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Arab World Reacts

Saddam’s capture has not been a source of happiness for everyone. Many PLO Arabs are devastated by this turn of events.

For many ordinary Palestinians, the TV footage of a disheveled Saddam obediently submitting to a medical exam by his U.S. captors was painful to watch: it sealed the defeat of the one Arab leader they felt always stood by them.

Saddam should have put up a fight or committed suicide, they said, and his surrender is a stain on Arab honor. “It is a big defeat for all Arabs and Muslims,” said Raji Hassan, 29, watching TV with friends in a Gaza City coffee shop.

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On Sunday, about a dozen men were playing pool in Gaza City hall while the news was being broadcast on a television in the corner. No one even turned to look at the television.

“I love him so much, I can’t stand watching it while he’s in custody,” Raafat Logman, 23, said as he was shooting pool. “We are surprised. We are so sad,” said Sameh Aloul, 22.

But it is no surprise that they would be sad. After all, Saddam has helped finance their terror.

During the past three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, Saddam sent millions of dollars to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including US$25,000 for the family of each suicide bomber and US$10,000 for each Palestinian killed in fighting with Israelis.

And throughout the Arab world, many Arabs feel let down by this turn of events.

“Of course it’s bad news. To us, Saddam was a symbol of defiance to the US plans in the region. And we support any person who stands in the face of the American dominance,” said Azzam Hnaidi, an Islamist member of Jordan’s parliament.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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