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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 15:10 GMT
Arab press welcomes Nato split
Arabic press review
Gloom and anger at the US - for what is seen as its determination to attack Iraq regardless of world opinion - dominate many Arabic papers this Eid.

But the divide that has opened up between the US and some of its Nato allies over Iraq attracts particular attention. Many papers are grateful to France, Belgium and Germany for resisting US pressure to ready the US-led alliance for a possible attack on Iraq.

It is obligatory for us, on behalf of Muslims and Arabs, to thank France and Germany

Al-Ittihad (UAE)

"We would like to present one million roses from the gardens of Arab presidential palaces to Germany and France," Sudan's Al-Ray Al-Am says. "With this gesture we would like to express our appreciation to them."

The paper has a very different view of Washington: "The US is a dreadful military power, a cowboy frightening the whole world." But "the US is scared to death of Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network, scared of Saddam Hussein and of North Korea."

Gratitude is also expressed by the UAE's Al-Ittihad. "It is obligatory for us, on behalf of the Muslims and the Arabs, to thank France and Germany," it says, "and all those standing firm in support of peace and justice."

'Hope in Europe'

"Belgium, France and Germany were not only objecting to giving support or protection to Turkey... they were basically objecting to war," the UAE's Al-Khalij says.

"It is regrettable that the Arabs are silent," the paper adds, criticizing Arab states for not forming a unified anti-war front.

Differences between the US and a number of European states should not be taken as a reason for Iraq not to continue co-operating with UN inspectors

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London)

London's Al-Arab Al-Almiyah also finds hope in the French-German-Belgian stance within Nato.

"The salvation of the whole world," the paper says, "is linked to the extent of Old Europe's steadfastness in the face of the deadly American storm which aims to suppress the entire world to serve American interests over the corpses of millions of innocent people."

A warning and a wish

Despite the lack of a united international position on the removal of Saddam Hussein, London's Al-Sharq Al-Awsat has a warning for the Iraqi leader.

"Differences between the US and a number of European states should not be taken as a reason for Iraq not to continue co-operating with UN inspectors," the paper says, "or to believe that Baghdad can take advantage of the divisions, because the thing that benefits Iraq - the strongest reason for avoiding war - is Baghdad's commitment to speed up the inspections process."

There will be no Eid after this one... the tyrants are preparing to change our features and give us new identities

Al-Dustur (Jordan)

Egypt's Al-Jumhuriyah has an Eid wish to make: "These blessed days [of Eid al-Adha] require political and diplomatic moves, full of strength and vigilance so that the happiness of Eid will be rewarded with victory over those plotting against Arabism and Islam."

But Jordan's Al-Dustur does not believe such a "victory" lies ahead.

"There will be no Eid after this one," the paper says. "What is coming is scary since we are at the threshold of a new stage of hegemony, domination and arrogance."

Referring to purported US plans to "democratise" the Middle East, starting with Iraq, the paper warns that "the tyrants are preparing to change our features and give us new identities".

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.


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12 Feb 03 | Middle East
11 Feb 03 | Europe
06 Feb 03 | Media reports
07 Feb 03 | Media reports
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