Across the Bay

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Thanks, but No Thanks!

More good news is coming out of Iraq. President al-Yawer made my day today with the following story and comments published in az-Zamān:

"We need multi-national forces from Arab and foreign nations except from the neighboring states." (Emphasis added)

Al-Yawer also stressed that the troops have to respect human rights (which excludes pretty much all the Arab armies!).

I refer readers to an early post of mine on this issue, where I brought up the disastrous role of the Arab Deterrent Forces (Rade') in Lebanon. The Iraqis are wisely staying away from these pitfalls.

Al-Yawer is not alone either. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also criticized "the neighboring Gulf states" accusing them of encouraging and even financing violence in Iraq:

"[These (unspecified) states] interfere in Iraq through their satellite channels by influencing the news media and through financial support for violence."

All this comes in the aftermath of the revelation of Kuwaiti intelligence involvement in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at several coalition prisons in Iraq, which partially explains al-Yawer's remarks. (See this scathing piece by Jassem Mourad of az-Zamān. Note in there how he contrasts the US' apology for the prison abuse with the Kuwaiti attitude. It just goes to show how deep the Iraqi disappointment in, if not resentment of, their Arab neighbors really is. Many Iraqis have called Hizbullah a terrorist group, and weren't at all impressed with the latter's pro-Sadr, anti-US, parades and rallies. In fact, they expressed annoyance at the liberties Hizbullah took in assuming that it speaks for Iraqis. Just read "Iraq the Model.")

(NB: As far as I can tell, Juan Cole still hasn't commented on these stories. However, he's made reference to, and featured guest editorials that hinted at, alleged Israeli involvement at Abu Ghraib. Also, to my knowledge, the NYT hasn't reported the story either. If I'm mistaken, please let me know and I'll gladly stand corrected.)