Arabic media review

For Egyptian TV broadcasters, veils are now allowed

Syrian oppositionists attack government airports; Egypt remains frosty on Iran and a leading Iraqi politician will not speak to his coalition partner

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Egyotian President Mohammed Morsi (left) shakes hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the NAM conference in Tehran, August 30, 2012 (photo credit: AP)
Egyotian President Mohammed Morsi (left) shakes hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the NAM conference in Tehran, August 30, 2012 (photo credit: AP)

An “airport war” is in full swing between the Syrian government and opposition, Arab dailies report Sunday.

“‘Airport war’ escalates and the opposition attacks a base in Deir el-Zour,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat. The daily reports that the opposition attack on an air defense base near Deir el-Zour came as retaliation to government airstrikes on the city of Aleppo.

Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that France and Turkey have defined areas within Syria as “liberated zones,” captured by the Free Syrian Army. These areas in northern and southern Syria, claims the daily, could become safe havens for fleeing Syrian civilians in the future if proper funding were found to manage them.

Abd Al-Bari Atwan,  editor-in-chief of London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi writes that the prospect of setting up safe zones inside Syria — a proposal pushed by Turkey — seems slim, since China and Russia are adamantly opposed to it.

Qatar-based Al-Jazeera brings footage of street fighting in Aleppo, displaying a man firing an anti-aircraft cannon in the general direction of a fighter jet.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed bemoans what he considers to be inconsistency in American policy toward the Syrian rebels.

“It is hard to understand American policy in the region. The administration of President Obama refuses to arm the Syrian rebels despite all the crimes perpetrated by Assad, under the pretext of fear that the weapons will fall into ‘untrustworthy hands,’ whereas Washington has no qualms about supplying weapons to the Iraqi regime, allied with Iran, unconcerned that these weapons or information about them will reach Tehran!”

Egypt will not upgrade relations with Iran

Egypt’s presidential spokesman Yasser Ali denies that Egypt will upgrade its diplomatic relations with Iran following the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran last week, noting that the issue did not come up in a meeting between President Mohammed Morsi and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports.

Ali did note, however, that the countries enjoy a certain level of diplomatic relations and each have a representative office in the other’s capital.

Meanwhile, independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reports that an Egyptian lawyer, Samir Sabri, filed a complaint against former chief of staff Sami Anan with the prosecutor general, accusing him of unlawfully attaining two tracts of land.

The complaint accuses Anan of profiteering, and asks that he be banned from leaving the country, the daily reports.

First veiled female broadcasters in Egypt

For the first time in Egypt’s history, women will be allowed to appear on television wearing veils, Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya reports.

An agreement signed Saturday will allow four broadcasters on Egypt’s national station and on the privately owned Nile station to cover their hair while broadcasting news, reading the weather report or appearing on a talkshow.

The women will need to coordinate their “style and look,” however, the channel reports.

Senior Iraqi politician: There is a plan to assassinate me

In an interview with A-Sharq Al-Awsat, former Iraqi prime minister and current leader of the Iraqiya bloc Iyad Allawi says that he does not speak to his coalition partner, prime minister Nouri Maliki, because “he has no interest in him.”

Allawi said that his party is still cooperating with Kurdish and Shiite political parties in an attempt to question prime minister Maliki before parliament, a move meant to embarrass the prime minister for not carrying out promised political reforms.

Allawi also tells the daily that there is a plan prepared for his assassination. He complains that Prime Minister Maliki is backed both by Iran and the United States, whereas Allawi enjoys only “the support of God and the Iraqi people.”

Bahrain scolds Iran for mistranslation of Morsi’s speech at NAM

Bahrain has reprimanded the Iranian charge d’affairs in Manama and handed him a letter of protest following a mistranslation of the speech delivered by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran last week.

While Morsi lambasted Syria, the Persian translation replaced the word Syria with the word Bahrain.

The Bahraini foreign ministry said Iran’s deliberate mistranslation was “unacceptable media conduct.” A media expert interviewed by Al-Jazeera, Mohammed Shuman, was less diplomatic, calling it “an process of brainwashing, reminiscent of Cold War-era propaganda.”


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