The outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood by an Egypt court leads the news in Arabic media on Tuesday, alongside reports of potential rapprochement between Iran and the United States.
“Egyptian court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood,” reports Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, featuring a photo of the burned and vandalized headquarters of the Brotherhood in the Cairo suburb of Muqattam, ransacked by anti-Morsi protesters in July.
According to the court ruling, the Brotherhood’s buildings and funds will be confiscated by government. Egyptian legal experts told the daily that the Brotherhood will likely appeal the decision, considering it “political and void.”
“Egypt: Ruling to ban the Brotherhood re-writes the political map,” reads London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has no legal standing since it was disbanded in 1954,” reports the daily, noting that following the revolution a civil organization was found under the name “the Muslim Brotherhood Association.”
“It is unclear whether the decision by the Court of Urgent Affairs bans the Freedom and Justice party or not,” reads the article. The FJP, which led the deposed government, is a nominally independent party linked to the Brotherhood.
London-based Al-Hayat‘s Egypt reporter Muhammad Salah asserts that the court ruling does not apply to the party, but that the ruling is nevertheless “a new escalation against the group whose leaders are being prosecuted for violence, incitement, and killing of protesters.”
“While political powers welcomed the ruling, a calm reaction was felt by the Brotherhood. The head of its legal group, Muhammad Tousoun, said that ‘the Brotherhood plans to appeal the court’s decision within days.’”
Pro-Brotherhood Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera leads its online coverage of the story with the headline “The Muslim Brotherhood insists on appealing the decision to ban it,” claiming that the ruling “gives fallacious legal cover to the steps taken by the military coup.”
In a separate article, Al-Jazeera reports that anti-coup demonstrations continue across Egypt under the banner of “the youth is the pillar of the revolution.”
In the village of Kerdasa south of Cairo a nightly protest broke the curfew, with demonstrators holding up signs reading “Rabia Al-Adawiya,” a reference to the Cairo Square where a Muslim Brotherhood was violently dispersed in mid-August, Al-Jazeera reports.
Egyptian anti-Brotherhood daily Al-Masry Al-Youm dubs the court decision “historic,” reporting that the Ministry of Social Security announced it will implement the decision even before the court appeal against it.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy tells Al-Hayat that his country’s relations with the US are “troubled,” with “public opinion leaning more negatively than ever before.” The Egyptian minister said that Egyptian decisions will not be affected by an American decision to cut aid to the country following the coup which toppled President Mohammed Morsi in early July.
Relations with Turkey were also at an all-time low, the minister noted, with vast public pressure on the government to cut diplomatic ties with Ankara following statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan, who publicly criticized the coup.
Relations with Saudi Arabia, the minister said, had to do with “the question of identity” and were today “at the best level they ever were.”
As the UN General Assembly starts its session on Tuesday, the top headline of A-Sharq Al-Awsat reads, “Iran and the US feel the pulse in New York,” reporting “expectations for a meeting between Obama and Rouhani, despite White House denials.”
The daily reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue.
Meanwhile, Saudi news website Elaph features an article quoting British Foreign Secretary William Hague as saying that the UK does not wish to clash with Iran. The photo accompanying the article features Hague smiling alongside an apparently joyous Javad Zarif in New York Monday.