Egyptian politicians are begging their citizens for calm after a bloody day of clashes in front of the presidential palace left five people dead and 446 wounded. However, Arab newspapers from across the region write that immediate calm is the last thing that one should expect in Egypt in the coming days.
“Egypt: A ‘Molotov’ battle in front of the presidential palace… And Morsi the ‘rescuer’ is responsible,” reads the main headline of the Saudi-owned daily, A-Sharq Al-Awsat, a newspaper long known for its antipathy towards the Muslim Brotherhood. The daily reports that violence erupted when leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice party urged their supporters to descend on the presidential palace to express their rejection of protests against President Mohammed Morsi. Upon arrival, the Brotherhood supporters proceeded to take on anti-Morsi activists by force, destroying their tent encampments, hurling Molotov cocktails, and beating opponents while shouting “support.”
‘The Brotherhood is the crown prince of tyrants who murder smiles and kill dreams’
In an op-ed entitled “President Morsi and the tyranny of the Holy!” in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan, Ahmad Budastor argues that the Egyptian people can never return to the “dark ages” of pharaonic rule that Morsi is seeking to restore. The end result of Morsi’s constitutional declaration and alleged power grab will be his severe weakening as the leader of Egypt.
“The Egyptian people have tasted freedom,” Budastor writes, “and have walked in the way of democracy… They want a civil state, not a state governed by the Muslim Brotherhood, who claim to hold the ancestral light of Islam but who write a constitution without debate or speech. The Brotherhood is the crown prince of tyrants who murder smiles and kill dreams.”
Media outlets are also covering the upsurge in premeditated attacks by opposition activists against the Muslim Brotherhood. The London-based Al-Hayat reports that “while the Egyptian government has called for calm,” opponents of President Morsi have successfully set fire to the Freedom and Justice Party headquarters in Ismailia, a town on the west bank of the Suez canal.
Furthermore, Dubai-based Al-Arabiyya has picked up a shocking news story that opposition activists in Alexandria managed to track down and severely beat prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader Subhi Saleh less than 200 meters from his home.
“A large number of demonstrators detained Brotherhood leader Subhi Saleh and beat him until he bled profusely from his head and face,” the article states. His attackers tried to drag him to railroad tracks located nearby and throw him under the wheels of an oncoming train. He was saved by a group of Muslim Brotherhood supporters who managed to pull him away from the crowd and take him to a hospital. The attackers proceeded to burn his car.
In an interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm from his bed in the the hospital’s intensive care unit, Saleh vowed to continue working for the Brotherhood’s cause despite his injuries.
“I am a member of this Islamic project,” he said. “And I am convinced that what I am doing is right and I will continue to work out of this hospital… I am proud that I am from the Brotherhood and I feel that the purest people in Egypt come from the Brotherhood’s members.”
Obviously, not all Egyptians agree.
Syria bloodshed spurs Lebanese to violence
Like a domino effect, reports of atrocities in Syria have been compelling Lebanese to kill each other. According to Al-Jazeera, clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian gangs broke out in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Tuesday night and continued well into Wednesday, leaving six people dead and 53 injured.
The fighting broke out after the Syrian military executed 20 Lebanese prisoners accused of fighting for the anti-Assad regime rebel coalition. Witnesses said the gangs used rocket-propelled grenades and medium and light arms to attack and destroy each other’s neighborhoods.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati urged Lebanese “to maintain security and safety” and not to intervene in events in Syria.
“We affirm the government’s decision to protect Lebanon and distance itself from the fallout of the conflict in Syria,” Mikati said.
But that might not be possible if the international community directly intervenes in Syria due to fears that the Assad regime will begin using chemical weapons against its own people, writes Abd Al-Bari Atwan in an op-ed in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi.
“The mounting fears and panic by the US and Europe over the possibility of Syrian President Bashar Assad using chemical weapons against his countrymen reveals their near certain intention to launch a military intervention to resolve the situation and overthrow the ruling regime in Damascus,” Atwan claims.
“Past experience suggests that there are key indicators of war coming to our region. The first is the inflated talks about weapons of mass destruction and the second is the Arab and European focus on Arab-Israeli peace.”