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April 10, 2003

Arabs mourn Iraq's defeat, resent U.S. role in region

This piece by a Boston Globe writer is another article dealing with the arab view of the American victory in Iraq, like the posting beneath, but nonetheless worth reading because of the views toward the West expressed
AMMAN, Jordan - Disbelief and deep gloom spread across the Middle East on Wednesday as Arabs struggled to come to terms with the American-British conquest of Baghdad and the rout of the Saddam Hussein regime.

"Truly, this is the blackest day for Arab people since the Jews created Israel," said Hassan Hasan, a Jordanian industrial engineer. "President Bush's crusade is carving up the Muslim world. We see the American flag planted in Afghanistan, we see the American occupation of Kuwait. Now Saddam, the last Arab brave enough to spit in the face of America, has fallen."

The resentment was palpable not only in the clamorous souks, the traditional Arab marketplaces, where Saddam has for years been a sort of hero, but in the trendy nightspots frequented by young professional Arabs, many educated in the West.

"For three weeks, Saddam gave Arabs their pride as he faced down the invaders," said Mahmoud Ahmed Youssef, 26, a software designer, as he sipped a latte in Amman's Purple Fig restaurant. "It's hard to explain why I admire him. I know that he was a dictator, a tyrant. But his defeat, I believe, leaves all Arabs weaker. The fall of Baghdad is a terrible humiliation."

Most Arabs did not admire or respect Saddam. But his lone stand against the United States invoked admiration among a people who feel badly served by American foreign policy, which, in the Muslim view, blindly supports Israel and becomes engaged in other countries of the region only when oil is at stake.[more]