Wednesday, March 17, 2004

A Triumph for Democracy ?

The Arab press give differing views, none of which are very comfortable, about the message of Madrid.

Jordan's semi-official al-Rai said in a commentary Tuesday that the fall of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in elections was "a political and moral victory for the Iraqi people, and for all people who suffered and will suffer from to the American arsenal."

The United Arab Emirates' al-Khaleej Times said in its editorial that "it took a tragedy of unthinkable proportions for the people of Spain to awaken to the poor judgment of retiring Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar." The English-language pro-government daily said that by aligning itself with the American administration's policies, Aznar's conservative government distanced itself from its European neighbors and drew the "wrath of the masterminds of Thursday's synchronized bombings in Madrid."

The London-based al-Hayat daily also ran a commentary on the outcome of the Spanish elections, saying they constituted a "loss to President Bush's administration." The Saudi-owned paper, however, asked whether al-Qaida network, if proven that it was behind the Madrid train attacks, had any impact on the results of the Spanish polls. It asked if that would "encourage transferring the experiment to move the war to the streets of countries that are allied with the U.S. in occupying Iraq or the war on terror." The Arabic-language paper asked if that meant the results would encourage bringing down the British and Italian governments by adopting the same method of terror attacks.

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