Brotherhood’s Grasp of Egypt Slips

Posted: Jul 06, 2013 12:01 AM

South Korea-North Korea: Yonhap reported, "The two Koreas on Thursday, 4 July, agreed to hold working-level talks this weekend, 6 July, on reopening the Kaesong joint industrial complex."

The Ministry of Unification said that the government-to-government meeting will be held at Tongilgak, an administrative building on the North Korean side of Panmunjom at 10 a.m. on Saturday. (0100 GMT 6 July).

A three-member delegation from each side will attend the meeting.

Comment: The North responded positively and rapidly to the South Korean proposal for working level talks to reopen Kaesong. The North wanted business men to accompany government representatives, but the South insisted that government-to-government talks had to come before business.

The agreement resulted after North Korea dropped its insistence that the businessmen should be allowed to visit their plants before or during the government talks.

The North might be ready to do business again, but it has not reported the above agreement in any North Korean media. This could still come a cropper.

Syria: A new assault on two neighborhoods in Homs has begun. "Warplanes carried out two raids against the Khaldiyeh neighborhood of Homs, and both Khaldiyeh and the Old City were under heavy rocket fire producing the sound of explosions and plumes of smoke," the Syrian Observatory for Human Right reported.

Syria's foreign ministry said it "called on the Red Cross in cooperation with the Red Crescent to work to evacuate civilians trapped in the Old City of Homs," a source told state media.

The foreign ministry source told state TV that civilians in the city were being "used as human shields by armed terrorist groups."

Comment: The neighborhoods identified by the human rights group, Khaldiyeh and the Old City, are two that are known to be held by rebels. They are in the center of the city. Much of the surrounding area is under government control. The Old City is medieval in construction and contains some of the oldest Christian churches in existence.

The Syrian government is riding high in light of the replacement of Mursi in Egypt.

In the past week or two, Syrian press has dropped all mention of Hizballah participation in any combat.

Egypt: Actions by the new civilian administration to organize itself dominated political activity. Interim President Mansour took the oath of office at the Supreme Constitutional Court and sat for a photo op with the assembled judges. He said, "I swear to preserve the system of the republic, and respect the constitution and law, and guard the people's interests."

He appointed a former governor of the central bank as the interim prime minister. He announced that elections would be held soon, but did not specify a date.

A number of activists posted on Facebook a call for mobilization of a million-man march titled "Independence Friday". The march aims to support Defense Minister General Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi's decisions for forming a genuine national government.

Iman al-Mahdi, spokesperson for the Tamarrud (Rebel) Campaign, has announced the launching of a popular campaign, calling on all the Egyptian people to not leave the Al-Tahrir Square as of today and until the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

In an interview within the "Hadutha Masriyah [Egyptian Tale]" talk show on Al-Mihwar TV, Al-Mahdi added that the popular associations and all parties and organizational committees within the campaign will coordinate so as to provide breakfast meals during the month of Ramadan, gathering all factions of the Egyptian people throughout the month. (Note: Ramadan 2013 begins on the evening of 8 July and ends the evening of 7 August.

The Egyptian Bourse rose 7% on 4 July.

Backlash. Small confrontations have been occurred, particularly in outlying areas. Muslim Brotherhood members in Alexandria called for a million-man march to have Mursi reinstated. The Brotherhood refuses to accept Mursi's replacement.

Comment: The Brotherhood appears stunned by the Army's action. The security situation was manageable. Limited reporting indicates that all Egyptian field armies have deployed to major cities to prevent violence. The Army also has decapitated the Brotherhood, detaining many of its top leaders. The Brotherhood is likely to be outlawed again for suborning the constitutional order.

Friday after prayers will be the first major security test of the new administration.


China: The Foreign Ministry spokesperson said today, "China is closely following the latest developments in Egypt. China calls on all parties to refrain from violence and to try to resolve disagreements through peaceful negotiations. China respects the will and choice of the Egyptian people. The Chinese and Egyptian people have a long history of friendship, and cooperative relations will not be affected by events in the country."

Russia: On 4 July, the Russian Federation president's special representative for the Middle East, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister M.L. Bogdanov, received the ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Moscow, M. al-Dib, at his request.

In the course of the discussion, an exchange of opinions took place on recent events in Egypt.

M.L. Bogdanov confirmed the Russian side's principled course for maintaining and strengthening the historical relationship of friendship and equal cooperation binding Russia and Egypt and readiness to render the requisite assistance to the Egyptian people in tackling the tasks of democratic renewal and economic development.

Comment: The Russians call Mursi's replacement a democratic renewal. They also have announced food aid to Egypt. The Russians and Chinese are keen at recognizing and acting quickly to exploit opportunities for poaching at American expense.

Turkey: Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday described the ousting of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as unacceptable. "A leader who came to power with the support of the people can only be removed through elections. It is unacceptable for democratically elected leaders, for whatever reason, to be toppled through illegal means, even a coup."

Comment: Davutoglu's statement is less a comment on Egypt than a warning to the Turkish General Staff.

Generally, the Arab monarchies support the new Egyptian government. Elected Muslim governments, including Iran and Malaysia, are hostile. Indonesia, a secular government in a Muslim country, is supportive. What is curious is the hostility or ambivalence of mainstream news outlets and the stated opposition of most Western governments.

Attitudes towards the US are uniformly hostile, particularly to the US Ambassador who spoke in public on 30 June against the anti-Mursi demonstrations. That speech is cited often as the reason for hostility to the US by the Tamarrud members. Large posters of the Ambassador have her face X'ed out in red paint. The US government has limited influence with Tamarrud which believes the US propped up Mursi. The ambassador should be considered not safe in Cairo.

As for the Brotherhood and the Salafis, they are convinced that the US Army is responsible for the "coup," because of its connections with the Egyptian Army.

End of NightWatch


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