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Jordanians Concerned About Impact of War With Iraq - 2003-03-17


Many Arabs appear resigned to the prospect of war against Iraq after Sunday's meeting of the U.S., British and Spanish leaders.

Few Jordanians believe war can be averted at this point. They do not think Saddam Hussein will respond to President Bush's ultimatum issued Sunday to disarm immediately or face the consequences.

With war looming, Jordanians are already focusing their concerns on the impact a war will have on their lives, and on stability in the region.

In Egypt, political commentators are raising concerns about the repercussions of the deep divisions within the United Nations Security Council over the Iraq crisis.

An editorial in the English-language Jordan Times had harsh words for American policy, calling the Sunday summit an ultimatum for the world, "to jump on Washington's war bandwagon." The newspaper said the summit was really just a war council.

Jordan's second largest newspaper, A-Dustur, reflected a general resignation about the prospects of war. The editorial said the American, British and Spanish leaders are already talking about a post-war Iraq, without paying attention to intense efforts underway to try to avert a war.

A spokesman for the Cairo-based Arab League urges continuing the U.N. weapons inspections inside Iraq. Spokesman Hisham Youssef says if progress is being achieved, then nobody should be talking about regime change in Baghdad.

But his comments were made as a U.S. official told U.N. inspectors to prepare to leave Iraq in anticipation of conflict there. Many foreign diplomatic missions in countries near Iraq have also advised non-essential staff and diplomatic families to leave the area.

Finally, the editor of the Jordanian Arab el-Yom newspaper, criticizes the media for making it sound like the battle in Iraq will not last long. He warns that it will not be, in his words, a picnic for American troops fighting in Baghdad in what he terms Saddam Hussein's last war.

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