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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 13:19 GMT
Iraq press attacks Falluja assault

Several Iraqi newspapers have criticised the government for sanctioning the operation to dislodge rebels in the city of Falluja.

Some believe not enough efforts were made to resolve the situation through dialogue.

The Baghdad daily Al-Dustur describes the operation as "an attempt at applying US democracy at any price".

"The government and its US ally will storm Falluja and use all military capabilities at their disposal to crush the armed groups," it continues.

What could be gained through fighting could also be gained through politics
Al-Manarah

"What is happening is governed by reason and fanaticism, good and evil, peace and war, decision and indecision, freedom and slavery, democracy and dictatorship, unity and division. It is a battle of slogans in which Iraqis remain the only losers."

The Basra daily Al-Manarah calls on the government to call off the dogs of war and resort to dialogue:

"What could be gained through fighting could also be gained through politics. There is still enough time to end the suffering of Falluja and stop the destruction of the city.

"The government should spare no effort to reach an agreement and save the blood of our brothers there."

Bush effect

Al-Manarah believes the US election result "with Bush today having plenty of time before leaving the White House" is one reason the US is gung ho about Falluja.

Iraq will remain a sleeping volcano, even if the state of emergency is extended for ever
Al-Zaman

It also urges the people of Falluja to "throw [insurgent leader and kidnapper Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi and his aides out of the city because their presence there is not in their favour".

Baghdad's Al-Zaman also believes that dialogue would have proved more beneficial than force.

"History repeats itself when Iyad Allawi declares a state of emergency in the country after a government announcement that negotiations have failed to find a peaceful way out of the Falluja crisis.

"The government should have entered into dialogue with the national forces that have made public their intention to boycott the forthcoming elections, which are illegitimate under the occupation.

"The occupiers, for their part, should realise that if a government has been elected, they should define a deadline for their withdrawal, otherwise matters will get out of control.

"This means Iraq will remain a sleeping volcano, even if the state of emergency is extended for ever."

One dissenting voice, in the liberal As-Sabah, feels that the Iraqi government had no choice but to try to restore control over Falluja.

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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