Press review: Egypt’s uncertain future

“The last warning,” reads a red, bold headline at the top of flagship state-owned daily Al-Ahram’s front-page.
The same headline appears in other dailies along with pictures of masses breaking into loud cheers upon hearing the Egyptian army’s announcement. The scene brings to mind glorious memories of the 2011 uprising, during which the people’s triumph was celebrated across the country.
A festive atmosphere spread in the streets on Monday, as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians waved flags, blew whistles, and chanted patriotic songs after the military revealed that it was backing the protesters’ demands.
In a “historic” statement, as described in privately-owned Al-Dostour’s manifesto-style headline, the armed forces announced that they were giving political forces a 48 hour ultimatum, as a last chance to find a way out of Egypt’s political deadlock. Should they fail, the armed forces will impose their own roadmap for the future of the country.   
Unsurprisingly, in Tuesday’s issue, state-run dailies including Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar, and Al-Gomhorriya abandon their pro-government editorial policy, hitting the presidency hard in an attempt to fend off accusations of bias against the opposition.
Privately-owned Al-Tahrir provides an in-depth look at the military’s statement, reporting that the words were wisely chosen to indicate that the army is siding with the will of the people and throwing the ball into the presidency’s court.
The paper quotes a number of political analysts who say that since an agreement between Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition is unlikely, there is no alternative to the “downfall” of President Mohamed Morsy.
Meanwhile, protesters are reportedly gearing up for a million-strong anti-Morsy rally Tuesday, calling on the president to step down and demanding early presidential elections.
Al-Shorouk, a privately-owned daily, states that the Coordinating Committee for the 30 June protests has announced a plan to organize human chain protests that would extend from Tahrir Square to the Ittihadiya Palace under the slogan “Tuesday Insistence.”
Pro-Morsy rallies in front of Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque continued for a fifth day in a row on Monday.
Al-Shorouk writes that the president’s backers thronged to the mosque’s square and other streets surrounding the area, chanting religious and pro-Morsy slogans.
Its participants criticized the army for allegedly assaulting the president’s legitimacy and called on him to not give ground, the paper adds.
Privately-owned paper Al-Watan sheds light on the reported rift among the Brotherhood’s senior members over the measures that should be adopted to salvage Morsy’s reign.
Saad al-Katatni, head of the Freedom and Justice Party, held a closed meeting with a number of senior members of the religious group and its ruling party, to discuss the fateful decisions that need to be made in the face of the current political impasse, the report says.
While some suggested that the president had to conduct a popular referendum on whether he completes his term or early presidential elections are held, others insisted on maintaining their stance and mobilizing more Islamist support against their rivals.
Freedom and Justice, the mouthpiece of the Brotherhood’s political arm, opts for bold, victorious language on its front-page. “Today, an unprecedented million-man protest in Rabaa,” reads the headline in the ruling party’s paper.
The National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy “denounces coup attempts…and will not allow the return of the defunct regime which the great people of Egypt rebelled against,” the paper reports.
The report goes on to list the governorates where enormous protests allegedly took place Monday in support of Morsy, while stressing that Tuesday will bring wide-scale protests across the country.
On the same front, the paper reports on the presidency’s statement, which came after Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sissi’s message that put enormous pressure on Morsy to reach common ground with his opponents.
The presidency’s statement clearly indicated that Morsy is unwilling to offer any concessions to calm public ire, but rather praised his persistent efforts to bring the opposition to the table.
The liberal opposition Wafd Party’s paper Al-Wafd publishes exclusive news on the plan of senior members of the Brotherhood, including Morsy, to escape to the Gaza Strip with the support of Hamas.
The report quotes trusted sources affiliated with Hamas, who say that the escape plan was drawn up before the 30 June protests and is expected to be implemented in the coming hours.
Saeed Atiq, a political activist from Sinai, echoed the sentiment, saying that Hamas has 20 subterranean tunnels, most of which are commonly used for smuggling weapons and money, while others are open in the case of emergency situations.
Mohamed Badie, Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood, is also planning to flee the country with a fake Sudanese passport, the paper adds.

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