International parties exchange statements and counter-declarations. The Libyan situation is summarized in this scene during this period as following: each side tries to tell the other that it is capable of creating a new situation in Libya at any time in light of the Libyan fear of resuming the war again on their land. The Libyans are the only hidden element of the equation, although everyone speaks in their name.
The statements of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi about the possibility of the Egyptian army to enter the Libyan conflict in the event following the Libyan tribes’ reques, caused controversy through social networking sites in both Egypt and Libya.
Tweeters released #I declare my authorization for Al-Sisi and #I support the Egyptian Army to express their support for the decisions that the Egyptian President will take regarding intervention in Libya and their confidence in the capabilities of the Egyptian army to “defend the country at any time and place.”
On the other hand, many expressed their criticism of Egypt’s decision to interfere in Libya, considering that the Egyptian interest requires stability in Libya, and Egypt should be at the same distance from everyone. Bahi El Din Hassan, director of the Cairo Center for Human Rights, considered that the comments justifying the Egyptian interference in the Libyan affairs ignored some facts, including: “Al-Sisi’s military intervention in support of Haftar started years ago and is documented by United Nations reports, and Al-Sarraj’s call for Erdogan came because of the Egyptian, Emirati and Russian interference.”
In Libya, tweeters launched a tag: #Libya_greater_than the tribe, in which they criticized “the shortening of the Libyan people’s opinion to the tribal delegation who visited Egypt.” In this context, Mohamed Hassan said: “Indeed, the countries are not represented by tribes but represented by their internationally recognized legitimate government.” Muhammad Ahmed considered that: “Libya is not a tribe” and “the tribal slogans are over and are not usable.”
In the wake of this conference, the Egyptian parliament approved a decision allowing the deployment of armed military forces abroad to combat what it considered “criminal militia” and “foreign terrorist elements” in the “western strategic direction”, in reference to Libya. The decision of the Egyptian parliament provides possible military intervention in Libya if the forces of the Libyan government National Accord recognized by the United Nations and supported by Turkey continue to advance east.
The Egyptian House of Representatives, whose majority are overwhelmingly Sisi supporters, voted on the decision in a secret session, at the request of the President of the Republic, in which the deputies discussed “the threats facing the state” from the West. The statement issued after this session did not mention Libya by name. However, deputies stated that the discussion in the Parliament session centered on the Libyan situation, and on the timing of the movement of those forces. The Council spoke that “the armed forces and their leadership have the constitutional and legal license to determine the time and place to respond to these danger and threats.”
The United Nations said that the Egyptian parliament’s mandate to President Al-Sisi to send forces outside the border in a western direction is “a source of great concern,” warning against any escalation in this direction. In response to questions from journalists about this mandate, the spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, said: “We are following this closely … These developments are a source of great concern” and added: “I think there is a worrying crowd of forces around Sirte, which is in as such, putting the lives of civilians at risk, I mean more than 125,000 civilians. “
In Libya, during the past week, the pro-Haftar Libyan Parliament announced that it had permitted Egypt to intervene militarily in Libya to “protect the national security” of the two countries, and earlier َAl-Sisi discussed with the US President, Donald Trump, the Libyan issue, “where Al-Sisi reviewed Egypt’s strategic position towards the Libyan issue”, according to the Egyptian presidential spokesperson.
On the other hand, the Commissioner of the Ministry of Interior of the National Accord government, Fathi Bashagha, held “the supportive states” of the commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, “the responsibilities of what the situation in Libya has become,” calling on it to stop supporting it and “bet on a failed military project”. “We hold the countries that support Haftar responsible for what the situation in Libya has become,” Bashagha said, through his Twitter account. Enough of betting on a failed military project that the Libyans do not accept, and only devastation and killing were left behind. History will not spare you, and we will pursue you, and after us, future generations.” It is reported that the Libyan Minister of Interior visited Turkey during the past week, which raises the assumptions of each party’s readiness to move in the future.
Zaman newspaper also quoted informed sources in the Turkish government that a military and diplomatic plan had been prepared to deal with the Egyptian parliament’s decision to send troops to Libya.
The Turkish newspaper stated through these sources that Ankara is “closely monitoring the consequences of the Egyptian parliament’s decision” and also quoted Turkish sources that Ankara “is ready to respond to any attack on its forces present in Libya, whatever the party who carried out the attack is” and these sources stressed that if “Egypt sent military forces to Libya, Turkey would increase its forces and military equipment in Libya to stand up to the Egyptian forces.”
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim said recently that his country “does not want to escalate tensions and confront Egypt in Libya,”but at the same time he stressed the support of the National Accord government in Tripoli, and he said in this regard: “When looking at the general scene, it is clear that we have no intention of confronting Egypt, France, or any other country there (in Libya). “
In the same context, the journalist writer, Jetinar Jetin, stated in a report published on the “Khabar Turk” website, that Turkey will follow all the military moves inside Libya in the coming period closely by itself. Gutin pointed to the visit made by the leaders of 14 Libyan tribes to Egypt last week to request the Egyptian military intervention in Libya, noting that the Egyptian parliament’s approval to move in Libya “is expected to increase tension in the region during the coming period.”
The balances seem very sensitive, between Syria and Libya, the effects of the two files on Turkish-Russian relations and the relationship of these two parties to the European Union. The latter is divided due to migration and its flows on the northern bank of the Mediterranean Sea. It appears that the fight against armed and terrorist groups and scenarios of the control of religious-political currents loyal to Turkey are a fragile margin for a Russian-Western rapprochement in Libya. Which explains the studied movements of each party.
On the economic level, the National Oil Corporation announced in a statement that the losses resulting from the closure of General Khalifa Haftar’s forces since the eighth of last January amounted to $ 7.104.931 billion.
The Corporation had announced the lifting of the force majeure case of oil exports before the Haftar forces closed them again, at the instigation of the UAE supporting Haftar, according to the Foundation, and the Oil Corporation called on the international community to hold the countries responsible for closing the oil a sign, but production will not return to its normal state years ago
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of lawyer and human rights lawyer, Siham Sarquiwa, a member of the Libyan Parliament, continues to be unknown since gunmen kidnapped her from her house in the eastern city of Benghazi on July 17, 2019. She is among a long list of activists and missing citizens in Libya without knowing their fate.
Parliamentary work in Tunisia is still stalled, which was considered by the President of the Republic, Kais Said, a breakdown of the state’s wheels. According to Professor of Constitutional Law, Salsabil Al-Kalibi, the President of the Republic has a margin of powers in accordance with Chapter 80 of the Constitution, he has all discretion in that regard. Chapter 80 talks about the state of exception, which differs from the state of emergency, especially since the President mentioned the failure of state wheels many times, in addition to his emphasis on attempts to bomb the state from within.
Here is the text of Chapter 80 of the Tunisian Constitution :
Based on the state of exception, work may be suspended for a specified period by the principle of separation of powers, in terms of the possibility of the President of the Republic interfering with the powers of the legislative authority or government action. However, they remain time-limited measures, as they must be lifted by the disappearance of their causes.
The foregoing allows for a visualization of the depth of the political crisis in Tunisia, where partisan rivalry disrupted the normal functioning of the authorities, while the main issues remained on the sidelines. The House of Representatives witnessed a renewed theater scenes of the deputies’ disputes. Tunisian public opinion circulated various videos to several deputies in case of agitation, anger, mutual violence, accusations and insults.
Tunisia in its Crisis: Between the anvil of monopoly and the hammer of economic and social tension
The political division became clear after the resignation of Elyes Al-Fakhfakh, a move that some indicated that it was at the request of the President of the Republic himself in order to maintain his margin of maneuver. In case confidence was withdrawn from him, as was planned for him by the Ennahda Movement and its supporters, the matter would have ended up procedurally again. Which poses many problems in light of the lack of trust between the political parties and the Movement’s aligning towards strengthening its presence in government by all means.
In the same direction, the involvement of political parties in Tunisia in the regional hubs game further aggravated political life in Tunisia. The Libyan file is weighing heavily on the course of things in Tunisia. The president of the Republic asked the Head of the caretaker government, Elyes Al-Fakhfakh, to dismiss Foreign Minister Noureddine El-Ray. It is due to the aforementioned Minister’s failure to commit to the Tunisian Republic position from both sides of the conflict in Libya, which the President had expressed on more than one occasion and loyalty to a particular political party with a biased agenda in Libya.
The President of the Republic put his weight in the details of the political scene, referring to one of the corruption files related to the car accident of the Minister of Transport Anwar Maarouf. It has been reported that the research record was stolen from the Court of First Instance in Tunisia. This was considered evidence of widespread corruption and the domination of financial and political groups in the corridors of the Tunisian administration and judiciary. The President of the Republic plays a political, constitutional, and moral role provided by the provisions of the Constitution, which he plans to use to the maximum. On the other hand, there were frequent statements from either the mentioned case or regarding the supervisory authority’s report on the suspicion of conflict of interest for the resigned Head of the government. The information received conflicted, suggesting the existence of political employment for the mentioned cases, in light of the slow handling of similar cases.
The foregoing takes place under an exceptional economic circumstance and with great social congestion, which has escalated due to the epidemic health crisis. Tunisia is going to request rescheduling of its debts for the first time since its independence 64 years ago, due to the difficult economic conditions it is going through. The Investment Minister Slim El-Ezzaby said that his country is currently negotiating with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and Italy to postpone the loan payments expected this year.
The size of the debts that are required to be paid by Tunisia this year is 11.9 billion dinars (about 4.2 billion US dollars), while government authorities believe that the country’s economy will shrink by 6.5 percent below zero this year and that the budget deficit will reach 7 percent of GDP.
The defense committee for the two martyrs, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, returned to the forefront today, July 23, after they presented in heir press conference other documents that talk about the connection of the Head of the Ennahda Movement and the People’s Representatives Assembly, the secret apparatus, and the persons accused of assassinating the two martyrs. This adds another level to the current crisis, especially as the Speaker of Parliament faces expectations of withdrawing confidence from him.
People’s Representatives House in Egypt: Approval Institution to the President’s Decisions
The drums of war are ringing in Egypt after the People’s Assembly announced the decision to authorize President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to take all measures to maintain Egyptian national security, and Dr. Ali Abdel-Aal, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, called on members of the Council to hold a secret session, to discuss one of the important issues, which was not declared in accordance with the provisions of Article 281 of the parliament regulations.
President Abdulfattah El Sisi stated in his speech during Libyan tribes’ leaders and notables meeting: “We will enter Libya as per your request, and leave it as per your command”, he added: “Egypt is willing to take all measures to achieve common Egyptian Libyan Interest”. The Regime has thrown the Egyptian people, that struggles in a severe financial crisis, into the furnace of a lengthy regional conflict, along with immense pressures because of Al Nahda dam issue.
On the legislative side, the House of Representatives approved, during the plenary session on Monday, 20 July, the Presidential Decree No. 391 of 2020 to extend the state of emergency declared by Presidential Decree No. 168 of 2020 throughout the country for a period of three months starting from Monday, 27 from July 2020, according to the constitution, approval to extend the state of emergency will be two-thirds of the number of council members. As a reminder, it is the state of emergency that increases the suffering of activists and advocates in Egypt, keeping in mind the powers it provides for executive authority and its arms.
The Parliament also approved ultimately the collaborative contribution bill to face some of the financial aftermaths emerging from the spread of epidemics or natural disasters.
The first article approved by the Parliament in the plenary session provides that from the net income for July and for 12 months, it deducts:
As collaborative contribution to face some of the financial aftermaths emerging from the spread of epidemics or natural disasters. Once more, the crisis keeps burdening the Egyptians’ wallets, whereas, nobody seems concerned with the cost of direct military involvement in Libya to the situation in Egypt.
Meanwhile, preparations for the senate elections are run by leaps and bounds since Judge Lachin Ibrahim, National Election Authority and vice president of Courts of Appeal, declared that the number of accepted candidates included in the primary list was 762 candidates, while 150 candidates were excluded for not fulfilling the required conditions and documents.
What preceded occurs amidst news of stark disputes erupting between a number of the parties included under “Mostaqbal Watan” party slogan – pro-regime – in a unified list for senate elections. Disputes started after “Mostaqbal Watan”’s decision to take 40 seats out of 100 seats reserved for closed lists system, and to distribute the other seats as 20 seats for Republican People’s Party, 6 seats for “Wafd”, the same for Homeland Defenders Party, 5 seats for “Free Egyptians”, and the same for what is known as Coordination Committee of Party’s Youth. Adding to that 3 seats for each of Congress, El-Ghad, Freedom and Modern Egypt parties.
Senate elections in Egypt: Preparation for elections? Or sharing seats regime between loyalists?
As for the legal bulletin, the regime oppresses individuals and groups alike, as military prosecution in Egypt has decided to imprison 42 of fishermen village people in Alexandria city for 4 days of preventive custody, after dispersing their protests against decisions of resettling them in alternative locations without contracts, and taking their property despite it being confirmed. In a true violation of the right to protest and obvious breach of ownership right constitutionally protected.
The judicial district court No. 30 in Cairo criminal court decided today, Saturday, not to accept the grievances submitted from 14 human rights activists against the decisions of preventing them from travel as preventive custody in the case No. 173 of 2011 known as civil society organizations. This case is considered an evidence on new and humiliating pattern for activists. It was divided in its early stages between activists holding foreign nationality and Egyptians, the formers were acquitted, whereas the Egyptians were accused in their patriotism for defending human rights and the Egyptian revolution demands.
Amir Salem, the human rights lawyer, and member of Egyptian Organization for Human Rights’ Board of Trustees, passed away after the onset of a coma due to blood clots in the heart, after which he was admitted to Badran Hospital in Dokki neighborhood, at the age of 67. Amir Salem, the socialist human rights lawyer, defended the rights of political prisoners and working class, he participated as well in lots of events at the forefront of which Bread Riots in January of 1977, and was detained for several time periods due to his opposition for the regimes and his known situations in many freedoms related cases. Thus, the battleground has lost another fighter, whereas his peers and comrades are in prisons.
Meanwhile, Cairo Criminal Court on Wednesday, July 22nd, decided to continue the detention of a long list of activists:
-Lawyer Amr Imam
-Journalist Soulafa Magdi and her husband, photojournalist Hossam El-Sayyad
– Journalist and activist Israa Abdel-Fattah
-Accountant Mohamed Salah
-Activist Radwa Mohamed
There was a detention extension for a period of 45 days, pending investigations into case No. 488 of 2019, restricting the security of a supreme country. It is reported that it was the first session in four months in which the defendants appeared from their prison without being unable to do so due to the Corona pandemic crisis.
In addition to the repression for the Egyptians, the pandemic added insult to injury while allying with the regime. In this regard, Human Rights Watch said that several prisons and police stations in Egypt have witnessed a possible outbreak of the Coronavirus in recent weeks, amid official and strict blackout.
Witness accounts from Human Rights Watch, leaked letters from two prisons, credible reports from human rights groups and local media outlets indicate the death of:
14 Prisoners and detainees
This number has probably perished due to complications pursuant to contracting the virus in ten detention centers until 15th of July 2020. Despite that tens of prisoners and detainees – at least – has shown mild to severe symptoms of “COVID-19” as a result of the virus. Medical care in prisons was insufficient, along with a near total lack of lab testing for the virus and medical screening to detect the symptoms. The authorities released 13 thousand prisoners since late February, but it is not enough number to limit the over crowdedness in prisons and densely populated detention centers.