Hot off the Arab press 500806

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) arrives at the opening of the Mohamed Najib military base (photo credit: COURTESY OF THE EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) arrives at the opening of the Mohamed Najib military base
Al Jazeera, Qatar, July 16
More than 40 Egyptian soldiers were killed recently in an armed confrontation with Islamic State forces located south of the border city of Rafah. That same day, a gunman opened fire and killed three soldiers posted in the outskirts of Cairo. Similar events took place in other parts of the country and, in less than two weeks, close to 600 Egyptian citizens lost their lives – whether in violent confrontations with terrorist groups or at the very hands of the regime.
This figure is unprecedented. It comes under the watch of the so-called “revolutionary” regime of Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi, who overthrew the previous government under the pretext of protecting Egyptian lives. The sad truth is that the life of the average Egyptian isn’t worth much in the eyes of the government. Therefore, human sacrifices have become a legitimate, and inevitable, part of the “war on terrorism.”
What is even more concerning is the fact that this “war” is being used by the regime to eliminate its opposition and silence its dissidents. Security authorities in Egypt have killed more than 20 individuals belonging to opposition groups in the past few weeks, accusing them of involvement in terrorist activity.
Four years have passed since President Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi launched a coup that removed Mohamed Morsi from power. In its aftermath, he promised a better future for Egypt. Unfortunately, Egypt is far less free today than it was four years ago. The so-called “revolution” to liberate the Egyptian people set them years back. – Al Jazeera Staff
Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, July 17
The future doesn’t look too bright for the Syrian opposition.
In less than a month, pro-Assad forces – which consist of Syrian, Iranian, and foreign fighters – succeeded in taking over key strategic areas in the country, from Aleppo to Raqqa. These seizures of land have not been met without a struggle. Syrian rebels have been fighting in extremely difficult conditions, with almost no equipment, against regime forces, putting up a fierce fight against Bashar Assad. But the fact remains that both the Jordanian and Turkish supply corridors have been sealed off to the rebels, limiting the extent of aid they can receive from Western powers, such as the United States.
International developments on the political front also don’t bode well for the Syrian opposition. Turkey and Russia, following months of strained relations, seemed to have finally reached a rapprochement, allowing them to coordinate their stance on Syria. In France, once the Syrian opposition’s strongest supporter, a new president has been elected. Macron, unlike his predecessor, decided to pull his country away from the Middle East and abandon the rebels.
To make things worse, the recent crisis in the Gulf shifted the world’s attention from the war in Syria to that in Qatar. This is not to say that the Syrian War has been concluded and that there are already clear winners and losers. Assad is still struggling to maintain control over territories that his soldiers have conquered, and even turned to Iran with a plea for increased support. However, the Syrian rebels are fighting under increased strain and are losing their legitimacy.
With this in mind, it is hard to believe that unless a dramatic change occurs, the Syrian rebels will prevail in their battle against the regime for much longer. – Abdul Rahman al-Rashed