Egypt Media Roundup – Jul 24, 2014

07/24/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

According to Ahram, Amr Amoussa has stated that he will not allow National Democratic Party members to join the political alliance that he formed, The Alliance of the Egyptian Nation, after a Cairo court ruled that NDP members could stand in the upcoming parliamentary elections. [Ahram]

Gender & Sexuality

Egyptian Streets writes on the inefficacy of the “separate” subway cars for women in Cairo’s metro system. “Men ride the women’s car and specifically ride it just to target women,” said Rebecca Chiao, founder of Harassmap a volunteer-based initiative that works to end the social acceptability of sexual harassment. The segregation also exacerbates harassment, as many are of the belief that women who ride the “mixed gender” subway cars are “asking for it.”  [Egyptian Streets]

Rights & Freedoms

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy has called on its supporters to engage in a week of protests starting this Friday under the slogan “the Week of Martyrs’ Eid.” Their statement read: “These are decisive days in the whole region that need compelling wrath in Egypt to bring down the enemies of the people and nation. Start out the Week of Martyrs’ Eid starting Friday in strength and challenge, mobilize crowds and prepare an uprising of retribution on 14 August next, the memory of the Holocaust.” [Egypt IndependentRead More…

Security Sector

The Egyptian military announced that “three jihadist militants were killed and sixteen others arrested in an army operation in North Sinai.” The area has been subject to an increasing number of militant attacks since Mohamed Morsi was removed from office in 2013. The army spokesman, Colonel Mohamed Samir, stated that the raids resulted in the detonation of “eight IEDs and two booby-trapped cars in the regions of Zawaraa and Sheikh Zuwayed.” Fifteen houses and thirty-five huts reportedly used to “shelter terrorist elements” were also demolished by the army during their raids. The militants also engaged in a shootout with military forces during the course of the operation, injuring two of the militants that were ultimately taken into custody. [Egypt IndependentRead More…

Economy

The Suez Canal has increased revenues by 5.5 percent in 2014 compared to the same period of time in 2013. This 5.5 percent increase amounted to $2.57 billion in revenues in the first six months of 2014. 148 more ships passed through the Suez Canal in the first part of 2014 than in its 2013 counterpart, carrying a net increase of 5.85 million tonnes of freight through the waterway. The overall increase in Suez Canal revenues during the first six months of 2014 contributed to the Net International Reserves, which “reached $16.687 billion at the end of June” according to the Egyptian central bank. [Al Ahram]

Foreign Relations

The Popular Committee to Support the Uprising of the Palestinian People has successfully crossed the Qantara checkpoint with its second aid convoy, and is now headed into Gaza. After considerable delay by the military, the convoy was allowed to pass through, although “only two doctors will be allowed to accompany the convoy to Gaza.” Although the delegation of activists which accompanied the convoy were initially denied passage, they were ultimately given permission from the Military Intelligence in Ismailia. The April 6 Youth Movement leader Zizo Abdu stated that the “Military Intelligence approval was issued following ‘communication’ between high-profile political figures and leaders of the Second Field Army.” The group is transporting more than LE2 million of medical supplies, with the intention of fulfilling their “obligation” to the Palestinian people, and as a sign of solidarity. In light of the experiences of the first convoy, the convoy organizers do not expect the second aid convoy to be allowed to reach Gaza. [Mada Masr] [Al AhramRead More…

MORE STORIES

Rights & Freedoms

 April 6 Movement launches initiative to provide books to political prisoners 

Ahram: [AR] April 6 Movement launches initiative to provide detainees with books

In this article: An April 6 Movement spokesperson has announced an initiative to provide books to political detainees. The movement says that, as many of the political detainees are students in universities and even high schools in Egypt, this initiative will provide a way for the detainees to pass their time in detention in a meaningful way, and to keep them up to speed in their studies. The movement will also seek to publish a list of books as requested by the detainees which they will post on Facebook for donations. The books will be distributed to everyone, without discrimination based on political affiliation or otherwise.

 Convicted in the 2012 NGO Trial, Sam LaHood fears the same fate for Al Jazeera journalists 

Washington Post: Branded a felon by Egypt, I’m in legal limbo in the U.S.

In this article: Sam LaHood, who was sentenced to five years in prison in Egypt after being convicted in absentia in the widely publicized “NGO Trial” of 2012 writes on the comparisons between the NGO Trial and the Al Jazeera journalists’ trial. He says, “Watching the trial of the Al Jazeera journalists, it was clear that the current Egyptian government is intent on using the same strategy the old one employed against me and my colleagues. Since the 2011 revolution, Egypt has faced no tangible negative repercussions for trying and convicting human rights workers, journalists and political leaders. So why should it change course?”

 Mada Masr breaks down five important “legal controversies” in the Al Jazeera case 

Mada Masr:Five legal controversies in ‘Al Jazeera case’

In this article: Mada Masr breaks down five issues of contention in the recent justification of the Al Jazeera trial verdict by the presiding judge. Firstly, connecting the defendants to the Muslim Brotherhood was lacking in definitive evidence, though this accusation facilitated harsher sentences. Secondly, accusing the defendants of using unauthorized equipment was a baseless accusation as they possessed equipment standard for most reporters. Thirdly, the accusation of reporting false information is not a felony in Egyptian law, but rather a misdemeanor, though the defendants were charged in a criminal court. Next, accusing one of the defendants of possessing a weapon was exaggerated, as the defendant was in possession of an empty tear gas container and a spent bullet–which is not a crime. Lastly, issuing unfounded arrest warrants was invalid as the investigators failed to present “conclusive evidence linking the defendants to the Muslim brotherhood. Moreover, they were not able to prove that their media work was linked to terrorist activities. Nor was there any accurate or comprehensive data from investigators.”

 Egyptian Ministry of Social Affairs will require civil society entities to register as NGOs within 45 days 

Atlantic Council: NGOs: Ministry’s Registration Deadline is a “Declaration of War”

In this article: The Atlantic Council reported the condemnation by Egyptian human rights organizations of the move by the Ministry of Social Solidarity to regulate civil society in Egypt through a draft bill, as well as the “recent notification giving NGOs a 45 day deadline to register with the ministry.” The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information all signed a memo to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to condemn the action. The NGOs described the actions of the Ministry of Social Solidarity as a “declaration of war by the government on freedom of association and the work of civil society organizations in Egypt.” Additionally, the memo warned that these actions could “undermine the Egyptian legal framework and destroy any remaining confidence in the legal and judicial systems.”

Security Sector

 Electricity pylon blown up outside of Cairo by unidentified assailants 

Ahram:Assailants blow up power pylon outside Cairo

In this article: An electricity pylon, which feeds parts of Cairo, was blown up by unknown assailants according to MENA. “Repairs should take two weeks and cost LE400,000 (around $56,000), with necessary diversions carried out to prevent power shortages in affected areas,” said Gaber El-Desouky, head of Egypt’s main power operator.

 Officer accused of colluding with Ansar Beit al-Maqdis detention renewed as new evidence emerges 

Mada Masr:Officer accused of collaboration with Ansar Beit al-Maqdes

In this article: State security prosecution has renewed the detention of Sameh al-Azizi, an officer accused of colluding with the terrorist organization, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. Al-Azizi is accused of informing the militant organization of the locations of security checkpoints in Qalyubiya, as well as the timing of officer’s shifts. “The investigations detail that Azizi met twice with one of the leaders of the group, Mohamed Bekry Haroun, through his brother, then started using insider information to assist the group with intelligence.”

 Egypt troops destroy rockets smuggled through Rafah from Gaza 

Ahram:Egypt destroys rockets smuggled from Gaza

In this article: Egyptian troops in Sinai have destroyed a convoy with Grad rockets that was being smuggled from Gaza through the Rafah border tunnels, according to a security source. The troops discovered the vehicle during an early morning raid in the North Sinai town of Rafah, and, according to the same source, militants had planned to use the weapons to fire at Israel.

Foreign Relations

 Is Egypt the wrong choice for moderator of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? 

Al Jazeera America:Why Qatar, not Egypt, should mediate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

In this article: Benjamin Kulakofsky argues that Sisi’s “animosity toward” Hamas is undermining the potential for a peaceful resolution in Gaza, stating that Qatar could be the better mediator for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition to Sisi’s history with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, Sisi reportedly neglected to inform Hamas of the ceasefire agreement, disturbing the delicate balance necessary to prevent further violence in the region. An anonymous Egyptian official pointed to Sisi’s interest in removing Hamas, stating that “Gaza is next… We cannot get liberated from the terrorism of the Brotherhood in Egypt without ending it in Gaza.” Kulakofsky believes that “Sisi is motivated primarily by crushing those he sees as existential threats to his administration,” rather than motivated by a desire for stability. Instead, Kulakofsky points to Qatar as a potential alternative, one he believes will be able to influence Hamas while working with Israel toward moderation. In his view, Qatar “has friendly relations with Hamas and is much more likely to endorse conditions that are favorable to the people of Gaza.”

 Egyptian and foreign diplomats say that a Gaza truce will be agreed upon within 3 days 

Al Ahram: Egyptian, foreign diplomats say Gaza truce to be agreed within 3 days

In this article: According to sources within the inner circles of Egyptian and foreign diplomats, a Gaza truce will be agreed to in 3 days. Al Ahram reports that representatives of the various Palestinian factions will meet with “Israeli government officials” in Egypt to “negotiate a truce in the Palestinian territory.” In contrast, an Israeli cabinet minister Yaakov Peri does not believe three days will be enough time to develop a truce, but that a week is a more likely timeframe. Hamas is also doubtful of a truce resulting in three days. Khaled Mashall, the leader of Hamas, made it clear that “there would be no ceasefire before a lift of the Israeli siege of Gaza’s 1.8 million people.”