Egypt’s unsettled political scene features high on Arab news outlets Sunday, as the country marks the 40-year anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, known in Egypt as the October War.
“The October War stands between the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood today,” reads the headline in the London-based daily Al-Hayat, leading with reports that the Muslim Brotherhood intends to take to Tahrir Square on Sunday, the official memorial day of the war, to protest the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi.
Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera, which is supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, claims that a large segment of Egyptian society has been excluded and marginalized by the government, which is blocking them from protesting on the national holiday.
“These [protesters] have been dubbed ‘followers of the outlawed group,’ even if they include liberals or Copts. The building of walls of hatred is the most dangerous thing, many believe, amid a growing sense of persecution and sectarian treatment. The army has been inserted in the middle of all of this,” Al-Jazeera’s TV report said.
Egyptian provisional President Adly Mansour and the Tamarod movement, which spearheaded the anti-Morsi protests in June, called on all Egyptians to take to the streets in support of the army.
“Egypt braces to cross ‘October 6,’” reads the headline of independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, in an apparent allusion to the army’s October 6, 1973, crossing of the Suez Canal that marked the start of the war.
“The army vowed to continue sacrificing for the nation, while the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood planned to spoil the joy of Egyptians in their victory by taking to Tahrir Square and organizing processions against the armed forces in Cairo and the provinces,” reads the report.
Saudi news site Elaph reports a call by Egyptian-born cleric Youssef Qaradawi, associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, on pro-Morsi supporters to celebrate on Sunday and “fear only God.”
In his Friday sermon, Qaradawi also called on Egyptian soldiers “not to believe the lies of their commanders” and to avoid spilling the blood of innocent civilians. The Qatari-based cleric said that Egypt’s current leaders are “adversaries of God, and will not succeed.”
The opinion pages of Egypt’s media are filled with op-eds about the anniversary, mostly critical of Muslim Brotherhood.
“It is no one’s right to spoil the joy of Egyptians on their national holiday, which retrieved their lost honor following the treacherous defeat [of 1967]. It is no one’s right to describe the victories of October as the work of the devil that has nothing to do with nation or belief or allegiance,” writes Jihan Fawzi in Al-Masry Al-Youm.
“Their hatred for the armed forces [and attempt] to weaken it, and their hatred for El-Sissi, added a new element to the revulsion of citizens toward them.”
Al-Masry Al-Youm’s Samir Farid defends slain Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s decision to go to war with Israel, but also to sign a peace treaty with it, despite supposedly forsaking the Palestinians in the process.
“Today, 40 years after the October War, it becomes more clear than ever before how correct President Sadat was when he said that this will be the last war between Israel and an Arab army. He did not say it would be the last war between the Arabs and Israel, but the last war between standing armies. He did not say it was intended to free Palestine, but that it was meant to free the lands occupied following the war of 1967. That is why he signed the peace treaty with Israel and Egypt regained its sovereignty over Sinai, even if under strict international conditions that will eventually fall,” writes Farid.
“He was right, since had he waited for the Arabs to unite and liberate Palestine and all occupied lands, he would be waiting until today, and perhaps for many more decades to come … Sadat remains the only Arab president to sign a military order for his army to attack Israel. His speech in the Knesset remains one of the most important documents defending the Arab rights in the heart of Israel.”