For the night of 19 August 2013
North Korea: For the record. North Korean media, through this Watch, have not reported the start of the annual US-South Korean military exercises. That reinforces judgments that the North's leaders have made a policy decision to maintain peninsular stability for now.
Pakistan: For the record. Former president Pervez Musharraf has been indicted for murder, conspiracy to commit murder and facilitation of the murder of the late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. Musharraf faces charges in at least two other criminal actions involving allegations of murder and treason.
Egypt: Supporters of ousted president Muhammad Mursi organized rallies and marches Monday, 19 August, following afternoon prayers to demand his reinstatement and denounce the dispersal of the two sit-ins in Rabi'ah al-Adawiyah and Al-Nahdah squares in Cairo and Giza.
The marches started from mosques in Hilwan, Al-Ma'adi, Al-Shiratun, Al-Haram and Giza.
Comment: Through this Watch, no news outlet has reported violence or casualties in connection with today's protests. The regions in which marches took place are outside Cairo city center, which makes them less provocative.
Special comment: Nearly every mainstream US press outlet referred to Egypt as sinking into chaos or experiencing spiraling violence and turmoil, to mention only three descriptions. Our judgment is that security conditions are getting slowly better, measured by the steadily declining death toll, the resumption of work at multinational corporations and the movement of protest rallies farther away from the center of Cairo.
Except for American press, regional Arab press sources indicated today was relatively quiet in Cairo. No disturbances were reported in other cities west of the Suez Canal.
Politics. Egyptian security authorities arrested the Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohammad Badie in an apartment close to Rabiah al-Adawiyah square - one of the two protest sites that were cleared last week.
Badie arrest warrant said he incited violence against security forces and state institutions. Mursi is being held under similar charges.
Comment: This is a decapitation move against the Brotherhood. The security forces have been slowly rounding up and detaining lower level Brotherhood leaders, several hundred of them. They appear to have waited a week before picking up Badie, to gauge reactions to his arrest. No outcry against his arrest has been reported through this Watch.
North Sinai. An ambush occurred east of the Canal near al Arish in which militants killed, execution style, 25 police recruits whose convoy got caught in an ambush.
In a statement on Monday, the Cabinet said that militants fired rockets at two Central Security Forces (CSF) vehicles in the Abu Taweila area near the Rafah Road in Al-Arish city, North Sinai. The attack left 25 security forces dead and 3 injured. Central security soldiers who were killed by gunmen on 19 August on a road in Sinai were shot at a short range, according to medical reports.
The soldiers were forced to lie down with their faces to the ground before being shot by the terrorists, said security sources.
In response, Egypt closed the Rafah border crossing to Gaza and retrieved the bodies of the slain young officers for burial.
Comment: The Egyptian actions suggest that Palestinian militants were responsible for or involved in the ambush.
Saudi Arabia: Today, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in a statement, "To those who have announced they are cutting their aid to Egypt, or threatening to do that, (we say that) Arab and Muslim nations are rich... and will not hesitate to help Egypt."
Prince Saud made the statement upon his return from France, where he held talks with President Francois Hollande, who strongly condemned violence in Egypt.
End of NightWatch for 19 August.
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