At Least 19 People Killed in Stampede at Cairo Stadium
Egypt has suspended football matches indefinitely after 19 people were killed and 20 injured as security forces blocked fans from entering a Cairo stadium Sunday.
Egypt has suspended football league matches indefinitely after 19 people were killed and 20 injured, according to figures from the health ministry, as security forces blocked fans from entering a Cairo stadium Sunday. The public prosecutor’s office reported 22 people were killed. Police fired tear gas, as fans tried to force entry into the Air Defense Stadium to watch a football match between two Cairo clubs, Zamalek and ENPPI, causing the crowd to stampede. Egyptian authorities banned fans from attending matches after over 70 people were killed during riots at a game in Port Said in February 2012. The ban was partially lifted last week, though the Egyptian Football Federation said it had reversed the decision.
A suicide bombing killed up to 15 people during rush hour Monday in a predominantly Shiite district of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Another 45 people were estimated wounded. Meanwhile, John Allen, the coordinator for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State militants, said Iraqi forces would begin a major ground offensive in the coming weeks. The head of Jordan’s air force, General Mansour al-Jbour, said Sunday that Jordanian fighter jets had conducted 56 air raids in the past three days targeting Islamic State bases, logistics centers, weapons depots, as well as commanders and fighters.
- Talks resumed Monday between political factions in Yemen, following the Houthis’ move to set up an interim government, though one party walked out of negotiations.
- Egypt has set Feb. 12 as the retrial date for Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, following the release of Peter Greste and despite indications Fahmy would soon be deported.
- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday he could accept a fair nuclear deal as Foreign Minister Zarif said “we need to seize this opportunity” at a security conference in Munich.
- Security guards at the Hariga oil port began a strike Saturday, closing Libya’s last working export port other than two offshore fields.
Arguments and Analysis
‘How Many Fighters Does the Islamic State Really Have?’ (Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, War on the Rocks)
“The figure of 200,000 ISIL fighters advanced by Fuad Hussein includes support personnel (ansar), police-style security forces (hisba), local militias, border guards, paramilitary personnel associated with the group’s various security bodies (mukhabarat, assas, amniyat, and amn al-khas), and conscripts and trainees. The actual number of ISIL front-line and garrison fighters is much lower, which are divided between their regular forces (jund), the elite paramilitary (inghimasiyun, which alone may have up to 15,000 members), and death squad (dhabbihah) personnel. Unless one is able to objectively evaluate these bodies, merely throwing out raw numbers is meaningless.”
‘We are human rights defenders, but Bahrain says we’re terrorists’ (Sayed Alwadaei, The Guardian)
“At the beginning of the month the ministry of interior published a list of 72 persons whose citizenship was to be revoked. No trial, no appeal, no legal process – if your name is on that list, you are no longer a Bahraini. Recent amendments to the nationality law allow the state to revoke citizenship for those guilty of terrorism. About 50 of the named persons, myself included, are human rights defenders, political activists, journalists, doctors, religious scholars – peaceful activists. Most of us are now stateless. Among the reasons given for revoking our citizenship: ‘defaming the image of the regime, inciting against the regime and spreading false news to hinder the rules of the constitution’ and ‘defaming brotherly countries’.
Mixed in with our names were 20 real terrorists, people known to have gone to fight for Isis in Iraq and Syria, including notorious Bahraini jihadist preacher Turki Albinali. The message has never been clearer: the government of Bahrain views us, who advocate for democracy, human rights and change in Bahrain, as equals to the Jihadi-terrorists of Isis. We, who call for parliamentary reform and an end to torture, who call for the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings to be brought to justice, and who report on these events to the world – we are put on par with the barbaric murders of Muadh al-Kasasbeh.”
‘Engaging in Politics, Assad-Style’ (Yezid Sayigh, Carnegie Middle East Center)
“In private, some regime loyalists claim a ‘new moment’ has arrived of regime readiness for meaningful engagement with its Syrian and external interlocutors. But it is merely buying time. The Assad regime has set its eyes on a different goal: securing the restoration of direct political communications with the U.S. and at least tacit U.S. acceptance of the regime’s de facto control over Syria, without making substantive concessions in return. The regime’s calculation is simple: it anticipates that progress in the U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS in Iraq will weaken the organization in northeast Syria, and that the U.S. will then need a local partner to prevent ISIS from regrouping in its Syrian provinces in order to make a comeback in Iraq, as it did 2013-2014.”
— Mary Casey-Baker