- Min. Farrakhan speaks to Arab and Muslim World through Al Jazeera (FCN, 04-15-2007)
- Iraq war deaths ‘top 650,000’ (FCN, 10-31-2006)
- Life in ‘liberated’ Iraq a disaster, UN report says (FCN, 06-01-2005)
A September 6 editorial piece in Egypt’s Al-Messa daily stated: “It is only normal that Arab Foreign Ministers reject U.S. non-stop pressure to deploy Arab peacekeeping forces to Iraq. It is illogical that the U.S. occupies Iraq and fuels sectarian hostilities and then asks the Arab countries to sacrifice their sons for the U.S. crimes in Iraq. These forces when deployed to Iraq will be considered occupation and not Arab forces and thus become the target of Iraqi resistance. We hope that the Iraqi government, pushed by the U.S., would not make an appeal to the Arab League to send Arab forces to Iraq and put the league in an awkward situation.”
Figures from the Associated Press show that the month of August registered the second highest civilian death toll in Iraq–1,809 civilians–since the U.S. led invasion of March 2003.
“For a long time, the current U.S. administration refused even to admit committing mistakes in Iraq. For a long time, it maintained that victory was around the corner. The admission that a real problem exists came hesitantly and late,” states an op-ed contributor in Al-Ahram Weekly on August 27.
A Zogby International/Arab American Institute poll of five Arab nations, which was released in March showed that the Arab opinion on the U.S. role in Iraq received a higher negative than how Arab’s view Iran’s influence in Iraq. The negative responses reached 68 percent in Saudi Arabia to 96 percent in Jordan. Other Arab nations polled included Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
Helena Cobban, of the Friends Committee on National Legislation wrote in March for “The Christian Science Monitor” the following: “Policymakers and strategic analysts in the Arab world have little confidence that current U.S. troop surge in Iraq will do much more than–at best–postpone a complete political-security breakdown in Iraq, which they fear could then spread across the Middle East.”
“The burning question is how the fallout from Iraq can best be managed and the dangers that loomed be minimized,” Ms. Cobban said.
“Syria and Jordan are the two Arab states most affected by the occupation of Iraq” writes a Musa Hawamdeh in the Amman (Jordan) daily ad-Dustor. It is the Iraqi refugee issue that has this writer concerned. “Anyone who believes that the U.S. war on Iraq does not affect both countries’ economies is mistaken.
Anyone who believes that the ongoing U.S. occupation will not expose the entire region to social, environmental, economic, and other catastrophes is mistaken,” Mr. Hawamdeh stated. He said the U.S. administration is not “bothering” to understand that catastrophes will continue in the region “as long as the occupation continues.”
“And what about the “coalition of the willing….”
A Jordanian commentator in Amman’s daily al-Rai noted that Pres. George W. Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq on Labor day, may have been to cover the British pullout from Basra. “While Bush may have been seeking to cover for his ally’s retreat, there is no doubt that the net result is a resounding defeat for the international coalition that invaded Iraq,” the commentator said.
The writer went one step further when he declared, “the British withdrawal from Basra was only the first step towards signaling the failure of the grand plan of plundering Iraq’s resources and redrawing the map of the Middle East to suit Israel’s ambitions to become the dominant force in the region.”
The Jordanian commentator said that senior British military officers have been raising their voices concerning the “dismal American performance in Iraq.” The writer speaks of a former British chief of staff, Gen. Sir Michael Jackson, who described “Washington’s neoconservative cabal as capable of launching wars but lacking the talent and vision for nation building.”
According to the New York-based Global Policy Forum (GPF), there were originally 49 nations considered to be a part of the “Coalition of the Willing.” Back in February, GFP began reporting that the coalition was falling apart. Denmark withdrew its handful of troops that were under British command in Basra; Lithuania announced that it was considering pulling out its 53 soldiers; Rumanian president, Traian Basescu states he is under pressure to pull out their 600 troops by the end of 2007; Poland says their 900 troops will be gone by year’s end also. Spain, Ukraine, Japan, New Zealand withdrew their troops.
And now, according to the Associated Press, if Australia’s current prime minister, John Howard loses to Labor Party candidate Kevin Rudd in an election to be held in the next three months, all 1,600 of Australia’s troops will leave Iraq.
Opinions about the Iraq war are not only to be found in the Arab press. The Mail and Guardian in Johannesburg, South Africa in an editorial said, “Bush, and the terrifying forces he represents in American society, projects this war as a crusade for a safer and freer planet. The reverse is far more probable.”
The Chronicle in Harare, Zimbabwe, stated: “It is sad the United States, which is fighting to control Iraqi oil, has in the past lied to the world when it said it was concerned about human-rights issues in the Middle East country. The truth is out!” And, The East African, an independent weekly published in Nairobi, Kenya: “A war this unpopular is going to create more radical extremism than stamping out Saddam Hussein’s particular version of anti-Americanism.”
A Russian point of view was noted in Vedomosti out of Moscow, where the writer said, “unfortunately, real stabilization in Iraq may finally not occur due to lack of time.” The writer also said the U.S. should have “contemplated the issues related to Iraq’s restoration well before the military operation got off the ground.”
An editorial in the Irish Times on Sept. 5: “Critics of the war must balance their demands for it to be brought to an end by withdrawal of the coalition troops, since most violence has arisen from the occupation itself, with a commitment to help Iraqi leaders and people repair the damage it has inflicted.”