‘Mohammed Morsi, former Egyptian president’
Arabic media review

‘Mohammed Morsi, former Egyptian president’

Arab columnists aghast at Egypt's rapid deterioration; UN leads donor drive for Syria

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Egyptian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, in August 2012. (photo credit: AP/Egyptian Presidency/File)
Egyptian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, in August 2012. (photo credit: AP/Egyptian Presidency/File)

Violence in Egypt continues to occupy headlines in the Arab press on Wednesday, with observers wondering where exactly Egypt is headed.

“Egypt: the ‘Brotherhood’ stand alone in confronting the crisis,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, which features a photo of helmeted police officers shooting teargas canisters, presumably at anti-government protesters.

“Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi lost a number of allies in confronting the political crisis engulfing the country,” writes the daily’s Mohammed Salah. “While the army got involved in the crisis, hinting it would intervene if matters escalated … the Salafi Nour Party — considered the Muslim Brotherhood’s closest ally — adopted the demands of the opposition’s National Salvation Front.”

Meanwhile, Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat zooms in on the local picture.

“Port Said is an angry city; its resident defied the state of emergency,” reads A-Sharq Al-Awsat’s headline, above a photo depicting scores of men protesting in Port Said.

The daily’s reporter Muhammad Hassan Shaaban joined thousands of Port Said residents on a nightly march defying a government-imposed curfew.

“They said they will not return to calm until President Morsi rescinds his emergency and curfew decisions,” writes Shaaban.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, carrying a report by Egypt’s MENA news agency, leads with a sensationalist headline: “Egypt: the army warns the state may collapse, and the Salafis renounce the Brotherhood.”

Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera reports that Morsi has shortened his trip to Europe due to the unrest in Egypt, and delegated the governors of Suez Canal provinces with the authority to impose a curfew.

“Egypt’s collapse – a terrifying thought,” reads the headline of an op-ed by A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdul Rahman Rashed, referring to a warning sounded by Egyptian Defense Minister Abdul Fattah Sisi to that effect on Tuesday.

“The primary responsibility for eschewing collapse and shutting the door before military intervention lies on the shoulders of President Morsi personally. If he fails in gathering the parties and convincing them to work under his leadership … we may witness the end and fall of the second Egyptian republic,” writes Rashed.

“If Morsi refuses reconciliation, we will most likely awaken to a military regime in the coming few months. Egypt will lose as a consequence, and the entire Arab world will lose with it, the biggest change in 100 years.”

In a brazen op-ed in independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, Tharwat Kharbawi refers to Mohammed Morsi as “Egypt’s former president.”

“We must speak clearly. Clear speech, which many try to avoid, says that Egypt is currently without a president. The president violated the presidential contract with the people,” writes Kharbawi. “The most odd thing people write in the past days is that the president has the right to remain in power, as a burden on the people, until the end of his term. Even if the president is unjust and tyrannical … we have no power over him for four years. Only then, they say, do we have the right to not reelect him.”

Meanwhile, independent Egyptian daily Al-Watan interviews former Egyptian MP Mustafa Bakri, who criticizes Morsi for traveling to Germany on Wednesday in the midst of the political turmoil.

“Civil war looms near and Morsi doesn’t care about the bloodshed,” claims Bakri, accusing the president of implementing an “American plan” to divide Egypt.

Kuwait summit pledges big bucks for Syria

Al-Hayat leads its front page on Wednesday with news that a summit in Kuwait hopes to collect $1.5 billion in aid for some 4 million Syrians in need and 700,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the country.

The daily reports that no Syrian representatives, neither from government nor opposition, will be present at the conference.

Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah pledged $300 million to the Syrians at the start of the conference, Al-Jazeera reports.

Al-Hayat reports that the EU has pledged 100 million Euros in aid for Syria, to be added to 100 billion it has already paid. 

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