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Egypt in the balance: what the blogs are saying 26 - 31 October

This 'You tell us' feature offers some first hand accounts and a range of opinions in blogs, articles and tweets, first and foremost from the people of Egypt.

October 26 

Amr Moussa, head of the 50-member constitutional committee, announces that voting on less controversial articles will begin on October 27. 

Erin Cunningham ‏@erinmcunningham 11:42 PM - 26 Oct 13: Heh. Constitutional expert Ibrahim Darwish says Egypt's constitution drafting process is like a ‘diseased foetus’ http://en.aswatmasriya.com/analysis/view.aspx?id=c9c84b33-a0bb-40ea-a0c9-118fc845eb1a …

Bassem Sabry باسم ‏@Bassem_Sabry 1:03 PM - 26 Oct 13: Wasim El-Sisi, constituent assembly member, resigns due to alleged omission of "civil state" & article for "Bahais" in constitution. #Egypt 

Zaid Al-Ali ‏@zalali 1:53 PM - 26 Oct 13: Referendum On Constitution to Be Held Late December http://allafrica.com/c/-4zoDt #egypt via @allafrica

According to the Ministry of Health, 4 people were injured in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi supporters on Friday October 25.

The UAE signs an aid agreement with Egypt bringing its total support to the Egyptian economy since the ousting of Morsi to $4.9 billion.

Hundreds take to the streets to protest against the new draft protest law, after a call by a new movement “The Way of the Revolution Front”. The most controversial clause of this law is the Ministry of Interior and senior police officials’ power to cancel, postpone or change the location of protests and they would also be allowed to use force to disperse ongoing protests.  

Gigi Ibrahim ‏@Gsquare86 6:07 PM - 26 Oct 13: The march is a bit large around 700 and the chants are against the anti protest law, police, SCAF, and return of Morsy #Egypt

Jano Charbel ‏@JanoCharbel 6:45 PM - 26 Oct 13: Protest march concludes at Mohamed Mahmoud Street. Security forces blocking access to #Tahrir Sq. #EgyArmy #EgyPolice pic.twitter.com/QEsCm8Vwy9

H.A. Hellyer writes “Egypt: The right to protest has been paid for”:

“What Egypt needs, if stability is the sought-after goal, is not a law restricting protests, but laws establishing the parameters for interior ministry reform”

Protests continue in Al Azhar University. Students stage an anti-coup demonstration and announce an escalation on Monday.

Suara Muhammadiyah ‏@majalahSM 7:46 PM - 26 Oct 13: Human rights delegation aims to focus international attention on Egyptian army crimes: Islamic News DailyEgypt... http://bit.ly/19HKmhe  

The detention of 25 Ultras fans is extended by another 15 days. This comes after clashes erupted with security forces on October 13. They are being charged with attempted murder and assault on security forces. 

Rights activists and women’s rights organizations are tweeting about women breadwinners in the Middle East #Loqmet3ish.

Mai El-Sadany ‏@maitelsadany 9:31 PM - 26 Oct 13: At least 33% of women in #Egypt are the breadwinners for their families.#Loqmet3ish

Sandra B ‏@SandraEgypt 9:32 PM - 26 Oct 13: Om Hamdy's husband works for the government with a lousy salary. She works as a cleaner and provides for her son and daughters #Loqmet3ish

court has dismissed a lawsuit accusing former interim Vice President Mohamed El Baradei of breaching national trust. El Baradei resigned on August 14 after security forces dispersed the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in protest of the government’s crackdown. 

Mohammed Yahia ‏@MohammedY 10:51 AM - 26 Oct 13: Always new lows :( RT: "@Zeinobia: And El Sisi Mania goes on and on#Egypt #ElSisi #Egyarmy #EgyPresidency #EgyMedia http://ow.ly/qbrhA 

Prosecutor receives legal complaints against Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s popular satirist, who returned to the screens on October 25. Youssef mocked both pro-military and pro-Morsi supporters, however, a number of previous loyal viewers did not take his views lightly due to Egypt’s current deep polarization and their low tolerance to any opposing views.

Mada Masr review Bassem Youssef’s first appearance after months of silence in “Laughter at the time of polarization”.

Nervana Mahmoud on why “General Sisi is no saviour for Egypt’s non-Islamists”:

“Are non-Islamists truly committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the millions who protested on 30 June? If the answer is yes, then they must have a serious look at their dismal performance post-30 June, and understand that Army Chief General Sisi will not save their political careers. They must stop their lazy approach to politics, put in sweat and labour at the grassroots level, fight against repression, injustice, radicalism, and rebuild a new, strong civil society; otherwise, Egypt will remain subdued by regressive forces fighting over its ruin and wreckage.”

 

October 27

According to Al Ahram [Ar] the 50-member committee responsible for amending the constitution have drawn up an article establishing human dignity as an inalienable right, which would also incriminate torture.

Mohammed Nosseir on “Egypt: Absent Justice” writes in his opening paragraph:

“Egypt is a country that has been lacking justice for decades. Two revolutions and thousands of marches and demonstrations demanding justice, among other things, have taken place in all Egyptian governorates. So far, however, nothing has been achieved, be it the amendment of laws or the actual application of justice on the ground. On the contrary, I believe that Egyptians, in general, have become less tolerant and less sympathetic and are not able to understand the true principles of justice.” 

The National Salvation Front (NSF) announces its intention to participate in Egypt’s next round of parliamentary elections early 2014 and plan to issue a unified candidate list.

Mohamed Naeem discusses the interim government’s roadmap in “Egypt’s roadmap to crises (Part 1)”, in which he concludes:

“The decision to hold parliamentary elections before the presidential polls subscribes to a rather romantic vision of democracy that does not fit the realities on the ground. In fact, I argue that there is no constitutional necessity for electing a parliament before a president, apart from one procedural clause stating that the new president should be sworn in before the parliament. Finally the current roadmap has trampled over the 30 June protests’ main demand of holding early presidential elections. It has also gone against the logical order of things, since a new presidency is essential for sponsoring a national dialogue, and has the required legitimacy to navigate the turbulent transition.”

ahramonline: Judges withdraw from appeal by Egypt's Bible burning preacher - Radical cleric Abu Islam burned a Bible at a protest against an anti-Islam film outside the US embassy in Cairo in September 2012.

The Ministry of Interior has confirmed that the person who was responsible for the attack on the Minister of Interior, Mohamed Ibrahim, in September was a former major in the Egyptian army. This comes after Sinai militants put the claim forward, soon after Ansar Beit El Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack on September 8. 

Hundreds of students demonstrate across Egypt; Al Azhar students demand the dismissal of the university president and Al Azhar’s Grand Imam and female students calling themselves “Ultras Azhari girls” defend the legitimacy of ousted President Morsi. 

Arab springer :D ‏@Samehshafi 1:38 PM - 27 Oct 13: #Egypt Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment (1)

16 pro-Morsi supporters are sentenced to three years in prison for clashes that took place on October 6.

The Power Of One. ‏@france7776 5:57 PM - 27 Oct 13: #Egypt: Arab Network for Human Rights Information lists oppressive practices by post-30 June govnt http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/10/27/rights-group-slams-governments-extralegal-practices-in-first-100-days/ … #humanrights

All barriers to building churches in Egypt are eliminated by the 50-member constitutional committee. However, the decision on ‘absolute freedom of belief’ for all citizens is postponed.

The committee resumes discussions on ‘contested articles’ behind closed doors, which arouses concerns of lack of transparency. Committee members: Sameh Ashour and Diaa Rashwan, heads of the lawyers' and journalist syndicate, along with surgeon Mohamed Ghoneim - voice their concerns. However, committee media spokesman, Mohamed Salmawy, asserts that these meeting are “closed” not “confidential” in an attempt to justify the decision to ban reserve members from participation.

Mai El-Sadany ‏@maitelsadany 8:17 PM - 27 Oct 13: Article 47 of #EgyConstitution will read: "Freedom of belief is absolute & State guarantees the freedom of religious practice" via @eahram

Leyla Doss writes “The past return – Nasserist forces and sentiments return in a post-Nasser era in a seeming alliance of convenience with the military”:

“The dim-light, broken furniture and cracks on the walls at the headquarters of the United Nasserist Party in downtown Cairo stand as reminders of how far away the Nasserist legacy has become. But a paintjob, seemingly long awaited, points to a possible comeback.”

 Sherif Zaazaa’s “The Sunday macro-economy rundown”:

“The United Arab Emirates signed an agreement with Egypt worth US$4.9 billion announced on October 27, pointing to the UAE’s commitment to support Egypt in overcoming its current challenges.”

Mohamed Fouad on “Contemporary Egyptian nonsense part 2: the riches of Egypt!”:

“So we continue with examining some of those wild ideas and unfounded claims which haunt the minds of many people. We are hoping to do so in a constructive manner with the aim to move beyond the old tales and actually think about something meaningful. Our discussion this week will be about the age old saying that Egypt is indeed a rich country robbed of its riches. Just how true is that?.... To sum it up, the fact remains that Egypt is a poor, overpopulated country with limited resources compared to its inhabitants. The perpetual state of denial is making matters even worse. The myth of a resource-rich country may have held well at the times of the Pharaohs, but a country which is not and will not be self sufficient for most of its needs, must think beyond this antiquated rhetoric and devise a plan.”

 

October 28

Al Azhar University students continue their protests.

Ahmad Talaat ‏@Ahmadtal3t 3:48 PM - 28 Oct 13: PHOTO: #Egypt's police fire tear gas to disperse hundreds of pro #Morsistudents protesting at al-Azhar Uni., Cairo. pic.twitter.com/OPpzsCvjyi

Mai Shams El-Din comments on recent student demonstrations in “Inside the campus – too many politics, too few freedoms”:

“Manie, who early this year ran against the Brotherhood in the student union elections on a list of movements representing a group of liberal political parties, believes that he is part of a growing group of students that are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

"We see the battle escalating between the Brotherhood students on the side, and the pro-military students, who mostly belong to the police-affiliated student movement that controlled the campus before the revolution, on the other. We cannot join the Brotherhood students who are calling for the reinstatement of Morsi, and we cannot accept the atrocities practiced against them," he asserts.”

The April 6th Movement elects Amr Ali as the new leader, replacing Ahmed Maher who has chosen to take an advisory role. For background information on Amr, click here.

Key members of the Al Dostor Party (Constitution Party), formed by former interim Vice President Mohamed El Baradei, resign.

Hafsa Halawa (@HafsaHalawa) tweeted at 3:39 PM on Mon, Oct 28, 2013: basically, 'liberal/secular/non-islamist' parties continue to be a joke in #Egypt, having learnt nothing. absolutely nothing, since 2011.

Nayrouz Talaat discusses how “Factories in Egypt seek support to fight insolvency”:

“Around 855 factories were affected by the political instability in Egypt since the uprising in January 2011, halting most of their production, which had a significant impact on local economy, Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said in a press release.”

Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi says in an interview on Sunday October 27 that he does not expect Egypt to be “militarized” referring to people’s fears that the army will gain more powers in the next period.

Authorities arrest a 20-year-old Suez Canal University student for creating an atheist Facebook group.

Omar Halawa discusses recent clashes between security forces and the Ultras football fans in “Same game, different players”.

Hossam عمو حسام ‏@3arabawy 4:50 PM - 28 Oct 13: Egypt: Resistance to anti-protest law begins to grow | MENA Solidarity Networkhttp://ow.ly/qefxb  

Iris Boutors discusses “Egyptian female youth and their labour market”:

“With so few labour market opportunities, big differences in gender are not surprising in a country like Egypt. Neither are differences in labour participation by level of education or level of income. But like the young candidate that I interviewed, female youth seem to be more focused on the experience they have when they work, at least among those that looking for work. These types of differences should be kept in mind when designing youth employment policies and programmes, particularly those aimed at correcting the gender imbalances in the labour market.” 

The media advisor to the interim president, Ahmed El Muslimany, claims that UK’s Guardian newspaper supports Egypt’s “counterrevolution” because of its anti-June 30 stance. 

Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) tweeted at 3:37 PM on Mon, Oct 28, 2013: Sonallah Ibrahim attacks German journalist in Berlin public forum for not agreeing w- him that all MB protests are terroristic. #pt

Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) tweeted at 3:40 PM on Mon, Oct 28, 2013: What's up w- Egyptian novelists giving speeches in Europe defending military rule & mass killings? Not really the normal role of novelists.

Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, in his speech at the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, says that Egypt/US relations have changed since June 30 and calls on the US to understand.

Nervana Mahmoud (@Nervana_1) tweeted at 4:34 PM on Mon, Oct 28, 2013: More opinions about the US aid to #Egypt, this time by Jay McInerney and Cole Bockenfeldhttp://t.co/kjzvDkm94l via @washingtonpost

Interim President Adly Mansour is scheduled to visit Kuwait on October 30, a second visit, to thank Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah for his support of Egypt’s transitional phase. 

Jasmine Soliman (@Soligyptish) tweeted at 2:45 PM on Mon, Oct 28, 2013: Some food for thought on Egypt's urban future and informal settlements/economy - I have more questions than ever now.

Aswat Masriya: The Board of State Commissioners of Egypt's High Administrative Court has advised the annulment of a decision made under President Morsi allowing his son and daughter to maintain their Egyptian citizenship whilst holding the American passport. The board asked that the case be referred to the government to review whether Ahmed and Shaymaa Morsi can legally maintain their Egyptian passports.  

Three policemen are killed in a drive-by shooting in Mansoura – Nile Delta. 

Although the Ministry of Interior made claims, on October 27, that the person responsible for the attack on the Minister of Interior in September was a former major in the army. Reports today suggest that 25 members of an unnamed militant group are arrested for the same attack as well as the attack on Al Warraq church on October 20.

The 50-member committee responsible for amending Egypt’s constitution disagree over “freedom of information” article, part of the “Freedoms and Rights” chapter. According to Ahram Online, the military representative, Gen. Magdi El Din Barakat, threatened to withdraw from today’s session and the conservative Salafist Al Nour Party, in agreement with the military’s representative, voted to keep the phrase intact.

Spokesperson for the committee, Mohamed Salmawy, denies that article 219 of the constitution is up for discussion and announces that the majority are in favour of absolute religious freedom.

The Cairo Post ‏@TheCairoPost 6:20 PM - 28 Oct 13: Spokesman denies reports of #Mansour meeting with 50-member committee.#Egypt #EgyConstitution http://thecairopost.youm7.com/news/25366/news/spokesman-denies-reports-of-mansour-meeting-with-50-member-committee … 

Reem Saad initially wrote this article for the Al-Shorouk newspaper and they refused to publish it. Mada Masr agreed to publish “The military upholds virtue”; an article about civilians’ harassment at military checkpoints. In which she concludes by asking:

“Is the military now carving out new domains where its role expands to include social surveillance and the upholding of virtue? I certainly hope not.”

Mahmoud Salem, in his opening paragraph of “The selfish heartless argument for keeping Syrians in Egypt”, says:

“Dear Egyptian readers: This article will not try to garner your sympathy over the plight and horror that Syrian refugees face in Egypt. It will not try to appeal to your humanity by informing you of the horrible conditions under which they live here, the random arrests they face or the horror that awaits them when they get deported, or even decry the media’s smear campaign against them. Nope, there are a million and one articles that detail their tragedy, and this isn’t one of them, mainly because they don’t work on you. Instead, here is a totally selfish and heartless argument for why we should keep them here, give them residencies and even welcome more of them to come, purely because it is in our best collective interest to do so.”

UN Radio ‏@UN_Radio 6:08 PM - 28 Oct 13: Human Rights chief details plans of possible office in Egypt http://bit.ly/1aBiKvp 

 

October 29

Reuters: Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa El Din hopes a political compromise with the Muslim Brotherhood can be reached.

Nervana Mahmoud (@Nervana_1) tweeted at 6:11 PM on Tue, Oct 29, 2013: It may take the Islamists long time to understand that "breaking the coup" will not happen with semi-violent moves & angry shouting. #Egypt

However, according to Ahram Online, Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim prioritize national security over reconciliation and dialogue.

Patrick Kingsley ‏@PatrickKingsley 12:13 AM - 29 Oct 13: "Most [seculars] chose silence rather than condemn the repression." Brave piece by Amr Hamzawy on #Egypt's transitn http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/egyptsource/egypt-after-july-3-a-crossroads-for-democracy ... 

Patrick Kingsley comments on the support of one of Egypt’s prominent “liberal” writer and novelists’ support for the military in “Alaa al-Aswany on why he had to support Egypt’s military crackdown”:

“Aswany’s position is emblematic of the way that many of those known as liberals in Egypt have swung behind the actions of the country's new military-installed regime. Somewhere between a fifth and a third of the country may still back Morsi (and some of their allies shouted down a talk Aswany recently gave in Paris, forcing him to escape through a trapdoor). And a small minority openly criticise the authoritarianism of both the Brotherhood and the army. But the vast majority of Egyptians back the military. They thank the army for saving the country from what they saw as an autocratic Islamist president who wanted to transform Egypt's moderate national character, who bypassed legal protocols to install an Islamist-slanted constitution, and who allegedly set his own militias against protesters outside the presidential palace last December.”

 

Deposed President Mohamed Morsi is due to appear in court on November 4 along with 14 others on charges of inciting murder and torture during the clashes that took place in front of the Presidential Palace in December 2012. Morsi refuses to recognize the court due to try him and has not appointed lawyers to defend him

Three judges step down from the ongoing trial of Muslim Brotherhood leaders Mohamed Badie, Khairat El Shater and Rashad Bayoumi, claiming conflict of interest without further clarifications. 

Ziad A. Akl writes “Morsi and Sisi: Against both!” and concludes:

“Those who are not represented by the two main streams are in need of serious internal restructuring. The important battle now is not a macro one and it is not over who will be president. The appropriate battle is one of political organisation, social consciousness and collective action. There is no need for revolutionary enthusiasm; revolutions are a matter of tools, resources and capabilities, which this third trend needs to start working on acquiring before it can engage in changing the sad political reality that presides in Egypt. The real challenge for those who are against Morsi and Sisi is offering an alternative, which is a process that will require years since there are none now. But until then, all this trend could do is hold its ground and keep from turning into a new revolutionary extreme.”

Security forces fire teargas and bird-shots at Cairo University students protesting against the country's interim leadership.

Ikhwanweb ‏@Ikhwanweb 1:31 AM - 29 Oct 13: Al Azhar students denounce raids & use of violence by police & thugs against peaceful #AntiCoup students on campus,vow to continue protests

Mai Shams El-Din discusses the recent clashes between security forces and students in the “Al-Azhar campus battles”.

According to security sources, authorities arrest a former naval officer in connection with the attack on the Minister of Interior last September. They claim Nabil El Maghraby is an Islamist militant, who was jailed over the assassination of former President Anwar El Sadat. He’s been arrested for plotting bomb attacks on behalf of Al Qaeda since his release from prison in 2012.

Two Egyptians die while attempting to cross into Libya and another is rescued. Authorities believe hundreds are still missing.

Salma Elwardany ‏@S_Elwardany 11:28 AM - 29 Oct 13: US investigates National Geographic over ‘corrupt payments’ to Egypt's Zahi Hawas http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-investigates-national-geographic-over-corrupt-payments-to-egypts-keeper-of-antiquities-8909454.html …

ahramonline: US State Department, top diplomat signal plans of upcoming visit to Cairo in next weeks to address security and strategic interests.

US lawmakers urge the White House to lift its suspension of military aid to Egypt. 

Salamamoussa’s latest blog post on “Egypt And the American Left”:

“How did it come to this? How did the American left, especially the aging New Left, come to be advocates of the Muslim Brotherhood. How did a group with elastic views of social and sexual limits come to defend a religiously narrow, socially coercive, oppressively puritanical and decidedly misogynistic cult? The reader would be wrong to assume that there is a long and complex answer to this question. The reasons are simple, and basically come down to two factors: ignorance of Egyptian history and adherence to outmoded templates of thinking inculcated by long decades in the trenches of the cold war.”

Wael Nawara’s latest “Egypt’s Real Challenge: Reviving the Economy” starts with:

“On Oct. 27, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the deputy prime minister of the UAE and the minister of presidential affairs, said, “Arab support for Egypt will not last long, and Egypt must think about innovative, unconventional solutions.”

Nader Bakker, spokesperson for the Salafist Al Nour Party, announces that they are not against Gen. Abdel Fattah El Sisi running for president, but only if he runs as a civilian.

Farmers’ representative Mohamed Dagher’s membership in the constitutional committee is annulled. This comes after a court order indicating that his appointment violated the committee’s internal bylaws. He replaced former representative, Mohamed Abdel Qader, who died in a car accident on September 21.

Furthermore, the committee is at odds whether to abolish the Upper House of parliament (Shura Council), although a legal subcommittee had recommended retaining the Shura Council on September 30 after initial proposals to abolish it.

Jayson Casper brings the work of the Association for the Victims of Abductions and Enforced Disappearances (AVAED) into the light in “Ebram Louis and the Contested Nature of Coptic Disappearances”.

Bel Trew - بل ترو ‏@Beltrew 12:01 PM - 29 Oct 13: Over a quarter of #Egypt lives below the poverty line, personal debt is up a 3rd & people lost 12.5% of their wealth http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3907110.ece …

According to satirist Bassem Youssef, who came under intense scrutiny since the release of his third season on October 25, Egypt’s liberals are as intolerant as Islamists.

The Popular Current, a new Nasserist movement led by Hamdeen Sabahi, plan to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections in coalition with the Tamarod/Rebel group. They also demand the investigation into alleged violations by the army against civilians in the Sinai Peninsula.

Sabahi, a 2012 presidential candidate, launched “The Popular Current” in September 2013. And has announced his support for Gen. Abdel Fattah El Sisi if he is to run for president. 

Mohamed Naeem’s follow up piece to Part 1 (October 27) “Roadmap to crises (Part 2)”:

“In short, it is impossible to draft a permanent constitution in the midst of the current political tension, in the absence of clear rules accepted by the various factions, and in a time-span that leaves no room for public debates and discussions.”

The Board of State Commissioners of Egypt’s High Administrative Court reject a case put forward by Hamed Seddiq accusing former interim Vice President Mohamed El Baradei and the son of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, Gamal, of breaking the law by having dual nationality without the consent of the authorities.

Ahmed Maher, former leader of and current advisor to the April 6th Youth Movement, calls on former members to rejoin the group.

 

October 30

Essam El Erian, Vice President of the Muslim Brotherhood, is arrested in Cairo. He will be held for 30 days, pending investigations, for instigating street clashes in July and August 2013. He denies the charges.

Osman El-Sharnoubi examines Essam El Erian’s politics in “Brotherhood’s Essam El Erian: From moderate to hardliner

Aswat Masriya: Egypt accuses Brotherhood of rejecting reconciliation

Nervana Mahmoud ‏@Nervana_1 4:38 PM - 30 Oct 13: A delegation from the National Council of Human Rights visits Tora Prison ( where high profile #MB are held) http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/10/30/nchr-delegation-visits-tora-prison/ … #Egypt 

David D. Kirkpatrick writes “Ousted General in Egypt Is Back, as Islamists’ Foe” referring to Gen. Mohamed Farid El Tohamy who was ousted by deposed President Morsi and re-instated by Gen. Abdel Fattah El Sisi after June 30:

“Western diplomats and Egyptians close to the government say General Tohamy has emerged as the leading advocate of the lethal crackdown on Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood, in a drive to eviscerate the movement…. “What happened to the prosecutors’ claim of evidence of his corruption and obstruction of justice?” asked Hossam Bahgat, one of the few Egyptian human rights advocates willing to publicly criticize General Tohamy. “Why was he ousted in that humiliating fashion? Why was he brought back from retirement the morning after the military takeover?” he continued. “There is zero public discussion of these very serious questions.” 

Wael Abbas ‏@waelabbas 8:00 AM - 30 Oct 13: Concerns are raised over professors detained in Egypt since military coup | BMJhttp://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6457 …

The Salafist Al Nour representative in the 50-member constitutional committee says he’ll agree to the removal of article 219 from the constitution only if the word ‘principles’ is removed from article 2. This comes after Mohamed Salmawy, spokesperson of the committee, announced on October 28 that article 219 is not up for discussion. Article 2 says “Islam is the state religion, Arabic is its official language and the principles of Islamic Sharia law form the main source of legislation” and article 219 stipulates “The principles of Islamic Sharia include its commonly accepted interpretations, its fundamental and jurisprudential rules and its widely considered sources, as stated by the schools of Sunna and Gamaa.”

Mahmoud Nafadi, head of the Press Syndicate's Parliamentary Correspondents' Association, files a complaint at the State Council to challenge the constituent assembly’s decision to vote on a draft of the constitution behind closed doors. Three committee members had also voiced their concerns on October 27.

MiddleEast Institute ‏@MiddleEastInst 9:24 PM - 30 Oct 13: Will Egypt stay sweet on al-Sisi in the long run? http://usat.ly/1bzONKp  via @usatoday featuring MEI's @Khalilalanani 

25 Al Azhar University students are arrested for storming the university’s administration building. Clashes between security forces and students have been ongoing since October 20, when 7 students were arrested for demonstrating.

Nervana Mahmoud ‏@Nervana_1 3:19 PM - 30 Oct 13: Security forces have managed to free the head of Al-Azhar after protestors have detained him. Egypt http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=1320005&SecID=65&IssueID=168#.UnGASnDB0dc …Arabic v @hany2m 

Bel Trew - بل ترو ‏@Beltrew 3:24 PM - 30 Oct 13: "@Aaron_T_Rose: Detained students at #AlAzhar being led from armored vehicle to police can. pic.twitter.com/6ZrAKvqQdl

26 students are injured in clashes across Egypt.

Nancy Messieh writes “A Place for Women in Egypt’s Transition”:

“Women, who stood side-by-side with men at the frontlines of Egypt’s uprising facing off with Central Security Forces, have found themselves marginalized over the past two years. Issues relating to women’s rights have been sidelined as discussions over legislation under successive regimes instead focus on measures that would stifle civil society in Egypt, and crack down on street protests. But as women have taken their rightful place alongside men in the struggle for their basic rights, the movement has given way to a discussion about their role in the constitution, legislation and beyond.”

Hossam عمو حسام ‏@3arabawy 10:54 AM - 30 Oct 13: Textile workers in Ghazl Kafr el-Dawwar, Beheira, have started a strike an hour ago, over salaries. #Egypt

A 20-year-old Suez Canal University student is detained on charges of insulting religion pending investigations. He was initially arrested on October 28 after the university filed a complaint against him for the creation of an atheist Facebook group.

BBC Africa ‏@BBCAfrica 7:24 PM - 30 Oct 13: #Egypt will hold their 2014 W/Cup play-off second leg against #Ghana in Cairo after Fifa accepts security guarantees. http://bbc.in/1dpYuNy 

Athlete Mohamed Youssef, Egypt’s Kung Fu champion, is suspended from competitions for wearing a t-shirt displaying the four-fingered symbol associated with the pro-Morsi protestors while receiving a gold medal at a competition in Russia. 

Amro Ali ‏@_amroali 7:58 PM - 30 Oct 13: A drawing of #Egypt's #ThirdSquare. Hand says "Those who betrayed us are the feloul, military & Brotherhood" pic.twitter.com/Ofh1ONrPoY

Hussein Haridy discusses US/Egypt relations in “Washington on Egypt: Intimidation, threats and sanctions”, in which he concludes:

“Personally speaking, I have always believed that the White House under Obama worked for the coming to power of the Muslim Brothers in 2012 in the context of an understanding that the latter would protect American interests in the Middle East and across the Muslim world. 

The dilemma that will confront the White House in the near future will be the election of a new Egyptian president who would possibly be inspired by the ideals of the Nasser era. And maybe this is the reason why the Americans insist on an all-inclusive democratic process.”

Mohamed El Menshawy in “Omitted words in US-Egypt crises” writes:

“The US decision to suspend a delivery of jet fighters and tanks to Egypt made its position on Morsi's removal very clear. However, cutting off all military assistance is unlikely as it would jeopardise US relations with Egypt”

Farid Zahran asks “What are the chances of mergers and alliances inside the democratic movement?”:

“It is often the case that liberals and social democrats are put in one category and nationalists and leftists in another category. This is usually due to the religious-civil polarisation, which part of the politically naive public dubbed as liberal-religious polarisation. Furthermore, some of the members and leaders of the parties do not quite understand the difference between liberal and social democratic parties. At times, these liberal leaders utter some fascist thoughts and visions, while some of the social democratic leaders adopt capitalist or neo-liberal concepts.”

Press releases and reports by human rights organisations:

Human Rights Watch: Draft law would effectively ban protests

 

October 31

Constitutional committee passes an article, which prohibits the censorship of official media except in cases of 'war or public mobilization'. According to the committee’s twitter account, they have also agreed that article 53, concerning the right to protest, will only require prior notification.

According to Al Ahram [Ar], 20 female Muslim Brotherhood supporters are arrested for clashing with residents in Alexandria.

According to the legal spokesperson of deposed President Morsi, there is no evidence incriminating him and has dubbed the trial as politically motivated.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel discusses political and security concerns via phone conversation with Gen. Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Mohamed ElGohari on “Congress Discusses the Future of US Aid to Egypt”:

“The committee members and administration officials were in agreement on Egypt’s strategic importance to the United States. The military cooperation and aid grants the United States special access to the Suez Canal and over flights in Egyptian airspace, and is a guarantor for the Camp David Peace Accords. It also contributes to the prevention of weapons flow into Gaza, counter-terrorism efforts in the Sinai peninsula, and secures global commerce by providing safe transit of ships through the Suez Canal. Services Egypt provides facilitate the US military’s ability, according to Derek Chollet, to “respond to contingencies and conduct operations throughout the region.” 

Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat says Egypt has no political prisoners amid US state department calls to an end 'politically motivated arrests and detentions'

Louisa Loveluck ‏@leloveluck 5:01 PM - 31 Oct 13: No political prisoners in Egypt, says prosecutor general:http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/85231.aspx  subsequently went on to assert that green is actually blue.

Mohamed Atif Mogahed ‏@DrMAMMohamed 5:02 PM - 31 Oct 13: Fake prosecutor cannot issue but false statements. Indeed no political prisoners in Egypt; only hostages!

IMF team visit Egypt for the first time since June.

Ahmed Kadry ‏@AhmedKadry 1:41 PM - 31 Oct 13: The IMF (Imperialist Manipulative Fraudsters) are back in Egypt this week. Hip hip.... http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/31/egypt-imf-idUSL5N0IL1TK20131031 …

EU commissioner, Štefan Füle, tells Ahram Online “The EU will continue to link aid to reform in Egypt's case, underlining that prosperity and development can only take root in a society where political dialogue is inclusive”.

Security forces remain at Al Azhar University after yesterday’s clashes. The detention of 26 students has been ordered by the prosecutor. The University claims EGP10 million (USD1.4 million) in losses due to violence.

Egypt Independent ‏@EgyIndependent 3:49 PM - 31 Oct 13: Nour Party condemns storming of Al-Azhar Universityhttp://ow.ly/2Bd0wQ 

Head of the Salafist Nour Party, Younes Makhioun, condemns the decision by Egypt's constitutional committee to ban the formation of political parties on a religious basis.

Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi announces that police forces will be permitted to guard universities from outside campus grounds. 

Further charges against Muslim Brotherhood VP, Essam El Erian, surface. He is expected to stand trial with deposed President Mohamed Morsi on November 4 and facing multiple charges of inciting the murder of protestors on various occasions.

Mina Fayek ‏@minafayek 7:31 PM - 31 Oct 13: Constitution assembly bans religion-based parties (AR). #EgyConstitutionhttp://owl.li/qmU50 

Shahira Abdelrahman ‏@sabousabe 9:21 PM - 31 Oct 13: #Egypt #R4BIA this is a photo from a school.Headmaster & teachers r arrested by #EgyArmy soldiers 4 being #AntiCoup pic.twitter.com/tYOoVfkZDZ

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are to hold a new round of talks starting November 4 of a dam being built in Ethiopia.

H.A. Hellyer comments on the recent attack on Egypt’s leading satirist Bassem Youssef in “When it comes to protest, Egypt lost its sense of humour”, in which he concludes:

“It is issues like these that the Egyptian media and intelligentsia ought to be discussing and proposing solutions to, rather than focusing on Youssef’s show.

There is a silver lining for Youssef in all this. Those who seek to criticise him have provided his team with more than enough material to make a whole episode based on mocking and pillorying the attacks he has endured.” 

Céline Lebrun sheds light on the dire situations refugees are forced into in “Death at sea: The via dolorosa of Palestinian refugees”:

“Consequently, when we went with some young Egyptian activists to visit the 40 Palestinian refugees currently held at the Rahmaneya police station in the town of Behera, they told us that, after two long weeks in detention, they still had not seen a single official from their embassy.  Despite their numerous telephone calls and the promises made by the embassy's lawyer, Khaled Atteya, that he would visit them, there was still no sign of him. The embassy's public relations officer, Yasser Salman, hadn't even bothered to acknowledge their calls.

For more than two weeks, 26 women and children — the oldest child being nine years old, and the three youngest being year-old babies — have been sleeping on the floor of the police station's mosque.  As for the men, they are being held outside.”

Press releases and reports by human rights organisations:

Amnesty InternationalFather of Morsi’s aide arrested

 

See ‘related articles’ for openDemocracy highlights. 

Our next Egypt in the balance update will be published in the week of Monday, November 1, 2013.

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