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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.


COPTIC SOLIDARITY MEDIA RELEASE Oct. 10, 2011


Egyptian Military Attacks and Kills Peaceful Coptic Demonstrators

 

 

Coptic Solidarity strongly and unequivocally condemns the Egyptian army’s unprovoked attack and massacre of unarmed Copts that occurred on Sunday, October 09, 2011—an attack which reflects the deeply disturbing actions by Egypt’s military rulers to prevent the establishment of a free and democratic Egypt, and to avoid its duty to protect Egyptians, including the Coptic Christians.
The demonstration itself, in which Copts and other Egyptians participated, was a direct result of repeated attacks over the past months, especially the recent destruction of yet another church in Edfu, in which Copts were repeatedly attacked by Islamists without any perpetrator being brought to justice, a pattern that suggests complicity by the ruling Junta.
The unwarranted use of force by the military included opening live fire on demonstrators and even chasing after and intentionally running over Copts with armored vehicles and tanks (military equipment that was most likely provided by the U.S. military aid).  Authorities put the death toll of protesters at 25, though other sources offer significantly higher numbers. The wounded are reportedly in the hundreds. Scores of Copts have been randomly arrested.
Dr Emad Gad, a senior political analyst at the  Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, and an eyewitness of the events, said on El-Nile government TV station that the peaceful demonstrators were attacked by unprovoked military in such a way that amounts to “war crime” and “crime against humanity” putting the responsibility squarely on Tantawi’s shoulders. He was quickly shut up by the anchor.

 

 

Dr Mohamed Mounir Megahed, a well respected activist and participant in the demonstration, attested that it was, similar to previous demonstrations, very peaceful with no sign that demonstrators had the means or intention to use violence.
Nawara Nigm, a Muslim activist and a first hand witness, confirmed that the demonstration which included many women was peaceful, and that security forces shot live ammunition on unarmed people. She saw a soldier beating a young man after seeing that his arm was tattooed with a cross.
The Alliance of Revolutionary Youth accused the SCAF and the government of utter failure in handling the situation and the state-run TV of inciting sedition between the country’s communities.
During the events, military officials shut down two independent media, including US-funded Alhurra TV, apparently to prevent them from providing live coverage of the protests.
Such brutality comes days after nearly 20 members of the army’s military police were clandestinely videotaped beating, dragging, and kicking a Coptic protester—all while shouting anti-Christian slogans, such as “You infidel son of a bitch.”
Coptic Solidarity demands that, in the same way Mubarak is being tried for his responsibility in ordering attacks against civilians before his ouster, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, chief of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and Lt. General Hamdy Badeen, commander of the Military Police, be investigated to determine their responsibility for committing crimes against humanity and against the Egyptian people.
Coptic Solidarity strongly urges  that the international community, through the United Nations, lead an independent international investigation in the attack similar to what the UN ordered after an Israeli attack on Gaza.
Coptic Solidarity  (www.copticsolidarity.org)
P.O. Box 1450 Centreville, VA 20122, USA

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Australia    Ayad Grace (+61-2-9899-5740)


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