As international envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi calls for a “holiday ceasefire” ahead of the Eid Al-Adha festival which begins next week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Bashar Assad “will never step down.”
“Fabius quoting Lavrov: Assad will never leave,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, reporting on French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who attended a dinner with his Russian counterpart on Sunday night.
The daily also reports an Iranian initiative on Syria, suggesting a “transitional period” under the supervision of Bashar Assad, pending new presidential elections.
‘Lavrov knows, as does his president Putin, that it is impossible for Assad to remain. His ouster is a matter of time’
A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdul Rahman Rashed claims that Russia may be capable of disposing of Assad “within days” if it so wishes, but it does not have the ability to maintain him in power indefinitely.
“Lavrov knows, as does his president Putin, that it is impossible for Assad to remain. His ouster is a matter of time, which could come [at the latest] during the middle of next year,” writes Rashed. “This could come at the expense of an additional 50,000 Syrian lives lost and the destruction of the remainder of Syria’s cities. What Lavrov said was that the price may be higher, but not that Assad will remain.”
The daily claims “conflicting reports” regarding a prisoner swap between the Free Syrian Army and Lebanon’s Shiite organization Hezbollah, which has reportedly sent hundreds of combatants to fight alongside the regime of Bashar Assad. Hezbollah refused to comment on the FSA’s claim of involvement in battles in the region of Harmal inside Syria, near the Lebanese border.
‘Erdogan’s policy of lying will surely lead him towards political death in the near future’
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, Fahed Masri, told A-Sharq Al-Awsat that his organization is holding dozens of bodies of Hezbollah fighters found armed in various Syrian villages.
Meanwhile, London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports a vicious Syrian media attack on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In its lead editorial Monday, private Syrian daily Al-Watan called Erdogan a “hypocritical Ottoman,” referring to the Turkish Ottoman empire which dominated Syria until the early 20th century.
“Erdogan’s policy of lying will surely lead him toward political death in the near future,” read the Al-Watan editorial. “Then, this hypocritical Ottoman will grasp the meaning of the phrase ‘Syria is a graveyard for its invaders.’ So it was and so it will remain.”
Ex-Egypt army chiefs face charges of killing protesters
Egyptian judicial authorities have begun investigating charges against Muhammad Hussein Tantawi , former head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, and Sami Anan, former chief of staff, who are accused of ordering the shooting of peaceful demonstrators during the Egyptian uprising that began in January 2011.
Al-Hayat reports that Abdul Magid Mahmoud, Egypt’s prosecutor general, has appointed another judge to investigate the case in an apparent attempt to distance himself from a possible acquittal of the military men, which will surely lead to public anger.
The Salafis are perturbed by the word ‘principles’ which they believe detract from the absolute authority of Islamic Sharia law in future Egyptian legislation.
Meanwhile, a draft of the new constitution is making waves in Egypt, especially among Islamists.
The dispute revolves around the second article of the constitution, which stipulates that “the principles of Sharia will serve as the main source of Egypt’s legislation.
Salafi political sources told independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that the public must vote “no” in the referendum on the new constitution, adding that supporting it would be “Islamically forbidden.” The Salafis are perturbed by the word “principles,” which they believe detract from the absolute authority of Islamic Sharia law in future Egyptian legislation.
‘The current text of the draft allows for absolute freedom of belief. This includes Satan worshipers, polytheists and apostates. This undoubtedly poses a grave danger to society’
Yasser Brahami, a Salafi member of the constitutional assembly, told establishment daily Al-Ahram that articles agreed upon during deliberations on the constitution were not inserted into the draft, such as a clause explaining the meaning of “principles of the Sharia” and another stating the freedoms will only be practiced in accordance “with the values of society.”
“The absence of such a clause will destroy social values under the pretext of freedom of belief,” Brahami told Al-Ahram. “The current text of the draft allows for absolute freedom of belief. This includes Satan worshipers, polytheists and apostates. This undoubtedly poses a grave danger to society.”
Brahami said that Mohammed Morsi was only voted in “to implement Islamic Sharia.”