Report From the Arab Press

Collated by A.

May 31, 2004

Moslem scholars alarmed by nominations and warn against appointing a government similar to council

The Association of Moslem Ulama [scholars] expressed deep alarm at the nominations for next Interim Government. Dr. M. Bashar al-Faidhi spokesman of the Association, was quoted by an Islamic news agency [] as saying the next government's task will be very difficult because it's widely believed now that it will be just another copy of the present Interim of Governing Council. He added that America has friends in Iraq and it's keen on appointing them in the next government. "We were hoping that the Americans would allow a neutral government but this hope is so far very weak," said Dr. al-Faidhi, explaining that if the Iraqi people feel that the next government is appointed by others and that the Americans have a hand in its appointment, the problem will remain unchanged. "We hoped that the Americans would learn from the experience of the Interim Governing Council and allow a neutral government convincing to Iraqi people," explained, adding that Iraqis should be convinced that occupation forces have no hand in appointing the next government so as to grant it their confidence and to see a gradual drop in problems. "Unfortunately this was not the case. This is why we are so alarmed about the next phase because the beginnings are not reassuring," added the Moslem scholar.

'Bush's clumsiest decision: American Premier to Iraq'

Under this title the al-Quds al-Arabi daily of London, in a leader article, said the Bush administration continues its clumsy policy in Iraq and climbs out of a ditch only to fall into another deeper one. The paper explained that the US decision to appoint Ayad Allawi as head to the next Interim Government which is to assume authority [not sovereignty] in Iraq on June 30 is the latest aspect in this policy.

"This administration never learns from its mistakes, as demonstrated by its reliance on Chalabi's misleading reports about Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction or its invading Iraq -- in total disregard of UN authority, international law and legitimacy -- or dissolving the Iraqi army and firing hundreds of thousands of Ba'thist civil servants and starving their families, or by adopting savage and barbarian methods of torture in its numerous prisons in Iraq," insisted the paper, adding that the US administration's nomination of Allawi is the most flagrant of these mistakes. al-Quds al-Arabi added that the US administration was propagating the idea that the next government would be independent and fully sovereign, but choosing a CIA collaborator as it's premier can never support this idea. "Iraqis will not be convinced that there will be any difference between this government and the Interim Governing Council in terms of servitude to America," adding that in Allawi's choice, Mr.Brahimi's mission was undermined after US Governer Paul Bremer forced his choice on the Governing Council. said an American Official told Iraqi journalists that the role of the Interim Governing Council was just to approve the choice which was made by Bremer, and that Brahimi was surprised by the nomination, which was reported to him after he joined the council meeting. Mhmood Othman, a member of Governing Council, told al-Arabiya TV that the UN was almost absent from the nomination of Allawi and the deliberations to choose a president and his deputies.

Iraqi Professor Nabeel M.Salim told Iraqi private TV, al-Sharqiya that neither the US administration nor the Governing Council have any legal authority to nominate leaders of the next government. He added that the American administration is obviously seeking to appoint a loyal government with a view to securing its submission to US dictation of policies and agreements that meet American military and economic interests. "For this purpose it's trying to pass the draft resolution which will bestow legitimacy upon its newly-picked government," said Dr.Salim, adding, "But it will make a big mistake if it imagines that the Iraqi people would tolerate any agreements or arrangements imposed by Americans on their hand-picked rulers to keep military occupation or to plunder Iraq's national wealth ."

al-Manar Lebanese TV interviewed the London-based Lebanese political writer and analyst Sameer Atallah, who said that almost all the Iraqi figures involved in post-occupation politics have come to Iraq with the American occupation and work under its umbrella. "Hence the nomination process obviously lacks Iraqi popular as well as international legitimacy and all choices should definitely be sanctioned by American administration and here lies Brahimi's dilemma," he said. Asked about Bush's Iraq plan he explained all that Bush has done in Iraq are trial and trial and trial. "Bush promised to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure and restore security, that's to rebuild what he had destroyed. So where is the new plan?" he asked.

Pro-occupation Militia member arrested

The al-Zaman Iraqi daily reported the arrest by American occupation forces of a leading member of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution (SCIR) on charges of murdering several Iraqis. The paper added that 6 machine guns, pistols and munition. as well as $15,000 were found at his house. Since the occupation, more than 5000 Iraqis were assassinated, including many scientists, physicians, academics, intellectuals and Ba'thists. The Badr brigades, the SCIR-run militia, is one of the pro-occupation armed groups which have been accused by Iraqis of committing such atrocities.

Car blown out near entrance to US command
Numerous attacks on US forces

al-Jazeera TV said a booby trapped car was blown out near an entrance to the headquarters of US main occupation command in Baghdad. Muwafaq Rubaiei, the Governing council's security adviser told the channel he was targeted by this explosion but he and all other council members changed their way to the headquarters after learning in the morning that they would be targeted.

In Kufa,central Iraq, an American tank shelled a house and killed an Iraqi lady, while the US occupation command admitted the killing of 2 soldiers there. Fighting continued last night in Najaf amid of mediation efforts by Ahmad Chalabi, who seems to be seeking prominence in the pro-occupation Shiite elite club after he was dicredited by his own American paymasters and earlier by almost all Iraqis.

American military spokesman admitted the death of a soldier in the northern province of Mosul.

Chalabi's office stormed

Ahmad Chalabi's office in the western city of Ramadi was stormed by Iraqi police.