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Syria-Egypt media engage in war of words over Mideast peace

Top Syrian editor writes scathing column accusing Cairo only serving Israeli and American interests; Cairo columnist slams Assad for criticizing Egypt.

By DPA 02.11.10

A war of words between Syrian and Egyptian media continued to flare up Monday with a leading Syrian daily taking jabs at Cairo's Middle East policy.

The editor-in-chief of Syria's al-Watan newspaper, an independent newspaper which has long supported official government policy, wrote a scathing column accusing Cairo of of no longer having a leading role in the region, and only serving Israeli and US interests.

"What more could bother the leaders of Egypt than to realize the reality of their role in the region or to be faced with the certainty that Cairo has no Arab role and that they are not needed in good times or bad," wrote Waddah Abed Rabbo.

Abed Rabbo said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak rushed to blame Syria of being behind the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

She went on to write that Egypt was once a leader of pan-Arabism, but now "simply serves the interests of Israel and the United States."

The column in al-Watan came just days after Egypt's largest daily, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper, criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for comments he made regarding Egypt.

In an interview with the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat last week, al-Assad restated that he had not been officially invited to Egypt in the past five years.

"Strangely enough, we in Syria do not know what is the problem. I do not want anything from Egypt, and I must ask what do the Egyptians want from Syria?", he said in the interview.

Both Egypt and Syria once shared flags as the "United Arab Republic" from 1958 to 1961. But as of late, the relationship has grown cold. Cairo is weary of Syria's growing relationship with neighboring Iran and for its close ties to Palestinian Hamas leaders, many of whom are in exile in Damascus.

Added: Nov-4-2010 
By: aydeo
Iran, Middle East
Tags: Middle East peace, Egypt, Syria
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