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[casi] News, 19-26/03/03 (11)

News, 19-26/03/03 (11)


*  Web logs offer up-close and uncensored views on the war
*  Al-Jazeera screens gruesome footage of battle casualties
*  Iraq displays dead and captured US soldiers
*  NYSE shows Al-Jazeera the door


20th-26th March


by Lee Dembart
International Herald Tribune, 24th March

PARIS: One of the major technological advances between the first Gulf War
and the current one has nothing to do with sophisticated weapons but a lot
to do with information: the World Wide Web. It allows anyone, anywhere to
post information, thoughts, pictures and opinions that can be viewed
instantaneously around the globe, and several reporters have established Web
logs on the war.

These experiments in personal journalism are the latest developments in the
gathering and dissemination of news that the Internet has sparked. Unlike
traditional media, they operate without layers of decision makers and
gatekeepers - editors - who select what readers and viewers will see and who
also provide quality control.

Most of the Web logs - or, simply, blogs - are coming from the war zone, so
they provide firsthand reporting and not just more opinions.

At their best, they provide a personal, low-level view of events that tends
not to be the focus of the major media.

On the war blogs, anyone can add comments, which further gives them a
personal tone that distinguishes them from newspapers, television and radio.
Nonetheless, a review of what has been posted in the past couple of weeks
shows relatively few screeds.

One of the war blogs is the work of Kevin Sites, a CNN reporter in northern
Iraq who had been posting observations and photographs from there at - and attracting a fair amount of comment from readers.
His photographs in particular show a very human side to life in Iraq.

Last Friday, Sites announced on the blog that CNN had told him to stop.

"I don't want to let you down," Sites told his readers. "I'm chronicling the
events of my war experiences, the same as I always have, and I hope to come
to agreement with CNN in the near future to make them available to you in
some shape or form, perhaps on this site." "Thanks for participating in this
remarkable forum," he wrote. "It's been a remarkable experience to be your
witness here."

In response to an inquiry, CNN issued a statement that said, "Covering a war
for CNN and its 35 international networks and services is a full-time job,
so we asked Kevin to concentrate only on that for the time being."

Sites did not respond to an e-mail request to discuss what had occurred or
its implications.

BBC reporters in the war zone have their own Web log under BBC auspices to
record "their impressions and personal experiences as they watch events
unfold," according to the site,$ 2866547.stm.

On Thursday night, Ryan Dilley reported from Kuwait: "There can be few
things as sickening as being woken from sleep by the banshee wail of a siren
threatening an incoming missile. The air raid warnings, which come long
after dark, seem all the more menacing. The all-clear comes only after
anxious minutes of imagined explosions."

Another American reporter's war blog is being run by Christopher Allbritton,
a free-lance writer who formerly worked for The Associated Press and The New
York Daily News. He is still in New York and is asking readers to contribute
money so that he can get to Iraq. In the meantime, he gathers news and links
on the war from many sources and posts them, with commentary, on his blog, He also provides many details of the equipment he is
gathering to take to the war.

Sometimes the absence of quality control shows. On Wednesday morning,
Allbritton posted an item under the headline, "Tariq Aziz reportedly shot
dead," that said: "Some conflicting reports here: Some rumors (from Al
Jazeera) report that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz has fled to
Turkey and defected. (No links yet that I can find. Source is U.S. Army.)
But another report on Al Bawaba reports that he was caught trying to enter
Iraqi Kurdistan and shot dead."

Three hours later, another item went up: "Aziz not dead," the headline said.
"Rumors unfounded."

Allbritton explained: "CNN and other media are reporting that Aziz has held
a press conference saying he has not defected. And if he's holding press
conference, it's doubtful he's dead."

Also, is a war blog run by an Iraqi in Baghdad who
calls himself Salam Pax. On Thursday morning he reported on the city after
the first night's bombing:

"Today in the morning I went with my father for a ride around Baghdad and
there was nothing different from yesterday. There is no curfew and cars can
be seen speeding to places here and there. Shops are closed. Only some
bakeries are open and of course the Ba'ath Party Centers. There are more
Ba'ath people in the streets and they have more weapons. No army in the
streets. We obviously still have electricity, phones are still working and
we got to phone calls from abroad so the international lines are still
working. Water is still running."

On Friday he reported: "On BBC we are watching scenes of Iraqis
surrendering. My youngest cousin was muttering 'what shame' to himself, yes
it is better for them to do that but still seeing them carrying that white
flag makes something deep inside you cringe.",3604,920703,00.html

by Brian Whitaker
The Guardian, 24th March

Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite channel which angered the United States with
its coverage of the Afghan war, has caused a new furore by broadcasting
blood-and-guts images from the invasion of Iraq.

Millions of viewers throughout the Middle East saw pictures of Iraqi and
American victims at the weekend which many western news organisations would
consider too shocking to publish.

One showed the head of a child, aged about 12, that had been split apart,
reportedly in the assault on Basra. Others came from northern Iraq, where US
missiles were fired at the Kurdish Islamist Ansar al-Islam organisation.

Yesterday al-Jazeera relayed footage of Iraqi television's interviews with
five captured US soldiers, which the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld,
denounced as a breach of the Geneva conventions. But the channel was

"Look who's talking about international law and regulations," its spokesman,
Jihad Ballout, said. "We didn't make the pictures - the pictures are there.
It's a facet of the war. Our duty is to show the war from all angles."

During the 1991 Gulf war the Middle East relied on CNN and other western
broadcasters for breaking news. But since its launch in 1996 al-Jazeera's
coverage has made it the most watched Arab channel. It made its name in the
west during the war in Afghanistan and seems about to repeat the

Al-Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, which is cooperating with
the US in the invasion of Iraq, but its staff insist it has full editorial

The station, whose main studio in the Qatari capital Doha is a few minutes'
drive from General Tommy Franks's Centcom headquarters, was accused of
irresponsibility during the Afghan war for broadcasting taped messages from
Osama bin Laden. But as the only television station with a permanent base in
Kabul it became the source of exclusive footage that other channels were
eager to buy.

The Kabul office was destroyed by US "smart" bombs two hours before the
Northern Alliance took over the city, and many suspect it was no accident.

In Iraq al-Jazeera is taking no chances: it has supplied the US with the
geographical coordinates of its Baghdad office and the code of its signal to
the satellite transponder.

It has seven reporters and a back-up team of 20 working independently in
Iraq, plus others "embedded" with the US and British forces.

Before the war its executives predicted that their team would have an
advantage over western journalists because of their familiarity with Iraq
and fluency in Arabic.

Yesterday it broadcast a long interview with an Iraqi general in Basra
denying that coalition forces had taken the city, and filmed the search in
Baghdad for two western pilots who had allegedly baled out over the city.

"Our success is a factor of our people's networking in Iraq, and their
ability to anticipate events through contacts on the ground," Mr Ballout

To some this simply turns the channel into a mouthpiece for Iraqi
propaganda. Yesterday's pictures of US corpses could affect morale -
reviving the "body bag syndrome" that was a big factor in Vietnam - and
images of Iraqi victims may fuel anti-war protests.

New Zealand Herald, 24th March

BAGHDAD (Reuters): Iraq has displayed five shaken US soldiers apparently
captured in a battle near the southern city of Nassiriya and some bloodied
bodies, in what US officials called a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Iraqi television filmed the bodies and prisoners, saying they fell into
Iraqi hands during a battle at the town of Souq al-Shuyukh, southeast of
Nassiriya where US forces have encountered stiff resistance.

The video showed two rooms each containing what appeared to be two separate
groups of four bodies in uniform, at least two with wounds to the head and
some lying in pools of blood.

The film then showed interviews with five separate captured soldiers, two of
whom appeared to be injured -- one a woman, the other a man lying on a rug
on the floor.

They were the first US prisoners known to have been taken by Iraq since
US-led forces invaded four days ago to overthrow President Saddam Hussein.
The prisoners gave their names and home towns and one provided his military
identification number.

Lieutenant General John Abizaid, second in command of the US invasion force,
later said 12 US soldiers were missing.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the video was a violation of the
Geneva Convention but added that the capture of Americans would not alter US
war plans, saying display of such footage was "obviously part of Iraqi

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) agreed the footage
violated the convention, which says that prisoners of war must be protected
"against insult and public curiosity", and said it would seek permission to
visit the captives.

Television footage of Iraqis surrendering to US and British forces, and
still photographs of Iraqi prisoners, some showing the captives in
humiliating positions, won wide play in the US media on Sunday.

Iraq's Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed said Iraq would respect the
Geneva Convention in its treatment of prisoners.

"Iraq will not harm the captured prisoners of war," he said.

The bodies, mostly still fully clothed but some with their shirts pulled up,
were shown strewn on the floor in pools of blood. In the first room, at
least two had wounds to the head and another had a groin wound. In another
room, a smiling Iraqi uncovered more bodies, some with blackened faces.

The first prisoner shown, a nervous soldier in glasses, gave his name as
Miller and said he was from Kansas.

Asked why he had come to Iraq he replied: "Because I was told to come here.
I was just under orders. I was told to shoot -- only if I'm shot at. I don't
want to kill anybody."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a US defence official said the missing
US personnel were probably members of a maintenance unit that was operating
in southern Iraq.

Two of the prisoners shown by Iraqi television said they were from the 507th
Maintenance Company.

The 507th Corps Support Group provides supplies, equipment, repairs and
maintenance and would usually provide support as far forward as possible to
the 82nd Airborne Division, the 3rd Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne

US officers said Marines battling Iraqi guerrillas for Nassiriya, on the
Euphrates river about 375 km southeast of Baghdad, had taken "significant"
casualties in a fight to open a route north to the Iraqi capital.

The second prisoner shown, who gave his name as Joseph Hudson, said he came
from El Paso, Texas.

Asked why he had come to Iraq, he said: "I follow orders".

He was asked repeatedly whether he was greeted by guns or flowers by Iraqis,
but appeared not to understand the question.

A third man who appeared to have a broken arm, was lying on a red patterned
rug, but was pulled into a sitting position to answer questions. He gave his
name as Edgar from Texas and said only that he had entered Iraq from Kuwait.

A fourth prisoner gave his name as Sergeant James Riley from New Jersey and
said he was 31 years old. He appeared to be in shock, turning his head from
side to side.

The fifth, a woman who gave her name as Shawna, said she was 30 and had a
bandaged ankle.

Appearing on CBS television, Rumsfeld was shown the footage, which was
relayed around the world by the Arabic network Al-Jazeera, and said it
violated the Geneva Convention, which he said prohibited the photographing
or interrogation by media of those captured in battle.

Rumsfeld later criticised networks for airing such footage.

Noting that the United States now had in custody more than 2000 Iraqis, he
called on Baghdad to abide by international law and treat US captives "just
as we treat Iraqi prisoners according to the Geneva Convention".

Globe and Mail, 25th March

When Ammar Al-Sankari arrived at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday
morning to do his daily business report for the Al-Jazeera television
network, he was ushered into a room and told to hand over his press badge.

Mr. Al-Sankari had been doing reports from the NYSE on a freelance basis for
Al-Jazeera since 1999 and had never received any complaints.

"They told me, 'We are cutting back on broadcasting so you need to give us
your badge and there won't be any more reporting for Al-Jazeera from the
exchange,'" Mr. Al-Sankari said Tuesday in an interview from New York where
he runs a financial news Web site. His colleague, Ramsey Shiber, another
Al-Jazeera freelancer, was also told to hand over his credentials.

Mr. Al-Sankari, the only Arab-language broadcaster at the NYSE, said he was
stunned. For years, NYSE officials had told him how much they welcomed his
coverage because it reached a huge untapped group of investors.

But that all changed last weekend when Al-Jazeera, a satellite news service
based in Qatar, began broadcasting pictures of dead and captured American
soldiers in Iraq.

The exchange's official position Tuesday was that Al-Jazeera's credentials
had been revoked as part of a reorganization of media positions, even though
it was the only media outlet dropped.

"We've focused primarily on those [broadcasters] who investors look to for
business and financial news and unfortunately at this point that means we
can't accommodate Al Jazeera," said Ray Pellecchia, an exchange spokesman.
"Over time we have had to limit the number of [reporters] broadcasting from
here because of security precautions."

Privately, an exchange official said the real reason was Al-Jazeera's
coverage of the Iraq war. "A factor in our consideration was Al-Jazeera's
carrying of images of captured or downed allied troops," said the official
who asked not to be identified.

Mr. Al-Sankari said the NYSE's actions left him more sad than angry.

"I enjoy the freedom and freedom of speech and all of the things that this
country provides," he said, adding that he is a landed immigrant from

"To hear that, it's just one more thing that we are not happy about as Arab
Americans. I wonder who made this decision. It's just not very smart."

Mr. Al-Sankari said his NYSE reports for Al-Jazeera consisted of one
two-minute segment every morning. "We strictly report what happens in the
stock market that day. We don't talk politics."

Al-Jazeera said Tuesday that it regretted the NYSE's decision and defended
its reporting from Iraq. "In its coverage of the war in Iraq, Al-Jazeera has
broadcast footage of both Iraqi and U.S. casualties," the station said in a
statement issued from its Washington bureau. "We urge the NYSE to reconsider
its decision in the interests of upholding the values of the United States
of America. We also sympathize deeply with the families of all victims of

Seven-year-old Al-Jazeera has become a powerful media force and reaches
approximately 40 million people, mainly in the Middle East. The station,
financed by Qatar's ruling family, has become an influential source of news
and has caught the attention of politicians in Washington. The U.S. military
offered the news service choice "embedded" positions with U.S. troops and
assigned it special media relations officers. But the station's recent
showing of captured U.S. soldiers and its perceived anti-American reporting
have been criticized by many Americans.

Bob Steele, a director of the Florida-based Poynter Institute for Media
Studies, said the NYSE's decision sets a dangerous precedent.

"It says that journalists can be expelled or banned from coverage of
important venues because of what their news organizations are broadcasting
or publishing," Mr. Steele said Tuesday.

"I understand their position in arguing that they are a private operation,"
he added. "But it still says that they can determine on a particular day
that they don't like Al-Jazeera. Tomorrow they may not like The New York
Times or The Globe and Mail. If they in some way are punishing particular
journalists for their coverage, that is obviously a real challenge to
freedom of the press."

The NYSE's move wasn't the only problem facing Al-Jazeera Tuesday. The news
service said hackers attacked its English language Web site making it
unavailable. The Web site began operating Monday. Ayman Arrashid, Internet
system administrator at the Horizons Media and Information Services, the
site's Web host, said the attack began Tuesday morning.

Another Web site,, said it was shut down briefly on Sunday
after showing pictures of captured American soldiers.

Erich Marquadt, editor of YellowTimes, told Reuters that the Orlando,
Fla.-based Web hosting company Vortech Inc. had first grounded the site on
Sunday night after he posted six photos of American POWs plucked from news
footage first aired by Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Mr. Marquadt said Vortech cited viewer complaints and argued that the images
constituted a breach of the company's usage agreements. "They said we
violated the adult content clause," he said. Vortech was unavailable for

by Nicole Maestri
Reuters, 26th March

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Arabic-language television network al Jazeera, banned
this week from airing live market reports from the floor of the New York
Stock Exchange, has also been turned down by the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc.

Al Jazeera asked Nasdaq on Tuesday for permission to broadcast live reports
from its building in Times Square, Nasdaq spokeswoman Silvia Davi said, but
the request was denied. She would not expand on why the Nasdaq refused.

The NYSE this week revoked credentials that allowed two al Jazeera reporters
to broadcast from its fabled trading floor on Wall Street, saying its
credentials were for networks that provided "responsible" coverage.

Some in the news business said the ban violated freedom of the press and set
a bad precedent. "This is ridiculous," said Jeffrey Chester, executive
director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a media watchdog group in
Washington, D.C. "Clearly, it is a violation of press freedom."

Al Jazeera has been criticized in the United States for broadcasting Iraqi
television footage of U.S. prisoners of war and Iraqi casualties.

Al Jazeera had been reporting from the NYSE for four or five years, said
NYSE spokesman Ray Pellecchia. He said the NYSE has a finite number of
broadcast slots available, and wants to give priority to networks that
"investors look to find out what's going on in the market."

Of the 25 or so networks that broadcast from the NYSE trading floor, al
Jazeera is the only network to lose its credentials.

Al Jazeera said on Tuesday it regretted the NYSE decision.

"We urge the NYSE to reconsider its decision in the interest of upholding
the values of the United States of America," the network said in a

The NYSE is not reconsidering, Pellecchia said on Wednesday. Al Jazeera
could not immediately be reached for further comment.


*  Arab Press Review
by Daniel Kimmage
Radio Free Europe, 20th March

Jordan's "Al-Dustour": Basim Sakajha fears that war may well begin by the
time his words make their way to readers, and wonders how that war will end.

"We write without knowing whether people will read this while they watch
missiles rain down on Iraq and tanks tear into its soil, or whether this
spectacle will be delayed by a few hours. We write this on local time, but
the world around us lives on the Eastern Standard Time of North America. The
whole world can change in the seven hours' difference between us.

"The world, and all of us as well, can only remain glued to the television
screen, following the military operation American-style -- with missiles
striking targets accurately, tanks easily occupying ground, and, of course,
organized scenes of joy at the entrance of the invading forces, fabricated
demonstrations tearing apart pictures of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein,
destroying his statues. We will have to watch all of this. It is an
important part of the psychological battle that began almost an entire year

We write this without knowing whether the morning will bring with it the
beginning of war. But as we write, we know in advance how it will start,
just as the Americans do. Yet no one knows how it will develop in the next
week, or how Washington will win the peace at the end of the struggle,
especially if the war drags on, if resistance sets in, if the victims run
into the tens, or hundreds, of thousands...."

Britain's "Al-Hayat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Columnist Abd al-Wahhab Badr
Khan claims that the United States is following Israel's example in its war
on Iraq.

"America will begin its program of preemptive war with Iraq. In the future,
no one will be able to prevent it from targeting any other country merely
because it fails to follow American dictates. Future wars will not
necessarily follow the same plan. Yet the war against Iraq, with its
calamities, destruction, and victims, will be instructive. This may be the
first war of its kind, but it surely copies, on a greater scale, what the
Israelis did a year ago when they reoccupied the Palestinian territories.
The style, pretext, and results are the same. The destruction, claim of
combating terrorism, and occupation are the same. The only difference is
that now the world's only superpower is the occupying country."

Britain's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Columnist Khalid
al-Qashtini writes that the Iraqi regime will end in a bitter farce.

"Several days ago, a group of suicide attackers paraded down the street [in
Baghdad] with explosive belts worn above clean, white clothes. Suicide
attackers are supposed to hide their belts under their shirts, but in
Baghdad they show them to the enemy. When the war becomes a reality, this
suicide division will be the first act in the comedy. The authorities will
not be able to find one of them who is ready to sacrifice his life for the
"victorious" leader. The first act in the comedy will come when battle
begins and the troops raise white handkerchiefs instead of rifles. The
second act will come when Iraqi cities rise up against those who have
tormented them for years. The third act will come when the masses come out
to shower American and English soldiers with roses and sweet basil. The
curtain of liberation will fall. I remember reports on the war in Kuwait.
The announcer said that the Americans came with 8,000 body bags. I said to
my friends, "The Americans are naive and wasteful. They won't need those
bags. No one will fight them." My prediction soon came true. And my latest
prediction will soon come true as well."

Britain's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): The editors attempt
to identify what is clear, and what remains unclear, about the war.

"The clarity of the United States' determination to wage war on Iraq is
matched by the fog that has enveloped the region and its concerns. It is
clear that there will be a war, but unclear what sort of war it will be and
how far it will go. It is clear that the target is Baghdad and the
leadership of the Iraqi regime, but unclear how many victims there will be
and how much destruction. It is clear that the aim is military domination
and occupation, but unclear what kind of regime will emerge and how it will
rule the country and its citizens. It is clear that the theater of war is
Iraq, but unclear where postwar policy will unfold and how many countries it
will encompass. It is clear that Israel will not participate in the war, but
unclear whether it will take part in collecting and distributing the spoils
of war."

Egypt's "Al-Gomhuria": Samir Rajab looks ahead to what might follow an
American victory in Iraq.

"Let us be honest with ourselves and admit that America is now the sole,
unrivaled great power and that it will retain this status for a long time to
come. It will score a decisive victory in its battle against Iraq.

"Yet the positive and negative aspects of the stage to follow will depend on
Washington's goodwill and conduct, and whether it keeps the promises it has
made -- to establish a democratic government in Iraq that provides for
greater popular participation, to refrain from plundering Iraq's natural
wealth, namely its oil. The situation could stabilize and chaos could be
kept to a minimum, especially if Washington moves quickly to establish a
Palestinian state in the Middle East.

"But if greed prevents Washington from keeping its promises, equilibrium
will be lost and chaos will ensue. Acts of violence and reprisal will shake
many regions of the planet."

Syria's "Tishreen": The editors predict that U.S. President George W. Bush
will be called to account for a war on Iraq.

"President Bush's administration is directly responsible for the blood of
each child killed in Iraq, for the blood of each man and woman killed by
American missiles and bombs. History records, and it does not forgive. The
peoples of the world do not merely observe. They also call to account.
[British Prime Minister] Tony Blair, America's closest ally in this unjust
war, has begun to pay the price to his people, his ministers, and the
members of his parliament.

"The bill is certainly steep -- morally, humanly, historically. The
triumvirate of this American war will pay the price to their people sooner
or later. At stake are the lives of millions, and the future of a country
with a 5,000-year history that has originated five cultures and once formed
the sovereign center of the world."

*  Arab Press Review
by Daniel Kimmage
Radio Free Europe, 21st March

Britain's "Al-Quds al-Arabi" (pan-Arab, Palestinian expatriate): The editors
denounce the war and the Arab inaction that abets it.

"The American massacre began last night in Baghdad, Mosul, Nasiriyah, and
most other Iraqi cities. Smoke and tongues of flame rose from residential
neighborhoods. The news was of thousands burned to death or crushed beneath
the rubble. American weapons of mass destruction are pounding Iraq's
children and destroying its infrastructure in a genocidal war with no
historical precedent.

"Shame on the Arab nation that stands watching this crime. Shame on the
nation that stands by and watches as steadfast Baghdad is burned and

"Shame on the Arab leaders who are content to blame the Iraqi regime and
hold it responsible for what has happened. It listened to their advice, did
their bidding, and cooperated with inspectors and the resolutions of the
United Nations.

"No words can describe how the Arabs have betrayed this fraternal country
and its people. Nor can they describe the destructive American hate for this
nation. Pictures speak louder than words, yet their eloquence has brought no
blush of shame to the faces of Arab leaders."

Britain's "Al-Quds al-Arabi" (pan-Arab, Palestinian expatriate): Abd al-Bari
Atwan condemns the war and foresees bitter resistance.

"To write in the language of analysis and reason becomes a form of
collaboration as fires blaze in Baghdad's buildings and mosques,
incinerating its innocent inhabitants, its children. It is a sin no less
than the sin of masking this aggression by laying blame on the Iraqi
leadership. It is a flight from the moral responsibility of standing at the
side of a fraternal country that faces the greatest massacres in history.

"Iraq will become a base for resistance, as was the case in Afghanistan and
Beirut. The resistance to come will be a greater danger to the west and the
United States than Al-Qaeda and the ruling Ba'ath regime."

Britain's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Samir Atallah writes
that the war is Saddam Hussein's attempt to engineer his own exit into

"The Iraqi president, who took refuge in poetry and a bunker to avoid
America's avowed pursuit of the entire Iraqi leadership, knows that this is
a war in which heads will roll. He knows that never before has a country
announced that it is bombing with the aim of assassinating a specific
person. This is why he has decided to enter history. This is the final stop
in his long, hard journey into the world of politics, leadership, and

Britain's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): The editors predict
that the changes to come after the war in Iraq will affect the very fabric
of Arab and Islamic societies.

"The world changed after the attacks of 11 September. It would hardly be an
exaggeration to say that, even by the standards of the post-11 September
world, the world that emerges after the war in Iraq will be different.
International relations, with their alliances and oppositions, are only one
part of this. Many expect that the world to come will also differ in the
fabric of internal relations within many societies, and primary among them
Arab and Islamic societies."

Egypt's "Al-Ahram": The editors hope against hope that the United States
will "listen to reason" and give international inspectors a final chance to
effect a peaceful resolution.

"Each passing day brings to light new details of the United States' secret
agenda and the extent of the tragedy that the world will suffer because of
the decision to opt for a military solution. Everyone will pay the price --
the international community, the American people, the United Nations, and,
of course, the Iraqi people.

"The international community needs to take effective, concerted action, and
the Arab world must be at the forefront of these forces. They must seize the
initiative to save the region from this destructive war and to preserve the
consciousness and understanding that can eliminate the potential fallout
from this catastrophic war.

"Everyone hopes that the United States will listen to the voice of the
world's conscience, which rejects war, and to the voice of reason, which
calls for peace. These voices stress the need to give international
inspectors a full opportunity to complete their task in Iraq for the sake of
peace and stability for everyone, not only the Iraqi people.

"This hope is neither difficult nor impossible. The roar of cannons in many
an armed conflict has been silenced when courageous wisdom triumphed over
mad rage."

The United Arab Emirates' "Al-Bayan": The editors mourn the eclipse of the
United Nations and lament a dark day in Arab history.

"The danger of American aggression against fraternal Iraq is that there is
no longer any respect for international law. America told the world
yesterday that it has renounced all international customs and accords. It
holds the world under its fist and will do with it what it wishes. We do not
exaggerate when we say that what America did yesterday was to put an
exclusively American seal on the death certificate of the United Nations.

"American military aggression is destroying the system of international
security, not threatening it. No one will stop America. Even the voices of
the masses all over the world carry no weight in the White House.

"The world is dismayed at what America has done. Yesterday was a sad day for
all Arabs, yet another dark day in our history. We stood by powerless and
resigned, as though we approve of what is happening."

Britain's "Al-Hayat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Walid Shuqayr describes the
uniqueness of the American endeavor in Iraq, and the mistakes that may
undermine it.

"It does not matter whether it takes days or weeks -- George W. Bush will
become the first American president of an Arab country....

"...For the first time in history, or at least since the end of the wars of
independence, one country will put an end to another country's independence
70 years after it gained that independence.

"For the first time since the Second World War, the United States will
undertake the full scale, long-term occupation of another country.

"For the first time in history, the United States will undertake an
occupation in the Arab world. Even Israel (although it is not a state, since
it arose through theft and colonization) never occupied the entire territory
of an Arab country.

"The tremendous capabilities of 'first time' weaponry will validate many of
America's plans, first among them George Bush's 'presidency' in Iraq.

"Just as some of America's calculations are correct -- first among them that
Iraqi President Saddam is hated by his people, who have suffered so much at
his hands -- experience shows that Washington was often mistaken as it
prepared for war. It didn't expect that France, Russia, Germany, and China,
as well as the small African, Latin [American], and Asian would act as they
did. It didn't expect that millions of people would take to the streets in
America itself. It was wrong in its evaluation of the Iraqi opposition, its
reading of the internal situation in Iraq, and its influence there. And
there might be other mistakes in the future...."

Britain's "Al-Hayat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Raghida Dargham warns that
success in Iraq could encourage dangerous illusions in Washington.

"Iraq might be better off in American hands than under Saddam Hussein's
despotic regime and the Security Council sanctions that have broken the back
of ordinary Iraqis and torn apart the social fabric of Iraq. Theoretically,
the American occupation could succeed in moving Iraq to a new threshold of
vitality and democracy, making it a model to be emulated in the region. In
reality, however, we need to scrutinize the organizations that will dominate
Iraq and reshape it. We need to know what their aims and goals are both in
Iraq and in the Middle East.

"The war could be short. It might not cause many civilian casualties. Iraqis
might leave their homes to greet the American forces of 'liberation.' But if
this happens, it will only increase the intoxicating delusions that afflict
the group of extremists in Washington, making them more frightening and

*  Arab Press Review
by Daniel Kimmage
Radio Free Europe, 22nd March

Britain's "Al-Hayat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Dawud al-Shiryan warns that a
lengthy campaign in Iraq could present a danger to regional stability.

"The cautious beginning of the American campaign indicates that it will be
lengthy. Despite the seemingly slow pursuit of military objectives, coming
days will witness a tragic escalation as American and British forces draw
near Iraqi cities. The intensive aerial bombardment will begin, paving the
way for an entrance into those cities and the siege of Baghdad. Unless
Washington succeeds in eliminating Saddam, this will not be an easy task....

"...The extension of the war's time frame is an attempt to avoid increased
civilian casualties. It helps Washington's image and furthers its goals in
this war. It is harmful, however, in terms of growing anger in the region
and changes in the positions of those countries that are going along with
the American campaign in hopes of a short, clean war. This hope, it seems,
has virtually no chance."

Syria's "Tishreen": The editors assert that the U.S. campaign against Iraq
furthers Zionists ambitions.

"The American aggression against Iraq has begun. The United States has
embarked on a policy of challenging international laws and systems, plunging
the entire world into chaos and undermining the false democratic slogans
that Washington is so quick to market. The United States is fighting a war
of premeditated murder to eliminate a people and a country. It is using the
most powerful and destructive missiles and bombs in the genocidal arsenal of
the American war machine.

"As everyone has realized, the war against Iraq is equal parts American and
Israeli. Without a doubt, Zionists were the warmongers. When [Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel] Sharon urges [U.S. George W.] Bush to keep on and states
that "Israel" wants the destruction of Iraq, he is indicating where he wants
this war to go. For [Sharon], the war creates conditions conducive to the
completion of his Zionist plan in Palestine and the rest of the occupied
Arab territories even as the United States redraws the map to match its
interests and those of Israel, its strategic partner."

Egypt's "Al-Hayat": The editors see a connection between the resolution of
potential refugee crises and the chances for a successfully rebuilt Iraq.

"A refugee problem might be one of the first consequences of this war.
According to available information, the United Nations expects that
approximately 2 million people will leave their homes because of the war.
The world body will begin a campaign to collect $1.5 billion to spend on the

"Resolving the refugee problem by returning them to the cities and villages
they have fled will be an indispensable part of rebuilding Iraq, restoring
its infrastructure, and stabilizing the political and economic situation."

Kuwait's "Al-Ray al-Aam": Kuwaiti writer Nabil al-Fadl believes that
Kuwaitis have a right to a certain amount of schadenfreude at the fall of
the Ba'ath regime and the destruction of its symbols.

"We have a right to gloat as we watch the beginning of the end -- the
collapse of the Ba'ath Party, the end of Baghdad's oppression and crimes,
the destruction of its key figures. We will gloat as we watch the Iraqis
hang [Revolutionary Command Council Vice Chairman] Izzat Ibrahim by his vile
mustache from the highest lamppost in Baghdad.

"What a joy it will be when they collect all the portraits and miserable
murals of Saddam Hussein from the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.
The Iraqi people can then put the corpse of 'Abu Uday' [Uday's father] atop
this ash heap of history, light a match, and set the filthy pile on fire."

Algeria's "Liberte" (Francophone): Chekri Sa'id writes that a successful
conclusion to the war in Iraq should not be allowed to obscure the damage
that has already been done to the international system.

"Let us not forget that the declared motivation for this campaign was, and
is, to rid Baghdad of Saddam the tyrant, liberate the Iraqi people from the
dictatorship that has oppressed them for a quarter of a century, and seize
the weapons of mass destruction that make Iraq a threat to the world's
security. If, on the day after the war ends, these noble aims have been
achieved, the world, and the Iraqis more than anyone else, will be tempted
to forget the methods the Americans and British employed. Bush and [British
Prime Minister Tony] Blair will be able to rejoice at having resisted
widespread disapproval to lead what became an operation of international
healing. Yet it will have stripped the United Nations of all pretence --
incapable of preventing war, powerless to enforce international disarmament
conventions without war. This will discredit the UN and work to shift
legitimacy from that organization to military and economic powers. It is
here that the war threatens to create a grave precedent."

Morocco's "Al-Sabah": In a caustically satirical letter to U.S. President
Bush, Rashid Nini ponders the fate of the Arab world. Although the letter
never mentions Iraq, it opens by changing the common greeting "al-salam
alaykum" (peace be upon you) to "al-harb alaykum" (war be upon you).

"We hate you even as we dream of immigrating. We think of how to destroy you
even as we scheme to get a green card. We get our salaries in our worthless
national currencies even as we imagine them in dollars.

"Forgive us, Mr. George. Forgive us, sir, our misfortune, our long-winded
leaders in the Arab League. They are old and their memory is playing tricks
on them. They no longer remember how you protected them from more than one
coup, how many popular revolutions against them you put down, how you
created the conditions for them to implement the far-sighted policies that
have led us to this vast Arab swamp.

"Don't be angry, sir, at our writers, who hurl their daily columns in your
face and attack your policies. Most of them are charlatans who sell their
articles behind our backs and get paid in dollars. Don't turn away from us.
We don't know what we'd do with ourselves without you. You are the
lighthouse that guides our ships in this black Arab night."

*  Arab Press Review
by Daniel Kimmage
Radio Free Europe, 23rd March

Lebanon's "Al-Nahar": Ghassan Tueni praises antiwar world leaders, and calls
for a summit of intellectuals to advance the cause of freedom in the Arab

"Hundreds of statues of [French President Jacques] Chirac and [Russian
President Vladimir] Putin should go up in the streets of Washington and New
York and London before Paris and Moscow,... and hundreds of shrines to the
saintly pope, for they tried to save America from its predicament. They
tried to save the entire world, including our Arab world -- our poor Arab
world -- from this historic tragedy, and to save Iraq (the Iraq of the
people and of history, not the Iraq of Saddam Hussein and his mad regime)
from the furnace of sulfur and oil that is consuming it before our eyes,
hour after hour.

"We need a summit. The summit that should be held would gather all Arab
intellectuals who dared to sign manifestos and statements demanding
democracy, human growth, and freedom...from Rabat to Damascus, Yemen,
Lebanon. They realize that the 'hour of truth' we face is not the hour of
truth that [U.S. President George W.] Bush's imperial arrogance has
declared. These intellectuals will not limit themselves to demanding freedom
from their overlords. They will practice it, with heroic courage, in fact
and in action, whatever the price."

Saudi Arabia's "Okaz": Abdallah Abu al-Samh blames Iraqi President Hussein
for failing to listen to the voice of reason.

"President Saddam [Hussein] has wasted a thousand and one opportunities to
restore and reform what has been broken, to make amends for the crime of
invading Kuwait and the shame of the mother of all defeats. In the 10 years
after that defeat, after his misjudgment and misrule were clear even to the
blind, he could have sought peace. He could have listened to the voice of
reason and conscience. He could have changed the way he rules the country.
He could have adopted a new philosophy, one founded on peace, growth, [and]
good relations with his neighbors and the world....

"...If Saddam had listened to the voice of reason, the Arab peoples would
not have endured these woes. Instead, he has subjected all of us to this
ordeal. We can only pray for God to spare our country its evils and make
Saddam its only victim...."

Britain's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat": Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid asks whether the
Americans realize the dangers of the situation they have created.

"The Americans are entirely responsible, legally and morally, for protecting
Iraq from division and violation. Iraq today, and in coming weeks and
months, will be a bit of enticing prey for the region's ravens circling
above it.

"Voices, especially in the Arab world, have gone hoarse explaining to the
Americans that their rejection of war is not a defense of Saddam Hussein's
regime, the most hated regime in the region. They did not reject the idea of
removing him, but feared that a war against him would turn into a war of
open fronts that the world would not be able to control. The Americans have
an inexplicable faith in their ability to contain the crisis and control the

"The possibility of intervention raises many questions. Will the United
States be able to contain Turkey, which the Iraqis believe has designs on
their northern oil for its energy needs? Will they be able to prevent
Kurdish-Turkish clashes? The Turks feel that the Kurds want to establish a
state that will threaten the unity of their country, and they will resist it
with all their might. Will American power be able to prevent the expected
Iraqi infiltration into Iran? Will they be able to prevent Iran's certain
infiltrations into Iraq? Will they be able to stop revolutionary groups like
Ansar al-Islam, and will they be able to prevent civil wars and internal

*  Arab Press Review
by Daniel Kimmage
Radio Free Europe, 24th March

Qatar's "Al-Sharq": The editors compare the pictures of American POW's with
images from the Vietnam War and predict that a long war filled with such
surprises awaits U.S. and British forces.

"Yesterday evening, Arab satellite networks showed pictures of American
solders in Iraqi captivity. We hope that American television stations dared
to introduce them to American public opinion. Together with the pictures of
American and British troops killed in combat with the Iraqi Army around
Al-Nasiriyah in southern Iraq, they bring to mind the images transmitted by
the media during the Vietnam War in the 1970s that were so influential in
turning American public opinion against the war against that Asian country.

"The Bush administration has done great harm to the moral and human
standards in which the American people believe, at the same time damaging
that people's interests, reputation, and ties with the Arab and Islamic
world. We do not believe that this administration will be able to conceal
the truth of the image that television channels showed -- American prisoners
of war and the bodies of those killed in combat. With slogans of combating
terrorism, the administration thrust the army into the furnace of a war to
annihilate the Iraqi people. Will this administration be able to conceal the
coffins of more American dead? What will it say to American families?

"It does not seem as though the Anglo-American war against Iraq will end in
days, or weeks, or even months. More surprises lie ahead for the invading

Britain's "Al-Hayat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Salama Ni'mat muses that Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein must be delighted at America's current isolation,
and sees a link between the current crisis and the plight of the

"The Iraqi leader, if he is still alive, must be overjoyed at what he surely
considers his most important achievement: pitting America against the world,
even if this was the last thing that he did before exiting, or being driven
off, the stage.

"How are we to heal the despair that leads to extremism? By America's
'Israelizing' its government through an ideology of preemptive strikes as
pioneered by Israel? What if America were to work to end the Israeli
occupation that has led to extremism and the vortex of violence in the
Middle East?

"Can one heal the despair in the Middle East by closing ranks and
suppressing freedoms? Or with openness, diversity, and the release of
creative forces in society?

"Israel might not be solely responsible for the curse that has pursued the
Middle East since the mid-20th century, but it, and its allies in
perpetuating injustice, bear the bulk of the responsibility for the
catastrophe in Palestine, which preceded the catastrophe in New York. We are
now experiencing the consequences of that disaster, and we will continue to
experience them in Iraq, and in what comes after."

Britain's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): The editors forecast
a difficult war.

"If events follow the pattern set by the first four days of the
American-British war against Iraq, the war will not be easy. Units of the
Iraqi Army have up to now exhibited some resistance and cohesion, repelling
attacks, and then re-forming to fight and defend their gains. In the clashes
we have seen, Iraqis have been killed and wounded just as the attacking
forces have been killed and wounded, even if the losses have been
asymmetrical. The mere fact of these losses means something, especially
after the Americans spoke so much of a quick war and of weapons that would
paralyze Iraqi forces without causing civilian casualties.

"It is noteworthy that those regions where there are American and British
forces have not yet witnessed any popular uprisings against the Iraqi
regime, despite assertions that these were a foregone conclusion. If this
continues, it will undoubtedly have a significant influence on the outcome
of the war."

*  Arab Press Review
by Daniel Kimmage
Radio Free Europe, 25th March

Britain's "Al-Hayat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Jihad al-Khazin argues that
Iraqi resistance will only stiffen as the fight moves deeper into the
country, and hopes that the Iraqi people will teach the invader a lesson.

"If there is this much resistance in [southern] regions opposed to the
regime, how much resistance will there be in the middle of the country among
the groups that are the source of the regime's strength? I want the American
aggression against Iraq to be the last of its kind. The lesson that the
aggressor will receive will make him think twice before attacking another
Arab country.

"In this regard, the Iraqi people and army today are defending the larger
Arab nation in Iraq. The obligation of that nation is to help the Iraqis
help themselves. If the aggression against Iraq is the last of its kind,
then Saddam Hussein will have unintentionally performed for his nation a
great service that erases many of his evil deeds."

Saudi Arabia's "Okaz": Abid Khazindar warns of a renewed colonialist
campaign that threatens the entire Arab world.

"Despite the claims that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant, dictator, and murderer,
and that his regime is at the very least iron-handed and despotic, this is
not our concern. We will not shed a single tear when he meets his fate, but
the issue for us is not Saddam Hussein and his regime. The issue is the
occupation of an Arab country by an brutal foreign force. Moreover, Iraq
will not be the only victim of this unjustified aggression. The entire Arab
world is targeted. The leaders of the American war machine have stated this
loud and clear, first among them [U.S. Secretary of State] Colin Powell. The
aim is to change a way of life. According to the hawks in the American
administration, the aim is to change the geography of the region, its maps
and borders, just as Britain and France did after World War I."

Oman's "Oman": Ibrahim bin Abdallah al-Ma'mari argues that American coverage
of the war for the home front is merely an extension of the American media's
distorted portrayal of the region.

"The 500 American journalists who are reporting from the front are obligated
to follow 12 pages of instructions from the Pentagon on how to cover the

"It seems that the horrifying coverage and revolting footage from this war
that we are seeing in the Middle East is not available to the average

"The pictures of the war that Americans see show no blood and tears. This is
the American people's problem in the Middle East -- they see in this region
only what their media and politicians show them."

*  Arab Press Review
by Daniel Kimmage
Radio Free Europe, 26th March

Qatar's "Al-Sharq": Dr. Ahmad al-Qadidi sees in opposition to the war in
Iraq a chance for an Arab intellectual renewal.

"This intellect, which conquered the world's cities with astronomy,
medicine, chemistry, engineering, translation, and law, was pillaged by
imperialism, imprisoned by despotism, and weakened by poverty. This
intellect fed on freedom, faith, and trust. It erected citadels of knowledge
and religious tolerance, eliminated racism, established justice, and sided
with the oppressed. We see the intellect rising like a genie from a bottle.
It is putting a terrible, miserable reality beneath an analytical microscope
as explosions ring out in Baghdad. It is for today's Arabs to put their
intellectual talents to use as they exercise their lawful and natural right
to think, seek justice, and partake in the historical process.

"New Arab generations will not accept what we accepted. They will not fall
into line behind deceptive slogans. This generation has awoken from the
delusion that 'no voice carries above the voice of battle' -- there was no
battle for the mind, no victory for consciousness. We entered the struggles
of 1967, 1973, and 1982 with hollow official institutions devoid of popular
creativity. And we lost."

Egypt's "Al-Ahram": Ahmad Abd al-Mu'ti Hijazi compares recent events in Iraq
to the Mongol (or Tatar) invasion that culminated in the sack of Baghdad in

"The new Tatars are now sinking their fangs and daggers into the bloodied
body of Iraq, swarming to attack it from all directions, striking it with
the very weapons they claim it possesses....

"...We watch this filthy, degenerate war and yet we cannot stop it. We do
not know what we should do.... We do not know how to face our enemies, or
even how to face ourselves.

"Saddam Hussein has turned the lives of Iraqis into a hell from which no one
emerges unscathed. This is especially true of intellectuals, whom he has
slaughtered and imprisoned. Thousands of them have chosen life in exile over
life in Iraq. One of these exiles was Fu'ad al-Tikirli, a lawyer and widely
read novelist. He first went to Paris before settling in Tunisia for the
last 10 years. But when the new Mongols decided to invade Iraq, Fu'ad
al-Tikirli raced back to his country to share the fate of his countrymen so
that no one would accuse him of choosing safety and leaving his people to
the Mongols."

Britain's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" (pan-Arab, Saudi-owned): Abd al-Rahman
al-Rashid writes that no one can be sure of the real loyalties of Iraqi

"The zeal of an official such as Vice Chairman Izzat Ibrahim or [Information
Minister Muhammad Sa'id] al-Sahhaf is not necessarily an expression of
sincere belief or emotion. We know the difficult conditions of those who
work under a regime that shows no mercy for any error or dereliction of
duty. Officials are forced to exaggerate their statements of loyalty. Even
if they are truly and honestly loyal to their leader, they remain in
constant fear of an accusation."

Algeria's "Al-Khabar": The rhetorical flourishes of Iraqi Information
Minister al-Sahhaf spur Algerians to call the Iraqi Embassy for lexical

"Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Sa'id al-Sahhaf has become very popular
on the Algerian street, which eagerly awaits his daily appearances. In his
press conferences, he does not limit himself to providing the Arab and
international public with the latest news of the invasion. He also rises to
rhetorical heights in describing the U.S. president, British prime minister,
and their secretaries of defense. His descriptions have included 'heedless,'
'base,' 'canine,' and 'wretched.' But his greatest effort to enrich the
Arabic lexicon came when he used the term 'ilj.' The word sent many
scrambling for their dictionaries. Some people even turned for assistance to
the Iraqi Embassy, which informed them that the word means 'lout.'"

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