Violence in Iraq has managed to surpass that of Syria, overtaking the front pages of most international Arab dailies Tuesday. A series of 27 bombings – suicide attacks, charges, and car bombs – has resulted in the deaths of 107 civilians in 15 cities, in what media is describing as the worst round of violence in two years.
“The ‘Ramadan attack,’ moving massacres in Iraq: Hundreds of dead and injured in timed attacks,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat.
“Baghdad and six other Iraqi cities were drowned yesterday in blood and body parts belonging to hundreds of victims caused by a series of bombings… forcing the interior ministry to admit failure and change its security plans,” reads the lead paragraph.
“Iraq: A bloody day following a chain of attacks, and the interior ministry demands to change the security plans,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, which displays a photo of a devastated building in northern Baghdad.
Meanwhile, Iraqi politician Iyad Allawi, head of the Iraqiya bloc, tells the Jordanian daily Al-Arab Al-Youm about a recent assassination attempt directed at him in Baghdad, causing him to flee the country.
Will Assad step down?
After Arab foreign ministers have officially offered Syrian President Bashar Assad free passage to leave Syria, Arab dailies reflect on the offer, analyzing whether he is likely to accept it.
“Damascus rejects the offer of Assad’s resignation and hints at chemical weapons,” reads the lead headline of A-Sharq Al-Awsat. The article opens with Syria’s official acknowledgment of owning chemical weapons and its warning of using it against “foreign enemies.”
Quoting The New York Times, the daily claims that the United States will support the Syrian opposition through training and intelligence assistance.
London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi begins its coverage of Syria by reporting street fighting in Damascus and Aleppo, including summary executions.
A-Sharq Al-Awsat editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed wonders whether the Arab call on Assad to resign was spontaneous or whether it followed a Russian hint that Assad was willing to step down peacefully.
‘The fastest way to get rid of the regime in Syria is through foreign intervention… but will such intervention fulfill its purposes, and with what cost to life?’
“Whatever the answer, the Arabs must remember that Moscow has toyed with the international community since the eruption of the Syrian conflict, just as it abused the Syrians by standing with the Damascus tyrant for the past 17 months,” writes Homayed.
Abd Al-Bari Atwan, somewhat sympathetic to the Assad regime, praises the resilience of Assad in withstanding domestic and international pressures to oust him. He compares Assad to Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat, who both refused to succumb and remained in their country to the death.
“The fastest way to get rid of the regime in Syria is through foreign intervention… but will such intervention fulfill its purposes, and with what cost to life?”
“A Syrian official said 10 years ago that Saddam Hussein made a vital mistake when he did not equip his missiles with chemical warheads and launch them at Israel when his country was attacked by the United States. Dr. Jihad Maqdisi, the spokesman of the Syrian foreign minister, reminded me of the statement yesterday in his press conference when he said that the Syrian chemical and biological weapons will not be used against the Syrian people, but only when Syria is subject to a foreign attack,” writes Atwan.
“In the coming days… we will see if the words are followed by deeds,” he concludes.
Egypt’s conflicted memorial day
Egypt celebrated the 60th anniversary of the 1952 revolution July 23 amid a strange atmosphere of ambivalence.
Al-Hayat writes that despite the speech by President Mohammed Morsi criticizing some aspects of the revolution, wreaths were placed on the grave of revolutionary leader Gamal Abdul Nasser, just like every year.
‘Rumors about demobilizing the army and turning it into an Islamic army have one purpose: to antagonize the armed forces and drag them into the battle currently waging to topple and obstruct the elected president’
“It seems as though Morsi wanted to maintain a balanced position to avoid accusations of ignoring the ‘July revolution’ due to the historic dispute between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military establishment,” writes reporter Muhammad Salah in Al-Hayat.
Writer Fahmi Huweidi warns of counter-revolutionary tendencies in current day Egypt in a column on Al-Jazeera‘s website. He claims that significant forces are doing all they can to humiliate and belittle President Morsi.
“Rumors about demobilizing the army and turning it into an Islamic army have one purpose: to antagonize the armed forces and drag them into the battle they are currently waging to topple and obstruct the elected president,” writes Huweidi.