Political unrest in Egypt leads the headlines of Arab dailies on Sunday, as some observers predict an imminent clash between President Mohammed Morsi and the opposition.
“Egypt: New constitutional declaration to defuse the crisis; the army warns against miscalculations,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. The daily claims that Egypt’s opposition on Saturday adopted more stringent positions, which “forebodes an imminent clash.” The daily displays an image of an Egyptian soldier resting atop a tank parked behind the metal gates of the presidential palace in Cairo.
The daily’s editor’s, Tareq Homayed, points to two communiques issued by the military and the country’s highest religious institution, Al-Azhar, calling for national dialogue and warning against violence.
“What is happening in Egypt is not a battle between those who want religion and those who oppose it, as some falsely propagate,” writes Homayed. “Al-Azhar could not possibly join those who want to remove religion. But Al-Azhar, like the military, considered what is happening in Egypt the destruction of the state.”
Meanwhile, Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera reports that President Morsi has issued a new presidential decree canceling the previous one. Under the new decree, released following a meeting with opposition leaders, the referendum on the new draft constitution will take place on December 15 as planned. However, if the public votes “no,” a new constituent assembly will be selected by the president and will try again.
“The army oversees and warns,” reads the headline of Egyptian independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm. Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including General Guide Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat Shater, accuse opposition leaders of being in touch with Mubarak loyalists, known in Egypt as filul, in London and Gulf states.
Abdel Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, likens the Egyptian crisis to a lethal head-on car accident he once witnessed in his youth, which was caused by the pride of both drivers.
“All demonstrations and intifadehs in the Arab region begin peaceful and end up bloody, with few exceptions to this rule,” writes Atwan. “Syria and Libya serve as live examples in this regard.”
“Those who rally protesters on the streets and squares, threatening to use the weapon of ‘million man rallies,’ forget an important truth, namely that rallying supporters and fanning their anger through speeches and slogans to demonize the other side is a very easy process. But controlling these crowds and containing their peaceful behavior is the more difficult, and perhaps impossible, challenge.”
Syrian opposition appoints new military command
Al-Jazeera reports that the Syrian opposition has elected major- general Salim Idris as head of the United Military Command of the Syrian opposition in a meeting held in Doha on Saturday.
Idris is to head a new military command comprising 30 civilian and military officials, who will control a Syria administratively divided into five military regions.
The channel claims that the command includes many members of the Muslim Brotherhood and even the more extremist Salafis, and excludes defecting senior officers from the Assad regime
The station claims that the command includes many members of the Muslim Brotherhood and even the more extremist Salafis, and excludes defecting senior officers from the Assad regime.
Meanwhile, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that both the United States and Germany have declared that the Assad regime is experiencing its final days, as fighting between government and opposition reaches the seat of power in Damascus.
The daily reports that the Free Syrian Army has succeeded in taking control of an Iranian training camp located near the Damascus airport.
A video uploaded onto YouTube shows an office filled with Iranian flags, pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini, and Shiite books.
According to A-Sharq Al-Awsat, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards declared some two months ago that his forces are present inside Syria.
The fighters who took control of the building claim to have found a list of 11,000 Hezbollah fighters inserted into Syria, complete with their addresses and military assignments.