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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Bush's victory speech gets mixed reaction
Iraqi children jeer US troops in tank in Falluja, Iraq
Detractors say a long US presence in Iraq will worsen tensions

The world has offered caution rather than cheers for US President George W Bush's announcement that the war in Iraq is over.

Response was typically muted among Iraq's neighbours in the Arab world.

Correspondents say many Arabs felt humiliated by the presence of Western soldiers in the Arab world and have a sense of pride that some Iraqis are resisting and demonstrating against the American presence.

And the anti-war faction was quick to challenge Mr Bush's confident assertion that the conflict in Iraq was "one victory in a war on terror".

"It may be a case where the peace is harder to win than the war because of the divisions within Iraqi society," New Zealand's Foreign Minister Phil Goff said.

'Huge intifada'

The BBC's Mark Doyle in Cairo says the majority of people in the Arab world saw the US-led action in Iraq as an invasion followed by a military occupation.

The mission is not over - it's a failure
Australia Greens Party Senator Bob Brown

Some Egyptians said there would be low-level resistance but that this would build steadily if the US installed a puppet regime in Baghdad or tried to exclude from power the majority Iraqi Shia population, he says.

Radical voices say the US faces the prospect of endless and violent resistance until they leave Iraq - a sort of huge intifada, aimed this time not at Israelis, but at the whole Western world.

Even the Kuwaitis, traditionally a pro-Western nation which supported the US-led action in Iraq, said that tension in the region would not be over until the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis is resolved, our correspondent adds.

In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, Amien Rais - head of one of the country's largest Muslim organisations - was blunt in his condemnation of both the US and its leader.

"Mr Bush has destroyed, to a great extent, part of mankind and part of civilisation," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"I'm beginning to lose my faith in American democracy, which I adored and admired."

'Protests and struggles'

In Australia, where Prime Minister John Howard's staunch support of the US-led conflict was in sharp contrast to the country's vociferous anti-war protests, opposition parties voiced anger at Mr Bush's statements.

"The conflict in Iraq is not over and Iraq has neither freedom nor democracy," Senator Bob Brown from the Australian Greens Party told Associated Press.

"No weapons of mass destruction have been discovered or destroyed. The mission is not over - it's a failure."

Leaders of protests against the war in South Korea echoed Mr Brown's comments, saying that continued US presence in Iraq would only exacerbate tensions in the country as it attempted to rebuild its infrastructure.

"The war will not be over until US troops withdraw from Iraq," said protest leader Chung Yon-shik.

"Until then, US troops will face endless protests and struggles by the Iraqis."


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