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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 April, 2005, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Media debate Iraq anniversary

Arab commentators express mixed feelings on the second anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to the US-led coalition.

But papers in Iraq and elsewhere also look to the future by focusing on the implications of the election of Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as interim president.

There are, in fact, conflicting feelings. Some [Iraqis] believe that the US troops, although they brought salvation from an unjust 35-year rule, did not carry out what they claimed they would do and did not implement the slogans they promoted regarding democracy, freedom, pluralism etc... Some believe that some countries do not want Iraq to enjoy stability - something that will lead to keeping the US and the multinational troops in Iraq. Many people believe that the departure of the US and the multinational troops will provide the way out of the ordeal.

Iraqi journalist Talib al-Janabi in Al-Hillah in Al-Jazeera TV interview

The new Iraqis celebrate their second year exercising political power after spending the longest period - among all the Arabs - in opposition... The new political power has become a reality that demonstrates the depth of the changes in Iraq - changes that are taking place not only thanks to the US occupation, but also thanks to the fact that the Iraqis have been prepared to overcome their past experiences.

Commentary by Abd-al-Wahhab Badr-Khan in London's Al-Hayat

Today marks the second anniversary of the fall of Iraq under American occupation... The new Iraq is a corrupt, racist and sectarian Iraq which has done nothing but undermine its identity, divide its people, threaten their national unity and kill thousands of its children. The new Iraq was built on a lie, and the WMD fabrication. Anything built on a lie will be nothing but a lie.

Commentary in London Al-Quds Al-Arabi

The American occupier announced that Baghdad fell on 9 April 2003 without any real fighting... However, the truth is rather different: neither Iraq nor Baghdad fell without a fight for a simple reason: the Iraqi resistance went into action in record time, forcing the history books to be rewritten. The American occupier is no longer able to breathe freely in Iraq, nor is he free to move around in Baghdad's streets and neighbourhoods.

Commentary by Nawaf Abu-al-Hayja in Jordan's Al-Dustur

The choice of the first ever Kurd, Jalal Talabani, as president of an important Arab country such as Iraq should not be seen as the recent single most important development in Iraq... Even in our Arab countries, it is not strange to find an individual from a minority at the helm of state.

Editorial in Saudi Al-Watan

There is no doubt that the election of the Kurd Jalal Talabani, as the president of Iraq, indicates a very bold and smart move. It aims at ending the secessionist discord among the Kurds, and the fears of Iraq's neighbours, particularly Turkey, which feels restless since the beginning of the US occupation in Iraq.

Editorial in Egypt's Al-Akhbar

The recent statement by Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa, to the effect that what is going on in Iraq does not necessarily feature democracy and that Arab states have nothing to do with it, struck me as very strange indeed. Mr Musa should know that Iraqis care nothing for what he says or will say in the future, for they want none of him, nor of his League.

Commentary by Sami Kadhim Faraj in Iraq's Al-Mu'tamar

Our elation at Mam (Kurdish for "Uncle") Jalal's election as president of Iraq - a great triumph for democracy in this country - is matched only by the exasperation of those who, complacent about decades-old injustices, fail to see this as anything but an unjust deviation from the norm.

Editorial by Bassim al-Shaikh in Iraq's Al-Dustur

A package deal, like the one struck between the Shia alliance and the Kurdish coalition, entails that each two side is morally and legally committed to vote for the agreed candidates... whereas many of the Kurdish members voted for the Shia candidate as had been agreed, most of the Shia members did not reciprocate by voting for the Kurdish candidate... Such behaviour makes a very bad start that will seriously hamper the process of building the new Iraq.

Commentary by Adnan Hussain in Iraq's Al-Sharq al-Awsat

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