“AU the NewsrnUnfit to Print” igns^ of tl)e ®imesJrnVol. 1 No. 3 March 1999rnOn day two of “Desert Fox” last December,rnSecretary of State Madeleine Albrightrndeclared that she was “gratified” byrnthe “solid” support that the U.S. actionrnagainst Iraq had received from statesmenrnaround the globe, including those in thernArab world. Her counterpart at thernBritish Foreign Office, Robin Cook, suggestedrnthat most Arab regimes supportedrnthe bombardment.rnhi subsequent days and weeks, the impressionrnplanted into the minds of educatedrnand presumably well-informed Americansrn—New York Times readers, NPRrnlisteners, and CNN watchers—was of arnquietly supportive world letting the UnitedrnStates deal with Saddam as it deemedrnfit. In fact, a rising chorus of criticism ofrnthe American action—ranging from sorrowrnto anger, and transcending nationalrnand cultural boundaries—swept the world,rnbut it was not deemed newsworthy inrnNew York, Washington, or Atianta.rnIn the Middle East, Palestinian youthsrnhad waved American flags for PresidentrnClinton two weeks before Christmas; arnweek later, they were burning them. InrnEgypt, during demonstrations at Cairo’srnal-Azhar mosque, the imam told his peoplernthat the Americans would be “struckrnby God’s damnation.” No less, perhaps,rnwas to be expected from an Islamic cleric.rnBut in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultanrnal-Nahyan, the ruler of the eminentlyrn”moderate” and “pro-Western” UnitedrnArab Emirates, described the bombing asrna “terrible operation” which was “beyondrncomprehension and unacceptable.”rnJordan, another leading moderate nationrnin the Arab world, has taken an evenrnmore critical line. The day after the firstrnwave of air raids, the popular Amman dailyrnAl-Ray described the United States andrnBritain as “warmongers.” The pro-governmentrnAl-Dustur, which reflects thernthinking of King Hussein, denouncedrnAmerica’s “bullying” of Iraq, which itrncontrasted with Washington’s “subservience”rntoward Israel.rnSyria, never much of a friend to Saddam,rnjoined the chorus. Tishrin (Decemberrn18) accused the United States of bypassingrnthe U.N. Security Council,rnignoring international legitimacyrnand practicing the lawrnof the jimgle in the same wayrnthat Israel is doing, in violationrnof international principlesrnand charters.rnOn the same day, another Damascusrndaily, Al-Thawrah, called the attacks anrnact of “premeditated aggression” that createdrna “dangerous precedent.” Abdul-rnKader Qaddoura, speaker of the Syrianrnparhament, stated: “We condemn and denouncernthis attack and call on the internationalrncommunity to halt it.”rnIn Qatar, the only Persian Gulf state tornestabUsh full diplomatic relations with Israel,rnthe daily newspaper Asharq said thatrnAmerican missiles wererntargeting unarmed Iraqirncivilians, showing that humanrnconscience i s dead. Ihe missrni l e s , loaded with hatred, arernruthlessly bringing death andrndevastation to an Arab nation.rnOn December 19, the London-basedrnAl-Hayah, a Saudi-owned publication,rnpresented a spectrum of condemnatoryrncomments, including that of the Egyptianrn”Jihad Movement-Islamic Vanguards ofrnConquest” which vowed that U.S.rn”crimes” would not go unpunished. Thernpaper noted that even the Iraqi oppositionrncondemned the air strikes as “brutal aggressionrnmotivated by Zionist grudges.”rnAnother London-based newspaper, AlrnQudsAl-Ambi, declared that Arab nationsrnshould be “embarrassed” by their “comparativelyrnweak” response to the strikes,rncompared to Russia’s withdrawal of itsrnambassadors in London and Washington.rnThe editorial page carried a scathing attackrnon the chief U.N. inspector, RichardrnButier, under the headline, “Bufler shouldrnface trial, not just resign.”rnThe Arabs were not the only ones torncriticize Butier for fine-tuning his reportsrnto fit the pohtical needs of the Clinton administration.rnScott Ritter, a high-profilernmember of the U.N. inspections team untilrnhe resigned in August, accused thernUnited States of having maneuvered Butlerrninto providing a pretext for the bombingrncampaign. As he told BBC radio onrnDecember 23,rnI believe that this inspectionrnwas rushed through, and therns i t e s weren’t chosen for disarmamentrnreasons, but ratherrnto be provocative in nature sornIraq would respond in a predictablernfashion. That responsernwould be used as a justificationrnfor militaryrnaction.rnMuch closer to home, an op-ed in thernToronto Sun (December 18) stated thatrnClinton had squandered a rare green lightrnfrom Russia, China, France, and most ofrnthe Arab world to launch air strikesrnagainst Iraq in early November. That opportunity,rnhowever, was no longer availablernin December:rnWhen Clinton suddenly conductedrnTomahawk cruise missrni l e diplomacy against SaddamrnHussein in the wee hours ofrnThirrsday morning, that carefullyrncrafted internationalrnconsensus cixaribled. The presidentrnnow finds himself atrnodds with almost the entirerninternational comrunity.rnThe same paper, on the same day, carriedrnan editorial that aptiy summarized therntone of a hundred others all over the Westemrnworld:rnIf Iraq has weapons of massrndestruction, then this limitedrnaerial attack will notrneliminate them, just as thernfar more intensive bombingrnduring the Gulf war did notrneliminate them. Nor will i trntopple Saddam Hussein or endrn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn