The apparent preparation of the Egyptian army to disperse a pro-Morsi sit-in in Cairo features high in Arabic media Tuesday, as the Syrian army captures a neighborhood in Homs from rebel hands.
Army helicopters dropped pamphlets on protesters at Rabiah Al-Adawiyah square asking them to stay clear from military installations “for their own safety.” Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera interviews Morsi supporters saying that such notifications are often a prelude to “new massacres” by the army.
Meanwhile, London-based Al-Hayat reports that Egypt’s attorney general will issue an order to vacate Rabiah Al-Adawiya square “within hours.”
“Egypt: The hardening of positions undermines Ashton’s mediation,” reads the daily’s headline, reporting that Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations intensified just hours after its representatives met with Ashton, and despite the military’s warnings against such demonstrations.
“When the military undertakes a coup… and runs the country from its installations, it has itself decided to remove the legal immunity from these installations, especially those from which political decisions are made and political statements are released,” claimed Issam Al-Aryan, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party, in defiance of the army.
But London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that the Brotherhood has actually become more conciliatory toward the new regime, requesting “calming messages” from the government. The daily calls this request “the first Brotherhood recognition of the new new regime in Egypt since the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi.”
Saudi news site Elaph does not attempt to mask its deep disdain for the Brotherhood, which “has returned to the opposition after a disastrous year in government.”
“The Muslim Brotherhood has no ally today but the Salafist groups who are prepared to use violence against the military to restore Mohammed Morsi to power,” reads the article.
Independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm concurs, reporting in its top story Tuesday that elements from al-Qaeda have joined the Muslim Brotherhood protests. Citing an unnamed source close to EU high representative for foreign relations Catherine Ashton, the daily claims that Ashton told Muslim Brotherhood officials that Mohammed Morsi will not return to power, so they might as well stop protesting.
According to Al-Jazeera, Ashton met with Mohammed Morsi for two hours on Monday evening.
Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat focuses on the military’s point of view, its headline reading “The Egyptian army: The Brotherhood does not accept reality.” The daily features an image of pedestrians crossing a makeshift stone barrier set up by pro-Morsi protesters near their epicenter at Rabiah Al-Adawiyah square.
“The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood, time after time, demands international intervention to protect the legitimacy of its regime is a reminder of the ineptitude of its internal power base to implement the change it wishes for in the status quo,” writes Al-Hayat columnist Hazem Saghiyeh.
Meanwhile, the editorial in Al-Quds Al-Arabi calls for urgent Arab intervention to prevent Egypt from deteriorating further.
“There is no excuse any more for just following the news. Today, Arab officials and the secretary general of the Arab League must intervene and launch a comprehensive political process that will end the violence… and protect Egyptian lives, regardless of their political and religious affiliations,” writes the editor.
Assad retakes a Homs neighborhood
Fighting in Syria returns to the headlines, with reports that the Syrian army has captured the Khalidiyah neighborhood in Homs, aided by Hezbollah, following a month of fighting with the rebels for control over the city.
Al-Hayat quotes rebel sources as saying they still have “pockets of resistance” in the city, while a rebel commander tells Al-Jazeera that the Assad regime has booby-trapped the neighborhood’s main mosque.
A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Tareq Homayed claims that Assad, backed by Iran and Hezbollah, is racing against time and utilizing the international preoccupation with Egypt to achieve military goals on the ground.
“Despite the fake self-confidence displayed by the Assad regime, Assad has effectively not advanced. He is merely capable of maintaining the balance as it is now thanks to Hezbollah’s support. [Hezbollah] is the one attacking and fighting, while Assad provides the aerial cover,” writes Homayed.