The tide turns for the Syrian opposition
Arabic media review

The tide turns for the Syrian opposition

Mubarak’s prison conditions scrutinized by Arab media, and moves to dethrone Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki go into high gear

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

Shiite Iraqi leader Muqtada Sadr, a new opponent of Prime Minister Nuri Maliki (photo credit:  AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Shiite Iraqi leader Muqtada Sadr, a new opponent of Prime Minister Nuri Maliki (photo credit: AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The escalation in violence between government and opposition forces in Syria leads the Arab news on Tuesday.

Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, the most outspoken of the large dailies against the regime of Bashar Assad, leads with the international diplomatic condemnation of Syria. “Washington: Assad lies; Paris: there is no solution while he is in power,” reads the headline. The report features a photo of a scorched, overturned tank reportedly attacked by the Free Syrian Army in Idlib Monday.

“The opposition escalates its attacks; international efforts to save the Annan plan,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, which focuses its coverage on the success of the armed Syrian opposition to kill over 100 soldiers over the past two days, especially in the provinces of Damascus and Idlib.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Ghassan Imam bemoans what he dubs “Russian hypocrisy and American powerlessness” in dealing with the Syrian crisis.

“Where is the Syrian crisis? It is hostage to the hypocrisy of international diplomacy,” writes Imam.

“How can we curb Bashar if Comrade Annan observes the scene with binoculars from Geneva, not from Damascus which he pays courtesy visits to? With the absence of the United States, Annan adopts the Russian hypocrisy: ceasefire, and the opposition sitting with the butcher at the table,” writes Imam.

Politicians fail to unite in Egypt and Mubarak’s prison conditions scrutinized

A meeting between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhammad Morsi and Egyptian presidential candidates took place Monday to discuss establishing a nebulous ‘presidential team’ ended in nothing. But while Al-Hayat summarizes the meeting with the headline “efforts to assemble a presidential team to include Morsi, Sabahi and Abu-Fattouh,” Al-Quds Al-Arabi highlights the meetings’ “failure” to do so.

Continuing in its sensationalist vein, London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi leads its front page with coverage of a visit of Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of deposed President Hosni Mubarak and his daughters-in-law to Tora prison, where he is held.

The daily reports that the women brought underwear and personal articles to the ailing Mubarak, who is interned in the prison hospital. It notes that the belongings were scanned electronically to prevent ‘illegal items’ from being smuggled in, showing that Mubarak receives no special treatment in prison.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat and Egyptian establishment daily Al-Ahram both report that the second round of elections will definitely take place on June 16 and 17, with no possibility of delay. Al-Ahram also reports that absentee voting currently underway in Egyptian embassies abroad is high compared to the absentee voting in the first round of the presidential elections.

“Where is the Syrian crisis at? it is hostage to the hypocrisy of international diplomacy.”

Million man marches continue to take place on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, protesting the outcome of the elections and the sensation among many Egyptians that the revolution has been ‘stolen’ by two presidential candidates who did not participate in it, or even opposed it.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi editor-in-chief Abd Al-Bari Atwan praises the rally  planned for Tuesday at Tahrir Square.

“The million man march taking place today embodies a renewal of the Egyptian revolution, fortifying it from the conspiracies of dark rooms that want to abort it and divert it from its course,” writes Atwan. “A second revolution? why not!”

Trouble in Iraq

Iraq features high in Arabic media Tuesday, with dramatic political and security stories emanating from the war-torn country.

The drive to dethrone Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is reaching its final stages, as President Jalal Talabani received a document signed by Iraqi parliamentarians withdrawing confidence in Maliki, a first step towards his removal from power. According to Saudi-owned news website Elaph, Prime Minister Maliki asked President Talabani to review the signatures and ascertain their validity. Maliki indicated that some parliament members may have been pressured or intimidated to sign the document.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that hard-line Shiite leader Muqtada Sadr has publicly called on Maliki to resign “for the good of the nation and his political partners.” Sadr traveled to Iran Tuesday, a country which the Saudi-owned daily claims passionately backs Maliki.

Meanwhile, a powerful suicide bombing in Baghdad Monday destroyed the offices of the Shiite religious endowments, killing and injuring 26 civilians. The explosion threatens to reignite a sectarian war in Iraq which was quelled during the American surge in 2007, Al-Hayat reports. The daily compares the targeting of this central Shiite religious institution to the bombing of the Askari mosque in Samaraa in June 2007, which shocked and enraged the Shiite community of Iraq.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more: