International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 3, 2003

April 3, 2003




**  Outlets, mostly in the Middle East, see "clear similarities" between the "American invasion of Iraq" and Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

**  Many blame "the U.S. commitment" to "Israel’s supremacy" for the war in Iraq. 

**  Some Arab dailies urge unity to counter the "Israeli-American strategy."




Many liken the 'occupation of Palestinian areas' to the 'occupation of Iraq'--  Several observers noted the "Israeli imprint" on the Coalition's operations.  Israeli writers, citing "difficult realities" that they know well, predicted an inevitable "division between the Coalition forces and the civilian population."  Left-leaning Ha'aretz added, "More suicide bombings can be expected."  Palestinian papers identified "similarities between military practices" of the Coalition and "those carried out by the Israeli occupation," including "handcuffing civilians exactly as the Israelis would do to Palestinians."  An Egyptian daily criticized the U.S. for accusing Iraqis "who defend their honor, land and dignity of being terrorists" just like "their dearest Palestine."  Malaysia's government-influenced New Straits Times referred to the "makings of an Iraqi intifada."  A Moroccan paper summed up hardline Arab opinion by asking, "Should we allow Iraq to be occupied as Palestine has been?"


Some label PM Sharon's government war's 'cheerleader' and 'only winner'--  Arab papers widely opined that "the U.S. invasion of Iraq serves Israeli goals as much as it serves American goals, if not more."  Typical was Egypt's aggressive Al Akhbar, which said the "real motive for Washington's war in Iraq is to serve international Zionism and Israel's plots."  Many cited the presence of Bush administration figures at the Washington AIPAC conference as proof that U.S. officials are "loyal to Israel and hostile to the Arabs," thus explaining this "sickening Israeli proxy war."  "Powell's statement against Syria and Iraq" at AIPAC, which only served "Israeli and Zionist objectives," received special attention.  Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Riyadh said Powell's comment proves he belongs "to the Falasha Ethiopian Jews."  Malaysian and Pakistani dailies were especially insistent that the goal of the U.S. war in Iraq was "establishing the supremacy of Israel in the Middle East" and removing "all threats to Israel’s position of power."


In Palestine and Iraq, the 'enemy is one and the same'--  Hawkish Arab papers hoped the Iraq conflict would promote Arab unity, equating "the war against Palestine and the war against Iraq."  UAE dailies warned of "looming hostile intentions" under which "the whole Arab region will be reshaped through killing and destruction," declaiming that when "Palestine and Baghdad are encircled...the whole Arab homeland is under siege!"  An independent Tunisian daily hoped for an Iraqi victory that would prove no force could "stop the coalition of every Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian from defeating the Israeli aggression in Palestine." 

EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This survey was based on 56 reports from 23 countries over 29 March - 2 April 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "The Damage We Are Doing To Our Relations With The Middle East"


The center-left Independent said (4/1):  "In the last weeks of the United Nations' ill-starved diplomacy and the first hours of war, one section of the globe observed an uneasy silence.  Hesitant and divided, the Arab world was biding its time.  Now, the Arab countries are finding their voice, and their words offer the first warning of the new regional climate that the United States and Britain will face once this conflict is past....  The Iraqi regime is threatening more suicide attacks on Allied forces as an integral part of its national defense strategy.  An Egyptian drove a lorry into a queue of US troops in Kuwait.  Islamic Jihad says that it will increase its attacks in Israel to demonstrate its support for Iraq.  The alliance ranged against Iraq may, as US officials insist, be more numerous than the one that fought the Gulf War 12 years ago.  But the Arab countries that supported that war are now conspicuously absent....  The uncomfortable reality is that after less than two weeks of war, the Allied troops are regarded across the region as invaders, and Iraq's despotic president as a patriot.  This reversal is potentially the biggest and longest-lasting defeat of this war--the enormity of which has at least been partially grasped in London,  but in Washington, it seems, hardly at all...Washington's very public upbraiding of Syria and Iran could well return to haunt the United States....  That both accusations were made at a reception for American Jews only signalled to the Arab world where US loyalties lay.  Mr. Blair's approach has been altogether more forward-looking and sensitive....  By calling for the publication of the 'road map' to Middle East peace at every opportunity, Mr. Blair, at least, signals that he is aware of Arab priorities.  But he faces a conundrum.  To his evident vexation, he has still not won the argument for war at home;  how can he with the argument abroad?  What is more, his efforts to show that he can see another side of the argument are constantly frustrated by the clumsy and ignorant approach of Washington."


GERMANY:    “Victory Or Defeat”


Klaus-Juergen.Haller commented on regional radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (3/28):  “If the goal is a liberated and democratic Iraq, victory must be achieved by spilling as little blood as possible.  The Iraqi defeat, as inevitable as it is, must not become the trauma of an entire generation, as was the Arab defeat in the Six-Day War against Israel.  To put it differently, victory in Iraq cannot be allowed to turn into defeat in the fight against terrorism.  As soon as military success comes into reach, Washington--supported by Europe, Russia, and the UN--must present a workable plan for the Middle East and put pressure on Israel to play along.”


BELGIUM:  "Parallels"


Erik Ziarczyk stated in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (4/2):  "The parallels between the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are clear.  Baghdad says that it will use the tested recipe of the Palestinian movements Islamic Jihad and Hamas.  Thousands of Arab volunteers are prepared to sacrifice their lives to drive the Americans and British out of Iraq.  Reportedly, those suicide commandos come from the entire Arab world.  The White House’s thoughtless war plans underestimated the reaction of the 'ordinary Arab people.'  The American soldiers, on their side, may take over the role of their Israeli colleagues.  Despite their military supremacy, they cannot destroy the respective Iraqi and Palestinian resistance.  Like in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the civilian population is in danger.  It is not so much the attacks that are the core of terrorism, but the fear that is inherent to the unpredictability of the terrorist movements.”


NORWAY:  “The Rage In The Streets”


Per Olav Oedegaard noted in independent VG (4/1):  "Likewise it is a reality that the unsolved conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians strongly contributes to undermining America’s case in the region. The occupation of Palestinian areas is set in direct connection with the occupation of Iraq. The usual arguments are that if the U.S. had seriously meant their campaign for democracy and freedom, the Palestinians would long ago have received their rights....  Today the Anglo-American war functions as [the Islamic fundamentalists’] best recruiting campaign.”




ISRAEL:  “Lesson In Double Standards”


Conservative columnist Nadav Haetzni wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (4/2):  “In light of the tragedies in Iraq, a silly thought comes to mind, that perhaps someone in the world will finally learn to appreciate the extraordinary acrobatics that Israel carries out in an attempt to minimize the harm to innocent people.  On second thought, however, this hope promptly disappears.  It appears that while the Americans are learning an important lesson in Iraq, they are implementing the opposite with Israel....  In demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank, crowds of Palestinians cry out: ‘From Jenin to Basra we are one people’ and ‘O Saddam, where are the chemical weapons?’  They also burn pictures of Bush and American flags, and call for holy war against the United States.  And what does the Bush administration do?  It pushes to give them a state, pushes for Israel to yield to Arafat’s reign of terror.  As though there were no axis of evil in the world, as though there were no need to apply the standards of Najaf and Karbala to Jenin and Gaza.”


"The Unholy Triangle Of Occupation"


Zeev Schiff contended in independent, left-leaning Ha’aretz (4/2):  “The coalition forces are now in the middle of the inevitable triangle--one side is the humanitarian aid, including distributing food and water to the civilian population; another side is suicide bombings against coalition forces; and, the third side is jumpy, trigger-happy soldiers at checkpoints.  It's a difficult reality, which the IDF knows from Lebanon and the territories, and it will continue in Iraq as long as the war goes on, and maybe even after the departure of Saddam Hussein....  It is also a convenient reality for Iraqi strategy, because as the triangle of help, threat and fear continues, it will create a division between the coalition forces and the civilian population, bringing to Iraqis a sense of occupation.  Therefore, more suicide bombings can be expected in Iraq.  The civilian population, of course, will pay the price of the war. That is unavoidable.”


"One Enemy, One War"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (3/31):  “The suicide bombing in Netanya Sunday that wounded some 60 people was terrorism; the suicide bombing against American forces in Iraq was not.  This is hardly to excuse the desperate acts of the dying Iraqi regime, but the word terrorism must be reserved for the deliberate targeting of civilians, such as the attacks that have killed hundreds of Israelis over the past 30 months and thousands of Americans on September 11....  Most would agree that al-Qaida and the Iraqi regime must simply be eliminated, while most Israelis believe that ultimately a way must be found to live with the Palestinians.  Yet now the U.S. is discovering in Iraq something that Israel and the U.S. are still in the process of discovering here: that any ‘shortcut’ that attempts to avoid the utter defeat of the forces of evil ends up prolonging the suffering of all concerned, and certainly does not lead to peace.”


“Palestinians Worry About Their Own Cause During Iraq War”


Danny Rubinstein held in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (3/31):  “’This is a struggle by the righteous against the powerful,’ is how Sheikh Ismail Suwahada, one of the preachers at Al Aqsa Mosque, put it.  He, like many others, believes no power in the world can stand up to the strength of spirit of the righteous when they unify their forces.  Many among the Palestinian who seek a common denominator between the campaign in Iraq and their campaign here accept these kinds of formulations.  Yasser Arafat made the same comparison when he dedicated the Friday prayers this weekend at his Ramallah headquarters to the Iraqi and Palestinian martyrs....  The more entangled the U.S. becomes in a tiring guerrilla war in Iraq, the political elements in the region will draw the necessary conclusions: there's nothing to fear from America.  The damage to Israel could be great as a result.  Countries like Iran and Syria, as well as Islamic fanatic groups, could become more militant and determined.”


"The Najaf-Netanya Line”


Amit Cohen wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (3/31):  “The hundreds of kilometers dividing between Najaf and Netanya did not prevent the Palestinian Islamic Jihad faction from making the logical connection that is so obvious from their standpoint: the war is one....  This connection is not just inflammatory rhetoric intended to score points on the Palestinian street.  This time it is a statement of intentions against the United States, a kind of declaration of war....  In conjunction with taking responsibility for the terror attack in Netanya, Islamic Jihad leaders clarified that their people are already located in Baghdad....  But Islamic Jihad’s excessive self-confidence could not exist without approval from the landlord--the Syrian regime....  So far, U.S. behavior has projected weakness and a lack of determination.  This weakness, whether real or imaginary, tempts elements such as Syria and Islamic Jihad to test the Americans’ limits....  Unfortunately, Israel was the one to pay the price Sunday in blood.”


“Conquest Exacts A Price”


Zvi Bar'el wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (3/30):  “As Israel’s meager experience has shown, a conquering nation becomes enamored with conquest.  Iraq will provide ample reasons for this kind of enchantment....  There point in trying to guess when the war will end....  The conquest of a country like Iraq is a long story.  And even when the war ‘formally ends’--that is, if it decided that liquidating Saddam is the end--it could turn from a war into a permanent conflict.  Any state--even if it is a superpower--that is in a constant state of conflict in the Middle East, will have great difficulty developing the regional peace for which this war is aiming.”


WEST BANK:  "Unified Statement"


Hafez Barghouti said in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (4/2):  "The Israeli press took the lead in speaking out about similarities between military practices of the American-British forces against Iraq and those carried out by the Israeli occupation in our land. There is lot of resemblance between what the Iraqi civilians face at checkpoints, where British soldiers humiliate them verbally and physically, and what we face here at [Israeli] checkpoints. Deliberate killings there and deliberate killings here, and American statements are exact replicas of Israeli ones....  The only difference between the two situations, however, is the fact that Israeli statements are supported by spokesmen of the State Department and the White House, while American statements find no one to support except for some misguided or bribed media applauding death and destruction.”


"The Only Winner"


Hafez Barghouti commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (4/1):  "As far as the Iraq war is concerned, the Palestinians are the losers, as usual.  If the war continues, our cause will be frozen; meanwhile, if it is concluded in favor of the [American] invasion, then we will be punished for not applauding the invasion and showing joy in the destruction of the Iraqi cities....  The only winner is the Israeli government and its head Sharon, who was the first cheerleader of this war. It is equally true that if the Iraqi regime is defeated and Iraq is restrained by the U.S., Israel will also benefit, for if Bush and Blair failed then the Road Map, which is detested by Israel, will fail with them.”


"Palestine And Iraq:  Intertwined Nationalism And Patriotism"


Rajab Abu Sarayeh opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (4/1):  "The Israelis consider the American entanglement in the occupation of Iraq an incentive to legitimize Israel’s occupation of Palestine as well as a direct American squelching of Arab national support for the Palestinian resistance. Israel will also achieve tremendous gains in the political arena when the political map of the region is redrawn [as a result of the Iraq war]. By choosing the war option, the Americans have opened the way for Israel to opt for security as a substitute for the political option, pushed for by the European Union and, to a certain extent, the United States, in the form of the Road Map, which has been put on hold pending the end of the Iraq war.”


"American Invasion Speaks The Same Language As The Israeli Occupation" 


Hasan el-Kashef commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (3/31):  "Facts on the ground in Iraq refute the declared deceptive American objectives of wanting to liberate Iraq.  As Arab viewers watch what is going on, they will not remember anything except scenes of the American invasion of Iraq, especially in relation to the behavior of the Israeli forces in the Palestinian areas. Such behavior is being repeated time and again by the American forces as they occupy parts of this city or that town. Civilians are seen coming out of their homes with their hands in the air under the threat of American guns and tank fire.  American invading soldiers are seen handcuffing civilians exactly as the Israelis would do to Palestinians, including storming homes and destroying their contents spreading fear amongst women and children....  The American invaders have not only emulated the methods of the Israeli occupation, but they also mimicked the Israeli language, describing the Iraqi fighter as a ‘terrorist.'"


“Comparisons, Similarities And Widespread Deception”


Ghassan Zaqtan remarked in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (3/31):  “Can we really avoid noticing the clear similarities between the mentality of the American invasion of Iraq and that of the Israeli occupation of our land? Such obvious similarities include checkpoints and the ridiculous display of [allied] forces raiding civilian homes. Even the scene of that stupid soldier patting on the shoulder of an Arab boy asking him some trivial questions and giving him a piece of candy while standing next to the sights of death and destruction....  All this is taking place in the name of the Iraqi people claiming to fulfill their desire in wanting to get rid of their leadership and that the war is against the Iraqi regime, not the Iraqis.”


ALGERIA:  "Wind Of Anger"


Leading French-language independent Le Quotidien d’Oran editorialized (3/31):  “A wind of revolt is blowing over the Islamic world. Calls for jihad are increasing from North Africa to Asia. George Bush, the worshipper of brutal force, has just made Bin Laden victorious....  The ideologists surrounding the American President can forecast that they will win the war, but are unable to guess what the post-war situation will be. Not peace for sure. The Iraqis have already opted for a national war of liberation from foreign occupation. They are Iraqis fighting aggressors who are violating the UN charter. By comparison, all US-British accusations of violating the rules of war are ridiculous....  The wind of anger is intensifying against both the Americans and their allies. The White House’s hawks, who list countries such as France among their ‘strategic enemies,’ are doing everything possible to aggravate the situation. They have already announced, through leaks, that the first action that will be imposed on the future ‘liberated’ Iraq is to recognize Israel.”


EGYPT:  “Democracy Of Arms”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Zeinab El-Imam opined (4/2):  “With great confidence, Secretary Powell confirmed to AIPAC the U.S. commitment to maintaining Israel’s supremacy in the Middle East...and that achieving peace in the Middle East is tied to Israel’s stability....  Does Powell not wonder even once how [Israeli] violations, in the occupied territories, of every political and human standard, can bring about Israel’s security?....  These were not the only statements he made which evoked bitterness...but also his statements about Syria and Iran....  The American Administration has fashioned the slogan, ‘I listen only to myself; I seek only my own interests.’ This is democracy in the American fashion and those who object are backward, terrorist, or hateful of America. We are neither backward, terrorists or hateful of America, but we reject double standards and democracy by arms.”


“Powell Exposes Their Dirty Aims”


Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar Editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar marveled (4/2):  “When I discerned earlier that the real motive for Washington’s war in Iraq is to serve international Zionism and Israel’s plots....  I did not expect Secretary Powell to agree...with insolent clarity. Mr. Powell stood before AIPAC, a Zionist organization serving Israel, to boast that Washington is launching this war to protect Israel’s security. He was not ashamed to pay complements to this rogue state by threatening Syria and Iran....  Mr. Powell thinks he can fool Arabs by alluding to Washington’s opposition to [Jewish] settlements when he presents billions of dollars to Sharon’s government to finance settlements and its war against Palestinians....  Arabs feel pain watching the sole superpower’s name associated with injustice and tyranny...and (seeing it) driven by the arrogance of power to tread on every international ideal and law just for the sake of Israel.”


“Egyptian Worries”


Opposition Al Wafd Editor-in-chief Abbass Al Tarabili declared (4/2):  “If America [openly and insolently] announces it is fighting on behalf of Israel and is defending it, what could prevent Israel from having every type of weapon of mass destruction, seeking more nuclear reactors, and stealing more uranium?....  The war on Syria, Iran and Libya is coming eventually. America does not need a reason or legitimacy...and may Israel be content with the luxury of American protection.”


Separating Lines”


Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya Editor-in-chief Samir Ragab contended (3/31):  “As usual the arrows of deception were sent and they started describing those who defend their honor, land and dignity of being terrorists, exactly what they did for their brothers in Janin, Ramallah, Khan Yonus, Gaza, and dearest Palestine.  What terrorism you claim?  We have known you to talk about human rights for many years, to talk about democracy, freedom, independence, and the right of property.  Where are you from all of that now?”


“Disarming The U.S. Is Requested”


Pro-opposition Al Wafd columnist Nabil Zaki argued (3/31):  “The truth is that the US is now conducting total or massive destruction against the Iraqi people....  The US started by bombing museums despite of the warning that was made by American archeologists....  The President, Rumsfeld and Meyers...said that the war was going to be a clean war and that the civilians would be protected but what is happening is that the cruise missiles target civilians.  They said that the infrastructure would not be touched but the opposite is happening. They use internationally banned arms against the people of Iraq....  War criminal Rumsfeld and his military officers who are affiliated to him used the term “terrorists” to describe those persons who are defending their country against foreign invaders.  So the Palestinians are not the only ones who are terrorists, the Iraqis have now joined them. All US lies, which were said by the Americans about the surrender of the Iraqis with the first missile, were revealed to be false by the Iraqi resistance.”


“Heroic Resistance Unveils Lies”


Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar opined (3/28):  “Washington and London thought the war in Iraq would be a picnic...but the heroic resistance of Iraqi troops side by side with the great Iraqi people revealed the falsehood of these claims and showed the world a great model of unity and independence.  What is happening in Iraq is a war of annihilation...and the salient proof is the horrible massacre of civilians in the Baghdad market; a massacre that proves the barbarism of the American and British troops and reminds us of the massacres committed by the Israeli occupation before invading Lebanon.  Ironically, while President Bush confirmed that the war aimed to protect civilians and liberate Iraq, the invaders committed this massacres....  With military measures, this is not a victory because major power by highly advanced weapons could not control any Iraqi town after a week from the beginning of the battles....  The war will be long, exhaustive and costly and they will not be able to achieve the true aim behind it.”


JORDAN:  “America, Iraq And Israel”


Fahd Fanek observed in semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai (3/30):  “The current U.S. administration opted to depend on absolute force....  Iraq owns the second largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi.  We can just imagine the power that America will have if it controls the oil reserves of Saudi, Iraq, Kuwait and the rest of the countries of the Arab Gulf.  Iraq manufactured chemical weapons since 1980 with American and European technical help, and used them without any objection or criticism from the West.  On the other hand, America itself is the biggest user of chemical weapons.  The amount of depleted uranium it left in Iraq and Kuwait after the second Gulf war total 40 tons, which raised the levels of cancer among the Iraq to seven times.  As for the economic sanctions imposed by America on Iraq through the Security Council, they have led to the death of 1.5 million Iraqis....  Iraq had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks and no connection with Osama Bin Laden or Al-Qa’eda organization.  Iraq did not kill any Americans and did not threaten America or its interests.  Despite all this, America decided to begin with Iraq, thinking that it would be an easy target.  We must remember that Israel did not abide by 65 U.N. decisions, that it owns 400 nuclear weapons, and that it has been occupying other people’s land for the past 35 years.  Instead of bombing it as it is doing in Iraq, America is drowning it with billions of dollars and the latest weapons.  This is not a war on Iraq, but an aggression against the Arab Nation.”


LEBANON:  "Sharon And Bush And The Seventh Advice"


Sahar Baasiri held in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (4/2):  "Israeli suggestions to the U.S. are numerous.  America itself sought this advice when it decided to launch its war on Iraq.  It brought Israeli military experts to lecture its soldiers and sent American soldiers to Israel for training.  America wanted to benefit from Israel's expertise in urban help the U.S. avoid what happened to the U.S. soldiers in Somalia.  American newspapers are reporting that U.S. soldiers were really interested in learning Israeli techniques, especially their expertise in using bulldozers and helicopters against Jenin and other Palestinian camps....  As for political advice...Sharon himself offered Bush a number of suggestions:  He advised Bush not to be deceived by a quick victory...he also advised General Franks to keep siege around Baghdad for the shortest time possible....  Some Israelis are also advising the U.S. to leave Iraq as soon as possible....  The Israelis decided to stay in Lebanon and their experience ended with devastating failure   We don't understand why Sharon neglected to tell his friend Bush that the U.S. should review its whole war and occupation policies"


"Returning To Our Country Through Iraq!"


Talal Salman declared in Arab nationalist As-Safir (3/31):  "My relative, who is an expert on explosives...decided to go to Iraq as a volunteer to put his expertise in the service of those who want to fight against the invasion of Iraq....  He told me that he could no longer sit...before satellite TV shows watching his people die...and was no longer able to listen to speeches and emotional demonstrators....  My relative admitted that he had been thinking of this decision before the war on Iraq erupted.  He said that at the beginning, he wanted to go to Palestine...but he did not know how...then he decided that the war against Palestine and the war against Iraq is one and the same...the enemy is one and the same...and going to Iraq is easy through Syria which took a courageous decision and facilitated the path before Arab volunteers who want to fight against the invasion in Baghdad."


MOROCCO:  "War In Iraq Shows A Turning Point In The Course Of Arabism"


Pro-government Arabic-language Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki thundered (4/1):  "What is currently happening in Iraq could represent an opportunity for reconciliation between Arab officialdom and popular aspirations, especially given an issue related to Arab sovereignty.  Arab regimes’ failures to meet popular aspirations have led to a series of defeats and frustrations that have in turn created the situation we see today in Palestine.  Should we allow Iraq to be occupied as Palestine has been?"


"Bush's Fundamentalism And Ours"


A column in Islamic, Arabic-language Attajdid read (3/31):  "The White House President's religion and his clear fundamentalism have exceeded moderation to reach extremism, excess and international armed terrorism....  Anglican rightist movement (in the U.S.) has found, for itself, a new strategy to renew Christianity and thus revive religion trends in U.S. society and its elite seeking alliance with Zionism....  Islam, with its moderation, could save the world from destruction and folly."


QATAR:  "Unlikely Alliance A Danger Sign"


Semi-independent English-language Gulf Times  judged (3/31):  "The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement called attention to Palestinian Land Day by arranging a suicide attack in Netanya, injuring 30 people, four of them seriously. The Netanya bombing came 24 hours after a suicide attack by an Iraqi soldier near the town of Najaf that killed four American soldiers. The Palestinian militants described their operation as a 'gift from Palestine to the heroic people of Iraq.'  Islamic Jihad said the war extends from Najaf to Tulkarm and from Jenin to Baghdad, implying that the Iraq war is an integral part of the Arab-Israeli conflict....   The message was in line with comments by Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan. There have been credible reports of people from various Arab countries traveling to Iraq to defend the country. US commander Gen. Tommy Franks said yesterday that he found it 'remarkable' that the Iraqi government has taken credit for Saturday's suicide attack, hinting that the US considered this a vindication of its claim that Iraq has links to Al-Qaeda.  Of course, this is not the case.  It would be more remarkable if the Iraqi authorities did not encourage any and every tactic that could hamper the invaders. The common cause that is being made between militant Islamists and Saddam's secular regime is a dangerous development for the allies, not just because of the threat of suicide bombings, but also because of the potential long-term consequences for regional stability."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Powell: Does He Belong To The Falasha?"


Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (4/1):  "There was an almost worldwide impression that Colin Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State, was the more balanced and self-confident person among the hawks of the White House and the Pentagon...but now Powell repeats statements made by Rumsfeld, Cheney and others to ensure his personal safety with the president, who (could decide) whether or not to keep or remove him as the secretary of state....  Such positions give an impression that Powell belongs to the Falasha Ethiopian Jews more than to the Africans, whose ancestors used to be dragged in iron bars onto the white plantations....  Powell, while addressing the AIPAC, demonstrated the same convulsions of Rumsfeld....  It is a sad end for a person who was about to win the friendship of Arabs and behind them, the black continent."


"Serving Zionism"


Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazirah opined (4/1):  "In the organic relationship between the Jewish groups and Washington, the priority always goes to considering the objectives of those groups, who have great influence in America's decisions. These groups think they are playing a big role in the war in Iraq, mostly concentrated on accelerating the war, and expanding its range and they include those who are concerned about Israeli existence in the region, or preventing those who are seeking to restore properties that the Israelis took from Arabs within the last five decades. Moreover, Mr. Powell's statement against Syria and Iran are aimed to distract attention from the difficulties that the Americans are facing in Iraq as well as serving Israeli and Zionist objectives."


"Prior To Expansion Of The War "


Dammam's moderate Al-Yawm observed (4/1):  "If the war is prolonged for a long period of time, it could turn into a brutal war, and Israel might also participate in this war, thus it will be difficult to control its expansion. Therefore, it is necessary to go back to the Saudi initiative, which calls for stopping this war, the initiative is not merely for the sake of stopping the slaughtering of the Iraqi civilians, but also to avert the possibility of the war exploding out of control. Will we listen to a sound mind before it becomes too late?"


"America’s Credibility"


Khaled M. Batarfi asked in English-language pro-government Arab News (3/30):  "Why Iraq?  Why now?  If Iraq is in contravention of 17 UN resolutions, Israel has breached more than 70.  If the possession of weapons of mass destruction is the reason, are we blind and deaf to the fact that what hasn’t been established in Iraq is very much in evidence in Israel, and that North Korea has even boasted of possessing such weapons?  I tell those who object to our stand on this war:  Be honest with yourselves before you demand that the world put its trust in you. Implement justice, before you promise justice.  Clean up your own backyard before you demand others do the same.  Then you can ask me anything you like."


"War Is Ugly Whether It’s In Iraq Or Palestine"


Daoud Kuttab declared in English-language pro-government Saudi Gazette (3/30):  "War is ugly whether it be in Palestine or Iraq and every honorable person must understand that no even the most powerful country in the world can succeed in crushing any people who have pride in their country and their nation.  The regime of Saddam Hussein may not last more than a few weeks or months, but this war as the 1967 war have clearly shown that war can’t extinguish people’s desire to live in freedom and to be ruled by their own people." 


SYRIA:  "Israel, Head Of Aggression"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen said (4/2):  "The US invasion of Iraq serves Israeli goals as much as it serves American goals, if not more....  During the last two years, Sharon and his senior aides have visited Washington seven times. Primarily to convince US officials not to give up the idea of war against Iraq but to wage it as soon as possible....  This aggressive Israeli stand is reminiscent of Israel's practices in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of Cold War, as Israeli officials felt that their entity [country], as a forward base for the West in confronting the Soviets, started to vanish. The new status quo, meant they needed new facts on the ground to restore the importance to their entity and convince Americans about that importance. Since that time, Israel started playing the chorus of the danger of Iraq and the danger of terrorism.  Secretary Powell complemented this Israeli image when he chose to reappear in politics at the AIPAC convention....  Powell gave Jewish leaders an account of the services his administration is rendering to Israel even during its war against Iraq; he also unleashed threats against Syria and to any party hostile to Israel."


"Syria Has Made Its Choice" 


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Al-Ba'th read (4/1):  "From the moment the American Administration revealed its intentions to reshape the political structure in the region, it entered a maze of a gradual and undeclared war against the countries of the region.  It was expected that Colin Powell would submit his resignation, but instead he threw himself onto the AIPAC lap. For a man who has known the region in depth and who witnessed its pains and frustrations, he should have talked with the voice of experience; the majority of Americans are paying a dear price for the lack of this experience. He should have given explanations and appropriate answers to fundamental questions such as "Why do they hate us?" Instead, he followed the adventurers and novices who are being nursed from the milk of extremism and vengeance such as Sharon and Netenyahu. Americans do not only want to destroy Iraq, they want a tamed and docile Iraqi people.  Syria does need advice. The history of US-Syrian relations is full of examples; Syria realizes along with millions of Arabs that standing in front of AIPAC does not allow any choice. How can the US Administration claim to distance Israel from the current bloody scene in the region when it uses the widest Zionist window in the US to unleash its threats? Syria is standing with itself and the Umma when it rejects another chapter of aggression on the region, while the US is dwarfed to the level of Israel when it throws itself into a new project of occupation....  Syria has chosen what is appropriate, but the US seems incapable of choosing a war plan and not even a war. Talk about an Israeli proxy war is sickening and fills one with anger."


"What If Americans Were Forced To Seek Israel's Direct Support?"


Bassam Taleb wrote in independent private weekly Addomary (3/31):  "What if US generals find themselves incapable--on ground, after all this mobilization of forces and the opening of the northern front--of achieving the progress? Then will the only way for them be to seek the help of their strategic ally, Israel?  Can you imagine the consequences of Israel's open virtual participation in the war for the Arab and Moslem street and for Arab governments and regimes? If it happens, the region will witness fundamental qualitative changes that will be in the interests of the Arab Umma."


TUNISIA:  "Powell Threatens Syria And Showers Israel With Praise!: The American Dilemma" 


Fatma Karray stated in independent Arabic-language Ash-Shourouq (4/1):  "The day before yesterday, the speech of the American Secretary of State had a threatening tone. Hence, Syria's share was a threat while Iran's share was a warning.  As for the Israeli share, it was without a doubt, a tone of support and obligation of the Americans to the Israeli entity. It was not important that Powell announced his position on Iraq and his people and the aggression led against it. Because this file is full of American lies and allegations. And any American official speeches in Bush's administration can no more convince even the closest allies of the American regime. So what about the international public opinion, which is manifested in strong demonstrations and protest against the American policy?....  The inclusion of Syria by Powell on the list of threats and warnings has two reasons: First, it is meant to frighten all the Arab regimes that showed a hesitation in its positions one day before the strike. Hence Powell's threat is in reality a kind of long distance deterrence to those countries hesitant to cooperate with Washington now. The second reason is an attempt by Powell and the American administration to calm Israel down. Because if Iraq resists and wins, there will be no force to stop the coalition of every Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian from defeating the Israeli aggression in Palestine."


UAE:  "Warning To Syria Is For Israel's Benefit"


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej editorialized (4/1):  "Along with the UK, Washington is waging an invasion against Iraq, warming up with Israel against Syria, and in the background, there are looming hostile intentions to target Lebanon in addition to the ongoing war of liquidation against the Palestinians.  The whole Arab region will be reshaped through killing and destruction."


"Allegations Against Syria"


 Dubai-based business-oriented Al Bayan declared (4/1):  "Powell made his recent remarks before the Zionist AIPAC....  This is his real identity, which refutes claims about Washington having both hawks and doves.  All of them are alike:  loyal to Israel and hostile to the Arabs."


"What Are The Arabs Waiting For?"


Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor wrote in the Expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf News (4/1):  "When Palestine and Baghdad are encircled, it means that the whole Arab homeland is under siege!  Who of us can claim that he does not live in the huge jail made for us by the West, strangling us with their barbed wire, limiting our movement, thinking, freedom, and even dreaming space.  What we need to do now, to avoid being strangled, is to join our ranks on the official and popular level to fight and resist the coming siege."


"Rumsfeld And The Israeli Dictations"


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej maintained (3/30):  "The U.S. is implementing an 'Israeli agenda' in its attacks against Iraq, and what has been said about Iraq as the first step in carrying out an Israeli-American strategy in the region is not only an analysis anymore, this has been confirmed by Rumsfeld's statements....  Are these huge U.S. forces that have arrived in the region, whose numbers might reach half a million soldiers, targeting Iraq only, or is there something more?"


"Double Standards"


Aysha Sultan said in business-oriented Al Bayan (3/30):  "Bush and Blair are convinced that Saddam's regime deserves to be punished since it ignored 17 UN resolutions.  The moral question that should be asked here is the same that was asked by the British Foreign Minister Jack Straw and which upset Israel:  Why is Israel not punished for the same reason, the violation of 64 UN resolutions?"


"Oil And Protecting Israel"


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej held (3/29):  "American and British officials claim to have achieved two positive outcomes:  securing the oil fields in the south and securing the Western front to prevent the targeting of Israel with missiles....  The real reasons behind this war are both the protection of Israel and Iraq's oil wealth and nothing else."


"Facing The Truth"


Mohamed Idrees contended in pan-Arab Sharjah-based Al Khaleej (3/29):  "They are going to destroy Iraq while setting their sights on Palestine and other Arab countries.  Colin Powell stated this when he said that the U.S. is coming into Iraq in order to force some changes in the region to serve American interests and he did not forget to mention Israel's 'peace' as a priority.  The loss of Iraq is just the beginning and not the end.  And without an Arab role that could say 'No' to what is happening in Iraq, the Arabs will never realize where and when is the end, since they already lost the beginning."




INDONESIA:  “Bush And ‘Radical Jews’”


Muslim intellectual Republika commented (3/31):  “For them [the hawks], Iraq under Saddam Hussein with sophisticated weapons (the U.S. used to supply) may pose a threat to Israel. The next target will be Iran and Syria [for] both are seen as conducting a development program of weapons of mass destruction and are the main sponsors of the Hezbollah movement, which also troubles Israel. Therefore, the drum of war has been struck. In the name of God and the Holocaust, which is smeared with oil, thousands of Iraqi people and other innocent people of other countries are sacrificed. However, make no mistake, it is not an attack of Judaism-Christianity on Islam.  Even the Pope criticizes the war, and lots of Christian and Jewish groups across the Globe join in the wave of antiwar rallies....  As such, this is not an attack on a religion but an attack launched by fanatic and intolerant people with innocent people as the victims.”


MALAYSIA:  "U.S. Wants To Destroy Opposition To Israel"


Government-influenced Malay-language Berita Harian editorialized (4/2):  "The true reason behind America’s threats to Syria and Iraq not to interfere with the Iraq war, is to protect its Middle Eastern ally, Israel.  With the confidence that Saddam Hussein will be deposed, the objective of America is to remove all threats to Israel’s position of power in the Middle East.  After all, the pro-Israel and Jewish lobby is strong in the U.S. and controls major corporate interests and also media organizations.  Without the threat from these Arab countries, Bush and Israel’s interests are achieved.  Unfortunately the Bush Administration continues to ignore the fact that Israel has weapons of mass destruction as well as nuclear arms, and the Jewish regime’s cruelties are a threat to the region’s stability."


"Risking An Iraqi Intifada"


Editor-in-chief Abdullah Ahmad wrote in the government-influenced English-language New Straits Times  (4/2):  "What we are seeing may be the worst of all scenarious: the makings of an Iraqi intifada.  Already the Iraqis are resisting by guerilla warfare and suicide attacks.  President George W. Bush has pledged to see this war through to its bitter end...and the end could then be bitter indeed."


"War To Save Israel"


Government-influenced Malay-language Utusan Malaysia carried a piece stating (4/1):  "The two-week old war in Iraq is being called a war for oil although U.S. President Bush maintains that it is one to free the people of Iraq.  I believe it is a war to save Israel from being invaded and to destroy yet another Islamic country.  Iraq was not a threat to the U.S. or any Arab countries surrounding it, it was a threat to the security of Israel.  All this debate over the matter of oil is to cover the secret agenda of Israel.  Up till today, many believe that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Israeli agents, blaming Muslims for the act.  All the other Islamic countries surrounding Iraq had better be wary they do not get drawn into this propaganda trap."


PHILIPPINES:  "The Road To Hell" 


Teresa Abesamis opined in leading business-oriented BusinessWorld (4/1):  "At the end of this senseless war, will the United States come to realize that, first, it must set an example to the world by dismantling its own vast arsenal of WMD and lead the way for global disarmament? Will it persuade its ally, Israel, to do likewise? Will the Palestinians, too, give up their arms? Who will have the moral authority to lead to the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction in this world? Will it be the nations which manufacture and sell these weapons? For this you need the moral authority of a global institution that all nations, great and small, must support and respect."


THAILAND:  “Iraq Adds To Its List Of Heinous Crimes”


The top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post editorialized (3/31):  “The law of unintended consequences is raising a terrible possibility in Iraq.  The dying but defiant government has reached into its seemingly limitless bag of violent tricks and come out with suicide bombers.  It was long known that President Saddam Hussein rewarded the murderous suicides of Palestinians in Israel.  It was long rumored that Iraq was running a school to train young men and women to become suicide bombers.  One of the most dangerous possibilities of our day is that the Iraq war may make suicide bombers appear legitimate to many unthinking people.  There should be nothing but condemnation of the Iraqi program of suicide bombers.  The very notion is both dangerous to society and unhonorable....  The danger is that by making suicide bombers legitimate, Iraq is helping to ensure they will be used everywhere.”


INDIA:  "Ups And Downs Of Israeli Tactics"


Manoj Joshi wrote in the centrist Times Of India (4/1):  "If the Iraqi resistance to the US shows the imprint of the Palestinian fedayeen, the pattern of operations around Basra, Nasiriyah and Najaf are revealing an Israeli imprint....  Having operated in the region for a long time, the Israeli forces operate with considerable intelligence about their targets."


PAKISTAN:    "Bad Intentions Of Bush Administration"


Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat contended (4/2):  "The United States' efforts for engineering a rapprochement between India and Pakistan would be nothing else than declaring the Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists and then threatening Pakistan to stay away from them. And since Pakistani would not stop from lending its political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri cause, it would be made a justification for taking action against it.  By declaring South Asia an important segment of the U.S. agenda, Secretary of State Colin Powell meant that after establishing the supremacy of Israel in the Middle East, India would be imposed in this region of South Asia." 




Irshad Ahmad Arif noted in second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt (4/1):  "At the time of the collapse of Soviet Union, Gorbachev was intermittently invited to address American universities, and the Jewish media gave an unusual reception to the leader.  This made the Russian people and European journalists and analysts think that perhaps Gorbachev was an agent of the CIA, Pentagon etc....  Now is the time to see about Bush's credentials as an agent of Israel or any other country; he has been instrumental in downgrading America from 'hero to zero.'  This is a point to ponder for Americans."


"Future Options For U.S."


A. H. Amin opined in the centrist national News (3/31):  "Iraq is certainly not the end of the journey that the Bush administration has planned. It is only one stage of a long expedition from which the U.S. would not be able to disengage....  The Iraq war represents a total shift in the US strategic posture. Americans have decided to re-structure the world....  Against this backdrop, it would be interesting to construct a possible framework for future U.S. options in the so-called 'War against Terrorism'....  Consolidate in the Middle East and concentrate on restructuring the region while not touching Iran for the next five years. This would require a definite resolution of the Palestinian problem, and a political solution of the Kurdish and Jewish States.... Deal with Iran immediately after Iraq and then consolidate the Middle East with a New Marshall Plan....  Include Pakistan and Afghanistan in the war which would entail Balkanisation of the two countries....  Withdraw from the Middle East minus Iraq."


"Lucrative Business Of Rebuilding Iraq"


Ehsan Ahrari commented in the Peshawar-based Statesman (3/30):  "The Arab Middle East, where mushrooming of conspiracy theories is a frequent phenomenon, is convinced about one more such theory. It states that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is really about controlling the vast oil reserves of that country, about using its ensuing occupation of Iraq to redraw the strategic map of the entire region for only its own dominance, and to use its dominance of the region to extract the acceptance of Israeli dominance by all Arab states....  But through the dismantlement of the Iraqi government in the beginning of the 21st century, the United States appears to be re-establishing its unquestioned dominance in Iraq and, through it, on other oil-producing countries of the region. That, in the final analysis, might be the ultimate lucrative price of a regime change in Iraq."


BANGLADESH:  “North Korea’s Stand: Smaller Nations Have Reason To Feel Insecure”


Independent English-language Daily Star commented (4/1):  "If containing proliferation of nuclear weapons and dealing squarely with the emergence of potentially dangerous states were the objectives that the coalition countries wanted to attain, then there is bad news for them.  North Korea, an ever defiant country with nuclear capability, has made it plain to the U.S. administration that it is not going to roll back its nuclear program and suffer the miserable fate that has befallen Iraq.  The message is clear: some countries are feeling all the more insecure after the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.  British foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, came close diagnosing the disease when he said that the allies could not show the same determination and sense of purpose while dealing with Israel as they did in the case of Iraq.  He has divulged in one sentence the most unpalatable truth of our times--Palestinians are not getting their due.  The U.S. should, therefore, concentrate on establishing a just world order if it really wants terrorism to lose its force." 


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