This is purely FYI .... if you care for a few facts ... -- Gator Bob Siegel EasyRacers Ti Rush ****** Arab TV Serves As Iraq's Link to World Mar 30, 9:51 AM EST After Iraqi television was knocked off the air by U.S. missiles, Iraqi officials were on the screen hours later, defiantly denouncing both the attacks and the American and British forces in Iraq. When bombs exploded at the Iraqi Information Ministry on Saturday, pictures were broadcast live all over the world. In both cases, Iraqis used Arab satellite television stations to tell their side of the war to the world - primarily to Arab viewers - despite the bombardment of their capital. The situation is entirely different from the Gulf War in 1991. Then CNN was the pre-eminent television station, showing dramatic pictures of incoming and outgoing missiles in Kuwait, Iraq or Israel, and of reporters donning gas masks on camera. This time, CNN's team has been expelled and most American television outlets have gone too. Some Western networks are showing scenes from Baghdad that come from Arab stations like the Qatar-based al-Jazeera, Dubai-based al-Arabiya, Abu Dhabi Television in the United Arabs Emirates and the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. On their own channels, the Arab stations have repeatedly aired footage of dead Iraqi civilians, the bloodied faces of wounded children and the outpouring of grief - and outrage - at funerals. They also broadcast pictures of American prisoners of war, equipment seized or destroyed by the Iraqis, and angry demonstrations across the Arab world. "We hope to succeed in presenting the most accurate and objective picture," Maher Abdullah, a reporter with al-Jazeera, said Sunday while reporting from Baghdad. "We are keen on objectivity, but not necessarily neutrality." Opposition Iraqi Kurds, who have their own television station, have complained of biased coverage from Arab TV stations. A group of university professors and the Kurdistan Journalists Union charged in a statement read on Kurdish television that Arab satellite stations were biased in favor of the Iraqi regime and "deliberately obscure and distort facts." Arab media outlets rarely challenge popular Arab opinion on such subjects as Israel and the United States. In this war, U.S. and British battlefield losses and setbacks are highlighted, while Iraqi military casualties are not mentioned. One Arab analyst, interviewed on the most popular Arabic satellite station, al-Jazeera, described British soldiers as unmotivated men who join the army just for "muscle-building and adventures." Another Arab analyst boasted on TV that the pace of Iraqi attacks was so rapid that Baghdad's treasury was risking bankruptcy because of President Saddam Hussein's decision to give money to anyone who shot down a plane or captured an American or British POW. Still, the importance of an Arab voice catering to an Arab viewers has not been missed by the American government. Secretary of State Colin Powell and other government and military officials have appeared on Arabic television channels in interviews that carried on-air Arabic translation. Iraq also has sought to capitalize on the popularity of Arab TV stations, giving them preference over the regime's own satellite television. In the Middle East, views vary from praise to caution. "We are lucky to have these Arabic channels, because during the last war we were watching only CNN, so we couldn't know the whole truth," said Hamza al-Ghazawi, a shop owner in the Jordanian capital of Amman. "They show both points of view, while CNN focuses on the American point of view," the 25-year-old said. In Lebanon, Palestinian guerrilla Mutieh Abulail in the refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh said he watches Arab stations "because they stand on Iraq's side. They are transmitting the truth with pictures and can greatly influence the public opinion in Iraq's favor." Hemoud al-Hemoud, a retired Jordanian government employee, complained about exaggeration by the Arab stations, but said their coverage appears to have had an effect on their Western counterparts. "I find CNN more accurate than it was in the 1991 Gulf War on Iraq," said the 60-year-old al-Hemoud.