The assassination of an adviser to former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri in Beirut leads the headlines of the Arabic language media on Friday.
Mohammad Chatah, a former finance minister, was killed along with his bodyguard in a car bombing early Friday morning.
Hariri, in a statement quoted by all Arab media, puts the blame on “those who assassinated [his father, former Lebanese prime minister] Rafiq Hariri and rub Lebanon’s nose in humiliation, weakness and emptiness.”
Qatari news site Al-Jazeera, featuring a photo of an injured man lying on the pavement in a pool of blood moments after the explosion, reports that Hariri seems to be tacitly referring to Hezbollah, five members of which are to be tried in absentia next month by an international court for involvement in the elder Hariri’s assassination, in 2005.
London-based daily Al-Hayat mentions a tweet posted by Chatah just an hour before the assassination, in which he stated that “Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security & foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 yrs.”
Lebanese TV station Al-Mayadeen quotes a statement by the Shiite Amal movement, saying that “the first benefactor from the terrorist explosion is the Zionist enemy and everyone who wishes bad for Lebanon.” In a similar vein, the Iranian foreign ministry called on all Lebanese factions to unite “and resist the Israeli conspiracy.”
Egypt designates the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization
An Egyptian government decision to define the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is making major headlines in Arab media as the week draws to a close.
“Egyptian spokesman: We are studying the treatment of Brotherhood leaders abroad,” reads the headline of London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, featuring a photo of a veiled women berating the Muslim Brotherhood after a terrorist blast in Cairo on Thursday.
The newspaper reports on the arrest of dozens of Brotherhood members and the jailing of 18 of them on charges of belonging to “a terrorist organization,” in what is being described as the first implementation of the new government decree.
An Egyptian security source tells Turkish news agency Anadolu that the new definition applied to the Muslim Brotherhood forces Hamas to make one of two choices: either separate from the Brotherhood or be considered by Egypt to also be a terrorist organization, as it “organizationally belongs to the Brotherhood.” The official said that Hamas has not been defined by Egypt as a terror organization, “but the matter will be considered in the future.”
The pro-Brotherhood Al-Jazeera quotes an unnamed American official who criticized the Egyptian decision regarding the Brotherhood.
According to the official, who spoke to Reuters, the interim government “has gone very far” in its current campaign against the Islamist organization. In a separate article, Al-Jazeera reports sporadic demonstrations across Egypt in support of the Brotherhood, organized mainly by students. In response, the Egyptian interior ministry has threatened participants with five years in prison, according to the report.
The editorial of London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi claims that the move against the Brotherhood symbolizes “a return to the security state” on Egypt’s part.
“Through this decision, the Egyptian government will have depleted the country’s energies and reestablished the deep security state with its corruption and tyranny,” reads the editorial.
Despite the fact that the decision comes one day after a terror attack in the city of Mansoura Tuesday which killed at least 15 Egyptian security officers, it could not be justified, argues the paper.
“This decision makes a mockery of true security work which aspires to protect the country and the rights and honor of its civilians. It judges and rules without waiting for the results of an investigation which would ascertain those responsible for the attack.”