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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gulf Allies Undermine U.S. Efforts to Curb Egypt Crackdown

Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are encouraging the Egyptian military’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood ranks, against the wishes of both the United States and the European Union. The latter have become increasingly vocal, with threats to slash funding to the Egyptian government, if the current violent crackdown continues. An Israeli official was quoted calling the anti-Muslim Brotherhood nations as “the axis of reason”, and Israel has told the U.S. that allowing Islamists to maintain a foothold in the Egyptian government could undermine Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Saudi Arabia has gone so far as to promise to replace any funding that Egypt may lose from the United States or Europe. Since the July 3rd outstanding of the elected Egyptian government, Saudi Arabia has led a pledge of financial support from other gulf nations, totaling more than $12 billion in aid.

ElBaradei to be Charged Over Resignation

Following on the heels of yesterday’s dropping of charges against imprisoned former president Hosni Mubarak, an Egyptian court is now moving to charge former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei with “breaching of national trust” over his recent resignation. ElBaradei stepped down from the vice presidency on August 14th, in protest over the interim government’s violent crackdown on Islamist protesters.

The charge is a misdemeanour and carries a potential fine of $1,430. The complaint filing argues that ElBaradei’s resignation gave a wrong impression of the situation in Egypt to the international community, and argued that his suggestion that the government used excessive force “contradicts reality.” ElBaradei is a former director of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog group and is a Nobel peace laureate. He’s been long respected in Egypt and was a recipient of the Nile Shas, the country’s highest honor, in 2006.

Pakistan’s Former Leader Indicted for Bhutto Murder

In other “charging of former leaders” news, Pakistan has indicted Pervez Musharraf, the country’s former military leader, in the 2007 assassination of former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf, 70, was charged with three counts, including murder and conspiracy to murder. He’s pleaded not guilty to all charges. A number of legal experts consulted by The Guardian say the charges against Musharraf are flimsy.

Heraldo Muñoz, a UN official who chaired an investigation of Bhutto’s assassination, has said there was no “proof of culpability” against the former leader. Muñoz added, though, that Musharraf does “bear political and moral responsibility for the assasination”, and did not provide an appropriate level of security to the formerly exiled prime minister upon her return to Pakistan in late 2007.

San Francisco Threatens Suit Against Nevada for Dumping Psychiatric Patients in California

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is calling for Nevada to reimburse California cities for providing indigent psychiatric patients with one-way bus tickets out of state. A Las Vegas mental health facility have been accused of making a practice of sending individuals discharged from inpatient psychiatric treatment to a variety of states, but without formal treatment plans or adequate medication. An investigation into the practice earlier this year turned up nearly 500 individuals sent to California in recent years.

Herrera is calling on Nevada’s Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, to reimburse California for more than $500,000 in associated costs, or face a class-action lawsuit. In a letter to Masto, he called the practice “inhumane and unacceptable”, and added “These patients were transported without escorts; without prior arrangements for a responsible party to receive them at their destination; (and) without adequate provisions of medication or food.”

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