A war against Iraq the United States may unleash any moment is not a threat to Iraq only, but to the entire region and world at large. It is the widely entertained opinion in the Middle East.
A new war in the Gulf will differ a great deal from the 1991 war after Iraq had occupied Kuwait. The entire world, including all the Arab countries but Yemen and Palestine, then took the side of the US, which led the international anti-Iraqi coalition. Many of the Arab countries even took part in the Desert Storm operation.
This time, the US is not enjoying strong international support. And there is no anti-Iraq coalition, although the US calls its bellicose alliance with Britain a coalition.
What the United States is facing is a wave of anti-war sentiments all across the world. None, even America's long-established allies in the Arab world, are backing its war plans.
It is not that Arab leaders love Saddam Hussein. The matter is Iraq's neighbouring countries do not see any threats whatsoever Iraq may pose to them. On the contrary, George Bush is a far greater threat to them.
The regional countries understand only too well that a possible war against Iraq will not be part of the international anti-terrorist drive. Nor will it be the effort to eliminate banned mass destruction weapons allegedly in Iraq's possession. What is behind the US' persistent attempts to start a war is oil.
North Korea has no oil, say Arabs. Therefore it can afford to oust International Atomic Energy Agency /IAEA/ inspectors and threaten the US with nuclear missiles. Iraq happens to possess vast oil reserves that are inferior to Saudi Arabia's only. That is why Iraq must be occupied and ruled by an American governor-general or by a puppet regime subordinate to the US.
The Arab world regards the impeding war as invasive and unfair, as a war that was not provoked in any way by nearly defenceless Iraq. Moreover, it is not conceived as a war solely against Iraq, but that against the entire Arab world, against Moslems. It will only add to the feeling of offence and anguish caused by the Palestinian developments.
Arab analysts predict the war in Iraq will trigger growth of radical Islam's influence in the region. The spread of terrorism throughout the world will be an inevitable reaction to the US' terror, warn analysts.
If the US launches land operations, Iraq will offer a fierce rebuff. Baghdad has repeatedly emphasised that it has moral superiority. The Iraqis are resolved to defend their homes, families and their country's independence and future. And they have solidarity of Arabs, Moslems and the entire world, testifying to which are millions strong anti-war rallies across the world.
Influential Moslem leaders have already started calling for jihad. In the event of the US' aggression against Iraq, they will step up the appeals, with militant Islamic organisations to echo them.
The Arab news media urge their governments not to keep out of the affair and show solidarity with Iraq. It means the countries whose territories US troops will use for attacks on Iraq will be no longer safe.