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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
MidEast media at odds over Iraqi offer
Man reading newspaper Al-Iraq newspaper in Baghdad
Iraqi readers have been closely following events
Iraq's offer to allow back UN weapons inspectors has generated a fierce debate in the Middle East media.

Newspapers in Arab countries including Egypt, Syria and Lebanon come out in support of Baghdad, while many newspapers in Saudi Arabia and Iran warn that Saddam Hussein is not to be trusted.


Baghdad succeeded in cutting off the US hotheads who are planning to sink the region in blood

Syria's Tishrin
In Iraq itself, state TV said that Baghdad's diplomacy had "pulled the rug from under the feet of US administration of evil and buried their dreams in the abyss of US vice and terrorism".

Al-Thawrah, the paper of Iraq's ruling party, says the Bush administration's continued threats against Iraq "demonstrates sick dreams about taking over Iraq's oil".

'Hotheads'

Syria's daily Tishrin says Iraq "has succeeded in cutting off the US hotheads who are planning to sink the region in blood and destruction in co-ordination with [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon".

Another Syrian daily, Al-Thawrah, accuses "US and Israeli hawks" of seeking to settle old scores with states who refuse to submit to their orders.

It considers it "sad to find a 21st century country that behaves like a cowboy".

Jordan's Al-Dustur is that pleased Iraq has "taken the step expected of it by its Arab brothers and friends in the world and deprived the US of justification for a military attack".

US aggression will reap a harvest of violence

Egypt's Al-Akhbar

Lebanon's Al-Nahar fears that the "US war bazaar on Iraq has opened". The "smell of oil" coming more from the coalition seeking to overthrow Saddam Hussein is stronger than that from the oil fields, it says.

Egypt's Al-Akhbar warns that any US aggression against Iraq will "reap a harvest of violence, creating more than one terrorist stronghold".

In contrast to most papers in Saudi Arabia, the Arab nationalist Al-Jazirah welcomes Baghdad's "step in the right direction". "Peace initiatives can make progress despite the loud drums of war."

Untrustworthy

Al-Riyadh, however, cautions that it is still difficult to trust a man who takes his decisions on a "whim".


A crafty move by a wily tactician

Saudi Arabia's Arab News
"Saddam has chosen to avoid his own end by succeeding in getting Iraq sympathisers to oppose a strike," it says.

Jeddah's English-language Arab News sees Iraq's offer as "a crafty move by a wily tactician intent on spinning out the process and derailing the US strategy".

In Iran, the reformist Hayat-e Now argues that "Baghdad's untrustworthy and conflicting behaviour in recent months has left many states convinced that it deserves punishment".

Another Iranian reformist daily, Aftab-e Yazd, says prolonging the Iraqi crisis "serves Baghdad's interests as the public rejection of the war against terrorism grows".

Kuwait's Al-Siyasah calls for the Arab world to use its influence with Baghdad, while the United Arab Emirate's Al-Ittihad feels that the Iraqi leadership "could have put an end to this bloody argument more than six months ago, thus avoiding the threat of war".

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.

See also:

18 Sep 02 | Americas
13 Sep 02 | Media reports
11 Sep 02 | Middle East
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