Excerpts: Egypt's North Sinai unrest and violence. South American - Arab
Countries (ASPA) Summit in Lima, Peru. Abbas seeks U.S. French pressuring
Israel.Jordan's Syrian refugees 'humanitarian crisis' July 04, 2012
+++SOURCE: Global Post via Egypt Daily Nres 4 July '12:"Egypt: Security in
the Sinai Peninsula is getting worse"by Erin Cunningham
Sub Heading: Unrest and violence in North Sinai could threaten a fragile
SUBJECT:Egypt's North Sinai unrest, violence
QUOTE:"Insecurity and armed attacks on police and army are on the rise in
Egypt's North Sinai"
FULL TEXT:RAFAH, Egypt — Insecurity and armed attacks on police and army are
on the rise in Egypt’s North Sinai, a restive flashpoint region that shares
borders with both Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Earlier this month, armed men shot dead an Israeli construction worker on
the Sinai-Egypt border. In May, a rocket-propelled grenade attack by masked
gunmen on an army checkpoint in North Sinai left two soldiers injured,
according to local media. Bedouin in North Sinai told GlobalPost the two
soldiers were actually killed.
A single joint army-police checkpoint in Rafah, which straddles the
Egypt-Gaza border, has been attacked more than 20 times — both by armed
Bedouin and a growing cadre hardline Islamists — since the ouster of Hosni
Mubarak last year, Egypt’s interior ministry says.
According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which monitors
security incidents in Sinai and across the country, the desert territory has
seen the highest number of attacks by citizens and militants on security
forces this year.
“The trend in North Sinai is continued armed confrontations with police,”
said Karim Medhat Ennarah, the organization's security sector researcher.
“Most [of the attackers] are Bedouin frustrated by the state and by security
tactics. The police are bearing the brunt of any kind of economic and social
Indeed, economically and socially neglected by the Egyptian government since
the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt under its peace treaty with Israel
in 1982, North Sinai Bedouin — with a culture and dialect distinct from
mainland Egypt — have in recent years turned to black-market activities to
make a living.
Many of the young men here traffic drugs or people into Israel, and run
smuggling rackets of weapons and construction goods into Gaza, which has
since 2007 suffered behind a crippling economic blockade.
The lack of development, poor infrastructure, and historic political
marginalization of the Bedouin, whom make-up roughly half of the population
of about 340,000, are all feeding the unrest here.
Hamdy Mohamed Ismail, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in
Ismailia, a province with territory in both North Sinai and mainland Egypt,
said both Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's newly-elected president, and the party
have made Sinai investment, particularly in the farming sector, one of their
top economic priorities.
But Morsi, whose powers were clipped by Egypt’s ruling generals just days
before the presidential election run-offs earlier this month, cannot appoint
a defense or interior minister — and will likely have little if any control
over security policy in Sinai. As a result, some here worry the situation
will only get worse, threatening to disturb the relative peace that has
existed in the region, and especially between Egypt and Israel, for the last
“Unemployment is the biggest issue contributing to insecurity here,” said
Mohamed Ahmed, a captain in the police force in Al Arish, North Sinai’s
After protesters — many of them armed Bedouin tribesmen, traditionally
excluded from joining the security forces — routed police and intelligence
agents from their posts in North Sinai during the popular uprising that
toppled Mubarak last year, Egypt’s ruling army deployed additional troops to
help boost security and curb growing militancy.
But in June, not a single policeman patrolled the streets of Rafah. Instead,
Central Security Forces — Egypt’s riot police — were holed up in
heavily-guarded barracks encircled by barbed wire on the outskirts of the
Armored military vehicles now escort the riot police from their garrisons to
army-enforced checkpoints on the area’s main, 30-mile highway.
“It’s impossible for the police to come back in the same way they were,”
said Abu Ashraf, a Bedouin elder of one of the area’s strongest clans, and
informal political representative for the disaffected tribesmen.
His friends and extended family jokingly call him the “Che Guevara of
Sinai,” for his role in mobilizing protests during the 18-day uprising.
“If they come back and nothing has changed,” Abu Ashraf said. “We will do
something bigger than revolution.
”On the windy, unpaved roads that splinter off from the thoroughfare running
east from Arish to the Gaza border at Rafah, even the checkpoints run by the
well-equipped military disappear.
It’s a barren, no-man’s land of rolling, white sand dunes, mosques, and
ostentatious, pagoda-style mansions built by Rafah’s nouveau-riche class of
There is no sign of the government here.
“Do you see this soldier?” said 27-year-old Mohamed, pointing, as he turned
his Mercedes onto a checkpoint-free road, to the last military troop posted
atop a sandbagged tank on the outskirts on Al-Arish.
The fresh-faced soldier was reading under a blue-and-pink flowered parasol.“How
can he fight a war?” Mohamed asked. “Nothing has changed here in 30 years.
Anything that has happened in Sinai is because of the people. Not because of
Heba Habib contributed reporting from Cairo, Egypt.
+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 4 July '12:"Peru seeks KSA presence at ASPA summit
in Lima" by Saeed Al-Khotani
SUBJECT: South American -Arab Countries (ASPA) summit in Lima,Peru
QUOTE:"ASPA summit 'The event is a forum for policy coordination between the
member countries in these two vast regions of the world' "
FULL TEXT:RIYADH — Peru is inviting the Kingdom to attend the South
American-Arab Countries (ASPA) summit in Lima in October, a senior visiting
official of the Latin American country said here Tuesday[3 July].
Ambassador José Beran Aranbar, Vice Foreign Minister of Peru, who arrived
here Tuesday[3 July] on a two-day official visit, told Saudi Gazette that
the main aim of his visit here was to invite the Saudi leadership to attend
“The summit, chaired by Peru, will be held early this October, in our
capital Lima. The event is a forum for policy coordination between the
member countries in these two vast regions of the world,” Aranbar said.
“Also, my visit aims at exploring the possibilities of cooperation between
Peru and the Kingdom in various aspects. To boost our relations with the
Kingdom, we have just opened an embassy here in Riyadh,” he added.
Peru is the most recent country to open its embassy in the Kingdom. It was
officially opened last month and Ambassador Eduardo Martinetti arrived here
this week to take charge.
The Peruvian Vice Minister is scheduled to meet with the Acting Secretary
General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Wednesday[4 July]. “We will discuss
the possibility of establishing economic ties between GCC and the Union of
South American Nations (UNASUR),” he said
+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 4 July '12:"Abbas to meet. Clinton in Paris
on Friday(6 July), Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Abbas seeks U.S., French pressuring Israel
QUOTE:"The meetings with Clinton and Hollande will focus on the rrelease of
Palestinian prisoners. . .a halt to settlement construction and pressure on
Israel to accept the principle of a two-state solution based on 1967
FULL TEXT:Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to meet U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton on Friday in Paris, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat
told Agence France Presse on Wednesday[4 July].
"President Abbas will visit France on Thursday[5 July] and hold important
meetings with European and U.S. officials, including French President
Francois Hollande and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Friday[6
July]," Erakat said.
"The meetings with Clinton and Hollande will focus on the release of
Palestinian prisoners, particularly those arrested before the Oslo accords,
a halt to settlement construction and pressure on Israel to accept the
principle of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders," Erakat said.
Abbas will also meet British Foreign Minister William Hague and European
Union foreign affairs Chief Catherine Ashton, he added.
The meetings will take place on the sidelines of a "Friends of Syria"
meeting France is hosting on Friday[6 July] in a bid to coordinate Western
and Arab efforts to stop the violence in the country.
The talks are the first face-to-face meeting between Abbas and Clinton since
September 2011, when they met in New York as the Palestinians submitted
their bid to join the United Nations as full member.
Abbas met Hollande last month for the first time since his May election as
France's new president.
They come as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain on deep
freeze, with the last direct negotiations grinding to a halt in late
September 2010 over the issue of settlement construction.
The Palestinians have said they will not return to negotiations without a
new Israeli freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank and east
They also want Israel to accept the lines that existed before the 1967
Six-Day War as the basis for negotiations on future borders, and they are
seeking the release of 123 Palestinians held by Israel since before the 1993
Abbas says Israel previously agreed to release those prisoners but has not
fulfilled its commitment.
Last month, he said he would be willing to sit down with Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if the prisoners were released "for a session of
dialogue, but that doesn't mean negotiations."
+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 4 July '12:" Syrian refugee exodus to Jordan
sparking 'humanitarian crisis"by Taylor Luck
SUBJECT: Jordan's Syrian refugees 'humanitarian crisis'
QUOTE:" Syria ...mass refugee exodus into Jordan . . .an emerging
FULL TEXT: AMMAN — Fresh fighting in southern Syria has triggered a mass
refugee exodus into Jordan, relief officials say, prompting authorities to
enact an emergency response plan to confront an emerging humanitarian
Violence in southern Syria has led to refugees crossing into Jordan in
“record numbers”, including 973 on Monday[2 July] evening, the largest
single number of daily arrivals since the beginning of the 18-month crisis,
according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
“We have witnessed new arrivals rise from the hundreds into the thousands,”
said Andrew Harper, UNHCR representative in Jordan.
“The challenge is now not only how do we meet the needs of these 1,000
people, but what do we do tomorrow when the next 1,000 cross through?”
Harper told The Jordan Times on Tuesday[3 July].
According to the UN, the vast majority of new arrivals — over 70 per cent —
originate from the restive southern province of Daraa, which has been the
epicentre of clashes between rebels and government forces over the past
Syrian activists claim that thousands of more Daraa residents are camped out
in the border region waiting for a break in an ongoing Syrian military
blockade to enter the Kingdom.
“As soon as the Free Syrian Army secures the path, many more will come,”
predicted Abu Ahmed, a member of the Local Coordination Committees residing
In response to the sudden wave of refugees, local authorities have activated
an “emergency response plan”, a campaign spearheaded by the Jordan Hashemite
Charity Organisation to mobilise resources, staff and basic medical supplies
to the border region, according to the UN.
Under one of the measures outlined in the strategy, Jordanian authorities
may open makeshift overflow camps in the border region to receive and house
new arrivals, according to a source familiar with the strategy.
According to security officials, this week’s massive influx has led to a
“housing disaster” at so-called transit facilities — guarded housing
complexes where new arrivals undergo security background checks — forcing
relief agencies to house recent arrivals in makeshift plastic “triage tents”
and ration scarce resources.
In light of the mass influx, Jordanian and UN officials are accelerating
efforts to open the country’s first Syrian refugee camp, Harper said, with
officials hoping to break ground on the facility, to be erected in the
border region, in the next few weeks.
“A refugee camp is often the least desirable option, but in this case it may
be the only option,” Harper said.
As a short-term solution, authorities are currently exploring transforming
existing public facilities and land donated by private citizens in the
northern region into makeshift housing complexes, according to the UN.
The recent mass exodus comes amid a funding shortfall, with the UNHCR
reporting that it has secured 10 per cent of the $40 million earmarked for
Jordan as part of an $84 million regional response fund launched last month
to support host countries.
In light of the growing humanitarian crisis, the UN upped its aid appeal to
$192 million, some $84 million of which will be allocated to help Jordan
meet the needs of some 50,000 vulnerable Syrians, a number the UNHCR expects
to reach 70,000 by the year’s end.
UN officials warn that even should donor institutions and countries follow
through on their aid pledges, local authorities and relief agencies face the
challenge of meeting the “immediate needs” of new arrivals.
“These people need food, blankets and medical attention, and at the end of
the day these things cost money,” Harper said.
The recent flood of Syrian refugees comes despite a new border policy aiming
to limit the entry of single Syrian males out of fears of increased attempts
by regime loyalists and revolutionaries to infiltrate the growing refugee
Despite the concerns, Jordan continues to follow an open border policy,
providing refuge and access to public health and educational services to the
some 140,000 Syrians who have fled to the country
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA