The execution of 25 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai Monday following the mysterious death of 37 Islamists on their way to prison leads the news in Arabic media Tuesday, dashing even further the hope of compromise between supporters of Mohammed Morsi and the new provisional government.
“Egypt: Chances for compromise diminish following the killing of soldiers and prisoners,” reads the headline of the London-based daily Al-Hayat, featuring a grisly photo of the young soldiers in plainclothes lying dead in a row with their hands tied behind their backs, with black body bags next to them, ready to be used.
Compromise seemed close following a conciliatory speech by Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, but the massacre in Sinai ended that possibility, the daily reports.
“Amid widespread public rage and calls for revenge, Egyptians were greeted yesterday morning with news of the execution of 25 unarmed soldiers from the Central Security while returning from vacation,” reads the lead paragraph in London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi‘s article.
As the European Union mulls cutting aid to Egypt, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz pledged to compensate Egypt for any lost revenue, a position warmly received by General el-Sissi. The Egyptian minister called Saudi crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz on Monday to thank him for the Saudi support, a story leading the front page of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
All the op-eds in A-Sharq Al-Awsat focus on Egypt Tuesday, blasting the Western critique of Egypt and pledging loyalty to the country’s new leaders.
“Since its establishment, the Muslim Brotherhood used the slogan ‘Islam is the solution’ to realize its largest goal: ruling Egypt. But today… we see that the true slogan of the Brotherhood is ‘the West is the solution’,” writes columnist Tareq Homayed. “While Saudi Arabia places its weight behind the Egyptian state, diminishing the Western onslaught against Egypt, we find that the Brotherhood is doing all it can to push the West to intervene in Egypt and help the Brotherhood return to power.”
On the other side of the political divide, pro-Brotherhood news channel Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar, displays images of a disheveled Mohammed Badie, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, arrested Tuesday morning at his hiding place in the neighborhood of Nasr City in eastern Cairo.
The channel’s correspondent reports that Badie, for whom an arrest warrant for incitement was issued, received “proper treatment” from the forces that arrested him, before being transferred to a maximum security prison.
“This is exclusion and expulsion, not policy,” writes Al-Hayat columnist Hazem Saghiyeh, claiming that Egypt suffers from the same malady plaguing many Arab countries: the unwillingness to compromise.
“One of the main reasons for the polarization plaguing Egypt … is that no one wants to sacrifice any of their principles, or tolerate what they believe to be strange or out of the ordinary,” writes Saghiyeh.
“The Muslim Brotherhood clung to Islamization, even if it was to a lesser extent than their opponents accused them of. In their adamancy, they preferred their ideological principles over the rich and pluralistic reality and their obligations as heads of a temporary government.”
“Their enemies and opponents, meanwhile, could not stand the Brotherhood in power even as their power faltered and was about to collapse at any moment. [The Brotherhood's opponents] were so intransigent that they abandoned their democratic pretenses and rallied around the army as their savior. They fought the Brotherhood and its leader Mohammed Morsi based on ‘what the Brotherhood may do’ more than what it actually did.”
Almost as though to prove Saghiyeh’s point about hyperbole and the radicalization of Egyptian society, Al-Masry Al-Youm columnist Mohammed Salmawi calls on the government to name the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
“I don’t know what we’re waiting for to… declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization,” writes Salmawi.
“Aside from the Brotherhood’s history since its inception in 1928 — a history filled with violence, assassinations and bombings — what its members have done during the past few weeks since being ousted from power would be enough for any country respecting international law to consider them a terrorist organization.”