An international conference in Geneva, set to discuss solutions for the fighting in Syria, leads the news in all major Arab dailies Thursday.
London-based daily Al-Hayat reports that the conference will create a “road map for political transition in Syria.” The daily outlines the guest list in Geneva, which will include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council; Syria’s neighbors Iraq and Turkey; and finally Qatar –which heads the ministerial task force on Syria — and Kuwait, which currently serves as rotating president of the Arab League.
Similarly, Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that the Geneva conference will “establish the principles for transition of power in Syria.” The daily features the image of a group of armed men waving their weapons on the back of a pickup truck near the city of Idlib.
‘Some predict that Assad will eventually fall. This could be true or exaggerated, depending on the wishes of those making the predictions. But if Assad falls he may take others with him, so some should fear for their heads!’
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, an Arab-nationalist daily published in London, focuses on the opposition attack on the Syrian “Al-Ikhbariyah” TV station loyal to Assad Wednesday. In its headline it notes two countries which were not invited to Geneva: Saudi Arabia and Iran. Are the two opponents too emotionally and politically involved in Syria to be of any use?
The daily’s editor-in-chief Abd Al-Bari Atwan writes that while some countries are engaged in a diplomatic track on Iran, the Saudi-Turkish-Qatari triangle is funding Syrian opposition forces on the ground, similarly to the funding of Afghan Mujaheddin in the 1980s in an attempt to banish the Soviets.
“Some predict that Assad will eventually fall. This could be true or exaggerated, depending on the wishes of those making the predictions. But if Assad falls he may take others with him, so some should fear for their heads!”
In an editorial titled simply “Afghanization,” Al-Hayat columnist Hassan Haidar claims that Russia is re-adopting the expansionist policies of the Soviet Union, using Syria as its military playground in the same way the Soviet Union used Afghanistan in the 1980s.
“The Assad regime is supplying the contributing factors to the Afghanization of his country. In his boundless violence, he pushed the opposition to take arms after it began peacefully and continues to insist on returning to peaceful means. The Assad regime also summons the violence of extremist groups which it nurtured and used in Iraq and Lebanon.”
Morsi to decide where to take his oath today
Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsi is expected to decide on a crucial matter today, in the opinion of most Arab dailies: where to take his oath. Doing so before the court would mean recognizing the new constitution amended by the military ahead of elections. Refusing to do so would put him in direct conflict with the powerful military establishment and delay transition of power, promised by July 1.
“Egypt: Morsi to decide oath crisis today,” reads the headline of A-Sharq Al-Awsat, featuring a photo of Morsi meeting representatives of the Catholic church Wednesday. Using the same photo, Al-Hayat’s headline reads: “Morsi vows to practice his full prerogatives and denies delegating influential portfolios to the military.”
Al-Hayat columnist Badryah Al-Bishr writes that no Egyptian president will be granted any public credit to reform the country due to what she dubs “the democracy of revenge.”
“The democracy of revenge which the Egyptian people finds itself in, is the same democracy that the Islamists turned to through the Salafi and Brotherhood parties. After having cursed it they embraced it, not believing that it is the best way to rule a modern state but because it is the only way to get revenge and steal power,” she writes.
She notes that Morsi was picked up by podium microphones seconds before his victory speech asking that his family to be notified of his imminent appearance on TV.
“The people expect their new president to turn the Egyptian reality from misery to joy in the first hour. The truth is that even if Superman ruled Egypt, he couldn’t change a thing within 10 years.”
“Morsi is not the candidate of the revolution or of the vast majority, nor is he the charismatic leader whose speeches grip minds and fill hearts. He is a sub-par president whose dream is to appear on television and be seen by his family. Destiny placed him as the leader of the wardens who enter the prison to rule the prisoners.”