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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Constitution Debate Heats Up

The one representative of an Islamist party in the committee drafting Egypt’s new constitution walked out of talks yesterday, when members reportedly decided not to include the controversial article 219, which stipulates how Sharia law should be applied. Bassem al-Zarqa’s Nour party has been fighting to keep the old constitutional amendments (which were drafted under President Morsi’s government) included in the new draft. The constitutional committee is headed by a left-leaning politician and is composed primarily of secularists, in stark contrast to the previous constitutional committee, which was dominated by Islamists.

Tamarod Group Splinters

Tamarod members in Beni Suef announced that they were withdrawing from the larger political group yesterday in a statement on the group’s Facebook page. Last week, members in Asiut withdrew from the group as well. Both have cited feelings of marginalization and a member in Asiut said that the movement’s purpose had been achieved and their role was over. Tamarod was responsible for gathering signatures and mobilizing millions of Egyptians to protest on June 30 to show their dissatisfaction with President Morsi’s government – a move which led to his removal at the hands of Egyptian armed forces a few days later.

Egyptian Troops Clash with Islamists in Minya

Egyptian security forces arrested 56 people in Minya province yesterday as they sought to re-take control of the town of Delga, which had been under Islamist control for several weeks. Pro-Morsi protesters threw bricks at the police and set fire to cars, while security forces responded with tear gas and bird shot pellets. Christians in the area have suffered sectarian attacks, and the New York Times reported that as many as 35 Christian residents’ homes had been looted and burned.

Egypt to Play Ghana in World Cup Decider Game

Egypt’s Pharoahs will play Ghana’s Black Stars in the upcoming World Cup playoffs. The Egyptian team was relieved not to be paired against Algeria’s Desert Warriors, Al Ahram reported. Algeria’s team beat Egypt in a close match four years ago, which led to violent clashes and tension between the two countries. The Pharaohs will go to Ghana for the match in October and then play the team again in November in Cairo. The last time Egypt played in the World Cup was in 1990.

UN Confirms Poison Gas Used in Syria

The UN released a report Monday saying that they had found evidence that poison sarin gas was used in Syria, but did not specify who launched the chemical attack near Damascus. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called it “the worst use of chemical weapons on civilians in the 21st century.” According to Al Jazeera, Ban Ki Moon doesn’t have the authority to refer Syria to the international criminal court; this move must come from the security council, but Russia has blocked similar moves in the past.

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