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Egyptian daily attacks Assad, calls him to dismantle alliance with Iran.

Egypt's biggest selling daily Al Ahram launched a highly critical attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday, calling on him to change Syria's behavior in the region and to dismantle its alliance with Iran, wrote the influential Beirut daily AN NAHAR on Saturday. The stinging article was an editorial penned by the paper's editor Osama Saraya in a response to statements by Assad. The editorial criticized Damascus over Syria's helping Iran to impose its influence and dominance in Iraq, Lebanon, the Gulf and Palestine, a position that is at odds with Cairo.

Saraya wrote, "On Syria's relationship with Egypt, the Syrian president says he does not want anything from Egypt, but Egypt wants much from Syria." The editorial said that Egypt wants cooperation "with the Arabs in stopping Iranian influence in Palestine" and "[for Syria to] not to be in the hands of Iran in helping Shiite minorities in the Gulf to seize control of the Gulf's stability ... we may accept differences of opinion, but now these differences have turned into behavior, support and programs of Syria working with Iran in efforts that come at the expense of the people and security of the Arab countries. This is a new reality," and it is one where tolerating a difference of opinion is not enough.

Assad acknowledged in remarks to the London-based AL HAYAT, published this week on Wednesday, that there was "a significant difference in view points" on political issues between Cairo and Damascus. The editorial, AN NAHAR notes, reflects a return to tension between the two countries in light of the differences in regional issues. These differences have escalated since the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and Egypt's support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) which is investigating who was behind the assassination, reported the daily. Syria, which has been implicated in his assassination, has rejected the STL.
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Title Annotation:EGYPT-SYRIA
Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Oct 30, 2010
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