April 11, 2003
Bridges for Peace
"Whether consciously or unconsciously, the Americans are paving a long, broad path for the death of tens of thousands, maybe even more, of their people. The American madness will bring nothing but counter-madness. They [Americans] have begun an era of destructive and lethal war for human beings in order to feed their aggressive military economic machine, and they will bear the responsibility for it." Al-Ayyam (PA), April 10, 2003.
"This catastrophe, that adds to the series of Arab defeats throughout the last century, may create a new consciousness and profound clarity of mind within the Arab nation and Muslim world, since everyone knows they are in a state of regression, cultural backwardness, and disintegration, being unable to cooperate with each other and with the entire world... [However,] what happened in Baghdad yesterday is not the final stage in the history of that noble city. In the wreckage created by the bombings, and with the remains of the victims - children, women, and the elderly - who defended the glory and honor of this nation, lie the seeds that will prove to the whole world one day, hopefully soon, that there will be a revival of Baghdad." Al-Quds (PA), April 10, 2003.
THE LONDON ARABIC PRESS:
"Finally, I want to ask, what do the Arab leaders feel, those who abandoned Iraq, and conspired with the invaders, what do they feel when they see the statues of their colleague Saddam Hussein fall one after another, in Basra, Baghdad, and Nasiriyya? Have they given it a lot of thought, and have they learned any lessons? I believe that the statue of Saddam Hussein is not the only one that will fall. It will be followed soon by other statues, in more than one Arab capital." Abd Al-Bari Atwan, Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), April 10, 2003.
"The stabbing of September 11 was not fatal to America, but it was fatal to Saddam Hussein and his regime. He did not understand that his only option was to arrange his surrender or his exile. He acted stubbornly and arrogantly. This is the end of a man, the end of a regime, the end of a phase." Al-Hayat (London), April 10, 2003.
"It has been proven absolutely and irrevocably that Saddam Hussein cheated his people and the entire Arab nation. The surprising collapse of his country's capital means that nothing interested him but his own survival and personal interests, and the interests of his two sons and family. Beyond that, the homeland and citizens can go to hell!..." Al-Gumhuriyya (Egypt), April 4, 2003.
"The Iraqi regime insisted on challenging [the U.S.] and its information [minister] talked of defeating the invaders on the walls of Baghdad - [propaganda] that evoked optimism in the public. But with time, it turned out that the regime has no actual power and lacks all popularity. Therefore, its collapse was expected. The realist observers disagreed on the time of the collapse, but none of them gambled on the survival of a regime that had never given its people anything that would make them risk their lives for it..." Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), April 10, 2003.
"... The footage of the toppling of the Saddam statue expressed the removal of a nightmare that has been lying on the chests of the Iraqi people. The only thing that can be said is that this is the fate of any dictator who murders his people, treats them brutally, and steals their resources. Had the people supported Saddam, no force, no matter how strong, could have conquered Iraq..." Al-Youm (Saudi Arabia), April 10, 2003
"How did Baghdad melt like butter under the tank treads of the Marines? How did these tanks drive in the streets that welcomed them, surrounded by the residents of Baghdad... where have the huge armies of Saddam been? We haven't seen them defend any corner, any junction... where was Saddam's army who - we were told - is attacking the enemy from the east and from the west, and is going to grill the bellies of the debased Mongols of this era, and who we were told will commit suicide on the walls of Baghdad [defending it]?" "The answer is simple: The army was [made] only to defend the Ba'ath party from the Iraqi people, not to defend the homeland against its enemies. The armies of the Ba'ath regime were strong only against helpless people, women, children, and elderly. The Ba'ath party was strong against its enemy, which was the Iraqi people, not against Israel, the U.S. or the U.K... there is no other explanation for the embarrassing speed in which the Marine forces took control [of] Baghdad, except for the explanation that the people did not support the unjust Ba'ath regime." Ahmad al-Jarallah, the editor of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyasa (Kuwait), April 10, 2003.
"The Arab regimes are in a state of political and economic weakness, and [suffer] from division, conflicts, and disagreement, and therefore the war was easy, and the fall of Baghdad [came] even more easily. The politicians and their ruling class in Baghdad distanced the individual, thought, and society, which happened also in many Arab capitals, large and small. Therefore, the invasion was easy, and the fall of Baghdad came even more easily..." Al-Arab Al-Yaum (Jordan), April 10, 2003.
None of Syria's official newspapers referred to the fall of Baghdad yesterday, and no editorial discussed the American takeover of the city. Also, no pictures of the toppling of the statue of Saddam were printed.
Former Iranian president and Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani said, "No one will agree to a retired American general ruling the Iraqi people... All know that the U.S.'s goal in the war is to get a grip on the country's oil resources and regional wealth and to safeguard Israel's interests." He expressed regret that the Americans were continuing with their crimes under the false pretext of freedom and democracy. IRNA (Iran), April 9, 2003.
Summarized and compiled by Clarence Wagner, CEO of Bridges for Peace, Jerusalem. Thanks to The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an independent, non-profit organization for translation into English.