EGYPT GRAND MUFTI’S REPORT ‘SHOCKING AND FABRICATED’
Deputy General Guide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim Mounir, denounced “the slander and lies” contained in a report shared by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam, to members of the British House of Commons during his visit to the United Kingdom. Mounir said in a letter sent on May 18 to members of the British House of Commons: “I am writing to you today about the presentation made by the Grand Mufti of Egypt on May 17, 2022, to the parliamentary group on Egypt. The presentation was built on shocking lies about the Brotherhood, which is fully committed to peace and democracy, and rejects extremism and violence.” Mounir pointed out that the Egyptian army and security forces are the ones who use excessive violence, for example, when they massacred peaceful demonstrators after the coup against a democratically elected government in 2013, adding that they continue to use violence against civilians today.
HEZBOLLAH-LED BLOC LOSES LEBANON’S PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY
Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and its allies have lost their parliamentary majority after the final results of the country’s general elections were announced on May 17. The Hezbollah-led bloc won 62 of the 128 seats up for grabs, three fewer than it needed and was a reversal of the 2018 results when it won a majority of 71. Despite the setbacks, Hezbollah and its ally Amal gained all 27 parliament seats allocated for Shia lawmakers, compared to the 26 seats secured in the last elections. However Hezbollah’s allies lost seats in favour of independent candidates and the Saudi-backed Lebanese Forces (LF) party which emerged as the largest Christian bloc, replacing the Hezbollah-allied President Michel Aoun’s Christian Free Patriotic Movement.
NEUTRALITY OF SECURITY FORCES MAY NOT LAST: GHANNOUCHI
The leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement, and the speaker of the dissolved parliament, Rached Ghannouchi has warned that the military establishment and security services will not remain spectators for long if the people decide to act during the current crisis. “The two institutions are subject to the constitution,” Ghannouchi told the BBC, “and their commitment to neutrality may not last if the Tunisian people act.” Former officials, including one-time interim President Moncef Marzouki, have called explicitly for the army to intervene against what has been described as the coup of current President Kais Saied, who imposed “exceptional measures” last July and has since taken control of most state institutions. In response, Ennahda has moved to the opposition to lead the National Salvation Front initiative. Ghannouchi appears to be confident that the post-July phase will end soon.
IRAN OPENS DRONE FACTORY IN TAJIKISTAN
Iran on May 17 inaugurated a factory in Tajikistan to manufacture military drones. The opening of the factory to manufacture Ababil-2 drones was attended by the Iranian Chief of Staff, Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, and the Tajik Defence Minister, Sherali Mirzo, in the capital city of Dushanbe. Bagheri said in a statement that the opening was part of his country’s “plans to expand military and defence cooperation between the two Persian nations.” “Today, we’ve reached a position that apart from fulfilling the domestic needs, we can export military equipment to our allies, strengthen security and sustainable peace,” Bagheri said. The Tehran Times reported that the Ababil-2 drone is capable of carrying out attacks as well as surveillance missions from a range of 200 kilometres with 90 minute flight time.
ALGERIA, IRAQ TO CRIMINALISE NORMALISATION WITH ISRAEL
Algerian lawmakers, on May 17, submitted a Bill criminalising normalisation with Israel, including articles prohibiting travel or any direct or indirect contact with Tel Aviv. Youssef Ajesa, a lawmaker from the Movement of Society for Peace, said he “lodged on behalf of his party’s group of deputies (65 out of 462) the Bill to the Parliament.” The Movement of Society for Peace is an Islamic party that forms the largest opposition bloc in the Algerian Parliament. Ajesa said “his parliamentary bloc tried to include other groups to contribute to the Bill, but it did not receive a response, so I took the initiative to present it in its name.” This comes a week after the Iraqi Council of Representatives approved, in the first reading, a draft bill banning normalisation of ties with Israel. If passed, it will make Iraq the first Arab state to formally criminalise normalisation with the occupation state.
QATAR READY TO MEDIATE BETWEEN IRAN, EU, US
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani on May 18 announced that his country is ready to mediate between Iran, the European Union and the US regarding the nuclear deal. This came during a joint press conference held in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who confirmed that Qatar would play a “central role” in Germany’s new energy strategy. On May 21, Sheikh Tamim started a tour including Slovenia, Spain, German, Britain, France and Switzerland to take part in the Davos Agenda between 22 and 26 May. “We reiterate the importance of cooperation between Iran, the EU and the US,” Sheikh Tamim affirmed, stressing the importance of solving outstanding differences peacefully. He expressed hopes that a nuclear deal would be reached very soon.
MEDIA AWARD LAUNCHED IN HONOUR OF ABU AKLEH
Bayt Mal Al Quds Agency on May 21 launched an award for journalistic excellence in honour of a Palestinian journalist killed while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. In a statement, the agency said that the first cycle of this award will bear the name of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The award jury will be made up of Moroccan and Palestinian media experts. On May 11, Abu Akleh, 51, was covering an Israeli military raid near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank when she was shot dead. Palestinian officials and her employer, Al Jazeera, said she was killed by Israeli forces. The Bayt Mal Al Quds Agency was an initiative of late King Hassan II of Morocco that was accepted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in December 1995 and officially commenced its activities in July 1998. Based in Morocco, the Bayt Mal Al Quds Agency is a field arm of the Al-Quds Committee established in 1975 and permanently chaired by the king of Morocco with the aim of protecting Jerusalem and its Muslim holy sites.
BUSENAZ SURMENELI WINS GOLD IN WOMEN’S WORLD BOXING C’SHIPS
Olympic champion boxer Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey on May 20 won the gold medal in the 2022 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul. Surmeneli, 23, beat her Canadian opponent Charlie Cavanagh in the final of 63-66 kilogram category, or welter weight, to become world champion for a second time. She had previously bagged gold medals in the 2019 World Championships and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This was Turkey’s fourth gold medal in this year’s World Boxing Championships. Turkish boxers Buse Naz Cakiroglu and Hatice Akbas were both separately crowned world champions. On May 19, Turkey’s Ayse Cagirir won the gold in the 48 kg category.