|Office of Research||Issue Focus||Foreign Media Reaction|
Editorialists in the Middle East, Europe, Vietnam and Mexico saw the UN Security Council's failure to approve revised import controls on Iraq as a "severe setback" and a "painful blow" to the U.S. administration. Russia, in refusing to do more than extend the current oil-for-food program, was portrayed as reasserting itself internationally, sending a message to the West that it was "starting to think of its own interests." In the Middle East, sanction foes sarcastically railed against both "smart" and "dumb" sanctions and celebrated an Iraqi "victory". Only in Kuwait was there notable editorial support for the U.S./UK initiative. Writers in Europe and the Middle East predicted that the Bush administration would fail to garner Arab support for any Iraq initiatives as long as America pursued policies that a Jordanian paper characterized as "lenient and supportive of Israel."
A SERIOUS DEFEAT: London's liberal Guardian, Paris's left-of-center Liberation and center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine collectively cast UNSC rejection of U.S./UK "smart sanctions" as a personal blow to both President Bush and Secretary Powell. The German paper said that the UN setback, coupled with Powell's "thankless mission" to the Middle East, had "tarnished the image of Powell, who...had been the charismatic star of the Bush administration." German supporters of continued controls on Iraq lamented what they saw as the Iraqi dictator's success in driving "a wedge into the sanction alliance."
RUSSIAN REBUFF: Many observers portrayed Russia as reasserting itself on the global scene by rejecting the U.S./UK initiative. Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Riyadh declared: "Putin wants the West and the U.S. to understand that he is not a follower, whose policies are constrained by difficult economic conditions." London's liberal Guardian contended that the Security Council vote was only one of a number of Russian moves signaling a "disdain" for President Bush in the wake of the Slovenia summit. Only sanctions foes offered praise for Russia's stand, while others highlighted the inherent self-interest of Russia's position. Moscow's reformist Vremya MN noted that Russian adoption of "the 'smart sanctions'...would scotch any chances of Russian companies doing business in Iraq."
REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Traditional Mideast sanction foes celebrated the Iraqi "victory." Less dogmatic voices still saw little to like in the revised import controls. Several contended that "smart" sanctions not only tightened the grip on the Iraqi people, but also forced Iraq's neighbors to participate "in this crime" through border-crossing inspection regimes. Kuwaiti and Saudi papers did, however, remind readers of the dangers that Saddam Hussein still posed, with Jeddah-based, conservative Al-Madina warning that, absent controls, the Iraqi regime "would rebuild its means of (mass) destruction, which it has never hesitated to use against anyone it could reach." Sanctions foes and supporters alike thought that America's perceived pro-Israeli bias would preclude wide Arab support for any administration initiatives on Iraq.
EDITOR: Stephen Thibeault, Katherine Starr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 42 reports from 15 countries, June 26-July 11. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BAHRAIN: "Only The Foolish Support 'Smart' Sanctions"
Abdulla Al-Ayyoubi commented in semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij (6/30): "Only foolish people would accept and support what Washington and London call ‘smart sanctions,’ which the two capitals want to impose on Iraq. Easing the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi people does not come through tightening the grip around Iraq and imposing new sanctions that depend on the participation of Iraq’s neighbors in this crime. The problem that should be ended is the sanctions themselves, not what the sanctions are called."
EGYPT: "Iraq, The U.S. And Oil"
An unsigned piece in pro-government Al Ahram read (7/11): “The UNSC decision to extend the Oil-for-Food program for five months is an initial victory for Iraq. Iraq was able to mobilize some UNSC members in order to use their veto power against the British-American stronghold.... The dilemma is now whether the resumption of Iraqi exports will result in a reduction of oil prices. Most likely, the market will witness an expected rise in demand, either because of the resumption of economic activity and higher demand in consumer countries, or because of the increase in demand from countries wishing to create a reserve for next winter.... Likely, oil prices will be settle at $29/barrel at the end of the year.”
"A Stand On Iraq"
Ihsan Bakr asserted in pro-government Al Ahram (7/1): "The American-British smart sanctions mean that the American administration has failed the geography exam, as it has failed the history test, when it thought that sanctions could overthrow the current regime and install an American agent to rule Baghdad. The sanctions on Iraq, which coincided with the foolishness of American administrations, reinforced the Iraqi president's power and mobilized the Iraqi people against the United States.... Secretary Powell's speech before the House's Foreign Affairs Committee...shows the truth of American policy toward Iraq. He admitted that the previous sanctions were unwise.... International inspectors should not return to Baghdad after they...violated their UN assignment and became spies for the United States.... The smart sanctions imply a deception about the easing of the blockade against the Iraqi people, because the truth is that this suspicious project is an unprecedented way of tightening the sanctions, a flagrant American attempt to strangle the Iraqi economy, and an outrageous American violation of the sovereignty of Iraq and neighboring countries."
"Despite Masks, America And Saddam Are Friends"
Wagih Abu Zikry, columnist in pro-government Al Akhbar, wrote (6/29): "International media are talking nowadays about a new American plan to overthrow Saddam. I do not think Bush is serious about that. The current situation for Israel, the U.S. ally, and for the U.S. itself is a perfect one. The coming days may reveal the secret relationship between Saddam and the American administration."
"Foreign Policy Maneuvering"
Washington correspondent Atef El-Ghamry noted in pro-government Al Ahram (6/27): "Looking at U.S. Middle East policy, we notice that this policy maybe a double-edged tool. The United States is not an observer in the Arab-Israeli dispute, it is rather an essential party...and its interests and policies in the region may become the main victim of any foolish Israeli act.... A
breakthrough in the peace crisis can revive U.S. policy priorities in the region. For example, Powell prioritized Iraq over other issues.... However, the idea failed because he made the mistake of isolating the Iraqi issue from the peace process and Israeli policies toward Palestinians. A clear foreign policy of a superpower like the United States is vital for international stability. It is currently the sole superpower in charge of managing crisis and maintaining world peace and security.... U.S. policy based on Cold War concepts and tools is dangerous to the policy's ability to protect U.S. interests.... The change in the world order forced America's allies and foes alike to review their priorities and seek their own interests even if this opposes U.S. interests. Israel will not be an exception. An ambiguous policy can work for a small country with limited interests and influence. However, if the United States is adopting ambiguity in its foreign policy, even temporarily, this is misguided."
IRAQ: "We Have Foiled The Conspiracy, But..!"
The Iraqi News Agency (INA) website featured a piece by Nouri Najm al-Marsoumi in official daily Al-Iraq (undated). According to INA, "The newspaper notes that Iraq’s international standing has been strengthened and its relations with its Arab brethren from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arab Gulf deepened in the battle against the U.S.-inspired conspiracy-proposal submitted by Britain to the Security Council, which lasted more than two months. The newspaper points out that the enemies have targeted Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and security in return for facilitating wheat and rice deals, as if the one who is dealing with them has not experienced their true nature over decades of the 20th century that witnessed their direct or indirect colonization of the Arab countries. It says President Saddam Hussein is again in the lead, having rejected the proposal and run the counterattack on both the information and political arenas, although the enemy, together with Saudi and Kuwaiti rulers and some other weak souls, have mobilized efforts and made threats, with stick and carrots, in the hope that they could win the support of many states and influence those who pronounced their objection to the proposal to shift stand and discontinue normal relations with Iraq. The enemies alliance, which utterly failed to fulfill their conspiracy-proposal, will try another attempt after making all arrangements to prepare a ground to pass the conspiracy.... We are engaged in a battle that has not ended yet, and all options are viable on the part of evildoers. Still, consolidating our capabilities, watching out the enemy's moves and agents and dealing with them with the same awareness, maturity and courage we handled the conspiracy-proposal, will further our victory and success on the road to the final crossing."
"Smart Sanctions Defeat"
INA also had this view from Ahmed Abdul Majeed in official daily Al-Qadissiya (undated): "Iraq was determined to make the enemies lose their bets, and indeed it did. It had its say on the 'stupid sanctions' and others. Its word was the highest, defeating the word of sinners who were haunted by disappointment. Since the first day, the U.S.-British proposal was born sterile, weak and stupid.... The surprise was that most of the world states were against the proposal. They saw in it a new colonization and regarded it an attempt to impose mandate on Iraq, mortgage its generations' riches and stain its people's reputation. If proposal whose inventors, certainly Zionists, claimed that it would lift the embargo off the Iraqi people, proved to be sterile and weak, then it must be stupid. It is stupid because the U.S administration and its follower the British government assumed that ten years of unjust embargo were enough to exhaust Iraq or push it to accept bad proposals.... The past days and months confirmed that Iraq was ready for all possibilities and the decision of stopping its oil exports was a wise and studied decision. They proved that its leadership was not ready to renounce national wealth under any plea and for the sake of any side. Therefore, the leadership and people rejected all proposals submitted to the Security Council because the aim was the principle. Iraq said it would not accept lesser than the total lifting of the embargo off its people, implementation of para 22 of SCR 687 and compensations for the aggression and the consequence of its continuation and the imposition of the embargo. If the evil-doers who brought the (fallen sanctions) were unaware of these demands as they were stupid in the past, they will realize that Iraq will abort their proposals
whatever be their form and content and whatever they varied and included. They will lose their bets and Iraq will get out crowned with victory as it was crowned with victory in the battle of foiling (stupid sanctions)."
"Stupid U.S. Sanctions: From Failure To Defeat"
Ala’ al-Ani wrote in government daily, Al-Jumhuriya (undated), also from the INA website: "During the last few months, the international and Arab public opinion kept talking about the U.S. wicked proposal. In fact they realized that it is a proposal and can’t be applied. They also realized that Iraqis and their brave leadership would no more be affected by such proposals. Those who support Iraq have a firm stance that is calling for lifting the embargo without conditions or restrictions since Iraq has fulfilled all its obligations towards implementing all the SC resolutions despite their prejudice. The question that should be put for discussion is that why the U.S. and British administrations insisted on passing this resolution?... Along the past 11 years Washington and London tried all the deceptive and cheating means to harm Iraqis, but any of those wicked ways hadn’t succeeded in achieving their aims. Little by little the U.S. policy entered into a crisis and the crisis reached its peak when the U.S. administration discovered that the sanctions imposed on Iraq for 11 years weren’t smart and they will discover that the new sanctions are more stupid than the previous ones."
"The Defeat Of American Tyrants"
This pro-government Baghdad Observer article by Karima Abdul Nebi was highlighted by the INA: "Finally, the American tyrants have been defeated in their efforts to transform the 11-year-old embargo into 'smart sanctions.' The American colonial project to impose 'smart sanctions' on Iraq received a heavy blow after the UN Security Council postponed a voter on the American-British stupid sanctions. The collapse of the American plot is a victory for Iraq and also a victory for the will of the countries, which voiced rejection of this stupid project such as Jordan, Syria, and Egypt as well as Russia. The said countries argued that any overhaul of sanctions must address the lifting of sanctions responsible for human suffering in Iraq. The postponement of the vote is a sign that the international community understands the just demands of Iraq.... The 11-year-old economic sanctions, allegedly placed on Iraq on the pretext to force the country comply with UN resolutions, have killed more than 1 million civilians, according to UN figures. Most of the world wants to lift the cruel embargo but the United States insists on keeping the screws on the Iraqi people."
ISRAEL: "The Smartest Sanction"
The independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (7/10): "Last week, the United States and Britain lost an uphill battle against Iraq's financial clout at the UN Security Council, backing down on their 'smart sanctions' resolution rather than face a certain Russian veto. This episode proves that Western nations will happily finance Saddam Hussein's race to rearm, in particular when Washington is not presenting them with a policy alternative that has a prayer of success.... The embarrassing U.S. defeat at the Security Council is a sign that Secretary of State Colin Powell's 'smart sanctions' plan is not being taken seriously. America's allies know that calling sanctions 'smart' does not change the fact that Iraq will use its increasing revenue to obtain embargoed items by hook or by crook.... [However,] the U.S. defeat at the Security Council will have been a blessing in disguise if it awakens the Bush administration to the futility of its current non-course of action.... The most humane, prudent, and realistic policy is for the United States and Britain to build upon its current 'no-fly zones' to help provide the Iraqi opposition with an internal base of operations."
JORDAN: "Yes, We Have Won The Round, But The War Is Not Over"
Parliamentary deputy Mansour Seif Eddin Murad wrote in semi-official, influential Al-Ra’i (7/10): “Iraq and the noble of the Arab nation may rightly be proud of the sharp slap in the face
delivered in the Security Council to the Anglo-American smart sanctions project, which aimed to impose a mandate on Iraq and its neighboring countries, at the expense of their interests, security and stability. The firm political will and the legendary steadfastness of Iraq has achieved victory and shattered this conspiracy. But the war is not over. As we won this round, we can win the war if we have the political will to make a stand and if we develop an Arab decision to defend our interests and regain our rights. This is the most important lesson of the victory.”
"Failure On More Than One Level"
Former JTV news editor Ya’qoub Jaber wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour (7/10): "During the six months since assuming power, the Bush administration’s foreign policy seems to have gone from failure to failure, amid almost universal international condemnation. The new policy on Iraq faced a solid wall of Arab rejection and firm Russian opposition in the Security Council. Russia seems to have taken an irrevocable strategic decision in its dealing with the Iraqi question. As for the bloody confrontation between the Israeli aggressors and the Palestinians, Colin Powell behaved during his recent visit to the region in a manner unbecoming of the minister of foreign affairs of a much smaller nation, and he ended up appointing Sharon arbiter, thereby delivering the lamb to the wolf on a golden platter.”
"The Downfall Of The Dumb And The Smart Sanctions"
Fahd Fanek wrote in semi-official, influential Al-Ra’i (7/8): “America and Britain failed to drag the world behind them in amending the sanctions regime imposed against the Iraqi people for the past eleven years. Thus, America’s standing as the sole superpower went down a degree while Russia’s standing went up a degree. The problem that America and Britain are facing now is that they cannot defend the current sanctions regime, because, by their own admission, it is a corrupt and dumb system that harms the Iraqi people and that needs to be amended. So how can the Security Council continue to impose these sanctions that were criticized by America and Britain when they were promoting the smart sanctions? Sanctions will be cancelled once the countries that have an interest in dealing with Iraq overlook and ignore them. The economic sanctions are collapsing morally, politically and practically. Breaking the siege is no longer an adventure. It is time to break the siege.”
"Another American Failure"
Center-left, influential Al-Dustour (7/3) editorialized: “The United States yesterday suffered another major failure in its Middle East policies when the Security Council rejected the so-called smart sanctions plan against Iraq. This is an American failure that is as bad as the failure of the U.S. Secretary of State a few days ago. If anything this failure says that the U.S. arrogant policy against Iraq on the one hand and its lenient and supportive policy for Israel on the other cannot but lead the Americans to such confusions and failures, and bring the Americans nothing but isolation and hatred. This repetitious failure does not befit a great country like the United States that has agreed to make itself the tool in the hands of Zionist interests when it comes to regional issues.... We hope that Washington’s isolation in the Security Council will encourage the Republican Administration to straighten out its Middle East policies.”
KUWAIT: "It Is Not A Failure, But Allows More Time"
Rida Ma'arafi wrote in independent Al-Anba (7/11): "The approval of Western countries and members of the Security Council to extend the oil-for-food program for another five months gives Russia more time to change its position in favor of the British-American plan. Simply put, the decision to extend the old sanctions was not a failure of the Anglo-American policy toward Iraq. Until the negotiations among Paris, Washington, London and Russia crystallizes, Iraq's actions must be closely monitored."
"Will The Unsuccessful Be Joyful?"
Ayyed Al-Mana wrote in independent, nationalist Al-Watan (7/10): "The failure of the British-American smart sanctions plan was a setback to their efforts to weaken the Iraqi regime. Thus, we notice that the Iraqi regime was pleased by the result since the smart sanctions were mainly targeted against the regime and toward easing the suffering of the Iraqi people. The regime in Baghdad must realize that the current sanctions are still effective and that the Iraqi people will take revenge sooner or later."
"Russia, Iraq And The Smart Sanctions Plan"
Ma'souma Al-Mubarak observed in Al-Siyassah (7/8): "The Russians exerted a great deal of pressure to defeat the smart sanctions legislation in the Security Council, and therefore, Iraq will reward them by giving them priority in developing the Iraqi oil sector. Iraq is now using the carrot and stick approach with countries that could help them prevent implementation of UN resolutions. There is no doubt that Russia has achieved a great political victory for now, but it will not be capable of defeating the current sanctions, which do not differentiate between the regime and the Iraqi people."
Mohsen Al-Mutairi stated in independent Al-Qabas (7/8): "We are disappointed in Russia's position. Despite our understanding of its interest, Russia should not have ignored the suffering of the Iraqi people. The smart sanctions included many points, which are in the interest of the Iraqis. We hope that efforts will continue this year to approve the smart sanctions, and we also hope that the Kuwaiti government announces its approval of the sanctions since we are directly involved in implementing them."
'Is America Striving To Overthrow Saddam"
Salah Al-Fhadi wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-A'am (7/6): "Ten years after the end of the Gulf War, Saddam is still in power and there are no indications that the United States is actually taking any effective measures to get rid of his regime. Sanctions are now considered a punishment of the Iraqi people rather than a punishment of the regime. Many observers believe that keeping Saddam in power is in the interest of the U.S despite what the American administration declares. Simply put, the continuation of Saddam's regime justifies the permanent presence of American forces in the Gulf, which is a strategic goal for the American administration."
"Another Round of the Smart Sanctions"
Abdel-Mohsen Al-Husseni wrote in independent Al-Watan (7/6): "The smart sanctions, which were rejected in the Security Council, will be implemented in the next four months because the Russian government is convinced that the smart sanctions are in the interest of the Iraqi people. Russia will take advantage of the coming period to solve Iraq's debts issue, and other topics with the United States, in order to implement smart sanctions which are in Iraq's interest."
Jamal Al-Kandari wrote in independent Al-Watan (7/6): "There exists a new Iraqi diplomacy which the Iraqi regime is practicing against Kuwait. It depends on assigning roles for Iraqi officials so they may engage in psychological warfare. This same method is now being used in other countries which either support or reject the smart sanctions. Iraq has promised to give Russia priority in developing Iraqi oil fields and therefore, Russia threatened to veto the [smart sanctions] plan."
“The Trial Of Saddam”
Sawsan Al-Shae’r wrote in independent Al-Watan (6/30): “Kuwaitis, Iraqis and Iranians who suffered from Saddam’s regime must take the issue of putting Saddam on trial very seriously. They should present authentic documents proving his crimes against humanity. It is a chance that should not be lost to ease tension in this region. It is also a chance to demonstrate to the world the crimes of Saddam are not just against his people, but also against the whole world. This golden opportunity would not only hold him responsible for the crimes of the past, but also prevent him from invading Kuwait again.”
"Iraq Hopes Sanctions Will Continue"
Yousef Hajji contended in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/29): “The Iraqi regime will soon face America and Britain and offer its objections to the smart sanctions. It will also threaten the countries that are in support of smart sanctions by stopping the flow of oil.… The ruling regime in Iraq is hoping that the sanctions can be prolonged for many years, so that it can continue to blame Kuwait, America and Britain.”
"U.S. Has Merged The Iraq Issue And The Israel Issue"
Abdulla Sahar wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/28): “Despite the differences in political content between the Iraqi issue and the Israeli issue, the United States has inadvertently merged these two issues. This is an enormous mistake, which represents on the one hand unlimited American support for Israeli aggression, and on the other, America’s insistence that
Iraq comply with all UNSC resolutions. This has created the worst ever political situation in the region. Through this policy, Washington has caused complete chaos in the Middle East. Therefore, what is Washington’s justification for supporting Sharon, who is a well-known racist and terrorist? Indications point to an escalation in enmity not only between Arab nations and the American government, but also with the American people. America’s dual position has only contributed in strengthening Saddam’s regime, so why does Washington do this? Is there a riddle behind all of this?”
LEBANON: "The Last Stop"
Sateh Noureddine wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir (7/4): "It is difficult to conclude that America has been conquered at the Security Council, in spite of the fact that its last minute draw back from asking for a vote on the smart sanctions project for Iraq, has no other meaning.... On the other hand, it is also impossible to believe that Russia has regained suddenly its status as a great power...and was able to thwart the smart sanctions project.... We assume that the smart sanctions project collapsed because it lacked minimum intelligence/smartness. It also lacked the logic that would have made it acceptable to Iraq's enemies."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Not A Single Iraqi Opposition Group Supports Smart Sanctions"
Pan Arab, London-based Al-Hayat (7/10) published a front-page news analysis on the "smart sanctions," noting that one of the "eloquent political ironies" was that Washington had not found a single Iraqi opposition party that regretted the collapse of the "smart sanctions."
"Iraq Won't Hesitate To Use Its Power Against Neighbors"
Jeddah-based, conservative Al-Madina declared (7/5): "If the economic and international relations of Iraq could be normalized again, then it would rebuild its means of (weapons of mass) destruction, which Iraq's regime has never hesitated to use against anyone it could reach, both inside and outside Iraq."
"Russia Sends West A Message By Thwarting 'Smart' Sanctions"
Riyadh-based, conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (7/5): "Russia has thwarted the 'smart sanctions' proposal on Iraq. It is attempting to gain the votes of Europe against the U.S. missile shield and is trying to get other powers to increase their rejection of the hegemony of a single country.... The struggle...is over countries that are sensitive for global interests, and Iraq is a vivid example. Russia's success in undermining the 'smart sanctions' has also won her success on the diplomatic level, and is a formula by which Putin wants the West and the United States to understand that he is not a follower, whose policies are constrained by difficult economic conditions."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "U.S. Wants To Be 'Sole Protector' Of The Gulf"
Semi-official Al-Ittihad editorialized (6/27): "These sanctions should be directed against the regime, not the people, and they must therefore open the way for all commodities that do not have dual usage. However, the list prepared by the United States of such commodities is longer than the Milky Way and more complicated than modern mathematical puzzles.... UN resolutions since the cease-fire in the second Gulf War have called for the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD), then opening the way in the entire Middle East to make the region WMD-free. Nonetheless, the Americans forgot the dangerous weapons of the Zionist entity, despite repeated Arab appeals.... What does it mean to maintain Iraq in such a weak position in a jungle full of wild monsters? Such a vicious policy has only one goal: The United States wants to appear to be the sole protector of the GCC countries in facing international challenges. The more Iran increases its power, the more the GCC countries spend on American arms, which deepens the justification for the U.S. troops to remain in the Gulf."
BRITAIN: “Putin Puts One Over--The American Rookie Has Much To Learn”
An editorial in the liberal Guardian read (7/6): “George Bush’s upbeat assessment of his summit meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the lavish personal praise he heaped on the ex-KGB spy always looked a trifle overblown. Now hard evidence is piling up that the Russian leader, far from being equally impressed by Americas rookie president, has decided, not to put too fine a point on it, that he is there for the taking. High on Mr. Bush’s agenda at the Slovenia summit was the issue of Iraq. Anxious to get off the humanitarian hook exploited by Saddam Hussein, the United States and the United Kingdom were pushing a new United Nations resolution on ‘smart sanctions.’ Would Moscow support it? Whatever Mr. Putin may have told Mr. Bush, his final answer came this week. No.... This rebuff smacks of disdain on Mr. Putin’s part. And this impression is reinforced by a number of other Russian actions. No sooner had Mr. Bush headed for home, all smiles, than Mr. Putin was warning that if the United States went ahead with its star wars missile defense plans without agreement, particularly over the [ABM] treaty, Russia might consider all existing bilateral arms control pacts to be null and void.... Knowing full well American and NATO concerns about the Balkans--another summit issue--Putin nevertheless went on to Kosovo after the meeting and there delivered a harsh critique of Western policy.... On a number of other fronts, such as Russia’s continuing war in Chechnya and its proliferating weapons sales to Iran, Putin ignored or sidestepped Bush.... By most measurable standards, the Slovenia summit was a bust and the Americans now have much ground to make up. But it clarified one point: Bush has an awful lot to learn about international leadership.”
FRANCE: "No 'Smart' Sanctions"
Fabrice Rousselot held in left-of-center Liberation (7/4): "The failed UN negotiations are a severe setback for President Bush, who had from the start decided that the present sanctions
were not working and needed to be revised.... But Russia rejected the U.S.-British proposal, in spite of a last minute conversation between Secretary Powell and his Russian counterpart.... According to a Western diplomat, 'the United States is saying privately that the Russians do not give two cents about the Iraqi population, but want the embargo lifted so that they can resume their trade with Iraq.'"
GERMANY: "Bush Jr. Vs. Saddam"
Leo Wieland observed in a front-page editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/6): "Russia's resistance is a painful blow to Bush, and even more so to Powell, whose 'smart sanctions' proposal had encountered resistance even inside the Bush administration.... Conservative Republicans are now likely to intensify their calls for a new strategy against Iraq and to feel confirmed in their anti-Russian and anti-UN sentiments. Saddam's opponents are a heterogeneous collection without much hope of success.... The idea of toppling the dictator by using U.S. forces has often been weighed and rejected in the years since the Gulf War. Such an operation is risky, since not even Israeli intelligence can determine Saddam's whereabouts with any certainty. The risk will surely seem too great, both to Powell and to Bush's other key advisers in the matter, Rumsfeld and Cheney.... Bush may manage to change Putin's mind at their next meeting. More likely, however, the Americans will continue to enforce the no-fly zones and scrutinize Saddam's above-ground military installations using satellites and reconnaissance aircraft.... In the United States, Saddam's intransigence serves as a plausible argument for building a missile defense. Otherwise, Bush and his 'smart sanctions' have run into a diplomatic dead-end. And the thankless mission to the Persian Gulf and the Middle East have tarnished the image of Powell, who until now had been the charismatic star of the Bush administration."
"Saddam's Victory, Iraq's Defeat"
Peter Muench stated in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/5): "Indeed, in a tough struggle, Iraq succeeded in inflicting a serious defeat on the West in the UN Security Council. But the price for this defeat is being paid not by hostile diplomats but once again by the ordinary people in the streets of Baghdad and Basra, who will again be thrown back into depression after a cynical propaganda storm.... The resolution submitted by the United States and Great Britain to the UN Security Council failed. Instead the body agreed to continue the old and obsolete 'oil for food' program of the United Nations. This move will extend the agony of the Iraqi people and block the change of the sanctions regime. It was the West's insight that the total embargo failed that prompted it to initiate a new policy toward Iraq.... This new policy carried the title 'smart sanctions.' But it failed because of the old thinking, to which Saddam Hussein is committed and to which the new Russians under Vladimir Putin seem to go back."
"Saddam Drives A Wedge Into Sanctions Alliance"
Washington correspondent Malte Lehming observed in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/4): "George Bush cancelled the Kyoto Protocol saying that its implementation would jeopardize the U.S. economy. Moscow has now used the same argument for the sanctions on Iraq, because Russia is enormously profiting from the current system. Saddam Hussein in turn has again managed to drive a wedge between the sanction alliance. He is laughing up his sleeves."
"Peace Process Failure Undermined Iraq Consensus"
Center-right General-Anzeiger of Bonn (6/28): "The latest Russian behavior in the UN security Council shows one thing very clearly: the conditions that made the Middle East peace process possible in 1991 and urged Yasser Arafat to make a compromises with Israel in 1993, no longer exist. The Russia that had given into the West in the Gulf Crisis, has undermined the consensus on the Iraq question. If the United States wants to restore the condition under which
reasonable compromises can be reached at the Israeli-Palestinian front, then it must strengthen the moderate and weaken the radical forces in the region in the medium term. But this can happen only if Secretary of State Powell is able to present short-term successes concerning the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma. But this does not seem to be the case right now. He is caught in a vicious circle."
RUSSIA: "Russia Starts To Think Of Its Interests"
Vladimir Alekseyev noted in official parliamentary Parlamentskaya Gazeta (7/11): “That new sanctions have not come through owing to great pressure from Russia leads one to suggest cautiously that this country, as it deals with international affairs, particularly Eastern affairs, is beginning to think of its own interests.”
"The Fuss Over Sanctions"
Reformist Novye Izvestia commented (7/2): "Iraq has launched a fierce diplomatic offensive on all fronts...but all the statements about the ineffectiveness of the existing sanctions program will hardly influence the adoption of the new sanctions regime. Russia, on which Iraq traditionally pins great hopes, while regularly speaking of the need to lift the embargo against its 'partner,' regularly fails to use its right of veto at the Security Council. China behaves likewise.... So, next week will hardly see a real change of the sanctions regime and the recent diplomatic activity will only be useful for Iraq in terms of domestic politics, as another mobilization of Iraqi society in the 'struggle against imperialism.'"
"Business Sustains Iraq Sanctions Against Iraq"
Marianna Belenkaya commented in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/26): "If the smart sanctions plan against Iraq is adopted, Baghdad intends to withdraw from the program. If Baghdad's boycott lasts long enough all the oil, gas and construction contracts signed with Iraq will become null and void. It is hard to imagine that Iraq will dare to interrupt oil supplies for a long period of time. Most probably, the suspension of oil supplies is a move designed to induce businessmen to bring pressure on their own governments and ultimately determine the outcome of the vote at the UN Security Council. This applies not only to the Russian, but also to the French, Chinese and other companies working in Iraq."
"'Smart' Sanctions Against Iraq"
Mikhail Klasson stated in reformist Vremya MN (6/26): "Russia...has already lost 30 billion dollars as a result of ten years of sanctions against Iraq. And Iraq owes Russia 6-7 billion dollars since the Soviet times. If the 'smart sanctions' plan is adopted, that would scotch any chances of Russian companies doing business in Iraq. So, Russian businessmen are urging the state bodies to use their influence to foster opposition to the Anglo-American project in Russia and at the UN."
VIETNAM: "Sanctions Against Iraq: Smart Or Obsolete?"
Vu Minh wrote in Sai Gon Giai Phong, the mouthpiece of the Ho Chi Minh City Communist Party (7/6): "The UN Security Council's rejection to the smart sanctions against Itaq...is further evidence of the obsolescence of the sanctions against Iraq.... The new U.S./UK sanctions at first glance seem to be resulting from humanitarian concerns, but in fact they will both put more controls on Iraq and tighten further the sanctions against the country.... In the face of increasing pressure from the international community to totally lift the embargo on Iraq...[the United States and the United Kingdom] now promote the embargo with a new name, the so-called 'smart sanctions.'... The extension of the oil-for-food program this time around
revealed that Russia will no longer let the West manipulate the UN for their own purposes...and this is a victory for Iraq. Meanwhile, the failure of the 'smart sanctions' also proves that no country can give itself the right to order other countries around."
"Why Did U.S. And UK Accept Extension of Oil-For-Food Program?"
Ngo Van Hai wrote in Tien Phong, the mouthpiece of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth League (7/5): "The Bush administration's attempt to tighten further the sanctions against Iraq four months ago collapsed after the United States and United Kingdom announced that they will postpone a vote for new sanctions against Iraq at the Security Council. Instead, they had to accept a plan extending the oil-for-food program for another five months. There are two main reasons that made the United States accept the extension plan. First is the issue of U.S. prestige: Washington understands that Russia will veto the new sanctions if the issue is brought up in the Security Council. Second, the United States thinks it will have more time to persuade Russia into accepting its next plan. "
MEXICO: "Score: Iraq One, U.S. Nothing"
Mireya Olivas asserted in sensationalist Milenio (7/5): "In a discreet manner, the United Kingdom has withdrawn a proposal it had made with the backing of the United States before the UN Security Council to change the economic embargo on Iraq. The proposal was aimed at replacing the current 'oil-for-food' scheme that restricts Iraq's trade with the rest of the world
with a series of 'smart' sanctions against Iraq. The proposal was withdrawn because Russia had threatened to veto it.... The defeat is not attributed to Great Britain, however, but to the United States. It is the most serious setback the Bush administration has experienced because one of its foreign policy priorities was to reinforce the embargo on Iraq.… Saddam Hussein did not want the current arrangement to change, thus he has defeated the United States at the UN.… The United States and Great Britain have another five months before the arrangement expires to come up with another scheme. However, they should incorporate the other players in Paris, Cairo, Amman and Moscow into the development of such a strategy."