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Arab voices: The post-Saddam Iraq

A U.S. Marine briefly placed an American flag on this statue of Saddam in Baghdad. Later, a pre-Gulf War Iraqi flag was draped around the statue's neck before it was toppled.
A U.S. Marine briefly placed an American flag on this statue of Saddam in Baghdad. Later, a pre-Gulf War Iraqi flag was draped around the statue's neck before it was toppled.

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(CNN) -- The following is a sampling of media reports and interviews expressing views of Operation Iraqi Freedom from newsmakers, officials and journalists in and from the Middle East.


The London-based, Saudi-owned media organization posted an op-ed article on Iraq's future on its Web site. Below are excerpts from that piece.

Where did this war start? Where did it start to reach Baghdad today? Its gateways were no doubt many: the drive of the American administration; Saddam Hussein's dark history, etc. But one of the gateways was the impossibility of curbing the American power. The U.N.'s impotence was openly declared, while world public opinion failed to be the alternative regulator, despite the fact that the antiwar demonstrations witnessed unprecedented numbers.

Why did world public opinion fail? Because, despite the universal appearance, it was not an international public opinion, and was deeply splintered. Demonstrations in the West were against nationalism. Our demonstrations in the Arab world were nationalistic, and of a 'Nasserite spirit.'

Their demonstrations were against religion.... Our demonstrations cast a religious shadow on politics and were accompanied by the issuing of fatwas for jihad. Their demonstrations were against the war on Iraq. They refused the principle of a "just war." ... Their demonstrations were against Saddam. Our demonstrations supported Saddam, whom we vowed to defend "with our soul and blood."

These substantial differences were one of the gateways to the war on Iraq. ...

In the future: Can the Arabs and Muslims assimilate with the only universal and progressive effort that will oppose the policy of the American right? Will they be able to build bridges with Europe? Most likely, no, unless we witness qualitative transformations in the prevailing thought and values. ... Now, we face an important test: How do we deal with the post Saddam era....

We must pay attention to the Iraqis, their sensitivities, experiences and desires. ... We must enter it on the side of the Iraqi people against the American unilateralism.

Succeeding in such test will allow us to confront the huge contradiction that stands between us and the world.

Jabir Algarawi and Ewan Gewargis, Iraqi exiles living in Arizona

The Arizona Republic interviewed Jabir Algarawi, 36, who came to the United States in 1991 as a political exile, and Ewan Gewargis, who has lived in exile since 1973. Algarawi told the online newspaper that he participated in a failed civilian attempt to oust Saddam Hussein. Below are excerpts from that article.

"Liberating Iraq is going to be easy, what comes next is going to be the hard part," said Algarawi, executive director of the Arizona Refugee Community Center in Phoenix....

"Of course we accept the coalition troops to stay there for a while to help the Iraqi people hold free elections," Algarawi said. "But it should be up to the Iraqis who should run Iraq. A lot of Iraqis believe Saddam is a guy brought to power by the CIA and they want to know, is the CIA going to do the same thing again?"

Ewan Gewargis, 67, an Iraqi exile living in the United States since 1973, agrees there will be conflict between religious and ethnic groups in postwar Iraq.... "We know at first there will be confrontations between groups, but very soon there will be a kind of government that works to serve all the people of Iraq. That's the kind of government we expect."

He believes the reconstruction of Iraq should be led by the United States, not the United Nations as the British and others have suggested. The United States, he said, "is the only savior of the Iraqi people and the only government that should be trusted by the Iraqi people," Gewargis said

The Daily Star

This Bangladesh news Web site posted an article about a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council held in Kuwait Monday. Below are excerpts from that article about the conference of Arab leaders.

... In a closing statement read on Kuwait television by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdul Rahman al-Attiya, the GCC states underlined the importance of safeguarding Iraqi civilians and "reaffirm the importance of Iraqis running all of the affairs of their country."

"In this regard, the GCC believes it is time for the international community, represented by the United Nations, to move quickly and effectively to guarantee the future of Iraq, its sovereignty, the unity of its territory and the safety of its people," the statement said.

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