Escalation Prior to Mass Demonstrations | Potential IMF Loan Delayed

Tensions rose as anticipated mass demonstrations called for by both Defense Minister el-Sisi and leading pro-Morsi figures drew one day closer. Continuing his prior calls for Egyptians to reject the coup against former President Morsi, Mohamed Badie raised the rhetorical stakes by comparing the ouster of Morsi to the destruction of the Kabaa, the sacred building in Mecca towards which Muslims face when conducting prayers.

The IMF announced a delay in providing much-needed financial support for Egypt’s economy in the form of an IMF loan. William Murray, deputy IMF spokesman, noted that negotiations for the loan, which predate the ouster of Morsi, could not resume until the international community decided on recognizing the new government. For their part, Egyptian authorities have appeared to be in no rush to seek the IMF loan, as substantial loans and donations from Gulf countries have temporarily bolstered the country’s finances.

Border guards in Salloum, along Egypt’s western border with Libya, confiscated sacks containing 10 machine guns and ammunition. The potential for weapons to flow into Egypt from Libya has been a cause for concern since the downfall of Libya’s former leader Muammar Qaddafi, and various attempts to smuggle weapons across the board have been derailed before.

Human Rights Watch urged the Egyptian authorities to halt the detention and threatened deportation of Syrian refugees arriving in Egypt. The Morsi government had been open about its support of the fight against Bashar al-Assad, and refugees welcomed into the country during Morsi’s year in power have become targets of threats broadcast on multiple TV channels. These threats are based on the idea that the Syrian refugees were acting in support of pro-Morsi demonstrations.

In North Sinai’s Sheikh Zuwaid, gunmen wounded three conscripts at a security checkpoint. A shooting at a power plant and an attack on an Army tank with a rocket-propelled grenade was also reported.