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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Mid-East press reflects Iraq's uncertain security

Mid-East papers continue to deliberate the reasons behind the assassination of Shia cleric Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim, with two noting its provocation of greater anti-Saddam feelings. Some voice suspicions that the US was involved in the assassination.

Elsewhere, the spotlight focuses on the Palestinian Authority's leaders, with one Israeli commentator criticising Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz's call to deport Yasser Arafat.

How will Iraqis read the wisdom behind the killing of al-Hakim and the way it was carried out? Al-Hakim was killed because he was a moderate, thoughtful person who totally opposed Saddam's regime.

Al-Hayat, pan-Arab, London-based

The killing of al-Hakim has radically changed the situation in view of the fact that the anger campaign against Saddam Hussein and the Baath party has reached its zenith. All the Iraqi streets have now become mobilised to do something in revenge against Saddam Hussein.

Al-Ra'y al-Am, Sudan

Iraqi investigators have neither got the power nor enough training to find out the truth behind the killing of al-Hakim, while the Americans are not concerned with knowing the circumstances of the killing because they want them to remain obscure so as to take advantage of it.

The occupation is the first one to have taken advantage of the killing of al-Hakim.

Al-Watan, Oman

America's greatest fear is that a religious authority would hold power in Iraq, and America does not want Iraq to turn into cleric-run state like Iran.

Al-Ittihad, UAE

The attacks carried out in Iraq are not only marked by professionalism... They also strive to disconcert the Iraqi political forces, which are trying to take advantage of change in Iraq, in order to set up a new political and social reality.

Those who are behind these attacks want to prove that peace and security are far from Iraq and that they can get into any place they want, from embassies to government and religious sites. Their aim is to force the US occupation forces into an awkward position.

This is the beginning of an internal war and we do not want the Americans to deal with security problems by creating chaos in security. This is precisely what those who carried out the last attacks want.

Al-Jazeera, Saudi Arabia

The US administration left Abu Mazen in broad daylight, without giving him any real help to consolidate his position.

If President Arafat cannot sack the prime minister and replace him with another one, then what is this Authority on which he sits and what are the future powers he is talking about?

Al-Quds al-Arabi, pan-Arab, London-based

Will Arafat's deportation truly bring about an end to the conflict, or might the situation become even more complicated?

It doesn't matter how intense the rivalry between the two; in response to Arafat's deportation, Abu Mazen would have no choice but to resign from his post as prime minister. In other words, anyone wishing to exacerbate the state of anarchy in the territories would do well to take such a step.

Ha'aretz, Israel

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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