State of Emergency to End in Egypt
The interim Egyptian government has finally decided to lift the state of emergency in Egypt. Egypt has been under emergency law since security forces forcibly dispersed hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters from sit-ins in mid-August. The law granted the interim government the right to make arrests without warrants and was used to round up and arrest high ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many in Egypt and around the world feared that the state of emergency could become a permanent fixture, as it was under Mubarak for nearly 30 years. The decision to end the state of emergency will also end the state curfew, which many have blamed for hurting an already-struggling economy. The decision has been lauded by both US officials and political parties within Egypt like the April 6 Youth Movement.
Egypt, Russia and the Military
Russian diplomats will meet with Defense Minister Abdel Fatah el-Sisi this week, according to a military source. Russia’s own defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, is arriving in Cairo today to discuss military cooperation between the two countries. The meeting may result in an important arms deal, as Egypt looks for a replacement for US military aid, which is partially suspended.
Obama Administration Still Committed to Iran Talks
Despite some recent setbacks, the Obama administration says it is still committed to continuing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. The White House also warned US lawmakers in Congress who are pushing for tougher sanctions against Iran that their actions could lead to war. Spokesperson John Carney reiterated the administration’s commitment to diplomatic talks and stressed the dire consequences of diplomatic failure. Secretary of State John Kerry called Congress’ idea to pursue further sanctions a “mistake,” adding: “The time to oppose it is when you see what it is, not to oppose the effort to find out what is possible.”
Majority of Egyptians Support Anti-Terrorism Act, Law to Check Protests
The Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research has released a new poll that reveals public support for two controversial laws. According to the poll, which surveyed a group of 2000 people over the age of 18, 62 percent support the anti-terrorism act, while 57 percent agree with a new law drafted to limit protests and monitor social media. The anti-terrorism law will give security forces sweeping powers that include access to bank accounts and deposits.
Morsi to Address the Nation?
According to Osama Morsi, son of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi has a message for Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party website posted a statement saying that the message will address the contemporary problems facing Egypt. Morsi’s defense spokesperson has also announced that he will relay Morsi’s speech to the people. Morsi’s message was apparently recorded during the defense team’s visit to Morsi at the Borg el-Arab prison near Alexandria.