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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Arab media lukewarm on Iraq deal
By Sebastian Usher
BBC world media correspondent

UN Security Council voting on Resolution 1546
The Security Council backed the resolution, but what about Iraqis?
Arab media have reported the new UN resolution on Iraq as a step forward in bringing stability to the country, but they have stressed that the resolution has not satisfied all Iraqi demands for full sovereignty.

The pan-Arab satellite stations have given considerable weight to the statements made by President George Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which greet the passing of the resolution as respectively a great victory for the Iraqi people and a milestone for the new Iraq.

Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Baghdad reported that the resolution had had a mixed reaction amongst Iraq's political parties - winning support from those already involved in the political process, but facing opposition from those outside it.

Al-Jazeera asked an Iraqi political analyst, Abdul Razzaq al-Naas, whether Iraqis shared Mr Bush's view that the resolution was their victory.

"The resolution has not responded to all the demands of the Iraqi people for full sovereignty, particularly the political forces and religious authorities which demanded that the resolution should stipulate full sovereignty in Iraq, including the supervision of the multinational forces and approving an election law," said Mr Naas.

Street reaction

Al-Jazeera's reporter in Iraq said most people there seem to have welcomed the resolution as an encouraging start for the transfer of sovereignty.

Abu Dhabi TV - which also broadcasts across the Arab world - asked people on the streets of Baghdad what they thought.

"Sovereignty is the aspiration of every honest person who loves his country and nation, but we want sovereignty to be genuine," said one man.

Another man thought the resolution was "better than nothing. But until when will we be under American occupation? In any case, sovereignty is the means by which we will attain full independence, God willing," he said.

Victory for Bush

Al-Arabiya's correspondent in New York highlighted the timing of the resolution, coming just as President Bush was meeting his fellow G8 leaders.

Attack on truck in Baghdad
Some commentators are hopeful the resolution can bring peace to Iraq
She said it might be interpreted as a political victory for the Bush administration, which could come in useful in its election campaign.

The vote on the resolution came too late for reaction by commentators in the Arab press, but several had already written pieces in anticipation of the vote.

In Lebanon's Daily Star, Rami Khouri said America's flexibility over the resolution showed realism and compromise triumphing over idealism and bullying tactics.

In the Saudi-owned paper al-Hayat, Muhammed al-Rahimi widened his focus, asking: Is it possible for Iraqis to become democrats?

He said that the golden rule for Iraqis wanting to build a new country was to recognize that without the Americans, their jailer - Saddam Hussain - would still be in place.

He concluded that a new Iraq could not be built on hostility to foreign involvement.


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