Congressional Delegation Visits Sisi; Assured of Elections by Year's End
By POMED

A congressional delegation consisting of members of the Congressional Black Caucus, led by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), met with President Sisi for a conversation on Egypt’s future and Egypt's transitional roadmap.

Other delegates included Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX, Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), and several congressional aides. 

Topics included Egypt's dire economic conditions and the challenges posed to the country by poor infrastructure.

Additionally, Sisi insisted his government was making progress towards implementing the steps of the roadmap, and he assured the members of the delegation that parliamentary elections would be held by the end of the year. 

The same delegation met today with Defense Minister Col. Gen. Sedki Sobhi in order to discuss mutual concerns about stability and security in the region.

Turkey’s Imperial Fantasy
By Behlul Ozkan - NYT

Mr. Davutoglu fervently believed that the Arab Spring had finally provided Turkey with a historic opportunity to put these ideas into practice. He predicted that the overthrown dictatorships would be replaced with Islamic regimes, thus creating a regional “Muslim Brotherhood belt” under Turkey’s leadership.

In the late 1990s, as Turkey was reeling from various political and economic crises, there was a nationwide debate over European Union membership and whether Turkish accession to the union would solve the country’s problems.

Obama Hints at Legal Rationale for Airstrikes in Syria
By Colum Lynch - FP

President Barack Obama made three things clear at a news conference on Thursday: A military strike on Islamic State fighters in Syria is not imminent; the commander in chief doesn't need Congress's permission to act; and if the United States strikes, it'll be in the nation's self-defense.

It's that last point that may be the most important, as administration officials are grappling with a legal justification for launching airstrikes inside a country whose government hasn't explicitly given permission to do so. "I don't see any scenario in which Assad is able to bring peace and stability" to areas controlled by the Islamic State in Syria, Obama said on Thursday, Aug. 28, effectively making the argument that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot contain the terrorist threat.

U.S. Seeks Coalition Against Islamic State, but Military Partners No Sure Bet
By Reuters

The United States is intensifying its push to build an international campaign against Islamic State jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria, including recruiting partners for potential joint military action, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday.

Britain and Australia are potential candidates, U.S. officials said. Germany said on Wednesday it was in talks with the United States and other international partners about possible military action against Islamic State but made clear it would not participate.

Egypt Loses Human Rights Pioneer ‘Seif’
By Joe Stork - HRW

Egypt has just lost one of its human rights pioneers, and Human Rights Watch has lost a dear friend, with the passing of Ahmed Seif Al Islam on August 27, 2014, following his hospitalization for heart ailments. Seif – as his friends in the movement usually addressed him – was a founder and long-time director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC), named after another early human rights activist who died at a tragically young age.

Seif, a human rights lawyer, was on the legal defense team in numerous high-profile trials of human rights, labor, and more broadly political activists in the Hosni Mubarak years, but he was above all an activist himself. The HMLC was more often than not the coordinating center for planning peaceful demonstrations and then, invariably, for deploying lawyers to various detention centers in response to the usual mass arrests that followed such events. Their office on a six-floor walk-up in Bab al-Luq (the elevator more often than not was inoperable) was close to the main courthouse, the General Prosecutor’s office, and the Lawyers Syndicate, and was Cairo’s networking site par excellence, even with the advent of social media. This was the case for instance when security forces raided the HMLC offices on the morning of February 3, 2011, and arrested Seif along with 30 other lawyers, activists, and human rights defenders gathered there, including then-Human Rights Watch researcher Dan Williams.


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