Friday 21 March 2003

Disillusion, And Anger On The Arab Street

Feelings of anger and outrage in the Arab world are becoming more vocal as the first day of military action winds down.

At approximately 5 AM Baghdad time, U.S. warships and submarines in the Persian Gulf launched 42 Tomahawk cruise missiles at "selected targets" where the CIA determined Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might be residing.

They missed. Ninety minutes later, Saddam Hussein, appearing tired and somewhat unorganized in a televised speech debunked rumors that he had been killed.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials are divided over whether the man in the televised speech was actually Saddam or a body double.

Nevertheless, Arabs have taken to the street to protest a number of things.

The first, as one may expect, concerns the actual beginning of hostilities. While most Arabs are not supporters of Saddam and openly resent him, they are very much against a war in which innocent Iraqi civilians will be killed.

The second matter of protestation focuses on the fact that the U.S. cruise missile attack came at precisely the same time as the fajr (dawn) call to prayer for Muslims. Arab sentiment, relayed to this writer, believes that such timing was no coincidence and was a message to the Muslim world.

The third matter of protestation involves the announcement by White House officials today that Israel had been granted a 10 billion (U.S.) dollar military aid and loan guarantee package.

Full story...