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Review of the Arab press (UPI) VIA-WASHINGTON TIMES) Amman, Jordan 01/27/05)Source: http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20050127-073917-1825r.htm UPI} UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL UPI} UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Amman, Jordan, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Arab press roundup for Jan. 27:

Qatar´s al-Watan commented in its editorial Thursday on the killing of 37 American troops in one day in Iraq Wednesday, accusing President George W. Bush of doing nothing to find an exit strategy from Iraq. The pro-government daily said it was "unfortunate" that the Bush administration was not moved by the event and the fact that 13 more U.S. soldiers were injured in separate incidents across the country on the same day. It said: "It is unfortunate that the Bush administration is not able, or does not want to, find an exit strategy from Iraq as is being sought by American members of Congress, experts and academics." It added that such a strategy was needed because the upcoming Iraqi elections on Jan. 30 was unlikely to bring security or stability to Iraq, adding that the polls were expected to escalate the violence "with huge incidents, such as yesterday´s." The Qatari paper said that although internal U.S. criticism was growing against the U.S. administration, President Bush only replies by saying the American forces in Iraq will complete their mission as soon as possible. It added that "such unclear promises will not calm down the situation, for what is required is a specific timetable for (American) withdrawal" from Iraq.

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Egypt´s government-run al-Ahram criticized a call by the head of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, to give Shiites autonomy in the south of Iraq, describing this demand as attempting sectarian sedition in the country. The mass-circulation daily commented that Chalabi, whom it said had enjoyed warm relations with the United States "before it abandoned him and stopped providing him with financial assistance," has now deepened his relations with Iran. It said Chalabi had become a mouthpiece for Tehran and "implements its policies in Iraq by instigating part of Iraq´s Arab Shiites to separate from the rest of the Arab Sunnis and Shiites." The paper described Chalabi´s demand as "an ignorant call made by a man who lived outside Iraq and has no links with this large Arab country nor with the other sects in the various Iraqi provinces, starting with Baghdad." It said it was a "seditious call to ignite sectarian divisions," urging all Iraqi national forces "keen on Iraq´s unity" to be cautious of such a "suspicious call."

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Kuwait´s al-Rai al-Aam quoted the chief of police in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, Gen. Ghaleb al-Jazaeri, as saying he expected al- Qaida operative in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to launch attacks on Elections Day. He told the pro-government daily that security measures have been adopted to prevent attacks, including "firing mortars without warning on all cars that come near Najaf and the polling stations" when Iraqis go to the polls. Al-Jazaeri added that the Iraqi police have been warned against tardiness in assuming their duties from Jan. 26 until the end of the elections, saying that any such violations by members of the authorities would be charged with grand treason, punishable by death. He said that "we told the members and officers of the police to be present in their posts and we declared martial law, meaning that every element who does not carry out his duty by showing up will be accused of treason." Al-Jazaeri said these orders apply to the police forces, the border and national guardsmen.

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The Saudi al-Watan daily said that differences between Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan and Ahmed Chalabi threatened the unveiling of corruption in the interim Iraqi government. The pro-government paper said that economic and financial experts expected the "sharp differences between al-Shaalan and Chalabi to reveal many financial violations carried out by officials in the interim government, political party leaders, ministers and senior government employees." It quoted the unidentified experts as saying that businessmen residing in Beirut, who have very close ties to senior Iraqi officials, were taking charge of exporting goods to Iraq, especially weapons and military equipment, as well as signing contracts with the government in Baghdad. The paper also quoted Kurdish sources as saying that deals were struck between defense ministry officials and arms dealers residing in Beirut.

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The London-based al-Hayat quoted the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas as saying that a special committee will be formed to include the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the leadership of the PA to re-evaluate the PLO, saying that all Palestinian groups were invited to participate in these deliberations. In an interview with the Saudi-financed daily, Abbas also said he was optimistic that in the next few days, he would secure a cease-fire from all Palestinian factions. But he added that Israel must stop its military raids, stop chasing Palestinian activists, destroying homes and to release a substantial number of Palestinian prisoners as a first batch. He said these measures must be followed by steps for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank towns and cities, to be replaced by Palestinian forces. Abbas warned that without American support for Palestinian steps taken within the framework of the peace road map, "everyone will fall into the abyss." (Copyright 2005 United Press International 01/27/05)


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