Sunday’s papers: Past mistakes, Palestinian boots, the Emperor of Thugs

“We will not repeat Mubarak’s mistakes,” a promise made by the Egyptian Presidency, reappeared as a headline on the front page of Al-Akhbar. The state-owned paper reprints the various vows announced by Yasser Ali, spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency, during Saturday’s press conference at Abdeen Palace, in which he asserted that future economic growth would not be limited to a few sectors as it had been in the Mubarak era, but would “benefit all Egyptian citizens,” adding that the current regime “deals with institutions and industries, not individuals,” and as such would not be prone to exercising any form of preferential treatment. When asked about the current administration’s plans for reconciliation with “former regime heavyweights,” Ali replied, “All options are on the table, as long as they benefit the nation.”

The paper also reports on the two separate complaints filed to the General Attorney’s office against former Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi and his former Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan; the latter is accused by prominent attorney Samir Sabry of having amassed illegal gains while in power. The complaint against Tantawi, placed by the Tahrir Youth Movement, requests that the former Field Marshall be questioned over his role in the incidents at Mohamed Mahmoud Street, the state radio and television broadcasting building known as Maspero, and outside the Cabinet headquarters, as well as the recent border attack in Sinai, which left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead.

Concerning the Sinai attack, Al-Shorouk reports that the nationality of the perpetrators will be discovered, following a series of bone fragment analyses and DNA tests, the results of which will be announced on Tuesday. Speaking to the independent daily, chief coroner Dr. Ihsan Kameel Georgi revealed that preliminary tests have confirmed that the seven perpetrators were not related. Georgi also stated that that while the military fatigues worn by the seven perpetrators bore no national emblem or distinguishing marks, one of their boots had “made in Palestine” printed on its inside. The coroner added that this “indicated nothing,” as “anyone can wear Palestinian boots, or military fatigues.”

Also in Sinai, a Jihadist organization known as Ansar Beit al-Moqaddas has accused the Israeli Mossad of assassinating one of their members by “placing an explosive device in the path of his bicycle,” last week, reports Al-Wafd. The Wafd Party-owned daily adds that the jihadists claimed to have captured the “officer in charge of the operation,” who confessed to carrying out the assassination of Ibrahim Oweida Barikat. Al-Wafd points out that this all unfolded shortly after it was “revealed by Israeli media sources that the [Israeli] government is attempting to prohibit its citizens from coming within 300 meters of the Egyptian border.”

Other Sinai-related news sees Prime Minster Hesham Qandil announcing the finalization of the full itinerary regarding new efforts towards developing the region, Al-Ahram reports. The state-owned paper adds that the itinerary will give investors a period of “six months to reach agreements” with the involved state institutions, while also “granting Egyptians the right to own no less than 55 percent of the shares” of businesses in the region. The itinerary also maintains that the armed forces reserve the right to seize lands in accordance with national security policies.

Al-Tahrir also reports on Sinai, with its headline accusing the president of pardoning 16 of the region’s arms traffickers. Having posed the question of the allegedly pardoned alleged traffickers to Egyptian presidency spokesperson during the aforementioned press conference, the paper claims that Ali stammered some denials before responding with, “Let me check on this issue so I can come back to you with a concrete answer.” According to Al-Tahrir, the alleged traffickers were arrested in 2011, and released shortly after the shooting in Sinai two weeks ago.

The paper points another finger at the Interior Ministry, following its failure at securing a location for former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi to hold his party’s inaugural assembly, a move which the independent daily likens to “a declaration of war by the ministry against [Sabbahi’s] Popular Current movement.” Comparing the “week and a half” given to the securing the headquarters and offices of the Freedom and Justice Party—“the ruling party,” the paper reminds its readers—with the negligence displayed towards Sabbahi, Al-Tahrir spends the remainder of its report implying that the Interior Ministry now works solely for the benefit of the Freedom and Justice party—the ruling party. Speaking to the paper, a representative of the Popular Current movement reinforces this notion by claiming that officials at the Cairo Stadium, where the party had planned to hold its event, failed to provide any reason as to why their request had been turned down.

Predictably, none of these issues are mentioned in Freedom and Justice, the daily “newspaper” issued by the ruling party. Past reports of the president’s European tour, presented as a warm up for his much hyped visit to the United States, the paper features statements by Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekky, promising that the temporary committee designed to put forth legislation until a new Parliament is elected — the formation of which is expected to be announced within the coming days — will “not serve as a replacement to parliament” as has been published in “other papers,” but was instead conceived to “assist the [Justice] Ministry in collecting recommended amendments from various institutions and fronts, and presenting them to Parliament as soon as it is elected and in session.”

Finally, all major papers report on Sabry Helmy Nakhnoukh, the latest “most dangerous thug in Egypt,” according to most headlines — Freedom and Justice bestows him the grand title of Emperor of Thugs — and a supposed key figure in the previous regime’s thug-heavy tactics. On Saturday, Nakhnoukh’s case was transferred by the General Attorney to the criminal courts after being found guilty on seven charges of thuggery, drug possession, possession of unregistered firearms, and forgery of an Alexandria Judges’ Club membership card, to name a few. The Freedom and Justice paper’s report on the trial revolves around the involvement of Mohamed al-Beltagy, a high-ranking FJP official, who gave a testimony in which he stressed that he had “no knowledge of [Nakhnoukh] before the Port Said incident,” during which he received a phone call from a “politically active citizen close to the scene of the incident” asserting his involvement in the violence. Ongoing raids of the thug’s properties have revealed large caches of ammunition and firearms as well as drugs; a shifting amount of guard dogs; an ostrich; according to Al-Ahram; and a giraffe and gorilla, according to Al-Shorouk.

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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