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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 February 2006, 18:19 GMT
Arab TVs highlight video 'scandal'
British troops patrol their base at Shaibah Logistics Base in southern Iraq
The MOD has launched an enquiry into the video images

Three pan-Arab TV stations - Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera and Al-Alam - have all devoted attention to the video images that appear to show British soldiers in southern Iraq beating and kicking local youths.

Iraq's own Al-Sharqiyah channel has not yet been observed to cover the revelations.

The three channels showed the videotape released by the News of the World newspaper and provided comments by correspondents and - in the case of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya - interviews with officials and pundits.

An Iraq-based correspondent for Iran's Al-Alam channel spoke of "yet another scandal caused by the occupation forces".

'Revolting'

The station showed one Iraqi calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops and another describing the pictures as "revolting".

"A fuss is made in Britain if a dog is offended, but here Iraqi citizens are being humiliated," the man said.

This is further proof that British and US soldiers in Iraq have gone too far in offending and humiliating people
Assistant editor of Al-Hayat newspaper

The station's correspondent in London said that the British Ministry of Defence's decision to order an investigation "means that the ministry did not doubt the videotape's authenticity".

A correspondent for the Al-Arabiya channel similarly described the images as a "new scandal".

'Scandal'

The station interviewed the assistant editor of the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Abd-al-Wahab Badr Khan, who also used the word "scandal", while adding that it was "not of the magnitude of the Abu-Ghraib prison scandal".

However, he went on to forecast an angry reaction from Arab public opinion, which he feared would play into the hands of Iraq's insurgents.

"This is further proof that British and US soldiers in Iraq have gone too far in offending and humiliating people," he said.

"Regrettably, this has contributed to the acceptance of terrorist attacks whose justification is said to be the humiliation of the Iraqi people," he added.

The recurring attacks and torture by British soldiers...have become constant rather than merely isolated cases
Reporter on Al-Jazeera

The channel also broadcast an interview with an Iraqi Defence Ministry adviser, Muhammad al-Askari, who called for an investigation and urged the British military to "take all necessary legal measures against those who harm Iraqi citizens".

Trouble for Blair?

An Al-Jazeera reporter forecast that the pictures would cause trouble for the British government.

"The recurring attacks and torture by British soldiers will affect their prime minister, Tony Blair," he said. " Rather than merely isolated cases, this sort of behaviour has become constant."

The channel also interviewed left-wing British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who made the same point.

"This shows the mismanagement of British policy in Iraq, and I think it will have a major impact on Mr Blair, " he said, according to the station's Arabic translation of his remarks.

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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