The Muslim Brotherhood and its ‘collective suicide’
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Arabic media review

The Muslim Brotherhood and its ‘collective suicide’

One columnist wonders why Qatar continues to support the Islamist group against all political logic

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

Egyptians security forces escort an Islamist supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood out of the al-Fatah mosque, after hundreds of Islamist protesters barricaded themselves inside the mosque overnight, following a day of fierce street battles that left scores of people dead, near Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 (photo credit: Hussein Tallal)
Egyptians security forces escort an Islamist supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood out of the al-Fatah mosque, after hundreds of Islamist protesters barricaded themselves inside the mosque overnight, following a day of fierce street battles that left scores of people dead, near Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 (photo credit: Hussein Tallal)

A day after Egyptian forces dramatically stormed a Cairo mosque where supporters of Mohammed Morsi were holed up, Arabic media reports on the government’s plan to outlaw the ousted president’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

“Egypt: Tense calm and intention to disband the Brotherhood,” reads the headline of London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, featuring a photo of a woman raising her arms as she exits the Al-Fath mosque on Saturday.

“The Muslim Brotherhood and its Egyptian allies seemed defeated yesterday, as a call by the pro-Morsi ‘coalition in support of legitimacy’ for weeklong demonstrations received no response on the street,” reads the article.

“The Brotherhood’s use of violence on the streets has eliminated the chance of incorporating the Brotherhood in the political process,” continues the article, quoting provisional prime minister Hazem Beblawi as saying that there can be no reconciliation with those “who sullied their hands with blood, and who raised weapons in the face of the state.”

The Saudi-owned, anti-Brotherhood daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat leads its Egypt coverage with a report that Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has ordered three field hospitals sent to the troubled country.

The daily reports on an  exchange of fire between Brotherhood supporters and the military at the Al-Fath mosque on Saturday, with Islamists firing at the army from the mosque’s minaret.

Pro-Brotherhood Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera cites “horrifying testimonials” by those besieged in the mosque, reporting beatings and verbal abuse by the security forces who stormed the building and arrested those inside.

The pro-Morsi coalition has called on supporters to demonstrate on Sunday across from the country’s High Constitutional Court, as part of weeklong events dubbed “the week of the coup’s departure.”

Al-Masry Al-Youm, an anti-Brotherhood Egyptian daily, leads its news Sunday with reports on the “liberation” of the Fath mosque and the thwarting of “demonstrations of anarchy” by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The Muslim Brotherhood sustained a powerful blow yesterday when security forces took control of the Fath mosque in Ramses, which its supporters tried to turn into a center of protest. Some 50 [Brotherhood] leaders were arrested in Cairo and the provinces, in addition to Mohammed Al-Zawahiri, the brother of Al-Qaeda’s leader,” reads the article.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdul Rahman Rashed comments in an op-ed on the divide among Gulf states vis-a-vis Egypt, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain supporting the military and Qatar coming down on the side of the Brotherhood.

“The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as has become clear over the past few weeks, is prepared to walk the extra mile toward confrontation and anarchy rather than accept the calls for dialogue and reconciliations,” writes Rashed.

“As for Qatar: It is difficult for us to comprehend the political logic of a country with no common regime, ideology, economy and with only a small minority of Egyptians living in it. Qatar’s support for forcing the army and the other political forces to accept the Brotherhood’s demands is not only impossible, but also has dangerous repercussions. Supporting the Brotherhood now will only cause them to stick to their guns and bring about extremely dangerous chaos, so why is Qatar doing this?! We really and truly don’t understand,” he adds.

In an op-ed titled “The terrorist protests,” Al-Masry Al-Youm columnist Amr Shobaki claims that the Brotherhood’s mistake was transforming peaceful protests into violent ones.

“Peaceful political protest has changed political regimes many times,” writes Shobaki. “The leadership of the Brotherhood certainly chose to voice their protest through terrorism, violence, and by using the same terrorist means of protest used by the religious violence groups in the ’70s and ’80s, which ended in total failure.

“By protesting through terrorism, they have doomed not only all prospects of joining the political process, but of being accepted by society once again. They have committed collective suicide through the criminal activities perpetrated by some of its supporters.”

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