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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 May 2006, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Iraq press fears over new government
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announces his new cabinet in Baghdad
The new cabinet includes members of the Shia, Kurd and Sunni parties

Newspapers in Iraq have received the announcement of the new government with a mixture of fear and resignation.

One commentator even goes as far as to suggest the country needs a new dictator - albeit a benevolent one - to bring it under control.

The prevailing mood is summed up by a headline in the Baghdad edition of the London-based daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "New government faces daunting challenges".

The paper believes that sectarian and ethnic divisions within the new cabinet line-up mean that it is doomed to fail from the start.

Are we not in dire need of a despotic ruler of the first order?
Al-Ahali-Iraq columnist

"This formation will not last long. Rather it will drag the country into more massacres and strengthen the terrorist presence in the region and the world."

Sectarian divisions also concern the weekly Shia religious paper, Al-Hawzah, which warns against "playing with the fire of sectarianism and ethnicity to fulfil personal and party aspirations".

It calls for "a drastic change in souls, mentalities and political traditions".

Plunder

A commentator in Al-Zaman shows little faith in the new government. "Why is it that our new politicians should start their new term by plundering the country themselves or condoning acts of plunder committed by others?"

"Only by a just despot can the Orient be set right," writes a columnist in Al-Ahali-Iraq.

"Are we not in dire need of a despotic ruler of the first order?.. Has the democracy we have opted for brought us any peace and quiet? Has it done away with terrorism?.. is it not the case that these ills we are witnessing are but the very manifestations of this democracy?"

This Cabinet on whose agenda the Iraqi public has hitched great hopes and expectations


Al Nahrain

Not all media are mired in depression. The online daily Sotaliraq runs the headline: "Cabinet formed at last."

It quotes the President, Jalal Talabani, as saying: "Our success bodes well for our people and ill for terrorists."

And an editorial in Al-Nahrain says: "It is incumbent on all those politicians who have been brought to power by Iraqi voters to realize how absolutely necessary for them not to cave in under the weight of their new responsibilities.

"They should never forget that they have had all the time they wanted to forge this Cabinet, on whose agenda the Iraqi public has hitched great hopes and expectations."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Iraq
22 Apr 06 |  Country profiles

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