Over the past few months the Arab and Iranian press have launched persistent attacks on President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador, John Bolton. These are the same outlets that blame America for terrorist activity throughout the world, claim American soldiers cannibalize Iraqis, and make racist comments about Secretary of State Rice.
Arab and Iranian criticism of Bolton ranges from a dislike of his physical appearance to his position on the war on terror to his role in defeating a U.N. resolution equating "Zionism With Racism" and his stance against Palestinian terrorist organizations.
An anti-American writer for the London Arabic daily Al Hayat, Jihad Al-Khazen, has devoted a series of columns to haranguing Bolton. Two were printed during the week of April 25. The first, "John Bolton: The Diplomat Or The Thug," called him "corrupt merchandise" and a "gangster." In the second, "The Problem Is His Politics," Khazen described Bolton as "a warmonger and a supporter of American unilateralism and in favor of Israel." Khazen continued by belittling Bolton's looks: "His appearance is inappropriate, he looks like a sea animal."
The Iranian press has likewise railed against Bolton. An April 27 article in the Tehran Times headlined, "Wrong Man at the Wrong Time" called his nomination "appalling" and said it "sent shivers" through the United Nations. On his physical features and his position against Iran's nuclear program, the article stated, "The mustachioed hawk, who wants to see his nightmare worldview translated into reality, has repeatedly claimed that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons program ... But Bolton is actually the wrong man at the wrong time because he represents the intolerant and unilateralist tendency in U.S. foreign policy." A May 1 report from the Mehr News Agency said that Bolton's ties to "hardcore neo-conservatism" prove that he aims to stop "the establishment of a Palestinian state."
The Syrian press has been particularly nasty. In "Why Bolton?" which appeared in the government daily Tishreen on May 18, M. Al-Nahas criticized Bolton's alleged role in pressuring the State Department not to condemn the assassination of a Hamas leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin. Also in Tishreen, on March 27, R. Zein called the nomination a "deliberate and provocative appointment, which will further weaken the UN and make it eventually succumb to the hegemonistic dictate of the unilateral superpower." He added, "the arrogant superpower continues to run a tyrant course that has nothing to do with basic UN principles of right, justice, and equality, nor has it anything to do with peoples' national interests...and arrogant U.S. policies of domination and hegemony, made it less safe and more dangerous."
Zein linked the nomination to "the new American-Zionist expansionist project targeting the ... Middle East and at serving new hegemonistic objectives drawn up in the global American strategy of all-out domination" and described Mr. Bolton's take on American policy in the region "sinister," "malicious," and "evil."
The Egyptian press has also stridently opposed Bolton's ambassador nomination. A March 24 article in the government-controlled Al-Ahram Weekly, "Red Alert," said President Bush "behaved like a terrorist" by nominating Bolton, and said that if he does get confirmed, Mr. Bush "will only add to his caricatured image and make a fool of himself."
In an Al-Ahram article called "American Nightmare," a political science professor at Cairo University, Hassan Nafaa, called Bolton and others in the Bush administration "the most virulent American ideologues." They were criticized for being pro-Israel and for being "firm believers in uncontested American global supremacy." Nafaa called Bolton a "slick attorney par excellence," and compared him to a "mafia don" for helping America "worm" its way through international law. He concluded with this: "Undoubtedly, Bush brought him in to slap the hands of anyone who has the audacity to remind America about international law...But more importantly, his task is to ensure that anyone who falls out of line with American policy will not only incur Washington's wrath."
State-sponsored terrorist regimes such as Iran and Syria express open concern about Bolton's nomination - and moderate governments in the region, such as Egypt's, through its state press, also show fear that he will challenge their longstanding policies.