Qatar Press Putting Blame On US for Sponsoring Anti-Islamist Violence In Egypt

[UC Berkeley produced the evidence for the son of the Fat Pig of Qatar, who is hoping to use it to disrupt Obama’s Plan B, or C for Egypt (or perhaps D or F?), in order to embarass him like the Arab sheikh was recently embarrassed by him (SEE: Obama Overthrows Fat Pig of Qatar, Without Firing A Shot ).  There is no known way to expose Riyadh in a similar manner, simply because the world doesn’t have access to the records of the Saudi bureaucracy (SEE:  Saudis Scramble To Help Obama Recover from Syrian Embarrassment, Blamed On Qatar).  This does shine a light of Obama’s bloody hands in this latest anti-Democracy reaction by the Egyptian millitary.  He is just as guilty for those deaths as the Egyptian military man who passed-down Obama and Abdullah’s orders to launch the crackdown on the demonstrators.]

Exclusive: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists

aljazeera

Documents reveal US money trail to Egyptian groups that pressed for president’s removal.

 Emad Mekay

Egyptian protesters tear down the US flag during a demonstration at the US Embassy in September 2012 [EPA]
Berkeley, United States – President Barack Obama recently stated the United States was not taking sides as Egypt’s crisis came to a head with the military overthrow of the democratically elected president.

But a review of dozens of US federal government documents shows Washington has quietly funded senior Egyptian opposition figures who called for toppling of the country’s now-deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

Documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley show the US channeled funding through a State Department programme to promote democracy in the Middle East region. This programme vigorously supported activists and politicians who have fomented unrest in Egypt, after autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February 2011.

The State Department’s programme, dubbed by US officials as a “democracy assistance” initiative, is part of a wider Obama administration effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists, and to win back influence in Arab Spring countries that saw the rise of Islamists, who largely oppose US interests in the Middle East.

 

Activists bankrolled by the programme include an exiled Egyptian police officer who plotted the violent overthrow of the Morsi government, an anti-Islamist politician who advocated closing mosques and dragging preachers out by force, as well as a coterie of opposition politicians who pushed for the ouster of the country’s first democratically elected leader, government documents show.

Make a road bump with a broken palm tree to stop the buses going into Cairo, and drench the road around it with gas and diesel. When the bus slows down for the bump, set it all ablaze so it will burn down with all the passengers inside … God bless.

Omar Afifi Soliman, US-funded anti-Morsi activist

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington’s “democracy assistance” may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding.

It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers’ money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments.

‘Bureau for Democracy’

Washington’s democracy assistance programme for the Middle East is filtered through a pyramid of agencies within the State Department. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars is channeled through the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), USAID, as well as the Washington-based, quasi-governmental organisation the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

In turn, those groups re-route money to other organisations such as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House, among others. Federal documents show these groups have sent funds to certain organisations in Egypt, mostly run by senior members of anti-Morsi political parties who double as NGO activists.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative – launched by the George W Bush administration in 2002 in a bid to influence politics in the Middle East in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks – has spent close to $900m on democracy projects across the region, a federal grants database shows.

USAID manages about $1.4bn annually in the Middle East, with nearly $390m designated for democracy promotion, according to the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED).

The US government doesn’t issue figures on democracy spending per country, but Stephen McInerney, POMED’s executive director, estimated that Washington spent some $65m in 2011 and $25m in 2012. He said he expects a similar amount paid out this year.

A main conduit for channeling the State Department’s democracy funds to Egypt has been the National Endowment for Democracy. Federal documents show NED, which in 2011 was authorised an annual budget of $118m by Congress, funneled at least $120,000 over several years to an exiled Egyptian police officer who has for years incited violence in his native country.

This appears to be in direct contradiction to its Congressional mandate, which clearly states NED is to engage only in “peaceful” political change overseas.

Exiled policeman

Colonel Omar Afifi Soliman – who served in Egypt’s elite investigative police unit, notorious for human rights abuses – began receiving NED funds in 2008 for at least four years.

During that time he and his followers targeted Mubarak’s government, and Soliman later followed the same tactics against the military rulers who briefly replaced him. Most recently Soliman set his sights on Morsi’s government.

Soliman, who has refugee status in the US, was sentenced in absentia last year for five years imprisonment by a Cairo court for his role in inciting violence in 2011 against the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia, two US allies.

He also used social media to encourage violent attacks against Egyptian officials, according to court documents and a review of his social media posts.

US Internal Revenue Service documents reveal thatNED paid tens of thousands of dollars to Soliman through an organisation he created called Hukuk Al-Nas (People’s Rights), based in Falls Church, Virginia. Federal forms show he is the only employee.

After he was awarded a 2008 human rights fellowship at NED and moved to the US, Soliman received a second $50,000 NED grant in 2009 for Hukuk Al-Nas. In 2010, he received $60,000 and another $10,000 in 2011.

In an interview with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Soliman reluctantly admitted he received US government funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, but complained it wasn’t enough. “It is like $2000 or $2,500 a month,” he said. “Do you think this is too much? Obama wants to give us peanuts. We will not accept that.”

Join the discussion. #EgyptSpeaks

NED has removed public access to its Egyptian grant recipients in 2011 and 2012 from its website. NED officials didn’t respond to repeated interview requests.

‘Pro bono advice’

NED’s website says Soliman spreads only nonviolent literature, and his group was set up to provide “immediate, pro bono legal advice through a telephone hotline, instant messaging, and other social networking tools”.

However, in Egyptian media interviews, social media posts and YouTube videos, Soliman encouraged the violent overthrow of Egypt’s government, then led by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

“Incapacitate them by smashing their knee bones first,” he instructed followers on Facebook in late June, as Morsi’s opponents prepared massive street rallies against the government. Egypt’s US-funded and trainedmilitary later used those demonstrations to justify its coup on July 3.

“Make a road bump with a broken palm tree to stop the buses going into Cairo, and drench the road around it with gas and diesel. When the bus slows down for the bump, set it all ablaze so it will burn down with all the passengers inside … God bless,” Soliman’s post read.

In late May he instructed, “Behead those who control power, water and gas utilities.”

Soliman removed several older social media posts after authorities in Egypt took notice of his subversive instructions, court documents show.

Egyptian women supporters of ousted president Morsi [EPA]

More recent Facebook instructions to his 83,000 followers range from guidelines on spraying roads with a mix of auto oil and gas – “20 liters of oil to 4 liters of gas”- to how to thwart cars giving chase.

On a YouTube video, Soliman took credit for a failed attempt in December to storm the Egyptian presidential palace with handguns and Molotov cocktails to oust Morsi.

“We know he gets support from some groups in the US, but we do not know he is getting support from the US government. This would be news to us,” said an Egyptian embassy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Funding other Morsi opponents

Other beneficiaries of US government funding are also opponents of the now-deposed president, some who had called for Morsi’s removal by force.

The Salvation Front main opposition bloc, of which some members received US funding, has backed street protest campaigns that turned violent against the elected government, in contradiction of many of the State Department’s own guidelines.

A longtime grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy and other US democracy groups is a 34-year old Egyptian woman, Esraa Abdel-Fatah, who sprang to notoriety during the country’s pitched battle over the new constitution in December 2012.

She exhorted activists to lay siege to mosques and drag from pulpits all Muslim preachers and religious figures who supported the country’s the proposed constitution, just before it went to a public referendum.

The act of besieging mosques has continued ever since, and several people have died in clashes defending them.

Federal records show Abdel-Fatah’s NGO, the Egyptian Democratic Academy, received support from NED, MEPI and NDI, among other State Department-funded groups “assisting democracy”. Records show NED gave her organisation a one-year $75,000 grant in 2011.

We were told by the Americans that if we see big street protests that sustain themselves for a week, they will reconsider all current US policies towards the Muslim Brotherhood regime.

Saaddin Ibrahim, Egyptian-American politician opposed to Morsi

 

Abdel-Fatah is politically active, crisscrossing Egypt to rally support for her Al-Dostor Party, which is led by former UN nuclear chief Mohamed El-Baradei, the most prominent figure in the Salvation Front. She lent full support to the military takeover, and urged the West not call it a “coup”.

“June 30 will be the last day of Morsi’s term,” she told the press a few weeks before the coup took place.

US taxpayer money has also been sent to groups set up by some of Egypt’s richest people, raising questions about waste in the democracy programme.

Michael Meunier is a frequent guest on TV channels that opposed Morsi. Head of the Al-Haya Party, Meunier – a dual US-Egyptian citizen – has quietly collected US funding through his NGO, Hand In Hand for Egypt Association.

Meunier’s organisation was founded by some of the most vehement opposition figures, including Egypt’s richest man and well-known Coptic Christian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, Tarek Heggy, an oil industry executive, Salah Diab, Halliburton’s partner in Egypt, and Usama Ghazali Harb, a politician with roots in the Mubarak regime and a frequent US embassy contact.

Meunier has denied receiving US assistance, but government documents show USAID in 2011 granted his Cairo-based organisation $873,355. Since 2009, it has taken in $1.3 million from the US agency.

Meunier helped rally the country’s five million Christian Orthodox Coptic minority, who oppose Morsi’s Islamist agenda, to take to the streets against the president on June 30.

Reform and Development Party member Mohammed Essmat al-Sadat received US financial support through his Sadat Association for Social Development, a grantee of The Middle East Partnership Initiative.

The federal grants records and database show in 2011 Sadat collected $84,445 from MEPI “to work with youth in the post-revolutionary Egypt”.

Sadat was a member of the coordination committee, the main organising body for the June 30 anti-Morsi protest. Since 2008, he has collected $265,176 in US funding. Sadat announced he will be running for office again in upcoming parliamentary elections.

After soldiers and police killed more than 50 Morsi supporters on Monday, Sadat defended the use of force and blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, saying it used women and children as shields.

Some US-backed politicians have said Washington tacitly encouraged them to incite protests.

“We were told by the Americans that if we see big street protests that sustain themselves for a week, they will reconsider all current US policies towards the Muslim Brotherhood regime,” said Saaddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American politician opposed Morsi.

Ibrahim’s Ibn Khaldoun Center in Cairo receives US funding, one of the largest recipients of democracy promotion money in fact.

His comments followed statements by other Egyptian opposition politicians claiming they had been prodded by US officials to whip up public sentiment against Morsi before Washington could publicly weigh in.

Democracy programme defence

The practice of funding politicians and anti-government activists through NGOs was vehemently defended by the State Department and by a group of Washington-based Middle East experts close to the programme.

Symbolic coffins for the more than 50 people killed Monday [EPA]

“The line between politics and activism is very blurred in this country,” said David Linfield, spokesman for the US Embassy in Cairo.

Others said the United States cannot be held responsible for activities by groups it doesn’t control.

“It’s a very hot and dynamic political scene,” said Michelle Dunne, an expert at the Atlantic Council think-tank. Her husband, Michael Dunne, was given a five-year jail sentence in absentia by a Cairo court for his role in political funding in Egypt.

“Just because you give someone some money, you cannot take away their freedom or the position they want to take,” said Dunne.

Elliot Abrams, a former official in the administration of George W. Bush and a member of the Working Group on Egypt that includes Dunne, denied in an email message that the US has paid politicians in Egypt, or elsewhere in the Middle East.

“The US does not provide funding for parties or ‘local politicians’ in Egypt or anywhere else,” said Abrams. “That is prohibited by law and the law is scrupulously obeyed by all US agencies, under careful Congressional oversight.”

But a State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, said American support for foreign political activists was in line with American principles.

“The US government provides support to civil society, democracy and human rights activists around the world, in line with our long-held values, such as respecting the fundamental human rights of free speech, peaceful assembly, and human dignity,” the official wrote in an email. “US outreach in Egypt is consistent with these principles.”

A Cairo court convicted 43 local and foreign NGO workers last month on charges of illegally using foreign funds to stir unrest in Egypt. The US and UN expressed concern over the move.

Out of line

Some Middle East observers suggested the US’ democracy push in Egypt may be more about buying influence than spreading human rights and good governance.

Egyptians celebrate in Tahrir Square after Morsi’s removal [AFP]

“Funding of politicians is a problem,” said Robert Springborg, who evaluated democracy programmes for the State Department in Egypt, and is now a professor at the National Security Department of the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California.

“If you run a programme for electoral observation, or for developing media capacity for political parties, I am not against that. But providing lots of money to politicians – I think that raises lots of questions,” Springborg said.

Some Egyptians, meanwhile, said the US was out of line by sending cash through its democracy programme in the Middle East to organisations run by political operators.

“Instead of being sincere about backing democracy and reaching out to the Egyptian people, the US has chosen an unethical path,” said Esam Neizamy, an independent researcher into foreign funding in Egypt, and a member of the country’s Revolutionary Trustees, a group set up to protect the 2011 revolution.

“The Americans think they can outsmart lots of people in the Middle East. They are being very hostile against the Egyptian people who have nothing but goodwill for them – so far,” Neizamy said.

Emad Mekay is a journalist with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, which conducted this investigation

Erdogan Proves Himself To Be Both An Imbecile and Hostile To Democracy, Threatening Lawsuits Over Letter In the Times

A LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY in a full-page letter published July 24 in the British broadsheet The Times

SYRIAN FREE PRESS NETWORK
A group of internationally renowned artists and scholars condemned the Turkish authorities’ heavy-handed crackdown on the Gezi Park protests in a full-page letter published July 24 in the British broadsheet The Times, addressed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

 

sean-penn 2

 

The signatories, including figures known for their activism such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley and movie director David Lynch, described the Turkish government as “a dictatorial rule” and slammed Erdoğan’s uncompromising stance regarding the protesters’ demands.

 

the-times-24-july-ad-letter-to-the-prime-minister-of-turkey1

 

The letter reads:

 

Dear Mr. Erdogan,
 
We, the undersigned, write this letter to most vigorously condemn the heavy-handed clamp down of your police forces on the peaceful protestors at Taksim Square and Gezi Park in Istanbul, as well as in other major cities of Turkey, which, according to the Turkish Media Association, has left 5 people dead, 11 blinded-due to indiscriminate use of pepper gas, and over 8000 injured.
 
Yet, only days after clearing Taksim Square and Gezi Park relying on untold brutal force, you held a meeting in Istanbul, reminiscent of the Nuremberg Rally, with total disregard for the five dead whose only crime was to oppose your dictatorial rules. There are more journalist languishing in your prisons than the combined number of China and Iran. Moreover, you described these protestors as tramps, looters and hooligans, even alleging they were foreign-led terrorists. Whereas, in reality, they were nothing but youngsters wanting Turkey to Remain a Secular Republic as designed by its founder Kemal Ataturk.
 
Finally, while you aspire to make your country a member of EU, you refute all criticism leveled at you by its leaders, on grounds of Turkey being a Sovereign State. Notwithstanding, may we respectfully remind you, on grounds of the Convention signed on 9 August 1949, Turkey is a member of Council of Europe, and by virtue of ratifying the Europe Court of Human Rights. Consequently, your orders which led to deaths of five innocent youths, might well constitute a Case to Answer, in Strasbourg.
Man is hit by a jet of water as riot police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Turkey's PM Erdogan and his ruling AKP in central Ankara
The Gezi Park protests in Turkey began when on May 28 2013 the plans of replacing Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the historic Taksim Military Barracks (demolished in 1940) with the possibility of housing a shopping mall became known. The protests developed into riots when a group occupying the park was attacked by police. The subjects of the protests have since broadened beyond the development of Taksim Gezi Park, developing into wider anti-government demonstrations. The protests have also spread to other cities in Turkey, and protests have been seen in other countries with significant Turkish communities.
On May 31 2013, police suppressed the protesters with tear gas, arrested at least 60 people and injured hundreds. The police action received wide attention online. 5 men died in the clashes between the police and the protesters, more than 7,500 people were injured and about 5,000 of people were arrested. By the data provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey, about 2,5 million people from 79 regions took part in the anti-government demonstrations held in Turkey.
Source | Compiled from various resources
“Tayyip Istifa” WE SUPPORT YOU PEOPLE OF TURKEY
As thousands and thousands call for the government of Erdogan to resign, the police react with brutality. “You brought this on yourself Erdogan! RESIGN ALREADY!”

 

erdogan

 

TURKISH PM ERDOGAN THREATENS TO SUE TIMES OVER OPEN LETTER …

 

Turkey’s prime minister has threatened legal action against a UK newspaper for publishing an open letter criticising his handling of recent protests.

 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Times of “renting out its pages for money”.

 

Hollywood celebrities and academics were among those who signed the letter this week accusing Turkey’s government of “dictatorial rule”.

 

A row over a park in Istanbul last month triggered widespread anti-government protests.

 

At least four people were killed and thousands more injured as police cracked down on demonstrators who accused Mr Erdogan of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

 

“The press wants to throw mud to see if it sticks,” Mr Erdogan told reporters in comments broadcast on Turkey’s NTV channel.

 

“The Times is renting out its own pages for money. This is the Times’ failing. We will pursue legal channels regarding the Times.”

 

Anti-government protesters in Taksim, Istanbul. 20 July 2013.

 

Mr Erdogan has referred to the anti-government protesters as “thugs” Mr Erdogan said those who signed the letter – taken out as an full-page advertisement – had “rented out their thoughts” and did not genuinely support democracy.

 

“If they truly believed in democracy, they couldn’t have displayed such a lack of character to call the leader of a party that won 50% of the vote a dictator,” the prime minister said.

 

The Times has so far not commented on the remarks.

 

The open letter was signed by 30 people including Turkish pianist Fazil Say, US film stars Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, film director David Lynch and British historian David Starkey.

 

They condemned the crackdown on anti-government protesters and compared giant pro-government rallies – organised by Mr Erdogan’s AKP party to counter the protests – to the huge rallies staged in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

 

The wave of unrest in Turkey was sparked by demonstrations against controversial plans to redevelop Istanbul’s Gezi Park.

 

The authorities’ heavy-handed response sparked anti-government protests nationwide.

 

 

Legal action will be started against the British daily The Times, Turkish PM says

26 July 2013

erdogan-carte
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said legal action would be taken against British daily The Times and those who wrote an open letter ad criticizing him for Turkish police violence during the Gezi Park unrest in Turkey.
“These are people who have rented out their minds. If they were sincere about democracy they would not act so immorally as to call a prime minister who was elected by receiving 50 percent of the vote a dictator,” Erdoğan said today in Istanbul.
Erdoğan said those who had signed the letter did not know him truly.
“There are such media groups in Turkey that do every [kind of defamation.] How can they defame us when they are jailed? They [the signers] are doing it because they do not know Turkey. The Times rents its page, this is their lack of morality,” Erdoğan added.
A group of internationally renowned artists and scholars condemned the Turkish authorities’ heavy-handed crackdown on the Gezi Park protests in the full-page letter published July 24 in British broadsheet The Times, addressed to Erdoğan.
The signatories, including figures known for their activism such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley and movie director David Lynch, described the Turkish government as “a dictatorial rule” and slammed Erdoğan’s uncompromising stance regarding the protesters’ demands.
The prime minister’s orders “led to the deaths of five innocent youths,” the letter said, adding that he might be called to render account to the European Court of Human Rights for the police’s violence.
They also compared the counter-rallies organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the annual Nuremberg rallies organized by the Nazis.
“Only days after clearing Taksim Square and Gezi Park relying on untold brutal force, you held a meeting in Istanbul, reminiscent of the Nuremberg Rally, with total disregard for the five dead whose only crime was to oppose your dictatorial rule,” the letter said.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Hüseyin Çelik described the letter, which was penned by a list of famous figures, including actors and authors, as an example of “arrogance,” saying it “was served to them [the writers] by those inside the country.”
Çelik also accused the celebrities of “ignoring” the situation in Syria and events in Egypt, and of harboring anti-AKP feelings.
“The answers that need to be given will be given. This is extremely arrogant and out of place behavior. We strongly refute and condemn it,” Çelik said.
The letter also emphasized that more journalists were imprisoned in Turkey than in Iran and China combined. “Moreover, you described these protesters as tramps, looters and hooligans, even alleging they were foreign-led terrorists. Whereas, in reality, they were nothing but youngsters wanting Turkey to remain a Secular Republic as designed by its founder Kemal Atatürk,” the letter added.
Andrew Mango, the biographer of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and Fazıl Say, a Turkish pianist who was recently sentenced for blasphemy after tweeting several lines attributed to a poet, were also among the signatories.
Other signatories included: Irish novelist Edna O’Brien, British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, British actress Vanessa Redgrave, British film director of Turkish origin Fuad Kavur, Hungarian cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and American freelance journalist and writer Claire Berlinski.
26 July 2013 |  Hurriyet Daily News

Over 100 killed’ As Standard Saudi Bloodthirsty Solution To the Brotherhood Plays Out In Cairo

[SEE:  Egyptian Army On Countdown To Bahraini Solution]

Egypt crisis: ‘Scores killed’ at Cairo protest

BBC

Injured Morsi supporter treated at field hospital

Violence at protest in Cairo, 27 July

Violence at protest in Cairo, 27 July

 

The BBC’s Jim Muir: “The casualties are mounting”

More than 100 people are reported to have been killed in Cairo at a protest being held by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

A doctor at a field hospital close to the protest at the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque told the BBC that more than 1,000 people had also been injured.

The health ministry put the death toll at 20, with 177 wounded.

Both pro- and anti-Morsi supporters had been holding huge protests overnight in the capital.

Many thousands occupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square in support of the army, which removed Mr Morsi from office earlier this month.

Army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had urged people to take to the streets to give the military a mandate for its intervention.

It is not clear whether the clashes around the mosque represented a concerted effort by the security forces to clear the area.

Early on Saturday, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim had vowed to end the sit-in at the mosque.

He said local residents had complained about the encampment and that the protest would be “brought to an end soon and in a legal manner”.

The minister said the prosecutor would issue an order, but this has yet to happen.

Tens of thousands of Morsi supporters remain camped in the protest zone.

Continue reading the main story

At the scene

image of Quentin Sommerville Quentin Sommerville BBC News, Cairo

There are pools of blood all over the field hospital. Many of the injured are in bad shape. Some have parts of their head missing – taken out by bullets.

The doctor here, Hesham Ibrahim, says that in the past eight hours more than 100 have been killed – most by bullet wounds to the head and chest. We saw many such wounds. More that 1,000 injured people are here, the doctor says.

The battle has been raging since last night and all morning. The air is thick with tear gas and people are vomiting.

They closed the doors here at the hospital as they could not accept more wounded, but the ambulances were still arriving.

It appears the violence began after some of the supporters tried to block a main road in the area overnight and security forces responded.

State news agency Mena quoted a security official as saying that live fire had not been used, only tear gas.

The official said security forces had been trying to stop fighting between rival sides and that eight security personnel had been injured.

But Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad told Reuters news agency: “They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill.”

A senior Brotherhood politician, Saad el-Hosseini, told the agency that this was an attempt by security forces to clear the mosque area.

“I have been trying to make the youth withdraw for five hours. I can’t. They are saying they have paid with their blood and they do not want to retreat,” he said.

Our correspondent says the pro-Morsi supporters are furious about the role the military is taking, and in particular Gen Sisi, who they say is killing Egyptians.

There has also been violence in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria, where at least 10 people have been killed in clashes between rival factions.

 

A car burns during overnight protests in the Nasr city area east of Cairo A car burns during overnight protests in the Nasr city area, east of Cairo

Mr Morsi has now been formally accused of conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and has strong links with the Muslim Brotherhood.

He is alleged to have plotted attacks on jails in the 2011 uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Morsi and several Muslim Brotherhood leaders were freed during a breakout at a Cairo prison in January 2011.

Mr Morsi is to be questioned for an initial 15-day period, a judicial order said.

The order issued on Friday was the first official statement on Mr Morsi’s legal status since he was overthrown and placed in custody at an undisclosed location.

Syria Opposition Leaders Meet UN Security Council

Syria Opposition Leaders Meet UN Security Council

The leader of Syria's Western-backed opposition group Ahmad Al-Jarba (C) speaks to reporters after an informal Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, July 26, 2013 at United Nations headquarters.

The leader of Syria’s Western-backed opposition group Ahmad Al-Jarba (C) speaks to reporters after an informal Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, July 26, 2013 at United Nations headquarters.

Margaret Besheer
UNITED NATIONS — Leaders of Syria’s main opposition coalition have told the United Nations Security Council they are dedicated to democracy and oppose extremism.British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who convened Friday’s meeting, said a key focus of the talks was finding ways to end Syria’s brutal civil war and to help its victims.

“We heard a very positive message from President [Ahmad] al-Jarba, who made a very strong statement of commitment to the unity of Syria, to democracy and to plurality,” he said. “He condemned extremism and he rejected terrorism.”

Ahmad al-Jarba, the newly elected National Coalition of Syria president, led the Syrian opposition delegation to the meeting.

For months, the international community, and most recently the United States and Russia, have been working to get representatives from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, and the opposition, to meet in Geneva. The goal is to find a political solution to the two-year-old conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.

It would be a follow-up to a meeting a year ago, when participants agreed to what has become known as the Geneva Communiqué, which aims to start a dialogue between the two sides.

The communiqué calls for the formation of a transitional government. Western powers and the opposition say the language clearly excludes President Assad and his inner circle from being part of a transitional government. The Assad government and its main ally, Russia, disagree. The issue has been one of the main obstacles to holding what has become known as Geneva II.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he encourages the opposition to go to the talks without conditions, which he calls counterproductive.

“I regret that there is still an effort – an effort which I saw from leaders of National Coalition and also unfortunately some members of the Security Council – to complicate matters by starting interpreting various provisions of Geneva Communique in advance of the beginning of the negotiations. I mean this is an extremely complex political crisis,” he said.

Coalition President al-Jarba told reporters there needs to be more international pressure to force the Assad government to accept a political transition. Al-Jarba said he urges the council to get the Syrian government to accept the Geneva Communiqué and if it refuses, he said the council should impose targeted sanctions.

Al-Jarba was clear that the opposition is ready for a negotiated settlement, but only if it is based on the Geneva Communiqué – which still leaves the two sides far apart.

Saudis Offers Yemenis Work Visas and Cash, To Fight for Al-Nusra Front

Saudi Arabia sending Yemenite mercenaries to fight Assad

The mercenaries are designed to help the anti-government forces

Saudi Arabia is recruiting Yemenite mercenaries and sending them to help opposition forces fighting to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Western intelligence sources say the operation is being organized by the Kingdom’s general intelligence service, headed by former Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin-Sultan.

Israeli defense and intelligence analyst, Yossi Melman, revealed the information on i24news evening television program.

According to the sources, hundreds of Yemenite migrant workers whose visas have expired are being offered military training and pay in order to help out the rebel Free Syrian Army. They are also being promised that upon their return from Syria, they will be allowed to work in Saudi Arabia once again.

Their training is being provided by army and intelligence officers of the Pakistani intelligence service, SIS, which is known to have good ties with Saudi intelligence, Melman reported. The operation is being coordinated with the CIA, whose agents are also involved in training members of the Free Syrian Army in camps in Jordan.

The Yemenite mercenaries are reaching Syria through Turkey, whose intelligence services are also privy to the clandestine operation. The recruitment of the Yemenites is intended to provide a counter weight to the assistance that the Syrian regime is getting from Iran, Shiite militias in Iraq and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

Saudi Arabia is the leading provider of aid to the opposition in Syria, sending weapons and money.

Pushing the Pakistani Sectarian War Button—Suicide Bomb Takes 50 Souls

[SEE:  Parachinar–Pakistan’s Gaza Strip]

Parachinar suicide blasts death toll jumps to 50

Geo-TV

Parachinar suicide blasts death toll jumps to 50

PARACHINAR/KOHAT: The death toll from Friday night’s twin suicide blasts, which struck a busy market in Parachinar, which sits in the Kurram tribal area bordering Afghanistan, has jumped to 50, the political officials said.

Riaz Mehsud, Political Agent of Kurram Agency, said the suicide bombers came on motorbikes and blew themselves up in the Parachinar bazaar. He said around 400 persons were busy shopping for Iftar in the narrow roadside markets when the suicide blasts took place.

Riaz Mehsud, the political agent in Kurram agency, confirmed the latest death toll.

“One suicide bomber blew himself up first in one corner of the bazaar and a minute later the second bomber carried out the attack in another corner, causing widespread destruction,” he said.

He said all the injured had been shifted to the public sector Agency Headquarters Hospital in Parachinar where emergency had already been declared and all hospital staff called for duty.

“We received 72 injured persons and among them more than a dozen are in critical condition. We may shift them to Peshawar for better treatment,” said Dr Gul Hussain from Parachinar on phone.

A Parachinar resident Amjad Hussain said a large number of tribesmen were busy shopping mostly for eatables for breaking their fast when the blast took place. “I saw people running for their lives when the first blast took place in one corner of the bazaar. Just then another blast occurred. The next thing I saw were human bodies and the injured lying all over the place,” he recalled. He said the local people shifted the injured to the hospital on self-help basis.

Another local tribesman, Gulfat Hussain said many people died before they could be shifted to hospital due to lack of immediate medical care. “Announcements were made from loudspeakers in the mosques appealing to the people to come to hospital and donate blood for the injured people,” he said.

Heavy contingent of security forces rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area after the blast.Meanwhile, a communique by commissioner Kohat Division stated that 34 persons were killed and more than 80 were injured in the twin suicide blasts in Parachinar.

Earlier, two persons were killed and seven others sustained injuries when a double-cabin pickup vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Kharpati area in lower Kurram Agency on Friday.

The sources said the vehicle carrying passengers was heading to Parachinar when it was targeted with an IED planted along the roadside.

 

Parachinar, inhabited by Shias like the rest of upper Kurram Agency, has suffered terrorist attacks in the past as well.

For almost four years, the main road from Thall to Parachinar was blocked due to the attacks by Pakistani Taliban militants and passengers had to use the Afghanistan route to drive to Torkham before entering Pakistan.

The road was eventually opened by the security forces, but the passenger vehicles still need a security escort to pass safely through the Sunni-populated lower Kurram valley where some of the militants are still operating.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shaukatullah directed the commissioner Kohat and political agent Kurram Agency to provide better medical treatment to the victims of the twin blasts in Parachinar.

Meanwhile, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), through one of its front organisations, claimed responsibility for the two bomb explosions in Parachinar.

Talking to reporters from an undisclosed location by phone, a spokesman for the proscribed TTP’s sub-network, Ansarul Mujahideen, said it was behind the bombings. The spokesman, Abu Baseer claimed responsibility for the twin blasts in Parachinar. “The suicide bombers of Ansarul Mujahideen carried out the twin suicide attacks in Parachinar on Friday and the target were members of the Shia community,” the spokesman claimed.

He said the attacks were carried out to seek revenge of alleged atrocities by the Shia community on Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq. “We have planned more similar attacks against the Shia community in Pakistan to seek revenge of the brutalities of Shia on Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq,” Abu Baseer warned.

APP adds from Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned the blasts in Parachinar that claimed 45 precious lives while injuring many others.The president expressed sympathies with the bereaved families and prayed for eternal peace of those who embraced martyrdom as a result of the terrorist activity.