Review of the Arab press

Aug. 24, 2006 at 9:47 AM
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AMMAN, Jordan, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Arab press roundup for Aug. 24:

Syria's official Tishreen daily said in its editorial Thursday the U.S. administration will try to find new pretexts to achieve what the Israeli war machine failed to accomplish in Lebanon. The state-run paper argued the Bush administration sees the war on Lebanon as its own, not just Israel's, and is seeking to turn Lebanon into an Israeli protectorate. That's why, it claimed, Washington coordinates with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government around the clock and speeded up its diplomatic efforts in the U.N. to allow it to continue its aggression on Lebanon in different ways. It said Israel saw Security Council Resolution 1701 that stopped the war as a break to assess its calculations and allow pressure on the Lebanese resistance to take its course, adding the U.S. administration is seeking to take revenge from the resistance. "What is happening in Lebanon and the U.N. circles indicates the war on Lebanon stopped, but did not end; while Olmert's government is drowning in its losses and wants to reclaim its dignity at any cost, relying on the unlimited American support," the Syrian daily asserted. It said the London-based Amnesty International human rights organization on Wednesday had accused Israel of war crimes in Lebanon, adding the group "undoubtedly took into consideration that the Bush administration is a partner in these crimes."

Oman's al-Watan said that Amnesty International's accusations that Israel committed war crimes by deliberately hitting civilian targets in Lebanon should be enough for the international community to hold Israel accountable. The pro-government daily added in its editorial, however, that it was always difficult to condemn Israel at the United Nations because of the U.S. veto, warning the world was ignoring the American administration's plan that threatens the whole region. It opined the U.S. intention to eliminate the anti-Israeli resistance in Lebanon and Palestine was to draw a new map that allows Israel to take Arab rights through "committing brutal massacres daily in Palestine and through war on Lebanon, as well as systematic destruction of the infrastructure and ruining their economy." The paper insisted that if the international community could overcome an American veto to hold Israel accountable, it should include "all the Zionist terrorist measures from the start... a very long list of crimes." It called on Arab civil institutions to document Israeli "crimes" to present to the world by holding popular conferences in world capitals.

Algeria's al-Khabar said in a commentary it does not need reports by Amnesty International, "which are often looked at with discontent in the Arab world," to know that Israel committed crimes in Lebanon. Nevertheless, it added, the organization's report reveals the collusion of the Western world that has remained silent over Israel's "crimes." The mass-circulation daily, which describes itself as independent but with Arab nationalist trends, said AI's report only shows facts the Lebanese lived and the world saw on their television screens. The problems with such reports, it complained, is they are quickly ignored, rather than being followed with measures by the international community to bring Israel to account, and are then countered with Western media campaigns that try to depict Israel as the weak victim defending itself from "the terrorism of Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas" movements. Then, it claimed, Israel's crimes in Lebanon, its previous and later ones, are forgotten as Israel "remains forever the criminal victim." Besides, the paper added, the United Nations no longer provides the needed balance in international relations and has become nothing but a tool for America, which is "blatantly biased towards Israel, even if it burns the entire Middle East."

The London-based al-Hayat commented on the Iranian nuclear crisis with the West and the United States, saying that Iran can make claims of holding strong cards and victory in Lebanon, while President George W. Bush cannot claim a single victory so far. The Saudi-financed daily added the American president has failed from Iraq and Afghanistan to Palestine, "where his only achievement was to unleash the Israeli fist to kill the peace process, and to Lebanon." It argued that it was Bush's own approach that allows Iran's influence to spread and to benefit from the region and its people's resistance to "plans of (American) hegemony." The paper, distributed in most Arab capitals, said Iran's claim to victory in Lebanon has been an Iranian message to the Americans and a response to the Western carrot tempting Iran with a regional role in return for stopping it from enriching uranium. That message, it added, was that Iran's regional role already exists, saying that Tehran was now offering carrots to the Bush administration to "help it draw new regional equations: Jumping out of the Iraqi quagmire, seeking to rehabilitate Lebanon, and through influencing the Palestinian card through Iran's relations with some of the factions." The paper said it was a "complicated map of the Iranian-American conflict," adding there was no way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear technology except through eliminating its regime and asked which option Bush would choose.

Jordan's ad-Dustour, which describes itself as independent but is partially owned by the government, published a cartoon criticizing Arab countries that pretend to support the Palestinians while working against Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation. The cartoon in the mass-circulation daily shows a man dressed in a suit with an Arab white head-dress holding up his arms. His arms are tied together in a knot, with his hands facing up, as if in surrender. The Arab man is also stepping on the foot of another man, who is wearing a Palestinian black-and-white checkered scarf around his shoulders and holding up a rifle. The angry-looking Arab is telling the startled-looking Palestinian: "We stand by our Palestinian brothers in their struggle."

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