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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2006, 13:20 GMT
Press fears over Saddam execution
Arab-Israeli press

Newspapers in the Arab world and Israel reflect a combination of cynicism, anger and fear over the execution of Saddam Hussein.

Arab commentators are angry about the timing of the execution on one of the holiest days of the Muslim calendar. Some argue Washington rather than Baghdad dictated the timing and ask why Americans have not been brought to justice for all the Iraqis killed since the 2003 invasion.

Commentators in Israel fear that Saddam's death will only lead to an increase in Iranian influence and Shia dominance in the region, posing a greater threat to the country.

TARIQ AL-HAMIED IN IRAQ'S AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT

There is no question that Saddam was an absolute tyrant and deserved to be executed, but the timing of his execution was grossly inopportune, if not downright provocative, considering the special sanctity of the day chosen for it. The real problem with Saddam's hanging lies in the fact that its blatantly wrong timing stirs more controversies and is likely to deepen the abominable sectarian schism in Iraq and across the region in a way that has never been witnessed before.

MUHAMMAD NAJI IN IRAQ'S SOTALIRAQ

It is incumbent on every one of us today to cleanse ourselves of the filthy mud of Saddamism, which is the height of the culture of despotism in Iraq. Let us celebrate the end of the last tyrant and the advent of a new era characterised by the rule of law, respect for human rights and deference to the dignity of the individual.

JASSIM AL-MUTAY IN IRAQ'S AL-JEERAN

Saddam loyalists will glower and roar as is their wont. They will try to avenge their fallen idol with more car bombings, simply because they seem to believe that this is the only way they might bring their totem back to life.

HANI NAQSHABANDI IN PAN ARAB ONLINE ILAF

The danger is not in the fact that Saddam was slaughtered on the day lambs are slaughtered. The danger is that we can see the signs of things to come in Iraq. I do not think the signs are reassuring in expecting good from a government that does not know where it is heading and where its master is - in Tehran or Washington.

GHASSAN SHARBAL IN PAN ARAB AL-HAYAT

The Maliki government has made many mistakes in hastening the execution of Saddam. The government had the ability to complete the trial of the man in the al-Anfal case and other dossiers. The Maliki government should also have been sensitive about the timing. It was, indeed, not wise to execute Saddam on the first day of the blessed Eid al-Adha. Iraq can cope with the body of Saddam, but the region cannot cope with the body of Iraq.

TARIQ AL-HAMID IN PAN ARAB AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT

The timing of the execution was unfortunate and upsetting. The execution reeks of a disgusting sectarianism. What we saw was revenge. Unfortunately, the democratic government in Iraq is similar to al-Qaeda, showing off the footage of the person being executed. They have corrupted their democracy. They have helped [Saddam] portray himself as a steadfast and strong man!

EDITORIAL IN EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

The US administration has thus offered Saddam as a sacrifice for the absolute failure of the stupid American occupation. [The execution] marks the beginning of a new stage that will foster the spirit of retaliation and revenge, destabilise the region, add fuel to the fire of the sectarian civil war and obstruct all Iraqi national efforts. Although Saddam was a dictator, the crime for which he was tried did not justify a quick execution as his other crimes were more severe and had a wider impact on the life of his people and nation.

EDITORIAL IN EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH

President Bush has offered Saddam's head as a new year's present to the American people in the hope it may compensate him for the lost victory in Iraq and make him forget the death of 3,000 American soldiers killed in the Iraqi swamp for the sake of illusions related to oil and world hegemony. Saddam committed crimes, but executing him in a way that contravenes international and humanitarian laws, and at this time, which reflects disdain for the sentiments of millions of Arabs and Muslims, is a crime whose perpetrators will be pursued by history with rage and shame.

MAZIN HAMMAD IN QATAR'S AL-WATAN

The execution of Saddam was a political decision adopted by Washington and implemented by a sham court formed by the occupation after denying the defendant his rights as a prisoner of war. What some have failed to realise is that Saddam has today become a martyr, even for those who opposed his policies and considered him a heartless dictator.

HASSAN YUNUS IN QATAR'S AL-WATAN

Saddam did a lot against his people. He led the most violent and cruel regime in the Middle East. However, whenever there is talk about him, one has to remember another man who caused the death of hundreds of thousands. He is US President George Bush.

LU'AY QADDUMI IN QATAR'S AL-WATAN

Conducted in a way that involved several violations, the trial has underlined that from the beginning, the intention was to bring Saddam to the gallows to take revenge, not to achieve justice. Why were the American generals who are responsible for the unjustified death of thousands of Iraqi civilians not punished? Why were the soldiers accused of killing, mutilation and rape not executed?

EDITORIAL IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES' AL-KHALIJ

After the execution of Saddam, there will be a new chapter in which efforts should be channelled towards the ending the occupation and scheduling its quick departure.

EDITORIAL IN BAHRAIN'S AL-WASAT

If the US administration was successful in its occupation and confident about its victory, it would not have taken this decision. It is a clear indication of the defeat of the model it promised to introduce to the region's peoples.

YOSSI MELMAN IN ISRAEL'S LEFTIST HA'ARETZ

The execution of Saddam Hussein is poetic justice. There is no doubt that the cruel tyrant who massacred his own people, attacked his neighbours Iran and Kuwait, threatened Israel and used chemical weapons against his own people of Kurdish descent, deserved his sentence... In the event, the American invasion of Iraq within the context of which Saddam was caught and his sons liquidated could be interpreted as a mistake. Saddam was the enemy of Iran and served as a brake against its expansionist aspirations. With his departure he leaves the Middle East exposed to the expansion of Iranian nationalism and Shia Islam.

NAHUM BARNEA IN ISRAEL'S TOP CIRCULATION YEDIOT AHARONOT

Say what they like about him, he met his death with dignity, with an erect head, without asking for mercy. His hanging, in its timing, was above all a political act: a government that does not control its land wanted to demonstrate determination and prove to its sect, the Shia community, that despite the heavy price that terror exacts every day, you get value for the TV licence.

ARIK BACHAR IN ISRAEL'S CENTRE-RIGHT MA'ARIV

He won his end honestly, the butcher from Baghdad. A kiss of death was out of the question for all his sins, the man with the chequebook for the suicide bombers, the man who ruined the streets of Ramat Gan [in Israel, with Scud attacks during the first Gulf war]. On the one hand we must see him pay for his crimes but on the other we know that there is no possibility of exacting a full price for them. We got rid of the main hero of Iraqi nightmare. Good night, and see you in the Iranian nightmare.

EYAL ZISSER IN MA'ARIV

Not only was Saddam executed but with him also died the hope that it would be possible to stabilise the situation in Iraq under Sunni domination, a state capable of checking the overflowing Shia wave threatening to pour from Iran via Iraq to the heart of the Arab world. The vacuum created following the collapse of Saddam and the collapse of the state which he headed is also dangerous for Israel, and requires a response the like of which does not exist yet.

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.







MIDDLE EAST PRESS PROFILES
 

SEE ALSO
The press in Iraq
26 Jan 05 |  Middle East
The press in Israel
08 May 06 |  Middle East
The Palestinian press
03 Feb 05 |  Middle East

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