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Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2005, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Arab League attacks Iraq charter
By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC News, Cairo

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, left, with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa
The Arab League is highly critical of Iraq's draft constitution
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa has described the Iraqi draft constitution as "dangerous".

Mr Moussa was reacting to the document's failure to describe Iraq as an Arab state.

The draft constitution says the Arabs in Iraq are part of the Arab nation, but Iraq as a whole is not.

This is seen as a major victory for the Kurds and other ethnic minorities who are not Arabs, and a disaster for the Arabs and their brethren in Iraq.

Iraq is one of the founding members of the Arab League - an organisation that has for over half a century defined itself as the standard-bearer of pan-Arabism, a political doctrine that aspires to the unification of all Arab states.

It is the founding ideology of the Arab League, the Baath Party and other like-minded movements that have shaped the politics of the region for more than 50 years.

'Bastion of Arabism'

The pan-Arab ideology is still popular across the region but has come under increasing criticism following the humiliating defeat and capture of Saddam Hussein.

Playing down the Arab identity of Iraq is viewed as a great setback to the cause of Arab unity.

Iraq has often been described the bastion of Arabism.

During its war with Iran in the 1980s, Iraq was described as the keeper of the eastern gate of the Arab world against the historic enemies of the Arab - that is, the Persians.

Like other pan-Arabists, Mr Moussa fears that a federal Iraq could only be a prelude to the break-up of the country, which could mean a definite loss of a key player in pan-Arab politics.

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