Egypt Media Roundup – Aug 19, 2014

08/19/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) proposed legislative amendments to the Supreme Legislative Reform Committee on Monday, August 18. The recommendations included proposals addressing the protest law and articles on terrorism in the penal code, as well as a proposal for drafting an anti-discrimination law. Two of the NCHR’s recommendations for amending the protest law have been implemented, while 12 others still need to be addressed. [Ahram OnlineRead More…

Economy

Head of the Suez Canal Authority, Mohab Memish, announced that Bahrain-registered engineering firm Dar al-Handasah Shair and Partners won the bid for the new Suez Canal project. The firm will work in alliance with Dar al-Handasah Egypt, which the Egyptian army is a local partner in. Egypt invited consortia to bid for the 76,000km project in January and among the 13 finalists, Dar al-Handasah received an 86% assessment. The firm employs 6,900 staff in 45 offices across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Some of its landmark projects include Cairo International Airport’s Terminal 3 and the King Abdullah Financial District in Saudi Arabia. Once the plan for the project is approved, different projects will also be offered to Egyptian and foreign investors through public biddings. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Daily News Egypt, Mada MasrRead More…

Rights & Freedoms

The family of activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah has released a statement on the facebook group “Free Alaa,” indicating that Abdel-Fattah began a hunger strike on August 18 in protest of his dentition. The statement adds that during a court-sanctioned visit, the sight of his unconscious and ailing father in the ICU left Abdel-Fattah distraught. His father’s condition, the detention of his sister Sana, and his continued targeting by the Egyptian government prompted his decision to not comply with the “country’s broken justice system, even if it costs him his life.” Abdel-Fattah indicated that he will maintain his hunger strike until he is released.  [Facebook, Ahram OnlineRead More…

Security Sector

The militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes uploaded a nine and a half minute video threatening Egyptian armed forces through Abu Qattada al-Ansary’s YouTube channel. The video, titled “Oh, Soldier,” features the voice of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Rabish, who opens by admonishing Egyptian soldiers, saying, “If you know your crimes, that’s a catastrophe. If you don’t know them, that’s a bigger catastrophe.” Rabish warns that soldiers have joined “the ranks of the enemies of God ” and the mujahideen will kill any enemy of God, regardless of race. The video closes by showing footage of a masked man shooting four alleged soldiers at a checkpoint and then footage of the explosion at a military checkpoint in Farafra that killed 21 soldiers. The video ends with the line “Damn you soldier, what can Sisi do without you?” [Mada MasrRead More…

Foreign Relations

According to US State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf, President Sisi is continuing the needed “democratic transition” in Egypt. Harf also noted that Egypt still has a “long way to go” in its transition, making reference to the portion of US aid to Egypt which has yet to be certified by the Secretary of State. Harf restated the vital relationship shared by Egypt and the US, saying that the two countries will work cooperatively on its “overlapping strategic interests.” Harf called the role of Egypt in the Gaza ceasefire talks “critical,” pointing to the recent extension of the ceasefire following intensive meetings in Cairo. Additionally, Harf acknowledged the existence of a real terrorist threat in Egypt, one she said was being addressed by both countries. However, Harf underlined the US position that Egypt cannot use the term “terrorist” to describe any group “they don’t like.” She stated that Egypt cannot describe “peaceful protestors” as terrorists, or use that as justification for force. [State Department , Ahram Online, Daily News Egypt] Read More…

 

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 Police officer shot unarmed lawyer in prison cell, sentenced to 15 years 

Daily News Egypt: Police officer sentenced to 15 years for shooting unarmed lawyer in prison

Daily Star: Egypt policeman sentenced to 15 years for killing detainee

In this article: Police officer Ahmed el-Tayyeb was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the shooting of lawyer Mohamed Khalil in his prison cell at Imbaba Police Station in April 2013. After the officer approached him, the two men began to argue and suddenly Officer el-Tayyeb shot Khalil “three times in the chest, abdomen, and back.” The two men knew each other from several encounters since the January 25, 2011 revolution.

 Egypt demarcates borders for the creation of three new governorates 

Ahram Online: Egypt to create 3 new governorates

Aswat Masriya: Sisi discusses governorates’ border demarcation

In this article: President Sisi held a meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, Local Development Minister Adel Labib, and several governors in order to “discuss the new border demarcation plan.” Three new governorates will be added to the Egyptian state including Central Sinai, Al-Alamein, and Al-Wahat, raising the total number of governorates to 30. Some governorates will have to be demarcated in order to carve out new ones, while Upper Egypt is expected to stay unchanged. The project is a intended to spearhead development in Egypt and presidential spokesperson Ihab Badawi says that social demands from Nubians have been taken into consideration.

 Protesters detained for Raba’a and Nahda one-year anniversary protests 

Daily News Egypt: Rabaa 1-year anniversary sees increasing detentions

In this article: On Monday, August 18, 2014, the Abdeen Misdemeanor Court rejected an issued appeal of three protesters by the names of Mustafa Kamel, Mohamed Attia, and Karim Abd al-Haq. The three were arrested on the one-year anniversary of Raba’a al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-in protests for protesting police brutality and dispersals on August 14, 2014. Lawyer for the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), Ahmed Osman, also reported that four student protesters, including three men and one woman, were arrested at a café in downtown Cairo for protesting for the one-year anniversary of Raba’a and Nahda police dispersals with banners that read “Morsi is not coming back” and “Sisi is a killer.” The small protest of four people did not incite immediate arrest from police officers who arrested the students at an unrelated event.

Rights & Freedoms

 Egyptian court system claimed to be unfairly used and unreliable 

Huffington Post: The Anatomy of an Unfair trial

In this article: Amal Alamuddin lawyer of Mohamed Fahmy, one of three Al-Jazeera journalists detained wrote a review tackling “state repression” in Egypt and how it can be worse than anarchical chaos, because it “makes a mockery of the rule of law.” Throughout her deep study of the case at hand, Alamuddin concluded that the state betrayed Egypt’s constitution which guarantees “freedom of speech” and the “right to be presumed innocent.” The case resulted in a seven year sentence of each of the three journalists under the presentation of invalid evidence and a “fabricated” storyline. Alamuddin provides a list of “ingredients” the government uses to present trials as fair and equitable, and mentions that the court case itself was least interested in the individual’s reprimanded, but focused on the potential of Egypt’s “reputation” being tarnished, and the biased reports submitted by Al Jazeera during the June 30 revolution.

Economy

 Arab Contractors company to participate in construction of new Suez Canal 

Daily News Egypt: Arab Contractors to significantly expand Egyptian and Saudi operations: Chairman

In this article: During an interview with Al-Borsa, the Arab Contractors company confirmed its plans to expand its operations in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Arab Contractors will be participating in a coalition with Orascom Construction Industries to build the new Suez Canal, under the supervision of the Egyptian Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority. The coalition will begin by constructing six tunnels under the already existing Suez Canal. During the interview, the Arab Contractors company chairman also discussed other projects the organization has planned in Egypt, including the construction of low-income housing units, a land bridge between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, several hospitals, and completion of the Suez electric power station.

Security Sector

 Homemade bomb explodes in Maghagha 

Ahram Online: Handmade bomb goes off in Upper Egypt’s Maghagha; no injuries

In this article: A homemade explosive device detonated in a park near two schools in Minya’s Maghagha. The explosion did not lead to any casualties and experts began an inspection of the area, searching for other explosive devices.

 Army kills 2 suspected militants, arrests 7 

Ahram Online: Egypt army kills 2 militants in North Sinai

Aswat Masriya: Army kills two extremists in Sinai

In these articles: The Egyptian armed forces conducted raids on “terrorist hideouts” in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, killing two suspected militants and arresting seven others. Several hideouts and two tunnels connecting North Sinai to Gaza were also destroyed.

Foreign Relations

 Egypt is an “interested party that also mediates” in the Gaza war 

Foreign Policy: How Egypt Prolonged the Gaza War [Op-ed]

In this article: According to Michele Dunne and Nathan Brown, Egypt’s internal political situation is complicating the Gaza ceasefire talks. From their perspective, Egypt’s shift from “mediator with interests, to interested party that also mediates” has extended the Gaza war, while also increasing the level of violence. Their article argues that Egypt’s involvement in the Gaza war has also developed a peace process which “follows the priorities of Hamas.” Dunne and Brown conclude that the Egyptian government is “not against forging alliances with violent Islamists,” as long as it furthers their feud against “those allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

 Talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to commence about dam 

Ahram Online: Egypt says it has new ‘vision’ for Ethiopia’s dam

In this article: Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hossam el-Moghazi issued a meeting on August 24, 2014, in Khartoum with Ethiopian and Sudanese delegations to discuss El-Moghazi’s newly proclaimed “vision” about Ethiopia’s planned construction of a Grand Renaissance Dam. Although Ethiopia has been reassuring the Egyptian government that the dam will not restrict Egypt’s water supply, “the project has been a source of concern” since May 2013. Talks will center around seven main topics including potential future investments and cooperation between the countries to tackle the “growing demand for water.”

 Gaza talks shaky, Israel withdraws delegation from Cairo 

Ahram Online: Cairo Talks on Gaza might collapse: Islamic Jihad

Daily News Egypt: Update: Gaza ceasefire, talks collapse

In this article: On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed an early end to the 24-hour negotiated ceasefire after unexpected rockets came from Gaza, according to IDF spokesman Peter Lerner. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “recalled” the Israeli delegation from Cairo, following the “collapsed” agreement. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon stated on Monday that Operation Protective Edge will continue until “we bring quiet and security.” Israeli efforts at negotiating have been highly criticized by leaders and spectators of the violence including Khaled al-Batsh, senior leader of Islamic Jihad, who said that a permanent ceasefire was not agreed upon on Monday because Israel “regularly presented obstacles.” Al-Batsh said that the Palestinian delegation is willing to sign a deal that meets “the expectations and pain of the Palestinians.”