Fighting between Syrian government troops and opposition forces near the Turkish border features high in Arab news coverage Wednesday, with the head of the Syrian opposition in exile declaring that there can be no negotiation with Bashar Assad, and calling for international intervention.
“France fears a ‘regional conflict’ and Iran proposes observers from the ‘communication group,’” reads the top headline of the London-based daily Al-Hayat. The paper reports heavy fighting between the Syrian army and insurgents near the Tal Abyad border crossing with Turkey, which the opposition tried to take over on Tuesday. (Update: The rebels eventually succeeded in taking the crossing later on Wednesday.)
Abdul Basit Sida, the head of the opposition’s Syrian National Council (SNC), tells Al-Hayat that “emergency intervention to stop the killing” in Syria has become imperative, and calls for “a swift Arab initiative.”
Speaking from Doha, Qatar, following a meeting with the Qatari foreign minister, Sida says that no serious plan for intervention has yet been put forward, and that Qatar supports taking the Syrian issue back to the UN Security Council.
Sida tells the daily that he met the international envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and warned him against producing a similar initiative to that of his predecessor Kofi Annan. Any new initiative, Sida says, must have a clear mechanism for stopping the government violence on the ground.
“Battles near the Turkish border, and Dempsey warns against Syrian chemical weapons,” reads the headline of the Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. The paper reports that Syrian jets bombarded the northeastern Syrian city of Deir el-Zour, exploding oil barrels, on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi was forced to leave the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan earlier than planned due to protests by Syrian refugees against his meeting with Assad. According to A-Sharq Al-Awsat, a group of youths pelted Brahimi’s convoy with stones as it was leaving the camp.
‘Perhaps Mosri’s government wants to launch its tenure as far as possible from the foreign policy paradigms of the Mubarak era. It has the right to do so, except this decision in particular harms Syria’
The Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera leads its coverage of Syria with a report by Amnesty international claiming that the Assad regime has intensified its campaign against civilians. The organization argued that the UN Security Council is paralyzed due to internal divisions, and called on the international community to try Syrian war criminals in the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
An Al-Jazeera reporter, broadcasting from the northern village of Kansafra, near Idlib, says that residents have fled their homes and taken refuge in ancient caves, where they hide from government aerial bombings.
A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdul Rahman Rashed praises the new and robust Egyptian foreign policy, but claims that involving Iran in the solution has alienated Saudi Arabia and is wrong.
“Perhaps Morsi’s government wants to launch its tenure as far as possible from the foreign policy paradigms of the Mubarak era. It has the right to do so; except that this decision in particular harms Syria and will harm Egypt’s highest interests,” writes Rashed.
Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood wants to change the kingdom
Al-Hayat reports Wednesday on a secret document being drafted by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, which will change Jordan into a “constitutional monarchy” and weaken the powers of the king.
According to unnamed Islamist sources, the new political vision of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood is similar to that of its Egyptian counterpart.
The plan, which will make the king a figurehead rather than the almost absolute ruler he is today, was presented to the Jordanian parliament’s upper chamber, the Shura Council, in 2006 and again in 2009, but was rejected.
According to unnamed Islamist sources, the new political vision of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood is similar to that of its Egyptian counterpart
Zaki Bani Rsheid, a Muslim Brotherhood official, tells Al-Hayat that the document still requires a few months before it can be completed. But government spokesman Samaah Ma’aiteh, a former Islamist, says that the Muslim Brotherhood cannot hope to affect Jordanian politics if it decides to go ahead with its intention to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that the Jordanian government is trying to convince Palestinians in the refugee camps to take part in the elections, in a bid to curb the Muslim Brotherhood drive to boycott them.