The agreement achieved in Qatar Sunday morning on the formation of a united opposition coalition headed by Sheikh Muadh Khatib, a former mosque preacher, is leading the headlines of Arab media Monday.
“A ‘national coalition’ to topple Assad,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, which claims that the new coalition will bestow international recognition on the Syrian opposition.
The daily reports that the new “National Coalition of the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces” will comprise a temporary government and will unite the military councils fighting inside Syria.
The headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat juxtaposes the good news with the bad.
“Syria: Agreement in Doha and tension on the Golan,” reads its headline, noting that it was “international and Arab pressure” which succeeded in bridging the gaps within the Syrian opposition and forcing them to sign the coalition agreement.
The daily features two photos side by side: one of the new coalition’s leader, Sheikh Khatib, the other of an IDF soldier directing a trailer carrying a tank on the Golan Heights.
A separate article is dramatically titled “Israeli artillery shells Syria for the first time since the War of October 1973.”
Al-Khatib stated that the purpose of the new coalition is to ‘topple this dictatorial regime and all of its symbols,’ according to Al-Jazeera
Qatari news station Al-Jazeera‘s report is titled “the Syrian coalition wins support and strives for recognition.” The channel reports that the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the two main institutions of the Arab world, have already congratulated the opposition on the move and promised to cooperate with it.
Sheikh Khatib will now travel to Cairo (along with the prime minister of Qatar) and present the agreement to the Arab League “in a first step towards recognition,” Al-Jazeera reports.
Khatib stated that the purpose of the new coalition is to “topple this dictatorial regime and all of its symbols,” according to Al-Jazeera.
Continuing his traditional editorial line of pitting regional powers against the Assad regime, Tareq Homayed, editor-in-chief of A-Sharq Al-Awsat, titles his op-ed Monday “Edrdogan: The new Ottoman Sultan,” an insult voiced by Bashar Assad towards the Turkish prime minister in his latest interview.
“This is a predictable attack, even as it came late. It seems that Assad can no long bite his nails [in anticipation] so he emerged himself to attack Erdogan, stating that he [Erdogan] ‘sees himself as the new Ottoman Sultan.'”
Jordan’s strongman goes to jail
The sentencing of Jordan’s former intelligence chief is making major headlines in Arab press Monday.
Muhammad Dhahabi, who served as head of the General Intelligence Directorate (Mukhabarat) between 2005 and 2008, was sentenced on Sunday to 13 years in prison and a fine of $30 million for embezzlement and money laundering.
Al-Hayat, whose headline reads “Jordan: Prison for a second intelligence director” (the first was Samih Batikhi in the year 2000, for embezzlement and profiteering), reports that the case is considered “one of the most important public opinion cases in Jordan.”
Al-Hayat, whose headline reads “Jordan: prison for a second intelligence director” (the first was Samih Batikhi in the year 2000, for embezzlement and profiteering), reports that the case is considered ‘one of the most important public opinion cases in Jordan’
London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi dubs Dhahabi’s ruling “a huge surprise in extremely sensitive timing,” describing “an extremely harsh verdict” for a man who was considered the strongest government figure between 2005 and 2008.
The daily reports that in addition to the fine and prison term, Dhahabi will be forced to return the money he embezzled, estimated at $37 million.
Reporter Bassam Badarin writes that Dhahabi’s sentence was especially surprising since his family and friends had reassured the media that it would be lenient, and not surpass a year.
Egyptian Islamists blast Baradei with 40 complaints
Former IAEA director and Egyptian politician Mohamed ElBaradei has been blasted with 40 court complaints by Egyptian Islamists, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports Monday.
The Islamists filed the complaints with the prosecutor general Sunday to protests Baradei’s attack on a demonstration held last Friday in favor of enshrining Sharia in Egyptian law.
According to the complainants, belonging to an Islamist lawyers guild, ElBaradei disparaged and denigrated them in a public speech in Aswan, which is considered an illegal act under defamation laws.
Livni’s ‘sex with Arabs’ story is fabricated, daily admits
Al-Quds Al-Arabi dedicates a front page article to an admission that an Egyptian news article claiming that former Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni admitted to sexual relations with Arab officials as part of her duties in the Mossad was fabricated.
The article was first published by Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, where it quickly became the most popular article on the website, before going viral across Arab media.