America’s lost it in the Arab world

By Paul Eedle

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Potential ‘collateral damage’ selling tea on a Baghdad street

Why didn't the Saudis and the other Arabs want the United States and Britain to go to war against Iraq last month? Because they're sick to death of being patronised, bullied and taken for granted.

For seven years, the United States has tried to squeeze Saddam Hussein from power through UN sanctions and sporadic cruise missile attacks. Iraqi children have died for lack of medicines and their mothers have had to sell their wedding rings to buy food. But Saddam has survived, and the Arabs have had enough.

Here's how the journalist Riad Najib el-Rayyes put it in the Beirut newspaper an-Nahar. The excerpts are courtesy of the daily newsletter Mideast Mirror.

The guard dogs are eating the sheep

Riad quotes a Gulf Arab friend’s lyrical explanation of why they’re sick of feeding their sheep to the guard dogs:

Iraq is our model. We ate its dates and drank its arak

Our 'allies' the Americans take no account of our dignity

They’re exploiting our weakness

20 March 1998

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 RAYYES