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Arabic press review: In Syria, the rich fight over wreckage and debris of war

And a UAE TV host ignites debate after kissing Crown Prince's shoe while Bouteflika's supporters drop off - and fast
Businessmen are having huge quantities of metal scrap being collected from wreckage left behind in regions over which the Syrian government has claimed control (AFP)

Wealthy Syrians fight over the wreckage of war

A new race has kicked off between the wealthy and elite who are close to the Syrian government, and this time, they’re competing over the debris and wreckage left behind after the eight years of bombing, reports Asharq al-Awsat.  

The rivalry between the "warlords" has escalated as they compete to buy and reuse scrap metal collected from nearly-flattened-out regions recaptured by government forces, the report said.

As the war reaches its eighth year, the Syrian army has reclaimed control over many areas once held by armed opposition factions, the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Nusra Front. Fierce battles have led to the near-total destruction of many regions including neighbourhoods of eastern Aleppo, the old city in Homs, Daraya in the western countryside of Damascus, and the Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus.

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Recently, iron doors, windows and iron bars extracted from collapsed buildings have been collected to be smelted and manufactured for reuse, according to Asharq al-Awsat.

Bouteflika: Overnight outcast

Supporters of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika are quickly abandoning their leader, confirming that the vast majority only backed him for their own interests, reports al-Quds al-Arabi.

Bouteflika's allies are so sure that his political career is over that they felt confident to abandon ship before it sunk, the paper writes. Even some media figures who used to praise Bouteflika are shamelessly describing Bouteflika’s inner circle as "the gangster".

Overnight, Bouteflika has turned into an outcast in Algeria, with many avoiding even mentioning his name.

According to al-Quds al-Arabi, the most striking position has been that of the National Democratic Rally party, led by former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, whose secretary-general urged Algerian authorities to respond to the people's demands.

Party spokesman Siddiq Shehab said that the party had been wrong to support Bouteflika’s run for a fifth term.

Puckering up in Abu Dhabi

A television host in the United Arab Emirates shocked viewers this week when he kissed a shoe on his show, claiming that it might belong to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

The video of TV presenter Tariq al-Mehyas and his programme "Sawalef" was widely circulated in the Gulf on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Let’s assume that this is the shoe of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and he actually wears it," he told his audience.

"Do you know what I would do as an Emirati citizen? I will kiss the shoe of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. May Allah protect him and let him always be a crown on our heads."

The video was widely criticised with some Emiratis saying they consider what he did an insult to every Emirati citizen.

Kuwaiti sports figure Talal al-Hares tweeted: “I thought the era of slavery was over, but it seems that in the UAE there still exist many slaves.”

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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