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Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?

See also EA Video Analysis: Syria --- Is Assad's Military Crumbling?
Syria Audio Analysis: The Latest Insurgent Advances --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Sudan Feature: Tensions Rise after South Breaks Away
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Pressure Builds On Assad
Thursday's Gaza Live Coverage: A Ceasefire is Declared --- Now What?

2109 GMT: Israel-Palestine. This may be the strangest thing we've seen all week (and that is saying something). This video, entitled "Holidays 2012: A Dinner for Peace," was released by the Israeli embassy in Washington DC. Cartoons with cut-out heads (a la South Park's Saddam Hussein) representing many prominent world leaders are gathered around a table, apparently for some sort of holiday feast. They all look bored as they wait for President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. suddenly, the phone rings and Abbas says, "I am on my way to the UN. I am not coming to the table," in a creepy voice, while he drives a bus full of civilians, including children. This is an apparent reference to Abbas's pursuit of UN recognition for Palestine at the United Nations.

What does the bus represent? Why the weird voice over? Is this really the best way to represent this argument? Does this conveniently dismiss inaction by most of the other parties that are pictured sitting at "the table"? We'll just let the viewers decide the answers to these questions themselves.

2100 GMT: Syria. According to the LCC, the death toll has grown to 70:

26 in Damascus and suburbs including 7 were field executed in Qadam, 17 in Aleppo, 6 in Daraa, 4 in each Deir Ezzor, Latakia and Hama, 3 in Idlib, 2 in Homs and a martyr in each Banyas and Qunaitra.

See our note on the casualty figures posted by the LCC.

2054 GMT: Syria. While the regime is having real problems breaking the FSA's lines west of Damascus, the civilians are suffering, and a real humanitarian crisis is in the makings. Several sources suggest the situation is currently dire. One activist reports:

2047 GMT: Syria. A show of force for the FSA in Ras al Ain, near the border with Turkey, as a convoy of heavily-armed men gather on the streets. Just weeks ago this area was in the firm control of the regime. Now, the FSA is nearly as likely to be gearing up to do battle with PYD Kurdish forces as with Assad forces.

Regardless, the FSA now moves freely through much of northern Hassakah and Raqqa provinces, another testament to the regime's lack of presence in the north.

2034 GMT: Egypt. The pastor of Qasr el-Daraba church, near Tahrir Square, has turned his church into a field hospital. The Guardian's Jack Shenker interviews the pastor, who says that a teargas grenade landed nearby not long ago:

2008 GMT: Egypt. More protests, and more clashes, in Tahrir Square. As protesters grow in the center of the square, several fires have been reported, including in an apartment building and inside a police truck.

Reuters has posted a livestream of the center of the square.

1958 GMT: Egypt. Morsi is already suffering fallout from his earlier decisions, as Samir Morcos, a senior Coptic adviser to the President, has resigned.

"I have taken the decision to resign because I was not consulted on the latest decision," Samir Morcos, presidential advisor for the democratic transition and state modernisation, told the Al-Ahram Arabic news website on Friday.

Now news that another of Morsi's advisers has resigned in protest:

1951 GMT: Egypt. Earlier, President Morsi said that the "revolution was not over." This is not what he meant, but people appear to be set to camp all night in Tahrir Square to protest against his rule:

1906 GMT: Syria. Speaking of protests, Syrians have taken to the street across the country today, as they do every Friday, to voice their displeasure with the Syrian regime. Despite the cold rain, and the raining explosives, there were protests seen in every region of the country. Every Friday has a theme - and this week's theme is unusually optimistic: "The time nears for victory."

This week we'll highlight some protests in Damascus, as it is the epicenter of the most intense violence today.

A large protest in Qaboun:

The atmosphere was not to last - heavy shelling took a serious toll on the Qaboun district. Several videos show smoke rising, and several more show victims, after a mortar shell reportedly hit the district, underscoring the danger of these protests:

Jobar district:


Of course, it is still dangerous in the rest of the country, and there were large protests like this one in Sarmada:

And then of course there are the always-sharply-worded statements from Kafranbel, Idlib. This message says, "America! It is time to decide whether to stand by our side or to become our everlasting opponents - Liberated Kafranbel."

On the other hand, the people of Kafranbel also had a message of unity:

Binnish, another outspoken, and hard-hit, town in Idlib province:

1855 GMT: Israel-Palestine. At least one person was killed and 10 injured when Israeli forces fired on Palestinian protesters on the border with Gaza. Russia Today shows the Israeli soldiers taking hyper-aggressive actions against what appear to be peaceful protesters:

AFP has a different take - that the Palestinians attacked the fence. Video shows some climbing on the fence, and possibly some of the youth picking up rocks. Regardless, it is more clear that teargas and warning shots were fired first:

Neither video shows the actual shooting of the Palestinians.

1848 GMT: Syria. Despite efforts to retake one of the largest suburbs of Damascus, opposition media sources report that the regime's efforts to retake Darayya have again failed. Videos showed that the city was heavily shelled, and this video shows some of the damage the insurgents did to the military:

1839 GMT: Syria. According to the Local Coordination Committees, today's death toll has only reached 43 so far today:

22 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its suburbs; 6 martyrs were reported in Aleppo; 5 in Daraa; 3 in Deir Ezzor; 2 in Homs; 2 in Raqqa; 2 in Idlib and 1 in Hama.

First, see our note on the casualty figures posted by the LCC.

There is a trend - over the last week or so, the numbers of civilian deaths have dropped overall. This is interesting and counter-intuitive, as most media organizations would agree that things in Syria are becoming more intense, and not less. So what is causing the numbers to drop?

According to the VDC, 769 people have been killed nationwide in the last 7 days, 298 of whom were in Damascus and its suburbs. So only about 39% of those killed have been in the Damascus region. Between the 16th and the 23rd of October, 1144 were killed nationwide, 395 of whom were killed in Damascus and its suburbs, or a total of 35%. Today that ratio is 50%. Remove the incident last Friday where a large number of civilians were killed in a single airstrike in Aleppo, and Wednesday where a large number of civilians were killed when an airstrike hit a hospital, and the trend is more clear.

The data is inconclusive, and it's worth crunching the numbers in another week or two, but it would appear that the more deaths there are in Damascus, the few deaths there are elsewhere. Perhaps this is another sign that the regime is less focused on conducting airstrikes against many other locations as it focuses on deterring protests and stopping the insurgents in the capital.

1656 GMT: Bahrain. EA's John Horne reports:

This week Bahrain has been frequently in British media, concerning the visit of the Foreign Minister and the many reports deeply critical of the government's failure to reform. However, one story flew below the radar: The visit of King Hamad to attend the Sandhurst Bicentennial Anniversary Dinner.

According to Bahrain state media, the visit followed "an invitation from the British Government". Whilst there, Hamad, a former graduate of the military academy, reportedly met with Prince Charles "on the sidelines of the dinner banquet". The invitation and visit is likely to raise further questions about the Britain's relations with the Bahrain government and its willingness to push the regime for reforms.

In September it was revealed that the Bahrain government had given a gift of £3 million to Sandhurst in January this year. The investigation also revealed that the British government also subsidises the cost of training Bahraini cadets "to the tune of £29,600 in each case".


Yesterday, a new building at Sandhurst financed by the UAE was opened. The Zayed Building cost Dh880 million (approx £150m) to build and its opening was 1634 GMT: Gaza. EA's Alastair Mears reports:

Following its successful mediation role in the recent ceasefire Egypt now intends to reignite reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah. According to Palestinian officials an opportunity arose during Israel's offensive against Gaza and it is believed Egypt will approach both parties next week following the bid for Palestinian UN membership. President Mohammed Morsi intends to push for Palestinian unity as soon as possible so he can help establish a transition government and set a date for Palestinian Authority election.

1612 GMT: Egypt. A picture of those anti-riot vehicles (see previous update):

1602 GMT: Egypt. Protests in Tahrir Square are growing, and getting ugly:

1526 GMT: Syria. Ironically, the Free Syrian Army may have their "Benghazi," but it is hundreds of miles away from Idlib and Aleppo.

This week the FSA captured several key bases in Deir Ez Zor province, including the Hamdan Military base just outside of Al Bukamal (map), and another air base outside Deir Ez Zor. We played up the significance, which was largely lost in the media, but we noted that the FSA is likely to get bogged down further north around Deir Ez Zor.

Again, we may have underestimated the FSA.

Some may have missed it yesterday, but the largest military base in all of eastern Syria, near Mayadin (map), fell to the FSA yesterday. More importantly, the FSA captured a significant amount of arms and heavy equipment, equipment which will move north and potentially turn the tide in Deir Ez Zor:

Perhaps the most important detail - the FSA now controls large amounts of territory stretching from Mayadin all the way to the border with Iraq. More importantly, they also hold oil fields, and there are already signs that the FSA is selling oil to fuel the revolution. With clear supply lines between the oil fields and Iraq, the FSA is able to sell oil and important weapons. The regime is unlikely to stop them as the remnants of the Assad military in the east is fighting for survival in Deir Ez Zor.

This has a potential humanitarian impact as well, in perhaps the first glimmer of hope in some time:

“We are at the beginning of winter, and people need oil to run the bakeries and to heat their homes. The weather is very cold here," said a rebel leader here who, for security reasons, identifies himself by his nom de guerre, Abu Mohamed.

Already today there are videos and reports of FSA guerilla fighters and snipers moving deeper into the city of Deir Ez Zor.

1515 GMT: Bahrain The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has announced that it will send a four-person team to visit Bahrain between 2-6 December. Speaking to reporters, spokesman Rupert Colville said the group willl meet with government ministers, human rights groups and others, to assess Bahrain's "accountability for present and past human rights violations and abuses".

1505 GMT: Syria. The Blogger Brown Moses has an important new discovery - that shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles captured near Aleppo are complete and capable of shooting down Assad planes - by it's also likely that many crates filled with similar weapons captured in Damascus this week are also active:

Here we not only have a demonstration of how to put together a SA-7 MANPADS for other members of the Syrian opposition who might have looted SA-7s elsewhere, but evidence that at least one pair of SA-7 MANPADS were looted from the 46th Regiment base, and with 10 crates in those stacks, minus one containing the SA-16 system, that could mean up to 18 complete SA-7 MANPADS.

The most important thing here is the presence of the grip-stock. Usually shipped separately they are often the key missing component from looted surface to air missile systems, but unlike the batteries they can be reused, so only one is needed to make all the missiles and batteries usable.

Brown Moses compiles the video evidence here.

1450 GMT: Syria. More intense fighting just outside the center of power in Damascus. According to the LCC, the regime is trying to both conduct raids in Kafer Souseh and strike at the FSA-held city of Darayya. Those efforts have hit a snag, according to the opposition:

Two tanks belonging to the regime were damaged during clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the regime's army, which is trying to storm Daraya through the orchards in Kafar Souseh in the Mahayni neighborhood and the orchards in Al-Lawan.

If the descriptions from the LCC are an accurate depiction of the regime's actions today, the goal of the operation is clear. The regime appears to be trying to isolate Darayya from both Mouadamyeh to the west, Mezzeh to the north, and Kafer Souseh to the northeast (map, see below).

But if the FSA is knocking tanks out in Kafer Souseh, those efforts may have come too little too late. The heart of the Assad regime is just kilometers from this fighting. The palace and most government buildings are housed in northwest Damascus, the richest neighborhoods are nearby, and the most important military base in the country, the headquarters of the 4th division, run by Assad's brother, protects the area.

View Syria - 23 November 2012 - EA Worldview in a larger map

1443 GMT: Syria. More fighting reported between the PYD/PKK aligned Kurdish groups and the FSA on the border with Turkey. Al Jazeera reports:

Hundreds of fighters loyal to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) - which has close ties to Turkey's rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - have been locked in fierce battles with fighters of the Al-Nusra Front and allied Ghuraba al-Sham group in Ras al-Ain on the border with Turkey.

"The two Kurdish national councils in western Kurdistan have agreed in Iraq to create a united military force, bringing together PYD forces and other Kurdish dissidents" in Syria, said the activist, who identified himself as Havidar.

The two councils are the main Kurdish organisations active in Syria.

1437 GMT: Turkey/Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced that the newly formed Syrian National Coalition, which has been recognized by Turkey as the country's legitimate representative, will open an office in İstanbul.

Davutoğlu met with Moaz al-Khatib, the head of the new opposition coalition, on Friday in the Turkish capital and held a press conference with Khatib after the bilateral meeting.

Davutoğlu said Khatib is a well-respected man who contributed greatly to the restructuring of the Syrian opposition who was elected by the coalition in a democratic way, reiterating Turkey's recognition of the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

1432 GMT: Egypt. More from Morsi:

"We dream of an elected parliament...

"The judiciary that knows the laws according to the nation will be there.

"I can see a lot of good things in the future. Allah Almighty who protects this Revolution will help you all achieve the victory and the goals for the sake of the nation."

"The private sector is doing fine... the thieves who stole money, took land without contracts, we will deal with them. We will work against corruption.

"Those who killed the revolution must be dealt with."

1423 GMT: Egypt. President Morsi is speaking right now before a crowd in Cairo. A few highlights:

"The judiciary is respected...but those who want to hide behind the judiciary work against them."

"It is a must to apply the law to everyone."

"If I see that the people or the revolution are in danger by those who are still loyalists to the last regime... I will do and I will act. With the judiciary... everyone who is trying to hate the country has to be held accountable.

1421 GMT: Egypt. Pictures from Alexandria claim to show the FJP office on fire there as well (see previous update):

1415 GMT: Egypt. More intense protests in Egypt - in response to the Constitutional changes by President Morsi, crowds of angry demonstrators burned down the offices of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, in both Ismailiya and Port Said:

An FJP official told AFP the party's office was also stormed in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, where clashes broke out between rival demonstrators.

James Miller returns from a holiday break and takes over today's live coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas for coverage yesterday and this morning.

1350 GMT: Syria. More on Wednesday's bomb that killed four people in the Palestinian refugee camp in Yarmouk in southern Damascus on Wednesday.

A "senior official" in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command said Khalid Atteiq, a PFLP-GC leader, was critically injured in an attempted assassination, with the bomb placed in his car.

The official accused the Liwa al-Asifah Brigades of trying to stir strife and drag Palestinians into Syria's uprising. The PFLP-GC, which is in control of much of Yarmouk, is aligned with the Assad regime.

Al-Yarmouk News, a Facebook page reporting on events in the camp, said Atteiq was critically injured while trying to dismantle the explosive device.

1330 GMT: Gaza. Israel has said that today's killing of a Gazan farmer and wounding of 19 others came after it fired warning shoots at the group as they approached the border fence in a no-go area.

The Israeli Defense Force asserted that the victims were among 300 people who approached the fence, some of them attempting to break through. Israel maintains that. after the warning shots were ignored, soldiers were compelled to shoot at the legs of the Palestinians.

IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich turned over Hamas' allegations that Israel had broken Wednesday's ceasefire around by suggesting that the attempt to breach the fence was the real violation.

1312 GMT: Turkey. Tension between Baghdad and Ankara has been increasing. Before his departure to Pakistan on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:

We always had concerns that, God forbid, this [conflict between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government] may turn into a sectarian clash. Now our fears are slowly becoming real. This gives us reason to be concerned.

At the same time, this conflict might be a war for oil. Why? Because the central government wants to show its displeasure with the KRG exporting oil without the knowledge of the Iraqi government.

Discussions [between Erdogan and KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani] have been made as to what could be done both with regards to crude oil and natural gas. Actually, there is nothing to put the central government into trouble. Northern Iraq is doing whatever it can within its own potential and possession.

Iraqi PM Nuri Maliki responded harshly:

The internal situation of Turkey is concerning and Turkey should be aware of this. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan should focus on internal issues particularly [Turkey's] spectre of sectarian and ethnic conflict and should seek ways for a solution.

Unlike Erdogan's prophecy, Iraqi central government will not allow oil wars and will protect Iraq’s oils as all belongs to Iraqi people. We hope that the Turkish government will support our policy and will not start it [war] by signing treaties.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday saying that a comparison of the situation in Iraq with the situation in Turkey is a stark departure from reality. The statement described Erdogan's remarks as “rightful concerns” for the sake of Iraqi people and said it strongly rejects what it called “groundless claims” by Maliki against Turkey.

1309 GMT: Egypt. Rupert Colville, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay's spokesman, has voiced concerns with President's Morsi's Constitutional Declaration:

We are very concerned about the possible huge ramifications of this declaration on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt. We also fear this could lead to a very volatile situation over the next few days, starting today in fact.

1255 GMT: Egypt. Demonstrations are gathering against President Morsi's orders not only in Cairo but also in other cities.

Clashes have been reported between Morsi supporters and protesters in Ahmed Galal Square in the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut, after hundreds started chanting against Morsi’s Constitutional Declaration.

Local offices of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party have reportedly been attacked. Reports say the FJP headquarters in Alexandria was onl fire, while eyewitnesses said minor clashes have erupted between anti-Morsi protesters and Brotherhood members in front of the FJP offices in Port Said.

1251 GMT: Gaza. A Palestinian man has been shot dead by Israeli soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it fired warning shots at a group walking towards the border fence, then fired at their legs when they did not respond.

1246 GMT: Gaza. 3 people died from their injuries sustained during the attack on Gaza: Ahmed Abu Msameh(23), Jouda Shamlkh(30) and Zaki Qadad(42).

1237 GMT: Syria. A bomb blast in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus killed four people and seriously wounded a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

1223 GMT: Syria. Moscow is going to host a meeting of Syrian opposition groups. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:

Next week, we expect the visit of a delegation from the Syrian internal opposition. These are, first of all, representatives of the National Coordination Committee as well as Kurds opposition.

1148 GMT: Gaza. US secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to take any extreme actions in response to the PNA's move in the UN for recognition as a non-member state next week. Hopes are high for The Palestinians as they are expected to have the support of at least 150 of the 193 UN members.

On the other hand upgraded recognition worries Israel because it would allow Palestinians to gain further membership in the International Criminal Court.

1145 GMT: Syria. Today's protest in Kafranbel in the northwest has a message for Washington:

1125 GMT: Palestine. Ahead of the UN vote on the matter of upgrading the Palestinian status, Bassam al-Salhi, a representative of the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, said that China can play a "special role" in the Middle East.

Al-Salhi continued: "They want to be involved (in the Middle East) and we are interested in them being more involved. A special role (for) China is coming."

1100 GMT: Gaza. A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, has accused Israel of violating the ceasefire after gunfire by Israeli troops killed one Palestinian and wounded 10 others this morning. Israel has said it is investigating the incident, Hamas has said it will complain to Cairo, the guarantor of Wednesday's agreement to stop fighting.

1030 GMT: Syria. Writing for Reuters, Suleiman al-Khalidi summarises the strains on the Syrian economy:

Plunging public revenues are a sign of the fiscal pressures Damascus is facing in the wake of the 20-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's government, which has crippled industrial output and oil production and triggered a sharp depreciation in the Syrian currency.

As the government focuses on trying to overcome the rebels it is directing economic resources to Assad supporters by maintaining high subsidies, increasing public sector wages and stockpiling wheat and other staple goods - on top of having to increase defense spending.

That is putting a severe strain on public finances, raising the risk that the authorities will eventually have to resort to printing money to support the economy, something Damascus has long tried to avoid for fear of fuelling hyperinflation and further social unrest.

0945 GMT: Gaza. Medical sources say" target="_blank">20-year-old Anwar Qudaih has been killed and 10 teenagers wounded when Israeli soldiers, stationed at the border near Khan Younis and Israel, opened fire.

Witnesses told AlJazeera that a group of farmers had entered the disputed area of the "buffer zone", a 300-metre strip along the Gaza-Israel border. There is speculation that they were checking on their crops after hearing a news report claiming that travel restrictions had been lifted for the area.

0856 GMT: Israel and Palestine. The Jerusalem Post reports that the Obama Administration, concerned over the Palestinian bid for statehood in the United Nations next week, has urged the Israeli Government not to construct settlements in an area near Jerusalem.

The Netanyahu Government has said it will take a number of steps, including expansion of settlements on Palestinian territory, if the Palestinian Authority insists on Observer State recognition by the UN.

0853 GMT: Syria. Syrian State news agency SANA reports that State TV journalist Basel Tawfiq Yousef was shot dead in Damascus on Wednesday.

0846 GMT: Bahrain. Paralleling our coverage, Brian Whitaker summarises the range of criticism from human rights organisations, inside and outside Bahrain, of the regime's failure to "reform".

The catalyst for the criticism is the one-year anniversary of the recommendations of the Bahrain Indepdendent Commission of Inquiry, which reviewed events and the regime's actions after the mass protests of February 2011. A review has found that the regime only implemented three of the BICI's 26 recommendations in full and had no movement at all on six of them.

0818 GMT: Turkey. EA's Ali Yenidunya reports....

Upon his return from a summit of developing countries in Pakistan, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared, "The solution in the struggle against terrorism is stopping armed activity, not through laying weapons down."

Erdogan's tough talks follows hopes for renewed discussions with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) insurgents, following the ending of a mass hunger strike in Turkish prisons after a call by detained PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

On Syria, Erdogan challenged Russia's opposition to Turkey's request for NATO Patriot missiles on its border, saying it was "very wrong" to criticise the "defensive purposes" of the move.

Erdogan also commented on the Gaza ceasefire, "I don't believe that Hamas will break the truce before Israel does. I can go to Gaza suddenly [if there is a crisis]."

0813 GMT: Syria. In his latest post, Brown Moses goes through videos to evaluate the significance of the shoulder-fired missiles recently captured by insurgents:

0810 GMT: Egypt. Opposition leaders in Egypt are calling for a "million person march" --- "Eyes of Freedom" --- to protest President Morsi's claim of expanded powers (see 0555 GMT).

"This is a coup against legitimacy....We are calling on all Egyptians to protest in all of Egypt's squares on Friday," said Sameh Ashour, head of the Lawyers syndicate, in a joint news conference with leading politicians Amr Moussa and Mohamed El Baradei.

Muftah publishes the text of Morsi's decree and an assessment:

Morsi’s decree will probably be brought before the Egyptian courts where it will most likely be overturned – whatever their orientation, Egypt’s judges do pride themselves on their independence and this move, if nothing else, does interfere with this. As such, the saga will continue. For now, though, it’s Morsi 1, Egypt’s judges 0.

0805 GMT: Syria. AFP describes the movement of aid, including flour, blankets, and clothes, into the country:

Abu Omar and Ammar negotiate the cost of two tons of flour, destined as aid for their countrymen in Syria's Jabal Akrad, with a hard-bargaining Turkish merchant in the border town of Yayladagi.

Together with trained doctor Rami, who is in charge of distribution on the Syrian side, the two men have set up a system for delivering humanitarian aid from Turkey to the mountainous region in the northwest of the war-torn country.

"In times of peace, before the beginning of the Syrian revolution, this area of the countryside of Latakia was self-sufficient... but for one year now they've had no income," says Rami....

They try to buy cheaply from big cities like Gaziantep, but given logistical obstacles in their semi-illegal trade, are sometimes forced to use local suppliers in Yayladagi, which lies less than three kilometers from the border.

The three men are not alone in their mission. A network of more than 60 volunteers, organized through Rami on the Syrian side, ensures the aid is delivered.

Abu Omar and Ammar buy the supplies in Turkey which are taken across the border, where Rami distributes them to a total of 25,000 people in 56 different villages, based on needs cited by a local representative from each place.

0755 GMT: Kuwait. A court has freed three Twitter users on bail after nine days of detention for allegedly insulting the Emir.

A fourth defendant's case will be heard on Sunday.

The trial of the three men released on bail of up to $17,700 is set for December.

The four defendants were arrested on 14 November. Three other Twitter users, including a woman, were arrested with them but only spent hours in custody before being each freed on bail of $3550 each.

0735 GMT: Syria. Libya's interim president Mohammed al-Megarif said has said that he opposes arming insurgents.

Al-Megarif also said that he and Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, who was visiting Tripoli, were withholding recognition of the opposition National Coalition until they could evaluate how representative it was of the Syrian people.

0635 GMT: Syria. The pattern of insurgent advance continued on Thursday, with opposition fighters claiming another regime base in Deir Ez Zor Province in the northeast.

"The Mayadeen military base fell at 8:30 am (06:30 GMT)," Abu Laila, an official in the Military Revolutionary Council said. "The whole countryside, from the Iraqi border and along the Euphrates to the city of Deir Ez Zor, is now under rebel control."

Abu Laila said 44 insurgents had been killed in the assault.

The insurgent victory is the latest in a series of advances not only in the north but near Damascus, with the capture or damage of several regime bases. We will have both Video and Audio Analyses of the political and military situation later this morning.

The Local Coordination Committees Local Coordination Committees in Syria said 151 people were killed by security forces on Thursday, including 66 in Damascus and its suburbs, 34 in Aleppo Province, and 21 in Deir Ez Zor Province.

0625 GMT: Gaza. Wednesday's ceasefire held, with Israel pulling forces back from the border even as its leaders --- including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak --- warned they would return "in case of shooting or provocation".

Gazans celebrated "victory", while Netanyahu made the same proclamation on the Israeli side. In Tel Aviv, police arrested an Israeli Arab on suspicion of planting a bomb in a bus on Wednesday that wounded 21 people.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli forces detained 55 Palestinians in raids in the West Bank, claiming the men were linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants and that some of them had recruited the Israeli Arab to carry out the bombing.

0555 GMT: Egypt. Less than 24 hours after he was hailed for his role in a ceasefire in the Gaza War, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made a dramatic move on the domestic front --- one which is likely to lead to division rather acclaim.

Morsi's orders put him beyond any check from the courts, as he declared that his decrees could not be overturned by the judicial system. He further asserted his authority over law as well as politics by removing the Prosecutor General and ruling that retrials can be held for officials from the Mubarak regime, overthrown in February 2011, for crimes "against the Revolution".

Egypt is already operating in a legislative vacuum because of the dissolution of Parliament by a court order earlier this year. The situation has been further complicated by the failure of a Constitutent Assembly to agree upon a draft Constitution.

Morsi's intervention on Thursday extended the deadline for agreement on that draft by two months. He then prevented the courts from future involvement, declaring that the Assembly and the Shura Council --- Egypt's legislature --- are not subject to judicial rulings.

Many politicians and activists reacted immediately with surprise and fury. Mohamed El Baradei, the Nobel Prize winner and leading figure in Egyptian politics, responded on Twitter, "Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh. A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences." “An absolute presidential tyranny,”

Amr Hamzawy, a leading member of Parliament, wrote, “Egypt is facing a horrifying coup against legitimacy and the rule of law and a complete assassination of the democratic transition.”

Morsi's spokesman, Yasser Ali, tried to reassure that the orders are temporary, until the ratification of a new Constitution and election of a new Parliament: “Going around in a vicious circle in a transitional period has to end....[The process] has to be concluded to serve the best interest of the homeland.” He asserted that the President's action was not a return to the Mubarak regime but "a revolutionary declaration in every meaning of the word".

That assurance is likely to be tested today. Activists and political parties have said they will gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the symbolic centre of the uprising against President Mubarak. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which held the largest share of seats in Parliament before it was dissolved by the courts, may seek to mobilise its supporters in counter-demonstrations.

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    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Post Brothers
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
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    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Klaer
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Klaer
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Klaer
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Klaer
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Konsulenter
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: curtis debord
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: dr zizmor
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Dr Zizmor
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: Doug Pitassi
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?
  • Response
    Response: read the article
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?

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