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Friday, September 27, 2013

Gulf Aid Flows In

Egypt’s Finance Minister Ahmed Gelal announced that the country did not need assistance from the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, as they were receiving sufficient help from gulf countries to meet their finance goals. Kuwait deposited $2 billion in an Egyptian bank yesterday, just a portion of the over $12 billion in aid that gulf countries pledged to deliver after President Morsi was deposed over the summer and the army-back interim government took control of the country. Gelal also said the government was planning to invest 22 billion EGP in public health and in developing infrastructure, in addition to helping the poorer segments of society.

Egyptian Armed Forces Continue to Arrest Islamists

The Egyptian armed forces are continuing a military assault on an area outside of Cairo near the town of Kerdasa, where they say members of the Muslim Brotherhood are hiding. They are planning to “storm” the town of Al Saff in the new few days and have already arrested dozens of people who they suspect to be supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The security sweep comes after months of unrest between Morsi supporters and security forces who back Egypt’s new interim government.

 Reporters Without Borders Denounces Journalist Arrests

More than 10 Egyptian journalists are in jail and have had their detentions extended without formal charges, the group Reporters Without Borders said in a statement yesterday. Five journalists have been killed since President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster and 80 have been arbitrarily arrested, while dozens of others have been harassed by police and army forces and anti-Morsi protesters. “We are very disturbed by a renewed increase in violations of fundamental freedoms…and by a wave of official statements displaying clear hostility towards media that fail to sing the army’s praises,” Reporters Without Borders said in their statement, adding, “It is unacceptable and dangerous for the future of democracy in Egypt that media and journalists that are affiliated or sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood are being constantly targeted by the authorities on the grounds of maintaining public order and national security.”

New “Anti-Coup” Protests Today

Not long after a Cairo court banned the Muslim Brotherhood and all affiliated businesses and organizations, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Cairo, Port Said and other Egyptian cities to protest the ruling. The protests were organized by the Anti-Coup alliance and have proceeded peacefully so far, according to Al Jazeera English. Pro-Morsi protests (which usually take place on Friday,  the first day of Egypt’s weekend) have seen dwindling numbers in recent weeks in reaction to an intensive crackdown by police and army forces on anti-military, pro-Morsi movements.

Diplomatic Dust-Up

In a speech at the UN earlier this week, Tunisian President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki called for Egypt to release ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who has been detained in an unknown location since he was deposed in early July. The Tunisian president also said that since Egypt’s revolution in 2011, the recent events in the country showcase the difficulties on the road to democracy. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy rejected these comments, saying in a statement released last night that all of the Tunisian president’s claims about Egypt were untrue. In a speech he delivered at the UN, Fahmy also said Egypt is facing economic and security challenges as well as “a terrorist campaign which aims to shake [Egypt's] stability.

Weekend Read: Two Pieces on the Westgate Mall Attacks

The New Yorker published a riveting set of interviews with survivors of the Westgate Mall attacks in Kenya earlier this week, in addition to a brief rumination on the death of Ghana’s famed poet and scholar Kofi Anoor, who was killed in the attacks.

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