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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 14:11 GMT
Papers fear mounting Iraq tensions
Arabic press graphic

Papers in the Middle East warn of intensified sectarian tensions in Iraq as controversy continues to rage over the circumstances of Saddam Hussein's death.

One commentator accuses the Iraqi government of having "poisoned relations" between Shias and Sunnis, while some fear wider repercussions for the region as a whole.

Others predict that the execution of Saddam will only serve to strengthen the insurgency and backfire on the US.

ABD-AL-WAHID KHALID AL-HAMID IN SAUDI ARABIA'S AL-RIYAD

The current Iraqi government committed a grave mistake when it turned the execution of Saddam Hussein into a sectarian issue... The filming of the hanging and the recorded remarks uttered by some people who were present also confirm the [Prime Minister Nouri] Maliki government's short-sighted sectarian perspective ... Maliki's government poisoned relations between Sunnis and Shias.

HANI HABIB IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

Saddam's execution will mark a new stage in sectarian tension. Even more dangerously, this will not be limited to occupied Iraq only but will engulf the Arab world.

ERDAL SAFAK IN TURKEY'S SABAH

There could not have been a better plan to resurrect the thousand years' vengeance and enmity that existed in the Islamic world.

CUNEYT ARCAYUREK IN TURKEY'S HURRIYET

Sunnis will now believe that they have been completely sacrificed and increase their revenge attacks.

ADIL BIN-ZAYD AL-TARIFI IN SAUDI ARABIA'S AL-RIYAD

Is it reasonable that witnesses to the enforcement of a verdict chant the name of a sick sectarian leader such as Moqtada al-Sadr? If President Bush wants Iraq to stabilise, he should give up the idea of transferring security to the Iraqi army and police. The mandatory job now is the dissolution of Shia militias and liquidating them by force if necessary.

URAYB AL-RINTAWI IN JORDAN'S AL-DUSTUR

It is a sectarian extremist Iraq. It is an Iraq of militias, gangs and thieves. The Bush administration and the terrorist militia government will pay an exorbitant price for their actions.

ALI JARADAT IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

The sinful Saddam is a saint when compared to his sectarian executioners. These democracy pretenders do not know how immoral they are and how much danger to Iraq's unity and Arab identity they have unleashed. They do not have a right to boast of their sin and their collusion with the US. The sinners will be punished.

ABD-AL-RAHMAN AL-RASHID IN PAN-ARAB AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT

It is most likely that sectarian conflicts will characterise the region's politics in this new year and nowhere is this more clear than in Iraq and Lebanon.

RASIM UBAYDAT IN PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS

I am sure that Saddam's execution will only strengthen the Iraqi resistance and make it more resolute in rejecting the US occupation.

ABD-AL-MUHSIN SALAMAH IN EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

I very much doubt whether they would have done this to Saddam on one of their religious feasts if he were a non-Muslim.

PAN-ARAB AL-ARAB AL-ALAMIYAH

Through this crime, the US administration has lost the respect of the Arabs and earned the enmity of the people of the East... America is destroying its strategy with its own hands.

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.




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