Arab media slam Assad for ridiculing Arab leaders

By
August 19, 2006 18:00

Syria's president sparked a wave of anger after he knocked Mideast leaders as "half men" in a televised speech, underlining the divisions as Arab nations try to form a unified front in the wake of the Lebanon crisis. The bitterness over Bashar Assad's speech last week will likely stir up a gathering of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Sunday. The meeting is supposed to pave the way for a summit of heads of state later in the month that will draw up plans to help rebuild Lebanon - and try to launch a new Arab peace initiative with Israel. So far governments have not commented on Assad's jibes - instead, the task has been left to newspapers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan - some of which are state-guided - which have been sizzling with personal and direct attacks on Assad the like of which the region has not seen directed against an Arab leader in years.


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