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memri
January 25, 2009 No.
2114

Egyptian Government Papers Slam U.S. Over U.S.-Iraq Pact, Syria Raid

Recent editorials in the Egyptian press have been harshly critical of the U.S. for the October 26, 2008 raid in Syria, and for the U.S.-Iraq security pact that is about to be signed. The papers are depicting the raid as a murderous attack on innocent civilians, and the pact as compromising Iraqi sovereignty. One paper stated that the only thing that can compel the U.S. to leave Iraq is the resistance.

Following are excerpts from the editorials:

Al-Ahram: The Attack in Syria Was Premeditated Murder

An editorial in the leading government daily Al-Ahram stated: "The U.S. had no justification for the crime of murdering Syrian civilians and infringing upon the sovereignty of an independent state. This brutal attack, carried out by American aircraft, targeted a nonmilitary building under construction in a Syrian village near the Iraqi border, and resulted in the death of eight construction workers who were inside it. By all standards, norms, charters and international laws, this [constitutes] aggression against an independent country and the premeditated murder of innocent civilians.

"The excuses presented by Washington to justify its aggression against Syria are unacceptable. Nobody can accept them, especially after the U.S. lost its credibility in the world at large, and in the Middle East in particular, by inventing the lie about Iraqi WMDs to justify its 2003 invasion and occupation of this country. America's bag of lies is full of ready-made excuses, justifications, and misleading explanations...

"There is no doubt that this American aggression against Syria may aggravate the already explosive situation in the Middle East, and that the U.S. alone bears the responsibility for this aggression against a sovereign country." [1]

Al-Gumhouriyya: Iraq Defended the U.S. Attack

An editorial in the government daily Al-Gumhouriyya attacked both Iraq and the U.S., saying: "The U.S. did not wait for the signing [of its security pact with Iraq, but] hastened to implement it [even before it was signed]. It staged a brutal attack on the Abu Kamal region in Syria, even though the centers for smuggling fighters [from Syria] into Iraq [which once operated in that region] have been eradicated. Strangely, the Iraqi government accepted this decision and even defended the U.S. raid, even though Syria recently dispatched an ambassador to Iraq while Iraq was still under occupation, and even though [Syria] is participating in the conference of neighboring countries aimed at providing security and stability for the Iraqi people.

"The Abu Kamal raid has revealed the depth of America's disdain for international law, which [is meant to] protect the sovereignty of countries, and its indifference [to the unacceptability] of using Iraq - an Arab country - to attack another Arab country, taking advantage of the fact that Iraq's decision-making [process] is in the U.S.'s pocket." [2]

The U.S.-Iraq Pact Perpetuates the U.S. Presence in Iraq

Another Al-Ahram editorial stated: "The [U.S.-Iraq] pact... perpetuates the U.S. presence in Iraq and compromises Iraqi sovereignty, because it grants U.S. soldiers immunity even if they commit crimes or break the law. Moreover, it grants immunity to any American in Iraq, and implicitly allows the U.S. forces to attack [neighboring] countries.

"The pact's clauses do not mention [the issue of] foreign citizens who enter Iraq but are not residents. They also do not [restrict] the Americans' authority to bring in persons who work against a [neighboring] country friendly [to Iraq]. The clause granting both sides the right to self-defense - which under international law is absolute - allows the U.S. to use its bases in Iraq for military operations in the event of conflict with one of the neighboring countries. This right, and its implications, require further clarification.

"Some clauses [of the pact] have been rejected by most of the sects, parties, and [political] blocs in Iraq, who [all] sense the danger inherent in them. This has placed the Iraqi government in an embarrassing position, forcing it to postpone approval of the pact and to drag its feet until after the [presidential] elections in the U.S." [3]

Only the Resistance Can Get the U.S. Out of Iraq

Another Al-Gumhouriyya editorial stated: "The U.S. secretary of defense and his senior officers have made threats against Iraq. They said that if the Iraqi government - which rose to power under the sponsorship of the occupation - refused to accept this dubious agreement, [this decision] would have disastrous consequences.

"In response, various sectors of the Iraqi public - Shi'ites, Sunnis, and Kurds - have expressed their opposition to this pact, which compromises Iraqi sovereignty for an unspecified period of time, legitimizes and perpetuates the [presence of] the occupying forces in Iraq, and grants them immunity so that they cannot be punished for the barbaric crimes that they are committing, such as the murder and torture of the Iraqi people. These sectors [which opposed the pact] have forced the government to seek amendments [to it].

"But the U.S. administration, which invaded Iraq based on pretexts proven to be false, is bent on forcing the Iraqis to succumb to its will and to sign this undignified pact. The national Iraqi resistance, [which is opposing the] occupation, is the only [force] that can confront the American threats and compel the occupying forces to withdraw without any conditions or limitations." [4]

Endnotes:

[1] Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 28, 2008.

[2] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), October 28, 2008.

[3] Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 29, 2008.

[4] Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), October 23, 2008.