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War in Iraq

Middle Eastern Press Coverage of the War in Iraq

Comment and Analysis from Tel Aviv, Amman, Jerusalem, London, Kuwait City, Casablanca, Tunis, Doha, Riyadh, and Dubai

British troops battle for control of Foa, in southern Iraq.
British Marines battle for control of Fao, in southern Iraq, March 22, 2003 (Photo: Terry Richards/AFP).
Tel Aviv
Ma’ariv (centrist) March 21: So, Al-Qaeda and Iraq aren’t linked? But they are, in the same way cancer grows. Had it not been for the terror that struck New York and Washington, the United States wouldn’t have declared a world war on terror....It is obvious that the United States is no innocent lamb....But in the global picture, the United States is a beacon for modern mankind. Without her, tyrants would be ruling most of the world. Since the Pax Romana, which all quality history books view favorably, there hasn’t been anything like the Pax Americana. Let’s hope it is allowed to live on.
—Dan Margalit

Amman Al-Dustour (left-wing) March 21: The invasion of Iraq by the United States is nothing but part of a wide-scale invasion to control the world. The plan to invade Iraq is not a direct outcome of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but rather an old plan put in place by the hawks of the current U.S. administration before they came to power....The United States controls most of the oil routes and now seeks to control what’s left of these routes under the pretext of combating terrorism. Invading Iraq is nothing but part of this hellish scheme, which must be resisted by a coalition including Europe, China, Russia, and all countries keen to protect their independence and dignity.
—Yaqoub Jabel

Jerusalem Al-Quds (pro-Palestinian authority) March 21: It was an ironic contradiction to see the Anglo-American coalition unleash its aggression against Iraq yesterday morning under the codename “Operation Iraqi Freedom”—as if occupying Iraq, imposing imperial domination over it, and abolishing its independence and national sovereignty would make Iraq free.

London Al-Quds al-Arabi (Palestinian exile), March 20: The Saudi government says it won’t participate in the war on Iraq, and won’t send a single Saudi soldier onto Iraqi soil. That’s nice. But the American government, which is commanding the war to destroy Iraq, doesn’t want the participation of Saudi forces. It doesn’t need them, since they’d only be a burden, as they were during the 1991 Gulf war when Saudi warplanes were shot down by Iraqi air defenses on their first sorties. What the United States wants is Saudi oil, air bases, and surveillance planes.

Kuwait City Al-Qabas (independent) March 21: After few days, Saddam Hussein will be gone: either killed or defeated. Saddam Hussein will be remembered as a person who only loved himself, and who suffered from an ego complex. Throughout the time he ruled Iraq, he attempted to portray himself as a figure of historic proportions. He presented himself to the world as a knight and an intellectual, but he failed on both counts. Therefore, we advise Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq and to apologize to the Arab nations and the Iraqis for all the crimes he has committed against them.
—Awad Al-Mutairi

Casablanca L’Economiste (independent) March 21: International legitimacy does not exist anymore. The majority’s opinion is meaningless. Public opinion needs only slogans and words. The lack of support for the war in the United States does not move the U.S. government. The United States draws a new map of the Middle East that only follows the oil circuits….It is a cynical new world, where power rules and the weak pay more than anyone. In any case, this is not the right time for countries opposed to the war to shoot themselves in the foot, despite the feelings of injustice and frustration that the U.S. strikes generate. Revenge will be possible only when we are sufficiently powerful.

Tunis As-Sabah (independent), March 21: This war represents the opening of a new era in the history of international relations, a new era that throws us back into the period before international organization and international law was respected....Why this hurry to war? Isn’t the American decision to go to war a conscious effort to place an obstacle in the way of U.N. efforts to peacefully disarm Iraq?...One wonders if the international community, which has sacrificed much since the end of World War II to set up international civilized principles and laws, has ended up accepting illegal means.
—Mohsen Zoghlami

Doha Al-Raya (semi-independent), March 21: We all agree that this war is a big political mistake. The United States is violating accepted norms of international legitimacy. But what can we do as Arabs and Muslims? Should we just sit still, as we always do, and watch the American massacre of Iraq on TV? The United States should be stopped because Iraq is only the first on the list and no one will survive this American tornado unless we all unite against it.
—Babiker Essa

Riyadh Al-Riyadh (pro-government) March 21: It is a strange historical irony that the most modern civilization is engaging in war with the oldest human civilization, on the basis of greed for resources....The true savages are those…who eat pork while flipping television channels, ordering the means of deliberate destruction in the name of humanity, civilization, freeing nations from dictatorial regimes and terrorism. Because he who kills thousands of Iraqi people under these pretexts is not so different from a butcher like Saddam Hussein.

Dubai Al-Bayan (business-oriented) March 21: The most dangerous element of the American aggression against our brothers in Iraq is the lack of respect for international law it displays. In fact, America has abandoned all international norms and charters, and the entire world has come under its control. It would be no exaggeration to say that what America did yesterday was hand a death certificate to the United Nations, sealed with an American stamp....The world is in chaos, and for us, Arabs, it was a sad day….We remain paralyzed, disabled, yielding as if we are satisfied with what is happening.

Tel Aviv Ha’aretz (liberal), March 25: What will be considered a victory? Whatever America says is a victory, of course. It could be bumping off Saddam Hussein and toppling his regime, or it could be a situation in which Saddam Hussein admits to the countries supporting him that he has biological and chemical warheads, and invites them to destroy his stockpile in exchange for political asylum. For former military intelligence chief Amos Malka, victory is stripping Iraq of its non-conventional weapons. Amos Gilad, our “national explainer,” would like to see the world shocked by what turns up in Iraq. Does U.S. intelligence really know what’s there, and where they keep it all? Let’s hope so. President Bush will not want to wake up and find that his worst nightmare has come true: the spectacle of nothing being found in Iraq and the war being etched in national memory as the settling of a family score.

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