August 8, 2002
MANY BALK AT 'WASHINGTON'S WAR PREPARATIONS'
Observers concluded that Washington has yet to make a convincing
case that an assault on Iraq is worth the risk of regional destabilization.
saw European publics and Arab governments blocking the recreation of a Gulf War
media contended that Washington is using its anti-terror campaign as a pretext
to change recalcitrant regimes throughout the Arab world, beginning with Iraq
There may be a case for striking Iraq, despite
the regional peril, but the U.S. has not made it. Anti-strike editorials made financial, practical
and moral arguments for not following the U.S. into Iraq. Several rejected the logic that removing
Saddam would significantly reduce the threat of terrorism to the U.S. or its
allies. They feared, rather, that
post-Saddam Iraq could become "even more unpredictable," offering
"a new breeding ground to spawn terrorists." Dailies in Britain, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi
Arabia warned that any U.S. unilateral action would wreak havoc on regional
stability and incite an anti-U.S. backlash in the Arab/Muslim world. A number noted that Afghanistan proves that a
quick military victory is not always followed by long-term stability. Suspicions abounded that the president was
targeting Iraq to gain electoral advantage and to overshadow U.S. domestic
problems. Nevertheless, some in Israeli
and Australia were stalwart in backing Washington's "pre-emptive
European publics, Arab governments block
recreation of a Gulf War coalition. European
and Arab writers warned that if the U.S. step outside international law and
norms in attacking Iraq would set a dangerous precedent. European dailies, noting German Chancellor
Schroeder's remarks on the campaign trail and a high-profile British petition
against military action, highlighted transatlantic dissonance on yet another
issue. Arab dailies bracing for a
confrontation with the U.S. charged that by targeting Iraq instead of Israel,
Washington was seeking the reverse of Arab aspirations.
Arabs complain that Washington has instituted a
'regime change' requirement for recalcitrant Arab leaders, while showing a
preference for diplomacy for others. Some noted that although Iraq and North Korea
were on the same "axis of evil," the U.S. was forging ahead with
military plans against Iraq while pursuing a "careful realpolitik"
with the North Koreans. A Saudi writer
contended that the U.S.-DPRK talks "underscored the fact that Washington
and the 'axis of evil' can indeed engage in dialogue." A Jordanian paper charged that in pressing
for regime changes the U.S. was merely seeking the "subjugation" of
Arab governments, not democracy and great freedom for their peoples.
Gail Hamer Burke and Christina Sgroi
This analysis is based on 53 reports from 49 countries. July 14-August 8. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
"Hawkish Signals On Middle East"
The independent Financial Times stated
(8/8): "The signals from Washington
about its intentions towards Iraq and the Middle East have been getting
steadily more confusing. Now they are
beginning to get alarming--arguably more so for America's friends than its
foes.... If we are to take Mr. Rumsfeld
at his word, he is overturning decades of international law, under which all
the land captured by Israel in the 1967 six-day war, the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, as well as all of east Jerusalem, is occupied territory. The political reality, moreover, is that
there is no peace settlement conceivable without a negotiated end to that
occupation--which it is part of Washington's responsibility to sponsor.... There may be a case to be made, detailing why
an assault on Mr. Hussein's Iraq is the least bad option, despite the enormous
risks of regional destabilization.
Washington has not yet made it."
"The Temptation Of George W. Bush"
Weekly left-of-center news magazine Le Nouvel
Observateur Jean Daniel editorialized (8/8-14): "Why does President Bush want to
personally intervene in Iraq? First off, because the elections are drawing near
and in the wake of the financial scandals that have touched his administration
he cannot present himself before the voters with only his 'crusade' to show for
his time in office. A crusade that that
did not even result in the capture of Ossama Ben Laden, despite an extremely
costly operation in Afghanistan. It is time to find new impetus for the crusade
against the 'axis of evil' which includes Iraq."
GERMANY: "War On Saddam? -- Not Without
Matthias Nass opined in a front-page editorial
in center-left, weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (8/8): "In the case of Iraq, the German
government could expect a 'friendly' invitation from Washington to take part in
a war. But what are the European
interests (Gerhard Schroeder should quickly delete the term 'German way' from
his vocabulary)? First, the
possibilities of diplomacy have by no means been exhausted. If Saddam really played his obvious games and
allowed the weapons inspectors back to Iraq, then they must return but on UN
conditions: unlimited access to any place at any time. Second, the Bush doctrine of a 'preventive
war' violates international law, since self-defense based on a mere suspicion
does not exist. If the United Nations
allowed the use of force because Iraq continuously disregards UN Security
Council resolutions, then the question of German participation will be raised. Third, the Mideast is now burning. A war on Saddam would mean even more terror ,
even more killed people. Unbridled
hatred of the United States and Israel would make the peace process
illusory. This is another reason why
Jordan's King Abdullah warned that an attack would be a 'horrible mistake.'
Bombs on Baghdad -- they could hit Saddam but, nevertheless, miss their
target. The coalition against terror
would lay in ruins. That is why a
controversial debate over Bush's plans is necessary, even in a [German
election] campaign. And over the
answer: the European way."
"Arguments For The War"
Business Financial Times Deutschland of
Hamburg stated (8/8): "Chancellor
Schroeder's appeasement may work as a tactical move in the election campaign,
but it is useless as a foreign and security policy concept. It must be the common strategic goal to ward
off the danger emanating from Saddam.
Under the current circumstances, only a dual strategy promises to be
successful. The United States and Europe
must insist on the unconditional resumption of weapons inspections in
Iraq. As a parallel strategy, they must
built up a credible military threat against Saddam. Credible means that a strike will really take
place. Bluffing will not suffice. A war
on Iraq will require the powers that wage this war to pay a high political
price. Those who oust the despot will,
on the short-term, risk instability in the Middle and Near East.... The behavior of the United States following
September 11 and in the Afghanistan war indicated that it will also act in a
responsible way in case of a war against Iraq.
It will be no great problem for President Bush to get the support of the
political class and the American people, but he would be well-advised to gain
the support of the Europeans and Islamic nations. The United States could topple Saddam on its
own but without allies, it will be difficult to reach and safeguard the
strategic goal of security policy stability in the Near and Middle
East.... If Saddam does not give in and
opens a door to a diplomatic solutions, a U.S. attack on Iraq will be
inevitable, probably after the Congressional elections. In any case, this war would be politically
ITALY: "Our Country (Italy) And The Iraq
Franco Venturini's lead, front-page editorial in
centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera held (8/8): "Italians are preparing to counter the
announced war against Saddam Hussein with strong dogmatism and the slightest
reflection.... Those who oppose
(President) Bush's plans revive their old anti-American feelings without
considering the nature of the Iraqi regime; and those who support action
against Baghdad consider mandatory (Italy's) alignment with the United States,
as if the Berlin Wall hadn't ever fallen, or the transatlantic alliance wasn't
an alliance among free democracies....
Is it possible to find a solution?
The answer lays in having a vision of priorities.... Everyone should consider an attack irrational
if the successor to Baghdad's leadership hadn't been previously identified, and
pre-emptive accords related to a military presence that would guarantee
stability in Iraq hadn't been taken.
Everyone should deem a new UN resolution is necessary before beginning
any action. (Despite) George Bush saying
that nothing has yet been decided, promising that he wont' proceed hurriedly,
only few people believe him."
"A War Europe Doesn't Understand"
Boris Biancheri front-page editorial in
centrist, influential La Stampa reported (8/8): "As rumors about U.S. preparatory moves
related to a possible upcoming military campaign in Iraq increasingly leak, the
rifts between Europe and the United States is getting wider.... Whether rightist or leftist, Europe is
convinced that Saddam is a dangerous criminal, but it is also sure that an
attack on Iraq...would be even more politically dangerous. The positions undertaken by moderate Arab
leaders...including Jordan's Abdallah and Egypt's Mubarak, even stress this
(European) belief.... Great Britain is
the only European country that has shown, until now, its understanding of U.S.
unilateral option.... Great Britain
loves to hold the balance between Europe and the United States...but this time
its task isn't at all easy: should war occur having Great Britain stand with
America, European foreign policy could be considered dead for a long time; or,
should Great Britain stand with the other European counties, Europe would
strengthen its influence, but it could be the end of the current Anglo-American
'special relationship.' The only hope
that remains is that there will be no war.
The truth is that if we want to understand Washington's...real
intentions, the use of reason is not enough, but a prophet of doom is certainly
I'll Be Patient About Iraq"
Mario Platero noted from Washington in leading
business Il Sole-24 Ore (8/8):
"The United States prefers a multilateral action against Iraq, and
is convinced that Europe would follow its decisions...after Washington has
produced a factual picture that would justify a military intervention. That was told to this newspaper, Il
Sole-24 Ore, by a high-ranking officer of the (U.S.) administration during
an interview, granted off-the-record.
It's a political turning point in Washington...that confirms no final
decisions have been taken, also due to in part to several different positions
taken within the Republican party."
"A Sovereign State Is Free To Have The Weapon It Wants"
Official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta
published this by Nikolai Paklin (8/7):
"So far, nobody has produced convincing evidence that Baghdad is
planning to have nuclear weapons of its own.
Let's assume, however hypothetical it may seem, that Iraq succeeds in
creating a small nuclear arsenal. How
much less secure would then the nuclear superpower feel? Has it felt less secure since India and
Pakistan got hold of nuclear weapons and rockets? After all, it is up to a sovereign state to
have or not to have armament it thinks is necessary to ensure its own
security. Did the United States ask for
anyone's permission to develop nuclear weapons?
Why punish Iraq? Do the Americans
fear that they may be threatened at some point in the future? If yes, they will have to fight many
countries.... The Europeans believe that
those fears are exaggerated. In their
opinion, thrashing Iraq and humiliating the Arabs would send reverberations
through all of the Middle East, posing a threat to Israel's security. That would also harm the antiterrorist coalition. It won't bring about a political settlement
in Iraq, either. To install 'our man' in
Baghdad won't solve the problem of power in that country. Afghanistan is graphic proof.... The Europeans prefer carrot to stick. Europe believes in international law, talks,
and economic ties. Herein lies the chief
difference between the New World and the Old World as far as their approaches
to international problems are concerned."
AUSTRIA: "Kabul And Baghdad"
Foreign affairs writer Gerhard Bitzan commented
in centrist Die Presse (8/8):
"All those overenthusiastic about a war against Iraq should take a
good look at the current situation in Afghanistan (...), where innumerable
problems remain unsolved. At the moment, even optimists don't dare to bet on
that country's stable and peaceful future. The simple truth is that a speedy
military success is relatively easy to achieve, while the real obstacles only
emerge with the strategies aimed at long term stabilization."
Foreign affairs writer Ludwig De Vocht
editorialized in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (8/6): "One thing is certain: twelve years
after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, U.S. President George W. Bush wants to
remove Saddam Hussein definitively from the world scene…. At this moment, however, it is clear that the
United States cannot build a large international coalition to carry out that
task. An invasion of Iraq would trigger
a storm of indignation in the Middle East--which would certainly not advance
America’s interests in that region. In
Europe, nobody is very enthusiastic about such a war either. Russia and China are totally against
it.... The main question is: what after Saddam Hussein? In any case, the replacement of Saddam would
have to be carried out rapidly because a destabilization of Iraq would have
serious consequences for the entire region.
Neighboring Turkey fears that an independent Kurdistan in Northern Iraq
would fuel the separatist aspirations of its own Kurdish minority.... In the meantime, the Iraqi leader continues
to do the thing in which he excelled twelve years ago: he causes division in
the international ranks. His most recent
bright idea was his invitation to a U.S. Congressional delegation that they
start an investigation of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. With this (proposal) the Iraqi leader simply
wants to gain time. Saddam hopes that,
after having survived Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, he will also manage to survive
Bush Jr. politically and, as long as the latter does not have an acceptable
alternative for Saddam, his plan to replace the regime in Baghdad will only be
"The U.S. Still Has No Strategy For Ousting Saddam"
Influential weekly Kapital held
(8/3): "It's very difficult to
guess what Washington aims to achieve with this latest escalation of
tensions. Having in mind that Bush is
resolved to put an end to Saddam, the strategy looks more or less clear. It would be something like a gangster
movie--two frowning criminals slinging insults at each other until one of them
breaks and reaches for the gun. Then the
other one shoots him with a clear conscience, in self-defense. If nothing else, it seems that the United
States is prepared for this sort of scenario."
"Get into Iraq? And How To Get Out?"
Frantisek Sulc Weiss wrote in center-right Lidove
noviny (7/31): "A conference of
Iraqi opposition representatives took place in May at American University in
Washington. They agreed about many
things - that Saddam Hussein must be removed, that Iraq must be democratic,
that all the groups must have equal rights.
When a concrete proposal was made to form a government in exile,
however, the answer was a nearly unanimous no... It was a forewarning to the
allies of what they should expect after
deposing the present Baghdad regime. If
the operation to remove the dangerous Iraqi government is so carefully planned,
the "escape strategy“ should be worked up
even more meticulously. Iraq should not be weakened, or both U. S. and
European interests in the region will suffer. It is important to prevent the
outbreak of a civil war between Kurds, shi’ites, and sunnites, avoid long-term
massive deployment of allied forces to keep the power-hungry groups at bay.... Questions must be answered before the first
been fired, all the ethnic, religious, and political groups must set the
rules of future government of their country. So far as the West lacks political
will to overcome the fear of a breakup
of Iraq and lay down rules beforehand, we are in for another long-term
engagement. Or the American-European
train may again carry someone to power who will then pull another nasty
surprise on us."
DENMARK: "Too Early To Criticize U.S.
Policy On Iraq"
Center-right Berlingske Tidende commented
(8/8): The former Danish foreign
minister's call to oppose any future U.S. military action in Iraq] so far ahead
of any indication that an attack will take place is, in reality, helping Saddam
Hussein to achieve his goal of splitting the international community. Saddam's letter of invitation to the U.N.
ought to be seen in this light.... The
U.S. has, so far, only expressed that it aims to remove Saddam from power. It is too early to say if this will involve
"Schröder Justifies His Line On Iraq"
Berlin correspondent Derek Scally wrote in the liberal Irish
Times (8/7): "Germany will not
participate in a strike on Iraq even if the action has a UN mandate, he
(Schröder ) said. Neither was Germany
interested in war games for their own sake, particularly in the absence of any
plan for Iraq if Saddam Hussein was toppled.
As the Schröder government's term runs out, Mr Schröder's decision not
to send German troops to Iraq has thrown into focus how far Germany has come in
the last four years."
"The Cost Of Polishing The Halo"
Respected senior columnist Endre Gomori assessed intleading Nepszabadsag
(8/3): "There has been a bright shining halo over President
Bush's head after the brutal terrorist attack against New York and
Washington. This halo is losing its
shine. The problem is that President Bush has placed the fight against terror into the epicenter
of both the foreign and domestic policy of the United States. The policy has permeated the entire American
society and it could lead to distortions in the world's strongest and currently
most free country of the world. A military attack against Iraq would be the
biggest and the riskiest American military undertaking since the Vietnam
KOSOVO: "Washington Is Not Interested In
Weapons Control But To Oust Saddam"
Isuf Hajrizi, Washington correspondent of
independent Zeri, wrote
(8/7): "This time it's interesting
that the democrats are those who speak more convincing about ousting the
Baghdad's dictator. In the first war America waged against Iraq, in 1991, the
democrats opposed the idea of the first Bush for entering a war with Iraq,
allegedly to help Kuwait. Such a decision has cost them politically, therefore
this time they are much more aggressive around this idea.... So far the U.S.A. has not found an ally that
would support the attack against Iraq. Reservations over the attack will
particularly grow when Iraqi officials send a (4-page) letter to the American
Congress, inviting them to send a delegation to unconditionally verify the
reports about the Iraqi nuclear weapons."
"Europe And Iraq"
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad had this editorial
(8/6): "Saddam Hussein cannot be
trusted. An old Dutch saying, 'if he
breathes, he lies' would apply to him.
His invitation to the United Nations to come to Baghdad to discuss the
resumption of weapon inspections has a
hidden agenda. Saddam does not want inspectors in Iraq. His invitation to the UN is mainly intended
to play the UNSC permanent members out against one another. Particularly at a
time when the United States is preparing for a possible military
intervention.... The U.S. government
has not yet reached agreement on what would be the best strategy.... But
whatever scenario it would be important for the U.S. if it were not openly
rejected by the allies. British PM Tony Blair is trying to keep the troops
togethe...but other members of the UNSC don't... Russia, for example, is doing
everything to obstruct the U.S. policy...critical remarks also came from
Germany.... Germany is not a military super power...it is food for thought that
Chancellor Schroeder made the gap between the U.S. and Europe an issue in his
election campaign. There are reasons to
criticize the American policy toward Iraq.
But as long as Europe will continue speaking with different voices,
Washington will not take that criticism seriously."
NORWAY: "To Attack Or
Not To Attack"
In the newspaper-of-record Aftenposten,
Washington correspondent Morten Fyhn commented (8/1): "We know that President Bush wishes to
topple Iraq's dictator, but he has not convinced the American people and the
rest of the world that it is necessary to go to war against Saddam
Hussein.... While the United States
busies itself with war planning, most other countries are content with
demanding that Iraq give access to the UN's weapons inspectors."
PORTUGAL: "Bush Has Already Decided To
In his weekly column in leading financial Diário
Económico (synthesizing commentary broadcast Tuesday evening on
top-audience private television channel TVI), influential pundit Miguel Sousa
Tavares asserted (8/8): "He already
knows the date he will probably do it, and he doesn't have the strategic plan
only because the Pentagon hasn't given it to him yet. Does he have the conditions to do it
alone? I think he does.... He will never
get the political conditions his father had,....[not] even the support of his
other NATO or European partners. It's
very tough, those conditions can't be repeated, especially since Europe has the
greatest fear that a Gulf war could lead to an oil crisis and leave Europe
drowning in chaos. While the United
States has a strategic reserve at its highest.
The truth is that George W. Bush is finishing a job his father should
have taken to the end.... And although
there's no proof, I believe that [Saddam] has weapons of mass destruction. The truth is that, if he doesn't have them,
he could get them. It's not that he
doesn't want them. If Bush [Senior] had finished the job in the Gulf War--and
he didn't because there was a huge pacifist movement in Europe and the United
States--the problem would be solved, but right now the problem is much worse to
resolve. Even if Bush takes a war to the
end, he doesn't have anyone to replace Saddam Hussein in power
Political analyst Gabriela Anghel commented in
opposition, Romania Libera (7/18):
“If the United States seems determined to solve the situation in Iraq –
one of the three countries included in the ‘axis of evil’ – after having tried
in vain to support internal insurrections, (America) now also wants to make
preparations for the period after Saddam leaves power. In the case of the Iraqi dictator’s fall,
American strategists seem inclined to re-create in Iraq the formula of a
temporary government, according to the
model led by Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan. Symbolically, the London summit took place on
the anniversary date of the revolution that removed the Iraqi wing of the
Hashemite monarchy, on July 14, 1958. Is
a royal comeback possible? The question
lingers on, although during the meeting, the monarchists proclaimed themselves
in favor of a centralized state, and the Kurd groups defended the concept of a
strongly de-centralized federation. The
discussions are still open…”
"Iraq Could Attack U.S. But Many Uneasy With U.S. 'Militarist'
U.S. correspondent Ervin Hladnik Milharcic
reported in left-of-center Delo (8/1):
"Iraq will get an ultimatum which it will not be able to comply
with, and another Gulf War will follow. This formula worked very well for
George Bush Sr. ... George Bush Jr. will use this formula.... Even [permission
for UN] inspections would not suffice. Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that 'regime
change' had been a core demand of two American administrations.... Washington no longer thinks in the framework
of the existing coalition and its goals....
Rather will it set a goal and create a coalition around it. A war would be in the interest of Israel and
Turkey; this is enough to create a powerful axis of three strong
countries. Bahrain, Oman, and some small
countries would yield to America's pressure.
Thus, a war can easily be carried out without explicit support of Egypt
and Saudi Arabia.... Americans find a
military resolution of the Iraqi problem obvious and support it. Iraq has not attacked America, but it could;
therefore, a war is in self-defense and urgent. Yet, Americans are surprised at
the uneasiness caused in the world by the United States' militarist foreign
TURKEY: "The Bad War"
Izzet Sedes wrote in mass appeal Aksam (8/8): "One thing is very certain: President
Bush wants to work with a friendly regime in Iraq and he is determined to see
that Saddam is toppled. However, how
this goal is to be achieved is uncertain.
Both the politicians as well as the military are working on detailed
planning in a rather tense atmosphere.
If you ask the Pentagon, the American army is capable of finishing the
Iraq job in a few days. However,
questions coming both from America and from the international community prevent
a national consensus being formed on the Iraq issue.... Recent debates in the Senate show that
members of Congress are pressuring the administration to give a full
justification of an operation....
Despite all its efforts, the Bush administration has failed to persuade
either the American people or Congress, and certainly not the international
community on the need for a war with Iraq.
Now the Europeans have an especially hard task, i.e. to persuade the
super-power why the war is bad."
"Qusai Has The Key"
Columnist Uria Shavit opined in popular,
pluralist Maariv (8/6): "Can
the American plan to invade Iraq, topple Saddam Hussein and replace him with an
alternative, pro-American leadership in a swift operation, succeed? There are several reasons why not. First, because there is no alternative,
pro-American leadership.... Second,
because important forces are opposed to the American plan.... Third, because the cost of a military
operation in Iraq would be very high....
The only person on the scene who could continue the 'Saddam state'
without Saddam himself is his younger son Qusai. In the past few years Saddam has nurtured him
as his heir. Qusai is not more moderate
than his father. But he is no war
criminal and he is not a red rag to the Americans. Everyone will be satisfied by a sudden
resignation of Saddam and his replacement by Qusai.... The Iraqis will be spared a crushing
offensive. The United States will not
shed blood. Regional stability will be
maintained and Israel's citizens will be able to leave their gas masks in the
closet. Saddam's replacement with Qusai
is a very reasonable way out of the bloody entanglement an American offensive
in Iraq could produce. On the one hand,
that plan is too reasonable for the Middle East. On the other hand, one should not be surprised
to find out that heated contacts are already taking place behind the
"Iraq Comes Clean"
Riyad Al-Haj commented in independent Al-Quds
(8/7): "By accepting the return of
UN weapons inspectors, Baghdad has scored a point in its diplomatic war against
the United States, especially after Washington unequivocally rejected the Iraqi
offer. Of course, this development is
not decisive and will probably not change Washington's determination to topple
the Iraqi regime. What is important to note, however, is that the Iraqi
government has gotten rid of a heavy burden placed on it by many countries for
its previous extreme position refusing the return of the inspectors. Now it
should be clear to everyone who holds the extreme position and who is
interested in peace.... The Arab
countries, Russia, China and the European Union must now assert what they want
to do: Either they reject America's war loud and clear, or they keep quiet and
leave Iraq to face its destiny by itself."
Semi-independent Arabic Akhbar Al-Khalij
stated (7/16): "All indeications
show that the American strike on Iraq is inevitable and that it is just a
matter of time. We all know that this is
true and we know that the Gulf countries have no control over the
siutation. In fact, they will have no
other alternative but to provide all the facilities for the American attack on
Iraq. Therefore, I suggest that GCC
States, with the minimal information they know about the attack, should start
preparing scenarios for a "post-Saddam" Iraq. The Worst scenario that the GCC may face
would be the division of Iraq into three entities. While Gulf Arabs watch helplessly, part of Iraq
qould fall under America's control and Iran would take the rest. This would certainly threaten the unity of
the GCC states."
"Changing Arab Regimes"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior
columnist Salama Ahmed Salama and English-language Al Ahram Weekly
(8/8): "The world is witnessing a
heated race between foolishness and wisdom, between America and Britain on the
one hand and the rest of the rest of the world countries that oppose a war
against Iraq, on the other.... The
increasing belligerence coming from the White House; Bush's insistence that war
is the only choice and his claim that in waging war on Iraq Washington is
upholding the principles of civilization and protecting the world against evil,
suggests that what we are seeing is the emergence of a new bin Laden, an
American one driven by the same (religious) zeal and reserving for himself the
right to reform the world and eliminated anything he perceives of evil only he
“America Is Isolating Itself”
Center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour
held (8/7): “The United States continues
its blatant threats of a military blow against Iraq, in a manner that seems to
be out of swing from the growing international consensus against such an
American action, that completely lacks international legitimacy.… We realize that America’s intentions of
dealing an aggressive blow to Iraq are very serious indeed, but we also
understand that the U.S. administration’s lack of international consensus and
Arab agreement for such a blow is going to disarm Washington of one of the most
important weapons, namely the moral and legal basis for using unjustifiable
force against a small and besieged country to oust its ruling regime.”
"No Option For Kuwait Except To Participate"
Ayed Al-Mana' stated in independent Al-Watan
(7/24): "Kuwait's Defense Minister
Shaikh Jaber Al-Mubarak stated July 23 that a "new military camp in
Southern Kuwait will be ready to receive American soldiers." We as a people and as a government do not
support the strike against Iraq, due to the negative social and economic
impacts it could have on us. Yet Kuwait
would be disloyal to the Iraqi people if it does not allow the United States
and its allies to use Kuwaiti territories and regional waters against the Iraqi
government. Also, is it logical for
Kuwait to reject American or British requests that could help in freeing the
Iraqis from their suffering? We do not
support any war against Iraq, but the war is coming, unless something
unexpected happens. Therefore, Kuwait
has no option but to be an effective and powerful actor in this war."
"Will History Repeat Itself?"
An editorial by Samer Al-Husseini in pro-Syria Al-Kifah
Al-Arabi noted (7/31): "The
U.S. scene today is not different from what it was a decade ago: U.S. elections
on the doors, military preparations to strike Iraq, and a choking economic
crisis. So will the defeat of George
Bush, the father be repeated during the term of George Bush, the son? The military victories that Bush the father
scored abroad did not prevent his defeat in the presidential elections due to
the deterioration of the U.S. economy....
Bush's bet on removing Saddam Hussain's regime and on improving the US
economy might give him a sweeping victory in the 2004 presidential
elections. But such a bet faces
difficulties and many obstacles....
Removing Saddam is directly linked to putting the train of peace back on
its old track and, if we look at the Bush Administration's approach to settle
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, we realize that it did not achieve a single
breakthrough in the cycle of violence."
"Britain And Iraq"
Jeddah's moderate, English-language Arab News
editorialized (8/7): "Most British
commentators express concern that an American foray against Iraq at a time when
the Palestinian-Israeli crisis remains unresolved is essentially a recipe for
disaster. They argue that whatever sentiments exist in the Arab world against
Baghdad these pale into insignificance at the continuing violence in Palestine.
Blair may have the political majority in parliament to sanction military action
but the British public remains unconvinced such action is necessary."
SYRIA: "Dangerous And Unknown Territory"
Fouad Mardoud, chief editor of government-owned Syria
Times, editorialized (8/8):
"One of the main charges of anti-American criticism is that this
arrogant superpower ignores multilateral laws and goes for war alone in its own
way--unilaterally and without any sense of guilt.... The announced objective for attacking Iraq is
to change the Iraqi regime and force Iraq to comply with UN Security Council
Resolution 787 that requires Iraq to disclose and destroy its weapons of mass
destruction. But the hidden aim is to
divide the country and destroy all its potential and natural resources.... The American option of attacking Iraq is
terrible and dangerous. The U.S. will not succeed in convincing other states it
is a good idea, despite what the hawks in Washington tend to say. A U.S. commentator wrote in the International
Herald Tribune last week asking his administration: If you are going to
war, for God's sake please tell us why."
An analysis by Manoubi Akrout, Political
journalist, in independent French-language Le Quotidien editorialized
American-British intervention in order to influence the future of Sudan is
transparent. It represents another step toward a policy of containment and an attempt
to subjugate the Arab world. The
objective is to divide Sudan into at least two parts to get hold of its oil
resources, control the water sources flowing to Egypt and oblige it to take a
neutral stance vis-à-vis the U.S. crusade against Africa and the Middle
East.... For the Americans, Sudan is
nothing more than a milestone among many others in their quest for subjugation
of the Arab world. Americans will divide, again and again, in order to reign in
the region. Bush--applying the law of
the jungle--mentioned a few days ago in front of a television audience that he
will attack Iraq no matter what the UN evaluations are..."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Attack Iraq And Save The world? Bush Is Dreaming"
Hugh White, director of the Australian Strategic
Policy Institute gave this op-ed view in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald
(8/8): "After September 11 the most
obvious reason to remove Saddam is to reduce the threat of al-Qaida terrorist
attacks on America and its allies. But it is hard to argue that an invasion of
Iraq makes sense for that reason.... I
have not met a serious analyst who believes that removing Saddam would
significantly reduce the threat of terrorism to the United States or its allies
over the next few years. Saddam is a
danger, but he is not the most imminent or probable source of the next major
terrorist attack. Why all the focus on
Iraq, then?... It seems that those in
the United States who are pushing hardest to go ahead with the invasion...see
the invasion of Iraq as the start of a long campaign to remake the Middle
East.... It is a beguiling vision. It suits the ambitions of post-Cold War
America, and of the generation who won the Cold War. It might make the world a better place. If it
works.... I'd still guess that Bush will
not risk his presidency on such a bold but uncertain vision."
"U.S. Plans on Attacking Iraq"
The official intellectual publication Guangming
Daily Guangming Ribao commented (7/19):
“The U.S. has determined to attack Iraq and has started its war
apparatus. Turkey is an important ally
that U.S. needs to depend on for its attack on Iraq. However, Turkey is rather worried about the
U.S. war against Iraq. First, Turkey
fears that the war against Saddam’s regime may cause conflict between different
races and religious groups in Iraq, which will lead to disruption of the
country and Kurdish independence. This situation will produce serious negative
effects in Syria, Turkey and other Arab countries where there are Kurds. Third, Turkey is afraid that the U.S. attack
on Iraq will make it even more difficult for the recovery of Turkey’s
economy. The U.S. has determined a
timetable for the attack. It may take at
least 6 months for the U.S. to prepare for the war and win fundamental support
or recognition from the international community. Though the U.S. declaration of war against
Iraq may not be supported widely in the international community, it will
attempt to have the international community acquiesce in the war or at least not
take strong measures against the U.S.
Moreover, the international media have pounced on indications that the
U.S. has worked out the fighting plan against Iraq.”
Human Tragedy Recurs Should Iraq Be Attacked"
Leading independent daily Kompas noted
(7/17): “Despite their common objective
of toppling Saddam, the London-based Iraqi dissent officers insist that the
U.S. should not replace Saddam with another strong man for fear that U.S.
interference in the establishment of a new government in Iraq would only result
in a puppet government of Washington in Iraq….
The U.S. seems to be frustrated by Saddam’s toughness. Even if Iraq is attacked again, Saddam might
not fall. On the other hand, the Iraqi
people would suffer even further after economic sanctions by the UN. It, therefore, makes sense that many
countries oppose the U.S. plan to strike Iraq again. The strikes would result in a more dire human
disaster in Iraq.”
"America Versus Iraq"
The pro-government Straits Times held
(8/8): "The signs point to serious
preparations in Washington for war against Iraq. President George W. Bush is gunning for
'regime change'.... This is a dangerous policy at a time when the murderous war
between Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Palestinians gets worse by
the day.... Not just Americans, much of
the world is unconvinced of his case for war against Iraq. There is also no
compelling evidence that the Iraqi regime is connected to the Sept. 11 attacks,
even though it may have links with terrorist groups. Sure, Mr. Bush can go it alone with
unquestioning help from Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, but that is about
all he will get. True, Mr. Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to the world.... Mr. Bush ought to have a rethink, now that
Baghdad seems prepared to comply with the UN Security Council's
demands.... A war against Iraq is easy
to start, but how will it end to America's advantage? No one can be certain
about this.... In the best-case
scenario, it may be a short campaign but, for sure, the consequences of Mr.
Saddam's defeat will not end there. Post-Saddam Iraq could become unstable and
thus even more unpredictable, given its fractious politics. It could become a new breeding ground to
spawn terrorists. Let it not be the hubris of the world's sole superpower that
sets America on the warpath with Iraq. Removing Mr. Saddam's repressive regime
may make the world a safer place, but Mr. Bush will have to make a stronger
case for it. Otherwise, the political fall-out could be even more
“Negotiations Should Come First”
The conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized
(8/8): “Following President Bush’s
remarks about overthrowing the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, plans for a U.S.
strike against Iraq are taking shape....
However, the international community is voicing objections to the
American move, with the UN urging the U.S. to resolve Iraqi issues through
negotiations and German Chancellor Schroeder declaring that his country will
not join the planned American campaign against Iraq. It is hardly understandable for the U.S. to
rebuff a recent Iraqi proposal for weapons inspections by a U.S. Congressional
investigative team and to push ahead with its plans to strike. This is even
more so given that the United States has cited threats from Iraqi weapons of
mass destruction as its justification for military action. There is even
suspicion that President Bush, faced with a crisis caused by the sluggish U.S.
economy and accounting scandals, is trying to use the planned strike against
Iraq as an opportunity to turn the situation around. The United States should
note that its campaign against Iraq will get nowhere without support from the
"U.S. Willingness to Use Force”
Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun reported
(8/7): “The U.S. is stepping up its
efforts to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through military
means.... Many say that it is only a
matter of time before the U.S. makes the final decision on when to strike Iraq.
In particular, there is mounting suspicion that the Bush Administration, hit
hard by the sluggish U.S. economy and accounting scandals, might be trying to
use the planned strike against Iraq as an opportunity to turn the situation
around…. The U.S. should pay heed to the
international community’s criticism that its military unilateralism in
resolving problems solely by force poses great threats to world peace.... No matter how problematic the Iraqi regime
is, the U.S. cannot be justified in overthrowing it by force. In addition, issues concerning inspections of
Iraqi weapons should be resolved under the UN’s leadership. If the U.S. continues to push ahead with its
scheme in defiance of strong opposition from the UN Secretary-General, it will
end up being stigmatized as a ‘war maniac.’”
"Will Bush Really Crush Saddam?
The Waters Are Still Being Tested"
Caf Dam commented in elite, business-oriented Krungthep
Turakij (8/1): "If you ask me
whether the United States is going to raid Iraq as news have leaked, my answer
is a definite no. Why the leakage then? The answer is, it may be part of the U.S.
operational strategy to test the waters and see whether other countries will
jump on the bandwagon.... If no one
does, the United States can either step back or say that the plan is merely a
proposal for planning purposes, and no policy decision has been made in this
regard.... Today, the United States has
started a political war against Iraq without wasting a cent to bomb the
General Public Do Not Agree With Calculations To Use Force"
Xuan Hieu wrote in Vietnam Communist Party daily
Nhan Dan (8/8): "Recent
developments have clearly revealed U.S ruling circles' calculations to use
force to intervene and overthrow the legitimate government in Iraq. However, the plan of a military attack do not
receive support from many circles in the United States.... Those who do not
support Bush's adventurous plan say that the United States does not have enough
reasons and conditions to launch an attack to overthrow President Hussein. Germany and France do not support the plan to
attack Iraq. U.S. allies in the Gulf
region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others, also announced they would
not let the United States use their territories as staging areas to launch an
attack on Iraq.... UN General Secretary
K. Annan warned that a military attack on Iraq at this time was
'unwise'.... Calculations to use force
to overthrow a legitimate government in another country cannot be justified by
the pretext of 'combating terrorism,' moreover, those calculations do not fit
in the international code of conduct of today's world."
"Preparations For U.S. Aggression Against Iraq"
Independent Bangla-language Jugantor ran
this by a leftist columnist Badruddin Umar (8/7): "The U.S. from across the sea has taken
all preparations to oust Saddam Hussein in the name of its responsibility to
history and civilization. Its
preparations are not isolated from its other criminal activities around the
world. Not only democratic circles in
the world, but also its European and Middle Eastern allies are warning against
such aggression. However, President Bush
and his administration are not in a position to realize the significance of
this warning. By dint of military might,
it may think itself indomitable, in reality its position is going down. Theft and corruption within the country have
disrupted its social structure, economy and administration. Clearly, a disastrous situation exists in
that country. In that situation,
launching an attack against Iraq will push the country into an unprecedented
crisis. Therefore, President Bush's Iraq war to control Iraqi oil, not for the
preservation of history and civilization, will only pave the way for its own
destruction as an imperialist power."
Chennai-based evening leftist English New
Today editorialized (8/1): "The
U.S. is once again trying to assemble a coalition, as before, to fight and
dethrone Saddam (Hussein). Some of the
U.S.' earlier allies are backing away now....
Apart from this, Bush's main problem is that the Congress wants of him
solid proof that the U.S. interests are really threatened by Iraq before it can
ratify Bush's plan. Saddam may or may not have all the dangerous weapons...he
is alleged to be having. Possessing such
weapons can be no crime unless they are used. Most countries--some of
them--have armed themselves to the teeth and so possession cannot be the cause
of discriminatory treatment towards them. That is why the U.S. is keen to get
Saddam killed.... Washington is not
prepared to recognize that its over-reaction to the alleged sins of omission
and commission of Saddam has helped and not harmed him"
Islamabad's rightist English, Pakistan
Observer observed (8/7): "The
United States is foreclosing all possibilities of peaceful resolution of its
unnecessary and unjustified row with Iraq over the question of so-called
weapons inspections.... It is
regrettable that the United States is openly following the policy of might is
right and has no regard for the international law or the norms that govern
interstate relations.... The second
proposal by the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, who invited U.S. lawmakers to
visit the country along with arms experts of their 'choice' to verify the
factual position, was more comprehensive and deserved serious consideration.
This, in fact, was a major deviation from the previous Iraqi stand on the issue
that it will not allow return of inspectors as they were acting as U.S.
spies.... It is shameful that when the
time approached for lifting of crippling sanctions against Iraq, the United
States is trying to ignite another crisis on baseless claims of Iraq's
involvement in the development of weapons of mass destruction - a capability
that has effectively been crushed first by Israel and then by the United States
in the wake of Gulf War. The United
States is apparently going ahead with its plans to invade Iraq despite
worldwide opposition.... We urge major
players of the international scene to intervene in time to avert another wave
of bloodshed of innocent Iraqi people in the name of replacing President Saddam
"The United States Threatens Iraq"
Government sponsored La Nation front page article stated
(8/5): "The American Congress was
bent last week on the opportunity for a military operation to topple Iraqi
leader Saddam Houssein.... The Europeans,
with France in the lead, remain openly hesitant to any attack on Iraq.... Arab countries judge American military
intervention as a grand error aimed at further stirring up the Near-East
crisis.... A new war against Iraq marks
further the humiliation of Arab-Muslims. This is truly unnecessary at a moment
when the United States is recapturing its prestige, at a moment when they are
attempting to raise their image in the world."
NIGERIA: "A Tactical
Lagos-based independent daily Post Express commented
(8/8): "President George W. Bush's
resolve to topple the government of Saddam Hussein of Iraq cannot but worry
those who think that the respect of the sovereignty of nations should be
sacrosanct. The Iraqi leader may not be
the best of a leader, but for an external force to remove him from office would
amount to a rape of the sovereignty of Iraq and indeed, interference in the
internal affairs of the country. For
America to come out openly to declare its plot to unseat the Iraqi leader is,
in itself, an insult on the collective integrity of the Iraqi people, who are
capable of determining their destiny. It
is a tactical error."
"A Disturbing Analysis"
Afrikaans-language, centrist Die Burger
held (8/7): "The British newspaper The
Observer this week released a disturbing analysis which should give the
advisors of President...Bush...pause for thought in their plans to attack
Iraq. The paper wrote that the royal
house of Al-Saoud of Saudi Arabia...is facing collapse. In this extremely fundamentalist
country--which is however, pro Western--any news on this issue is
repressed.... Should the ruling house
collapse a pro-Western and moderate government will not be the natural choice.
It would be a regime that will be well disposed towards the al-Qaeda movement. This will have serious repercussions for the
Middle East. A militant Saudi Arabia
that is at the forefront of a revolution involving the entire region, would
destabilize the region, similar to what happened in Iran in 1979... An American attack on Iraq will be seen as an
onslaught on the entire Arab world,
which could just be the slight touch needed to send the Saudi royal
house toppling. And this can open the way for a terror
campaign that would make the present [one] look like a picnic."
"A War Against Iraq Is Indefensible"
The government-owned New Vision carried
this commentary by a regular columnist (8/8):
"Leaders hand-picked by Washington and London are never going to be
credible to ordinary Iraqis. Even Saddam himself was a darling of Washington;
yet look where it has led them. Why should they trust another import from the
Yankees?.... If indeed Saddam has this
[WMD] capability, why has he not used them since? The answer is that either he
does not have them or he is much more rational than his demonisation suggests.
Why should the weapons be more dangerous in his hands than they are in the
hands of Sharon or Musharraf? Indeed,
why should we trust these weapons to be solely in the hands of the West? When
they acquire them, it is defence; when others like India, Pakistan do, it is proliferation
that has to be controlled!... How can the United States that defies global
morality, international consensus and multilateral agreements and actively
subverts the UN when it suits its purposes be willing to go to war for the sake
of UN resolutions? The United States is a rogue state and cannot be the
guarantor of international morality and legality. And try as hard as U.S.
intelligence, diplomats and other snoopers have tried since September 11, they
have not been able to link Saddam to the al-Qaida network; yet Bush continues
to accuse it of terrorism.... This war
is not only immoral or illegal; it is patently unjust. If the US and Britain
are allowed to get away with it again, it will be an act of appeasement and
capitulation to the militarist dictum that 'might is right.'"
"Iraq's Kurds Are Uneasy"
The leading Globe and Mail opined
(7/30): "Leaders of the main Iraqi
opposition groups will gather in Washington next month at President George W.
Bush's invitation to weigh the options for overthrowing and replacing dictator
Saddam Hussein. If the past is any
guide, disarray and backbiting will set the tone. All the same, it might be
thought that at least one of the groups expected to attend the meeting, Iraq's
Kurds, would welcome a U.S.--led attack on a regime that has inflicted so much
suffering on its non-Arab Kurdish minority....
Iraq's Kurds are keenly aware that neither Washington nor any country in
the region supports the notion of an independent Kurdish state. So, instead,
the Kurds want U.S. assurances that any attack on Iraq would be accompanied by
guarantees of Kurdish security and a pledge that any new Iraqi regime would
encompass substantial autonomy for the Kurds. Thus far there has been no such
commitment. Nor is there likely to be one, given the long-time apprehension of
Washington's key ally, Turkey, that Kurdish nationalism might secure a
permanent foothold on its borders. Yet again, the Kurds fear they will be used
as pawns in a larger struggle. Yet again, they may be right."
"Iran To Iraq?"
Carlos Fuentes wrote in independent Reforma
(8/7): "Victoriano Huerta, Saddam
Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden...there is no doubt that these are bloody tyrants
and criminal terrorists. What is in
doubt is the diplomatic rationality of the United States...its crossed cables
among its sources of power-political, military, and economic-and as a result of
this, the trustworthiness of Washington's actions is in doubt, especially due
to the blindness of a nation that knows it is the only superpower. A U.S. invasion of Iraq could unleash
revolutionary movements in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt...Even if the USG
achieved a rapid victory over Saddam, has it thought seriously about who would
govern in Iraq, who would carry out peacekeeping missions, and who would ensure
its integrity? Rational voices should
work though negotiation channels, accept Iraq's offer to send arms inspectors
to Baghdad, and put Saddam's words to the test.
He is an undesirable despot. But
so is President Bush's arrogance and unilateral stance. I hope that the international intellectual
community finds a way to subject the White House to reasonable multilateral
policies and the will of the Iraqi people in order to overthrow Saddam."
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: "Shadows Nothing More"
Independent, conservative and third ranked El Caribe stated
(8/4): "A military occupation and
attack against Iraq will certainly affect the flow of oil to Europe and Japan
and destabilize the internal politics in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf
and Middle Eastern countries.... The
control of oil in the Persian Gulf is indispensible for the U.S. position in
the world, even when the quantity of oil is minimum that it purchases from the
Middle Eastern countries compared to those of Japan and Europe. In other words: the U.S. wants to ensure it can defend that
state of Israel better, and above all, obtain oil at a reasonable price
(US$6/barrel) even when this operation implies the opportune disappearance of
"Scandal in the White House II."
Leading-circulation, popular Santiago daily La
Tercera wrote (7/29): "...
Eleven months after the attack on the Twin Towers, President Bush is still
focusing on the fight against terrorism....
It looks like the President is trying to take attention away from the
paltry economic figures, a series of financial scandals, and a slippery (path
to) economic revival.... The President
and his advisors should learn from the experience of George Bush, Sr. Not even the feeling of victory and 90
percent approval at the end of the end of the war with Iraq in 1991 could hide
the economic stagnation that cost him reelection.... Bush Sr. learned that those tactics are not
merely ineffective, they also have a high cost in human lives."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized
(7/31): "The White House continues
to send signs that it may launch a military campaign against Iraq to overthrow
President Saddam Hussein. It is a reckless venture that the world must reject.
No one doubts that Saddam Hussein is one of the world's worst tyrants.... [But] the Gulf War ended 11 years ago...and
nothing serious has emerged to justify a resumption of the war.... An attack against Iraq now would only have
disastrous effects. The main victim would be the Iraqi people.... The war would also provoke Muslim nations'
wrath against the U.S. The governments of moderate Arab nations supporting Bush
might face problems.... A war against
Iraq is the last thing that the world, already in recession, needs.... Only political myopia could explain a move
against Iraq now."
“Iraq-U.S.: Respect For One Another.”
Flagship, conservative daily El Comercio
headlined (7/14): "The foreign
policy of any country, even if it is the world’s superpower, should not permit
it to take arbitrary decisions which may affect another country, no matter how
inappropriate the actions of the latter’s leaders are. This is a principle of international
coexistence that has been questioned by U.S. president George Bush when he said
that the U.S. 'will use every possible means to…overthrow Saddam Hussein.' We agree in the substance, but not in the
form.... This...not only makes the U.S.
lose prestige, but also...encourages people…to…take Hussein's side.... The U.S...must explain its claims to the
international community...through the UN and its Security Council… This is
where legitimate and concerted decisions should be taken to stop the
threat…posed by Hussein… We can neither
accept Hussein's…rejection of…the UN arms inspectors nor the U.S. decision to oust
him on its own.... This would be an
extremely dangerous attitude to take, which would establish a negative
precedent for international coexistence.”