Neil MacFarquhar has
a fascinating and disturbing article
in Wednesday's New York Times
. The upshot of the piece is that almost everybody in the Arab world hates Saddam. But many are also energized and inspired by seeing Saddam's troops make problems for the US-UK invasion force. "They want Saddam Hussein to go and they expect him to go eventually, but they want him to hold on
a little longer because they want to teach the Americans a lesson," says a Saudi newspaper editor.
What echoes through this piece and others in the papers this morning is the simple possibility -- never really appreciated by the more zealous Iraq hawks -- that people could hate Saddam and yet also fail to happily greet our invasion. (Saddam is a tyrant ergo we must be right and we must be welcome.) Equally so, few of them ever seemed to grasp that the Bush administration's long litany of indifference to world opinion on almost every issue imaginable might have some impact.
Don't get me wrong: it's not that an alternative approach would necessarily have made the Iraqis act differently. It's just that the administration seems to have premised its entire geopolitical and military strategy on the notion that they would.