The nomination of Hisham Kandil as Egypt’s prime minister was met with widespread criticism by political observers, Arab dailies report Wednesday. Kandil is considered inexperienced in political matters and little-known to the public.

“Morsi’s surprise: a prime minister far from politics,” reads the headline of independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm. The daily reports that Morsi has surprised everyone by nominating a “young, inexperienced politician, whose name was not mentioned in the circulated list of candidates.” Kandil served as irrigation minister in the previous government.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat notes in the lead paragraph that Kandil is ‘Egypt’s first bearded prime minister and the youngest in its history.’

London-based daily Al-Hayat leads in the same vein, with a headline that reads, “Egypt: Morsi surprises everyone by choosing an inexperienced minister to head the government.” The daily displays a photo of Kandil, 50, meeting President Mohammed Morsi in his office Tuesday.

Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, generally suspicious of the Muslim Brotherhood, takes the debate from the realm of surprise to the realm of disappointment.

“Egypt: the selection of Kandil as president evokes controversy,” reads the daily’s headline. A-Sharq Al-Awsat notes in the lead paragraph that Kandil is “Egypt’s first bearded prime minister and the youngest in its history.”

“While many in the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood wagered on him to rebuff what they called the counterrevolution, oppositionists regarded the move an escalation in the Islamist hegemony over the presidential palace and state resources,” writes the daily.

If you need proof of how free Egyptian media is today, an editorial in establishment daily Al-Ahram titled ‘The Brotherhood is the mother of despotism’ by Osama Ghazali Harb is it

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, in a somewhat alarmist headline, reports losses in the Egyptian stock exchange following Kandil’s nomination. The daily reports that Kandil “grew his beard from religious motivations, but does not belong to any party.”

Egyptian columnist Tareq Abul Einein writes in Al-Hayat that the American influence in Egypt has begun to wane for three reasons: the new democratic nature of Egypt will no longer accept foreign dictates; the Egyptian political scene did not abide by the political scenario drafted by the US administration; and finally — the revolution has decreased ideological rhetoric in Egyptian politics in favor of domestic social and economic change.

If you need proof of how free Egyptian media is today, an editorial in establishment daily Al-Ahram titled “The Brotherhood is the mother of despotism” by Osama Ghazali Harb is it.

“Eighteen months after the revolution erupted in Egypt, the heavy presence of Islamic forces led by the Muslim Brotherhood dominates the political scene … this will surely leave marks — whether directly or indirectly — on many aspects of political and public life in Egypt.”

US prepares the world for the day after Assad

News from Syria continues to feature high in Arab dailies Wednesday.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat leads with the first public appearance of Syrian defector Manaf Tlas, a former Syrian general, son of defense minister Mustafa Tlas and personal friend of Bashar Assad, calling on the opposition forces to unite.

In an editorial titled “Assad is committing suicide internationally,” the daily’s editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed likens the regime to a suicidal whale crashing to the shore, claiming that the administration’s admission that it possessed chemical and biological weapons is tantamount to political suicide.

“The very acknowledgment by the Assad regime spokesman of owning these weapons is reason enough for an international coalition against him. Moreover, the regime said it would use such weapons in case of foreign intervention,” writes Homayed.

The lead editorial in Al-Quds Al-Arabi admits that the Syrian confession is strange, as most countries owning non-conventional weapons try to hide that fact from the public eye. But the daily is more understanding of Assad’s motives than A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

‘The very acknowledgment by the Assad regime spokesman of owning these weapons is reason enough for an international coalition against him.’

“The Syrian regime wanted to send a clear message to Israel and America that it will use all of its weapons if the two states proceed to invade the country in a similar way to Libya and Iraq. In other words, the regime will not surrender or raise the white flag because it realizes that any intervention would undermine it and will send all or most of its leaders to courts that will execute them, like what happened in Iraq.”

Meanwhile, Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera reports a press conference in which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Syrian opposition should start considering the day after Assad, although she noted that time has still not run out for Assad to transfer power peacefully.