Jordan's King Condemns War
CAIRO -- Jordan's King Abdullah spoke out for the first time yesterday against the U.S.-led war in Iraq, criticizing the United States for causing civilian casualties and referring to Iraqis who died in the war as "martyrs."
His strongly worded remarks were published in Jordanian newspapers and aired on state television. Analysts said the remarks were a response to criticism and rising anger at home over Jordan's role as a U.S. ally.
"I, as a father, feel the pain of every Iraqi family, every child and father," he told the official Petra news agency. "I am a Muslim, an Arab and a Hashemite and nobody can outbid my concern for my people and my [Arab] nation."
"The Jordanian people, and I am one of them, strongly condemn the killing and we feel pain and sorrow as we see on our television screens the growing number of martyrs from Iraqi innocent civilians," the Jordanian leader said.
Political analysts in Jordan said Abdullah's speech was designed to convey his sympathy for popular sentiment against the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Religious leaders and intellectuals in Jordan have been intensifying their criticism of the king's support for the United States. About 3,000 U.S. troops are based in Jordan, but the king says they are there for defensive purposes.
Embassy Warns U.S. Citizens
BEIRUT -- The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon advised U.S. citizens to consider leaving the country, citing the threat of terrorism and vehement opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
"Each person should give serious consideration to the option of leaving Lebanon until the situation stabilizes," the embassy said in a message sent to U.S. citizens. "Daily demonstrations in Lebanon against the war in Iraq reflect increased anti-American sentiment and heightened anger against U.S. policy in the region."
Some Americans in Lebanon have demonstrated alongside Lebanese in antiwar protests and have signed petitions against the war in Iraq.
"I think that the warning is telling us we should consider leaving, but honestly, I don't feel threatened here more than I do in the U.S.," said Jeanne-Marie Mouhanna, 47, a teacher from Michigan who is married to a Lebanese. "I was in the States two weeks ago, and walking down the street, I didn't feel safer than I do here."
Muslim Declares Holy War
MOSCOW -- A top Russian Muslim leader declared a holy war against the United States, calling on Russia's 20 million believers to support the people of Iraq.
Talgat Tadzhuddin, one of Russia's two top Muslim leaders, told the Interfax news agency that his group would "raise donations for a fund and use the money to buy weapons for fighting America and food for the people of Iraq."
It was not clear what effect the remarks would have on Muslims who make up 13 percent of Russia's population. Tadzhuddin claims to speak for 29 of the nation's 48 muftis, though some Islamic experts say he represents a minority of Muslims in Russia. The call to arms underscores the hazards of the Iraq war for President Vladimir Putin as he tries to balance anger among Russia's Muslims and his government's desire to maintain relations with the United States. Kremlin officials have expressed concern that a war in Iraq would inspire religious extremism and destabilize the region.
Today, Putin cautioned Russians in a nationally televised speech not to give in to uncontrolled emotions, though he said: "I understand and partially share them, especially watching television coverage of the military actions." He said Russia could not afford to get drawn into the Iraqi crisis in any way.
German Leader Shifts Stance
BERLIN -- Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for the first time called for the removal of Saddam Hussein, dropping his objection to the overthrow of Iraq's government as a goal of war.
The turnaround, in a speech to Parliament, was seen as an effort to patch up differences within Europe as attention turns to rebuilding a post-Hussein Iraq.
"We all hope that the earliest possible end to the war will keep the number of victims as low as possible," Schroeder said. "And we hope that through the defeat of the dictatorship, the Iraqi people can realize its hopes of a life in peace, freedom and self-determination as soon as possible."
Germany has firmly opposed the U.S.-led war, joining France and Russia in diplomatic efforts against any U.N. resolution that would have authorized the use of force, arguing that peaceful means to disarm Iraq had not been exhausted.
Consulate, UPS Bombed
ISTANBUL -- Bombs exploded within hours of each other at the British consulate and outside a branch of United Parcel Service in Istanbul, causing damage but no injuries.
In the first blast, an assailant threw a bomb at the consulate, shattering windows and damaging a gate and walls of the building, police said.
Police gave no details of the explosion at the UPS office, but the Anatolia news agency said it blew out the windows of two nearby shops.
It was not clear whether the two attacks were linked. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which came hours after Turkey's 2-0 defeat to England in a Euro 2004 soccer qualifying match in England.
Resentment toward Britain and the United States has been running high in this predominantly Muslim country because of the war in neighboring Iraq.