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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 18, 2003

August 18, 2003





**  Kuwaiti and non-Arab writers assailed the Arab League for rejecting the Iraq Governing Council, a "body that is the most representative Iraq has ever known."


**  Other Arab papers declared they are "eagerly awaiting a legitimate government" in Baghdad.


**  The American occupation could result in "possible geopolitical changes" in the Arab world.


**  Critics dismissed U.S. attempts at "open infiltration of the Arab media." 




Arab governments 'are not interested in a democratic Iraq'--  The Arab League's rejection of the Iraqi Governing Council confirms that "too many Arab leaders prefer to fault others" for the Arab world's "repressiveness, poverty and despair."  Kuwaiti writers pummeled the League's submission to "assassins and supporters of Saddam"; independent Al-Qabas called Iraq "lucky" to avoid Arab security methods "based on stripping human dignity."  Berlin's centrist Der Tagesspiegel opined that a "democratic Iraq...would only highlight what other countries in the region do not have."  The nationalist Ottawa Citizen added that "every Arab leader will face reformist pressures" if Iraq becomes "a modestly democratic, constitutionally ordered society."


Both the U.S. occupation and the council are 'totally unacceptable'--  Arab dailies said the Council "does not represent the majority of the Iraqi people."  Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Bilad contended that "U.S. forces should...leave Iraq" under UN auspices to "prevent any vacuum of power."  Egyptian papers labeled the Council "unfair to Sunni Arabs" and likely to cause "sectarian strife."  The UAE's semi-official Al-Ittihad alleged the Arab League's "constant laziness and sleepiness" aimed only to "gain the reward of the oppressor" America. 


Democracy just means 'propagating American values and interests'--  Regional papers viewed the U.S. democratization effort skeptically.  Noting that extremists "fervently advocate free elections," they warned elections "may yield undemocratic rulers."  Cairo's pro-government Akhbar Al Yom called the "model of democracy America promises...nothing but a grand illusion."  Jordan's independent Al-Arab Al-Yawm concluded the U.S. merely seeks to replace "totalitarian ruling regimes with occupation."  But Denmark's center-left Politiken saw a regional need "to break with...totalitarian traditions and work towards democratic reforms." 


U.S. public diplomacy efforts fuel Arab fears of 'unprecedented' cultural interference--  Egyptian and Indian papers criticized U.S. plans to use "media to impact cultural orientation."  Cairo's leading Al-Ahram contended the U.S. should "improve its image by action not by words" instead of trying to "brainwash the Arab citizen."  The centrist Indian Express said the U.S.' new "glossy monthly magazine, called Hi...should engage the Arab world on the abundant fears and misconceptions that fuel anti-Americanism."    


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 37 reports from 15 countries over 6 August - 18 August 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date. 




GERMANY:  "Bad Advice"


Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin judged (8/11):  "The Arab League decided not to recognize the Governing Council set up by the Americans in Iraq....  It is certainly right that the situation in Iraq is not satisfying, but the Council is more representative than all governments that the country had over the past 30 years.  The Arab governments again demonstrated an obstructionist attitude instead of actively helping building a better Iraq--and probably a better Middle East.  The swift defeat in Iraq deeply hurt the Arab pride.  But the despots of the region do not want to learn their lesson from it. Otherwise, they would have to admit that they possibly enjoy as little support as Saddam Hussein did.  The Arab governments are not interested in a democratic Iraq, since it would only highlight what other countries in the region do not have."


ITALY:  “Hidden Iran”


Claudio Gorlier wrote in centrist, influential La Stampa (8/6):  “It seems to me that many Western observers are ignoring a fundamental aspect, i.e., that Iran is the only Islamic country with a strong middle class....  This middle silently but effectively trying to achieve democratic reforms, including women’s rights.  The students who march in the streets are its restless children.   The leaders of this middle class are economically strong, travel, and maintain relations abroad, including in the U.S., where they enjoy low-key but concrete support.  This part of the Iranian population represents the hope for the future.  Some U.S. Administration members and several U.S. economic lobbies are aware of that and I believe that they will advise Bush to think twice before attacking Iran.”


DENMARK: “Afghanistan, Pakistan And Yemen Must Break With Totalitarian Traditions”


Center-left Politiken opined (8/7):  “In the absence of a democracy, extremists have turned to violence.  This is not to legitimize terrorism, but the need is clearly there for countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to break with their totalitarian traditions and work towards democratic reforms.”


IRELAND:  "Arab League Rebuffs Iraq's Governing Council"


Michael Jansen held in the center-left Irish Times  (8/6):  "The Arab League has delivered a blow to Iraq's governing council by refusing to recognise it as the legitimate government of the country....  While many Arab governments welcomed the formation of the council, most are unwilling to endorse a body which is under the control of the US occupation regime....  Most league members opposed the US war to topple Saddam and are uneasy about the US-led authority now governing Iraq.”


TURKEY:  “Arab World’s Stance”


Ahmet Tasgetiren commented in Islamist-intellectual Yeni Safak (8/8):  “The Arab League’s decision about not recognizing the Iraqi Governing Council was interpreted as a surprise development because the general expectation was to see a more moderate approach than this.  However, members of the Arab League were pushed to make such a decision due to their public opinion pressure....  The fact of the matter is that the U.S. is not a beloved figure in the region, and the occupation for whatever reason is not approved.  Thus any American initiative, including the Iraqi Governing Council, is considered as illegitimate....  It looks as though it is best to suggest the US withdraw from Iraq at once.  It will serve the interest of all parties in the region when and if authority is left to the Iraqis before any more chaos and more power vacuums.  It will also serve the US interests in particular when and if Washington saves itself from neo-cons in policy making.”




WEST BANK:  "The Administration And The Political Will"


Ahmad Majdalani contended in independent Al-Ayyam (8/6):  “Although the American occupation in Iraq may have caused substantial regional transformations and a sense of fear from possible geopolitical changes in many Arab countries, the rising resistance of the Iraqi people against the American occupation has succeeded in raising serious questions about [the nature of] occupation and has harmed American credibility in the eyes of its Arab allies who have so far been supporters of the American aggression.  Thus, the American administration is interested in having a role in resolving the Middle East conflict by achieving progress in the peace process, despite all the obstacles placed by the Sharon government.  This American need should be utilized by the Palestinian leadership, especially since the truce, which was initiated by the Palestinian factions, is beginning to bear fruit.”


EGYPT:  “Forced Legitimacy”


Massoud El Hennawy wrote in leading pro-government Al Ahram (8/16):  “The Washington Post harshly attacked Arab countries for refusing to recognize the Iraqi interim governing council....  Do Arab countries not have the right to fear lest this the prelude to sectarian strife and a weakening of Iraqi unity in the future?  Can Arab countries be assured when the fist decision made by this suspicious council was to consider the day Baghdad fell into the hands of Anglo-American troops, a national day?  Why should the Arab League be first to recognize it at a time when there is no clear legal or international position towards it?  Where is the promised democratic model in Iraq?....  Washington wants to impose legitimacy on the council by force.”


“Those Petty Fascists”


Galal Aref observed in aggressive pro-government weekly Akhbar Al Yom (8/16):  “The terrorists whom the world fighting today were fought by us alone and vanquished by us through the unity of our nation.  The world, which today fights terrorism, watched then and even secretly offered assistance to terrorists thinking they could be used as tools to blackmail Egypt and Arabs into accepting the unacceptable.  However today we are facing a new kind of terrorism whose perpetrators think they have Washington’s license to establish the democracy the U.S. wants even if it silences opposition voices.  This is a new wave of terrorism that seeks to regain McCarthy-like powers....  The problem with these perpetrators, these petty fascists, is that, even if they think they know America, they have failed to know Egypt and to understand its history....  If they had, they would have realized that the model of democracy America promises to establish in Iraq and to generalize in the region is nothing but a grand illusion....  They should realize Egypt has known democracy, parties, and parliament since the 19th Century and it is capable of building its own independent democracy without foreign dictates.”


“Beautifying The Occupation And Its Followers In Iraq Will Not Work”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram opined (8/13):  “The Iraqi interim governing council is trying to promulgate a constitution for the country in order to escape its failure to obtain international and regional legitimacy and to assuage Iraqis vis-à-vis American-British troops.  However, the council actually lacks legitimacy....  It was formed by the occupying authorities on a sectarian basis....  Its formation was unfair to Sunni Arabs...which implies an American punishment of them for constituting the majority of Iraqi national resistance against occupation....  Occupation is totally unacceptable and is based on falsified rationales....  The only way out of the Iraqi crisis means of free elections under U.N. and Arab League supervision....  If the U.S. insists on continuing its occupation of this great Arab country, it will suffer from Iraqi resistance just like any occupying force...and its world image will further deteriorate.”


"Reforming Our Corrupt Minds”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Salah Eddin Hafez argued (8/13):  “We have failed to reform our thinking so the U.S. has come to handle our affairs according to its whims and interests.  Changing minds also means changing regional political, economic, and cultural systems and that has become the name of U.S. strategy....  Obviously, the masters in Washington have lost confidence in Arab loyalists to the U.S...both for their failure to provide a military Iraq...and for  failure to provide political and cultural change...and propagating American values and interests....  Just as American armies invaded Iraq to establish an American democratic model, it is now invading our nations by propagating new principles and ideas through several means including pressuring our governments to amend education curricula, to develop culture, and to lessen religious and nationalistic subjects....  The U.S. resolved to take matters into its own hands and there is news, in Western and Arab press, that there are legal and technical measures to issue American radio and television channels and press in several Arab countries...financed by USAID....  The attack of 19 Arabs and Moslems on the ‘Holy of Holies’ in the U.S., on September 11, 2001, had the greatest impact on alerting the U.S. that military supremacy, economic progress, social welfare, and hegemony in the name of globalization are not enough to win the friendship of nations even the most desperate.  It discovered that its military pacts and economic assistance for most Arab and Islamic countries did not guarantee its security or its vital foreign interests....  However, it fails to realize that imposition of foreign culture and media in an environment that rejects it will pose dangerous challenges.  The same challenges will face our great governments if they accept the American project.” 


"Press Fears”


Fahmy Howeidi noted in leading pro-government Al Ahram (8/12):  “A more dangerous situation is the American open infiltration of Arab media which aims to reshape Arab conscience along with plans to reshape the maps of the region.  There is a clear infiltration...and members of the profession know exactly who the loyalists of America in the Arab media are....  That was not enough....  U.S. Embassy and USAID officials in Cairo are currently finalizing a project to issue Arab press and television satellite channels to talk to the Arab world and will include eight Arab countries.  Arab partners will share in the financing....  According to the paper, the project falls under MEPI....  Most probably, the news is true because no one has denied it.  This project means that the arena of Arab media will witness an unprecedented penetration.  Using the media to impact cultural orientation has been a steady and viable method since World War II as documented by British researcher Frances Saunders in her book, ‘The Cultural Cold War.’”


“For a Better Image”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Salwa Habib declared (8/10):  “Washington is planning a broad media campaign in the Arab world to improve America’s image....  The campaign was proposed by Secretary Powell and opened with the broadcast of Radio Sawa, but it did not improve America’s image.  It was thus resolved to broaden the campaign over the entire region with press, media, radio and Internet sites, in Arabic.  The American ambition rises to the level of planning to reshape Arab press--I do not know how...and to expand the existing training program for journalists...and to establish companies to create jobs in the region....  America seems to want to achieve several aims: limiting hatred against all that is American; explaining its policy on the Palestinian issue; giving reasons for its war and occupation of Iraq to satisfy Arab and Moslem Americans before the elections; maintaining its interests in the Middle East and planting principles of democracy and freedom among the youth in the American way....  Most of all, the U.S. wants to brainwash the Arab citizen so as to view it as it wants.  It seems as if the U.S. does not want to realize that its policy, which is most of the times antagonistic and unjust against Arabs, is the reason behind this hatred.  America would better improve its image by actions not by words.  This will only occur with a serious and radical contribution to returning Palestinian usurped rights...and withdrawal from Iraq...and by refraining from pressuring the domestic affairs of Arab countries.  Its image will not be improved either if it persists in discrimination against the civil freedoms of Arab Americans....  If American policy does not change to further justice, it will not win hearts and minds.” 


"Non-Liberal Democracy”


Reda Helal observed in leading pro-government Al Ahram (8/7):  “If democracy is confined merely to elections, it is called non-liberal....  Election can yield undemocratic rulers, fascist political powers, or religious men to the helm.  Elections brought the Nazi Hitler to Germany...Milosovic to the former Yugoslavia...Haider in Austria...and religious men in Iran.  If free elections are conducted in the Islamic world, it could bring Bin Laden and Zawahiry to power. This is the reason religious and anti-democratic trends fervently advocate free elections....  The solution is to conduct liberal reform by establishing the ideas and values of political and economic freedom ahead of 100- percent free and fair elections.  Otherwise we will drown in the deluge.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Joint Strategy"


Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily (8/12):  "The Arab world was rather divided on the Iraq issue before the invasion.  It is important that it now adapts a common stand on the future of the country. There is little that the Arab world can do at this juncture but to ponder over its relationship with the new leadership in Baghdad...  However, backing the governing council at this point is premature considering the evident lack of support it has from the Iraqi people.  At the same time, there is simply no alternative arrangement to the council that one can think of.  The road ahead for the Arab world in formulating a joint Iraq strategy is thus slippery and would need coordination efforts at the highest level before any move is made on this count."


"No To Arab Involvement In Iraq"


Jeddah's moderate Al-Bilad editorialized (8/11):  "If Arab forces were to listen to Washington's call, what role would they assume in Iraq?....  Any Arab force would have a vague role.  But current hints now indicate that these forces, if they were to be deployed into Iraq, would allow the foreign forces to relax and take a break from the continuous strenuous resistance.  This is just another application of the famous saying divide and conquer....  The U.S. request to send Arab forces to Iraq must be rejected.  The U.S. forces should also leave Iraq according to a plan set and administered by the UN to prevent any vacuum of power upon their departure." 


"Empowering Iraq’s Occupation Rejected"


Jeddah’s moderate Okaz opined (8/7):  "The Arab League’s rejection for the Interim Iraqi Council to represent interest of Iraq at the Arab League stems from the fact that, according to the Arab League, the Council does not represent the majority of the Iraqi people, plus the American authority there appointed its members.  The U.S. is looking desperately to find a legitimate status for its occupation, or for those who represent its interests, in the country....  The first goal behind the League’s rejection is to prevent legalization of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  The second goal is to speed up the process by which Iraq will have its independence back."


"Wise Decision"


Riyadh’s English-language moderate Riyadh Daily (8/7):  "The Arab League has wisely decided against sending troops to Iraq and taking over the dirty task of cleansing the country from the embattled American forces....  Individual Arab countries may act on their own, but policing of Iraq would certainly not be a collective League effort.  The Arab world is eagerly awaiting a legitimate government in Baghdad. It would only be too pleased to welcome Iraq back into its fold. But till then, Iraq would remain a battleground for the U.S. forces to engage in for quite some time to come."


"An Effective Role"


Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum stated (8/6):  "The idea behind establishing King Abdulaziz Center for dialogue was to create an open and responsible channel for free expression of views and to find a healthy atmosphere for its participants....  The ultimate end of all is to preserve the security and stability of our country and to distance it from terrorism, sedition and extremism."


JORDAN:  “A String Of Lies”


Chief Editor Taher Udwan declared in independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (8/18):  “As far as Iraq is concerned, we hear only lies from the Bush and Blair administrations....  They said that they are coming to Iraq as liberators and not as occupiers.  Four months after the end of the war, there is only the presence of American tanks and their daily harvest of Iraqi lives.  As for the democracy they promised to Iraqis, and through them to Saudis, Gulf countries and people in the Arab world, we can only say that it is a story packed with lies and delusions.  Where is the democracy that the Iraqis have been promised?  Is it this governing council that represents minorities of America’s and Iran’s parties?  Why do the Americans and the British not tell the truth about what is going on, namely that they have succeeded in turning the Middle East into a continuous war zone between themselves and Islamic and national order to instill chaos and create new foundations for the political map of the region, on the basis of occupation and under the pretext of bringing change towards democracy due to the inability of people to bring on this change without ‘outside’ intervention.  It is the idea of replacing dictatorships and totalitarian ruling regimes with occupation and the abandonment of independence and sovereignty.”


“The Iraqi Governing Council...Becomes ‘Iraqi’ Only After The End Of The Occupation!”


Bater Wardam commented in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (8/12):  “The Arab League is correct in refusing to recognize the Iraqi Governing Council for one simple reason--that it was formed under the U.S. occupation. If this Council was formed without the presence of U.S. tanks, it would indeed have been the best political arrangement for Iraq.  But one cannot discuss procedures and details and forget the main principle--that this is a political arrangement based on an occupation, and hence, it should be rejected....  We wish the Iraqi Governing Council success in liberating Iraq from occupation and regaining stability in the country and establishing a new Iraqi state that all Iraqis deserve.  We welcome the Iraqi Governing Council amongst the Arabs once U.S. tanks leave Iraq.  But in the presence of those tanks, this Council will remain a political arrangement under occupation and will remain unacceptable to Arabs.”


“Arab Foreign Ministers:  Thank You”


Musa Hawamdeh wrote in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (8/7):  “The Arab Foreign Ministers decision to reject participation with the American forces in the occupation of Iraq should be given its due attention, because it is such an important decision.  We must declare our respect to the Arab Foreign Ministers and the Arab League Secretary General for this decision....  After all that has happened in Iraq, it would not be in the interest of the Arabs to save the United States from its current dilemma and problems, namely the occupation of Iraq, dealing with the ferocious resistance, the spread of disease, the losses and the consequences.  What interest would be served if the Arab countries send troops to Iraq and be included under the American flag, unless they were American states only speaking the Arabic language?  We praise this courageous Arab decision.  We also fear that some Arabs may in the future backtrack from this decision and become involved in the swamp of the American occupier, who must now alone reap the fruits of what it had sown of killing, siege, intervention in other people’s affairs, and the false accusations of weapons of mass destruction possession.  The Arabs, as well, are not required to acknowledge the new governing council or any other organization brought forth by the Americans.  The best way out for the Americans is to announce their withdrawal, lift their hands off Iraq completely, refer the issue back to the United Nations and the Security Council, apologize to the Iraqi people, and leave them to exercise their right of determining their destiny without imposing anything American.”


KUWAIT:  “Arabs Are The Enemies Of Iraq”


Abdelamir Al-Turki wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (8/17):  “The role of the Gulf region has become vital after the collapse and the defeat of the Arab system at the hands of Israel and Iraq....  The recognition by the UN Security Council of the Interim Governing Council and the Arab League’s refusal to recognize it is clear proof that the old Arab system has died. Therefore, it is natural that the Gulf region detach itself from that vulnerable Arab system and take a leading role concerning Iraq by deciding to send Arab forces to maintain peace and security in Iraq.”


“Manufacturing Democracy”


Adnan Al-Kazemi declared in independent Al-Watan (8/17):  “I agree with what Dr. [Condoleeza] Rice...that the lack of freedom is the cause for the low gross national product of the Arab world and that this region needs to develop by granting more freedom and democracy.  However, I do not agree with her that terrorism is caused by shortage of various resources. It is rather due to the existence of Israel and U.S. support for it. The best assistance that the West can offer the Arabs is to not intervene in Arabs’ internal affairs and to keep their distance. They can only offer advice and technical assistance because Arabs need to solve their own problems.”



Saleh Al-Shayji declared independent Al-Anba (8/10):  “Arabs who objected to the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 are the same people who are objecting to sending Arab peace forces to maintain peace in Iraq. The Arab League, influenced by a group of assassins and supporters of Saddam, refused to recognize the Transitional Ruling Council in Iraq or to send Arab peacekeeping forces to Iraq. Iraqis should confront the Arab League because it does not deserve any respect.”


"Lucky Iraqis"


Saud Al-Samaka noted in independent Al-Qabas (8/9):  “Iraq and the Iraqi people are lucky that the Arab League refused to send Arab troops to Iraq. This will ensure that Iraq is not infected by Arab security methods which are based on stripping human dignity.”


"New Reality"


Abdelmohsen Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas (8/7):  “The formation of the Iraqi Transitional Ruling Council will prepare the Iraqis to deal with their new reality and eventually accept the outcome of any democratic elections.  Although it seems to be difficult for some Arab political regimes to understand this scenario...the Transitional Ruling Council is the best way to deal with the complicated reality that currently prevails in Iraq.” 


LEBANON:  “The Appearance Of Modern Islam”


Pro-Syria Al-Kifah Al-Arabi remarked (8/12):  “What if America goes too far and orders its believers to choose a religion other than Islam?....  Islam is getting a new framework and the U.S. is seeking to...cancel the ‘Wahhabi’ Sect.  Councils of Ulama are also studying the possibility of ‘trimming’ the concept of Al-Jihad and to give it new interpretation....  The Americans also want a number of Koranic verses and Prophetic talks to get new interpretations....  It seems that we are getting closer to modern Islam.  Thank you Washington.  You promised us democracy...and you promised us a kind of Islam which will never know us.”


“The Arabs, Iraq And America”


Sarkis Naoum observed in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (8/9):  “Observers who are following up on the Arab-American relations, particularly regarding the Iraqi Governing Council...believe that the Arabs who...were not against toppling Saddam in the first place...should have realized that a political interim entity which is related to the U.S. is needed in order to achieve the ultimate goal of letting the Iraqis govern themselves.  The Arab countries should also get involved in rebuilding Iraq if they really want to liberate Iraq from the American occupation....  What are the real reasons behind the Arab negative position on the Iraqi interim Governing Council?  Some believe that Arabs are not really relaxed about the fact that the U.S. is trying to implement a federal system in Iraq.  Arabs are concerned that a federal system may lead to the division of Iraq...Secondly, the Arabs do not want to give their blessings to the Iraqi Governing Council because they do not want to risk the wrath of their own people....  Does this mean that the Arab-U.S. relations will get worse?  Despite the fact that Arab reluctance to help the U.S. will make its work in Iraq more difficult, however, they are in a weak position and realize that America’s anger will de-stabilize the situation in many Arab countries.”


“The Principle Of Representation”


Samir Qassir contended in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (8/8):  “Appearances indicated that the Arab League does not want to recognize the Iraqi Governing Council.  They say that the circumstances surrounding the establishment of this Council does not guarantee total legitimacy....  Obviously, the circumstances they are referring to is the American occupation of Iraq....  But this does not mean that the Arab League is against the Americans or is planning to call the Iraqis for resistance.  As is known, the ambition of every member in the Arab League is to satisfy the United States.  Arabs cannot confront the U.S., but at the same time, do not want to recognize the Council.  So they play the game of the weak:  They do not recognize the Council, but make sure that they let the U.S. know that they are not against it.  However, the question is:  do the Iraqis have to pay the price for this game in addition to the price they have already paid?  It appears that Arab Governments believe that the Iraqis can take it and do not need to be given the chance to emerge from their crisis.”


UAE:   "A Good Choice"


Semi-official Abu Dhabi-based Arabic-language Al-Ittihad editorialized (8/17):  "The UAE is welcoming today a delegation of the Iraqi Governing Council chaired by Mr. Ibrahim Al Ja'afari, the Council's President....  This will definitely lead the Council to achieve the Iraqi people's expectations for stability and peace and the protection of its national sovereignty and unity....  We hope that this visit will be a good start for communication, deliberation, and thinking between the Iraqi people's representatives and their brothers in the Arab world.  This will lead to eliminating the veil that has been placed across their eyes."


"Support Of The Iraqi Governing Council"


Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab observed (8/17):  "Viewpoints might differ when it comes to the way the Governing Council was chosen...or when it comes to its responsibilities, authorities, and influence....  These are normal differences in such a situation....  But no one disagrees that the Council includes a number of national personalities who are well known with their roles in previous eras when Iraq needed a righteous voice in the face of a 'tyrannical sultan'....  The UAE's supportive attitude towards the transitional Council is a continuation of the path that the country has been pursuing in their well-balanced foreign policy."


"Arab League's Injustice"


Semi-official Abu Dhabi-based Arabic-language Al-Ittihad editorialized (8/12):  "The Arab League has been unfair to the Iraqi people twice:  Once when it was watching them burn and toss in the heat of years of war, grief, hunger, poverty, and suppression.  And once again, when it neglected them and abandoned them when they were trying to collect what was scattered, bandage their wounds, and redraw their own future....  We hope the Arab League is satisfied with its summer and winter hibernations and enjoys its constant laziness and sleepiness in order to gain the reward of the oppressor."




Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab held (8/10):  "Has Washington become the world's "monster," called to frighten and threaten regimes in order to accept any required changes?....  The U.S. does not have the solution, or else Iraq would be living in happiness, prosperity, and order.  Using America to frighten the world is a clear point that there is a policeman in the world that can provide assistance."




INDIA:  "Hi, This Is Uncle Sam" 


The centrist Indian Express contended (8/11):  "Most countries may be somewhat hesitant to commit their troops to its war in West Asia, but the Bush administration is clearly not lacking for conscripts. In the first wave of invasion they include singers Norah Jones, Sting and Lenny Kravitz. The Arab world's young, the US State Department reckons, are its future leaders and must be won over before they can be recruited to the armies of anti-Americanism. Accordingly, Dols. 4 million has been allocated toward a glossy monthly magazine, called Hi....  A coordinator at Foggy Bottom said it is a 'subtle' way of propagating American values. Subtle? Bludgeoning Arab youth with giant baseball bats and making them sing "Yankee Doodle" would be more subtle ... Perhaps Colin Powell's deputies are so engrossed in their current project to defeat anti-Americanism that they forget another project that's moved apace: so because they are inundated with information and cannot order it all into a coherent whole. So instead, of eschewing politics, perhaps Hi should engage the Arab world on the abundant fears and misconceptions that fuel anti-Americanism."


PAKISTAN:  "Arabs’ Upright Stand"


An editorial in the Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer read (8/7):  "The refusal to send troops to Iraq by the Arab countries is a realistic stand, as it would have amounted to consolidating U.S. occupation of the country.  In a way perhaps it’s an act of repentance on the part of some of the Arab countries, which had facilitated U.S. military attack on Iraq.  The deployment of Arab Forces in Iraq would obviously be tantamount to helping the U.S. to deprive Iraq of its sovereignty.  And there is obviously no reason for the Arabs to be a party to the consolidation of U.S. occupation of Iraq....  It’s, therefore, time for the Arab nations to stand united and build pressure on Washington to allow the Iraqi people have their own Government in order to ensure an early end to its occupation.  It’s hoped that the Arabs would be mindful of the implications of U.S. occupation of Iraq for the entire Middle East.  The fact is that Iraq’s occupation is a prelude to the usurpation of entire oil resources of the Muslim countries in the Middle East.  The Arabs must wake up to this reality and resist the U.S. ambitions with courage, determination and resolve for their survival with dignity and self-respect." 


"The Arab Snub"


The center-right national English-language Nation held (8/7):  "As the Arab League has ruled out sending troops to Iraq in response to a U.S. request, there seems little likelihood of the OIC or the GCC providing cover to an initiative by any Arab State preparing to 'play policeman' in that war-ravaged country....  Pakistan's position was clarified by General Musharraf at his Lahore briefing on Monday, that Pakistan would not send troops to Iraq as an 'extension of occupation.'  This makes sense because without a multilateral mandate, the only way to justify sending troops is a call for such help from the Iraqi people, which is not visible.  Not even Iraqi leaders presently cooperating with the occupation forces have made such a demand.  Sending troops seems an even worse idea for Pakistan than before."




CANADA:  "A League Of Self-deceit"


The nationalist Ottawa Citizen commented (8/8):  "Rather than face up to their own responsibilities for what has gone wrong, too many Arab leaders prefer to fault others--imperialism, globalization, Americans, Jews--for the repressiveness, poverty and despair that characterizes much of the Arab world....  [W]ith Saddam gone, would the Arab League refuse to recognize a body that is the most representative Iraq has ever known? Could it be because Arab leaders fear that a 'successful' Iraqi experiment in democracy will expose their own illegitimacy? If the United States transforms Iraq into even a modestly democratic, constitutionally ordered society, every Arab leader will face reformist pressures. It's as if the Arab League wants post-Saddam Iraq to fail in order to justify the continuance of their own authoritarian regimes....  In refusing to welcome Iraq's governing council, the Arab League has showed that many in the Arab elite continue to wander in the deserts of denial, maintaining their power and masking their failings by refusing to face the geo-political realities of today's Middle East."  


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