September 28, 2004
Arab press review - September 24-27By Olivier Guitta
[Editor's note: Olivier Guitta scooped the American press last Friday, uncovering information in the Arab newspaper Al Hayat, on Syria's new hostile policy toward Palestinian terror groups operating in Damascus. The following day, Hamas terror master Khalid was targeted and killed in Damascus by Israel, and the pundits began speculating that Syria might be cooperating with Israel to help eliminate Palestinian terror groups.
Recognizing the importance of saying on top of news breaking in the Arab world, we asked Olivier Guitta to start reviewing some of the more interesting items in the Arab press for us. When available, hyperlinks to the original article will be included. Obviously, readers must keep in mind that the information as reported in the Arab press is not completely reliable.]
Saudi Daily Al Jazirah September 24, 2004
The Baghdad correspondent of this journal, Hamid Abdallah, explains that the Iraqi government, supported by the Americans, has declared war on the Mahdi Army of Moktada Sadr. This war started with an offensive on Sadr City and the arrest of several Shia fighters along with two of Sadr's advisers. Sadr's spokesman fears that his leader might be arrested and that is why Moqtada Sadr changes location every three hours.
Asharq Al Awsat September 24, 2004
The journalist Khaled al Kachtini makes an impassioned plea to release the European hostages and only them. He explains that the Europeans are our friends, and that they can be the counterweight against American power, which is a hostage to Zionism. Furthermore, the Muslim community in Europe is gaining more and more influence by the day; so our interest is to befriend Europe, and that is why I implore you to release the European hostages.
Elaph.com September 24, 2004
The meeting between Farouk Chareh, Syrian Foreign Minister, and Colin Powell in New York was very heated, almost violent. The tone was much more threatening than diplomatic, and reminded us of the meeting between Tariq Aziz and James Baker in Geneva in 1991, just before the beginning of the first Gulf War.
Powell informed Chareh that the redeployment of Syrian troops is not enough, and Syria's stance in Lebanon is unacceptable. Chareh tried in vain to propose a calendar of withdrawal, to better the relationship between the two countries. Finally, Chareh mentioned the expulsion to Tehran of Khaled Mechaal, one of the Hamas leaders. Powell retorted that Syria should stop playing games and officially prove that Mechaal was really deported.
Al Quds Al Arabi September 27, 2004
The editor in chief, Abdelbari Atwane, explains that after the killing in Damascus of Khalil, one of the top Hamas leaders, Hamas is going to retaliate anywhere in the world. Europe will be the first loser because it rallied to the US—Israeli policy and put Hamas on the terrorist list.
Israel threatens the security of the entire world. Israel is more dangerous than al Qaeda. European leaders must put an end to this Israeli policy not just to defend the Palestinians but also to protect their own citizens.
Saudi Al Watan September 27, 2004
Abdelkarim Abu Nasser reports that the Syrian leadership has warned President Bush of his failure in Iraq. In fact according to their own sources, the Syrians claim that the Iraqi guerilla owns huge quantities of weapons; most of them not even used yet. Therefore, the guerilla does not need the support of any foreign country and can wage war for several years. In light of this, Damascus offers its services to Washington to help pacify Iraq.
Qatari Al Watan September 27, 2004
Olivier Guitta is a freelance writer, specializing in the Middle East and Europe.