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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anticipated US Strike in Syria

A US military strike on Syria is likely to take place in the next few days, several news outlets are reporting; some are predicting as soon as Thursday.  US Vice President Joseph Biden said earlier this week that there is “no doubt who was responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime.” Iran, Russia and China are all opposed to a military response, and the Arab League rejected calls for a military strike on Syria, the New York Times reported. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy condemned the use of chemical weapons but also rejected the idea of a military strike on Syria and continued to call for a political solution to the crisis.

Alexandria Film Festival Pulls Turkish Film

Relations between Egypt and Turkey have grown strained recently after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the Egyptian army for deposing President Morsi, and criticized Egypt’s religious leaders for supporting the effort. Erdogan, a product of political Islam himself, has expressed support for Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the past. Egyptian politicans and religious leaders have publicly denounced Erdogan in recent days and in apparent response, an upcoming Alexandria film festival has just pulled a Turkish director’s film.  Reis Celik, the director of the film Night of Silence, said that he wanted audiences to be able to confront the issue of child brides (the subject of the film) and said he was disturbed by the political pressures which led to the festival’s decision. The Alexandria film festival was postponed because of the emergency curfew in Egypt and is set to take place in October.

Labor Union Crackdown

The Egyptian government has continued to crack down on worker’s unions in the weeks following President Morsi’s ouster, and has accused strikers of being Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Several strikers and strike leaders at a steel company and petroleum company have been detained over the last two weeks. Mada Masr reported that the Egyptian army has deployed tanks to the scene of the strikes, and one organizer said that he and his fellow workers were threatened with being fired and accused of being supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. “In our earlier protests, they had claimed that we were feloul (Mubarak loyalists) then they claimed we were communists seeking to destroy the company and destabilize the Egyptian economy. In reality we are non-affiliated workers. We are not feloul, communists, or members of the Brotherhood,” said Amr Youssef.

Egyptian Government decides not to dissolve Brotherhood

Egyptian Interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi has reversed his stance and said that the Muslim Brotherhood party should not be dissolved. Two weeks ago, he made statements indicating that the embattled party, which has been the central focus of a crackdown since President Morsi was unseated last month, would be banned from politics again, as it had for so many decades under past presidents. Beblawi said that “dissolving the party or the group is not the solution and it is wrong to make decisions in turbulent situations.”

Attacks Continue in Sinai

Armed men attacked a police station, a prison and the local traffic office in Arish, a town in the Sinai peninsula yesterday, local Egyptian papers reported. Another unidentified armed group attacked a police station in a nearby town on the same day.  Violence in the Sinai has increased since President Morsi was deposed in early July, and it remains unclear whether the armed groups are connected to Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood.






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