Fighting in Syria continues to occupy the main headlines of Arab dailies Tuesday, with international patience with the regime of Bashar Assad running thin.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, in an interview with London-based daily Al-Hayat, says that Turkey has repeatedly urged Assad to undertake political reforms, but the Turkish advice “fell on deaf ears.” Gul notes, however, that Turkey does not support arming opposition forces and insists on the territorial integrity of Syria.
Gul added that a decision to create demilitarized zones near the border with Syria cannot be taken by Turkey alone, but requires international consensus. Gul stressed the excellent relations Turkey enjoys with Saudi Arabia — noting the diplomatic coordination on the Syrian situation — and added that Russia bears prime responsibility for convincing the Assad regime to stop the bloodshed.
‘We as Arabs and Muslims live outside the international arena of action. We are a marginalized and worthless appendix, suffering the conspiracies of international forces’
Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports an intensification in fighting in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s two largest cities. The daily reports that following the downing of a regime MiG-23 fighter jet by the opposition Monday, “the skies are no longer safe for Assad’s air force.” Syrian authorities denied opposition claims of shooting down the plane using machine-gun fire, claiming the jet malfunctioned.
Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera reports that in a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Saudi Arabia Monday, foreign ministers proposed to suspend Syria’s membership in the organization as a punitive measure. However, Iran opposed the move, claiming that isolating Syria would only complicate the crisis further.
“Ahmadinejad: the strange guest in Mecca,” comments Abd Al-Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, on the Iranian participation in the OIC meeting. Atwan lambastes the frequent Arab and Islamist summits taking place this summer.
“In short, we as Arabs and Muslims live outside the international arena of action. We are a marginalized and worthless appendix, suffering the conspiracies of international forces. They compete in snatching our wealth and plundering our money, oil and gas. They divide us along sectarian and ethnic lines to enable their plans.
“We must first discuss how to live with each other and overcome sectarian and ethnic disagreements. Then cooperation will come and take root, with no need for conferences.”
Egyptian choices, American blessings
Arab media continue to discuss the surprising replacement of Egypt’s top military brass by President Morsi Sunday.
Both Al-Hayat and A-Sharq Al-Awsat highlight the American acceptance of Egypt’s move. A-Sharq Al-Awsat goes on to deny rumors of discontentment in the ranks of the military.
“What happened in Egypt?” asks the daily’s editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed in an editorial published Tuesday. Typically critical of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Homayed notes that the Egyptian presidency has “swallowed one institution after the other.” He uses the metaphor of a game of bowling, where, with one toss of the ball, a number of institutions collapsed, in record speed.
‘In the absence of a constitution, a parliament… the Egyptian presidency has become an offensive force overpowering that of former president Hosni Mubarak in his heyday!’
“Observers may say that this is natural, but that’s wrong. In the absence of a constitution, a parliament… the Egyptian presidency has become an offensive force overpowering that of former president Hosni Mubarak in his heyday!”
Al-Quds Al-Arabi focuses on the Egyptian crackdown on freedom of speech. Egyptian prosecutor general Abdul Magid Mahmoud decided to press charges against media mogul Tawfiq Okasha, owner of the Fraiin TV station, and against Islam Afifi, editor-in-chief of the independent daily A-Dustour.
Okasha is accused of inciting the murder of president Morsi and insulting him, while Afifi is accused of publishing false statements and news that may destabilize Egypt and “harm the public good.”
Algerians are jealous of the Egyptian president
Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika is being asked by local press to imitate Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and stage a ”civil coup” against the military, Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya is reporting Tuesday.
‘Why is Morsi capable of sacking [the generals] while Bouteflika cannot even say no to this corruption and deterioration?’
According to the channel, social media and the press are demanding that Bouteflika assert his powers as president and realize the promise of the 1991 elections, which saw political Islam rise to power.
“Why is Morsi capable of sacking [the generals] while Bouteflika cannot even say no to this corruption and deterioration?” asked one online commentator.