Nabil Shaat, the former Palestinian foreign minister

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 ushered in a new Arab discourse that has been in the making for some time.

The Arab world seemed to be united only in rejecting the war on Iraq or on any Arab country. But this unity seemed to end there. At the start of the war, Arab countries who are allies of the US were open about their position, interests and policies towards the Iraqi crisis.

Four years on, with sectarian war and bloodbath spiraling beyond control in Iraq, disunity among Arab countries seemed even more precarious.

The regional stability promised by the US when it invaded Iraq came in the form of fierce Sunni-Shia rivalry which claimed thousands of lives, blatant human rights abuses by American troops, Kurdish unrest in Northern Iraq and threat of civil war in Lebanon and Palestine.

The latest quagmire in Iraq has even prompted King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia – one of the US' closest allies to describe the US presence in Iraq as an occupation.

Inside Iraq this week looks at the Arab perspective on the Iraq war. How has it changed over the last four years and how will these changes impact political developments in the Middle East?

Our guests this week are Nabil Shaat, the former Palestinian foreign minister, Faysal Al-Miqdad, the Syrian deputy prime minister, and Hisham Yusuf, the spokesman for the Arab League's secretary-general.

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from 10 August 2007

Watch Part One here:

Watch Part Two here:


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