|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Over the past week U.S. Iraq policy rivaled the war in Afghanistan as a frequent subject of foreign media commentary. Editorials focused primarily on President Bush's statement that Saddam Hussein "needs to let inspectors back in his country to show us that he is not developing weapons of mass destruction." The president's remarks unleashed a torrent of speculation that, with the Taliban and al-Qaida reeling, the U.S. would make it the "next target" of anti-terror operations. Even observers who recognized the dangers posed by Baghdad's WMD program, worried that precipitate U.S. military action against Iraq would be the death knell of global anti-terror cooperation. Beginning 11/30, some European and Arab writers speculated on the ramifications of the UNSC's vote endorsing a plan to modify the Iraq sanctions regime. There was no consensus on whether the vote made U.S.-Iraq military conflict less likely. Regional highlights follow:
EUROPE: Concern that a unilateral attack on Iraq would undermine coalition. European writers were wary that Washington would try to "settle an old score" with Saddam under the anti-terrorism banner. This, despite the general recognition that Baghdad's WMD programs underscored the need for renewed inspections. The European consensus was that gaining coalition support for military action would be a tough sell and that a unilateral U.S. campaign would undermine heretofore successful global anti-terror initiatives. Initial European opinion columns saw the UNSC vote on sanctions modifications as a sign that post-9/11 U.S.-Russian comity had set back Saddam's policy of sowing discord among the P-5, isolating him further. Observers were split over whether the approval of the modified sanctions regime would "diminish the chances of a U.S.-Iraq military confrontation" or whether Saddam's continued "refusal to cooperate" would set the stage for military action.
MIDDLE EAST: Arab, Israeli media again on opposing sides. Arab editorialists, who were dead set against targeting Iraq, dismissed any American rationale for military action, or even continued sanctions, for that matter. Harping on the long-articulated contention that the U.S.-led anti-terrorism campaign is transparently anti-Muslim, Arab dailies treated an eventual attack on Iraq as a "sure thing." Several accused administration "hard-liners" of targeting Iraq and other Arab countries in order to usher in a new regional alignment more favorable to the U.S.--and Israel. A related theme in Arab papers was that the U.S. is orchestrating a flurry of activity on the Israeli/Palestinian front principally to provide political cover as it widens the war. Israeli writers, for their part, saw the elimination of the "Iraqi threat" as alleviating many of Israel's security problems. One dream scenario envisioned a pro-American, post-Saddam Iraq that would facilitate Israel's signing peace agreements with its Arab neighbors."
EAST ASIA: While most see Iraq as 'next target', Seoul, Pyongyang & Jakarta editors fear attack on DPRK. Following President Bush's remarks, most editorialists in the region assumed that Iraq would be the next country in the U.S.' cross hairs. Even usually supportive
media were critical of the "ratcheting-up" of U.S. war "rhetoric," which, according to an independent Hong Kong paper, betrayed "stereotypical, gung-ho" U.S. "unilateralism." A liberal Australian daily cited "growing international consternation" with Bush's suggestion that "Iraq might become the next target of U.S.-led military action." That paper and others warned of the negative consequences of striking Iraq without clear evidence of its involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Editors on the Korean peninsula and in Indonesia saw an attack against the DPRK as a distinct possibility. Not surprisingly, Pyongyang's official KCNA railed against the U.S.' "ever more hostile attitude." Seoul dailies were also quite wary of possible U.S. action against the North, with most expressing great anxiety that destabilization of the peninsula would follow.
SOUTH ASIA: Plenty of unfinished business in Afghanistan. South Asian papers were less diverted than others by the possibility of Iraq being targeted as a terror sponsor. Pakistani writers saw the need to reconstruct a devastated Afghanistan as much more pressing than taking out Iraq's WMD capacity. They also noted that, regardless of Washington's protestations that it is targeting terrorism and not Islam, Iraq, like all the countries on the administration's terrorism hit list "except North Korea," is a Muslim state.
WESTERN HEM.: Canadians worry widening war will create a more 'troubled' not 'safer' world; Latams charge U.S. using Afghanistan to consolidate 'neoliberal hegemony.' Observers across the spectrum disapproved of the U.S.' expanding the war on terrorism and its perceived "threatening other regimes" beyond Iraq. From Canada to Uruguay, the most common complaint was that the White House was using its success in Afghanistan and the possibility of Iraq's complicity in the 9/11 attacks as a "pretext" to "go around settling accounts it considers pending." Mexican, Brazilian and Ecuadorian papers were most critical, accusing the U.S., of "indiscriminate state-sponsored terrorism," and of turning other Middle Eastern countries into "possible targets of new U.S. aggression." Chilean and Uruguayan skeptics also blamed the U.S. for causing a "clash of civilizations." The conservative Canadian press came closest to endorsing a move against Iraq, but nevertheless cautioned Bush against "heading down the wrong path," warning that taking on Saddam now would be a "tactical mistake" not worth the price of splitting the coalition.
AFRICA: Unilateralism resurfacing? A Tanzanian daily worried that the U.S. is courting more Arab/Muslim enmity by insisting that Iraq, and not Israel, is the real "threat to the region's security." The paper called on Washington to "listen" to its European and Arab allies and to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate rather than on Iraq.
EDITORS: Steve Thibeault, Irene Marr, Kathleen Brahney, Gail Burke, Kate Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 135 reports from 46 countries, November 9 - December 3. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Where Should Bush Put His Chips Now?"
The online Economist Global Agenda had this piece (11/29): "If there had been any doubt that George Bush is thinking about continuing America's war on terrorism even after capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, he seems at pains to put it to rest this week.... Aware that an intense debate is going on in Washington about what comes next after Afghanistan, America's allies this week warned that they are wary of widening the war to include Iraq.... But in some sense the American government already seems committed to widening the war beyond Afghanistan, despite the reluctance of its allies.... Bush's comments this week seem to indicate that the administration's first step will be to demand the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq and to press for 'smart sanctions' which would ease the flow of civilian goods, but tighten that of weapons, to Iraq. This would have the advantage of mollifying some of America’s European
allies, notably Britain.... But it will take time, and the expenditure of diplomatic capital, to do even this. On November 27th the United States reluctantly agreed to postpone an overhaul of the current, weak sanctions regime for six months. In return, Russia agreed to discuss the imposition of a new tighter and 'smarter' sanctions regime. And yet, even if America does get its way and wins [UNSC] support for stricter controls of weapons imports and a return of weapons inspections, Saddam could well refuse to cooperate. Or he could accept inspections formally and then seek to hoodwink the inspectors, as he has done before. In that case, Bush's comments seem to indicate that he is leaning towards trying to remove Saddam. But to do that he either has to persuade America's allies, not only in Europe but in the Arab world as well, or he has to defy them. How to proceed against Saddam, and what risks are entailed in doing so, remain unclear."
"The Focus Shifts To Iraq"
The independent Financial Times offered this lead editorial (11/28): "With the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan progressing strongly, the war against terror is beginning to focus on new fronts. Predictably, attention is turning to Iraq, with hawks in the Bush administration arguing that, with or without evidence of Iraqi complicity in the September 11 attacks, the United States should now aim to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. Once it is closer to accomplishing its goals in Afghanistan, the Bush administration should press Mr. Saddam to accept intrusive international inspections for [WMD] or the means to manufacture them. He should be made aware that the failure to comply will carry severe consequences. Equally, in exchange for agreement, the West could offer an easing of sanctions without implicitly giving the Iraqi leader a lifeline."
"The Elusive Character Of Victory"
The independent weekly Economist published this lead editorial (11/26): "Right from the outset, it was clear that one of the toughest tasks in the battle against the terrorists...was going to be defining success.... By toppling and punishing the ghastly Taliban regime, America has given a clear demonstration that those who act as hosts to international terrorists will pay a hefty price. The task does not stop there, however, for two immediate reasons and one wider, longer-term one. The first and most pressing reason is that, although al-Qaeda is led by bin Laden, it is unlikely simply to disappear with his demise. The second pressing reason why the task is incomplete, though, remains within Afghanistan's borders. It is that toppling the Taliban was certainly necessary, but it is not enough to prevent that benighted country from becoming a hotbed of terrorism.... That is why it is vital that America and its allies do all they can to help build some sort of government for the country.
"There is still that wider, longer-term reason why victory cannot simply be declared when the Taliban and bin Laden have been dealt with. It is rooted in something that was true before September 11th. In our modern world, we are fortunate that there is one great superpower, dominant militarily and strong economically, which no other country or alliance of countries presently feels inclined to confront in war. But that very dominance has two consequences: that America is always the favorite scapegoat for perceived ills; and that hostile groups, or even a few countries, are likelier to resort to extreme methods to try to hurt or repel it. What might that mean? It will entail serious, sustained work to improve international agreements on nuclear and other proliferation, and the enforcement of them.... It will make the question of whether a country sponsors or gives succor to terrorists the basic determinant of whether it is treated as friend or foe. The next question is who is in which category. What America will need to do is to give countries a chance to choose, and to prove that they mean it. At the top of everybody's list is Iraq. There will have to be a process, not a pounce; the building up of diplomatic pressure, reforming sanctions, demanding new UN inspections, the credible threat of military action if he does not comply."
FRANCE: "Where Is Europe?"
Patrick Sabatier held in left-of-center Liberation (11/30): “The Europeans are getting noticed through their absence. Between Schroeder’s virtual troops, those of Chirac stuck in Central Asia and the handful of Blair’s men, the Europeans are only extras on the Afghan movie set. The Americans do not need the Europeans in their search for bin Laden.... Europe’s annoyance is understandable, especially that it knows that when the time comes to pay the bills for ‘Enduring Freedom,’ the Americans and the Afghans will remember the Europeans. Also because they fear the rest of the scenario being written in Washington. While President Bush has managed to maintain a certain strategic ambiguity, there are those who acknowledge that after the Taliban, the United States will turn its attention to other terrorist hornets' nests.... It is to be feared that the warnings voiced by Schroeder, Chirac and Blair about Yemen, Somalia and Iraq may go unheard, just like their offers for help. Because the war against terrorism will not end with the fall of Kandahar or bin Laden’s capture.”
"New Reprieve For Saddam Hussein"
Jean-Louis Turlin judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/30): "With the softening of the trade policy, the UN will be able to use a‘carrot’ that could bring Saddam Hussein around and allow the return of international inspectors without losing face. The ‘stick,’ in the event that he refuses, could be the inevitable military attack which Bush suggested on Monday. In short, it is a take it or leave it situation."
Jean-Yves Chaperon told listeners on privately-funded RTL radio (11/30): “In President Bush’s inner circle there are men of influence who have never given up the hope of seeing Saddam Hussein put out of commission. Extravagant scenarios are often suggested.... America’s military success in Afghanistan has boosted ambitions and morale.... With the UN discussions on the ‘oil for food’ program, the time has come for new threats to be made against Iraq, even if, to be perfectly truthful, there is very little to prove that Iraq is involved in bin Laden’s networks. While the old scenario between the United States, its allies and Iraq returns unchanged, there is one new and major element that has changed and which Iraq is still indifferent to: Russia is definitely committed to the anti-terrorist coalition and seems much less eager to stand by Iraq.... It has been said that since the September 11 attacks the world has changed. But not Iraq.”
"Iraq In Bush's Line Of Fire"
Jean-Jacques Mevel maintained in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/28): "While the Afghans are looking for peace in Bonn, the White House is trying to settle another score in its crusade against terrorism: the objective is Iraq and the culprit Saddam Hussein. The warning came from President Bush as an addenda to what is now known as the 'Bush doctrine.'... There is no doubt that the Iraqi issue has been brought up to the top of the pile by the Bush administration and that it is preparing a strong case against Saddam.... A repeat of the Afghan scenario in Iraq is unlikely... particularly at this time. Washington is in too much need of its European and Arab allies to launch into such a solitary adventure.... The ghost of this [Iraq] intervention is in fact another illustration of the new 'coercive diplomacy' which is at the heart of the Bush doctrine."
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/30): "In reality, the Bush administration has not yet decided how to oppose Saddam's weapons plans.... In Europe, however, people are reacting as if a 'war' against Iraq were imminent. The reactions are following a well-known pattern: Berlin, Paris, and London are warning Bush against
dangerous or at least premature action. Transatlantic dissonances have returned. Some in Washington are now finding their suspicion confirmed that the European choir sang the song of unrestricted solidarity only to be able to shout 'halt!' at the next opportunity. If that suspicion was right, the Europeans would be poor strategists. Anyone who keeps the United States from taking action or conveniently belittles great threats will not pass the global political test. One cannot be of different opinions about [WMD] in the hands of a dictator--one can only disagree on how to get rid of them."
"Alliance Against Baghdad"
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich judged in an editorial (11/30): "Washington and Moscow are closer these days, and the embargo compromise is the result. Apart from this compromise, a bigger solution is in the works: The arms inspectors return to Iraq and the sanctions are gradually dropped. U.S. threats to strike Iraq militarily may just be a bluff, meant to convince the country to agree to this course of action. But even if this plan was to succeed, Saddam could soon throw out the inspectors again and continue his arms projects. In that case, Washington would face the same question all over again: sanctions or war?
"No Need For Adventures"
Martin Winter wrote in an editorial in left-of-center Franfurter Rundschau (11/30): "The Europeans are the only ones who can prevent the United States from expanding the legitimate action taken in Afghanistan to missions in Iraq, Somalia, or Yemen, which would have catastrophic consequences. Even if the EU has not yet solidified its foreign policy, its members nevertheless agree with Paris, London and Berlin that they are not going to back adventures that can only end badly."
"Iraq Blitz Would Be Very Risky"
Christoph Rabe observed in business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (11/30): "It is premature to read Bush's threats directed at Iraq as a sign that a new Gulf War is imminent. Bush knows perfectly well that he cannot wage the kind of blitzkrieg against Iraq that he did in Afghanistan without taking great risks.... The entire region could blow up in his face if he listened to the hawks in Washington in the second phase of the anti-terror campaign. Mere suspicion is not enough reason for an attack on Iraq. Bush must deliver sound proof.... Thus, much speaks in favor of Bush's wanting to put the screws on Saddam without, for now, raining down bombs on Iraq. And that is legitimate in light of the dangers posed by the country."
"Success And Influence"
Udo Verenkotte argued in a commentary on regional radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk of Munich (11/30): "The fact that the four Afghan delegations with their highly diverging power interests have in principle agreed on the formation of an interim parliament and an interim government, speak for the success of the massive political influence which the UN and the Bush administration have exerted on the Afghanistan talks. Right form the start, the UN...and the United States made clear that Afghanistan has only this unique chance...and without a signature under the final declaration...the country would not get a single cent. This negotiating tactic seems to bear fruit."
Guenther Nonnenmacher penned this editorial on the front page of center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/30): "An international force that will enforce peace or maintain peace, a force that supports civilian helpers and protects them, is indispensable. There is no doubt that deploying such a force in Afghanistan requires the consent of the dominant forces in the country...and there is no doubt that the UN would have to legitimize such intervention.... In the
Balkans, troops under UN command have proven incapable of dealing with tricky military situations. That is why the leadership of such forces should be in the hands of a nation experienced in such matters. The force would be multinational, and it has often been said that most of the soldiers should come from Muslim countries. But even the combination of all these elements does not produce the outline of a politically acceptable and military effective shielding and fighting force."
"More Than Great Palaver"
Center-right General-Anzeiger of Bonn judged (11/30): "Those who expected the Petersberg talks to produce a great palaver can now feel pleasantly surprised. But Lakhdar Brahimi...above all can feel confirmed. His preparatory work and his wise peace plan deserve praise. In an almost brotherly like atmosphere at the conference site, the delegations are now discussing the details, while the corner stones for future moves, including a donor conference on December 8, are now clear."
"Caught In The Net: Bin Laden"
Josef Joffe judged in a front-page editorial in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (11/29): "A second strike against Saddam? The United States would have good reasons for destroying the labs and facilities the Iraqi dictator kept the UN inspectors from checking.... It is no secret that he is using his oil money to develop nuclear and biological weapons. Half of Manhattan would have been a graveyard today, if an atomic bomb had exploded on September 11. However, Iraq is not yet part of the program--for a good reason: There is no coalition for such an operation. The dove in the state department, Colin Powell, has yet to build such a coalition, while his boss is building up the rhetorical backdrop: Saddam must 'allow the inspectors back into the country.' That would be the best solution, because it is smarter and more efficient to cut off weapons of mass destruction at the root instead of burying them under bombs."
"Next Stop: Baghdad"
Michael Stuermer argued in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/29): "As soon as proof is available, Saddam's time is up. The Americans have everything in place for air strikes. Bush is relying on ultimatums, backed by UN law, and thus building the necessary political foundation. But all things have their time. Iraq's time will come when the worst has been dealt with in Afghanistan. And then the Americans will not ask for advice from Berlin or for support from Brussels. All wishful thinking has to come to an end. Germany's ability to be an alliance member will now have to face a most difficult test."
"Questions For Bush"
Andreas Petzold noted in an editorial in center-left, illustrated weekly Stern of Hamburg (11/29): "It is time for Chancellor Schroeder and other important members of the anti-terror alliance to ask some important questions of Bush: What are your plans, big brother? Will the military mission be over after Afghanistan? Or are you already collecting data for bombing Somalia, Iraq, or the Hezbollah training camps in the Lebanese Bekaa-Valley?.... We do not know what other risks the United States is willing to take. One thing is for sure: The fight against terror will shape U.S. foreign policy for years. Bush's remarks in Fort Campbell raise the concern that he will divide the world according to his motto 'Anyone not with us is against us.' A big task for the Europeans to broaden the Texan's narrow field of vision."
"Bush's Message To Iraq"
R. Clement commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (11/28): "President Bush's remarks about Iraq are not an announcement of a new war against the country...[but] the international discussion about Iraq allows time and room for carefully
planning operations against real targets. Somalia, where the bin Laden organization maintains a network...is in the cross hairs of the strategists.... Iraq will not be the target of new operations...for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the determination of the democracies in the fight against global terrorism will be measured by studying the example of Iraq."
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/28) noted in an editorial: "Bush's message was clear.... One does not have to wonder for long who the president was talking about. When it comes to the topic of weapons of mass destruction, suspicion always focuses on Iraq first.... The clarity of the message probably does not mean that the United States will take military measures...in the near future. However, the remaining friends of those addressed would do well to make Baghdad and Pyongyang understand that international controls are more likely to serve their interests than military ambitions.... Anyone who considers this viewpoint 'imperialist' condescension by the nuclear powers should not be surprised when, one day, his nice, peaceful world falls to pieces."
"Under Baghdad's Spell"
Wolfgang Koydl asked in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (11/28): "Has Saddam's final hour arrived? Is the United States getting ready for military action against Baghdad?... The answer to these questions--despite all of the martial rhetoric--is a clear 'no' for now. For the foreseeable future, the United States is not prepared politically, diplomatically, and militarily to topple the regime in Baghdad. However, it is quite obvious that the United States is in the process of piling up the reasons it would need to justify a military strike.... Powell is wondering how to maintain his loose international anti-terror alliance if Bush gives the order to march on Baghdad."
"Terror Has Many Places Of Origin"
Dietrich Alexander queried in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/28): "Would a military move against Iraq be a smart thing to do? The global alliance against terror could fall apart if a second front were opened against an Islamic country.... Nevertheless, the war against terror is developing its own dynamic at a frightening pace. The allies have less and less influence on where the journey is going. And nobody wants to jump off the speeding anti-terror train for reasons of friendship and loyalty with the United States. This is no time for illusions: Iraq is an entirely different war theater; the neighboring countries do not want a power vacuum as in Afghanistan; there are no support troops like the [NA]; Moscow, Paris, and also London are pursuing their own interests in Iraq."
"Rogues And Friends"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau maintained (11/28): "The open-ended list of rogues is being expanded.... Proof? There are tips, but the public cannot find out more because the sources have to be protected. War goals? Their geographical limits are broadening as quickly as their content. As Bush said, the focus is on those who finance or harbor terrorists. And anyone who wants to develop weapons of mass destruction in order to 'threaten other people' will have to face the consequences.... There are the just and the unjust. Russians are now among the just, even in Chechnya. Saudi Arabia is just, because it has a lot of oil. The Manichean way of seeing the world...knows only useful friends and terrorists. It is time to limit self-righteousness and make room for nuanced assessments."
"On Their Own In Kandahar"
Washington correspondent Malte Lehming stated in centrist Tagesspiegel of Berlin (11/28): "The U.S. government is already using strong words vis-a-vis Iraq.... Only a fool could claim
that Saddam is no longer a danger. Iraq maintains terror camps; the regime is working on biological and chemical weapons. And even if the dictator should not make use of these weapons himself--what is keeping him from passing them on to the bin Ladens of this world? But the United States is lacking a convincing option. Toppling Saddam is too ambitious a goal. And it would be nanve to count only on the efficiency of potential arms inspectors."
ITALY: "’Taliban Can Choose Between Surrendering Or Dying'”
Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (12/3): "Regarding Iraq, both Rumsfeld and Powell said that an attack is not imminent, and that the United States will first try to force Saddam Hussein to accept UN inspectors. The Bush administration seems to be very united. According to the media, however, it is split over the post-Taliban strategy. The hawks, led by Rumsfeld, are pushing for another war, while the doves, led by Powell, would like to rebuild Afghanistan.”
"Attack On Iraq And Somalia, Bush Speeds Up, Blair Slows Down"
Rome's centrist Messaggero commented (12/3): “True, notwithstanding all efforts, Usama bin Laden, the number-one public enemy, has still not been captured, and yet the United States remains strongly determined to close the game with the sheikh of terror and with al-Qaida, within and without Afghanistan. This is the famous ‘phase two’ of the war on terrorism, probably the most complicated, also from a diplomatic point of view. But there are no uncertainties, whatsoever, at the White House: it is necessary to proceed to the bitter end. One does not need lots of imagination in order to understand what the likely targets are and, in any case, a confirmation comes from British newspapers.... Saddam Hussein and Somalia are the targets.”
"Afghan-Style Ethnic Cleansing"
This front-page commentary by deputy Managing Editor Paolo Garimberti appeared in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (11/29): "It is ever more evident that 'liberated' Afghanistan risks falling into an abyss...similar to the one that at the beginning of the 1990s caused 50,000 deaths and opened the way to the Taliban.... The [feudal Afghans] want to clear out the way from the old regime, by carrying out revenge with no consideration at all for the rights of the prisoners. And the United States is especially aiming at closing its 'game' with the Taliban as quickly as possible, being then able to pursue its chase of bin Laden and to concentrate quickly on Iraq and the other 'rogue states' as the United States' next targets in the fight against terrorism. The UN and Europe are silent spectators in this two-party game; they are marginalized on the military level by the United States' refusal of a multinational peacekeeping force, and powerless on the diplomatic level...even at the conference in Bonn, which should be able to set the basis for a peaceful, ethnically balanced transition in Kabul.... The dispatch of a multinational peacekeeping force is more urgent than ever.... The conference in Bonn is our last occasion to let the Afghan delegates--and first of all those who are more arrogant, the Northern Alliance--understand that the future of their country does not advance through arms, but through politics."
"America Is Now In A Hurry (And) Will Go On Its Own"
Foreign Affairs editor Alberto Flores d'Arcais opined in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (11/29): "The United States is now in a hurry to close the accounts in Afghanistan.... The Pentagon is devoting all its efforts to the United States' main goal...to eliminate bin Laden and the terrorist network that the Saudi multi-millionaire has built up in Afghanistan during these years.... Afghanistan's internal affairs weren't and won't be of fundamental interest to the United States and its administration.... President Bush and his advisors know quite well that even after bin Laden's death, the Al Qaida network will not be dismantled, and that some potential sponsors of terrorism will still remain in several countries around the world. This is the reason why the U.S. leadership, including Secretary of State Powell, has recently stressed again the need to continue the war that started in Afghanistan 'wherever there are terrorists or their friends,' pointing first of all to Iraq, then to Somalia, Sudan and those armed groups that are active in the Middle East. Syria cautioned the United States...(and) an attack on Baghdad would be unlikely supported by Europe...however, America is in a hurry and will go on its own."
"Saddam Rejects Bush's Warning"
Ennio Caretto filed from Washington in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/28): "Twelve hours after Bush's warning...the tug of war between America and Iraq became tougher. American and British jets bombed an Iraqi center in the no-fly zone, in southern Iraq.... The White House ignored Saddam's challenge, but its spokesman reaffirmed yesterday that the dictator 'remains under close surveillance.'.... Indeed, Bush's threat raised a storm in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf."
"Warning To Saddam, Bombs In Southern Iraq"
Arturo Zampaglione filed from New York in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (11/28): "A few hours after Bush's threat to Saddam, the Pentagon bombers hit an installation of Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery in the no-fly zone.... Indeed, yesterday morning Baghdad rejected the American invitation to allow UN inspectors into the country.... But Washington's action against Iraq will need a careful diplomatic and military preparation. Powell, who has just left for Europe, will discuss the matter in Brussels, Moscow and Ankara."
"As In The Balkans? No, It Will Be Even Worse"
Prominent analyst Sergio Romano commented on the front-page of centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/28): "The first statements on the future of Afghanistan coming from the Bonn Conference are optimistic.... However, good diplomatic conferences begin at the end of a war, when the military situation is totally clear and the winner controls the territory. But in Afghanistan--as in Yugoslavia at the end of 1995--the political and military situations are unclear.... We know that the Taliban state is close to falling apart, but we cannot rule out that a part of its army will survive.... We know that regime supporting bin Laden lost the game, but we don't know who the winners are.... There is the risk of falling into a situation that is similar to that of the disintegrated Yugoslavia between 1992 and 1995. The negotiations in Bonn might become a hostage to the operations on the ground...or they might produce agreements that the stronger groups...will not respect.... Much depends upon the Americans, and the way they will make their force prevail. But Bush did not send out its bombers and its marines to remake Afghanistan.... In the meantime, in Washington, there are many people who think that the Afghan chapter is over and that is time to open a 'second front', possibly in Iraq. And this is an extreme position that perhaps the president does not share. Side by side with warlike and intransigent America, there is another America, which is aware of the importance Afghanistan has gained for its image in the world. But the destiny of this country depends on the wisdom and moderation of its political factions."
“The Imperial Presidency”
A front -page commentary by Vittorio Zucconi in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica read (11/27): “From the ashes of Manhattan to the dust of Afghanistan, the ‘Imperial Presidency’ is born again.… At the orders of a president-emperor who can do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants--who can even launch a very serious ultimatum to Iraq with the risks of enlarging the conflict well beyond any acceptable limits for the international coalition.... Indeed, this clear move ahead for both the American military machine and the strategic vision…took place without any uproar of dissent in America.… The need for international support…does not seem important to Bush who, by having sent the Marines, has said with facts what he already had told his European allies: America will fight this war alone, and it will seek support on a case-by-case
basis, when the new emperor will decide to accept the support of one nation or another.”
“Operational Freedom--Also From Its Allies--For Total, Unscrupulous War"
A front-page column in elite, classical liberal Il Foglio maintained (11/27): “Here come the Marines. They are setting up a base in Kandahar…. The war goes on as America likes it, whether Europeans like it or not. Indeed, they are informed of the military plans once things are done. They will be allowed to intervene only when a provisional government is set up. During the transition period, and today they are not considered reliable--not for their war capability, nor for their diplomatic seriousness, nor for their political determination.… The president is not asking for Europe’s authorization to declare that the American determination is now extending to those states that protect terrorism...such as Iraq.... Europe grumbles, especially France, which maintains privileged economic relations with Iraq."
“The Next Challenge”
Former general and leading center-right parliamentarian Livio Caputo commented on the front page of pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (11/27): “It is not a mystery that, once they have won the game against bin Laden, a part of the Bush administration will want to settle scores with Iraq, too…. Even though nothing will happen before the war in Afghanistan is over, the Pentagon has already leaked information about a draft plan for an operation in Iraq.… At the moment, the Americans have not submitted such plans to their European allies, who are already rather upset because they have been left out of the leadership of the war in Afghanistan. We can be sure that the project will be strongly opposed, mainly by France and perhaps by Italy, too, where many politicians--not only from the left--also oppose keeping sanctions.”
RUSSIA: "Rapprochement Is A Painful Process"
Reformist weekly VEK (# 47, 11/30) ran this by Stanislav Tarasov: "It is probably for the first time in postwar history that Russia and the United States have established truly constructive relations marked by goodwill. Being together in an anti-terrorist coalition has overshadowed whatever has been a bone of contention between the two countries.... As we witness Russia and the United States move fast to form a military and political alliance, we may have to change our worldly, as well as our military and foreign policy concepts. It is a painful process for both countries. Both Putin and Bush have begun to get away from the political elite in their countries. But as they have made their choice clear, they have not lost touch with the majority of the population in their countries. Their popularity ratings have not wavered either. People are expecting them to make a breakthrough. This is why the first official visit by Colin Powell to Moscow may become truly historic."
"Interests of Russia, West Don't Coincide"
Reformist Vremya Novostey (11/30) noted in an article by Svetlana Stepanenko in Kiev, Arif Useynov in Baku and Igor Maksimov in Moscow: "Formally, Moscow has no cause for worry. Its relations with the United States have risen to a new level--we are allies now. But that does not at all mean that the interests of Russia and the West coincide everywhere. Our joint struggle against terrorism does not rule out intense competition in areas which Russia and the United States consider vital."
"Day Of Reckoning Nears"
Ilya Baranikas filed from New York for reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (# 48, 11/28): "Obviously, Washington is at the end of its rope, so the Baghdad ruler may soon face a day of reckoning. His diplomatic game of taking one step forward and two steps back may not work this time. Bush has settled down to doing what his father once did, knocking together an
"U.S. May Have To Bomb Iraq To Placate Taxpayers"
Viktor Myasnikov contended in reformist Vremya MN (11/21): "Afghanistan is not Kosovo, where the Americans and local separatists were on the same side of the barricade. Everyone here is playing his own game. The greatest danger comes not from Al Qaeda but from indigenous groups.... If the United States fails to get Bin Laden within a 'reasonably short time,' it may have to bomb Iraq and terrorist bases in other countries so that Americans don't think that they are paying taxes for nothing.... The worst surprises may come from elsewhere--the Americans seem to be losing the propaganda war, as the Kremlin once did in Chechnya."
AUSTRIA: "Identical Military Aims"
Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer commented in liberal Der Standard (11/23): "Some observers believe they already know the target date for a new war against Iraq: mid-January, just as in 1991. But in all probability nothing has been decided yet.... The real problem is that, no matter how much they may all hate and fear Saddam Hussein, officially at least the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition with the Arab states would be jeopardized by a new Gulf War. On the other hand, things would certainly cool down quickly after a successful removal of Saddam (and his entire regime--otherwise the campaign would be pointless). But no one seems to have any bright ideas yet about what the future may hold for Iraq after Saddam Hussein."
BELGIUM: "Is Iraq Next Target?"
U.S. affairs writer Evita Neefs mused in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (11/28): "Saddam Hussein must again allow international inspectors verify whether he produces nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. If he refuses, 'he will bear the consequences' said George Bush on Monday.... 'Afghanistan is only the beginning,' he added.... It was the first time since September 11 that Bush made such a clear link between Iraq and the war against terrorism. However, it is not clear whether Bush views Iraq as the next target in that war.... To date, Bush has followed the advice of...Colin Powell who, ten years ago, also pleaded for restraint. Powell has warned the president that the fragile international coalition will fall apart if Iraq is attacked.... Indeed, it is a remarkable thing that U.S. government leaders are talking about Iraq now.... Condoleezza Rice said that the United States is keeping a close eye on Iraq... Paul Wolfowitz...declared that there is evidence that Iraq is producing and purchasing arms of mass destruction. On Monday evening, Colin Powell also said that Saddam should take Bush's message seriously. However, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that there is no turnabout in the U.S. policy. He hinted that Bush's words should not be interpreted as a decision that Iraq is the next target. On the other hand, attacks against Osama bin Laden's network in Sudan and Somalia cannot be ruled out. At the same time, actions against bin Laden's followers are possible in Indonesia the Philippines in cooperation with the governments of those countries. Nevertheless, in the government the debate about Iraq does not seem to be over. But, it is very well possible that Bush's statements are meant, above all, to appease the hawks in his administration."
"Source Of Concern"
Foreign affairs writer Marc Reynebeau observed in liberal weekly Knack (11/21): "Once source of concern remains the question whether the United States is planning to expand its war to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The hawks in Washington have been insisting on that for quite some time, but it would undoubtedly put an end to the already hesitant support of the Arab countries for the war against the Taliban. Secretary Powell--who does not belong to the radical camp--could only semi-reassure his colleagues by saying that there were 'no surprises' in the offing. In the meantime, the United States--without consulting anyone--had the guts to reserve
for itself and Japan the co-presidency of the fund for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, although that fund will be funded largely with European money. Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, was instructed to go and protest against that idea. For the rest, the EU grumblingly accepts American arbitrarines. After all, Afghanistan is their show and nobody will solve the problem there in their place."
BULGARIA: "Backstage Battles"
Center-right Dnevnik stated (11/26): "The disagreement between the United States and the EU on the length of the war against terror after the end of the campaign in Afghanistan is already quite obvious. While Washington is determined to continue the action against potential terrorists in Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and so forth, Brussels is doing all it can to stop.... Europe says that potential strikes against other countries will destabilize the pro-West regimes in the Middle East and will transform the war against terror into a conflict of civilizations. It is truly a delicate situation. The EU most definitely wants to play a role in establishing the new world order but is very unwilling to dance to the U.S. tune. For now the EU is forced to do it, but no one knows for how much longer."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Fighting Iraq Has Its Drawbacks"
Milan Slezak maintained in business Hospodarske Noviny (11/29): "Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz have been suggesting in the past few weeks that the United States should attack Iraq. President Bush supported them when he called Saddam Husein evil and when he challenged him to let the UN arms inspectors to enter the country or face the consequences. The strong pressure on Iraq is late but absolutely right. However, there are several drawbacks to potential war with Hussein. First, the attack would have to be more massive than in Afghanistan and thus the number of casualties would increase. Second, the West cannot (as it has in Afghanistan) count on a local opposition, as it is weaker and not half as well equipped as the Afghan opposition parties. Third, an attack on Iraq would repel from Washington not only its Islamic allies, but some of its European ones as well. The dilemma of whether to attack or not to attack could be best resolved by another September 11, this time run by Saddam Hussein. Is he preparing it? The UN inspectors could most easily find the answer."
"The Prague Connection To Baghdad"
Jaroslav Spurny commented in Respekt (11/19): "Some Pentagon representatives believe that Saddam Hussein participated in the New York attack of September 11, but their faint and only argument is a visit of Muhammad Atta, one of the assassins, to Prague last spring. It has been proved that Atta actually visited Prague three times. The first visit took place on April 8 and Atta used a false identity to enter the country. Apparently it was during this visit that he met Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Ani. According to the Interior Minister S. Gross there is no hard evidence to prove this but an Intelligence agent who had reported it is to be trusted. The Iraqi embassy in Prague has been under surveillance for ten years now. Ani was expelled from the Czech Republic 14 days after his meeting with Atta. Kannan Hussein, the head of the Iraqi embassy in Prague, had unexpectedly left for Baghdad four days prior to the NY attacks. The official reason was sudden illness. German television ZDF also reported that Atta met Faruk Hinjazi in Prague in April. Hinjazi was a head of Iraqi Intelligence until 1994 and is believed to have regular contact with Osama bin Laden. Atta's second visit to Prague on May 13 was brief as he did not have a visa. Curiously enough, he had applied for it in Bonn four days before. At the Prague airport, he probably met someone in the transit sector and then flew back to Frankfurt. He returned to Prague on June 2, stayed overnight and then flew to the United States. Atta's trips to Spain, Germany and the United States this year were known but never really monitored as his name did not feature on any of the FBI lists of suspects."
FINLAND: "Speculation About War Against Iraq Destabilizes Alliance"
Leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat editorialized (12/3): "Despite success in the war, the international anti-terrorism front is showing cracks. That is mainly due to the renewed zeal among U.S. hawks to extend the war to include others who harbor terrorism. Iraq is especially in the line of fire. Since the end of the Persian Gulf war, an economic embargo of Iraq has been in place. Iraq has been defiant and thrown out UN arms inspectors. The embargo and the misery it has caused have burdened relations between the U.S. and its allies. Many countries have already opened missions in Baghdad....
"President Bush has demanded that Iraq allow the arms inspectors to return. Iraq responded quickly and turned down the request absolutely. Bush's rhetoric was vantage Bush, folksy and harsh, which caused trepidation even among U.S. allies.... German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher said last week very clearly that all European allies have doubts about spreading the war to Iraq. Also, the defense minister of France has said that measures against Iraq or others are not necessary. Many Islamic countries, including close U.S. allies, Jordan and Egypt, have warned the U.S. not to spread the war. They find the idea of fighting Iraq impossible because the ensuing chaos would be a direct threat for these Western-oriented governments. Military action would quickly split the alliance and it is difficult to see how it would contribute to the anti-terrorism campaign. In fact, just the opposite might happen, causing a major crisis particularly in the Middle East.
"Next Target? The Bets Are On Iraq."
Conservative Aamulehti stated (12/1): "Only a few would miss Saddam Hussein. He is generally considered a threat for the neighboring countries, and others, too. Nevertheless, an attack against Iraq would be destabilizing for the anti-terrorism coalition, and particularly for its Arab members.... Clearly, the United States should not endanger the coalition by taking abrupt and unilateral decisions."
GREECE: "No, Even In The Last Minute"
The lead editorial in popular, influential and anti-American Eleftherotypia stated (11/29): "European leaders are against the expansion of the war against terrorism to other countries, thus reacting to U.S. plans for military action outside of Afghanistan. Though late, European leaders are realizing that they have to stop the U.S.. They should have done so from the start in order to prevent the war in Afghanistan. Europe and U.S. supported the Northern Alliance together. As a result, we are now faced with an unprecedented manslaughter. For the horrendous deeds of the Northern Alliance, which are equal or worse than those of the Taliban, nobody will pay a price because they were conducted with the assistance of their American and British allies; Amnesty International is asking for investigations into the slaughter of war prisoners in Mazar-I-Sharif, but who is to conduct the investigation? The Europeans knew that violence and barbarity are recycled with war. Instead, they blessed the paranoia of war. Now they must strongly oppose the expansion of war. Better late than never."
IRELAND: "Bush Warns Iraq On Weapons Inspections"
The liberal Irish Times (11/27) had this piece by Washington Correspondent Patrick Smyth: "George Bush yesterday appeared to signal an escalation in U.S. war ambitions by pledging to 'hold to account' countries which 'develop weapons of mass destruction that will be used to terrorize nations'. ...he had a specific warning for President Saddam Hussein of Iraq: 'He needs to let inspectors back in his country to show he is not developing weapons of mass destruction.'... But journalists attempting to pin down the President on a perceived 'shift of definition' in his war aims were told by a puzzled Mr. Bush that 'I've always held that definition'."
"Pentagon Builds Case For Bombing Iraq"
The centrist Irish Examiner (11/20) featured this article by Hugh Dougherty: "The United States yesterday accused Iraq of building deadly germ weapons as it emerged the Pentagon is building a case for bombing the country in its war against terrorism.... Pentagon planners are already looking for military targets in Iraq including the elite Republican Guard's barracks, while they try to build a case which would convince the White House to give the go-ahead to a massive bombardment of the country. The move would be designed to bring down the Iraqi dictator and end the task started but left uncompleted by President George W. Bush's father."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Taking On Too Much"
Liberal, newspaper-of-record NRC Handelsblad opined (11/28): "Powell distinguishes himself as Washington's realist. 'Dealing with Saddam' would place a much wobblier coalition than that of ten years ago under much greater pressure. In Europe, doubts increase. In the Arabic countries, the jihadist parties would see everything running according to their plans.... In reality the Bush administration is conducting a total war against terrorism, also within the country. The plan to establish secret war tribunals, the detaining and questioning of immigrants with an Arabic background, and the increase in controls of all kinds bring about an atmosphere of extreme radicalization and a de facto violation of fundamental freedoms.... The question, put more than three months ago, remains unanswered. What does the West want after Afghanistan and eventually after Bin Laden? Is there a plan that offers greater prospects than this global crisis management? An approach comparable to what the U.S. did after 1945?"
NORWAY: “A New Chance For Iraq”
The newspaper of record Aftenposten (12/3) commented: “The unanimous decision in the UN Security Council before the weekend to extend the oil for food program in Iraq is a signal that the U.S. and President George W. Bush have bound themselves to not attacking Iraq. How long the U.S. will bind itself is another issue… There are strong forces in the U.S. administration that are arguing that George W. Bush has a golden opportunity that his father George H. Bush did not use when he led the U.S. during the Gulf War 10 years ago--to get rid of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein.... Behind this unanimous decision in the Security Council there is an understanding between Russia and the U.S. If the hawks in Washington win, this might change, and it will damage both the U.S.’s reputation and the anti-terrorism alliance that has been built up internationally."
POLAND: "Warning For Iraq"
Ryszard Malik wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (11/20): "The speculation that the war with terrorism will not end with the overthrow of the Taliban regime, the breakup of Al-Queda, and bringing Usama bin Laden to justice is being gradually validated. Washington's cautious policy so far toward the countries suspected of supporting terrorism--often conducted through persuasion and pressure, and taking into account the interests of many parties in the region--will have to change.... Accusations against Baghdad are not a new thing, as the possibility of a preventive attack on Iraq was mentioned many times in the recent weeks.... If Saddam Hussein continues to reject proposals to monitor his dangerous arsenals, tomorrow bombs may fall on Iraq."
PORTUGAL: "Multilateralism, American-Style"
The "Without Borders" column by foreign affairs editor Teresa de Sousa in influential center-left Público read (11/30): "Bush may be completely right in saying that the return of UN inspectors to Iraq is urgent to neutralize the more-than-probable attempts by Saddam Hussein to fabricate [WMD].... But the American administration seems to be betting on the wrong strategy to reach this goal, as the signs are multiplying that the war it declared on international terrorism might
follow rapidly from Afghanistan to Iraq and other countries accused of protecting terrorists.... It is true that the European strategy in relation to Iraq (if it ever existed) has not always been coherent. But there is a common understanding that UN sanctions...have not been effective in weakening Saddam's regime, and that new forms of pressure and international control must be found.... More and more American specialists are saying, after the 'isolationist' unilateralism of the first phase of this administration, we are witnessing the consecration of a very strange sort of 'multilateralism'--in which others are given the option of either agreeing with Washington or of simply being ignored."
ROMANIA: "Britain's 'Weight' On International Scene"
Razvan Scaesteanu commented in opposition Romania Libera (12/3): "In these conditions, a real test of the ‘weight’ Great Britain’s word has in international policy may be achieved only if some differences appeared between its position and the position of the United States, as it could be the case if George W. Bush decides that the next target of the anti-terrorist war will be Iraq. Until then, it is hard, if not impossible, to appreciate whether Great Britain has or has not achieved the position Blair desired. So far, one thing seems certain, i.e. that the recent events have not only had a global impact, but also a unitary one, on the level of each country, separately.
"Iraq Could Be Next Target"
Stefan Nicolae presented his view in the Independent (11/29): "The United States would like to take this [Mideast] conflict off of its list of preoccupations, being too busy with the vast campaign against terrorism, of which Afghanistan is only the starting point. Since the next target could be Iraq, the Bush administration would like to get off its hands the issue of Israeli-Palestinian relations."
TURKEY: “The New Front Of The War”
Yasemin Congar wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (12/3): “Has the U.S. operation in Afghanistan hit its target? No. What is the minimum that will make this operation be considered complete? It is the capture of al-Qaida and Taliban leaders. Will the U.S. war against terrorism finish on the Afghan front? No. Can the U.S. start a new war front before it fulfills its aim in the Afghan operation? Yes. Does the U.S. prefer such a thing? No. Does the Bush administration want to topple Saddam? Yes. Does the Bush administration have plans to attack Iraq within a few weeks? No. Is there a consensus among high-level U.S. officials on an Iraqi operation? No. Shall we [Turkey] make our plans according to a U.S. operation on Iraq whether it is soon or late? Yes, we have to evaluate such a possibility in all of its dimensions. How soon can such an operation start? That depends on developments in the Afghan operation, response by the international diplomatic community and Saddam’s position. There are U.S. officials who say that the second Gulf War may start in Spring 2002 if Osama bin Laden and his men are seized, Baghdad takes no positive steps to prevent such an operation and Washington doesn’t have to start the second war front somewhere else.”
“The Mosul Trap For Turkey”
Intellectual/opinion-maker Radikal’s Murat Yetkin wrote (11/30): “The scenarios for dragging Turkey into an operation against Iraq are played very openly. This speculation is based on the assumption that both Turks and Kurds will back such a plan. Why? The answer is not clear. Maybe the Kurds are first planning to secure integration with Turkey, and then to press for their independence.... Who is longing for the implementation of such a plan? Iraqi Kurds are issuing calls in support of the hawks in Washington.... Recently the Kurdish party ‘HADEP’ echoed those calls. The party’s leader Murat Bozlak said that they do not want an operation in Iraq, and added that Turkey should not invade Northern Iraq. These words are no different from the words of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli or chief of the General Staff,
General Huseyin Kivrikoglu.... While scenarios for dragging Turkey into a possible operation against Iraq are high on the agenda, the U.S. and Russia have agreed to ease sanctions against Iraq. Second, Baghdad has called back its ambassador to Turkey who allegedly was linked to the terrorists responsible for 11 September attacks. These two developments have eased tensions at the Iraqi border and have relaxed Ankara. Ankara is upset by the fact that the pressures for intervention in Iraq are increasing, and that the Mosul card has been played, maybe in a bid to divide the Turkish public.... It becomes clear that Turkey will not remain an observer if the U.S. presents its evidence against Iraq, mobilizes an international coalition and decides to attack Iraq. Nevertheless, Ankara should be aware of the fact that the offer of Mosul in exchange for Turkish support is just a trap.”
"The Iraq Itch"
Fikret Bila commented in mass-appeal Milliyet (11/29): "The Turkish General Staff is disturbed by the fact that Washington is heating up the Iraq issue. This disturbance is being made public, but at the same time, military precautions are being taken in case of a possible operation against Iraq. The Turkish military agrees with the opinion that the U.S. cannot achieve any results in Iraq without Turkey's support. The military commonly believes that air bombardment only would not effect a change in Baghdad. Ankara advises Washington not to intervene in Iraq. What happens if Washington decides to go on despite this advice? Turkey has taken all necessary measures on its border with Iraq in case of this eventuality, including means to deal with the problem of refugee flow."
"Has Iraq Policy Changed?"
Sami Kohen observed in mass-appeal Milliyet (11/29): "As we wrote last week, the U.S. has made no decision about whether or how to conduct an operation against Iraq.... The first argument (for moving against Iraq) was the necessity of punishing Iraq because of links to terrorism and the September 11 attacks. But American officials now accept that there is insufficient evidence. Now they have laid out another justification: Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, and these are not under control because Saddam threw out the U.N. inspectors.... If the U.S. hits Iraq because of its support for terrorism...Ankara will assess (the situation). But according to officials, Turkey cannot stand aloof because its stand against terrorism is very clear. If this is the justification, then Ankara inevitably will support. If the argument is based on weapons of mass destruction, Turkey might not feel obliged to support (military action), at least at the beginning.... Nevertheless Turkish officials believe the U.S. might settle the issue by other (i.e. non-military) means.... Therefore reading every article or statement we should not conclude that the U.S. is opening a second front against Iraq with Turkish participation."
"The Musul-Kirkuk Plan"
Zeynep Gurcanli argued in tabloid Star (11/28): "As was the case during the Gulf War, it seems the Kurds in northern Iraq are still very eager to find ways of bringing Mosul and Kirkuk under their control.... Apparently Washington has now a post-Saddam plan which projects a federal structure for Iraq. Powell's visit to Ankara will give Turkey a chance to hear Washington's Iraq plans. It looks like the northern Iraq issue, that was sleeping for a long time, will wake up soon."
ISRAEL: "Israel Awaits U.S. Decision On Iraq"
Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in a page one article in independent Ha'aretz (11/29): "From Israel's perspective, the most important diplomatic developments of recent weeks have been the growing indications of an impending American operation against Iraq. President George Bush's aggressive speech this week, in which he described Saddam
Hussein's regime as 'evil,' was a clear sign that the Iraqi front is heating up.... If Bush succeeds in getting rid of Saddam and replacing him with a pro-American government, the regional balance of power will change completely. The Iraqi threat will disappear, and Israel and Iran will be strengthened. In the most optimistic scenario, the new regime in Baghdad would make peace with Israel, setting off a domino effect that would drag Syria and the Palestinians, now deprived of Iraq's powerful backing, in its wake."
"The Risks Of A Growing Appetite"
Veteran columnist Eytan Haber observed in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/29): "The American achievements in Afghanistan thus far are worthy of the greatest praise.... [But] a leader should be endowed with foresight. This is why it appears that Bush's anti-Iraq declaration this week sounded exaggerated and certainly premature.... The question is not whether Bush and America are right, but whether they are wise.... The world counts one billion Muslims. It would be worthwhile...to take them into consideration."
"Could The American Team Bring Relief?"
Far-left, Arabic-language Al-Ittihad editorialized (11/27): "The U.S. Administration is preparing to receive [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon in Washington next month without applying any pressure that might provoke him or the Zionist lobby in America.... The Americans are only looking for a temporary solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to guarantee Arab support for an attack on Iraq."
"Bush's Victory Campaign"
Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote from New York in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/16): "The definition of the enemy has gained focus since September. At the time, there was an argument between Secretary of State Colin Powell, who focused on bin Laden, and the Pentagon hawks, who were talking about fighting terrorism...thinking mostly about Iraq. In the short range, Powell won. Iraq was not targeted. But, behind the doors of the U.S. [administration], the talk is about a victory of the hawks.... High-ranking administration officials are suggesting that [the U.S.] prepare for the collapse of the royal Saudi family and of Mubarak's regime in Egypt. Some of those officials believe that the state that would replace Saudi Arabia as the stabilizing factor in the region will be Iran--yes, the Ayatollahs' Iran. Bin Laden is a common foe. It is possible to conduct business with [President Mohammad] Khatami."
"Next Stop, Baghdad"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (11/15): "The regimes in Tehran and Baghdad represent the combination of oppression and aggression that should make them prime candidates for overthrow, like the Taliban in Afghanistan. And of the two, Saddam Hussein is both the most brutal to his own people and dangerous to the world.... The recent phenomenon of soccer games--the only opportunity for Iranians to congregate in large number--turning into anti-government rallies is a sign that Iran is ripe for the kind of bottom-up revolution that swept Central Europe. In Iraq, if the United States decides to wholeheartedly back the opposition as it did the Northern Alliance, most of Saddam's army will defect and he will quickly lose control of most of the country. Once Saddam has been transformed into the mayor of Baghdad, it is only a matter of time before his regime will fall. The pursuit of freedom, it turns out, is not just an adjunct to the war on terrorism, but at its very heart."
WEST BANK: "Iraq The Second Target After Afghanistan"
Hatem Abu Shaban opined in independent, moderate Al-Quds (11/30): "For sure the latest American statements by President Bush and Secretary of State, Colin Powell, regarding a
Palestinian state and ending the occupation and settlements are a trick to attack Iraq. The American administration will not keep its promises after achieving its targets in Iraq."
Ashraf Al-Ajrami opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (11/9): "Washington does not want now to attack Arab countries that are described as countries that support terrorism such as Syria and Iraq, because the United States does not want to embarrass its Arab allies who are not in favor of attacking Arab countries. Nevertheless, the United States might carry out such attacks if it thinks that the situation in Afghanistan is too complicated. Thus, it will be looking for an easier victory. Arab countries are easier targets and a list of charges is always ready. This does not mean that Palestinians and Arabs should launch war against the United States. They must pressure the United States and the international community to implement international law that has been ignored since the breakout of the American war.”
EGYPT: "America Continues To Target Iraq"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram held (12/3): "The UNSC renewed the oil-for-food formula.... This followed some controversy whether to continue with this formula or look into the American-British smart sanctions.... The United States wanted to exploit the current circumstance of a surplus in the oil supply, and its war in Afghanistan, to get the support of some countries for its smart sanctions. This was accompanied by an escalated American tone against Iraq.... However, these very circumstances forced the United States to abandon the idea of smart sanctions, at least for now. The United States believed it could use the Russian rapprochement in the war against terrorism.... However, Russia seemed largely opposed to amending the oil-for-food formula and not to allow its rapprochement with the United States to harm its broad interests with Iraq. The other circumstance is that none of the U.S.' Western allies, including Britain, seems enthusiastic about targeting Iraq at the current moment.... Moreover, Arab leaders warned the United States that any strike at Iraq would ignite hatred against the United States and harm its interests in the region.... Despite all, the American retraction seems tactical and may shift to imposing the smart sanctions as well as launching a military strike at Iraq when the opportunity comes."
"Liable To Attack"
The pro-government English-language Al Ahram Weekly opined (11/29): "If the United States proceeds with the military strike on Iraq that President Bush implied was imminent in statements he made on Monday, the coalition against terrorism will collapse immediately. More seriously, such an attack will give credence to arguments that the attacks on Afghanistan are part of a wider campaign against Arabs and Muslims. Even the U.S. officials who have pushed most adamantly for a strike on Iraq admit there is no evidence linking Baghdad with the September 11 attacks.... Failing to find even the most tenuous indication of Iraq's involvement did not deter the hardliners in the Pentagon and the White House, however. They then attempted to link Iraq to the mysterious Anthrax letters. That did not work either, since experts agree that the bacteria-laden missives are an inside job.... Even before September 11, there was little support for U.S. attempts to launch another full-fledged military campaign against Iraq. Russia, France, China and the U.S.' closest allies in the Gulf have protested this attack.... In his statements on Monday, President Bush warned that those who develop weapons of mass destruction with which to terrorize the world 'will be held accountable.' But this rule applies only to Arab and Muslim countries--not to Israel, which has been terrorizing its Arab neighbors for over 50 years with its U.S.-made arsenal."
JORDAN: "Iraqi Strike: What Else But Wait?”
Daily columnist Yaser Za’atreh wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour (11/28): “Following President Bush’s remarks, there is no more doubt that the strike against Iraq is quite imminent.… It is necessary for Iraqi diplomacy to initiate an international and Arab campaign to rally support in the face of this expected aggression. The Jordanian stand is very important and so are those of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria, because the Arab opposition to the expected strike against Iraq remains shy and timid, and it is important for to escalate this opposition today.”
"American Threats Of A New War Against Iraq"
Daily columnist Rakan Majali wrote in center-left, influential Arabic-langauge Al-Dustour (11/29): “The U.S. president’s belief that directing a strike against Iraq is just like striking Afghanistan shows complete political blindness, because the repercussions would be so grave in this part of the world as well as for America’s interests in the Arab and Muslim world.”
"What’s After Afghanistan?"
Columnist Raja Talab wote on the op-ed page of semi-official, Arabic-language Al-Ra’i (11/29): “Washington had, in the past, abandoned the idea of ousting President Saddam Hussein, under pressure of answering the tough question about the alternative. Yet the American success in Afghanistan, a country much more complicated than Iraq from the ethnic diversity viewpoint, is tempting the hard-line right-wing within the U.S. administration to surpass this issue and move on to experiment. The right-wing within the U.S. administration sees that changing the regime in Iraq would greatly succeed in changing the map of the Middle East. Whether President Bush believes these arguments or not, the issue of striking Iraq is very different from striking Afghanistan. This is because of the viewpoint of Iraq’s geopolitical position within the Arab world and its relationship with the Arab countries.”
"Spreading The Afghan Model"
Daily columnist Bassem Sakejha wrote in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (11/15): "The battle for Afghanistan is not yet over, but the sense of victory in Kabul has whetted the American appetite to speak about the next step, and whenever they do the conversation turns to the Arab region, and Iraq in particular.”
BAHRAIN: "Iraq, Next Victim Of War Against Terrorism"
Semi-independent Arabic-language Akhbar Al-Khalij published this comment (11/11) by Faisal Al-Shaikh: "Powell's latest statement reemphasizes that the true aim behind the U.S. campaign on terrorism is to spread its military power in the region. So I am calling on all Arabs and Muslims to protect Iraq, the next victim in the American war scenario."
TUNISIA: "Might Makes Right"
Editor-in-chief M'hamed Ben Youssef in independent French-language weekly Tunis Hebdo (12/3): "The specter of a potential tragedy in Iraq--where President Bush will attempt to finish his father's unaccomplished task--as well as in other countries--accused rightly or wrongly of harboring terrorists is a flagrant illustration of the new American coercive diplomacy: 'If you are not with us, you're against us.' We know, however, that Bush is facing a 'dilemma': Follow the military options of the hawk, Condoleezza Rice or the more coherent and peaceful Colin Powell, a general who does not particularly prefer military confrontations and who departs from the idea that we know when we can start a war but we do not know when it finishes. There is so much contempt for Arab causes. So many injustices which are not meant to encourage Arab decisionmakers to back the United States in its campaign against terrorism, especially since
Arabs and Muslims have overnight become disliked in their adoptive country."
"Wise And Balanced Decisions"
Editor-in-Chief Abdelhamid Riahi wrote in independent Arabic-language As-Shourouq (12/2): "During a press conference given by the French President, Jacques Chirac, before his departure from Tunis, he stressed that spreading the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism to other countries without having tangible proof is unacceptable.... Such a clear and honest declaration...comes at the right time to slow down the drift of some hard-liners in the American administration.... In fact, these hard-liners are openly inciting the U.S. government to go against Arab countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, from extremists better known now as the 'secret gang,' whose objectives are to strike some Arab countries in order to control Iraqi oil and guarantee the security of Israel.... In fact, these extremist trends have to be countered through conflict resolution and resorting to international law and UN decisions."
"Will Iraq Be The Catalyst?"
Editor Manoubi Akrout penned this analysis in independent French-language Le Quotidien (11/30): "What worries political analysts are the diametrically opposite views held by the United States and Russia toward Iraq. The mini-crisis of the last few days is just a foretaste. It started with the remark of President Bush calling for the return of the UN inspectors to Iraq.... The United States needs a new target after Afghanistan to continue its declared war on terrorism. Iraq could have been the ideal target. However, Russia is there and the two countries are associated by numerous cooperation protocols.... The Iraq debt to Russia is estimated at no less than $30 billion. A colossal fortune that Iraq can never pay back, if it does not get its economy up and running. This is the major difference between the United States (which considers Iraqis as terrorists) and Russia (which considers them partners). This bone of contention renders the Iraqi dossier a disturbing source of instability."
"So That Fighting Terrorism Is Not A Pretext To Dominate The World"
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Radhia Ziadi opined in independent Arabic-language As-Shourouq (11/30): "Does the United States retain proof which incriminates Iraq?.... What is happening today is that Iraq is the victim of terrorism. A million and a half Iraqis have died over the last ten years. The sovereignty of this country is once again being threatened on the pretext that it is refusing to accept the return of UN inspectors despite the fact that the report of these inspectors indicated that Iraq no longer has banned weapons. The responsibility of the international community...is to stand firm against spreading the war to Iraq, because if this happens it will put into question the credibility of a coalition that includes Arab countries. Also, if such a thing happens, it will cause a state of chaos in the world similar to the one before September 11 and the world will be led once again into a vicious circle."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Towards Ending The Suffering Of The Iraqi People"
Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Arabic-language Al-Ittihad's editorial (11/29) discerned a softening in Iraq's position on the return of weapons inspectors and called for a corresponding flexibility in the international (and implicitly the U.S.) response to Iraq: "Iraq has demonstrated noticeable flexibility in its political dealings with the increasing calls to restore normal relations with the Security Council and especially the implementation of those resolutions related to the second Gulf war. The press statement of Iraq's response to President Bush's call for the return of UN inspectors was free of the usual harshness on this subject. Baghdad has called on the United States and the Security Council to show some good will towards Iraq in order to restore normal relations by eliminating the no-fly zones in the south and north and stopping violations of Iraq's airspace and sovereignty.
"It seems that the repeated Russian and French calls on the need for Iraq to cooperate with the UN and accept the return of UN inspectors, to pave the way for a freeze in the sanctions...have begun to find open ears.... Iraq's accepting to deal with UN inspectors, after the lifting of sanctions, represents acceptance of the principle of long-term monitoring of its weapon programs, a development in Baghdad's extreme position.... Any flexibility by the parties on the Iraqi file would reflect positively on the life of the Iraqi people and pave the way to end all outstanding problems, far from violence, which brings only destruction and calamities on the Iraqis."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "A Wider War"
The leading liberal Sydney Morning Herald cautioned (11/29): "President George Bush is causing growing international consternation by suggesting, with increasing pointedness, that Iraq might become the next target of United States-led military action.... President Bush has not spelt out in so many words such a threat. But he has plainly created an impression, in Washington and abroad, that in the flush of success against Taliban forces in Afghanistan, the U.S.-led military machine could roll on to Iraq with the same hopes of success.... For President Bush simply to extend the war in Afghanistan to Iraq is highly unlikely to be any more effective in removing President Saddam than was the Gulf War under President Bush's father a decade ago.... Some of the calculations would change, of course, if there were clear evidence, for example, linking the Saddam regime with the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. But without such evidence, the unity of the coalition of nations, including Australia, which came so strongly behind the United States to support its war on terrorism, would be very much threatened."
An editorial in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review underscored (11/28): "Yesterday's warning from President George Bush that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must allow international weapons inspections to resume appears to mark a significant new phase of the anti-terrorism campaign.... It is important to remember that the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington probably received assistance from state agencies, and Iraq, which resists inspection of its military facilities, is a likely source.... [However] the administration needs to remain focused on efforts to reduce tensions between Israel and its neighbors, and to facilitate some form of long-term stability in Afghanistan. Mr. Powell has made a good start on the first challenge. But the renewed violence on Monday as U.S. envoys arrived for talks with Israel and the Palestinians shows that great persistence will be needed."
"U.S. Sets Sights On Saddam Hussein"
Peter Hartcher, Washington correspondent for the business-focused Australian Financial Review, contended (11/28): "The Bush administration is sounding an increasingly warlike drumbeat of denunciations of Iraq as the United States seeks its next military target in its campaign against terrorism.... Although there is no public evidence that Saddam's regime played a part in the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Mr. Bush took office promising stern action against him. And there are powerful forces in U.S. conservative politics demanding a U.S. attack regardless of the evidence."
"When The Going 'Gits' Tough, The Tough 'Git' Threats Going"
Washington correspondent Roy Eccleston noted in the national, conservative Australian (11/28): "There's not much doubt Bush would like to go after the Iraqi leader one day.... However, right now the younger Bush has his hands full in Afghanistan, and would surely destroy his coalition on terrorism if he went into Iraq. But Bush couldn't help ratcheting up the rhetoric a notch yesterday."
CHINA: "Who Will The U.S. Attack Next?"
Ren Yujun commented in the Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 11/30): "According to Newsweek magazine, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Iraq will be the next possible targets of the U.S. war against terrorism.... However, some analysts believe that in view of the current situation, it is still quite difficult for the United States to expand its scope of military strikes. The most important thing is that the United States must provide sufficient evidence to substantiate the connections between some countries or organizations and the September 11 incident."
"Principles Crucial In War On Terrorism"
The official, English-language China Daily noted (11/30): "Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue yesterday cautioned the United States on its intention to add Iraq to the list of military strike targets in its anti-terrorism fight. 'China supports the war against terrorism, but the Chinese government maintains the fight should follow the principles of the UN Charter, the relevant norms of international laws, and should be based on concrete evidence,' said Zhang at a regular press briefing. 'We are against wanton expansion of the strikes,' she said."
"Does U.S. Intend To Attack Iraq?"
Yan Feng remarked in the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun, 11/28): "In his remarks made on Nov. 26, President Bush, for the first time, stated that the United States may include those countries which develop, use and threaten other countries with weapons of mass destruction as targets of the war against terror. The American media say this suggests an important change in the U.S. government stance.... As the war proceeds, the domestic demand for attacking Iraq is mounting."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Unilateral Danger"
The independent, English-language Hong Kong iMail judged in its editorial (11/28): "Bush's initial handling of the (Sept. 11) crisis started out surprisingly well. He resisted knee-jerk reactions, and opted for a steady calm and resolve, acknowledging that it would be a long war with many facets, and needed a multilateral alliance. But now Bush is treading the stereotypical gung-ho, go-it-alone U.S. path.... Bush is right to maintain his determination to end terrorism. But he is likely to be more successful if he avoids inflammatory language and extraordinary measures, and acts instead to deepen a global coalition and dispel the impression that America is the world's bully, as well as its policeman. At the moment he is in danger of enhancing such an image."
CHINA (MACAU SAR): "New Anti-Terrorism Activities Should Be Planned By UN"
Pro-PRC, Chinese-language Macau Daily News' editorial remarked (12/1): "The fighting against the Taliban and terrorist organizations in Afghanistan is sure to be won. Which country will be the next anti-terrorism target?... As long as Iraq continues to decline weapons investigations, the United States may use what Bush said as an excuse to launch attacks against it.... People should cooperate in fighting terrorism no matter when and how it appears. Fighting terrorism is a joint mission for the international community. Thus, it should be led and planned by the UN. Big nations should not make order according to their own standards and interests, nor should they deliberately look for a target and set up their own measures to counter terrorism."
INDONESIA: "With Trumped-Up Terrorism Charge, Iraq and N. Korea Could Be Next"
Leading, independent Kompas emphasized (11/29): "It becomes more serious that Iraq and North Korea could be the next targets of U.S. attack following Afghanistan. Although it is still difficult to gauge the solemnity of this threat, it is already causing anxiety among the
international community.... The assumption that bin Laden and al-Qaida were behind the September 11 attack is still questionable. And so is the method used by the U.S. to combat terrorism.... The immediate impression is that the United States deliberately seized the momentum of the global campaign against terrorism to threaten U.S. air strikes against Iraq and North Korea. In fact, everyone is aware that the United States hates Iraq and North Korea because of the issues surrounding weapons of mass destruction, rather than terrorism. In the context of the fight against terrorism, the reason underlying the U.S. attack on Iraq and North Korea is being trumped up. An attack on Iraq and North Korea would be counter productive to the collective global endeavor against terrorism."
PHILIPPINES: "Next Stop, Iraq?"
Publisher Max Soliven told readers of the third leading Philippine Star (11/28): "Most dangerous of all, [Saddam] Hussein has nuclear and germ-chemical warfare capability. The Americans surely must have learned a lesson from the destruction of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The real golden rule is: 'Do unto others before they do it unto you.' Certainly, if the United States attacks Iraq, the other Arab states including ambivalent Saudi Arabia, will go into paroxysms of fury and resentment. There will be rioting in the streets, effigies burned, the U.S. flag stomped on and desecrated. So what? It's time for America, stricken so painfully in its own 'safe' homeland, to decide whether to be popular--or to be feared. Popularity is fleeting. Fear is permanent.... Although it is next to impossible to strike a happy balance between the two, she must in these perilous and discouraging times, perhaps, take the path of belligerency.... This writer and other friends of America would be sad to see things go the way of aggressiveness and belligerence. But when a nation has its back to the wall--we'll understand."
SOUTH KOREA: “Concerns About Anti-Terrorism War"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo stressed in an editorial (12/1): “Amid the confusion of the Afghan war, the United States is discussing expanding the war to include Iraq. However, international criticism is mounting over the idea of attacking a country already made helpless by long-term sanctions and bombing raids, and thereby further threatening the lives of the Iraqi people.… Now is the time for South Korea, as a truly civilized country, to go beyond its national interests and to concern itself with international peace and justice.”
“Who Will Be the Next After Afghanistan?”
Baik Jin-hyun, professor of the School of International and Area Studies at Seoul National University, wrote in the independent Dong-a Ilbo (11/30): “In the context [of President Bush's remarks], the second phase of the anti-terror war is likely to be focused on stopping weapons of mass destruction from proliferating, and states such as North Korea and Iraq, which are suspected of spreading such weapons, will be easy targets…. The United States is readjusting its relations with other countries according to how much they cooperate with its efforts to eradicate terrorism. This U.S. move offers both risks and opportunities to North Korea.… Despite its recent expression of intent to join two international anti-terrorism conventions, North Korea is still balking at concrete measures against terrorism.… If it sticks to its time-honored brinkmanship without extending appropriate cooperation in this matter, the North will clearly be in big trouble in the future.… The coming six months will be a crucial time for the future of the Korean Peninsula.”
"Tension Between North, South Should Not Be Encouraged"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo told readers (11/29): “The United States is discussing North Korea as one of its next targets in the anti-terrorism war, and North Korea has committed a military provocation by firing shots across the DMZ at a South Korean guard post.... The United States appears to be trying to expand the war beyond Afghanistan to enhance its justification for the
war and to divert global attention from the chaotic Afghan situation.... The unstable situation on the peninsula is expected to continue until the battlefields of the anti-terror war are clarified and the United States has clear-cut strategies for the war.”
“Bush’s Remarks about North Korea”
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun contended (11/28): “Hawks and conservatives in the Bush administration reportedly not only single out Iraq as being behind the simultaneous terror attacks in the United States, but are also keeping a close watch on Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. We view the ongoing discussions in the United States and its allies on the next target of the anti- terror war as very rash and dangerous acts. If the Bush administration, which has waged a military campaign in Afghanistan without producing evidence linking bin Laden to the September 11 terror attacks, strikes other Arab nations, the stability of the world will be shaken to its root, and the international economy will be thrown into utter confusion. In addition, we consider President Bush’s recent remarks, which seem to give the impression of the North being behind the terror attacks, inappropriate, especially given that they come at a time when ‘post-Afghan developments’ are becoming a matter of prime concern.... If the Bush administration unilaterally applies its own rules and regards all countries developing ‘weapons of mass destruction’ as terrorist states, it will cause unnecessary troubles around the world. ”
“Bush’ s Warning Against North Korea Worrisome”
The government-owned Daehan Maeil warned (11/18): “[President Bush's] recent remarks [about North Korea] raise our deep concern, in that they come at a time when there is a high possibility of the war being expanded beyond Afghanistan.... Considering that there has been continuous dialogue between North and South Korea for peace on the Korean Peninsula, and that considerable progress has been made in the process, hard-line U.S. remarks, which can be mistakenly interpreted as the United States considering North Korea as its next military target, might undermine stability on the peninsula and make inter-Korea dialogue retrogress.”
NORTH KOREA: "DPRK Spokesman Assails U.S.' Evermore Hostile Attitude"
The official Korean Central News Agency featured this item on its Internet site (11/29): "A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK yesterday gave answers to questions raised by KCNA as regards the United States' evermore undisguised hostile attitude toward the DPRK. Not content with the ceaseless mud-slinging at the DPRK over issues of 'human rights,' 'religion,' 'biological and chemical weapons' and the like, the United States has recently linked the DPRK with terrorism and even raised the issue of 'verifying the possible development of weapons of mass destruction' in a bid to bring pressure to bear upon it, the spokesman said, and went on: 'This goes to prove that some forces in the United States, in fact, do not want the dialogue for the solution of the problems, though they are giving lip-service to the 'resumption of dialogue with the DPRK without preconditions.' This compels the DPRK to follow their attitude with particular vigilance.... The United States is becoming all the more undisguised in its hostile policy toward the DPRK, keeping it on the list of 'sponsors of terrorism.'... The building of the light water reactors...is being indefinitely delayed. The United States is unreasonably demanding the DPRK [undergo] an 'inspection'...instead of...complying with the DPRK's just demand for the compensation for the loss of electricity. All facts indicate that the prospect of the negotiated settlement of the issue has, in fact, become gloomy. Under this situation the DPRK cannot sit idle but is left with no option but to take necessary counter-measures."
"U.S. Policy Toward DPRK Condemned"
The official Korean Central News Agency featured this item on its Internet site (11/28): "The International Liaison Committee for Reunification and Peace in Korea (CILRECO) issued bulletin no. 317 on Nov. 19. The bulletin...noted that the CILRECO bitterly denounces the United States for using anti-terrorism in escalating tensions and harassing peace in the Korean
peninsula. An article titled 'Bush laying obstacles to resumption of DPRK-U.S. talks' said that the international community should have a correct perception of why the talks have not been resumed and put pressure on the U.S. administration to stop all its military actions of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula and respond to the DPRK-U.S. talks with no pre-condition."
THAILAND: “Next Bombing Target--Iraq”
Cafe Dam commented in elite, business-oriented Krungthep Turakij (12/2): “In the event that America decides to launch attacks on Iraq, repercussions that would follow would include: 1) A split among the United States’ international allies, some of whom agreed with the Afghanistan war, but would oppose the United States’ expanding its campaign into the Persian Gulf: 2) the just-renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians would immediately collapse; 3) a split in American public opinion--those who have supported the tracking down of Usama bin Laden may not necessarily support a second showdown with Saddam Hussein; and, 4) America would be viewed as aiming more at destroying Islam rather than at cracking down on international terrorism.”
VIETNAM: "Dangerous Plan To Expand 'War Against Terrorism'"
Ha Phuong argued in Communist Party Nhan Dan (12/2): "Ignoring public opinion in Arab and Persian Gulf countries, Washington is publicly preparing for an attack against Iraq as White House spokesman Fleischer recently said there was no change in the United States' Iraq policy. This means that Washington will continue to impose its policy on Iraq and blatantly violate its sovereignty.... The people of the world sympathize and share the American people's pain and losses...and support the international community's efforts to punish those committed the crime. But peace-loving forces are determined not to accept actions that can lead to more bloodshed.... More than that, they do not want another sovereign and independent country to have the same fate as that of Afghanistan."
PAKISTAN: "Targeting Iraq"
Jassim Taqui wrote in Islamabad's rightist English language Pakistan Observer (12/3): "Having been responsible for the killing of over 2 million Iraqi civilians, mainly children, women and the aged first through 45 days of carpet bombing in the 1991 massacre of the people of Iraq and subsequently through 11 years of the most brutal sanctions and siege of civilians, the Bush administration is contemplating another massacre of the people of Iraq to cover the original crimes against unarmed civilians.... The illegitimate Zionist state, which usurped Palestine and uprooted the entire Palestinian people has every right to possess weapons of mass destruction but when the Arabs or Muslims attempt to manufacture similar weapons for deterrence purposes, they are accused of being terrorists. What justice the United States is preaching to the world! One feels ashamed indeed to narrate the U.S. injustices, double standard policies, humiliation and insult against the Arabs and the Muslims. And if one looks to the ideals of George Washington one would wonder about whose America is existing today!"
"Powell's Tricky Statement"
Islamabad's rightist English language Pakistan Observer commented (12/3): "Though Powell has sought to calm speculation about the next target of the U.S. anti-terrorism drive, his statement betrays the truth about Washington’s motive behind its intensified pressure earlier this week on Baghdad to allow UN inspectors back into his country to monitor whether he is building weapons of mass destruction. His statement is, in fact, a veiled confirmation of the reports of U.S. agenda against Iraq. The assertion that President Bush has not yet taken any decision in this regard is certainly no repudiation of the threat. He has rather reiterated U.S. plans against Iraq by saying that the U.S. will find 'something more creative' than the air strikes, in view of the failure of the last bombing campaign.... Pressure must continue on the United States to shun its plans of extending the anti-terrorism campaign against any other country. The positive feature of Powell’s statement, however, is that Washington is mindful of the anxieties within Europe and the moderate Arab world. It is, therefore, hoped that the U.S. will be responsive to the world community's rejection of its plans."
"Whither War On Terrorism?"
Karachi-based, independent, national Dawn commented (12/2): "War and terrorism are not the same even if war often does involve civilian deaths. Those who cause them describe these unintended killings as 'collateral damage,' while the other side calls them acts of terrorism. The term is often used loosely, both in domestic and international contexts, to suit the user's convenience.... A distinction is also to be made between state-sponsored terrorism and the violence done by 'freedom fighters'.... The right to revolt against oppressive rule, including the right of revolution, is regarded as legitimate in democratic ethics and ethos.... An international 'coalition,' including Pakistan and led by the United States, has initiated a crusade against terrorism, starting with Afghanistan where a major terrorist organization (Al Qaida) and its leadership are believed to be located.... There will be pressures on the United States government, and possibly on some of its European allies, to carry the crusade to countries that are alleged to have sponsored terrorism beyond their own borders, namely, Iran, Syria, Libya, and Iraq. But this is not likely to happen. There is little international support for the idea of punitive action against these nations."
"The Next Target?"
The center-right, national Nation editorialized (12/1): "Ominous clouds of 'another blitz' by Washington are beginning to gather over Iraq. As the U.S. gleefully perceives the approaching end to its campaign in Afghanistan, or at least the satisfaction of having driven out the Taliban from most of the country, its leaders are turning their attention to Baghdad, hurling threats of war in ever more strident tones.... To justify the inclusion of Baghdad in the purview of terrorism, President Bush has dug up the virtually forgotten demand of allowing "arms inspectors" to inspect Iraq's military installations to see whether it is developing chemical, biological or nuclear arms 'that will be used to terrorize nations'. Bush's threatening observation, in case Saddam defies, is simply: 'He'll find out!'.... No words are strong enough to condemn the dangerous tendency to broaden the definition of terrorism to hit preconceived targets. The entire Arab and Muslim world is on record as having reacted strongly to the suggestion to stretch the definition to cover Iraq....
"Even important coalition partners--France and Germany, for instance-have categorically stated their opposition to such a move. China, which in principle is in favor of action against terrorists, has warned against expanding the war 'at will'. The question is whether Washington under Bush Junior, already known for unilateralist solutions to international issues and riding the wave of success in Afghanistan, would be inclined to spare a moment for Arab and Muslim sensitivities and the need to keep the coalition intact."
"The Process Of Economic And Political Reconstruction Of Afghanistan"
Leading, mass circulation Jang (11/28): "After achieving success in the Afghan war, the United States and its allies must no longer act according to their own wishes. President Bush and Secretary Powell must desist from issuing statements that the U.S. will divert its attention to other countries [supporting terrorism] after Afghanistan. Firstly, it will have to fulfill its major responsibilities in the reconstruction work of Afghanistan and secondly it must avoid imposing military action unnecessarily in other countries. American sources have been pointing out that Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Philippines will be dealt with after Afghanistan. This will not bring an end to terrorism but conversely will bring about new dangers for the global peace and security."
"The Crusader Knights"
The centrist, national News editorialized (11/25): "The American people, shaken rudely out of their grossly self-indulgent mode of living, are also beginning to look for sane guidance and grope for answers to the bewildering crisis. Not the ruling elite, though. Witness the almost daily outbursts of arrogance. We shall fight the evil of terrorism everywhere as long as it takes. We shall prevail and ensure the security of the civilized world. And lest Pakistan forgets, they promise a second phase after the pulverization of Afghanistan. Whose turn will it be next? The Jewish lobby's priority is Iraq, because it's the only Arab state Israel fears. Yemen? Somalia? Some pillars of the American establishment have taken the unprecedented recourse to scathing criticism of Saudi Arabia. The New Yorker has already revealed one CIA plot for taking out Pakistan's nuclear arsenal with the collaboration of Israeli commandos. There is no limit to the sweep of the crusade which, as Washington threatens us daily, will go on for years."
INDIA: America Will Embark On Second Phase Of The War"
Pabitra Kumar Ghosh stated in Calcutta's Bartaman (11/29): "America's declared war is not going to end in Afghanistan.... The second phase will start with the fall of Kandahar. America will then target Kashmir, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq.... America is helping out on several fronts including providing Indian defense forces with ultra modern surveillance technology.... Pakistan is bound to be cautious now since it has already been known as the Mecca of terrorism. Pakistan cannot get on with its duplicity for long.... The Kashmir war would certainly spell its doom."
CANADA: "The Bear Is Back"
Contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis commented in the conservative Ottawa Sun (12/3): "While Bush was preaching a new crusade against Iraq, other high administration officials were warning that Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia and even Pakistan might be added to Bush's jihad list. A decade ago, this would have been called warmongering. Now, the frightful Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. are being used to justify all sorts of adventures abroad, and the curtailment of civil rights and free speech at home. Bush's anti-Muslim crusading policy is being advocated by a group of Dr. Strangeloves, hardline 'neo-conservatives' - the Washington chapter of Ariel Sharon's far-right Likud party. They want to use America to destroy all of Israel's enemies and block peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Sensible Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the administration's sharpest mind, Secretary of State Colin Powell, are trying to restrain the Sharonistas, who seem dangerously close to convincing Bush to launch a crusade against much of the 1.2-billion-person Islamic world. They failed with clever Bill Clinton, but are succeeding with the unworldly Bush. America's European, Asian and Muslim allies are horrified by the dire threats emanating from Washington, but so far no one has dared to publicly break ranks and tell the president to holster his sixguns and simmer down. America is not refighting World War II. In fact, it is not even at war, since none has been declared by Congress. It is fighting a handful of small but deadly international criminal organizations. This is not D-Day, nor the Alamo, and certainly no reason to launch America on the 21st century's first world war."
"End Saddam's Reign Of Terror"
The conservative National Post observed (12/3): "It appears likely the United States will take robust action against Iraq as part of the war on terror.... The United States lacks European and Middle Eastern support for toppling Saddam, but Arab reluctance is a fatade in the many cases, and many regimes --certainly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia--would like Saddam declawed. Saddam's neighbours such as Turkey and Jordan fear to cheer an Iraq campaign in case the United States gets cold feet and they are left alone to face a vengeful Saddam. If the United States says clearly what it intends to do to Iraq, then does it, Arab regimes will reconcile
themselves to reality.... Saddam is a terrorist threat. He is already violating his legal obligations to destroy rather than develop mass destruction weapons; there is no reason to leave him alone and every reason to end his reign of terror."
"What The U.S.-Russian Deal Means For Iraq"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (11/29): "Those lusting to see the U.S.-led war on terrorism widen to encompass an attack on Iraq will be disappointed at the compromise agreement being weighed by the UNSC over renewed sanctions against Baghdad. Everyone else, however, should be relieved. For months, the United States and Russia have been at loggerheads over the embargo. Now a deal has been agreed to. With it, the likelihood of an imminent military assault on Iraq appears to have receded.... The Afghanistan upheaval is still in its first phase. For there to be any hope of a successful outcome, the United States will have to rely on the continuing support of the international coalition it has skillfully stitched together. That support would vanish instantly with an attack on Iraq. Also gone overnight would be whatever credibility Washington enjoys within the Arab world as it struggles to broker a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.... So what to do with Iraq? The deal just struck between Moscow and Washington over the embargo may hold a glimmer of light.... Washington has agreed to help spell out the vague, long-contentious UN terms under which the embargo could be lifted entirely in return for Baghdad's cooperation with renewed arms inspections. Whether that cooperation now materializes is moot. There is no reason to assume it will. But the new friendship between Mr. Bush and President Vladimir Putin does finally offer some hope for an exit from the Iraqi impasse. And the fact that a deal was reached at all looks for now to have diminished the chances of a U.S.-Iraq military confrontation. For that, the world should be glad."
"It's A Long Way To Baghdad"
The conservative, English-language, Montreal Gazette opined (11/28): "U.S. President George W. Bush is right not to limit his fight against terrorism to Afghanistan or Al-Qa'ida. But he would be making a major tactical mistake if he were to broaden the conflict prematurely or divert attention from his main objectives before he achieves them. Mr. Bush fired a rhetorical shot across Saddam Hussein's bow this week. He threatened the Iraqi dictator with unspecified consequences if he refuses to readmit UN weapons inspectors.... [However] taking on Saddam now risks splitting Mr. Bush's coalition before it has achieved its core goal of putting Al-Qa'ida out of business. It risks sidelining Washington's uphill effort to encourage a ceasefire between Palestinians and Israelis.... Washington has enough to do right now without taking on Saddam Hussein, unless a link to Sept 11 becomes clear. For now, it should be satisfied with containment."
"Bush Sets Sights On Saddam Hussein"
Former publisher Hartley steward wrote in the conservative Ottawa Sun (11/24): "President George W. Bush, after showing considerable restraint following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, now appears to be heading down a dangerous path. It may well be the right path, but it is no less dangerous for that. It seems obvious he wants to finish the job started by his father when he was president. He wants to take on Saddam Hussein.... Without mentioning Iraq directly, Bush has made it clear he feels the war against terrorism must be--and will be--expanded beyond borders of Afghanistan.... Should President Bush choose to declare victory after a new and more representative government is established in Kabul and call off the war on terrorism, he would be continuing the wildly unsuccessful policies of former president Bill Clinton.... Unfortunately, if we in the West are ever again to be safe from terror, ever again to live our lives without fear, the United States must pursue the war against terrorism beyond the borders of Afghanistan. Must, as the president says, put the terrorists out of business. The rest of us, including Canada, should be alongside for however long it takes."
"America's Spartans In Full Cry"
Foreign affairs columnist Gordon Barthos commented in the liberal Toronto Star (11/23): "The latter-day Spartans who surround U.S. President George Bush are rattling swords on shields, flush with success in Afghanistan. Bush's Thanksgiving speeches fairly bristled with combative confidence.... Influential voices in Congress, the media, academe and the defence sector want Bush to take on Saddam Hussein in Iraq, as well as Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, North Korea, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, in no special order. These countries are faulted for being hostile to America, for supporting terror, for seeking to acquire nightmarish weapons. Some Americans are even spoiling for a fight with the Saudis, for bankrolling Islamists who have no love for the West. Troublesome though these regimes undoubtedly are, this is an ambitious program. It would require Bush to make war on, contain, chastise or subvert a lot of countries. And it would require a Spartan-like commitment from his people. It is hardly what the UNSC envisaged when it passed a resolution after Sept. 11 authorizing the U.S. to take 'all necessary steps' to prevent another murderous attack, and to bring the killers to justice. Toppling Saddam and subverting or reforming Islamic theocracies, Arab despots and hermit kingdoms wasn't on the agenda.... Bush could not have sent a clearer message to Iraq and other worrisome regimes that targeting Americans, or befriending those who target America, is a death wish. That will make terrorists everywhere less welcome. Moreover, by acting lawfully under a U.N. mandate and with restraint in trying circumstances, Bush has grown in stature.... Making war on Iraq and threatening other regimes was not what the Afghan campaign was about. It was about self-defence, deterrence, and a measure of justice for the victims. It was about a safer world, not a more troubled one."
"There's Reason For U.S. To Oust Saddam"
Columnist Richard Gwyn observed in the liberal Toronto Star (11/21): "[D]eposing Saddam would give George W. Bush the chance to complete the agenda left unfinished by his father...after his military victory a decade ago. None of this is to say that it will happen. But the quick victory in Afghanistan has shown that doing in Saddam is eminently do-able. Hawks in Washington, including some key figures in the administration like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, have begun war chants to make toppling Saddam the 'Phase Two' of the war against terrorism. Mark it down as less than likely...but nevertheless a definite possibility.... There are, though, some strong justifications for knocking off Saddam, entirely aside from the fact that he's a bad guy, indeed a very bad guy, and that he either has helped or would dearly love to help international terrorists. With Saddam gone, the U.S. would no longer need to station troops in Saudi Arabia to protect its oil supplies and, almost coincidentally, to protect the House of Saud.... In short, while Iraq may be the next military target, it's Saudi Arabia that is going to be the political and cultural one."
ARGENTINA: "An Agreement Is Not Equal to Peace"
Claudio Uriarte, leftist Pagina 12 international analyst, opined (11/30): "The Inter-Afghan Conference in Bonn only agreed on slicing a big share from the U.S. Treasury and also from the Central European Bank before the U.S. destroys what's left of the Taliban, Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda's network in Afghanistan and leaves the country to proceed with its anti-terrorist crusade wherever it may be (probably Somalia and not Iraq, which is what the Pentagon wants people to believe.) In this scenario, the incredible allies from North and South will pretend they are a group of reasonable people so they can 'swallow' the aid first and then probably resume their bloody ritual of fratricidal carnage. Paradoxically, for this reason, and in order to avoid a new collapse of the central State power--such as the one which allowed the Al-Qaeda to thrive--the U.S. may be forced to accept, rather reluctantly, what Great Britain--ridiculously deploying the banners of revengeful neo-imperialism--keeps proposing (and has moved into Kabul from the North, allowed by Russia): the deployment of 'international humanitarian aid' or 'pacifying' forces before a theoretical force of moderate Islamic countries--such as Indonesia and Malaysia--occupy positions. And this, providing the greedy 'international forces'...allow
them to do so."
"Washington's Move Has Several Fronts As Targets"
Gustavo Sierra filed from Kabul for leading Clarin (11/27): "The first large deployment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after a month and a half of war seems to be aimed at destroying the last Taliban bastion as well as giving a sign of support for monarchic Pashtuns in the Bonn talks. The arrival of more than one thousand U.S. marines to Southern Afghanistan has a third purpose, that is a top priority for Washington and perfectly fits in with the other two: capture Usama bin Laden and kill the largest possible number of al-Qaida members."
"A Much More Dangerous Stage"
Maria O'Donnell, daily-of-record La Nacion's Washington-based correspondent, noted (11/27): "President George W. Bush said that U.S. marines have established the first military base of operations in Afghanistan to search for the members of Osama Ben Laden's organization and he warned the current one is a much more dangerous stage in the military operation and that it could cause the first U.S. casualties in combat.... Bush's speech is aimed--among other things--at preserving the overwhelming support he has, according to opinion polls, for the campaign on terrorism. Opinion polls show that even the loss of U.S. soldiers' lives...is a cost that U.S. public opinion is willing to pay so that the U.S. military can capture or kill bin Laden and his followers."
"A New Concert Of Superpowers"
An editorial in leading Clarin read (11/26): "The international shock caused by the terrorist attacks against the United States, and the Western military deployment in Central Asia are ceding way to the reconfiguration and adjustment of the world board to the new conditions.... The Western powers' military deployment allowed rebel troops to put an end to the Taliban government. But certainty remains that it will be harsh to guarantee the geopolitical stability in a broad region of the Euro-Asian world. For that purpose, the U.S. needs an alliance with Russia and China, not only in this case but as strategic partners for broader purposes. This approach was demonstrated in the fourth Bush-Putin summit, which obtained up to now unthinkable agreement on issues like the antimissile shield and the reduction in nuclear arsenals.... The scenario that one can foresee is neither an imposition of U.S. hegemony nor the confrontation between regional, commercial or military blocs, but a possible scheme of cooperation, shared responsibilities, and a new balance in the international system."
"Iraq, The Hawks' Target"
Ana Baron, leading Clarin's Washington-based correspondent, wrote (11/25): "Although the war in Afghanistan has not ended, Republican hawks in Washington lead an offensive so that Iraq will be the next target in the antiterrorist campaign.... In fact, there is much more than concern for the world in this new war chapter. To analysts, the energy issue is the true reason.... With a victory on that front, the West would assure its control on a good deal of oil resources in the region.... Now that the combination of air attacks, special forces and local opposition has proved to be successful in Afghanistan, Washington's hawks want the same strategy against Saddam.... Republican Richard Perle assured that 'Iraq will be much more, but much easier than many people believe.'"
"Oil And The War On Terrorism"
Gwynne Dyer contributed in the liberal, English-language Buenos Aires Herald (11/26): "'We hear that Iraq may be targeted,' said Sheikh Ahmed Zaki al-Yamani, oil minister of Saudi Arabia during the 70s and 80s.... Yamani made his remarks six weeks ago, just before the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan. Now, with the Taliban regime near collapse and the first phase of
President George W. Bush's war on terrorism' seemingly close to success, speculation in Washington about a follow-on strike against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq is growing daily more heated. But if an attack on Iraq means soaring oil prices, and that in turn means a longer and deeper recession in the United States, then Saddam is probably safe.... If there were any convincing evidence that Iraq was implicated in the terrorist attacks on the U.S. last September, popular pressure on the USG to strike back against Saddam Hussein might well be irresistible, but there is not. There is only the general suspicion and hostility that permeates all U.S. dealings with the Iraqi dictator.... We are in the early stages of a global recession that has probably been made worse by the events of September 11 and after, but it was already going to be pretty bad.... Just how long the recession will be matters to the Bush administration.... So how likely is it that President Bush will sanction a U.S. attack on Iraq that would send the price of oil through the roof? Exactly."
BRAZIL: "A Turning Point in the War"
Political columnist Boris Fausto commented in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (12/3): "The Washington-led war against terrorism has now reached a turning point both in regards to the Afghan war and its wider developments. One element is more worrisome: the real possibility of extending the war against terrorism.... The war goal is to subject nations that support terrorist networks and totally eliminate them. But there is at least one important exception: Saudi Arabia.... The greatest problem is Iraq.... The consequences of a probable extension of the war are unpredictable. This option has been criticized by many leaders...and there is no reason to think that the 'new friends'--Russia and China--would behave differently. Despite all the restrictions, the U.S. temptation is great. The U.S. may start a risky attempt to eliminate terrorism worldwide, trying to reduce it to a localized phenomenon."
Free-lance journalist Mauro Santayana commented in independent Jornal da Tarde (11/30): "Like other movements in history, nationalism is capable of encouraging self-defense as well as aggression. To keep national pride within necessary limits is the obligation of national leaders. When insane leaders excite their people with propaganda and lead them to falsely believe in their own superiority which excludes other nationalities, we fall into racism and war leading to the madness of 'final solutions' and genocide.... Nationalism has always been the U.S.'s main force. But by asking for the world's alliance to his insane punitive measures against those suspected of committing an abominable crime, President Bush exaggerates: he wants all of us to accept his patriotism, his flag, and his obligation to defend his country's interests."
"War Without Limits"
An editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo said (11/30): "President Bush's comments that the anti-terror war may be extended to nations such as Iraq and Somalia are worrisome. Let us hope that this is nothing but White House rhetoric to convince Baghdad to agree to UN weapons inspections. But if Washington really insists on widening the war front, it will face many serious problems ahead, the most important of which is maintaining the anti-terror coalition.... Although there is no reason for one to doubt Saddam Hussein's inclination to terror, there is no consistent connection between Iraq and the Sep. 11 attacks either.... Those attacks cannot serve as a pretext for the White House to go around settling accounts it considers pending. Saddam Hussein survived the Gulf War due to a U.S. strategic mistake, and this does not justify resuming the conflict without new facts. Likewise, the fact that U.S. military was humiliated in Somalia in 1993 is not a reason for their return to that nation. Obviously, the U.S. has the right to defend itself against terrorism, and civilized nations must help with this task. But there are limits for everything."
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo editorialized (11/28): "Although the military battle in Afghanistan has already been decided for the U.S. and its allies, it is important in terms of public relations for Washington to present bin Laden as either arrested or dead. And it is necessary to use land troops to find the terrorists.... At the current stage of the war the chance of casualties among U.S. soldiers has increased.... However, it is unquestionable that as the battle in Afghanistan is coming to an end, international analysts turn their attention to other fronts. An example is President Bush's tough rhetoric against Iraq and other nations that 'produce weapons of mass destruction.' What remains to be known is whether the anti-terror coalition will resist such a widening of the front."
Independent Jornal do Brasil ran an editorial on Saddam Hussein which quoted Walter Russell Mead of the Council on Foreign Relation who spoke in Rio (11/28): "The Kandahar Operation hasn't even finished and another conflict has begun on the international scene.... There is inside the USG a trend led by Defense Under-Secretary Wolfowitz, favorable to an invasion of Iraq and other countries included in the list of suspects supporting terrorist groups like the one that destroyed the New York twin towers, especially Iran, Sudan or Syria.... Unlike Afghanistan, whose Taliban were weaker than expected, the very fragile Iraqi opposition in exile and the State Department know that the end of Hussein's regime would only be possible with a political strategy beyond the attacks in zones of air exclusion, and this strategy hasn't yet been formulated.
"As U.S. political scientist Walter Mead told Jornal do Brasil [in a recent interview,] at the current war scenario, while the Kandahar battle continues, 'the immediate question is Iraq, because sanctions were clearly not sufficient to prevent Hussein from developing his arsenal and haven't weakened him politically.' Iraq's internal situation, under a trade embargo, continues to produce serious consequences to the people. The exaggeration is in the streets, in the sale of shirts with Hussein's face, pins and other mementos that insist on picturing him as the only Islamic leader capable to face the U.S. The Bin Laden episode hasn't changed the scenario, as Talibans are feeling it in their own skin.... The dictator's rhetoric, however, works as if he still challenged the rest of the world on equal conditions.... Saddam Hussein accepts any challenge naturally, while the country sinks in economic chaos and moral misery--and everything because of himself."
Executive Editor Otavio Frias Filho commented in his weekly column in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (11/22): "Now that the Taliban's fall is a fait accompli, the clear differences between this intervention and that in Vietnam have become even more evident.... Contrary to the disastrous action against the Vietcong guerrillas, this time the U.S. succeeded in forming a wide coalition, including allies, adversaries (like China and Iran) and the group of opportunistic states, from Pakistan to Russia, that saw in the crisis a means of extorting advantages. So far the result is the expansion of U.S. hegemony in the world, with all the disastrous and dangerous consequences that this brings. There is no reason for hesitant Islamic governments, afraid of internal revolts that never ocurred, to not join the winning coalition, as Russia did. The only factor capable of transforming this scenario would the another attempt similar to that of Sep. 11. This is the unknown factor: Did the defeat of the Taliban destroy the terrorist network, or are there still functioning terrorist cells waiting to strike?"
MEXICO: "Iraq's Turn?"
Sergio Sarmiento wrote in independent Reforma (11/28): "The U.S. can brag about having won the war against Afghanistan. The Taliban government collapsed at an impressive speed.
Washington, however, is changing its focus towards Iraq. In the last few days, the U.S. has made several threats to Iraq to accept the return of UN inspectors so that they certify disarmament complaince. It seems, that President George W. Bush is also trying to find the opportunity to overthrow, once and for all, Saddam Hussein."
An editorial in business-oriented El Financiero (11/27): "The war in Afghanistan is at a crucial time--human rights violations and the suffering of the civilian population could grow exponentially as the U.S. and the Northern Alliance consolidate their control. Developments such as the massacre of foreign Taliban prisoners could result in a degeneration of the conflict to one of mere vengeance. President Bush has warned that this is the most dangerous moment in the offensive. He is right. The situation could reach a stalemate that could be worse than Vietnam for the White House."
Miguel Angel Padilla Acosta asserted in nationalist El Universal (11/26): "The role of the main U.S. allies in the 'Enduring Freedom' operation is pathetic and pitiful. Despite their full commitment, NATO nations have not had so far any direct involvement in the conflict. According to international news stories, Washington has not really coordinated with any other nation, nor has it shared the operational command-despite the fact that the U.S. claims that it is not its war alone. It would seem that the role the Pentagon is saving for NATO nations is that of a 'stabilizing force' in Afghanistan under the aegis of the UN.... Meanwhile, however, the fact is that NATO representatives met twice last week and they did not discuss any joint operations, not even humanitarian support logistical operations."
"Fifty Years Of Mistakes"
Monterrey's independent El Norte carried a commentary by Alfonso Elizondo saying in part (11/24): "Even though historical facts can demonstrate the poor understanding or even disinterest of U.S. governments during the last fifty years, the point is that the lack of a solid historical culture on the part of U.S. leaders has led them to create norms concerning the conduct of military operations overseas in response to terrorism, which reflect neither rational thinking nor humanity. According to its historical orientation, the USG will continue its military actions in Afghanistan until it finds a gallant way out before (the eyes of) international public opinion and its own country.... The only absolute certainty is that there will be no important change in diplomatic strategy and that the U.S. will not withdraw its unrestricted support for Israel, the principal issue in the Islam-West conflict. Also, the U.S. will never accuse its principal ally, Saudi Arabia, of terrorism, although even the most elementary rational thinking points to them as the most probable promoters of the conflict."
"A War Against The People"
Angel Guerra wrote in left-of-center La Jornada (11/22): "The fragility of the U.S. establishment after the September 11 terrorist attacks, along with the crisis of the neo-liberal model, have led the U.S. to try to hold on to its world hegemony through the indiscriminate means of State-led terrorism.... What had been announced as a long conflict is about to end after the fall of the Taliban regime. The detention of the villain Osama bin Laden-preferably dead, according to Bush-is just a matter of time. And the formation of an Afghan government under the UN aegis is about to lead Afghanistan towards democracy. Everything is happiness there.... However, what is about to happen in Afghanistan is the vacuum of power, an exacerbation of the civil war, and the dismembering of the nation by the rival factions. Further, the conflict could expand to Pakistan.... Islamic peoples do not believe Washington's statement that the war is against terrorism and not against Islam. The propaganda cannot disguise and hide the hostility against Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. nor the continuous references in the U.S. media to Iraq, Syria,
Lebanon and Iran as possible targets of new U.S. aggressions. The Muslims are not deceived by Bush's statement in favor of the creation of a Palestinian state, while he continues to give full support to the genocide Ariel Sharon."
Modesto Suarez asserted in independent Reforma (11/22): "Similar to previous conflicts in Afghanistan, the governments that have engaged in the current war have been compelled by the military and political dynamics to intervene in Afghanistan's domestic issues. Leaders and heads of government have been placed in power and overthrown with the unfounded hope of bringing some kind of order to local populations. The danger of this kind of policy is that-as it has happened in the past-today's allies could become tomorrow's enemies."
CHILE: "U.S. Is Winning War"
International commentator Libardo Buitrago said in privately owned Chilevision prime-time newscast (11/26): "The U.S. options are very favorable because it will capitalize on the fall of Kandahar. It proves that, even though (the U.S.) hasn't found Osama Bin Laden, militarily, politically, and diplomatically it is winning the war."
"The Invisible Enemy"
Conservative, popular Las Ultimas Noticias ran an op-ed piece by writer and regular columnist Jaime Collyer (11/21): "Everything seems to show that the American administration will win its small war on Afghanistan.... One doesn't need to be a magician to predict the grand final in this exercise of military arrogance.... But will this truly be a victory of the so-called 'western order' over terror? Will it be a victory for peace and justice?... This is not, we are told, a war against Islam.... Why is it that the Bush administration and its NATO allies refuse to accept that this is in fact a clash of civilizations, perhaps irreversible in our feeble hope to continue to live in this planet in peace.... This is in fact a clash of civilizations of great proportions, resulting from increasing global pathological inequities. And this has been going on for a long time, for centuries. Usama bin Laden is...just a piece of information--irrelevant in the long-term--in the overall picture."
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: "Warlike Obsession"
Independent Hoy published an op/ed by Emilio Lapayesse in its "100 Words" column (11/28): "The bad omen is to affirm that the attacks in Afghanistan will have new objectives. The warning to Iraq, with arrogant threats, has an undisguised provocative tone.... The UN has to confront that obsession. It's not simply a zeal for retaliation. Ten years ago, no one spoke of terrorism.... To amplify the war, [will be a] grave historical error.
ECUADOR: "The War That Is Just Beginning"
An opinion column in Guayaquil's centrist Expreso stressed (11/29): "It seems that the Taliban, who made such a fuss at the beginning of hostilities in devastated Afghanistan, promising to behave like the Arab David in the face of Yankee Goliath, were not serious. They have provided an easy victory for President George Bush, who at this time will be thinking already about his reelection.... The most serious and worrisome element of this war...is the threatening statements by President Bush and the top leaders of the Pentagon when they announced 'that the war is not over, on the contrary, it is just beginning.' Washington's plans go beyond the Afghan nation and the 'divine punishment'...will far beyond its borders, pursuant to the 'globalization' characteristic of neoliberalism and the solitary hegemony imposed by the most powerful country in the world after the disappearance of the so-called Iron Curtain. In this way, nations, individuals or institutions that do not agree with the interests of the only dominating power in the world will begin to be qualified as 'terrorists.' The U.S. President stated that, 'he,
who is not with us, is against us,' during one of his addresses. It couldn't be clearer than that."
"Debut, Benefit And Farewell"
An opinion column by Jorge Ortiz in center-left Hoy (11/25): "Will the war announced by President George Bush be a long-term one aimed at erasing terrorism from the face of the earth,? If it were so, this terrible war would have practically ended this week, when the fame as ferocious warriors gained by the Taliban was run over by their disorderly flight from Kabul and a dozen of other cities.... After the difficulties the coalition is facing in Afghanistan, where not even the toppling of the Taliban regime will guarantee the end of the civil war, it is highly improbable that the U.S. will risk taking the war to Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon or any other country in the Middle East, nor northern Africa, and even less likely, of course, to other regions of the world. Then, unless there is some bright and still secret plan, Afghanistan will be equivalent to debut, benefit and farewell of the war against terrorism. It seems that it is easier that the U.S. will get accustomed to be in constant fear, sleeping with one eye closed, than to exterminate all potential terrorists from the world."
"Afghanistan And Its Appearences"
An opinion column by Cesar Montufar in Quito's leading centrist El Comercio held (11/21): "Since the beginning of the campaign in Afghanistan, the major issue for the U.S. has been the (possibility) that the conflict would spill over to the whole region, especially Pakistan. Until now, the U.S. has succeeded in limiting the conflict to Afghan territory, but nothing suggests that it will succeed in the future. This possibility is not the most serious one, though. The war seems to be about to enter a whole new phase, regrettably, that could compromise other areas and continents.... Afghanistan's appearances should not lead us to believe that a swift military operation can be the solution to a war that is much more complex that those fought by terrorist organizations in the rest of the world. Likewise, the need to win the information war -- a crucial theater of operations in modern wars -- should not lead us to make the mistake of believing that once bin Laden is apprehended or dead and the Taliban defeated, the world will once again be the same as before. No matter how much we wish for it, it just won't happen. Since that (fateful) date, the international order entered a transitional phase whose end we cannot even foresee. The brutal erruption of terror demands more than conventional military actions. It demands a whole new approach to security issues, a will to cooperate globally aimed at a decisive intervention in the most profound causes of insecurity in the world."
NICARAGUA: "Saudi Arabia On The Tightrope"
Leftist El Nuevo Diario published an opinion article by Marta Tawill, originally published in Mexico's La Jornada (11/21): "Saudi Arabia has become a jewel for Washington's geo-strategies...the Saudi monarchy funded and welcomed in its territory, with the help of the CIA.... Islamic integration, 'extremist Shiites' in opposition to 'moderate Sunnis.' Osama Bin Laden is the outcome of this effort contrived by the Americans.... The Saudi monarchy wanted -in contrast to the Shahs of Iran- to unify modernization with a strict respect to traditional values; the Arabic-Muslim solidarity with the vital U.S. alliance. It was a risky bet and a very delicate balance, which now is in peril."
URUGUAY: "The War To Come"
Jorge Abbondanza opined in top circulation El Pafs (11/28): "To continue the present war with another one in other regions of the Middle East (after having complete control on Afghanistan) would not only jeopardize many complex interests (like relations with Western allied states and issues dealing with international economic strategies) but would also expand this war to an uncontrollable and irreversible buildup of unpredictable consequences of the magnitude of a world war. Observers with good memory will be able to remember the gradual process of growth of the two world wars of the 20th century that initially involved some powers and was
afterwards extended to most part of the world. At this point, and taking these facts into account we should ask ourselves up to what extent the interests now at stake remember about them in order to prevent these tragedeis from happening again."
TANZANIA: "U.S. Should Solve Mideast Conflict, Not Attack Iraq"
The independent English-language African opined (12/3): "It was disheartening to hear that after its operations in Afghanistan, the United States would turn on Iraq. Surely, it is easy to see that Israel has been a threat to the region's stability for many years rather than Iraq. It was thought that instead of turning on Iraq, Washington should use its efforts to solve the Mideast crisis. No doubt Washington has already learned of the strong opposition it is meeting in its plans for Iraq, including the opposition from its closest European allies, Britain and France, not to mention those from the region,Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In some way all these appear to be telling the United States to direct its efforts to the Mideast question and not Iraq. We hope it will listen."