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Eurasia Security Watch - No. 331

Death sentence for 183 Brotherhood members;
South Sudan peace agreement;
Iraqis and Kurds aim to free Mosul;
Egyptian court ban Hamas;
Hezbollah ready for war with Israel

Edited by Jeff M. Smith and Kara Hericks
February 9, 2015


An Egyptian court sentenced 183 supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death as authorities continue to crack down on Islamists. The death sentences followed one of the bloodiest attacks on Egyptian security forces in years. The men were convicted of playing a role in the killing of 16 Egyptian police officers in 2013. President Sisi has described the Brotherhood as a major security threat. Egyptian authorities make no distinction between the Brotherhood, the Islamic State and al Qaeda, arguing that they have a shared ideology and are equally dangerous. Hundreds of death sentences have been handed down against members of the Brotherhood and thousands of supporters have been arrested and put on mass trials. (
The Guardian February 2, 2015; Reuters February 2, 2015; BBC News February 2, 2015)


President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and the rebel commander Riek Machar signed another cease-fire agreement, edging them closer to a final deal to end a 15-month conflict. The agreement sets out how the two leaders would share power once they formed an interim government, with Mr. Kiir remaining president while Mr. Machar would become vice president. The rebels, however, said many more details need to be agreed upon before the deal could be labeled a “power sharing” agreement. The conflict in South Sudan erupted in December 2013 and continues despite commitments by both sides to halt the violence. More than 10,000 people have been killed, 1.5 million people have been driven from their homes, and many in the oil-producing nation are struggling to find enough food to eat. The leaders of an Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the regional bloc overseeing the talks, will take severe action against anyone who breaks this latest agreement and report them to the African Union and UN Security Council. (
The New York Times February 2, 2015; The Guardian February 2, 2015)

With U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters winning the battle for Kobane, the big question now is when Islamic State forces will be driven out of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, whose spectacular fall led to the collapse of the Iraqi army. The new Iraqi government of prime minister Haider Al Abadi is keen to show it can retake Mosul, and many Iraqis are calling for a spring offensive to liberate the city. The police force that fled during the Islamic State takeover is reportedly now ready to fight to reclaim the city and Kurdish peshmerga forces have since regained considerable ground with the help of US-led air strikes, leaving Mosul is more isolated from the North, East and South than it was before. (
Public Radio International February 2, 2015)

An Egyptian court banned the Palestinian group Hamas and listed it as a terrorist organization, a ruling in keeping with a systematic crackdown on Islamists by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi said Egypt faces a tough, prolonged campaign against militancy. Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group and repressed thoroughly since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Morsi, from the presidency in 2013. Cairo has for many years played a central role in engineering ceasefires between Israel and Hamas, including a truce between the sides that ended a 50-day Gaza war. Egyptian officials say that weapons are smuggled from Gaza into Egypt where they end up with militant groups fighting to topple the Western-backed Cairo government. Islamist militants based in Egypt's Sinai region, which borders on Gaza, have killed hundreds of police and soldiers since Morsi's political demise. (
Reuters January 31, 2015)

The leader of Hezbollah warned Israel that the Shiite movement was unafraid of war, just days after intense clashes in the border zone raised fears that a major conflict could erupt. Hasan Nasrallah told supporters that his organization carefully planned a missile strike that recently killed two Israeli soldiers. He described the attack as retaliation for an alleged Israeli raid earlier in January that killed six Hezbollah militants and an Iranian general. In 2006, the two sides fought a 34-day war along the Lebanon-Israel border that left more than 1,000 Lebanese and 165 Israelis dead. “We are not afraid of war. We will fight this war. We will achieve victory, God willing,” he said. (
The Washington Post January 30, 2015)

Related Categories: Radical Islam

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