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February 27, 2003

Arabs wash their hands of Saddam

Asia Times has this piece, suggesting Saddam a gonner in Arab world
CAIRO - All over the Arab world, regimes and the Arab street seem to know how Saddam Hussein could actually win this war - with no losses to Iraq's long-suffering people, oil wealth and infrastructure, not to mention Saddam's military forces. He could comply to each and any United Nations formality and offer total, unrestricted cooperation. He could thus convince the UN Security Council - and world public opinion - that war is not necessary. If Saddam really engaged in transparency, he might pull out a victory against the Bush administration.

Will he do it? Arab diplomats who know him say he won't. That's the certainty they are carrying with them to the Arab "ordinary" summit this Saturday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm-al-Sheikh. Arab leaders at the summit won't even call for Saddam Hussein to step down as president of Iraq. Deploring the "extreme weakness" of the Arab world, Arab League general secretary Amr Moussa admitted that war could happen "in the next few days".

At least in theory, the common Arab position is to prevent their territories from becoming a base to attack another Arab country. In practice, Kuwait has been turned into a US boot camp, and Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are also an integral part of the US war machine. These states have already hinted that they would not abide by any decision of the Arab summit on this matter.

The overall feeling is that the Arabs are watching a disaster movie, passive, ecstatic spectators unable to leave their seats. The plot is all about them, but they don't seem to realize it. [more]