The arrest of Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie in Cairo leads the news in Arabic language dailies Wednesday, which went to print before news broke of a large chemical attack in Syria.
“A security source tells A-Sharq Al-Awsat: A phone call led to Badie’s arrest,” reads the headline of the Saudi-owned daily, featuring a photo of Badie in a white shirt moments after his arrest early Tuesday morning.
According to the newspaper’s source, police arrested a Muslim Brotherhood member of parliament three days ago, and after tracing a phone conversation, recognized the voice of Badie, who was hiding out at the parliamentarian’s home.
London-based daily Al-Hayat reports that Badie, remanded for 15 days after being indicted for incitement to kill, will be replaced by his deputy Mahmoud Izzat, “who is known for his extremism.”
Al-Hayat reveals the name of the parliament member who harbored Badie in his home near the Brotherhood encampment at Rabiah Al-Adawiya Square: Hazem Farouq.
Badie is being indicted, among other things, for using Hamas operatives to guard him personally and forming a terrorist organization to burn churches in the country, the daily reports.
“The arrest of the Brotherhood leader represents a severe blow to the movement, which has been weakened by confrontations on the street… culminating in a massive arrest campaign among the Brotherhood’s regional leaders and cutting their lines of communication. But Badie’s arrest may cause an eruption of violence, especially considering that his heir belongs to the extremist wing of the movement,” reads the article.
Sources inside the Brotherhood tell London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi that Badie will remain the movement’s leader, despite reports on the Brotherhood’s website of the appointment of Izzat to replace him. Izzat is currently outside Egypt, the sources reported, and it will therefore be difficult for him to serve as general guide, even temporarily.
Meanwhile, Saudi news website Elaph reports that Brotherhood official and tele-preacher Safwat Higazi was arrested by police as he attempted to escape to Libya. Higazi reportedly shaved his beard and dressed up as a veiled woman, but was nevertheless apprehended near the Libyan border.
Higazi was caught following the arrest of his brother a few days ago. The brother’s mobile phone conversations helped trace the Brotherhood official to Siwa, near the Libyan border. Higazi is being indicted for incitement to violence.
Commenting on statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Israel was behind the military coup which toppled Mohammed Morsi, A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Tareq Homayed says that such statements diminish any possibility of cooperation between Turkey and the “moderate Arab world.”
“Mr. Erdogan’s current and past statements concerning the Egyptian crisis in no way serve Turkey’s interest and its relations with regional states. What Erdogan doesn’t understand is that his government’s position toward Turkey has become a source of concern no less than the concern from Iran. As they say, a wise foe is better than an ignorant friend. Erdogan’s statements diminish any chances of increasing regional cooperation between moderate Arabs and Turkey. They also annul the illusion of ‘the Turkish model’ or the illusion of ‘the Erdogan Brotherhood’ which appealed to many in the region.”
On the other side of the political divide, Al-Jazeera columnist Mu’min Bsiso wonders when Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi will be tried for murder.
“What is taking place in Egypt today poses new doubts in the Arab League, which gave the murderer license to kill his people without batting an eyelid,” writes Bsiso.
“Can anyone imagine a scenario in which the leader of the coup, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, and his gang of bloody coup leaders — politicians, military men and party members — will be saved from the repercussions of the great massacre that unfolded on the streets of Egypt over the past few days?”