“Arabs Shocked, Awed by Fall of Baghdad”

This Associated Press report surveys Arab reaction to the fall of Baghdad:
“In a live report from Baghdad, correspondent Shaker Hamed of Abu Dhabi Television said: ‘We are all in shock. How did things come to such an end? How did U.S. tanks enter the center of the city? Where is the resistance? This collapse is puzzling. Was it the result of the collapse of communications between the commanders? Between the political leadership? How come Baghdad falls so easily.'”
“‘We discovered that all what the [Iraqi] information minister was saying was all lies,’ said Ali Hassan, a government employee in Cairo, Egypt. ‘Now no one believes Al-Jazeera anymore.'”
“‘We Arabs are clever only at talking,’ Haitham Baghdadi, 45, said bitterly in Damascus, Syria. ‘Where are the Iraqi weapons? Where are the Iraqi soldiers?'”
Some Arabs saw the fall of Saddam as a hopeful portend of things to come in the Arab world, but this appears to be a minority view, at least for now:
“Tarek al-Absi, a Yemeni university professor, was hopeful Saddam’s end presaged more democracy in the region.
“‘This is a message for the Arab regimes, and could be the beginning of transformation in the Arab region,’ al-Absi said. ‘Without the honest help of the Western nations, the reforms will not take place in these countries.'”

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