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March 28, 2003

A clash of orthodoxies

While the coalition seeks to minimize civilian casualities, Islamists seek just the opposite, says this article in The Washington Times
[...] According to United Press International, Persian Gulf TV stations have organized fund-raisers for their Iraqi "brother heroes," while the Jordan Times writes that people "are fed up with everything American, including democracy." The Arab League has officially decried the invasion. And, a report from the London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi (via the Jerusalem Post) tells us the favorite name for Palestinian baby boys these days is Saddam.
This last bit is only to be expected, given the mass exaltations in the Palestinian Authority induced by this week's capture of American soldiers by Iraqi forces. "Everyone here was happy to see pictures of American soldiers in Iraqi custody," a policeman at Yasser Arafat's headquarters told the Jerusalem Post. "I felt like kissing people all around me," said another. "They have just shot down two Apache helicopters,' an excited merchant shouted hysterically as he ran out of his shop . . . . Oh beloved Saddam, bomb, bomb Tel Aviv,' [a group of about 50 schoolgirls] chanted as passersby and shopkeepers greeted them with the traditional Islamic battle cry of 'Allahu akbar' (God is great). As they marched through the streets, the girls, some younger than 10, urged Saddam to eliminate Israel. Oh Saddam, we love you, why don't you annihilate all the Jews?' "
This scene is not without its terrible irony. For as the United States and Britain throw their best men and armor at the terrorist-harboring, terrorist-supporting Iraqi dictatorship, they also prepare for what comes after: a reformed Iraq, minus Saddam Hussein, and . . . a Saddam-supporting Palestinian state. Or so British Prime Minister Tony Blair all-but-stated before meeting with President Bush this week at Camp David. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Mr. Blair told Parliament that he and Mr. Bush were determined to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "calling it the one issue that most divides the pan-Muslim world from the West."
Not quite.