Syria hit, Iran and Hezbollah suffer
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Arabic media review

Syria hit, Iran and Hezbollah suffer

Anti-Brotherhood chants are heard at Omar Suleiman’s funeral, while Hezbollah is training Yemeni separatists

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

An Egyptian woman mourns Omar Suleiman at his funeral Friday (photo credit: AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
An Egyptian woman mourns Omar Suleiman at his funeral Friday (photo credit: AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

The Syrian city of Aleppo — newly included into the circle of violence in the country — is the focus of Arab news on Sunday, along with reports that the opposition has taken control of two Syrian border crossings.

“Aleppo within the circle of fire and the border crossing battle escalates,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, describing the fighting in Aleppo as the harshest since the start of the Syrian uprising. The daily displays a video grab of residents fleeing Aleppo as the city is bombarded by government forces.

“Fierce battles in Aleppo and Assad loses a second crossing with Iraq,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. The daily features a photo of a UN refugee camp in the middle of the Jordanian desert in Mafraq, near the border with Syria.

London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi adds the government side of the story. The daily quotes Russian President Vladimir Putin as warning the United States against acting on Syria without UN Security Council authorization. The daily notes that the funeral of Friday of the Syrian officials killed in last week’s blast was attended by foreign minister Farouq Shara (previously rumored to have disappeared), but not by President Bashar Assad.

Quoting an unnamed Syrian security source, the daily reports that the massive explosion was caused by pieces of the highly explosive material C-4 brought into into the National Security building and taped to the bottom of the conference table by a young man recruited by a foreign security agency, likely Turkish or Jordanian.

‘The fall of the Syrian regime will liberate many — especially in Lebanon and in the Shiite sect — from the burden of Syrian pressure… Hezbollah will no longer be able to maintain its current appeal, and the missiles will no longer be useful, even if they are explained by the conflict with Israel”

Two editorials analyze Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s speech on Sunday.

Abdullah Iskandar in Al-Hayat writes that Nasrallah’s speech, where he almost entirely refrained from mentioning Lebanon’s internal affairs, underscores “the nature of the ties between Tehran, the regime in Damascus and Hezbollah.”

Despite its impressive weapons depository, Syria was unable to suppress its internal dissent, a lesson Hezbollah would be wise to learn, writes Iskandar.

“Offensive arsenals, developed as they may be, cannot protect a dictatorial oppressive regime. This lesson should be learned by Hezbollah, as a Shiite organization. Despite the threats and promises and black shirts, Hezbollah will not be able to continue with its current behavior when the regime in Damascus falls,” writes Iskandar.

“The fall of the Syrian regime will liberate many — especially in Lebanon and in the Shiite sect — from the burden of Syrian pressure… Hezbollah will no longer be able to maintain its current appeal, and the missiles will no longer be useful, even if they are explained by the conflict with Israel.”

Tareq Homayed, editor-in-chief of A-Sharq Al-Awsat, believes that it is Iran rather than Hezbollah that will suffer most from Assad’s downfall.

“Iran has now begun to feel that the Arab Spring is nothing but revenge against it,” writes Homayed. “Tehran, which praised the ‘Arab Spring’ in the region, considering it a great Islamic awakening, has begun to believe that what is happening is nothing but a conspiracy because it sees the looming end of its best ally in the region, Assad.”

Omar Suleiman laid to rest

The military funeral of Mubarak’s former chief of intelligence Omar Suleiman is receiving significant coverage in Arab press Sunday.

Al-Hayat displays Suleiman’s coffin atop a horse-drawn carriage, surrounded by Egyptian soldiers. A small group of supporters greeted the arrival of Suleiman’s body, which was flown in from the United States. They complained that no Egyptian officials were present.

A small group of supporters  greeted the arrival of Suleiman’s body, which was flown in from the United States

However, A-Sharq Al-Awsat plays up Suleiman’s funeral, reporting that “thousands of Egyptians” escorted Suleiman to his final resting place “in a military and popular funeral,” headed by SCAF chiefs Hussein Tantawi and Sami Anan. The two men are featured in the funeral photo displayed by the daily.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans were shouted at the funeral, but were silenced during the TV coverage of the funeral.

Hezbollah trains Yemeni separatists, claims official

An unnamed Yemeni official tells A-Sharq Al-Awsat Sunday that the espionage ring recently unmasked in Yemen was operating under commercial cover.

The official said that young men are recruited in Yemen and flown to Beirut to receive training in Hezbollah-run camps, under the direct supervision of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The daily reports that international intelligence agencies have intercepted telephone conversations between Revolutionary Guard officials and Iranians responsible for Yemeni affairs in the Iranian regime.

 

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