January 9, 2003
IRAQ: WEIGHING 'LOOMING' WAR'S JUSTIFICATION AND
Observers worldwide view a U.S.-led war with Iraq as “inevitable,”
regardless of Blix' findings, but most remain unconvinced that a sufficient
casus belli has been established.
** Writers in all regions are increasingly
resentful of perceived U.S. "imperial ambitions" and the argument
that the U.S. is motivated by oil interests is gaining currency.
** Writers in Europe and Asia warned of
potential consequences of regional destabilization; African and Latam papers
denounced the U.S. position on regime change as “hypocrisy.”
** Arab and Muslim outlets censured Arab regimes
for bowing to Washington pressure.
Too late to turn back now-- Most observers concluded
that given the extent of U.S. military mobilization, the Bush administration
had invested too much in an Iraq operation to do a
“turnaround” and risk “losing face.” As Mexico's far-left La Jornada put it,
"Bush seems unstoppable in his decision." Others echoed Paris's right-of-center Le
Figaro which asserted that "George Bush will not stop half way like
his father in 1991." A number
shared Madrid’s conservative ABC’s observation that “the sword which has
been drawn must kill.” Only a coup or
Saddam Hussein in exile, some reasoned, would forestall a U.S. military attack.
Potential 'unpredictable' consequences outweigh
expected 'dividends'-- While none disputed that
Saddam Hussein was a "brutal dictator" "unacceptable to the
democratic world," a majority maintained that a U.S. war would be a
"reckless" undertaking neither "necessary" nor
"justified." Many European and
East Asian observers repeated warnings that a U.S.-led attack would destabilize
the region and cultivate an "inexhaustible recruiting ground for
anti-Western terrorism" and might turn Saddam into a "martyr of the
Arab street." Some joined a liberal
South African daily in asking whether "the cure proposed by Messrs. Bush
and Blair was worse than the disease."
Meanwhile Arab and Muslim writers charged that an American war on Iraq
was "aimed at dominating the entire region" and was a
"cover" for Israeli long term interests.
Chafing at the 'monopoly of a single power'-- Critics worldwide reiterated complaints that
the U.S. was "ignoring" the concerns of allies and insisted
that the UNSC should make the "final call" on peace or war. A growing number suggested that Washington
was using the WMD threat as a "pretext" for war, but was really angling,
as a Lisbon financial columnist put it, "to get its hands on Iraq's oil
and to stay close to the oil wells of Saudi Arabia." Analysts also lamented a lack of multilateral
resistance to U.S. "unilateralism."
A number of Arab and Muslim writers dismissed the official Arab position
as "fragile and weak." A
former Jordanian minister of culture admonished Arab states that
"neutrality" is neither "justified" nor would it
"spare them the consequences" of U.S. aggression. Similarly, London's independent Financial
Times faulted the EU's lack of cohesion, asserting that "without a
common policy" a divided Europe is "being dragged into a war it does
EDITOR'S NOTE: This analysis is based on 107
reports from 54 countries, Dec. 24-Jan. 9.
Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent
"A Warning From America’s Friends"
The independent Financial Times stated
(1/9): “Despite frequent jibes, in the
UK and across Europe, that he operates as an American 'poodle,' Blair has stuck
to a practice of discussing policy differences with Washington only in private,
the better thereby to influence Bush and his administration.... This approach appeared vindicated when Bush
elbowed aside unilateralist colleagues and took his case against Iraq to the
UN. What then should we make of Blair’s
public call for Washington to start listening to the foreign policy concerns of
its allies.... It would be easy to
dismiss the prime minister’s remarks as a first sign of cold feet as a showdown
over Iraq nears.... But that would be
altogether too facile.... [Blair’s
comments] probably reflect alarm at the rising international tide of anti-Americanism. But it also expresses frustration at U.S.
failure to take its allies into account--on issues such as global poverty and
global warming but, above all, over Middle East peace.... Blair is right to highlight how a lack of
'evenhandedness' and 'real energy' in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is feeding 'a sense of double standards' in the Muslim world. It is no doubt not the first reflex of any
European to go to war over Iraq. Yet it
is not even the second or third reflex of this U.S. administration to deal
urgently with Israel-Palestine--a conflict it increasingly sees in black and
white terms, rather than as an issue of security and justice critical to
stability and change in the Middle East.
Bush should listen carefully to what Blair (and Mr. Solana) are saying.”
"Why Europe Needs A United Foreign Policy”
Quentin Peel, wrote in the independent Financial
Times (1/7): “As the clock ticks
inexorably towards a Security Council decision on military action in Iraq, the
EU has no excuse for failing to have a big influence on the exercise. That, at least, is the theory. But in practice, the chances of seeing a
combined EU team all pulling in the same direction are slim...when it comes to
a really divisive issue--particularly one in which the United States is the
most important operator--the EU partners cut and run in a host of different
directions. Iraq has always caused
problems for the EU.... As long as [the
UK and France] could not agree, there was no common European policy.... Neither Britain nor France is prepared to
compromise on ultimate national control over foreign policy and
security.... European policy towards
[Saddam] is in an extraordinary muddle....
If there were a common European policy on Iraq, it would almost certainly
be opposed to any military intervention....
Without a common policy, Europe is in danger of signing up for war for
lack of an alternative and regardless of popular opinion. Each country is too anxious about its
relationship with Washington.... For Europe,
it is a sorry situation. United, the EU
might have been able to restrain the United States. Divided, it is being dragged into a war it
does not want.”
"Saddam Won't Run"
Nick Cohen commented in London’s center-left The Observer
(1/5): “The hope that irrational people
will act rationally is a perpetual delusion of the level-headed. Last week you could hear the note of yearning
in the voices of briefers from Whitehall to Riyadh as they invented a future in
which Saddam Hussein was a reasonable guy....
Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia…said he hoped 'there would be an
opportunity given to Arab countries to mitigate the situation' before fighting
began.... The Americans would agree to
hold their fire. Saddam would go into exile....
The Middle East would avoid war.
A new regime would take over Iraq and everyone would be happy.... If Saddam were a sensible chap, he'd save
himself and everyone else a lot of unnecessary grief by scarpering.... Saddam is a coward who has spent decades
hiding from Iraqis. Nevertheless the
evidence suggests he would prefer to take Iraq down with him than cut a
deal. He may scuttle, but I wouldn't put
money on it.”
“War With Iraq Would Not End The Dangers”
Douglas Hurd, former UK foreign secretary
(89-95), wrote in the independent Financial Times (1/3): “A serious debate is under way about the
justification of a pre-emptive war against Iraq. But justification of war is
not everything; its consequences must also be weighed. A pre-emptive attack could be justified on
moral and intellectual grounds but would be unwise because of the likely
consequences.... The greatest danger might not arise in the fighting with
[Saddam’s] forces...but the aftermath of a war across a region that would see
itself unmistakeably under the domination of the U.S., the protector of
Israel.... The United States has put
into abeyance any serious effort to bring about a peace settlement that would
guarantee the security of Israel but create a valid Palestinian state.... By this mistake, the Americans make more
difficult their task, and ours, in the rest of the Middle East. I do not envy the British cabinet or the Bush
administration their choice. They have to
weigh the undoubted benefits of [Saddam’s] overthrow against the risk of turning
the Middle East into an inexhaustible recruiting ground for anti-western
Jean-Paul Pierot wrote in communist L’Humanite
(1/7): “While the UN resolution opened
the way to a compromise modestly preserving the chances for a peaceful
settlement of the crisis, it would be dangerously naive to assume that
President Bush’s goals have changed. The
American President was forced to maneuver in order to pacify his allies.... Anti-war demonstrations have played a role in
the new vocabulary and the semantic precautions used by the proponents of war
who must move forward partially disguised....
Is war truly avoidable? The
interpretation that the U.S. will make of the inspectors’ report will depend to
a large extent on the international climate....
Much will depend on the reaction of public opinion. The demonstrations
scheduled throughout France for Saturday January 18 will be a first test.”
"Will There Be War?"
Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro
(1/6): “In fact, the war started a long
time ago in the heads of all the players in the region.... The military means deployed by the U.S.,
while officially meant to convince Saddam to disarm, will give Washington the
possibility of getting rid of him....
Only one thing could stop the war, and that is a political coup leading
to the end of Saddam’s regime.... One
thing is certain: George Bush will not stop halfway like his father in
1991.... For months now, President Bush
has been hammering away that his goal is to get rid of Saddam Hussein’s
regime. He has convinced the Americans
of the usefulness of a ‘preventive war’ against Iraq and Congress’s green light
makes it difficult to stop Washington’s logic of war.”
"The Point Of No Return"
Pascal Riche commented in left-of-center Liberation
(1/4): “The White House continues to say
that the confrontation ‘could still be avoided.’ But America’s deployment of troops is such
that a turnaround by Washington at this point is hard to imagine.... Only a miraculous coup or a dramatic change
in policy from Baghdad could change the prospect of war.”
"The German Government Divided Over
Jean-Paul Picapier observed in right-of-center Le
Figaro (1/6): “When it comes to the
war against Iraq, Schroeder’s political friends would like him to adopt a less
evasive attitude more in keeping with his election promises.... Germany has decided to side with France. Over the weekend Schroeder and Chirac agreed
to consult with each other closely about Iraq.
Berlin would prefer that Saddam Hussein throw in the towel. Another solution would be if war did not
require another UN resolution. But
America’s strategy doe not appear to be going in that direction.”
Matthias Rueb noted in a front-page editorial in
center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/9): “History has confronted President Bush with a
fundamental security policy question: How can the world be kept safe in light
of asymmetrical threats from international terrorism and the growing
proliferation of WMD? That this task
cannot be accomplished without U.S. political and military leadership is the
obvious answer given by Bush’s first term.
Now, on the verge of the president’s second term, a number of new
foreign and security policy problems should make Washington realize that it
cannot do everything alone. The North
Korean nuclear crisis and the ongoing Middle East conflict reveal, despite the
optimism displayed by the Pentagon...that the preparations for a possible Iraq
war tie up a large share of U.S. military and political energy. By involving the UNSC and agreeing to a new
round of weapons inspections, President Bush has begun to move the United
States out of its self-enforced isolation.
All of this makes it difficult for Washington to find the ‘casus belli’
without the support of the Security Council and its most important
allies.... There is no ignoring that
even the resources of the superpower are limited.”
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland
of Hamburg (1/9) maintained in an editorial:
“The more immediate the threat of war becomes, the more important is
London’s role as mediator between the Americans, who tend toward unilateralism,
and the international community.... PM
Blair never left any doubt that he agrees with President Bush in principle, but
his mediation led the U.S. to accept an Iraq resolution and kept the country
from starting a war without international backing.... Blair was right to distance himself from U.S.
allies and demand that, despite the Iraq crisis, other international conflicts
must not be forgotten. The Americans
would take a step toward multilateralism if they understood that even the
closest ally has the right to his opinion.”
"Kirkuk And Mossul"
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
maintained (1/7): "Turkish Foreign
Minister Yakis announced that his government is currently checking whether
international agreements following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire grant
Ankara rights to the Kirkuk and Mossul oil fields in Iraq. Ankara has declared its opposition to an Iraq
war and would like to avoid the stationing of U.S. troops on its
territory. Nevertheless, the country
wants to be prepared for war. Another
issue complicating the situation is Turkey's long-standing support for the
Turkoman people living in Northern Iraq.
In light of all these issues and the continuing erosion of power in
Baghdad, one gets the impression that post-World War I instability is making a
"Out Of The Country"
Martin Gehlen observed in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/6): “The
U.S. wants Saddam and his family go into exile.
If he gives up his power voluntarily, the offer goes, he and his family
will remain unharmed and will not be held responsible for their atrocities. Washington has already discussed the matter
with governments in Europe and the Middle East.
Such a solution would mean avoiding war, and Iraqi reconstruction could
begin under more favorable circumstances.
However, it is unlikely that the plan will work. Washington would have a hard time finding a
country willing to take in Saddam....
After all, times have changed even for toppled dictators. Out of sight, out of mind--this motto of the
seventies and eighties does not work any longer. The international community’s pressure to
hold dictators responsible has grown considerably...and people like Saddam
might find themselves in front of the International Criminal Court. That is why he will not leave Baghdad
"Peace Is The Highest Value"
Hans-Christof von Sponeck, former UN coordinator
for Iraq, judged in a guest editorial in business-oriented Handelsblatt of
Duesseldorf (1/3): "It is important
to call into question the justification for a war against Iraq. The country cooperates with the weapons
inspectors, and Baghdad does not represent an international threat. Preventive war is a violation of
international law. If the United States
decides to go it alone, the Security Council would become increasingly meaningless,
and the world would have to learn what has happened to the idea of democracy
and human rights not only in Baghdad, but also in Washington. Europe still has the option of reining in the
‘American friend’ and keeping Washington from attacking. A common political statement from Europe is
necessary in this situation.”
"The Wrong War"
Michael Naumann noted in a front-page editorial
in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (1/2): "According to
Foreign Minister Fischer, a military strike against Saddam's regime would be
the quickest way of making the few reformers in the Middle East switch sides
and join the anti-western Mullahs and their recruits. That is why the German government should
stick to its 'no' to an Iraq war. Being
an ally does not require turning off one's ability to reason.... Another paradoxical outcome of an Iraq war
would be the end of nonproliferation.
Countries in the process of developing nuclear programs would not slow
down their efforts in case of war; they would speed things up because they
would be better able to weigh the risks of a U.S. intervention. This is precisely what is happening in North
Korea right now. The British, German,
and French governments have so far failed to join forces and push for a
multilateral Middle East peace conference that tries to find a last-minute
solution to the growing crisis. Blair,
Chirac, and Schroeder would have nothing to lose but President Bush's
“Paris Asks Washington For Secret Data (About Iraq’s WMD)”
Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto wrote in
centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/9): “Today will likely be a crucial day at the UN
regarding the possible developments of the Iraqi crisis. According to UN sources, in an interim report
to be issued before the January 27 final report, UN chief weapons inspector
Hans Blix and IAEA Director El Baradei will say that the documentation handed
in by Baghdad 'may be either inaccurate or incomplete.’... And Paris sent a letter to the UNSC urging
the U.S. and Great Britain to provide inspectors in Iraq with the secret data
they claim to possess on Iraqi chemical and biological weapons.... The White House has not made any commitments
in this direction, but has, instead, stepped up military preparations by
sending to Qatar a huge contingent of high-level officials who would lead the
"Iraq Will Become A U.S. Protectorate"
Alberto Pasolini Zanelli observed in
pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (1/7): "There is no Karzai in the future of
Iraq. There is an American
general.... Day after day, the ‘leaks’
about Bush’s plan for the future of Baghdad become official policy
line.... The plan…goes ahead without
paying attention to the fact that inspections are still underway...and that
theoretically the UNSC should make the 'decisions’.... It is likely that Bush's general will be a
close aide of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld or his mentors Wolfowitz and
Perle.... Accordingly, the Iraqi oil
fields will be administered by American administrators who would regulate sales
according to their own interests, including the use of export revenues for the
‘rebuilding’ of Iraq, of which they would also occupy its seat at the OPEC
Board of Administration.... Indeed, no
Arab neighboring countries would like this solution...but their objections will
not be too bothersome. What is underway
is a direct, open-ended ‘administrative effort.’”
"A Coup In Baghdad To Avoid The
Berlin correspondent Salvo Mazzolini wrote in
pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (1/3): “Even though the White House is speeding up
military preparations, not all signals indicate that the war against Saddam
Hussein is inevitable. The clash between
Washington and the Iraqi dictator, in fact, could be resolved through other
means, less expensive and less traumatic ones: for example, with a coup that
would topple the Iraqi dictator and replace him with a leadership created by
the Iraqi opposition and supported by America.
The White House is currently examining such an option, which is
reportedly getting increasing support by Bush’s advisors, at least according to
what German Foreign Minister Fischer allegedly said during a phone conversation
with his Tehran counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, as reported in an Iranian
daily. Obviously Berlin hastened to deny
the report.... But the denial was not
"Bush: My Commitment Is To Avoid The
Anna Guaita filed from New York in Rome's
centrist Il Messaggero (1/2): "George Bush brakes and promises to
seek, in 2003, peaceful solutions to the crises which grip America. From the
UN, Secretary General Kofi Annan reminded him that, in any case, as things are
now, there are no reasons to wage a war on Iraq and that it is necessary to
wait for the inspectors' report, on January 27th.... It will then be up to the
UNSC to decide if what the inspectors found on Iraq really represents an
'effective violation' of resolution 1441. One must remember that Germany has
just entered into the group of ten countries that sit on the Council on a
rotational basis and it is well known that the German government holds a very
different position on the war. Its presence would strengthen France, which is a
permanent member of the UNSC, which also opposes the war.... Although Bush
promised to seek peace, he has not stopped preparing war and some 11,000
soldiers left for the Gulf, while some aircrafts bombed a radar site south of
"Guns Between Saddam And Democracy"
Former Italian ambassador to Washington Boris
Biancheri commented on the front page of centrist, influential La Stampa
(12/31): “Many believe that what Bush is
pursuing in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf is not an ideal of democracy,
but the defense of his own interests.
This is true and false at the same time: by exporting democracy, in
fact, the United States would defend its own interests as well, including that
of creating a stable and safe international community. America, in fact, no matter what Italian
pacifists may think, does not need wars in order to get richer, and knows how to
get richer even in peacetime. But it also
knows that it can get richer if it is surrounded by free and democratic
countries. After all, it is with this
two-fold strategy that the United States fought and won, luckily for us, in
WWII and in the Cold War, without fighting.
Within this same framework--and the additional objective of defending
America from terrorism--Bush’s ultimate goal is that of reconciling such
diverse terms as Islam and democracy.”
RUSSIA: "Bush's Oil
Hawks Strive To Get Iraq"
Vyacheslav Tetekin presented the Communist
Party's view in neo-Communist Sovetskaya Rossiya (1/9): "After the world (including Russia and
China) had swallowed the aggression against Yugoslavia and then against
Afghanistan, an attack on Iraq will mean that the UNSC (and the entire UN) will
turn into an branch of the U.S. State Department. Russia, China and France may as well take
their UNSC veto to a museum as an exhibit because this critical instrument of
peace maintenance will no longer have practical value. If America is allowed to attack Iraq now, the
U.S. will not request UN permission in the future. By the way, the U.S. has already refused to
recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court because the
latter has the power to try Americans for war crimes."
"In March Saddam Hussein Will No Longer Be Around Or Won't
Andrei Stepanov reflected in the centrist Trud (1/5): On
the whole, the recommendation to the Russian leadership is not to oppose the
strivings of the current U.S. administration (and at the same time not to approve
them). The use of force, now in preparation, is fraught with unpredictable
consequences, will create for the U.S. so many difficulties in Iraq itself, in
the region and in the world that they may eventually outweigh all the expected
dividends. And when the present administration is faced with the task of
getting out from just another (following Afghanistan) quagmire, its leaders
will get down to looking for those who 'helped' it into this. In this case in
Washington they will probably remember Russia and its interests and will
manifest a readiness to give up the monopoly on resolving conflict
"U.S. Uses Carrot And Stick Tactics With Regard To Iraq"
Georgy Mirsky wrote in reformist weekly Moskovskiye
Novosti (12/31): "It seems to
me that Washington's doggedness and persistence have in many ways played a
positive role by forcing Hussein to meet almost all the requirements of the
international community. The United
States has played the part of an 'angry' investigator allowing the UN and especially
Russia, China and France to play the role of a 'kind' investigator."
"Hope for Peace"
Senior columnist Ernst Trost opined in
mass-circulation tabloid Kronen Zeitung (1/2): "The creepiest thing
about Washington's near-hysteria regarding Iraq is the almost obscene lack of
concern the United States has shown in the last few months when contemplating a
possible war in the Gulf. It does remind you of the olden times, when
sovereigns because of some territorial dispute willfully gave their soldiers
marching orders, but cared little or not at all about the people's
"Greens Undermine Strategy Of Deterrence"
Chief editor Peter Vandermeersch argued in
independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (1/6): "'Even if the UN gives the green light
for an attack against Iraq, Belgian participation is out of the question,' the
French and Dutch language Greens say. In
that manner, they undermine the strategy of deterrence.... Of course, it is
clear that Belgium - like all other countries in the world - must do everything
to avoid a new war. Of course, the
Americans are not totally innocent when they apply double standards - cf. their
attitude vis-à-vis North Korea. Of
course, the Middle East oil reserves play a role in a possible war. But, if there is a UNSC decision on January
27, if the UN approves a new resolution that allows the use of force, and if
Belgium has sufficient evidence about the violation of resolution 1441, Belgium
must take its responsibility. In that
case, it must not remain on the sidelines with naive pacifism or electoral
opportunism. Since WW II, the world has become a more viable and safer place
thanks to institutions like the UN.
Claiming all the time that the UN is the forum where international
conflicts must be solved and turning away from the UN when its decisions do not
please us is not very courageous. As a
matter of fact, it is very sad."
"Bush’s Real Motive"
Foreign affairs writer Evita Neefs observed in
independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (1/4): “After heavy pressure from almost the entire
world, Washington agreed that the UN would carry out a new round of
inspections. However, the elimination of
those weapons--which (Washington) itself partly provided as recent documents
show--has never been the only goal of the Bush administration.... In the eyes
of the current U.S. government, Iraq is a domino in a larger strategy--in which
oil plays a key role. After Saudi
Arabia, Iraq has the largest oil reserves in the world. Immediately after he entered office, VP Dick
Cheney warned in a remarkable report that oil imports would have to increase by
50 percent some twenty years from now.
The Gulf area is the most obvious area.
In the meantime, however, the Americans also have taken initiatives in
Africa; they are active in Venezuela and--it is no coincidence--there are
American troops in Central Asia.
Military advisers have been dispatched to Georgia, too.”
"Bush Has Blown Hot And Cold"
Pascal Martin opined in left-of-center Le
Soir (1/2): "U.S. President Bush has blown hot and cold, stating that
he is willing to try to find a peaceful solution in Iraq, whereas American
troops continue to arrive in the Gulf.... Can one still reasonably believe in
peace and dismiss what some are denouncing is the American determination to
wage war no matter what? The visit to Baghdad of UN chief inspector Hans Blix
at the invitation of the Iraqis -- visit which has been announced but for which
no date has been given -- leads one to believe that the die has perhaps not
been cast yet. January 27 will be a decisive date, when the inspectors will
submit their report to the UN Security Council. That is when one will see
whether the Americans have opted for the military option."
“The Preventive War’s Vicious Circle”
Chief editor Jean-Paul Duchateau wrote in independent La Libre
Belgique (12/27): ”[W]ashington
seems to be increasingly committing itself every day, probably too much to
content itself with Iraqi concessions without losing face.... This war appears increasingly unavoidable,
and its results increasingly hypothetical. Indeed, there are many examples,
even in recent history, of ousted dictators who were replaced by even worse
leaders.... The very principle of a
preventive war poses a fundamental problem as far as international law is
concerned. Will this principle be
efficient thanks to the deterrence that it inspires, or will it lead the world
to the vicious circle of a constant state of war? We are tempted to believe in the second
option.... Except if it were explicitly
asked by the UN to do so, Belgium should therefore not--even in the name of
Atlantic solidarity--participate in a war that Washington would have
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: "An Offer"
Edin Krehic commented in Sarajevo's Oslobodjenje
(1/9): "An intelligent
individual, regardless of different prevailing standards, would abandon the
helm, if that meant saving their own people.
Such an offer was explicitly given to Saddam. Will he accept? During the war with Iran, Saddam Hussein
personally killed the messenger who delivered a similar offer.”
"Report Based On Saddam’s Formula"
Antonio Prlenda commented in Sarajevo oldest
paper Oslobodjenje (1/7):
[regarding the report on the investigation of illegal arms trade with
Iraq and violation of UN embargo that the authorities of Republika Srpska] “It seems that the public will have to wait
for real answers until the international representatives translate and study
the report. This will take several
weeks, they say. Since Dragan Cavic
(president of Republika Srpska) did not
reveal all he knew about the report it is only logical to wonder if the
president of Republika Srpska is buying political time as was Saddam Hussein when he loaded the UN inspectors with thousands...of pages
of a report about his arms.”
CROATIA: "Liberator Bush"
Split-based Slobodna Dalmacija carried a commentary by Vuk
Djuricic stating (1/7): "Regardless
of who thinks what about Saddam Hussein and his regime, and it is completely
clear that we are talking about a dictatorship unacceptable to the democratic
world, the American-British invasion against Iraq would be a reckless move with
immeasurable consequences not just for the region, but also for the entire
world. In addition to numerous human
victims, and it's obvious that American 'liberators' do not care about that,
the attack against Iraq would completely humiliate the U.N., and bring under
question reasons of its existence, it would shake up the world economy, and
open a new era in terrorism development."
"Building A Fragile Bridge"
Adam Cerny stated in leading business daily Hospodrske
Noviny (1/8): "UK PM Tony Blair
has a reputation as the closest European ally of the U.S. However, propinquity doesn't mean identity;
few have noticed that Blair is not only seeking to maintain the UK-U.S.
relationship, but also U.S.-Europe ties.
He is a good advocate of U.S.
foreign policy because he conveys the American message in a way comprehensible
to European ears. He also keeps pointing
out to the U.S. that it will only make the world listen if it listens to the
world. In short, the UK is trying to lower
the risk of the U.S. losing its allies, but the bridge will be of very fragile
"Iraq - The Fight For Public Opinion"
Jiri Roskot stressed in the left-of-center Pravo
(12/31): "The Iraqi crisis will escalate next year....The Iraqi ruler is
by no means a nice guy. However, from the perspective of public opinion...it is
more important now for the White House to prove that statements about hidden
Iraqi arsenals are true than to organize media (and PR) campaigns. This will be
the cornerstone of the question about moral correctness of an invasion. Clear
evidence that Saddam cheated the U.N. once again can be of stronger support in
critical phases of the invasion than a mandate of the U.N. Security
"Iraq Is Dangerous, But There Should Be No War"
On private Antenna Radio's program "Taking
Off,"On well-known Greek political scientist and commentator Thodoros
Kouloumbis commented on Iraq policy (1/2):
"It is important that Iraq not gain access to WMD. Having said that, should the U.S. attack
Iraq? No. If the general goal is to stop proliferation
and the specific one is to make sure Saddam Hussein doesn't get them, then the
most effective course of action is what we have now, with the UN inspections
regime. But I fear we will have
war. And the only plausible explanation
for this war is to get American control over the flow of oil, and to get access
for U.S. oil companies in Iraq. There's
also a fair amount of hubris and revenge involved: for the last twelve years,
since the days of the previous President, Saddam Hussein has resisted heavy
diplomatic pressures and sanctions. The
Americans want to show the world that those who continue to resist them are, in
the end, forced out."
“Dilemmas Of A War”
Foreign affairs writer Ferenc Kepecs stated in leftist Nepszava
(12/27): “We have no reason to feel
sorry about Saddam Hussein. But every
reason to do so about the average Iraqi who are likely to become victims of a
war in large numbers, and even about the American soldiers, should things fail
to go as smoothly as they did in 1991. The biggest problem with the 'American
solution', however, would be if Saddam became the martyr of the Arab street, a
figure whose memory terrorists could swear on.
The Iraqi dictator ought to be annihilated not physically, but
morally. But that could only be achieved
by a revolution of the Iraqi people.”
"What Is The Casus Beli?"
Kevin Myers expounded in the liberal Irish
Times' daily column "An Irishman's Diary" (1/7): "Does
anyone outside Washington really know why the U.S. is going to war with
Iraq?... So he (President Bush) now seems to be about Osama Bin Laden's work,
perpetuating violence and using war not as diplomacy by other means, but as an
end in itself.... Even if the U.S. goals
are not globally revolutionary, and Iraq alone is the target, what is the casus
belli? That was provided by the expulsion of the UN weapons inspectors during
the cretinous and morally infirm presidency of that Clinton creature. Then was
the time for the U.S. to act with clear authority; but not, dear God, after the
weapons inspectors had been allowed back in. There are no arguments about the
evil of Saddam Hussein: he is the devil incarnate. That is not the issue.....So
we come to the question: Why now? The answer can only be 9/11. Osama Bin Laden
sought to drag the U.S. into a global war, and George Bush, the alcoholic who
lives in awe of his father, is responding as required.... To be sure, there is
no moral contest. Saddam is a monster. Moreover, we are free because of U.S.
arms and U.S. lives, and once there is a war, though I am against it, I shall
nonetheless wish swift success to U.S. arms as the least evil of all available
outcomes. Yet then we have to ask: if the U.S. is successful in Iraq, where
does the process of improving the world by force of arms stop?... Suddenly we're looking at a very busy and a
very unnerving future indeed."
NORTHERN IRELAND: "White Lies From The White House"
Left-of-center Belfast Telegraph ran an
op-ed by Eamon McCann stating (1/2): "The revelations in the Washington
Post of U.S. complicity in the crimes of Saddam Hussein appear, so far, to
have made not a whit of difference to supporters of the proposed war on Iraq.
There was nothing in Monday's Post which hadn't previously appeared in radical
journals. But the fact that the information has now been put into the
mainstream should stiffen the resolve of those among us who don't want
war. Reagan, his Vice-President George
Bush, snr.; Rumsfeld, etc., had decided to back Iraq against Iran out of fear
that a victory for Teheran in the Iran-Iraq war would spur Shi'ite militancy
across the region and thereby threaten western oil interests. When, in 1986,
Rumsfeld launched a futile bid for the Republican nomination in the 1988
presidential election, he cited his role in helping 're-open U.S. relations
with Iraq' as evidence of his competence in international affairs. This is to
say that all of the evidence, including evidence from official U.S. sources,
suggests that Rumsfeld, Bush, jnr.; etc. are lying when they say now that the
reason they want war against Iraq has to do with the abhorrent nature of the
Hussein regime. The proposed war on Iraq
is, in essence, an exercise in old-fashioned imperialism. The main question
arising is whether we will raise our voices high enough and mobilise
effectively enough to stay the hands of the war-mongers".
NORWAY: "Respect For
The independent Dagbladet (1/6) commented: "To
cooperate with the UN means also to respect the UN's work in Iraq, the report
that Hans Blix will present and the decisions that a collective Security
Council decides. Unfortunately George Bush seems to be more occupied with
drawing his own conclusions than to listen to the UN."
"The Bigwig Of The Evil"
In the independent Dagbladet former
correspondent to the US Anne Thurmann-Nielsen judged (12/30): "Not only the political left and the
politically correct America haters have reasons to be concerned in the last
days of this year. During the Christmas
days the Bush Government has activated the Axis of Evil in Asia, North
Korea.... Dialogue seems to be a foreign
word among Bush's warmongers. The world is a scary place these days.... The
Bush administration has painted the USA darker blue than the country has been
in a long time. The President has let a small group of neo-conservative cold
warriors form the political agenda far beyond the borders of the U.S. Isn't it
time to proclaim the rich and mighty U.S. to the bigwig of the evil and
encourage the Americans to rid themselves of the Bush regime by the next
election in 2004?"
"A Spectacle And History"
Bronislaw Wildstein wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita
(1/6): “All signs in the sky and on
earth indicate that there will be an American intervention in the Middle
East. Both sides are intensively
preparing for a war. The rifle hanging
on the wall will finally fire. This has
been bound to happen for a long time....
Hussein produces and stores part of the banned military potential in
underground storage rooms impossible to find, and part of it he constantly
transfers in mobile laboratories. This
was well known when a demand was voiced that the Security Council pass another
resolution, even though the one passed 12 years earlier would be sufficient for
U.S. intervention.... The spectacle with
the Security Council resolution, Iraq’s response, and the [UN] inspectors’
mission has come to an end. Now history
"Getting Hold Of Iraq's Oil"
In his weekly column in leading financial Diário
Económico, pundit Miguel Sousa Tavares asserted (1/9): "I think the U.S. is going into Iraq to
get its hands on Iraq's oil and to stay close to the oil wells of Saudi
Arabia.... They started by saying that
the pretext was the presence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Nothing has been found so far. Then, it was necessary to overthrow Saddam
and overthrow the regime. Now, the New
York Times writes that...the Pentagon's plan is to name a civil
administrator as if it were a company on the edge of bankruptcy, occupy the oil
wells and stay there for a year and a half.
So this really is a war of conquest."
"The Rules Of The Game"
Mário Bettencourt Resendes, editor-in-chief of respected
center-left Diário de Notícias, commented (1/6): "The apparent American option for
multilateralism and the jurisdiction of the UN has so far done nothing more
than fill up the time needed to move up to the edge of the war zone the complex
machine needed to guarantee success within an ideal timeframe--that is,
two-three weeks.... The world will certainly be more secure with Saddam Hussein
thrown out of power. But at the point at
which things stand, it is important that the U.S. does not mortgage its
credibility as a great power that declared it wanted to play by 'the rules of
War For Peace And Freedom”
Mile Setinc held in left-of-center independent Dnevnik
(1/9): "Who can determine the
existence of 'a direct threat' coming from an enemy which uses weapons that can
easily be hidden and can attack without warning? Does only George W. Bush have this historic
right, the Bush who brags about using 'gut' instincts for making major
decisions?... The U.S. does not renounce
international organizations...however, the President can consult, but does not
have to obey."
"Last Wills Are Ready"
Vojislav Berck opined in left of center,
independent Vecer (1/6): “In
three weeks, Hans Blix...will answer the question of WMD. The answer may persuade the members of the
Security Council, but it will less likely persuade American President George W.
Bush.... There are many indications that
the United States is determined to attack Iraq.
America’s ‘editing’ of...Iraq’s report may be the most outstanding among
them.... The accumulation of America’s
military in the countries neighboring Iraq, sending additional troops to this
territory and additional aircraft carriers to this part of the world indicate
that a war is unavoidable. With UN
approval, or without it; this seems to be just a cosmetic detail in Bush’s
eyes. Soldiers in American military
bases are writing their wills.... Why
would they write their wills if the U.S. president really wished a peaceful
resolution of the problem as strongly as he emphasizes? American and British propaganda machineries
have functioned with full power for several months.... The Iraqi opposition…is
ready to assume power.... Who can
persuade President Bush against finishing what his father began twelve years
ago. It can hardly be done by the Security Council or the United
"From The Cockiness Of Saddam Hussein To Bush's Fait Accompli"
Independent El Mundo declared (1/7): "Saddam Hussein has chosen the path of
the harshest rhetorical confrontation in his last speech. The Iraqi leader knows that he has very
little opportunity to escape unscathed from this crisis.... Especially when the very well prepared U.S.
plans start to be known.... All this is
a fait-accompli that responds only to Bush's own interests, and seems to
overlook the fact that the reason for the conflict, the famous WMD, haven’t
been found yet."
"The Iraq Invasion, [Already]
Conservative La Razon wrote (1/7):
"The Iraqi President must be convinced that an American attack is
inevitable or he is simply a fool who adds fuel to the fire at such an
inopportune moment. When he could have
opted to prolong the process, to take away legitimacy from George Bush by
opening facilities to the inspectors, (Saddam) has been resistant and with that
(attitude) has provided an argument to those who support the American
President's desires. The attack plans
are perfectly designed...United States has no more... to hide. The decision is
"The Cost Of War"
Conservative ABC opined (1/2): "There is a certain ritual nature in the
beginning of this war. The sword which
has been drawn must kill. The world must
know who leads here. No matter what the
Iraqis decide...the war will start....
One cannot help being astonished that a modern nation, having a great
diplomacy, with intelligence services, and sophisticated resources for foreign
action, must appeal to this infernal formula to explain who leads and who must
obey.... Possibly the worst formula for
addressing the terrorist problem is to initiate a war against Iraq. Anti-American feeling in many Muslim countries...will
probably need 50 years to be absorbed and disappear.... If this war cannot be won in hours,
everything could spiral dangerously for President Bush, from the cost of the
conflict...to the price of oil. And that
is not even counting the deaths."
"U.S. Implicitly Threatens Turkey"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in
mass-appeal Milliyet (1/9): "Turkey's decision to wait for the UN
report before determining the extent of its cooperation with the United States
has caused a potential problem between the two countries. Washington is disappointed both in Ankara's
current Iraq policy as well as the decision to send a Turkish trade delegation
headed by State Minister Tuzmen to Baghdad.
Officials in Washington note that this disappointment could be reflected
when Congress takes up the issues of economic, military, and commercial aid to
Turkey. A US diplomatic source warns
that 'the degree of US cooperation with the Arab world seems to becoming more
significant than with Turkey.'... Sources close to the Washington administration
comment that due to Ankara's reservations and 'wait-and-see' attitude, the goal
of creating a deterrent show of force against Iraq has not been achieved. It seems that the visit of General Myers to
Ankara will play a determining factor for Washington in deciding whether or not
to include the northern front in the war scenario."
"What Kind Of Policy?"
Sami Kohen criticized in mass-appeal Milliyet
(1/9): "It is quite possible to believe that the AKP government does not
have an Iraq policy. There are many
conflicting statements from various official bodies, and it is mind-boggling to
try to figure out which is the real policy....
On the other hand, we should also see that developments related to Iraq
have caught the government in a helpless position. The 'great advantage' of Turkey, its
geo-strategic location, has now become a painful liability for Ankara. Because
of Turkey's location and political ties, as well as its current economic
situation, it is not possible to define Turkey's role with a 'yes-or-no' kind
of clarity. Thus Ankara is trying to
shape its policy based on developments, keeping its options open and
maintaining flexibility.... Turkish
officials note that Ankara does not want to hurry, but that the plan for a
front in northern Iraq will be taken into consideration 'when the time
comes.' Reacting to Washington's
complaints about Turkey's position, one Turkish official said that the problem
stems from the definition of time limits.
Ankara wants to shape things in the course of time, while Washington is
asking for an immediate answer."
"Saddam Hussein Waits For War"
Mehmet Barlas opined in mass appeal Aksam
(1/7): "Saddam Hussein's message for the Army Day celebration clearly
defies the U.S. and calls for a holy war.... He accused everyone, including the
UN inspectors now in Iraq. The gist of
this 'army day' message is as follows: Iraq is ready for war. Saddam knows that war is imminent, thus his
propaganda position is to welcome it. If
only PM Gul were visiting Baghdad instead of Syria and Egypt."
"Saddam Has Hurt Gul's Campaign"
Ilnur Cevik wrote in the English-language Turkish
Daily News (1/7): "The remarks
of Saddam Hussein that the UN weapons inspectors are spying has come as a blow
to those who wanted to find a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis. The efforts of PM Gul to rally support for
his peace crusade in Syria, Egypt, and Jordan have actually gone down the
drain. Saddam Hussein is notorious for
misreading reality and taking the wrong steps.
You just have to look at how he waged a war against Iran, and how he
invaded Kuwait and then refused to withdraw....
Whatever the reason, the Iraqi leader has only strengthened the hand of
the Americans, who are already massing troops and military hardware in the
"The Reason For Saying NO To War"
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni
Safak (1/2): "The drawing of borders in the Middle East and the
regimes that were put in place there all resulted from the demise of the
Ottoman Empire and decisions made by the Western powers. The western powers defined and designed the
status quo in the region based on their interests. Today they are once again trying to redesign
it based on their current needs and interests.
Turkey has been the loser from the last century's imperial plans. And today once again the western powers want
Turkey to fall into this trap. This is
exactly why the people of Turkey are loudly saying NO."
YUGOSLAVIA: "Why Now?"
Commenting on U.S. policy in Iraq and the Near
East, leading Politika foreign commentator Bosko Jaksic claimed
(12/28): [Washington's plan has] only
one, short-term marketing goal: to tranquilize and sweet-talk the Arabs who are
revolted by the uncritical U.S. support for Israel with the preparations for
the occupation of Baghdad.... But help in the transformation of the Arab world
has to be sincere and have credibility.... The Americans have been considered
the champions of the noble ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights. Those ideals have corroded in the past years,
due to the U.S. racing for hegemony, a one-sided approach to the Near East
crisis, and because of arrogant leaning on its power."
MIDDLE EAST AND MAGHREB
"Facing Iraq For Round 2"
The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's
Global Research in International Affairs Center, Barry Rubin wrote in
conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (1/7): "Saddam understood that the U.S. could
not fight a war if it could not win fast, keep casualties low, and get out
quickly. Contrary to Saddam's
expectations, [former U.S. president George] Bush was able to fulfill these conditions
in defeating Iraq. But the same need to
keep the war short, losses low, and bring the troops home soon also meant that
the U.S. lacked the willpower and staying power to bring the Iraqi dictator
down. Now we are facing Round 2: to
achieve with much greater difficulty what might have been more easily done back
in 1991. But have no illusions: in all
the same circles it was no more popular then.
And whether or not [President George W.] Bush should attack Iraq now, it
is quite clear that those who opposed strong action a decade ago bear a lot of
responsibility for the current situation."
WEST BANK: “Countdown for
War Against Iraq: Pre-War Deception”
Abdullah Awad opined in independent,
pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/9): “The picture is getting clearer and clearer
by the day regarding the decision by Washington and London to launch a war
against Iraq, even though an exact date has not been set. Consequently, the Jewish state will start
thinking of the policy that it will follow during the war. It is possible that Israel will wait until
the war on Iraq flares up before escalating its own war against the
Palestinians. There are indications that
Israel may invade and reoccupy Gaza, imposing more restrictions and measures
against the Palestinian leadership.
Prohibiting Palestinian officials from traveling abroad is just the
"An Ounce Of Prevention"
Talal Okal commented in independent,
pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/6): “ The U.S. is determined to go ahead with its
war in spite of the fact that the issue of North Korea exemplifies the United
States’ double-standard policy. Also,
this American stubbornness emphasizes that the entire region is a target for
its war and that such a war is an end as much as it is a means. This war is aimed at intimidating and
controlling other countries through dominating the entire region and turning it
into an American military base in order to take over its resources.”
Hafez Al Barghouti opined in semi-official Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida (12/31): "It seems
that the American war against Iraq will be used as a cover for an Israeli war
against the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria.
Israeli officials have already begun to leak news regarding Israel's
intention to terminate the Palestinian cause and carry out decisive attacks
against Hizballah and Syria.... These
destructive ideas...by Israeli officials are a result of the White House's
support for the Israeli extreme right that opposes security and peace. Moreover, the American war against Iraq is
serving Israeli interests more than those of the United States."
“Saddam’s Stepping Aside Is Not The End Of The Story”
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar
contributor Assem Abdel Mohsen predicted (1/9): “I will not shed tears about
Saddam’s fate. However, I am not one to deceive myself that, if Saddam decided
to step down...the Iraqi problem would end.... Saddam’s departure will realize
for America some of its wishes without a bloodletting of its soldiers, but it
will not result in a diminished American military presence in the region.... In
fact, this presence in the region may grow...according to preexisting plans....
America may treat Saddam as it did the president of Panama... Truly, Saddam is
a hated model, but it is also true that changing him is the responsibility of
his people alone, not the U.S.... Saddam’s departure, willingly or by force, is
not Washington’s principal concern. The American agenda for the region is its
people, its wealth, its brains, its values and other goals which are unknown.”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram’s senior
columnist Salama Ahmed Salama wrote (in the Arabic Al Ahram and
in the English-language Al Ahram Weekly) (1/9): “Recent meetings between Turkey and various
Arab states may mark the first time Ankara has initiated consultations with its
Arab neighbors to foster regional coordination and to avert a war in the
region.... It appears that Turkey has a
strong interest in avoiding a war; but many questions remain unanswered. What
are the practical suggestions, which would convince the U.S. not to use
military force against Iraq? It is not
clear whether the U.S. wants to make use of this [Turkish-Arab] cooperation if
it decides not to attack Iraq...or whether it will ignore it completely and
press ahead with military operations.”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's
columnist Abdo Mubasher held (1/1): "Suddenly the Turkish prime minister
announced that Turkey will not participate in an attack on Iraq. Definitely this is a cover or a maneuver. The
man did not say the whole truth.
Everyone knows the intense presence of American troops are intensely
present in Turkey and...about Turkey's role in NATO.... He may have wanted to pressure the U.S. to
obtain a larger part of the Iraqi cake.... Among the lying leaders also was
Sharon, who said that Iraqi weapons were transferred to Syria and Lebanon. He
knows that Iraq is under siege and everything is surveyed through satellites."
“An Attempt To Damage The Position Of The Kingdom”
Riyadh’s moderate, Al-Jazira editorialized
(12/31): “In the midst of tense American preparations for war against Iraq, the
New York Times decided to contribute, in a campaign of lies, against the
Kingdom and to claim that it had informed U.S. officials of its readiness to
assist in war efforts against Iraq, although the Kingdom had confirmed several
times that it will not contribute to a war on Iraq... The Kingdom’s commitment
to a peaceful solution is a firm and solid position... therefore, the one who
seriously seeks a peaceful solution cannot participate in military action. Although these are announced positions by the
Kingdom in this respect-- which are well-known to the whole world-- the lies of
the New York Times aim to create confusion and to show others position’s
"Israel’s Enthusiasm For War On Iraq"
Center-left, influential Al-Dustour (1/5)
editorialized: “Israel seems to be the
only country in the world enthusiastic about launching the more than likely
American war against Iraq. This Israeli
enthusiasm stems from Israel’s desire to destroy what is left of any Arab
military power than could deal a blow to Israel, and to crush what potential
strength and power there could be in an Arab land. Therefore, we believe that the American war
against Iraq is being waged to serve Israel and Israelis, who seem to be the
only beneficiaries of this war. Our
conviction that this war is designed to serve Israel’s long-term interests is
further strengthened by viewing the U.S. double standards in dealing with the
Iraqi and the Korean issues. The Bush
administration is leaning towards a peaceful solution with North Korea, that
has an official program for producing nuclear weapons, but show inexplicable
determination to invade Iraq, destroy it and take over its oil, despite the
cooperation that Iraq has shown with the U.N. inspectors.”
"The New Formula: War Or Banishment"
Urayb Rintawi wrote on the op-ed page of
center-left, influential Al-Dustour (1/5): “We are moving in vicious circle where the
war seems to be imminent. Breaking this
circle is probably impossible without a dramatic development such as the
banishment of the Iraqi President.”
Is The Arab Position On The Plans For War On Iraq?
Former Secretary-General of the Ministry of
Culture Mohammad Naji Amayreh wrote in semi-official influential Al-Rai (12/31): “We say to the Arab
states that their neutrality regarding the planned aggression against Iraq is
not justified, and it will not spare them the consequences of this
aggression. We do not expect them to
line up with Iraq, because this would be beyond their political and military
capabilities, or their political will.
But we expect them to use their influence with the U.S. Administration
to limit the nature of the aggression.”
"On The Margin: America And The Crisis of Aggression Against
An inside page column by Hassan Yassamini in
government coalition Istiqlal party Al Alam (1/9): "U.N. inspectors
have ended their marathonian trips in Iraq investigating for WMD which exist
only in the imagination of U.S. officials and their allies.... The countdown
for aggressing Iraq has now started since America has mobilized a tremendous
military build up.... International public opinion is asking many questions
about the real drives/intentions behind the strike against Iraq after the U.S.
has created all kinds of pretexts for such an action.... The reality is that America
is eager to safeguard its economic and military interests it has in the area.
How can the U.S. pretend to defend legitimacy by attacking a country located
thousands of miles away from it while its ally, Israel, owns sufficient weapons
to destroy the entire Middle East."
"No To War Against Iraq From Arab
A front-page editorial by Editor-in-Chief Ahmed
Zaki in government coalition, French language Al Bayane asserted
(12/31): "The U.S. is desperately
looking for pretexts to launch its war against Iraq. We all know that the U.S.
aim is control over Middle East oil....
We are witnessing a true abdication of Arab regimes in the face of
American pressure which on the other hand continues to support massacres
perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people.... In the face of these dangers that are
threatening the Arab world, it is necessary and urgent to react to thwart the
U.S. administration's aggressive plans. We call on the popular forces in the
Arab countries to mobilize public opinion and demand their governments to take
part in this movement to reject the plans of American aggression."
"The Language of Interests"
Ahmad Dawa opined in government-owned Al-Thawra
(1/7): "In contrast with many regional and international positions, the
official Arab position rejecting a possible American war against Iraq is
fragile and weak, and is not commensurate with the grave dangers such a war
would pose to collective Arab national security. Some Arab governments are
linking their final positions on the war (against Iraq) to deliberations at the
UNSC. These governments will oppose war if it is a unilateral American
decision, but these governments will act as spectators or be indirectly
involved if the UNSC passes a resolution legitimizing it. Most Arab positions vis-à-vis a probable
American war against Iraq are limited to appealing to the world to prevent such
a war; Arabs have failed to play a principled and effective role in this
regard. This is futile, since the final word will be couched in the language of
interests and not reflect the value of friendships. We hope Arabs realize this
fact before it is too late."
Bashar Satti commented in government-owned Syria
Times (1/6): "The U.S. Administration should have given aid to Arabs
and not to the Israelis who want to harm the Arab region beyond repair. Iraq
has already abided by UNSC resolution 1441 and shown that it has no weapons of
mass destruction. Israel should be forced to do the same since it is the only
country that constitutes a real threat to the whole region. The U.S.
Administration is strongly urged to revise its hostile stands against Iraq as
well as other Arab and Muslim countries."
"From One Day To Another"
A front-page daily column in government
coalition, Arabic-language Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki asserted (12/31):
"Yes, there is a big wave of criticism against U.S. foreign policy by both
intellectuals and politicians, and there is anger and protest, whether inside
or outside America, against what threatens world peace from this policy.
However, America, which is now controlling the world alone, believes only in
the logic of power and interests and does not care about world peace...
President Bush (has stated) openly that 'the overthrow of Saddam is in defense
of our freedom.' Of course, any reasonable person cannot understand the meaning
of this American freedom or what this freedom is going to do in Iraq. There is
no doubt that the American freedom does not recognize borders or the freedom of
"Logic Of War?"
Editor Brahim Oueslati commented on the
front-page of ruling party-owned
French-language Le Renouveau
(1/3): "January will be a
crucial month for Iraq.... The Chief of
the UN inspection teams and the Director General of the IAEA will be invited to
present a report. This report will
determine to a great extent the outcome of the conflict.... But the good will of Iraq and its spirit of
collaboration do not seem to be enough for the moment. Everything is still possible, including the
most apocalyptic scenario. Even if the
last declaration of President Bush about Iraq can be interpreted as aimed at
calming the situation, the consequences of a possible war are strongly feared
by American public opinion, which is more and more reticent about any
intervention against Iraq, fearing terrorist reprisals."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
"U.S. Imposes Principles On Arabs"
Algerian writer Dr. Khairul Deen Al Ayeb
asserted in business-oriented Al Bayan (1/6): The truth is that the U.S. wants to isolate
any countries defying its principles before the international community. Furthermore, it (the U.S.) wants to impose
these principles on Arab societies, especially conservative ones like Saudi
Arabia.... Any sane person comprehends the build up of armies is not to strike
Iraq.... The equation is simply either countries adapt to the new world order,
or they will be besieged and paralyzed until they yield by force to U.S.
orders.... All Arabs must make a quick decision, as our destiny and existence
become a subject to bargaining. The fear
is that we end up at the margin of the arranged new world order. The real fear is that, one day, we perish in
the same way as previous civilizations."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
“Keep Us Out Of Bush's War On Iraq”
An op-ed in the national conservative Australian
from Labor party member Laurie Brereton, recently the parliamentary
representative with Australia's delegation to the UN, asserted (1/7): “U.S.
policy toward Iraq is less about the threat of weapons of mass destruction than
it is about redrawing the strategic map of the Middle East. 'Regime change' is
about installing a pro-American regime in Baghdad. It's about changing the
regime that controls Iraq's oil wealth. It's about putting in place a regime
supportive of the U.S. military presence in the Middle East.... Having recently
returned from the United States, I must say I'm appalled by the poverty of
debate on this issue.... The Howard Government will support whatever action the
U.S. takes. The old phrase 'all the way with LBJ' once again has
resonance.... We should be wary that
Iraq does not become Australia's new Vietnam War. A substantial element of the
Australian media, led by Rupert Murdoch's pro-U.S., pro-war The Australian
newspaper, has failed to ensure effective scrutiny of the Government's gung-ho
"The Case Against War With Iraq"
An op-ed in the liberal Age by General
Peter Gration, chief of the Australian Defence Force during the Gulf War
stressed (1/2): "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a brutal
dictator heading an unsavory regime that probably does possess weapons of mass
destruction (WMD), and the world would be a better place if they were removed.
Nevertheless, there are insufficient grounds for war, which is unnecessary and
may lead to unpredictable and potentially disastrous consequences. It is not in
Australia's interests to take part in such a war. I stress that this is not a
call for inaction, since better alternatives are available.... That alternative
is to continue to pursue the present course of action through the UN inspectors
already in Iraq, even in the face of some Iraqi intransigence. This is likely
to be a prolonged, frustrating and probably messy and untidy business, but in the
end should be effective in removing the WMD and preventing their further
development. It will not in itself
achieve regime change, nor will it deliver other possible U.S. strategic
objectives in the region, such as control of Iraqi oil, but it will avoid the
dire consequences of a war."
"Case Already Made Against The Iraqi
An editorial in the national, conservative Australian
asserted (1/2): "[S]uggestions that President Bush is a warmonger intent
on attacking innocent Iraq remain little more than an exercise in
whining-whimsy.... If the United States
was exclusively driven by a thirst for Iraqi oil the easiest way to slake it
would be to simply renew its former friendship of convenience, however distasteful,
with the Iraqi dictator and this is manifestly not on the U.S. agenda. The
opponents of the Americans' desire for regime change in Baghdad appear on
firmer ground when they argue that reasons for war do not exist and that the
United States is seeking to coerce the world into supporting an attack.
However, this is equally incorrect.... The fact that the United States
continues to stay its hand and leaves room for Saddam to extricate himself from
the crisis of his own making by co-operating openly and honestly with the UN
demonstrates that if it does come to war it will not be one launched by the
United States for any other reason than to end an outlaw regime."
“Why Did Saddam’s Attitude Suddenly Become Tough?”
Yu Dong commented in the official popular
newspaper Beijing Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnianbao, 1/7): "Saddam suddenly showed a tough attitude
for the following possible reasons.
First, Saddam may be disappointed or desperate, because war is
inevitable. Second, Saddam, by giving
such a speech, may want to see whether or not the U.S. and the U.K. have
determined to launch a war against Iraq.
Third, as the speech was given on an occasion for celebration of the
Iraqi army day, it was necessary for Saddam not to be too gentle. Otherwise, it would have been a speech
encouraging the U.S. and the U.K. so that the two countries would win a
psychological war against Iraq before taking any military actions. Fourth, it may be Saddam’s nature to be tough
if he is under pressure and desperate.”
"Bush Adopts Every Possible Means To Oust Saddam"
Ren Shujun held in official Communist party People’s
Daily (Renmin Ribao 1/6):
“According to some critics, if Bush succeeded in forcing Saddam to
resign and disarming Iraq through military pressure and diplomatic persuasion,
so that casualties were avoided and military expenses were saved, Bush’s
achievements would surpass his father.
This would be very conducive to Bush winning the presidential election
"Return Peace To The Gulf"
Huang Peizhao commented in the official Communist
Party People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao, 1/3): “War is not helpful for resolving
conflict. War will only destroy people’s
lives and property for all parties involved.… Preventing possible war in Iraq
is the common will of people all over the world.… Most countries stress
resolving difference through political means, especially within the framework
of the United Nations, instead of settling the dispute by one country or a few
HONG KONG SAR:
"The U.S. Can Do What It Wants--But Not Legally"
Chun Bong-fung, a legal commentator, wrote in
the independent English-language South China Morning Post (1/3): "There is no evidence that Iraq will
attack the U.S. any time soon. Even
assuming that Iraq has WMD, there is absolutely no evidence that Saddam Hussein
intends to use them on the U.S. Iraq may
intend to use them against other countries, but until those countries invite
the U.S. to help, it is simply not the business of the U.S. to intervene.... Iraq may not
have a pristine record, but it still deserves the protection of
international law like any sovereign state.
Attacking Iraq may be good domestic policy for the Bush administration,
but doing so would create irreparable damage to the fabric of international
JAPAN: "Baghdad Increasingly Concerned
About Washington's Hard-Line Stance"
The liberal Asahi's Cairo correspondent
Kawakami observed (12/27): "It has been a month since UN weapons
inspectors started probing suspected WMD sites in Iraq. So far, they have
investigated more than 150 such places. Although Baghdad at first tried to
check the movement of UN inspectors, calling them 'spies for the U.S. and
Britain,' Iraqi officials have since become more accommodating to the
investigators, while even 'inviting' U.S. intelligence officials to join in the
ongoing investigation. Despite this, the U.S. is already showing moves to use
force against Iraq irrespective of the investigation's outcome - even if Iraq
is found to not be in violation of UN weapons resolutions. Baghdad's
accommodating move is indicative of a rising sense of crisis in Baghdad over
the hardening of the U.S. stance that could lead to the use of force."
“The U.S. Tempted To Act Beyond UN Mandate On Iraq Crisis”
Leading independent Kompas held
(1/3): “The Iraqi people cannot help but
wait for their fate because the whole world seems to be unable to stop this
U.S. ambition. Attacks by the U.S. and
the U.K. would certainly bring about a painful tragedy. Disappointment would be widespread as the
world has, from the outset, opposed the plan to attack Iraq…not only because
there is no clear reason, but also because the world does not want to see a new
human tragedy. While the reason for the
Gulf War in 1990-91 was to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait, it also caused a
human tragedy.... U.S. action would only
sow seeds of vengeance, frustration, anger, and aggressiveness that would be
released one day like a time bomb.”
PHILIPPINES: "Who Is
Pulling Whose Leg?"
Retired Court of Appeals Justice Jesus Elbinias
noted in his column in the conservative Manila Bulletin (1/7): "President George W. Bush-- facing a
triple threat, such as a defiant Iraq, a nuclear-ambitious North Korea, and a
U.S. economy that refuses to spark--has delayed his war on Iraq. Bush is
waiting for UN arms inspector Hans Blix's report to start the war. Bush knows that even if Blix presents his
report to the UN Security Council on January 27, it can show no chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons could be found.
Blix can only report Saddam's denial that Iraq has such weapons, and he
could not give up any of those weapons.
As Bush is still temporizing, Saddam is ready to use the UN negative
inspections to expose the American claims as lies. Who is pulling whose leg?"
"Bush Has Done The World A Disfavor"
Augusto R. Bundang wrote in the independent Business World
(12/27): "Bush's preoccupation with
bringing down Saddam Hussein's regime...is perceived as an arrogant stand by an
overbearing nation that thinks its sublime duty is to police the world.... Bush's preemptive war doctrine...presumes
that the U.S...is unerring and faultless in determining who are the enemies of
the world that need to be crushed...before they could act.... Bush's...itch to strike hard at Iraq...and
his threatening remarks against North Korea appear to bring the world into
another crisis.... That is why Bush has
done the world a big disfavor by sowing fear and trouble into the hearts of
many instead of bringing goodwill and joy for the coming new year."
"Not A Just War"
An opinion piece bylined Renato Redentor
Constantino in the independent Philippine Star (12/26) said: "The looming war in Iraq is not a just
war; it is an ugly war fueled by America's imperial ambitions to control Iraqi
oil,...and impress on everyone the costs of defying the world's remaining superpower.... Unless we add our voice in opposition to
American aggression, it will be the Bushes and the bin Ladens who will speak
"Chance For Peace Worth The Wait"
The lead editorial in the top-circulation,
moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post read (1/5): "Even if Saddam is determined to stay in
power, Mr. Annan is correct in saying that, based on the findings of the
current weapons inspection team and the amount of cooperation from Baghdad,
there is no justification for rushing to war.
There is little doubt that an American-led attack would be able to
topple Saddam’s regime, but there are no guarantees that a war would be quick
and easy. Possible ramifications are a
large number of civilian and military casualties, destruction of oil fields,
drawing Israel into wider, possibly nuclear, war and increased terrorism
worldwide. Even if it all goes according
to the best-laid plans, there is still a big moral and ethical problem with
choosing war except as a last alternative.
As long as there are more than 100 inspectors in the country who are
allowed unfettered access to any suspected weapons site in the country, there
is hope for peace.... Clearly the world
will respect a decision that is just and based on the realities of the
situation, but will condemn a war that is not necessary.”
"Coalition Of Interest"
Sunanda K. Datta-Ray opined in the centrist Telegraph
(1/4): "Kofi Annan's gravelly voice
announcing that he did not 'see an argument for military action' against Iraq
was the best news that the television broke on New Year's day. It offered welcome assurance that the United
Nations has not quite degenerated into a subcommittee of the U.S. Congress, and
that its secretary general, who has sometimes unkindly been called the Uncle Tom
of international diplomacy, does not only echo the White House
Spokesman.... Annan's view that no
military action should be considered until the inspectors report to the
security council...drew attention to the inherent conflict between an imperial
power's determination to treat the UN as the instrument of national statecraft
and the UN's own respect for due process.
The UN chief executive's tactfully muted tone was also a reminder that
the UN is only as strong as UN members dare to be.... Some feel that only the International
Criminal Court can decide whether Saddam is a serial aggressor who encourages
world terrorism while stockpiling mass-murder weapons."
"War Will Break Out, Terrorists Too Will
Expand Their Violent Acts"
An op-ed in pro-BJP Calcutta Bengali Bartaman
by Editorial Advisor Pabitra Kumar Ghosh said (12/26): "The New Year will start with a
war. But it will end with terrorist
violence worldwide. America will start its war against Iraq.... However, the result of the war will not
remain confined within the U.S. and Iraq....
However, not a single Muslim country has cared to stand by Iraq in
need. This cowardliness and
submissiveness of the rulers of Islamic countries as well as their tendency of
becoming American collaborators have virtually infuriated the Muslim milieu at
large. Islamic terrorists consider this
situation as a golden opportunity coming their way.... There would be such a big unrest in the
Islamic world that terrorist organizations would then easily get both new
recruits and money at random.... They are dreaming of conquering the whole
world on the behalf of Islam. The challenge that Washington, Moscow, Delhi, and
others are encountering is not new.... Usama
wants to represent this tradition. If Saddam lays down his life in the war he
would become an icon of that legacy."
"Protest Today Against Possible American Attack On Iraq"
Taliban mouthpiece Islam asserted
(1/3): "Majlis Amal warned the
government that it should not cooperate with America on Iraq, otherwise the
whole nation will go into the streets against the government. Clouds of war on Iraq are coming nearer
day-by-day. Though President Bush has
confirmed that Iraq does not have atomic weapons, he is considering that military
action against Iraq necessary. This
shows America's emnity against the Muslim world. The Pakistan government must clarify to
America that it should not expect any help from Pakistan in case of war against
"America Is Pushing The World Towards A World War"
Karachi based, pro-Taliban Islam declared (12/27): "Once again, apprehensions of American
action in Iraq are increasing, and it is becoming quite obvious that Iraq will
be a target of atrocities. The UN inspectors
are religiously searching for atomic plants and other weapons, but so far
nothing has been found. President Bush's
statements show that he is adamant about attacking Iraq. Iraq's oil and its strategic position as a
buffer to some of the rich Arab countries are reasons enough for America to get
hold of Iraq. Another possibility that
seems obvious is that America plans to deal with Iraq and North Korea
simultaneously, which would eventually trigger a world war, and this would
aggravate the hatred that has fully developed towards America throughout the
Muslim, as well as non-Muslim world."
CANADA: "Conscripting God into battle"
Editorial writer Gordon Barthos commented in the
liberal Toronto Star (1/9): "Presidents and rogues have always
invoked the Deity when heading into battle, to galvanize their people, demonize
the enemy and excuse violence. To be fair, Bush is a long-time Christian who
prays daily, and who genuinely believes that God has blessed his nation. Saddam
by contrast is a Muslim of convenience, a brutal despot and two-time warmonger
who has a million deaths on his conscience. Yet both risk stoking a broader
Christian/Muslim clash as they stake absolutist and mutually exclusive claims
to a moral high ground that is questionable at best. This is something the rest
of us should be wary of. Every
religion-couched broadside from Baghdad and Washington reinforces the case for
letting the UNSC make the final call on peace or war, without appealing to any
Higher Authority.... If the UNcomes to the view that Saddam poses so great a
threat that he must be toppled, its decision will rest on practical, not
theological, grounds.... Cloaking
politics in religious rhetoric is unnecessary, and unhelpful."
"War On Iraq Is Just The First Step"
Editor emeritus Peter Worthington commented in
the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (1/3): "Here's a theory of
what's going on in the world right now, and what's likely to happen in the
coming year. After the terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center and
the Pentagon, President George Bush made it abundantly clear in every speech,
interview and press conference that he was determined to lead a war against
international terrorism.... Iraq's Saddam Hussein is next, which some find odd
because Saddam poses little threat to the U.S., now or in the foreseeable
future.... Saudi Arabia is a greater terrorist threat - not the Saudi Royal
family, per se, but Wahhabi religious militants and perverted Islamic purists
obsessed with a holy war mentality.... The goal of Bush's war is to curb rogue
regimes; to starve terrorists of funding, deny them sanctuaries and material
support - which is why Iraq is a vital first step, and why it is now surrounded
by U.S. troops."
"We've Seen This Plot Before"
Riad Saloojee, executive director of the
Ottawa-based Council on American-Islamic Relations offered in the conservative Montreal
Gazette (1/6): "The Iraq weapons verification process headed by Hans
Blix is anything except redundant immaterial, really - to whether Iraq will be
in material breach of Security Council Res. 1441.... Daniel Ellsberg...lists
oil as the main reason for the coming war and anticipates an 'incident' will be
used as rationale for the first U.S. strike... Maggie O'Kane, European
journalist of the year, reminds us that just before the Gulf War, the Pentagon
insisted that Saddam was poised with 265,000 more troops on the border.
Satellite photos were conveyed to the Saudis to bring them onside. The ruse
worked....The images were false... Another forgotten, and gruesome, revelation
included the testimony of Nayirah al-Sabah... the daughter of Kuwait's
Ambassador to the U.S... Lastly, who could forget the transcripts of that
fateful meeting between April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein...The CIA's former
head of counterterrorism recently informed us that 'cooked information is
working its way into high-level pronouncements' regarding Iraq's possession of
weapons of mass destruction.... As you read this, UN weapons inspectors
continue their work in Iraq while U.S. troops are amassing in distant theatres
of the world... We've seen this plot before."
ARGENTINA: "Two Wars At The Same Time"
Gustavo Sierra, international columnist of
leading Clarin wrote (1/7): "George W. Bush is attempting not to
stumble on the same stone as his father did. Two decades ago, the then
president Bush won the First Persian Gulf War, but he lost the war on economic
recession. After this, he lost elections. Bush Junior is launching almost at
the same time a plan to occupy Iraq..., and a plan to boost economy based on
tax cuts. With this simple combination he is sure of winning his reelection in
2004... While the outcome of his plan to occupy Iraq is at least uncertain, the
Bush administration seems to be sure it will turn this war adventure into a
conclusive success. This is why it launches its other war, the economic war,
which it is less certain to win... If Bush manages to win the two wars at the
same time, he will not have any rival who could grab from his hands the
opportunity of a second term in office as of January 2005, but the risks he
runs in this move are huge. Not only is the success of a post-war occupation of
Iraq uncertain, but economists of different ideologies believe tax reduction
will only bring larger deficit and recession."
BRAZIL: "Bush Approaches To Iraq And North
Korea Radically Different"
Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo's
correspondent Gilles Lapouge reported from Paris (12/27): "The U.S. is very
worried about what it calls "the axis of evil": Iraq, Iran and North
Korea. With Iraq, Washington has
employed an aggressive strategy.
Aggressive and slow, since every morning, for months, the U.S. has
announced to the world that it will attack and exterminate Saddam Hussein....
Bush's approaches to Iraq on the one hand and North Korea on the other are
radically different. For Iraq, [the approach is] is absolute
intransigence. North Korea has adopted
an attitude diametrically opposed to Iraq's: it practices provocation above
all. North Korea not only violates
disarmament agreements, but declares to the world that it violates them. One
can censure North Korea [for many things], but not for hypocrisy.... The Americans
have made it clear that they can conduct two wars at the same time - one
against Iraq and another against North Korea. But they have said so with
subtlety and nuances. If they appear offensive in relation to Iraq, they appear
immobilized before North Korea."
CHILE: "Chile In International Politics"
An editorial in popular, conservative, afternoon La Segunda
held (1/3): "Chile's accession to the U.N. Security Council has ignited a
domestic debate on the role our country should play in light of a possible
military conflict and the eventuality of becoming a target of terrorist
actions.... Our history has been
characterized by the strong defense...of international law.... This link to law has been our best shield, especially
in regard to our neighbors, and must continue to guide our foreign policy.... It would be insane to yield...to pressure and
ignore these judicial and ethical principles merely because we are now on the
Security Council.... It is urgently
necessary that we reach an internal consensus before consummated events take us
by surprise.... Not only experts, but
citizens in general must ask themselves what must be done, for example, if the
U.N. yields to U.S. pressure.... Chile's
message must reflect its position without ambiguity."
An editorial in sensationalist Milenio
asserted (1/8): "The United States
prepared a plan for the occupation of Iraq.
President Bush's National Security team is putting the final touches on
a plan to administer and democratize Iraq after the anticipated overthrow of
Saddam Hussein. In addition to the fact
that there will be military trials for Iraqi leaders, let's not forget the
icing on the cake: the immediate takeover of Iraqi's oil facilities to pay for
the expenses of the reconstruction! What
do you think about this and a few concentration camps? Bush is betting most of his political
capital, if not all of it, regarding his chances for reelection on the outcome
of this conflict."
Bendesky asserted in far-left Jornada (1/6): "The global scene is dominated by the
chance of a war against Iraq, and Bush seems unstoppable in his decision. February could be the starting date, and the
consequences of this war will be felt in various realms. It is noteworthy to point out the asymmetries
between the war powers of each party, as well as the convergence of factors
similar to what occurred in Afghanistan recently, which led to the outbreak of
a conflict in areas where anti-U.S. sentiments are widespread."
"Zero Hour/The Political Agreement"
Roberto Orozco Melo states in Monterrey's
conservative independent El Siglo de Torreon (1/6): "A regional war, in the Middle East,
could turn into the Third World War. The
wolf's motives are economic interests, specifically the control of petroleum. Currently, on this day, tens of people die in
the conflict areas without knowing the cause of their sacrifice. The majority vote in the United Nations, in
favor of the most powerful country in the world, wants us to believe that
reason is on their side, but the inference is false. In similar historical processes, it has
always been the small and weak countries that have reason and justice on their
side within a moral compass. In a menacing world environment Mexico has become
a pawn that moves in favor of the United States. This is due to its geographic location, its
condition of weak neighbor, lately subordinated by the multiple economic and
political engagements agreed upon during the presidency of Miguel de la Madrid
and the presidencies following it. If
during the Second World War President Avila Camacho was forced to commit
himself in favor of the western allies, now Vicente Fox is compelled, by a
survival instinct and national convenience, to do the same.
"Hope For Peace"
An editorial in business-oriented Financiero
asserted (1/2): "U.N. Secretary
General Kofi Annan’s statements, calling for a calm resolution of the crisis
between Washington and Iraq, is a hope for peace at the beginning of 2003. Annan said that it is necessary to hear by
the end of the month the results of arms inspections—chemical, biological, and
nuclear—being conducted by Hans Blix since November, which clearly was a sign
by Annan for the White House to halt its bellicose stance. The United States should also modify the
parameters of its war against terrorism, which has only provoked political and
economic uncertainty in the world up until now, instead of concrete
PANAMA: "Comparing Possible Iraq Attack
With Operation Just Cause"
Conservative El Panama America ran a
piece by Washington correspondent Jilma Prada's (1/9): "The general feeling in this city
[Washington D.C.] is that war against Iraq is imminent ... Several defense
analysts have expressed their opinion that this plan of attack looks more like
the 1989 invasion of Panama than to the Persian Gulf war in 1991.... The plan
of attack tries to obtain its goal by causing the least possible harm...by
quickly attacking specific areas with a relatively reduced number of troops....
It the first phase of the operation, the U.S. armed forces would move towards
the desert and underpopulated part...more or less at the same time, the 101 Air
Transport Division would move its unit to Northern Iraq where the kurdos are
and where no opposition is expected."
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: "Dread Shadow Over
This Festive Season"
The conservative Trinidad Guardian
carried this article in its “Opinion” column (12/24): “As feared, the American
‘war on terror’ has evolved, in international understanding, into the war to
achieve regime change in Iraq. And who
knows what new world order, or disorder, will ensue?... Out in the Arabian Gulf, unless what is being
planned is history’s most elaborate war games, the U.S. and British build-up of
ground troops, air power and naval forces portends a single outcome.... Death and destruction, doubtless on a large
scale, will have been called into being as means justifying the ends. The clearest identifiable ends are two: First, changing how and by whom Iraq is
ruled; and, second, sending to terrorists an intimidatory message of what lies
in store for them."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Bush's Axis Of Double
Pro-government, afro-centric Sowetan held (1/3):
"Throughout the year, Bush has shown total disregard for diplomacy.
However...a spanner was thrown in the works; North Korea, which the American
government has tried to bribe into co-operating, did the unthinkable... Unlike
Iraq, North Korea is much more dangerous. The North has nuclear arms. Which
makes its action on Tuesday a clear provocation of an attack by Bush, the
world's self-appointed sheriff. Instead
of attacking North Korea, Bush is now talking diplomacy. That is stuff for the weakling! Hawks, like Bush and...Rumsfeld...do not have
such words in their vocabulary. Quite
clearly his dovish response makes him guilty of double standards. The key question, though, is: what will he do
next? Will he attack North Korea or
follow his predecessor...Clinton...in bribing North Koreans to behave
"New Year, New War?"
Member of the municipal council Colin Gardner
held in liberal Natal Witness (1/2):
"The argument against Saddam Hussein is, of course, in many ways a
strong one.... But the big question, it seems to me, is this: is the evil
generated by Saddam Hussein as great as the evil that is likely to be produced
by a military assault upon him? Is the
cure that is being proposed by Messrs. Bush and Blair worse than the
disease?.... I do not say that Saddam should be let off the hook. If the UN decides that he is guilty then
appropriate ways must be devised to tie him down diplomatically and
economically. But fighting a major
highly publicized war against Iraq can, I believe, only be
counter-productive. Indeed, a sad irony
of such a war might well be that, in an attempt to counteract and 'deal with'
the problem highlighted by the terrible attack on the twin towers in New York
on 9/11, the United States might end up by performing precisely the kind of
aggressive act that al-Qaeda always claimed that it was capable of."
"The Strong Will Always Beat The Weak
The Yaounde-based opposition, French-language Mutations
editorialized (1/7): "What Bush and his principal hawks are doing on the
so-called Iraqi crisis is simply astounding.
After a lot of jugggling, the U.S has succeeded in wrapping up the UN in a
'personal affair' while remaining insensitive to the experts' declarations who,
after 40 days in the field have found nothing blameful. Nonetheless the U.S keeps sending war
material and personnel to the region. This is even more incredible because on
one hand Israel continues to massacre Palestinians with the support and
blessing of the U.S.. And on the other
hand, North Korea admits loudly that it is running nuclear programs and yet no
one is paying attention.... To cut short
the U.S. hypocrisy and their allies' embarrassment, it would be simpler to bomb
Iraq right now."
GHANA: "A License To Kill"
Konrad K.Djaisi asserted in the features column
of the state-owned, national Ghanaian Times (12/30): "Today, George
W. Bush, President of the United States of America, and son of George Bush
(sr), who was one time head of the CIA, is calling for 'regime change' in Iraq
on the grounds that his administration has the potential to manufacture nuclear
weapons. To the ordinary mind, that should pass off as the biggest hypocrisy of
our era considering the fact that America has the largest arsenal of nuclear
and chemical weapons on the planet....
Just because a sovereign nation's political philosophy is at variance
with that of a powerful nation, does not give it the moral authority to
interfere with that country's internal affair."
"U.S. Should Disarm Itself First"
Ken Ramani, wrote in the independent,
pro-business Standard (12/26): "Even before the weapons experts
analyze the report, the world is holding its breath not knowing when the United
States and its die-hard and traditional ally, Britain, will unleash terror on
Iraq.... It is evident that even the
U.S. allies are reluctant to wage war on Iraq.
According to a recent Daily Telegraph opinion poll, 68 per cent of
Britons believe that Britain and the United States would become more isolated
world-wide if they attacked Iraq. 90 per
cent believed that such an attack would lead to an increase in terrorism
targeting their interests the world over.... Isn't the United States the one
which detonated atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 whose effects
are still seen 46 years later? Isn't the
United States the one that has researched, developed, stored and used more
weapons of mass destruction than any other country on earth?"
"Concluded War Plan"
Lagos-based independent Comet (1/7):
editorialized: "In what looks like a military build-up for war, the United
States last week deployed her 3rd Infantry Division to the Gulf region.... This
is a war over which the United states must exercise extreme caution so that the
action does not boomerang with catastrophic consequences. Certainly, a case has not been convincingly
made. What the build-up and
pronouncement by Mr. Bush indicate is that no matter the findings of the UN
inspectors, America would go to war."
"Goodwill To All Mankind"
The government-owned New Vision observed
(12/24): "'Peace on earth and
goodwill to all mankind.' The sentiments
of Christmas seem tragically distant at this moment in time. Globally the United States is rushing
headlong into an invasion of Iraq in case Saddam Hussein one day develops
nuclear weapons. War fever has blinded
the USA to its involvement in the 1980s in the Iraqi invasion of Iran and its
use of chemical weapons. Saddam is
indeed a tyrant but we are creating a dangerous precedent that regimes can now
be removed at will. The American and
British governments should look inwards this Christmas."
ZIMBABWE: "Under The Specter Of A Third
The pro-government weekly Sunday Mirror commented in an
editorial (1/5): "As the world
waits anxiously for January 27, the date on which the UN weapons inspectors are
required to report on their progress to the Security Council, the threat of war
hangs ominously in the air. For, any
report within the January 27 deadline
that the inspectors' work is being obstructed could lead to an infliction of
the 'serious consequences' on Iraq, as spelt out in resolution 1441.
Complicating this already war-charged atmosphere is North Korea's New Year's
Eve expulsion of U. N. inspectors and its threats to withdraw from the
non-proliferation treaty, under which it promised not to acquire nuclear
weapons.... America's insistence that
Pyongyang abandon its nuclear program before any talks could resume may have to
soften in the face of certain recalcitrance by the Koreans. Otherwise, a rigid approach to resolving this
stalemate may likely lead to war."