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Last Updated:  Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 05:33 GMT
How Saddam may see war

By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst

Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein characterised the conflict as a 'people's war'
British and United States officials are reviewing their successes and failures after more than a week of war in Iraq.

But how will the Iraqi leader be reviewing the first seven days?

Little over a week ago Saddam Hussein was struggling to convince the world he was still alive and still in charge.

Now he has done more than just survive - he has shown he has a plan, and one which appears to have caught his enemies by surprise.

On the ground, his forces are engaged in guerrilla warfare designed to harry the US-led forces and slow their advance to Baghdad.

'People's war'

In his speeches on state TV he has been dressing this up - not very convincingly - as a "people's war".

It is highly improbable that Ali Obeid - an elderly Iraqi farmer - shot down an American Apache helicopter.

But, through the power of television, Ali's face and whiskers are now known throughout the Arab world - and, for Saddam Hussein, that is what counts.

British troops in az-Zubayr near Basra in southern Iraq
Iraqi troops are slowing the coalition advance

A week of war has produced an outpouring of Arab anger over the bombing of Baghdad and the death of Iraqi civilians.

There has been Arab pride over the fact that the American superpower is facing more resistance than it had expected.

The failure of Arab leaders - to bring about a just solution of the Palestinian issue, to prevent a war in Iraq which most leaders say they oppose - have contributed to a mood of Arab humiliation.

Arab pride

The flip-side of that humiliation is Arab pride.

A few Arab commentators are warning that this current mood of pride may be short-lived - that the Arab media are exaggerating Iraqi successes - and that in the end America will prevail and Saddam Hussein will fall.

But, for the moment, a mixture of anger and pride is the order of the day - and that is a propaganda success for Saddam.


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