Al-Jazeera Highlights Nancy Pelosi's 'Iraq Is a Catastrophe' Declaration

In their story on the Democrats winning the House of Representatives, al-Jazeera’s English-language Web site blamed the “unpopular war in Iraq” for the GOP defeat and highlighted Nancy Pelosi’s speech demanding a “new direction” on Iraq.

“Staying the course has not made our country safer,” al-Jazeera quoted Pelosi as saying last night. “We cannot continue down this catastrophic path.”

The story posted at 9:15 GMT (about 4:15am EST) was essentially a summary of wire reports, but zeroed in on Iraq as a key cause for the election defeat, perhaps a signal of how commentators in the Middle East are translating Tuesday’s election results. Key excerpts:

The Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives in the US midterm elections and are closing in on the Senate.

Many votes still remain to be counted but Democrat gains in many main seats led the White House to acknowledge, late on Tuesday night, that it had lost control of the House....

The elections have been shaped by an unpopular war in Iraq, scandal at home and dissatisfaction with George Bush, the President.

Nancy Pelosi, new Democrat Speaker in the House, said after the White House announcement: "Staying the course has not made our country safer, has not honoured our commitment to our troops and has not made the region more stable.

"We cannot continue down this catastrophic path. And so, we say to the president: Mr President, we need a new direction in Iraq. Let us work together to find a solution."

Democrat control of the House gives them the power to block and delay many of Bush's policies.

Iraq Arab Press