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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Press round on Iraq's new leaders
Arabic press graphic
The Middle Eastern press largely blame US allies in Iraq for a week of bloodshed in Shia cities though some accuse radical cleric Moqtada Sadr of aggravating the situation.

At a time when US forces are storming Najaf... the position of the Iraqi transitional government, which is supposed to look after the interests of the Iraqi people and restore stability, is like a grenade on the muzzle of a launcher.

Saudi Arabia - editorial in Al-Watan

The storming of Najaf by US soldiers to arrest followers of the youthful Shia leader Moqtada Sadr will only inflame the situation further and will not quell the resistance against occupation...

It seems the transitional government did not evaluate the risks involved in storming Najaf to arrest members of the armed Mehdi Army, something that led to fires blazing in other areas like Baghdad, Amara, Diwaniya and Kut.

Egypt - editorial in Al-Ahram

Butchery alone is the only way to take control and impose authority in Iraq... Those Iraqis or non-Iraqis who achieved such a lot by historically overthrowing Saddam today find themselves promoting Saddamism, without Saddam.

London-based Al-Hayat - commentary by Abd-al-Wahab Badrkhan

They came to please the Iraqi people but they have increased their misery... If US foreign policy continues in this way, it will ignite a political, security and social blaze across the world, burning everyone to different degrees.

London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat - commentary by Zayn al-Abidin

It is high time an end was put to the practice of using mosques and other religious sites for military purposes. To allow it to continue is to mock people's beliefs. It is ultimately a cowardly practice more indicative of a psychotic than a political state.

Iraq - commentary in Al-Sharq al-Awsat

Sadr has achieved nothing by delivering blood and fire to Iraq and Najaf for a week, desecrating the shrine [of Imam Ali], destroying the influence of leading Shia clerics and weakening moderate Shia...

The biggest mistake by the group led by Sadr, or better to say manipulated by him, was to take shelter at the Imam Ali shrine to begin his resistance, and this caused the assaults on the shrine.

Iran - editorial in Sharq

From day one, [Iyad] Allawi's government adopted a method opposed to consensus and unity. His first option was to play the sectarian card against Sadr, which coincided with [Israeli Prime Minister] Sharon-like destruction of houses in Falluja on the pretext they harboured terrorists.

London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi - commentary by Abd-al-Wahab al-Afandi

The atrocities the US forces committed in Falluja and those which the Anglo-American troops and their allies are committing today in Najaf and other Iraqi cities amount to systematic genocide masquerading as anti-terrorist measures against so-called infiltrators from neighbouring states: US allegations readily echoed by a puppet Iraqi government allied to the US and the host of old and new colonialists.

Iraq - from commentary by Mudhir Arif, secretary-general of the Iraqi Greens Party, in Al-Manar Al-Yawm

Recent developments prove that the United States does not think about anything short of full domination over Iraq... What has encouraged the Americans to continue their bullying approach is a total lull by international bodies, most importantly the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

Iran - editorial in Iran News

The fact that the agreement between the Najaf militia and trusted political groups was violated, indicates that a dangerous scenario has been planned to suppress and isolate the country's Shia majority. The provocative acts came shortly after the illogical remarks of the Iraqi defence and interior ministers, who claimed that the Islamic Republic was interfering in Iraq's internal affairs.

Iran - editorial in Tehran Times

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