The Middle East Channel

Egyptian court overturns Morsi’s dismissal of top prosecutor

An Egyptian appeals court has ordered the reinstatement of a top prosecutor, Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, who was appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Mahmoud was dismissed by President Mohamed Morsi in his controversial November 2012 constitutional declaration, and Morsi appointed Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah to replace him. After sweeping protests, Morsi rescinded his decree, which would ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

An Egyptian appeals court has ordered the reinstatement of a top prosecutor, Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, who was appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Mahmoud was dismissed by President Mohamed Morsi in his controversial November 2012 constitutional declaration, and Morsi appointed Talaat Ibrahim Abdullah to replace him. After sweeping protests, Morsi rescinded his decree, which would have exempted him from judicial oversight; Abdullah offered to resign. However, he quickly withdrew his resignation, saying he was pressured to step down, and the decisions issued with the November decree were protected by the constitution passed in December 2012. A senior Egyptian official in the office of the Attorney General said the matter is not settled and the government will appeal to the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest court. The events are stoking what has been a continuing feud between Morsi, and his Islamist government, and the judiciary.

Syria

Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib represented the war-torn country at the Arab League summit on Tuesday, deepening the isolation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian opposition spokesman Yaser Tabbara said, "It’s a first step towards acquiring full legal legitimacy." The Arab League committed military support to the opposition forces and expressed some of its toughest statements yet against Assad. In his remarks, Khatib said the opposition was waiting for a decision from NATO on requests for a Patriot missile system similar to what is installed on the Turkish border. However, responding to Khatib, a NATO official said: "NATO has no intention to intervene militarily in Syria." Additionally, the White House maintained that the missile system is for defensive purposes only, and that NATO would not become a belligerent force in the Syrian conflict. Khatib said he was surprised after receiving the White House comment "that it was not possible to increase the range of the Patriot missiles to protect the Syrian people." He added that he was concerned that "this will be a message to the Syrian regime telling it ‘Do what you want.’" Meanwhile, Assad sent an appeal to the BRICS economic forum, meeting in South Africa, for help in ending the conflict in Syria. In a letter to the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), Assad said Syria is being subjected to "acts of terrorism backed by Arab, regional and Western nations."

Headlines

  • A Saudi Arabian prosecutor has demanded the death penalty for Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, whose arrest in July 2012 lead to violent protests. He was charged with "aiding terrorists" and "waging war on God."
  • A British appeal courts has rejected Home Secretary Theresa May’s latest attempt to overturn a ruling blocking the deportation of Islamic cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan over alleged involvement in terrorism plots.
  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said parliamentary elections are likely to be held in October, after elections he scheduled for April were canceled by Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court.
  • At the Arab League summit, Qatar’s emir proposed a $1 billion fund to help Palestinians in East Jerusalem and to preserve Jerusalem as the capital for a future Palestinian state. 

Arguments and Analysis

Yemen Policy Initiative (Atlantic Council and POMED)

"Dear President Obama:

With a new national security team now in place, this is an opportune moment to reevaluate US policy toward Yemen. US strategic interests must balance a number of complex priorities: stability in the Arabian Peninsula, the disruption of terrorist networks, secure waterways and access to oil, prevention of a humanitarian crisis, and genuine support for Yemen’s transition to democracy. As these challenges evolve, the US must emphasize the importance of Yemen as a stable, secure, and sustainable partner. Addressing long-term threats to US security-and not focusing primarily on acute, short-term threats-means that we must prioritize the humanitarian, economic, and political development of the Yemeni people. How we achieve that deserves far more discussion and debate.

We congratulate your administration, the US Embassy in Sana’a, the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on efforts to focus on long-term development and humanitarian needs and to shift funding allocations accordingly. Despite fiscal constraints, the US government has leveraged significant resources to support the implementation of the transition agreement and the National Dialogue process. USAID and other agencies are helping internally displaced persons and the country’s most vulnerable populations. We can be proud that the United States is the single largest contributor of humanitarian aid to Yemen. We also recognize and appreciate the efforts of many US officials to address the recommendations that many in this group advanced in a June 2012 letter.

These positive developments, however, are considerably hampered by the chronic and pervasive perception both here and in Yemen that the United States pursues its security interests with little regard to the strategy’s impact on Yemen itself. The perception that the United States is singularly focused on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is a symptom of this problem. Yemenis understand that AQAP is a threat to both Yemenis and Americans, and most recognize the need to confront those who plan and pledge to attack the United States. However, the current approach to combating these threats is proving itself counterproductive and in need of urgent reevaluation."

Peace Deal for Turkey (Mohammed Ayoob, Yale Global Online)

"A call for peace announced by the jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan on March 21 reverberated throughout the Middle East. The promised rapprochement between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish government may have set into motion what could be a game-changer in the Middle East. Syria, Iraq and Iran have significant Kurdish minorities concentrated in regions contiguous to one another. The nations have been targets of Kur
dish irredentism and, at times, used the Kurdish card to Turkey’s detriment when mutual relations, as is the case today with Syria and Iran, have been tense.

An accord with the leading rebel group Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, when combined with Ankara’s cozy relationship with the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq will provide Ankara greater leverage with its neighbors to the south and east as well as remove a major blot on Turkey’s democratic record."

 –By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey

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