Friday, Apr 18, 2003
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By Hasan Suroor
Unnamed British officials have been quoted as saying that they do not regard Abbas' arrest as a "significant breakthrough on the terrorist front''.
He is seen here as a `reformed' militant who renounced violence after he was granted immunity from prosecution by the Israeli Supreme Court following the Oslo peace accords.
It is stated that even Israel ceased to see him as a threat. Even as commentators have called for Abbas to be tried for his role in seizing an Italian cruise ship in 1985, they have poured scorn over American attempts to `trumpet' his arrest as a "war trophy''.
`His presence in Baghdad was hardly a secret, nor does anyone regard him as much of a menace any more. His capture is neither a great coup in the war against terror, nor proof of Mr. Hussein's links with terrorism,'' The Independent said in an editorial describing the U.S. hype as `foolish'.
There is a widely held view here that Abbas, once a dreaded guerilla leader, is now well past his "sell by date'' and as The Times pointed out-these days he "cuts a pathetic rather than an intimidating figure'' greying, overweight and down with heart ailment.
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