Iraq Press Roundup

By HIBA DAWOOD, UPI Correspondent  |  Oct. 22, 2007 at 1:39 PM
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The Baghdad-based Al Mada newspaper in an editorial Monday -- headlined "The U.S. presence in Iraq: Questions need to be answered" -- criticized U.S. policies in Iraq.

"Iraqis are astonished because of what the U.S. is doing in Iraq," the editorial said.

It said the same time the United States launched its "destructive war" on global terrorism, they applied a strategy that raises many questions. The editorial said there were ambiguities in U.S. behavior toward Iraq.

"The question is: Why doesn't the U.S. save the Iraqi people from the violence and terror? Why don't they keep their promises?" the editorial asked.

The editorial said the more important question is why the United States doesn’t want to leave Iraq "with their heads proudly up" so it can tell the world that human rights, security and freedom are their goals?

"The answers to these questions are always confusing and not satisfying to the knowledge-seeker," the paper said.

The editorial said it is illogical the United States has such direct domination over the Middle East, except for Iran and Syria, yet "they live in such a real American dilemma."

"This dilemma is caused by Middle Eastern countries strongly connected to the U.S. agenda."

The newspaper said these countries would die "like a fish taken out of water" if the United States raised its hands on them.

"If the U.S. asked these countries to close their mouths, they will do so and speak again only when the U.S. tell them to," the paper said, adding these countries were recruiting and pushing into Iraq hundreds of mercenaries to promote sectarian strife, and "add fuel to the fire.”

"What's happening here? And how can anybody relate between these facts and the reality on the ground?" the editorial said.

The paper asked: "Is the U.S. really unable to stop the neighboring countries for the continued killings against Iraqi civilians, or are they fabricating this incapability?"

Al Basaer newspaper, affiliated with the Saudi-based Iraqi Association of Muslim Scholars, a radical Sunni party, asked in an editorial: "The U.S. military presence in Iraq: Where to?"

The editorial said the U.S. invasion in 2003 established "a turning point in the international relations" because the invasion went against established rules of international relations.

The U.S. occupation of Iraq is the second of its kind; before that, the area was occupied by Britain "using the same logo 'Iraq liberation,'" the newspaper said.

It said there are similarities between the two occupations and noted that Jay Garner was named "martial ruler" of Iraq.

"This is considered a clear announcement … for occupying an independent country," the paper said. That led to the United States replacing Garner with Paul Bremer.

"Bremer couldn't improve the security situation, or put off the increased Iraqi armed resistance in spite of the major military operations that the U.S. forces carried out," the paper said.

One of the other similarities between the British and U.S. invasions was that they both, after failing, established a "provisional council." The more recent on was led by Iyad Allawi.

"Handing the authority to Allawi didn't change the fact Iraq is an occupied country and the fact that the U.S. was failing," the paper said.

It also said "though, the U.S. had over 150,000 troops supported by heavy weapons and air weapons, they couldn't still improve the security situation."

When the U.S. failed, President Bush sent 30,000 troops more.

Al Basaer said that Bush "because of pressure from inside the United States and from the situation on the ground to set up a timetable for troop withdrawal," has three options:

-- Accept the pressure and pull out of Iraq immediately, and leave the current Iraqi government without a cover.

"This will escalate the sectarian war, and increase the neighboring countries' interference in Iraq, especially Iran."

-- Adopt a neutral solution by agreeing to set up a timetable, but "canceling the political process, and hand the authority to an Iraqi national government that is able to control the security situation."

-- Continue occupying Iraq and keep the troops there, hoping to control the situation and end the armed resistance.

It said taking the last option will be tantamount to “suicide in Iraq."

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