Monday, August 31, 2009

At War - Arab Press Roundup

The New York Times, By Nadia Taha (25/8/20009) A look at discussions inside the Arab world, as played out on the front pages of five major Arabic newspapers. The most recent major bombing in Baghdad has led the Arab news media to focus its attentions on who, exactly, among Iraq’s intelligence services fell down on the job and who was responsible for the continuing violence. Al-Quds al-Arabiya: Just days after a visit to the White House by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the emergency state security court in Cairo held a hearing for 26 men who are suspected of belonging to a Hezbollah cell. Al-Quds al-Arabiya, a pan-Arab newspaper published in London by Palestinian expatriates, leads with coverage of the hearing. The group denied all the allegations that they collaborated with Hezbollah to attack tourist destinations and ships in the Suez Canal, and they said they were tortured during their interrogations. During Sunday’s proceedings, in which the judge ruled to postpone the trial until October, one defendant shouted, “I obey you, Nasrallah,” referring to the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Asharq al-Awsat, another major pan-Arab newspaper published in London, prominently features the Hezbollah trial in Cairo. The article also reports that the judge allowed one of the defendants to be taken to a hospital for treatment for internal bleeding, potentially giving credence to the prisoners’ claims that they were tortured. Al-Ahram , the major Egyptian newspaper, leads with the return of the fishermen, who were held hostage for four months. They escaped by killing two of their captors and overpowering the others. The Somalis will now be tried in Egyptian court. Al-Akhbar , a populist publication from Beirut, Lebanon, leads with the latest on the fallout of a Swedish newspaper article that alleges the harvesting of organs from Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers. The headline reads, “Sale of Organs of Prisoners of War: Israel Denies, Hamas Confirms, Sweden Does Not Apologize.” The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist Palestinian group, has called for investigation into the accusations.

Most Western news organizations covering Iran for the day focused on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet nominations, but Al-Akhbar instead ran an article from United Press International reporting that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard claimed to have killed 26 people in an airstrike against the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, on the southern Kurdish border.

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