|Morsi and Merkel and press conference in Berlin 370.(Photo by: Tobias Schwarz/Reuters)|
Divided Egyptian media reflect split in the country
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
Arab and Middle East media chime in on crisis facing Morsi government.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was in Berlin on Wednesday to meet with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel amid the latest political crisis back home, in which
more than 50 people have been killed.
Meanwhile, protests continued in
Egypt amid reports on Wednesday of fighting between protesters and “thugs,”
according to the Egyptian Al-Masry al-Youm. The Arab and Middle Eastern media
have been commenting on the situation, often to dramatic effect.
Egyptian media is generally divided between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood
outlets. In addition, there are those seeking to put the blame on one party or
For instance, Khalid Amayreh wrote an article in Al-Ahram
titled, “The rich Arabs’ betrayal of Egypt,” where he blasts the “oilrich Arab
states” that are “watching rather indifferently as 90 million Egyptians reel
under a harsh, unprecedented economic and financial crisis.”
out that Qatar is the only Gulf state that has come to Egypt’s aid. He says that
Gulf states have helped a little in the past but now they must “allocate at
least a $100 billion” to Egypt. Amayreh goes on to say that a larger crisis in
Egypt would be much greater even than the 1948 Nakba, or the disaster that the
Palestinians suffered from Zionism.
The Arab world “has been able to
survive the loss of Palestine,” but “it would be difficult to imagine that the
would survive” a weakened Egypt, Amayreh
Opinion pieces in the liberal Al-Masry al- Youm generally
condemned Morsi, with one by Diya Rashwan saying that the removal of the current
government may be the last opportunity to prevent a downward turn of the
On the other hand, an article on the Muslim Brotherhood website
on Tuesday by Amr Mostafa asks who is behind these events. “Are there foreign
hands involved?” He goes on to suspect a “conspiracy,” which is “trying to
thwart” the Egyptian revolution.
In Lebanon, the paper As-Safir has an
article by Mustafa al-Labbad, who claims that Egypt is at risk for a second
revolution. He writes that the Brotherhood has not convinced “Egyptians to
support a hastily written constitution that would set the foundations for a
Sunni-style Velayat-e faqih,” referring to the form of government in Shi’ite
Iran, which can be translated as “the rule of the jurisprudent” – that the
religious leader should also be the political ruler.
The article goes on
to say that the opposition has failed to take advantage of Morsi’s troubles and
“translate” them into “political pressure.” And that in the meantime “the
Brotherhood will try to split the opposition.
The Saudis, as usual, come
out with more criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Alsir Sidamed writes
in the Saudi paper Arab News on Wednesday that “Egypt’s President Mohamed
Morsi’s decision to impose a state of emergency in the cities of Port Said, Suez
and Ismailiya marks a turning point. It shows Morsi will simply resort to force
in the absence of a national agreement.”
In the Saudi-backed Asharq
al-Awsat, Abdul Rahman al-Rashed raises the possibility that Egypt could
collapse, referring to the comments by the Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi, who warned that a continuation of the crisis could lead to “the
collapse of the state.”
Rashed says the Egyptian people must not allow
“chaos to take hold.” “Morsi is now facing two choices: reconciliation or
He goes on to conclude, “While if Morsi rejects
reconciliation, we might wake up one day, perhaps within the next few months, to
military rule. Should this happen, Egypt and the entire Arab world will have
wasted the most important change to have taken place over the past 100
An article on the Gulf News website states, “The fact that
citizens are resorting to violence confirms that a growing number are no longer
willing to trust the country’s institutions.”
An article in the
London-based Arab paper Al-Hayat opined that the Egyptian revolution was
supposed to unite society, but instead the Muslim Brotherhood used religion for
its political purposes.
The Tehran-based paper Kayhan states, “Dialogue
and negotiations are the most appropriate option. Egyptians clearly see the
intervention of the US, its Western allies and dependent Arabs.”
Iranian paper Shargh writes that the problems of the Morsi government will allow
foreign powers to interfere, specifically the West, Israel and some Arab states
that are concerned about the Brotherhood’s rise to power. They “are inclined to
use the opposition as leverage with the current government,” the paper wrote.