- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 20, 2003

Arab media, including new publications on the streets of Baghdad, increasingly are portraying the United States as an invading force being resisted by “brave” Iraqis who want them to leave.

“There is a common theme of ‘invaders’ or ‘colonialists’ that need to be removed,” said Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

From newspapers in Cairo to tapes aired on Al Arabiya satellite television, the sentiment being sold to ordinary Iraqis increasingly is that U.S. troops should leave the country or risk being rejected by the same people who just months ago welcomed the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Egypt’s English-language Al Ahran weekly cheered India’s recent decision not to send troops to Iraq. “They will not be coerced into facilitating the occupation of Iraq,” it said.

“Iraq has been under an American-led occupation for more than three months. But the Iraqi people are resisting the occupation as never before,” the weekly said.

Al-Da’wa, a publication of the Islamic Missionary Party now available on the streets of Baghdad, told its readers that the United States wants “to control Iraq’s resources and to replace internal despotism with occupation, colonization and subjugation, which the free sons of Iraq cannot accept.”

An editorial in the May 28 issue of Egypt’s Al-Gumhuriya daily predicted the number of U.S. casualties would increase and that Washington would eventually realize that “this fire will keep on raging because nations do not consent to foreign occupation.”

“Therefore, if the Americans do not rush and withdraw from Iraq, it is not inconceivable that they will suffer a defeat or another catastrophe, like the one in Vietnam, at the hands of the brave Iraqi opposition.”

In an editorial cited by MEMRI, the Iraqi newspaper Al-‘Adala pointedly criticized U.S. troops for their July 4 festivities.

“It is a ridiculous incongruity that the occupiers celebrate their independence day while occupying other countries,” said the newspaper, published by the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

The barrage of criticism comes amid daily lethal attacks on the 147,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, even as Iraq’s U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, and his staff are fighting to restore essential services, security and political structure.

A column in the July 7 edition of the independent Iraqi daily Al-Yawm Al-Aakhir criticized Mr. Bremer for shirking his responsibilities as head of an occupation force and failing to set up an effective Iraqi government.

“Now that three months have elapsed since your occupation, you are still incapable of providing security and services to the people. In these circumstances, what is your response for not establishing an Iraqi government and taking the initiative in the reconstruction of Iraq in a serious manner?” the daily questioned.

Even those newspapers that are generally supportive of the U.S. efforts look forward to an early departure of American troops.

“We have said more than once that these [attacks on U.S. troops] have not expedited, nor will they expedite, the departure of allied forces from Iraq,” said a July 9 column in the daily Baghdad.

Written by Abd al-Hamid al-Omari, the piece continued, “Saddam has lost all his cards following his defeat, and everyone in Iraq, young and old, now understands the truth.”

Al-Aswaq, an Iraqi business daily, took issue on July 10 with an interview broadcast on Al Jazeera satellite television in which a young Lebanese said he would not visit Iraq before “its liberation” from the United States because he was afraid of ill treatment by coalition forces.

“The coalition forces do not treat the Iraqis with a fraction of [the harshness] used against them by the Saddam occupation,” stated the paper, which MEMRI says is published by the Association of Iraqi Industries.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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