March 7, 2003
ARAB / OIC SUMMITS: 'ONLY TALK AND NO ACTION'
** Many observers of the
Arab and Organization of Islamic Countries summits lament that Arab/Muslim
"weakness" translates into "no influence" over important
** Other outlets praise the
"firm restatement" of Arab/Islamic opposition to any war on Iraq.
** UAE proposal for
Saddam's exile "reinforces American goals."
Some bewail the 'failures' of both summits' 'cosmetic
measures'-- Many outlets in Muslim
countries emphasized the "complete paralysis" of their leaders and
agreed that "Arab countries have no control over the situation" in
the Gulf. Morocco's business-oriented L'Economiste
blasted the "inefficiency and demagogy" of the summits as well as
their "empty revolutionary and democratic speeches." Jordan's semi-official Al-Rai fretted
that "war is coming and the Arab summit's decisions are
powerless." Iraq will "become
an American colony," several exclaimed, while Arabs "remain subject
to American-Israeli will, victims of their own inability and
selfishness." London's pan-Arab Al-Hayat
predicted the "disappearance of the OIC" after the "imminent
war." Elsewhere, India's
nationalist Hindustan Times noted both summits demonstrated their
"official impotence in the region."
Others praise the 'unified stand' rejecting war-- Some highlighted the Arab summit's
"categorical" opposition to the war as well as the OIC's "firm
restatement of the Islamic world's commitment" to peace. Syria's pro-government Al-Ba'th hailed
the summits' unanimous view that "a war on Iraq will be catastrophic"
for the region and "the whole world."
Pakistani outlets agreed with the Arab summit that an offensive against
Iraq "would constitute an attack on all Arab countries," and blasted
the U.S.' "pursuits of genocide and annihilation against the Muslim
countries." Some dailies were less
than charitable to member states that provide basing rights to the U.S. Lebanon's moderate An-Nahar termed the
"categorical Arab rejection of a war on Iraq...ambiguous." A Tunisian daily stated that the resolutions
against military action were designed to "save appearances."
UAE outlets bemoan poor reaction to Saddam exile proposal-- UAE-based dailies predictably praised their
government's proposal for "exile of the Iraqi regime," calling it
"the fastest and shortest way out of this crisis." Semi-official Al Ittihad said the plan
could have provided a "peaceful breakthrough," while pan-Arab Akhbar
Al Arab criticized summit attendees for missing "their chance...to
solve this crisis with Arab hands."
Others were less complimentary.
Morocco's pro-government Al Bayane blasted the plan as "the
U.S. attempt to torpedo the summit."
Others called the initiative "misplaced" because it would
create "a serious precedent that allows overthrowing other Arab
regimes." Germany's left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau speculated that fear of the "domino effect" made Arab
rulers nervous: "If Saddam is forced to abdicate, other leaders could also
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg, Irene
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey
is based on 56 reports from 20 countries over 28 February - 7 March 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
GERMANY: "Arab Dilemma"
Karl Grobe noted in left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau (3/6): "The
discussion over the proposal for Saddam's abdication was avoided in Sharm-el
Sheikh but caused a dispute at the summit in Doha a day later. At issue is a domino effect: If Saddam is forced to abdicate, other
leaders could also be ousted. Saudi
Arabia's Monarchy could be in trouble in view of the social situation in the
country. In view of an unemployment rate
of 32 percent, the debate about reforms alone could result in a coup. If the dictator from Baghdad gives way to a
new order that can be described as democratic, then this development could be
infectious. That is why Saudi Arabia's
Crown Prince Abdallah is playing tactical games with a reform paper, but, at
the same time, he is slowing down the debate over it. He remains a U.S. ally, but cannot support
the U.S. war against Iraq."
"Arabia's Last Way Out"
Heiko Flottau editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (3/4):
"Indeed, Saddam is the only one who can prevent war by going into
exile. For the U.S., the search for WMD
has turned into a minor affair, and Iraq's democratization, which George Bush
proclaimed, is not the primary goal of the U.S. campaign either. It is regime change and only two ways lead to
this result: War or the stepping down of
the despot. It cannot be ruled out that
the government of the United Arab Emirates was inspired by the U.S. to present
this proposal for exile. It is true that
the UAE are America-friendly, but they also keep a certain distance from the
U.S. because their territory is not a stationing area. But Syria, and Iraq itself, will resist the
initiative. That is why it is now up to
Egypt to play a role. A vote of the
largest Arab nation against Saddam may encourage some people in Baghdad to turn
openly against Saddam."
PORTUGAL: "Is The Socialist Party PS
Writing Ana Gomes' Lines?"
Editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes noted in
influential moderate-left Público
(3/6): "[Socialist Party (PS) spokeswoman] Ana Gomes criticized the
Prime Minister for having suggested that a good solution to the crisis would be
the exile of the dictator.... She asked,
'What do you do with contemptible dictators?
Don't you bring them to justice?'....
I couldn't agree more.... If
Saddam is a 'contemptible dictator,' isn't it essential to know how we're going
to bring him to justice? By complying
with the cat-and-mouse game to which we have surrendered for years on end--and
which has become accentuated in recent days--or by using the means necessary in
order for him to no longer be a 'contemptible dictator' and, like Milosevic, be
judged for crimes against humanity?....
Is this the strident tone that the PS, a party that has led governments,
thinks most appropriate? I doubt
ISRAEL: "Summit Of
Jackie Hoogie wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv
(3/2): "Just like the Khartoum
summit meeting was remembered for its three 'no's' regarding Israel and the
Beirut summit last year will be remembered because of the historic Saudi
Arabian peace initiative, the Sharm el-Sheikh summit will be remembered as the
summit of fear, and perhaps will not be remembered at all, and that would be
best. Twenty-two leaders convened at
Sharm el-Sheikh to demonstrate that they did not have even a single sanction
that they could muster against a not particularly liked foreign power that is
about to do as it pleases in the heart of the Arab world.... The Iraqi crisis exposed, for all intents and
purposes, the absence of what is called the 'Arab world' in its political
sense. Farewell to the idea of Arab
unity. Everyone knows that the war in
Iraq will serve as an historic precedent in which a foreign power imposes its
will on a country that is a member of the Arab League, but no adequate response
was found. They might be able to push
Saddam up against the wall, but they won’t be able to stop Bush. The Arab street dreams of enlisting the Arab
armies to the defense of Iraq and of imposing an Arab oil embargo on the rest
of the world, but how are they going to organize military defense against
America when they can barely agree to convene?"
WEST BANK: “Will The Muslim Summit Correct The Mistakes Of
Previous Arab Summits?”
Independent Al-Quds opined (3/5): “The American administration’s determination
to wage war is obvious whether or not Iraq cooperates with the international
inspectors. This determination has limited the choices of Arab and Muslim leaders,
and even leaders of European countries such as Germany, France, Russia. Heads
of these countries have been trying in vain to bring some logic to the American
policy, which is rushing towards war. In current circumstances, however, the
failure of the Summit and peace initiatives will not be surprising. The
stubbornness and determination of the American administration in implementing
its dangerous military schemes are on the increase. The Muslim Summit will not
be any luckier than the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit, because any decision that will
be adopted by the summit opposing war against Iraq, even if it called on the
Iraqi leader to step down, will most probably be ignored by the American
“The Summit Came Out With Nothing”
Mohanned Abed Al Hameed opined in independent, pro-Palestinian
Authority Al-Ayyam (3/4):
"The Arab [official] establishment has managed to score two major
failures in a short time. It has failed
to prevent war [on Iraq], and has failed to protect the Palestinian people from
the brutal Israeli war. In light of
these two failures, can the Arab system protect itself from change? This system will, most probably be vulnerable
to two kinds of reforms. [The first is] A reform that is dictated by American
standards and American control. Such a reform, though, will later prove its
ineffectiveness and its subservience to American interests. The second kind of reform will be launched
internally aimed at implementing democracy and helping achieve change in the
Arab system. Implementing democracy in
this reform process, however, will depend on ending [Arab] submissiveness to
the United States.”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's
columnist Reda Helal observed (3/6): "Changing Saddam's regime would
prevent the war. Arabs should not have
rejected it because his record is fraught with the execution of thousands of
his opponents, the torture of millions of prisoners, displacing millions of
Iraqis around the world, causing the death of millions of Moslems in Iran and
Kuwait.... It is shameful to see General
Tommy Franks as a military ruler of Iraq and...Arabs should have instead
rejected 'the occupation of Iraq' by demanding that, after the fall of Saddam's
regime--either by war or voluntarily--there should be an interim Iraqi
government...which would implement U.N. resolutions until an elected democratic
government is formed. Saddam's fall may
embarrass some Arab regimes, but the occupation of Iraq will shake the entire
"On The Road"
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar's
columnist Anwar Mohamed judged (3/6):
"Some may say this [UAE] initiative came in response to Secretary
Powell's request.... However, I say this
initiative expresses a collective desire by Gulf countries to overthrow Saddam,
who has not hidden his ambitions toward his neighbors. These countries say openly Saddam's departure
has become necessary lest war erupts and the regime changes...at the hands of
"Saddam Is Not Important As Long As Bush
Generalizes This Model Over Entire Arab Region"
Small-circulation pro-government Al
Gomhouriya's editor-in-chief Samir Ragab wrote (3/6): "We should admit
no power on earth could prevent the U.S. from using military force against
Iraq.... Then what is the point of all
these summits and demonstrations?... It
is to exert psychological pressure....
American calculations are different.
They mistakenly believe that as long as they place a hand on oil, deploy
military troops and impose their emergency laws, they will not suffer any
resistance. But, nations no longer
accept repression.... If, God forbid,
this American scenario were to occur, Iraqis would not be standing alone but
would be joined by all courageous people of the world including Americans.... Will the call for Saddam's stepping down grow?... Saddam will never do it since it would be
treason to his nation.... America does
not care about him because it seeks a much more comprehensive aim.... Logic says only Iraqis can overthrow
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar senior columnist Said
Sonbol wrote (3/4): “The Arab summit
avoided discussing the UAE initiative to settle the Iraqi crisis, based on
urging Saddam Hussein to depart Iraq...with enough guarantees.... The idea is not new...but an Arab leader was
courageous enough to declare it in the open....
Many may have discretely blessed the idea...but the situation differed
when it came to the open. Many opposed it as a serious precedent that allows
overthrowing other Arab regimes in the future.
This reason may be sound, but realistically, the Iraqi situation is
unique.... It is the only Arab regime
that fought its neighbors, used internationally banned chemical weapons against
them, occupied another independent Arab state...and possessed a bloody
regime.... Those who object to a strike
on Iraq fear for the Iraqi people, but not the Iraqi regime. Those who demand
Saddam to depart, seek to spare the Iraqi people from war and spare the region
Leading pro-government Al Ahram senior columnist Salama
Ahmed Salama declared (3/5): “While Arab
leaders...were busy discussing a way to avert the war phantom from Iraq and the
region...the world’s agenda went beyond that stage to speak about the post-Iraq
plans.... Arab leaders did not pay
enough attention to President Bush’s speech at the right-wing American
Enterprise Foundation...where he confirmed his intention to maintain the
liberating American troops to achieve the aim [of a free and peaceful new
Iraq].... This Bush determination to
democratize the Arab world explains his dire need to launch war in Iraq and
disregard any success the inspectors may achieve in disarming Iraq’s real or
alleged weapons. The Arab summit
communiqué responded to this attempt--without mentioning America--by stressing
that developing the Arab world and regimes is only decided by Arab nations
without foreign intervention....
However, some Arab countries ignored this demand when the GCC
re-proposed the UAE initiative that urged the Iraqi President to step down. This initiative contradicts the Arab summit
communiqué, which is why the initiative was rejected, because it is a serious
precedent. How realistic is this
proposal other than being a short cut for American military intervention in
Iraq and the region?”
“An Arab Dance”
Senior columnist Salama Ahmad Salama stated in leading
pro-government Al Ahram (3/3):
“The UAE initiative has grasped the crisis from its tail. It did not discuss the responsibility of the
Arab countries in deterring the aggression on Iraq. It found the solution in the Iraqi regime
stepping down while offering it enough guarantees not to be pursued. In that case governing Iraq would fall on the
Arab league and the UN. As if this was
enough to prevent the war.”
“The Arab Summit And Real Demands”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (3/1): "The Arab world...hopes the participants
of the summit do not waste time on...side issues which distract them from the
main targets: to put away the phantom of war on Iraq and to revive the peace
process frozen by Israel and to save innocent Palestinians from Sharon’s
claws.... Arab leaders should...convince
America to give the inspectors a chance...then Arabs would have done what they
could and the aggressor would be to blame.
Arabs should convince Iraqi leaders to adopt a method which spares their
nation from sure catastrophe. Arab
leaders should also agree on collective action to activate the peace
process.... If Washington does not act
to pressure Sharon, the peace process will stall, Arab frustration increase,
and extremism and terrorism will touch everyone along with continued
instability in the Middle East.”
IRAQ: "No To
Neutrality Regarding Right And Wrong"
Abd-al-Razzaq Muhammad al-Dulaymi commented in
government-aligned Babil (3/6):
"In spite of cheap attempts by some people to divert the attention
of the Islamic summit conference away from the goals for which it was held,
there are hopes that honest Arab and Muslim leaders will take the right and
just stand not only toward Iraq, but also toward all peoples who share the same
cause.... Our stands toward such
conferences are based on our realization of the influence that the Arabs and
Muslims would command if they act boldly, wisely, and ably. However, the opposite may happen if such
conferences are used by some people as a platform to exchange abuses and show
their sick behavior. Such exchanges,
which reveal hatred, can be prevented if Arab and Muslim leaders exert sincere
efforts in this regard. We highly value
the efforts made by well-intentioned people.
These efforts show awareness of the magnitude of danger which bests the
Arabs and Muslims as a result of the U.S.-Zionist threats that are coupled with
odious hostility. The threat to carry
out an aggression against Iraq is the first step by the U.S. Administration of
evil to divide all Arab and Islamic states without discrimination. Therefore, those who took part in the Doha
summit should bear their responsibility and have great courage to confront this
threat and act to foil the U.S.-Zionist hostile plan. Heroic and steadfast Iraq stands as a good
example in this regard. Let us quit
flattery and appeasement because the Islamic peoples will not approve of their
leaders standing neutral between Iraqi and Palestinian right and U.S.-Zionist
JORDAN: “Serious Talks At
The Sharm el-Shaikh Summit”
Tarek Masarweh wrote in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(3/3): “The categorical Arab agreement
against the war says something more serious than that. It says that the American and British
presence on Arab territories is, from a practical viewpoint, an
occupation. Since Kuwait, Saudi Arabia,
Qatar and Bahrain reject the war that the U.S. and Britain mean to wage against
Iraq, then the military build-up on their territories...is an abuse of security
treaties, which were approved for the purpose of protection against outside
aggression, and not for the purpose of becoming bases and launch-pads for
aggression against neighboring countries.”
“The Summit’s Decisions, Who Will Buy Them?"
Sultan Hattab noted in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(3/3): “The U.S. doesn't want
advice...from the Arab summit. It rather
wants the Arab summit to help carry out American schemes. Since this did not happen, it is expected that
the U.S. will either respond to the summit’s decisions or completely ignore
them, and turn its attention to its bilateral contacts and relationships with
Arab countries and to what has already been achieved in those areas and not
stated in the summit’s communiqué....
The war is coming and the Arab summit’s decisions are impotent.... They have come too late.”
“The Summit Of Fears And Contradictions And Agreement”
Chief Editor Taher Udwan declared in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab
Al-Yawm (3/3): “The only value of
the Sharm el-Shaikh communiqué is that it shows all the Arabs reject the
war. Despite the fact that American
armies will in reality launch operations from Arab territories, the consensus
agreement gives the impression that the U.S. is abusing its security agreements
with the Arab countries to serve its own wars and interests that contradict the
interests and desires of the Arabs. Arab
leaders had their backs to the wall and they would not have been able to
survive the failure of the summit meeting.
They had no choice but to agree to the final communiqué. This shows that the Arab countries feel that
the war on Iraq carries so much danger for themselves that they have to put
aside their conflicts and disagreements....
The summit can be described as a summit of pressures, worry, fear,
conflicts and contradictions, but it did break through towards a unified stand
of rejecting the war. This, in itself,
is important because it denies Washington legitimacy for its war.”
LEBANON: "The Summit Of
Half Success Half Failure"
Pro-Sunni Al-Liwa' editorialized (3/3): "Half success; half failure. This is the result of the hasty Arab
Summit.... Those who understand the
fragility of the Arab situation know that it was impossible to achieve
more.... A lot will be said about the
reasons for this half failure half success of the summit, however, we have to
admit that the boldness of the Syrian President, the wisdom of the Saudi Crown
Prince...and the flexibility of the Egyptian President are what saved the
"The Summit Of Clearing Consciences"
Ali Hamade remarked in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(3/2): "The Sharm El-Sheikh
Summit...is a clear proof that Arabs cannot stop the American war plans on
Iraq.... Despite the categorical Arab
rejection of a war on Iraq, however, the true interpretation of this rejection
continues to be ambiguous.... Creating a
delegation to go to decision-making world capitals is not a step in the right
direction. Those who want to stop a war
should take practical steps to stop it....
The Arabs had this summit as their only chance to stop the war, but they
missed this chance.... By mismanaging
the summit, the Arabs have sent a clear message to the U.S. as if saying that
they are not concerned about the war...and they sent another clear message to
the Europeans as if saying that Arabs choose the U.S. over Europe."
Khalid Belyazid observed in French-language, business-oriented L'Economiste
(3/4): "Thank God that Libya and
Saudi Arabia had a big argument; if not, nobody would have noticed the holding
of this 'thousandth' Arab summit.... Do
we need to end the Arab League? By its
inefficiency and its demagogy at the Summit, the Arab League gave the worst
possible impression to citizens, societies, business leaders, and public
leaders.... Our leaders request
summits...and give the impression that they are working. Some of (these summits) have stopped regional
machinations for 10 years; others have left Palestinians with no land for 50
years. There is only talk and no action
anywhere.... Our leaders look like
dictators who come one after the other with empty revolutionary and democratic
"Arab Nations Against The War"
Independent, French-language L’Independant commented
(3/3): "For the first time, the
Arab Emirates stated publicly, in Sharm Sheikh Summit, the wish to see Saddam
depart to exile.... Other Arab nations
support the UAE."
"Unite Ranks More"
French-language pro-government Al Bayane declared
(3/3): "The Arab summit resolution
rejects the war against Iraq.... The
minimum on the part of Arab nations has been stated in spite of the U.S.
attempt to torpedo the summit.... The
real danger is the reaction after Blix presents his report.... The Arab people are asking their leaders to
unite their forces as the people feel they are threatened by dissensions and
conflicts that would only benefit Israel."
"Arab World Against The War In Iraq: Boomerang For Bush"
French-language pro-government Al Bayane opined (3/3): "To our general surprise, 22 Arab
nations did not follow the U.S. logic of war against Iraq and expressed
opposition to the U.S. hostilities and interventions in the management of Arab
countries.... The Emirates' suggestion
with regards to the departure of Saddam did not get positive support as the
Arabs were aware of the U.S. dangerous game.
The essential was not forgotten as the U.S. wished."
Muhammad Salih al-Misfir wrote in the Internet version
of Doha's independent Al-Sharq (3/4):
"We saw the conference secretariat distributing some documents to
the heads of delegations after the Arab League secretary general announced that
His Highness Shaykh Zayid, president of the UAE, may God give him long life,
sent a message to the conference. The
surprise was that the message contains, among other things, a call on Iraq's
political leadership to step down and place Iraq under the mandate of the Arab
League and the United Nations. This message came as a bombshell in the summit,
and the leaders did well when they ignored it completely.... The conference's final statement stressed
'categorical rejection of attacking Iraq and threatening the security and
safety of any Arab country.' The fourth
paragraph of the statement said that the conference stresses 'the safety and
security of Iraq's neighboring countries.'
But the statement did not identify the threats to Iraq's neighboring
countries. Four of these neighbors are
hosting foreign troops that threaten Iraq's security and safety and do not harm
the neighboring countries. Where, then,
does this threat come from? The fifth
paragraph of the statement ridicules the Arab mind as it stresses that 'the
neighboring countries will not participate in any military action that targets
the security, safety, and integrity of Iraq.'"
SAUDI ARABIA: "OIC's
Traditional Role Called Into Question"
Liberal Saudi journalist Dawood Al-Shiryan commented in London’s
pan-Arab Al-Hayat (3/6):
"Today Washington views the OIC as a Cold War institution, which approved
establishing religiously oriented organizations to advance political ends,
including building Islamic groups to confront communist movements. Now it must deal with a religious gathering,
whose aims contradict the principles of the U.S. war against terrorism. With the absence of an effective role by
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the OIC summit in Doha was held as if it were
without the owners of the house.... To
adhere with the traditional role of the OIC, despite its weakness today,
clashes with the interests and current positions of the members toward the
American campaign against Iraq.
Therefore, the disappearance of the OIC from the international arena
after the imminent war on Baghdad has become very likely."
"A New Summit With
The Same Resolutions"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan
editorialized (3/6): "We do not
know what yesterday's Doha OIC Summit offered to solve the crisis of
Iraq.... We believe that it was
premature to call for an OIC summit immediately after the Arab summit.... It would have been more valuable if the
Islamic countries had supported the resolutions and recommendations of the Arab
"Until War Preparations Are Completed"
Abha's moderate Al-Watan opined (3/5): Although deposing
Saddam from the regime is considered a serious move in international law, and a
blow against all diplomatic principles, as the requested action is not only to
get rid of his regime but also to depose a President from his country. The international opposition groups are
increasing, to include foreign and Arabic countries. Their political leaders' decisions contradict
their nations in rejecting unilateral decisions, consequently they reject
American dominance over the world and controlling its economic resources. According to its new policy, the U.S has the
authority to reinstate or depose any one.
The Internet version of Jedda's English-language
Saudi Gazette observed (3/5):
"Various ideas are in the air.
At this week's Arab summit, the UAE proposed the exile of Saddam and
temporary takeover of Iraq by the Arab League until a new government is
established. France, Germany and Canada
support status quo while giving UN weapons inspectors and Iraq enough time to
destroy the weapons of mass destruction, if any. For the United States, analysts generally
believe, the aim is to remove Saddam by force and capture oilfields, and not
the WMD.... Everyone will agree that out
of all these plans the best appears to be the Iranian proposal...that President
Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi opposition groups reconcile and agree to hold a
UN-supervised referendum on the future of the country.... All Arab and Gulf states have been arguing
that changing a regime is the right of the people of Iraq and that any forcible
change of regime will unleash the forces of instability and chaos, apart from
setting a new and unacceptable precedent that governments around the world will
stay in power only if they are not disliked by a superpower, global or
regional.... The proposed election may
be supervised by the UN, the OIC, the Arab League and the EU."
"That Which Comes After The War"
London's pan-Arab, Al-Hayat ran a signed editorial by
Salamah Neimat stating (3/5): "The
American President was wrong in his estimations about the chances for
democratic changes in the Gulf region under American pressure, which increased
the enmity against Washington.... The
necessity for democracy in the region isn't supposed to be conditional upon the
American plans. The Arab summit ought to deal seriously with the proposals for
the stage after toppling the Iraqi regime, including the plan for changing Iraq
into a democracy. Although the summit delegates acknowledged that they can't
stop this war; at the same time they asked some Arabic countries not to
cooperate militarily with Washington, in spite of that the same countries have
American troops and military bases on their land.... The summit didn't play a role in reforming
Iraq and the region's future."
"Reading Between The Lines Of The Arabic Communiqué"
London's influential, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat editorialized
(3/3): "The summit ignored the
existence of the American forces in the region through the agreement of all
participants in a resolution, which stated that no Arabic country supports
aggression against Iraq. This sensitive
position maintains a principle that must remain in effect in Arab policy,
regardless of the complications related to it."
"Nation Has No Sound Or Action"
Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh commented (3/3): "Arabs have nothing to hold on to, since
Iraq is about to become an American colony, governed by an American military
leader. On the other hand, Palestine is
in the hands of the Israeli hardliners, to whom the Arabs gave the historical opportunity
to disperse and kill the Palestinians....
Arabs have no choice in a fast paced time, in which the war is ahead of
them.... America isn't even considering
giving any other power a role in current events, irrespective of whether the
country is a member of the UNSC or not.
In this case, Arabs have no influence in these events.... The world around us is waging a battle on our
behalf, not only for sympathy and in the name of international authority, but
also because it is more aware of the consequences. To maintain its interests, the [super]power,
which believes that war is the only way, is imposing this point of view on weak
targets--the Arab lands are just a beginning."
SYRIA: "The [Arab]
Summit Rejects War"
An unsigned editorial in government-owned Al-Ba'th said
(3/5): "The little storm haven't
ruined the Arab summit; last minute messages haven't diverted a collective
feeling of danger and the Arab street can finally catch its breath again now
that the final communiqué has been issued. It is no exaggeration to say one of
the first results of the unified Arab position in the Arab Summit in Sharm
al-Sheikh was the Turkish Parliament vote on non-deployment of US
forces.... Arabs have unanimously
rejected war on Iraq. This adds a strategic element to averting war."
"Arab Unanimity Of Rejecting War"
Government-owned Al-Ba'th thundered (3/3): "Syrian diplomacy during the Arab
Foreign Ministers' meeting prior to the Summit intensified efforts for the Arab
stand to coalesce and to rise to the challenge, and succeeded in convincing
everybody that a war on Iraq will be catastrophic not only for the region, but
for the whole world. The U.S.
Administration's goals are no longer a secret as the Administration itself has
publicly stated its intention to reorganize the region in accordance with its
own interests. This will certainly serve
Israeli interests, but at the same time it will harm Arab interests and block
any effort to establish a just and comprehensive peace in the occupied
territories.... The Arab summit
succeeded in maintaining the minimum level of Arab solidarity and confirmed
outright Arab rejection of war. This
serves Arab interests, especially together with the ultimate international
rejection of war, which strongly helps to reinforce the Summit's resolutions
TUNISIA: "One Summit
Pushes the Other"
Senior editor Noureddine Hlaoui wrote in
independent French-language Le Temps (3/5): "In the end, the Arab summit managed to
save appearances, but will that be the case for the Islamic summit? Is it necessary to mobilize leaders and
representatives of more than fifty countries in order to come up with obvious
recommendations such as a simple call for a peaceful solution for Iraqi disarmament?
If the proposal of the voluntary exile of Saddam Hussein is once more to be
discussed during this summit, we fear that the same scenarios that happened at
Sharm-al Sheikh will happen again. In
fact, even if the Emirate initiative seems to be supported by other Gulf
countries, it has been deemed by many diplomatic analysts as misplaced. It reinforces U.S. goals and in particular,
creates a dangerous precedent for international relations -- foreign
interference in order to impose a change in sovereign countries' regimes. It is
a dangerous practice which may sooner or later be applied to any independent
"Arab Summit: Is it The Beginning Of A Pragmatic Arab
Editor Mustapha Ben Ammar commented in independent French-language
Le Quotidien (3/4):
"Whatever we say about the Arab summit, and despite the
altercations that took place, the summit has at least taken place in a climate
of frankness and transparency and resulted in a unified position, which rejects
firmly the war option and refuses any participation in a military action
against Iraq.... At least we should oppose the hegemonic will of Washington and
Tel-Aviv and face the danger that threatens our region.... No power could impose change by force, even
if such changes are salutary and desirable.
It should come from within and respond to our own aspirations and our
"Same Disagreements Same Mistakes!"
Editor-in-chief Mustapha Khammari wrote in independent
French-language Le Temps (3/2):
"The image (of the Arab world) was not gleaming at the summit which
almost descended into disagreements and quarrels between Arab
countries.... The American armada,
settled in Arab territories, was quietly present and weighty to dissuade any
intention of 'rebellion'.... We should
admit that today Arab countries have no control over the situation prevailing
in the Gulf region.... The solution will
depend in particular on the Iraqi initiatives and the wrestling between the
partisans of war and those who call for peace.
The Arab countries must conduct a self-criticism of their inability to
learn a lesson and to unify their relations on any clear basis. This way they can understand that the
American focus on Iraq has occurred after the Palestinian issue was subject to
over two years of harassment. Now that
force and violence have controlled the Intifada, it is Iraq's turn.... The pacification of the region, promised by
Washington...will prevail permanently, as will the supremacy of Israel...and
the irreversible dependency of the Arab countries subject to American-Israeli
will, victims of their own inability and selfishness. Hence whether or not the Summit disagrees, it
will have no impact on the aftermath of the events."
UAE: "Islamic World Is
United For Peace"
Semi-independent English-language Gulf Times opined (3/6): "Yesterday, the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin
Khalifa Al-Thani, chairman of the 9th Islamic Summit, described the
circumstances facing the Islamic nations as extraordinary and complex,
threatening grave consequences and repercussions to the security and stability
of the whole world. The Emir was extremely frank when he acknowledged that 'we
are not here to pretend that we have the international political or strategic
(ability to) direct and command the course of these developments, yet we
certainly can influence the course of such a decision and its possible
results.' The two most urgent issues
affecting the Muslim world today--the Iraq crisis and the Palestinian
cause--were the main topics of the Emir's speech. The final communiqué adopted
by the summit echoed the views expressed by HH the Emir in his address and
called on all countries to support the Islamic efforts to avert war. The Muslim
leaders and their representatives stressed that all Islamic states should
abstain from any military action threatening the security or territorial
integrity of Iraq or any Islamic state. At the same time it urged the
international community to work for the elimination of all weapons of mass
destruction from the region, including Israel's, in accordance with UN
Resolution 687. As the Emir correctly noted, the summit cannot prevent a war
but the firm restatement of the Islamic world's commitment to upholding peace
and achieving disarmament through diplomacy sends an important message to all
the world's capitals.
"A Successful Islamic Summit"
Semi-independent Arabic-languge Al-Watan declared
(3/6): "The summits ended up very
successfully. The Islamic countries proved to the world that peace was their
strategic choice in the Doha Summit. The Emir wisely managed to contain the
Iraqi-Kuwaiti exchange of accusations. The Emir of Qatar was very frank and
honest with his people and with the rest of the Islamic nations and the world
when he acknowledged that the Arabs and Muslims cannot change the course of war
but can influence this course. The final communiqué reflected the real stance
of all Islamic countries when it rejected any military action against Iraq and
refrained Islamic states from participating in any military action targeting
the security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Iraq or any Islamic
state. This summit was a crystal clear message to the international community
and the pillars of the world that Muslims of the world still believe in
"Not Dealing Properly"
Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Al-Ittihad editorialized
(3/5): "The OIC Summit in Doha
comes right after the Arab summit, which did not add anything to resolve the
crisis that faces the Arab and Islamic worlds.
The summit also did not deal properly with the only initiative (the UAE's
Initiative) that aims to end the crisis we are all facing. This initiative stated clearly the importance
of taking a unified and courageous stand, far from any controversy, in order to
save the Iraqi people and lands from any conspiracies that threaten its present
and future.... Will the OIC summit reach
the level of challenges it faces, or will it remain like any other Arab and
"Obligation To The Palestinians"
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej commented (3/5): "The OIC Summit in Doha should also be
concerned with the Palestinian cause since it is an Arab and Islamic
cause. This summit should realize that
what's happening on the Palestinian lands with no Arabic or Islamic reaction
will lead to a crisis worse than that which occurred in 1948...the acts of
Sharon's cabinet to kill the Palestinian cause and people has reached a very
Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Al-Ittihad opined (3/4): "With the increased voices requesting a
thorough revision of the techniques adopted at Arab summits, which usually only
lead to further differences.... In the
latest summit, the UAE initiative is the only hope left for Arabs to deal with
their problems in an objective and responsible way, far from the typical courteous
behavior for which the Arab people have been paying a dear price."
"UAE Not Interfering"
Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Al-Ittihad editorialized
(3/3): "Any thorough and objective
reading of the UAE's initiative will treat it fairly and shut up whoever thinks
that the UAE is interfering in the Iraq's internal affairs.... This initiative placed before everyone, with
no exceptions, their responsibilities, especially the Iraqi leadership. It also provides an Arab and international
shield for a peaceful breakthrough that will save the souls of many who are on
the verge of destruction."
"Initiative Deserved More Attention"
Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab declared
(3/3): "What is strange is that the
views presented in the UAE initiative regarding the exile of the Iraqi regime
as the fastest and shortest way out of this crisis was not received with the
attention it deserved.... The Arabs have
lost their chance to implement this choice, which focuses on solving this
crisis with Arab hands under an international umbrella. This will cut the means for the U.S. and
others from planning against Iraq and the region the worst scenarios ever. What we are afraid of is that such scenarios
will turn into facts in a couple of weeks, and then no 'if' will help."
CHINA: “After The United
Arab Emirates Made The Suggestion”
Wu Wenbin commented in official Communist Party-run People’s
Daily (Renmin Ribao) (3/5): “Analysts
think that the suggestion raised by the United Arab Emirates can be regarded as
a compromise bridging the gap between the faction supporting war led by the
U.S. and the U.K. and the faction supporting peace led by France and Germany. The leaders of some Arab countries do not
agree with this suggestion because they worry that, with this start, the U.S.
will be swollen with inordinate arrogance.
Today, the U.S. can drive disobedient Saddam out of office and, tomorrow,
the leader of some other country refusing to follow the U.S. line may be forced
to ‘get out.’ Some analysts think that
even if the leaders of some Arab countries support such a suggestion, they dare
not make public the idea.”
PHILIPPINES: "March Is
The Bloody Month"
Columnist Adrian Cristobal wrote in the
conservative Manila Bulletin (3/1):
"March, named after Mars, the Roman God of war, is the month for
the B & B (Bush-Blair) shindig against Saddam, assuming that Bush stands by
his conviction that he needs no UN resolution to attack Iraq. Note that the looming war is against Saddam
but it's the Iraqis who will bear the brunt of Anglo-American invasion....
Mind-boggling is the assumption that Saddam, after saying that he will not go
into exile to appease Mr. Bush but die in his country instead, will, by some
miracle, surrender or allow himself to be captured once the March - Mars mayhem
occurs. Or that, some clever Iraqis will
storm Saddam's many hideouts and deliver him to the champions of human
civilization.... The UN Security Council might as well get its act together and
bow to the will of the free world's ayatollah.
That is the only way to preserve harmony under the new world order. What is one country, more or less, between
"The Dilemma Posed By 200 Foreigners Acting As Shields If
Iraq Is Attacked"
Former Court of Appeals Justice Jesus Elbinias wrote in the
conservative Manila Bulletin (3/4):
"The consensus on the three point decision arrived at by leaders of
the Arab League during their recent summit can defer, or even deter, the
U.S.-Iraq war. Their rejection of the
U.S. attack on Iraq will keep them neutral when this war breaks out. Their resolve not to take any part in it is a
clear manifestation of their neutrality in it too. They also threw out the proposal for Saddam
to step down to avoid the war. Now,
pressing Saddam to step down may not serve as a war assistance to the U.S. It is worse.
It will set an example to future enemies to imitate."
INDIA: "Peace Is
Anita Pratap wrote in New Delhi's weekly
English-language foreign affairs magazine Outlook (3/3): "It's time we all started turning our
attention to Saddam, the 'villain of the peace.' Global chain e-mails, public protests, civic
action, human shields must now be directed towards him to do one of two
things--either he must go into exile or he must comply as per UN Resolution
1441 and disarm fully, totally and quickly....
This is a man who has held on to power through sheer ruthlessness. In his heyday, he had taken Iraq to a crest of
secularism and development, but he has since plunged his nation into a trough
of war, deprivation and devastation.
From all biographical accounts, Saddam is a man who feels the world
denied him his due recognition. He can avert war and spare not only Iraq but
the entire world of tragic consequences if he installs a more acceptable leader
and voluntarily goes into exile. Or he
can ensure that his regime cooperates fully with the UN inspectors. He will be remembered forever as the man who
spared the world of a horrendous war that would ruin and unravel his country,
destabilise West Asia and damage the world through terrorism and economic
"Operation Desert Show"
The nationalist Hindustan Times opined (3/5): "The...Arab League...rejected any attack
on Iraq and endorsed 'the need to resolve the Iraqi crisis by peaceful
means.' It also warned the United States
against 'any military action that targets the security, safety and unity of
Iraq and any other Arab country.' It
would have seemed that pan-Arab unity against a U.S.-led war on Iraq was in
evidence. This display of camaraderie, however, would have fooled only a
Martian.... While the Arab Street
reflects its strong opposition to American plans and is unambiguously against
its own governments' hypocrisy, the rulers of countries like Kuwait, Qatar and
Saudi Arabia hold on to Washington's coat-tails for dear life. For all its diplomatic posturing, the Arab
League is a manifestation of official impotence in the region.... But the Arab States know which side of their
bread is buttered--as does the understanding Bush administration."
PAKISTAN: "The OIC
Islamabad's rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
commented (3/7): It's certainly a
positive development for the Ummah that the leaders of the Islamic world have,
at long last, woken up from their deep slumber in respect of the mounting U.S.
pressure against the Muslim countries.
Iraq, Iran, Libya, Pakistan and several other Muslim nations are
Washington's persistent target on one pretext or the other. Though belated, the OIC's loud and clear
message to the U.S. and Britain will hopefully have desired effect to avert war
against Baghdad. It's really unfortunate
that the OIC has seldom given a timely response to the West's onslaughts
against the Muslim world.... If a
brute's hand is not stopped today, it will be impossible to the restrain him
tomorrow from his pursuits of genocide and annihilation against the Muslim
countries. This is the time for them to
stand upright and refuse to be party to the death and destruction in Iraq. To repent after the damage has been done will
be simply futile."
"U.S.-Iraq Dispute And The OIC
Populist Khabrain editorialized
(3/7): "A resolution issued at the
conclusion of the OIC session in Qatar has rejected a U.S. attack on
Iraq.... This is the first time the OIC
has issued such an unambiguous declaration....
However, the OIC must not absolve itself of all responsibility
(regarding Iraq) by merely issuing a statement.
It should go beyond that stage and provide strong and workable proposals
in the United Nations to avert war."
Popular Din noted (3/7): "It is a good signal that for the first
time a clear stance has been adopted in an OIC conference on any issue.... The unpleasant exchange between Kuwaiti and
Iraqi representatives is unfortunate and shows how deep the mutual distrust
goes. Earlier on, the differences that
surfaced during the Arab League session also weakened the organization's
position. The clash between Libya and
Saudi Arabia was so intense during that meeting that Libya is now ready to opt
out of the organization. At a critical
juncture such as this, there is a need for the Muslim world to bury past
differences and forge unity among their ranks for larger interest of the
Islamic world and its people."
"OIC Fails Again"
An editorial in the center-right national Nation read
(3/6): "The Qatar Emergency OIC
Summit's greatest achievement will be to avoid the ringing endorsement of the
U.S. invasion of Iraq that President Bush would love to get. Still, even American Presidents know they do
not get everything they want, so he will be quite happy with a watered-down expression
of mild distaste similar to that made by the Arab League. However, even a
strongly worded resolution, such as would warm the heart of the most passionate
anti-American, would be nothing more than words, unless backed by some kind of
action. OIC members are providing the U.S. crucial support for the invasion,
and it is something of an irony that the Summit host is also hosting the U.S.
Central Command's regional headquarters, from which General Franks will
supervise the invasion. Cheek by jowl with the invading force, how far will the
Muslim countries go to support their fellow member in its time of need? Of course, the fellow member in question,
Iraq, has hardly been an ideal to follow, or even easy to defend. Since it was
founded in 1969, the OIC, now 56 members strong, has witnessed only two armed
conflicts between its members--both caused by Iraq invading a fellow OIC
member, first Iran and then Kuwait. Domestically, the Saddam regime is
repressive and brutal, even by the unexacting standards of the OIC, which
includes a large number of monarchies and dictatorships, and a sprinkling of
what can only loosely be described as democracies. Few members would be willing
to lay themselves on the line for Iraq, even if they were not facing
overwhelming pressure from the U.S. and its Western allies. It is also sad but
true that there is not much the OIC can do to help Iraq resist at this
"Gulf States: Exile Of Saddam"
Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat commented (3/5): "In order to achieve its targets the
United States is trying to create a rift between various Gulf States, which
would confront the Muslims with a new problem. We think that those Gulf States
which are considering the path of America as a means of their salvation should
also remember that tomorrow the United States would not desist from seizing and
plundering their rights by making these forced decision as a pretext."
"A Common Arab Stand"
The Karachi-based independent national Dawn commented
(3/4): "So far, on the Iraqi
crisis, the Arab states have acted with diffidence. Some leading states have prevaricated on the
issue, others said they would oppose an American attack, but later relented by
saying that they would cooperate with the U.S. if the UN sanctioned war. For the first time, however, the Arab League
has come out so openly against an invasion of Iraq and made it abundantly clear
that such an offensive would constitute an attack on all Arab countries. One hopes the Arab countries will continue to
pursue this fearless course of action which they have adopted now. A failure to stand united at this critical
time will not hurt Iraq alone; it will do incalculable harm to the whole of the
Arab and Muslim world. The victors will
re-draw the Middle East's map in a manner that will perhaps make Israel the
dominant power in the region."
"Inaugural Session Of The Arab League"
Popular Urdu-language Din stated (3/3): "It is encouraging that for the first
time, the Arab League has called a session before an important but unpleasant
event has taken place. What usually happens with the Arab League is that it starts
digging for water after the world is on fire.... According to economic experts, even if the
Arabs do nothing except withdraw their money from American and western banks,
it would force those preparing for war to stop and reconsider their plans. It
is also important that the Arab leaders consider Mahatir Muhammad's suggestion
to give up their policy of keeping foreign exchange reserves in
dollars.... However, the real need is
for the Arab League to avoid taking cosmetic measures and do something
"The Other One Percent"
Eduardo Valle wrote in nationalist El
Universal (3/2): "Everybody
knows there is a 99% probability that the United States and its allies will
attack Saddam Hussein's government during the first two or three weeks of
March. But there is also a one percent probability that this will not
happen. This implies the glorious exile
of Hussein, his families, and closest generals.... It seems that the President of Mexico has
realized this, and is playing the game to its limit thanks to that one percent. However, if this comes to a dead end, and the
United States and its allies decide to attack Hussein without UN approval, then
realpolitik steps in.... We need to
continue playing with that one percent probability, but we need to do it
cleverly, maturely, and sensibly. We are
on the right track."
PANAMA: "Hussein And Noriega"
Conservative El Panama America ran an
editorial comparing Saddam Hussein and Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega
(2/28): "Just as Noriega, Hussein
could avoid, with his exile, the tragedy and mourning of his people, but he
won't do it deep inside both are both and show no love for their country, just
a disturbed ego ... Finally, catastrophe will come for the people who always
pay the highest bill; and as [for Hussein, like Noriega he] will exit after the
first firing while his innocent troops
die for a bad cause."