorating situation in Amran province due to clashes between Houthi militants and armed tribesmen. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in recent months by the conflict and tensions have risen in recent days due to clashes between Houthis and the military. The coordinator called for all parties in the province and surrounding areas to deescalate the conflict and to allow access to humanitarian workers. [Saba News, 4/10/2014]


Governor forced to resign after endorsing Sisi’s presidential bid
The New Valley governor, Mahmoud Khalifa, resigned from his position on Thursday after publicly supporting Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s presidential campaign. Khalifa filed a recommendation form supporting Sisi’s presidential candidacy, defying governmental instructions to officials to remain neutral in the presidential elections set for May. Accepting the resignation, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said, “The government should insist on its commitment to complete neutrality and on proving this neutrality to the whole world, in order to have fair and free elections.” The campaign of presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi praised the decision, saying it is evidence of the government’s desire to remain neutral in the electoral process. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 4/11/2014]

Two explosions in October 6 City
A second explosion has hit Hossary Square in October 6 City, west of Cairo, less than three hours after a first bomb exploded in the busy area and left a police officer with minor injuries. No one was injured in the second blast. Security forces closed the street where the bombs detonated and cleared the area in fear of a third attack. The first bomb was planted  by an unknown assailant Thursday evening under a Giza traffic officer’s car in Hossary Square in October 6 city, an interior ministry spokesperson said. [Ahram Online, 4/10/2014]

Egypt cabinet approves draft law barring challenges to contracts
Egypt’s cabinet approved a draft investment law on Thursday that prevents third parties from challenging contracts made between the government and an investor, two government officials said, a move that could boost the struggling economy. Since the 2011 revolt, Egyptian courts have issued at least eleven rulings ordering the state to reverse deals signed by the former president’s administration. The lawsuits have been brought by activists and lawyers who allege that companies were sold off too cheaply in deals that were representative of corrupt business practices during the Mubarak era. [Reuters, 4/10/2014]

EU to monitor Egypt upcoming presidential vote
European Union observers will monitor Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections under an agreement concluded Thursday between visiting EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, a joint statement said. The statement added that Ashton welcomed the expected signing of the necessary agreements with the country’s electoral committee and foreign ministry “allowing the unobstructed movement of EU observers throughout the country and access to all legal political parties…” [Ahram Online, 4/11/2014]


Libya restricts border crossing from Egypt
Libyan authorities only allowed the entry of food trucks from Egypt through the Salloum international border on Tuesday. The authorities prevented the entry of any other goods into Libya for security reasons. The decision to only allow food is due to the recurring security disruptions inside the country. Recently, many Egyptian drivers and trucks have been captured by gunmen inside Libya and unidentified assailants have killed around 10 Egyptian workers in Benghazi during the past few months. [All Africa, 4/9/2014]

City security cameras are thirty percent installed
Interior Minister Saleh Mazig revealed that approximately thirty percent of CCTV security cameras have been installed in Libya’s major cities. The CCTV cameras are important to the government’s efforts to regain control of security in the country. The cameras, however, have become very controversial, in particular in Benghazi. Residents have been critical of the slow rate at which the government has moved to install the cameras. [Libya Herald, 4/10/2014]

Libya’s coast guard detains 400 immigrants
Libya’s coast guard has detained more than 400 immigrants, mostly from the Horn of Africa, in its waters on Wednesday and Thursday. The immigrants try to pass through Libya’s waters in small boats en route to Europe. The coast guard fired several warning shots and rescued seventy-eight people from a sinking ship. [Reuters, 4/10/2014]


Al-Nusra, Allies Repel ISIS attack on Syria’s al-Bukamal as Death Toll Hits 86
On Friday, al-Nusra Front and its allies have repulsed an assault by jihadist rivals on a town on the Iraqi border in fighting that killed eighty-six people. Sixty of the dead were al-Nusra fighters or its allies killed while pushing back the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rivals from districts of al-Bukamal they had captured early Thursday. ISIS withdrew to the T2 oil site after executing seven fighters of a rival Islamist brigade. The clashes have prompted soldiers on the Iraqi side of the border to reinforce their positions. The border crossing itself on Syria’s side remains in the hands of the mainstream rebel Free Syrian Army. Al-Bukamal has been under the control of fighters opposed to the Damascus regime since November 2012, but al-Nusra and its allies forced out former ISIS allies in heavy fighting in late February. [Naharnet, McClatchy, 4/11/2014]

Ship ready to destroy Syria’s chemical arms at sea
Experts on board a cargo ship transformed into a multi-million dollar chemical weapons destroyer said on Thursday they were ready to start working on Syria’s stock of toxic arms in the middle of the Mediterranean as early as May. Now they just have to hope the weather holds and Damascus delivers on time. Former container vessel Cape Ray, docked in southern Spain, has been fitted out with at least $10 million of gear to let it take on about 600 tons of Syria’s most dangerous chemical agents. The Damascus government agreed to hand over its stockpile, which include precursors for deadly nerve agents sulfur, mustard, and sarin gas, under an international deal backed by Washington and Moscow. [Reuters, AFP, WSJ, 4/11/2014]

Warily, Jordan Assists Rebels in Syrian War
During more than three years of civil war in Syria, Jordan has come to the world’s attention largely because it has struggled to shelter hundreds of thousands of refugees. But, quietly, Jordan has also provided a staging ground for rebels and their foreign backers on Syria’s southern front. In the joint Arab-American operations room in Amman, rebels say they have collected salaries as an incentive not to join better-funded extremist groups. But this covert aid has been so limited, reflecting the Obama administration’s reluctance to get drawn into another Middle Eastern conflict, that rebels have come to doubt that the United States still shares their goal of toppling President Bashar al-Assad. “It has been essentially a check-the-box exercise that has not been large enough to make a difference on the ground or to prevent the exodus of Syrian men to jihadist groups that have food, money, ammunition and can take care of their people,” said Frederic C. Hof, a former State Department official who is now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington. [NYT, 4/11/2014]


Clashes in Rouhia injure six security officers
Six security officers were injured in Rouhia during the second day of clashes between protesters and security officials. The protests are in response to the arrest of sixteen jihadists. Among the sixteen are Tunisians who returned from fighting in Syria in Iraq. These arrests are the latest in the government’s campaign against Ansar al-Sharia, an al-Qaeda affiliate. [Tunisia Live, 4/10/2014]

Fight against smuggling focus of cabinet meeting
The national strategy on smuggling, along with the upcoming tourist season, was the focus of a cabinet meeting on Thursday. The strategy includes field interventions, surveillance, and raising awareness on the seriousness of the phenomenon and its economic repercussions. A commission, to be overseen by the prime minister, has been established in order to monitor the implementation of the strategy. [TAP, 4/10/2014]

Agricultural investments remain below required level
The agricultural investments in Tunisia remain below the level required ranging, between eight and ten percent of all the investments in the last decade. The financial resources were oriented towards other sectors such as tourism, industry and services, Head of the Minister’s office at the Ministry of Agriculture Abdallah Chrid said Thursday in Tunis. There are now a number of incentives in place to increase for national and international investment in the agriculture sector. [TAP, 4/10/2014]


Cabinet approves of abolishing verdicts against Southern leaders
The cabinet approved a draft law that would abolish all verdicts levied against Southerners for charges related to the 1994 civil war. The law explicitly paves the way for leaders living in exile to return home as well. Finally the draft law forms a committee to address “material and moral rights and issues” stemming from this law. The law will now be sent to the House of Representatives for final approval. [Aden Post (Arabic), 4/11/2014]

Yemen launches anti-corruption campaign
Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights has kicked off a campaign to raise awareness about the impact of corruption on Yemen’s future, security, and economy. The campaign, which began in Sana’a and will be rolled out in cities across the country this year, describes the fight against corruption as a patriotic and religious duty. It includes billboards warning of the dangers of corruption and the need to combat it. [Al-Shorfa, 4/10/2014]

IED detonated near crowded market in Lahj
Local officials reported that a roadside bomb seriously wounded six civilians on Thursday when it was detonated near a crowded market in the southern Lahj province. Though no group has claimed responsibility and security officials are waiting for more evidence before making a press statement, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is believed to be behind the attack. [Yemen Post, 4/10/2014]


Algeria presidential race has one woman that ‘won’t hold back’
Louisa Hanoune, the only woman running for Algeria’s presidency, is a leftist candidate, widely popular in Algeria, even among conservatives hostile to feminism. Hanoune, head of the Worker’s Party, has been a member of parliament since 1997. Algeria needs the “audacity to tax the wealthy… to suspend the Association Agreement with the European Union and accession to the World Trade Organization, and to withdraw from the Arab Free Trade Area,” she says. Her targets are multinational companies and “foreign hands” which she accuses of slipping into civilian clothing and trying to drag the country into new violence. A nationalist and a communist, Hanoune is often described as “Algeria’s Chavez.” [The Daily Star, 4/10/2014]

Security forces and tribesmen clash in Ramadi; shooting and bombings in Sadr City
At least fifty members of the Iraqi armed forces and seven fighters have been killed in clashes in Anbar’s capital city of Ramadi. The latest wave of violence comes in the run-up to a parliamentary vote scheduled at the end of the month. A car bomb also exploded near a petrol station in the Ameen area of east Baghdad, killing at least seven people and wounding thirty-five, officials said. Another car bomb exploded in an area of shops in the capital’s northern Shiite-majority Sadr City district, killing at least six people and wounding eighteen. At least 290 people have been killed across the country this month alone, according to security and medical sources. [Al-Jazeera, AFP, 4/11/2014]

Kuwait says end to Gulf row over Qatar soon
Kuwait expects to see “positive steps” taken in a dispute between Qatar and three other Gulf Arab states as soon as this week, a Kuwaiti official said on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain last month took the unprecedented step of recalling their ambassadors from Qatar in protest at what they see as Doha’s political meddling and giving support to Islamist groups. GCC member Kuwait, which offered to mediate in the dispute, is planning to present a solution to the two sides soon. [Gulf News, 4/10/2014]

Bahrain blogger sentenced for insulting the king
Reporters Without Borders said a Bahraini court has sentenced a blogger to a thirty-month jail sentence for “insulting the king” and “improper handling of information technology.” The blogger in question, Ali Maaraj had posted articles critical of Bahrain’s monarchy and reported information about anti-government demonstrations. No defense witnesses were allowed to testify at Maaraj’s trial. [Reporters Without Borders, 4/11/2014[