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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 14:49 GMT
Arabic media anger

The Iraqi press on Tuesday remained defiant following the breakdown of the diplomatic process, while newspapers elsewhere in the Arab world expressed concerns for the repercussions of military action.

Recent anti-war demonstrations in Arab capitals "will be just a drop in the ocean compared with what will happen in the Arab and Islamic world if aggression takes place," declares Al-Iraq.

"The interests of the states that are party to the aggression will be targets for 300 million Arabs and one billion Muslims," it warns.
The brave Iraqis will kill anyone desecrating their land
Al-Thawrah (Iraq)

"In Iraq, the invaders will find a mujahid, strong, patient and united people that will turn the soil of Iraq into a graveyard."

Al-Thawrah carries a similar warning to "the Little Bush Administration and the government of his lackey Tony Blair".

"Any aggression they commit on Iraq will be a failed attempt to dig their heads in the sand... The brave Iraqis will kill anyone desecrating their land," it says.

Old enmity revived

Amid the attacks on the US and Britain, enmities closer to home are not forgotten.
The producer Bush and his assistant Blair are designing a happy ending to the cheap drama being played out by Saddam
Al-Ra'y Al-Am (Kuwait)

"A popular proverb says: the dog's tail never gets straight. This applies to the rulers of Kuwait," says Al-Iraq.

"They cannot abandon their treason to the Arab nation... or give up worshipping the Pharaohs of our time - Zionist America and its vassal, the Blair government," it adds.

The feeling is mutual, to judge by an editorial in Kuwait's Al-Ra'y Al-Am.

"The producer Bush and his assistant Blair are designing a happy ending to the cheap drama being played out by Saddam," it comments.

"We ask God to help them get rid of that corrupt regime and guide them to keep the Iraqi people away from the evils and effects of war."

UN 'bypassed'

Elsewhere in the Arab world, anger at the apparent bypassing of the UN Security Council is a common theme.
Extremist Islamist and Arab organizations will... exploit the current frustration among Arab and Muslim youths, who will be used in revenge operations against US targets.
Al-Qud Al-Arabi (London)

"What a mockery of the use of power and a ridiculing of international legitimacy as a means to achieve goals that will be followed by more dangerous ones," complains the Saudi Ukaz.

In Syria - the sole Arab country on the Security Council - Tishrin agrees.

"It is surprising," it comments, "that the Arabs, who are the target of this aggression, are put in a position that does not allow them to take a decision on this war."

Al-Bayan in the United Arab Emirates compares the Arab stand unfavourably with that of France.
Unfortunately, those who should have made an effort to rescue their brothers in Iraq are submissive
Al-Bayan (UAE)

"Until the last minute, French President Jacques Chirac was saying his country would not hesitate to veto any decision taken by the USA," it notes.

"Unfortunately, those who should have made an effort to rescue their brothers in Iraq are submissive."

The London-based Al-Arab al-Alamiyah condemns "leaders who welcome soldiers from the USA, the UK and other countries and provide them with everything to invade brave Iraq, which protected them from the [Iranian Ayatollah] Khomeini revolution".

Backlash

Fears are also expressed about a terrorist backlash.

Another London-based Arab daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, warns that "the aggression on Iraq... will open the door to an escalation of violence and terrorism".
We believe the Iraqi leadership can still come up with courageous initiatives that can prevent war
Al-Ahram (Egypt)

"Extremist Islamist and Arab organisations will... exploit the current frustration among Arab and Muslim youths, who will be used in revenge operations against US targets.

"The war will not end at Iraq's borders," it concludes.

Egypt's pro-government Al-Ahram is a rare optimistic voice in the general atmosphere of gloom.

"Although war is imminent," it says, "we believe the Iraqi leadership can still come up with courageous initiatives that can prevent it by co-operating with the major anti-war forces to stop the US and British rush to launch 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.




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