Ed Husain

The Arab Street

Husain examines politics, society, and radicalism in the greater Middle East.

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The Week Ahead: Egypt’s Cabinet Reshuffle, UN Monitors in Syria, Lebanon’s Parliament

by Ed Husain
April 30, 2012

Army soldiers and riot police stand in line as they block off a road leading to the Saudi Arabia Embassy during protests in Cairo (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters). Army soldiers and riot police stand in line as they block off a road leading to the Saudi Arabia Embassy during protests in Cairo (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. Bowing to continued pressure from the Islamist-dominated Egyptian parliament, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has agreed to reshuffle Egypt’s cabinet. Although the reshuffle is less than parliament leaders had previously demanded—dismissal of the entire cabinet—parliament speaker Saad el-Katatni has accepted the outcome as a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, following protests calling for the Saudi government to release Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed al-Gizawy and the subsequent closure of the Saudi embassy in Cairo as well as consulates in Suez and Alexandria, King Abdullah has assured SCAF it will consider reopening the Saudi embassy in the coming days.

Syria. Dozens more UN monitors are slated to arrive in Syria this week, but will likely be welcomed by further violence as the mid-April truce has almost completely broken down. A number of alleged suicide attacks over the past several days in addition to continued gunfire and shelling from the Syrian army have threatened to make UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan obsolete.

Lebanon. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will visit Beirut this week to meet with Lebanese officials and March 14 leaders. The reported purpose of his trip is to encourage authorities and opposition leaders to commit to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections on schedule despite political challenges, as well as to discuss the effects of the Syria crisis on Lebanon.

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