January 24, 2003
U.S.-EU 'DIVIDE' SEEN AS DAMAGING CASE AGAINST WAR
Riveted by the U.S.-EU "rift" over Iraq, most overseas
observers expect the U.S. will "press ahead" on its own irrespective
of UN approval and opposition from allies.
Europeans split on the French-German "axis:" some praised the
Paris-Berlin "joint determination," others derided Schroeder's move
as an unnecessary "provocation."
writers urged their regional leaders to "intensify efforts to contain the
Writers worldwide continued to question the justification for military
Lack of consensus won't keep U.S. from 'acting
alone': Along with mounting
criticism of the U.S., European writers expressed a growing frustration with
the EU's inability to make an impression on Washington. Some were upset over the
"fundamental" [transatlantic] philosophical divide" and the lack
of a "coherent" Western strategy on the threat of proliferation. Madrid's conservative ABC, for one,
criticized Europe for "wasting another opportunity to speak with a common
voice." A number treated European
dissent as meaningless and "irrelevant," and concluded that the
opinions of the Security Council members will have little bearing on
Washington's plans. Rome's left-leaning,
influential La Repubblica pointed out that, "nobody in Washington
is taking seriously the non-existent European politics," adding that
"U.S. preparations...continue, methodical and indifferent to the public
disagreement expressed by other governments." A Portuguese center-right
Member of the European Parliament was one of the few writers focused on the
danger from Iraq, defending the U.S. as the only "democratic power capable
of confronting a threat that...is the tip of an apocalyptic iceberg."
Paris-Berlin 'axis' forcing allies to take sides: At first, European writers praised the
Chirac-Shroeder effort to influence U.S. war plans as "brilliant,"
recognizing the close partnership was based on a "joint fear of a
superpower policy that has got out of control." Upon further reflection, however,
commentators registered their disapproval. They complained that France and
Germany, by provoking "cheap disputes," had poisoned the opportunity
for "serious debate" on Iraq.
A former Italian diplomat suggested in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera that the pair's "anachronistic hegemonic ambitions"
would invite the "superpower" to "exploit the resentment"
of the EU's small and medium powers.
Capturing the sense of irritation, Moscow's business-oriented Kommersant
concluded: "By trying to spoil the Americans' game, France and Germany
make war inevitable."
Arab writers want more from regional leaders,
pin hopes on Ankara: Writers in Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the UAE called upon regional leaders meeting in
Ankara to find a peaceful solution, a number advocating Saddam's departure. Syria's government-owned Tishreen
proclaimed it is "the duty of Arab and Muslim countries...to do their
utmost to avoid a war against Iraq.
Several hinted that Arab leaders were not taking into account the
dangers of a "post-Saddam" era, and stressed the option of
"convincing" the Iraqi leader to step down voluntarily. Underscoring the dangers inherent in a
"power vacuum" in Baghdad, a Cairo daily insisted that the U.S. would
have "no choice" but to impose "direct rule in Iraq,"
effectively turning the country into America's "51st state." And taking note of Ankara's "difficult
position," conservative, mass-appeal Turkiye explained that Turkey
is trying to support its strategic allies while as the same time tempering
their war-mongering tactics."
Most still not persuaded the case has been made:
Onlookers in East and South Asia, Latin
America and Africa were united in their objection to "an invented war that
has an imperialist rubric to it."
Many agreed with a Chinese daily's argument that "without credible
evidence, military action against Iraq is not just a foolish diversion from
fighting terrorism, it is a sure-fire way to fuel it.” Taking a common shot at the U.S.' "quest
to take over the world," Quito's leading centrist El Comercio
implored "we have to trust that common sense will prevail over imperialist
EDITOR: Irene Marr
This analysis is based on 126
reports from 58 countres, Jan. 17-24.
Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent
Without Legitimacy Will Not Stop Nuclear Proliferation"
Philip Stephens, senior editor with the independent Financial
Times opined (1/24):
"Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction...represents the
biggest threat to world security in coming decades...[but] the West lacks
anything resembling a coherent strategy to deal with proliferation.... More worrying...is a fundamental
philosophical divide. Put briefly, this
sees the U.S. administration asserting that it can make the world safe...by the
selective use of overwhelming force....
But force without legitimacy is doomed.
For their part, many Europeans fail to see the weaknesses of an approach
that relies on the rationality of potential adversaries.... What is needed now is a fusion of the
American and European approaches: an
international system of rules and restraints backed by the credible threat of
force: a Pax Americana whose
longevity would be guaranteed by the breadth of international acceptance."
The lead editorial in the conservative Times
held (1/23): "The German chancellor's declaration that Berlin would vote
against any UN resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq is not
simply unhelpful; it is a contemptuous
spurning of those who have protected German security for two generations, a
self-serving attempt to revive his flagging political fortunes and a crass
signal of Western division to Baghdad.
To announce that it will scupper U.S. and British attempts to enforce
the Security Council's own resolutions is not only a provocative rebuff to its
allies; it also undercuts Germany's own
declared goal of averting war. By encouraging Saddam Hussein to think that the
West is split, Herr Schroeder has considerably reduced the political and
psychological pressure on Iraq, making it more likely that Saddam will continue
to flout UN obligations and thus invite an American attack."
The liberal Guardian offered this
perspective (1/23): "Deft French
diplomatic footwork to head off an attack on Iraq presents a sharp contrast
with our own goverment's unpopular, slump-shouldered trudge towards war. Last autumn, as the United Nations debated
sending inspectors back to Iraq, France led the opposition to over-rigorous
U.S. terms. As a safeguard, it proposed
that a second UN vote precede any future military action. Britain and the U.S.
initially opposed this idea. But as public
opposition to war grew steadily, both came to embrace it as a way of boosting
their cause. The French stand will not
by itself prevent war and may well prove temporary. Unlike Britain, France has carefully kept
open its room for maneuver and could eventually fall in behind the U.S. But diplomacy is all about
perceptions.... Mr. Chirac is again
exhibiting enviable Elysee elan, seems to be running rings around our flat-footed,
blindsided ministers. On Iraq, at least,
he should be encouraged to do so."
"Wary Berlin Takes Tough LIne Against
Hugh Williamson commented in the independent Financial
Times (1/23): "Gerhard Schroder's decision to rule out a German 'yes'
vote on a UNSC resolution authorizing military action against Iraq reflects a
potent mix of domestic political opportunism and deep-seated concern over the
possible consequences of a strike against Baghdad. But the German chancellor's stance also taps
into the strong vein of public opposition in many Europan countries to an Iraq
war, with many opinion polls suggesting that msot Europeans are against a
decision by the U.S. to mount a miliatary assault on Iraq-- especially without
explicit backing from the UN....
Ultimately Mr. Schroder is unlikely to have exposed Berlin to renewed
criticism from Washington without a sense that he was in tune with--or indeed
leading--the growing resistance in Europe to the U.S. position on Iraq."
“Blair’s Passion Fails To Persuade Public Of
Need For War With Iraq”
Peter Riddell wrote in the conservative Times
(1/22): "“The British public does not yet feel threatened by Saddam. During questioning yesterday Blair...and
Straw...made a strong case for action over Iraq’s WMD. But they still face a big task persuading the
public, as new polls...yesterday showed....
According to MORI, support for British involvement in any U.S.-led
action is 61 percent if there is UN approval...but falls to just 15 percent if
action is taken without UN approval....
ICM also showed that the public is not yet very worried about terrorist
attacks here.... Blair’s nightmare is
that U.S. impatience with delay will encourage Bush to press ahead without UN
approval.... Approval by the UN obviously
matters for many people, particularly in the Labour Party, but the key is demonstrating
that Saddam is an immediate, rather than a theoretical, threat. Again, the public is not yet persuaded. No one can doubt Blair’s passionate
conviction of the rightness of the cause. But, for once, that is not enough.”
"There Is No Evidence, No Cause For War”
The centrist Independent opined
(1/19): “What the original UN resolution
fails to address is whether Saddam plans to use his weapons in an act of
aggression, even if he fails to co-operate with the inspectors.... The central question should not be the
essentially tactical one of whether the U.S. and the UK can persuade the likes
of China and Russia to back a new UN resolution. It should be this: what is the evidence that
Saddam is planning to use any of his apparently lethal weapons? We remain unconvinced that the documents
found in Baghdad are sufficient to demonstrate that he’s developing such an
armory, let alone that he intends to use it....
If international law is being rewritten to justify pre-emptive strikes,
the burden of proof for the U.S., Britain and the UN as a whole must be a wider
that mere possession of weapons. "
"The Insult To Europe"
Michel Schifres commented in right-of-center Le Figaro
(1/24): “So, for Donald
Rumsfeld...France and Germany are part of the ‘old Europe.’ He is probably right if he is referring to
their economy and their past glory days....
But he is wrong if he thinks that youthfulness in a nation is a
guarantee for clear thinking, determination and the ability to imagine the
future.... In matters of political
decisiveness, France and Germany do not need lessons from anyone.... Therefore the remarks by Donald Rumsfeld must
be interpreted as what they are: a reckless insult as well as the illustration
of diplomatic posturing that is becoming more severe as the eventuality of a
war against Iraq becomes more complicated....
Rumsfeld’s remarks illustrate the extraordinary nervousness of President
Bush’s diplomacy.... But what is paradoxical
is that America’s spasms are reinforcing France and Germany’s unity and
determination.... In short, what were
differences at the beginning have turned into divergence and could become a
transatlantic crisis. We haven’t gotten
to that point.... Whenever things have
become difficult, France has never let the U.S. down. But these quarrels leave their mark,
especially when unnecessarily hurtful words are used.”
"The Pentagon Gets Antsy"
Bruno Frappat opined in Catholic La Croix (1/24): “America is getting irritated. Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘attack’ and his contempt
for the ‘Old Europe’ has the merit, if any, of illustrating the level of
impatience shared by Washington’s hawks....
Another more optimistic interpretation may be that if Washington is reverting
to these quasi-insults against its traditional allies it is because the White
House is getting the feeling that the battle for public opinion has not been
won.... Donald Rumsfeld’s sortie will be
remembered as an example of unprecedented crassness, of the type that feeds
anti-Americanism.... Whatever the
outcome of these differences, and once peace is restored, the U.S. will have to
choose between partnership and domination....
To juxtapose, as Rumsfeld is clearly doing, a good Europe (pro-American)
and a bad Europe, (the ‘old’ one) is to set the stage for rivalries and
competition between master and serf, instead of establishing a relationship
"The Old And The New Europe According To Donald
Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (1/24): “This exchange of petty insults on both sides
of the Atlantic is nothing more than a war of words that will hardly influence
the outcome of the Iraqi crisis.... What
is more serious is the fact that Washington is putting France and Germany’s
backs against the wall.... There are
ways out of this bind. Positions can
change...or France can use its right of veto.
And public opinion in America is changing.... Could it be that ‘Old Europe’s’ vision may be
crossing the Atlantic?.... But behind
these skirmishes there is a more serious issue: defining the respective roles
of the world’s sole superpower and of the EU.”
"United Against War"
In a front-page article right-of-center Le
Figaro reported (1/23): “The
ceremonies surrounding the anniversary of the Elysee Treaty served to
illustrate a Franco-German convergence of views on Iraq. While President Bush
seems to be moving towards an armed conflict with Baghdad, Paris and Berlin
showed their joint determination to do everything possible in order to disarm
Iraq and to save peace.”
"Iraq And The Franco-German Wager"
Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le
Figaro (1/23): “France and Germany
celebrated more than a forty-year treaty:
They proclaimed their united stand on Iraq, war and peace.… The message
from the Elysee, in short, is that France and Germany consider that using force
against Iraq ‘is a decision to be taken by the UN…’ and that ‘everything must
be done to save peace.’ There is
nothing here very original. But the
skeptics will agree that one’s message will be heard better if it is reiterated
by more than one person.… This is the whole point of the EU, even if, regarding
Iraq, Europe is far from united.…
Germany has made clear its opposition to a war ever since the German
elections. This position hasn’t changed,
in spite of Washington’s ostracism. For
France, war can only be a last recourse.
While the two countries’ positions are not exactly similar, the fact
that both men chose to send a joint message is important: It means that France and Germany are not
afraid to oppose the United States when it becomes critical.... President Bush...knows that without significant
proof, he will not get the UN’s green light.
This is why it is important for France and Germany to advertise their
"Iraq Weighs In On the Franco-German
Claude Imbert in right-of-center weekly Le
Point (1/23): "President Bush's
determination is annoying France and Paris is making this known loud and clear.
This position has earned France a clear pat on the back from Arab nations. But we can be certain that these same Arab nations
continue to negotiate with the American Caesar.
Because for them, survival lies in the post-Saddam era.… France must also think about the
aftermath. While France is playing its
proper role in expressing the world’s criticism about an ill-targeted
expedition.... Paris will need great diplomatic
talent so that its admonitions to a clumsy ally do not boomerang. France’s convoluted efforts at the UN could
well push it towards a veto at the Security Council. Among allies there are certain words that
must be avoided at all costs.”
"Gap Between Paris And Washington
In right-of-center Le Figaro, Alexandrine
Bouilhet (1/21) commented: “With his
courageous intervention de Villepin did not look to reverse the order of
priorities but rather to convince the UNSC members of the need for ‘a global
approach’ to today’s threats.… His view
is that, in an interdependent world, concentrating on Iraq would only increase
tension with the Arab world and trigger a campaign of terrorist attacks.... The gap between Paris and Washington is
growing; the U.S. does not trust France’s support for the inspectors’
logic.... France believes that a war
against Iraq would be neither ‘legitimate nor effective.’”
"The Big Divide"
Stefan Ulrich editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (1/24): "While the French
president is playing in the champions league of global politics, the chancellor
often acts like a soccer player on a children’s soccer area. Such kind of policy is provoking the United
States more than would be necessary.
This can create a precarious situation for the FRG.... Chirac does not want a war...but he also does
not want any breach with the United States.
In the end, Paris could use its weapons in a war. And then the situation would become very
difficult for Germany. This does not
mean that Germany should bend in an opportunistic way to Donald
Rumsfeld.... But the opportunity must be
used in a wise manner to lay the foundation stone together with France for a
new European foreign policy.... Germany
and France could offer strong arguments for an extension of the mandate for the
UN inspectors and insist on a second UN resolution. Rumsfeld’s nervous attack shows how
successful this strategy can be."
"George W. Bush’s Counter Question"
Thorsten Krauel judged on the front page of right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (1/24): “The
chancellor has taken on a clear position against Washington and he thinks he
has found a partner with France. But his
inexperience in U.S. matters and his election campaign nervousness make him
walk into a trap. The justified annoyance at Donald Rumsfeld’s impolite
remark…is hiding this.... George W. Bush
is determined to oust Saddam Hussein, because this is the only way to disarm
him.... George W. Bush will ask
Schroeder and Chirac whether Baghdad has complied with Resolution 1441. Yes or no?
And if not, why don’t you do anything?
All of a sudden, Paris will demonstrate its flexibility. But Berlin’s answer will be silence. Then the logic of the German position will
end and if the Schroeder cabinet does not change its mind in the meantime,
German-American relations, together with Saddam’s career, will be ruined.”
Thorsten Riecke commented in business daily Handelsblatt of
Duesseldorf (1/24): “In this conflict
between friends, America and Europe can only lose. The United States is running the risk of
entering into a war without broad international support. The consequences of this war exceed the
imagination of the political leadership in the United States. France, and even more Germany, have
maneuvered themselves with their unwise anti-war policy into a political
dead-end street which they can leave only with U.S. support.... Both sides must be blamed for this dead-end
situation. Despite its public barrage,
the Bush administration has thus far not been able to present sufficient
evidence of why Saddam must be considered a real threat for the security of the
West.... But the Europeans, Germans in
particular, have no reason to be self-satisfied.... Without U.S. pressure, there would be no UN
inspectors in Iraq. Europe, with the
exception of the British, has only reacted to this threat with wishful thinking
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger had this to say in
center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/23): "There is no beating around the
bush: America and some of its Western
partners are heading for a confrontation that has never existed before in the
past. This would then be a bitter
culmination in a series of equally bitter disputes which…have increased since
President Bush took office.... The
president said that he no longer wants Saddam to dupe him, and his threat to
resolve the matter in a unilateral move…must be taken at face value.... The German Red-Green coalition will reject a
resolution that would authorize military action against the Iraqi regime…while
France has taken over the lead in the group of skeptics.... Even though it seems that the governments in
Berlin and Paris are currently very close, this closeness could turn out to be
a fallacy if Bush forced the French president to make a decision, and this
could be very soon. If Bush pushes aside
objections and rejections of his allies, this will not contribute to
acquiescing irritation. On the contrary,
the anti-American mood will really be stirred up. But Germany and the other Europeans...should
be aware of the political costs which a U.S.-British enterprise [against Iraq]
would have: Berlin’s influence in
Washington would arc to zero, we would have to write an obituary for the Atlantic
Alliance, and the common European security policy would have been demasked as a
farce. But this is something nobody
"Partnership Of Convenience"
Tina Hassel commented on ARD-TV's late evening
newscast "Tagesthemen" (1/22):
“What is still lacking in Franco-German relations is a lack of vision,
since there have been no fresh ideas following the introduction of the
euro. The fact that this should now
change is something we owe to the Americans.
Today’s close cooperation between Germany and France is mainly based on
the joint fear of a superpower policy that has got out of control. If Paris and Berlin are able to prevent a war
against Iraq in the UN Security Council, this would be the nicest birthday
present that goes far beyond today’s celebrations.”
"A Clear Maybe"
Christoph von Marschall said in an editorial in
centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/23): “The chancellor pretends
that everything is clear now.... But
does that mean the Berlin government will vote ‘no’ in the UN Security
Council? Schroeder did not say this,
since this would be detrimental to his announcement that Germany and France
want to take a clear position. Jacques Chirac, however, left all options open. One thing is certain: A French ‘no’ will not
come. Paris has a right to veto, and a
resolution that will not be adopted, will not be submitted. There will be a second resolution only if
France approves it, or abstains from voting.... The Europeans are blocking each
other--except there will be a war resolution in the end. Is that the
clarity Schroeder wanted?”
Stefan Kornelius editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (1/22): “France
achieved a diplomatic coup.... Following Villepin’s move, it has become more
obvious than ever before that a political struggle will take place in the
coming days that will focus on nothing else but U.S. credibility.... The political showdown has begun, and France
has good chances of succeeding with its policy.
There are two reasons for this and both have less to do with Paris but
with U.S. domestic policy. First, France
is as outraged as the U.S. but demands only a moderate agreement: two more months for the UN weapons
inspectors.... Second, France is
threatening a veto in the UNSC if the U.S. does not accept French wishes. A veto would turn the United States into a
maverick, and this is something the Americans do not like at all.... Bush needs public support because...‘regime
change’ is risky and can be decisive for his re-election. France is using the only lever which has an
influence on U.S. foreign policy: U.S. domestic policy.... Bush must now make a
choice between bellicists and diplomats in his government. But it will not be France, but the U.S. voter
who will guide him.”
"Europe And NATO At Risk"
A front-page commentary by Aldo Rizzo in
centrist, influential La Stampa (1/24): "The clash (between the
United States and some European nations) has very strong implications that may
have historic significance. If Europe
unites around the French-German positions, harshly criticized by Washington,
this would practically mean the end of NATO.
But if it simply splits between pro and anti-Americans, that would be
'its own' end. The solution that the
Berlusconi government is seeking, and more than rightly so, is to avoid both
risks, continuing and strengthening the work to coordinate the positions of the
two sides. But will that be enough to
avoid an impasse or being carried away by the flood? The hope is that, when the crucial time
comes, the two sides will slow down, and both may decide to go in the direction
of a common, or at least less distant, position. This is not impossible. Otherwise, Italy - but, at that point, not
only the government, but the opposition as well - will have to make a choice
that will have serious repercussions for a long time, both on domestic and
"When Union Does Not Mean Strength"
Centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera
(1/24) features the following front-page analysis by former Ambassador to
Moscow Sergio Romano: "The new French-German marriage in Versailles has
begun on the wrong foot. Rather than
becoming the strong nucleus of a more respected and authoritative Europe, the
Paris-Berlin axis is producing from the very beginning a two-fold split: it is
widening the gap between the two sides of the Atlantic and it is creating
disagreements within the EU....
President Bush and Secretary Powell will exploit the resentment of small
and medium powers, will use their weaknesses, will say that only America can
guarantee the security of the European continent vis-à-vis common threats. And many Europeans will end up believing -
albeit not saying so openly - that the leadership of a superpower on the other
side of the Atlantic is preferable to that of two European nations that are too
close and too ambitious.... As long as
it is divided and dominated by the anachronistic hegemonic ambitions of some of
its members, the EU will be liable to be blackmailed and, in the ultimate
analysis, powerless. In order to
overcome the impasse, Europe must take the good of the French-German pact in
Versailles (a common foreign and defense policy, the importance of the United
Nations in international relations), but discard what is superseded at this
point, i.e. the idea of a Paris-Berlin directorate."
"War And Slogans"
Prominent strategic/defense commentator Stefano
Silvestri comments in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (1/24): "The
problem at this point is to understand whether there is room, indeed, for a
serious debate on possible alternatives to the war, or whether the poisoning of
interpersonal relations caused by the abuse of political declarations for a
domestic purpose has not ended up tieing the hands of diplomacy. In other words, perhaps there is still a
possibility to ascertain whether there is really a serious desire for change in
Baghdad or whether the regime prefers to defy the world, something that seems
to have the meaning of a sensational suicide.
But if we really intend to explore this possibility, then it will be
necessary to make rhetoric take one step back.
This would be all the more appropriate given the fact that to continue
for a long time along the road of cheap disputes would not lead to anything
good. Most likely, that would not
prevent a war, but would dramatically increase its costs and would result in
the serious weakening of the entire system of alliances and solidarity that is
at the basis of our international system and constitutes the political foundation
of the war against terrorism."
"Hazardous To Speak Of American
Prominent commentator Franco Venturini judged in centrist,
top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/23): “The anti-war position of [Chirac and
Schroeder at] Versailles is now producing a mutual strengthening of both
[French and German] approaches, and it would directly clash with Bush’s increasing impatience. It would be hazardous to speak of America’s
isolation, in reference to U.S. intentions of disarming Saddam. British Blair, who was also put in a
difficult spot by the French-German agreement, will remain side by side with
the U.S. Diversified tones are surfacing
throughout European countries. Russia and
China are against the war, but don’t want to break with Washington. Ultimately, the superpower will maintain its
decision-making independence, which no one would be able to take away... either
with or without the UN."
“’It Is Clear By Now That Saddam Is Lying’”
Washington correspondent Vittorio Zucconi opined
in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (1/22): “This is no longer
the time to be ‘patient’ for George Bush the impatient.... Nobody in Washington is taking seriously the
non-existent European politics. And the
disagreement between the U.S. and the countries that count within the UNSC
could not be more obvious and, at the same time, more irrelevant, five days
before the decisive report by U.N. weapon inspectors.... U.S. preparations thus continue, methodical
and indifferent to the public disagreement expressed by other governments, in
view of a date that we will know when Bush tells us--(this being) the perfect
equation of the unilateralism of this White House. Bush is telling us that, at this point,
everything is already clear for him and, therefore, there are no more doubts.”
RUSSIA: "Old Europe Refuses To Fight"
Reformist Vremya Novostey held (1/24): "It looks as if Washington, when it
launches a punitive operation in Iraq, will have few allies and no mandate from
the UN Security Council to back it up.
With Chirac and Schroeder having ostentatiously refused to support Bush,
who can't wait to strike Saddam, transatlantic solidarity is bursting at the
"Rhetoric Meant For Public"
Boris Volkhonskiy surmised in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(1/24): "Differences within NATO
over ways to resolve the Iraq crisis peaked yesterday. It seemed that Germany and France were about
to question the very existence of the antiterrorist coalition. But a careful analysis shows that those
countries aren't really going to counter the U.S. plans and their rhetoric, as
well as that of U.S. leaders, is meant for the public."
"France, Germany Make War Inevitable"
Leonid Gankin opined in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(1/24): "War is not what the Americans
are after. Their primary aim is regime
change. They would only be too happy to achieve it without bloodshed. The U.S. military presence serves merely to
impel Saddam, or his generals, to make up their minds soon. This is a kind of gunboat diplomacy.... Chirac and Schroeder have resolved to fight
their case in the UN Security Council....
Obviously, France and Germany don't want the United States to secure a
foothold in Iraq and gain control over oil resources in the Middle East. Based on new discussions in the UN Security
Council, Saddam might think he still has leeway. As a matter of fact, he doesn't. The Americans can't keep their armada in the
Gulf forever. Seeing that a bloodless
scenario won't work, they may go straight for the gun and pull the
trigger. By trying to spoil the
Americans' game, France and Germany make war inevitable."
"Bush To Declare War Tuesday"
Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta ran this
commentary by Yevgeniy Verlin (1/23):
"The Bush administration has yet to convince the world, its allies
included, that Iraq has or is developing WMD.... This may prove impossible, as the United
States must secure support from 9 out of 15 Security Council
member-countries.... Even though Bush
may decide to act on his own, he would much rather see the international
community approve his action. This makes
changes on the 'Russian front,' which has been pretty quiet of late,
particularly welcome to Washington. The
fact that Moscow, with its clear 'oil' interests, is no longer among the most
intractable opponents of an Anglo-American armed action in Iraq, evidently, has
prompted U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow in Russia to say that Washington,
in the event of a military operation against Iraq, will count on political
support 'or understanding' from Moscow."
"France Out To Knock Together Antiwar
Yuri Kovalenko in Paris wrote this for reformist
Noviye Izvestiya (1/23):
"Paris' vigorous pacifism is due to external factors--a desire to
demonstrate its being unlike others, to resist the United States' diktat, and
to enhance its influence in the Arab world--as well as strictly internal
ones--three quarters of the French population are opposed to armed
intervention, and its Muslim population numbers five to six million. France has won laurels as a champion in
anti-Americanism, and Chirac, eager to stay on top of the popularity ratings,
calls himself a spiritual heir of General de Gaulle. French Foreign Minister Dominique de
Villepin says that France may veto the use of force against Iraq. But, according to most analysts, Paris will
hardly have the heart to challenge Uncle Sam at the UN publicly by spiking his
plans. Be that as it may, France can't
really sway Washington's decision to bomb Baghdad which must have been made
"UNSC Divided on Iraq"
Reporting on the UNSC meeting last Monday,
Yevgeniy Verlin of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (1/22): "Powell did not even try to link
the global war on terrorism to the confrontation between the United States and
Saddam's regime.... Now much hangs on
whether or not the UN inspectors will detect WMD in Iraq and how the international
community will assess their efforts. So
far, they have found no real evidence of Iraq possessing or developing WMD.
More than that, as things go, Baghdad has given little cause for anyone to
blame it for not cooperating."
"U.S. Cares Little About Partners'
Artur Blinov said in reformist Vremya MN (1/22):
"It looks as if the opinions of the partners in the Security Council will
have less bearing on Washington's plans than the carrying capacity of its naval
fleet--experts estimate that 95% of the supplies necessary for a war against
Iraq are to arrive by sea."
ARMENIA: "Iraq Before The War"
Oppositionist Iravunk weekly commented in
an article (1/21): “Judging from statements by U.S. President Bush, the war
against Iraq seems inevitable, though the war against Iraq started a long time
ago, even before the actual military actions.
According to experts, the sudden activation of Washington in the Near
East is based on the desire to control world energy resources. In particular, Russian sources assume that it
is no accident that the United States qualifies as “the axis of evil” and
defines as targets for its anti-terrorist struggle especially those countries
with huge oil and gas supplies. The part
of Iraq rich with gas and oil is now controlled by US-British air forces.... From the geopolitical point of view, the
weakness of Iraq and especially of Iran, which will result in a political
monopoly by the United States in the Near East and most probably in the South
Caucasus, will not be beneficial for Russia.
In the course of such developments, Russia would eventually have to
retreat from its hopes of strengthening its position in these regions. The situation becomes even more difficult
because the oil and gas companies of Russia have major interests in the Near
East. The implosion of Saddam Hussein’s
regime will result in an increase in the export of Iraqi oil, which in turn
will result in price reduction of Russian oil in the international market. Adding that the core of the Russian economy
is based on income from oil sales, it becomes clear that the planned attack
against Iraq is threatening Russia’s interests first of all.”
"The War And Europe"
Chief editor Andreas Unterberger opined in
centrist Die Presse (1/24): “The dispute over the possible outcome of an
Iraq war has caused the deepest rift between the U.S. and Europe since time
immemorial.... While anti-war
appeasement policies are understandable, Germany and France announcing they
will veto an attack on Iraq in the UNSC only serves to dramatically decrease
international pressure on Saddam Hussein....
Paris and Berlin should not claim they represent all of Europe.”
Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder
commented in liberal daily Der Standard (1/24): “Even without counting recent hot-tempered
remarks on either side of the Atlantic, the latest hoo-ha is reason for deep
concern. Should the parties in question
still value the trans-Atlantic partnership--and in spite of all differences we
can assume they do--a modification of their tones is definitely called for.”
Economic affairs writer Michael Prüller opined
in centrist Die Presse (1/23): “The
U.S. government knows that a war is an expensive affair.... So, we might assume that George Bush has
somehow come to the conclusion that in the long run inactivity will turn out to
be even more expensive. However, if that is the case, how come the world has
still not been presented with the allegedly convincing evidence that makes the
Americans and the British believe a war is the least costly alternative?”
Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert observed in independent
Christian-Democrat De Standaard (1/24): "Europe criticizes President George W.
Bush. And, that is it. For the rest, it does not have the slightest
plan for a valid alternative for Iraq....
At this moment, the four largest EU countries are members of the UNSC.... But, is there a European voice in the
UNSC? No, there is only a
cacophony. Even France and Germany...can
barely conceal their disagreements....
In its obsession against Bush [Europe] produces tons of criticism, but
it has no proper answer to poignant questions.... Criticism of America’s policy is more than
necessary. But, that is not the peace
policy of which 'Europe' likes to be proud.
Being in the UNSC with four (European members) and having nothing
coherent to say: it is a sad spectacle.”
"Germany Contradicts Policy To Restored
Damaged Relationship With U.S."
correspondent Sigrid De Vries remarked in financial De
Financieel-Economische Tijd (1/22): "The recent German statements are
in contradiction to the policy of recent months which seemed to be aimed at
restoring the damaged relationship with the United States.... (Foreign
Minister) Fischer's turnabout has to do with the French position.... France appreciates the fact that, with
Germany, it has a partner who is opposed against the alleged American hegemony
in the world. The French-German strategy now tries to make the EU start a joint
offensive against the war. First, France
and Germany want to give more time to the UN inspectors in Iraq - counting on
support from British Prime Minister Blair who also pleaded for respite. Chirac and Schroeder subtly signaled to
America's most loyal ally Blair that he is under fire at home because of his
domestic problems and that his Labour Party is opposed to war. The views of the small, traditionally
pro-American EU member states is barely important in the eyes of the
"UN Support Or Unilateral American
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn editorialized in
conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (1/22): "When (Defense Secretary) Rumsfeld says
that all means have been exhausted, (the situation) is very clear. Furthermore, the ongoing American (and
British) military buildup in the Gulf makes it practically impossible for Bush
not to act.... The deployment of so many troops and to do nothing would be
serious loss of face for Bush. In that
case, Saddam would really triumph - which Bush can never afford to let happen.
Of course, Bush could delay the operation.
In the meantime, the UN inspectors could continue to do their work. All America's allies want that, but Bush
cannot keep such a coalition united for such a long time. It would make him vulnerable at home.... That
leaves one question: will the operation be supported by the UN or will it be a
unilateral American action? The British
prefer a second UN resolution. American
public opinion, too, prefers to see an action that is covered by the UN. But that is what the Bush administration
wants to avoid. A new resolution implies more debates, more waste of time, and
the risk of a French, Chinese or Russian veto.
Washington cannot let that happen.
That means that the Americans will act alone. Bush will get what he wants. He will be able
to settle his account with Saddam. His
father's work will be finished - given the fact that Saddam's army is no match
for the Americans. However, what will
happen afterwards? That is the most
important question of all. Bush and his
advisers have to answer that question.
They and the whole world will be confronted with it very soon."
BULGARIA: "Bush Deaf
To Allies And To Warnings Of An Islamic Extremist Backlash"
Socialist-affiliated Duma opined (1/22): "Unfortunately the arms inspectors
cannot find anything, let alone destroy Saddam's purported dangerous hidden
weapons. Mankind is gripped by
fear. And Bush continues to stoke the
fire. All hope that war can be avoided
is fading.... Bush doesn't want to see
the clear sign of the world's sentiment, which is evident in the numerous peace
demonstrations. He doesn't want to
listen to his European allies. He
remains deaf to the warnings that a possible war could provoke Islamic
terrorists even more and that the planet will be an even less safe place to
FINLAND: "Bush's Time
Is Running Out"
Liberal Swedish-language independent Hufvudstadsbladet took
this view (1/24): "The leaders of
both Germany and France have over the recent past said that they would not
accept that a war against Iraq would be inevitable.... U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has claimed that Germany and France
do not represent European opinion. From
an American viewpoint it might seem that way, but it does not mean that the
United States can ignore the Franco-German statements completely. It is also clear that the above does not only
apply within the UN, but also in
NATO.... One can understand the American
irritation with calls for more time for the arms inspectors.... Next fall, it is time for a 'kick-off' in the
presidential elections campaign, and George W plans to be re-elected in
November 2004. A drawn-out and expensive
war with American soldiers returning home in zinc coffins combined with the so
far unknown Democratic challenger are hardly what W is looking forward
"French-German Efforts Risky For EU-U.S. Relations"
Financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad commented
(1/24): "France and Germany are
making major efforts to create a European coalition to keep America from
fighting a war against Iraq. In Germany
this coalition is called the 'axis of the good' as opposed to the American
identified 'axis of evil.'... However,
viewing the European coalition as an 'axis of the good' illustrates the naivety
with which the majority of the German population views the increased tensions
with the United States.... Germany and
France are also dividing Europe. It is an
illusion to think that under French/German leadership Europe could create a
common foreign policy. It is not
unlikely that the United States will start leaving Europe to its own.... Europe will be left by itself to take care of
its own stability.... France and
Germany are not contributing to finding peace in the Middle East and the EU
does not have a proper alternative for the U.S. policy in the region.... The
French-German coalition is purely based on the own interests of those two
countries. The French see an opportunity
to resist American dominance...and the German Chancellor is facing local
elections.... U.S. Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld was right when he called France and Germany 'old European politics'."
Is More Afraid of America Than of Saddam"
Tomas Klvana wrote in political weekly Reflex
(1/23): "U.N. inspectors found
missile warheads in Iraq, which - after being filled with chemical agents -
could become weapons of mass destruction. They also discovered an extensive
file about plutonium enrichment process necessary for making a nuclear bomb in
an apartment of an Iraqi expert. None of these and other findings were
mentioned in the Iraqi report to the U.N. However, this and other information
have not convinced key Western powers and Russia that it is crucial to act
promptly. It seems as if the powers were more cautious of U.S. supremacy than
of a possibly nuclear Saddam. If Bush presented allies with evidences about
Iraq's nuclear program and stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, it would
probably persuade them, and a campaign against Baghdad would occur under the UN
flag. Moreover, a war against Iraq without a U.N. mandate would even split the
Euro-Atlantic alliance and weaken NATO. And this is not in anyone's
"Waltz Or Parade?"
Pavel Masa wrote in center-right Lidove
noviny (1/23): "France and
Germany have decided to adopt a common stand over matters discussed in
international organizations. This might have been the reason why NATO declined
to support Washington's request for military action against Iraq before the
international inspector team has had a chance to submit its report. President
George Bush refused to comment on the French-German stand, dropping a few
ironic remarks on the issue. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, treats
the subject much more seriously, claiming that some countries would take
advantage of the disunity between the U.S. and Europe to their own advantage.
Mr. Blair's alternative could be treated in a detached way if the two countries
limit their activities to diplomatic games. If, however, they decide to march
together in war, no one will be in the mood for any games or George Bush for
ironic remarks. "
"Growing Criticism Against Bush"
Liberal Hufvudstadsbladet held
(1/22): "The United States has no
new arguments justifying a strike, and criticism against the old arguments is
growing. Does the U.S. really want to
embark on a course that is unpopular from the very start and which is bound to
cause great setbacks, high numbers of civilian casualties as well as new hard
to resolve problems in a conquered Iraq?
More and more people hope that Bush's black-and-white outlook on the
world does not result in an unnecessary tragedy with unpredictable
“Fremany [French/German] Tactics”
The Brussels correspondent for leading Nepszabadsag
opined (1/23): “The fact is that
yesterday Chancellor Schroeder and President Chirac did not meet to celebrate
but to restart. To restart to spin the
main axis, otherwise France and Germany continue to become weaker in the world
mainly against the United States and its European friends.... The revival of the French-German community
should not be overestimated yet. But it
would be a mistake to consider it an empty bluff. Chancellor Schroeder dares to say ‘no’ to the
United States in the Iraq issue. It is
another question whether it is good for Berlin in the long term or not.”
"European Big Guns Remain Wary Of "
The centrist Irish Examiner ran a comment
by John Downing (1/23): "Officials
in Paris and Bonn stress the failure of the United States to appreciate their
solid, practical reasons for having an abhorrence of war.... Blair's position in all of this is
interesting. Since Tony Blair's Labour Party came to power in 1997, London has
enjoyed a gradual marked improvement in relations with Paris and
Berlin.... It was finally showing signs
that it could be at the heart of Europe....Blair's...utterances and actions
(since September 11) have been about preserving and enhancing that much vaunted
special US-British relationship."
"Rift Between US And EU Deepens Over Iraqi
Conor O'Clery stated in the liberal Irish
Times (1/22): "The rift between the United States and the European
Union over Iraq deepened yesterday, with U.S. President Bush expressing
frustration with allies reluctant to accept that time was running out for
Saddam Hussein to disarm....Yesterday the EU rejected a war on Iraq without the
backing of the UN, and said weapons inspectors must have time to do their
Influential liberal De Volkskrant had
this editorial (1/21): "Will we get a war against Iraq or not? The Americans are suspected of having made up
their minds in wanting to fight a war and now only look for a reason... that
scenario is possible but not certain.
After all we cannot look into Bush's mind... however, one fact is that the American
president opted to follow the long path via the UN.... Apparently Bush, the unilateralist, thought
it was better to seek a international cover for his Iraq policy.... We are now four months later... and the UN
inspectors have not found a smoking gun...
It will be exciting to see what the inspectors will report on
Monday.... Bush will have to cut the
knot. One should hope that he would
continue to have a preference for maintaining broad international cooperation
and consensus. The people of Europe and the United States value this. And if this would require giving the UN
inspectors more time, then Bush would have to give them more time."
NORWAY: "USA, Iraq And Oil"
In the newspaper of-record Aftenposten
journalist Per A. Christiansen commented (1/17): "When the Americans now
want to remove Saddam Hussein, it is precisely in connection to his capacity to
unleash a possible catastrophe in an area that is vital for the energy supply
to the West... The Americans would rather have the moral high ground on their
side when they go to war. And the way they see it, they will do the world a
favor by removing both Saddam and the strategic threat he represents. The
danger is of course that by starting a war against Iraq it might contribute to
provoke exactly the catastrophe they want to prevent."
"From Chernobyl To Iraq"
Stanislaw Lem observed in leftist weekly Przeglad
(1/21): “Despite the fact that Hans Blix
was compromised by repeating Soviet propaganda that there were only six
casualties in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, he did not lose his
position. Consequently, he is now in
Iraq as the main expert of the [UN] inspectors whose task is to find Hussein’s
dangerous weapons. One can be certain
that Saddam’s people will eagerly take advantage of his naivety. The weapons inspection team should be headed
by a less gullible and more efficient professional. The person of Hans Blix puts into question
the sense and effectiveness of the UN mission.”
"The UN and Preventive War"
Center-right Social Democratic Party Eurodeputy
and writer Vasco Graça Moura pointed out in his regular column in respected
center-left Diário de Notícias
(1/22): "[...] It would be preferable for any military intervention in
Iraq to be preceded by the approval of the Security Council.... The United States has taken a skillful and
bold position on this.... The United
States knows it has the responsibility of getting the world out of a supremely
dangerous impasse, and they are not forsaking this. This responsibility, which fortunately no UN
in this world (or out of it) can change, is one of being the only democratic
power capable of confronting a threat that, for its part, is the tip of an
apocalyptic iceberg.... The members of the Security Council these days are not
so much managing the problematic of doubts as they are the specific interests
and reactions of public opinion in their countries. Everything indicates that the United States
understands, thank goodness, that in the
end there are sure logical conclusions leading to incontrovertible proof. And it's hard to understand all the fuss
about a so-called preventive war.
Because, supposing the UN approves intervention, won't that also be
purely and simply preventive?"
"The Arguments Of War"
In an op-ed in influential moderate-left Público,
Marxist historian and Left Bloc Party politician Fernando Rosas railed (1/22):
"[...] A refusal of war and citizen opposition to it cannot remain
suspended or depend upon something so random, and possible so unjust, as a
decision by the Security Council. Under
no circumstances would the U.S.'s theory of preventive war or policy of
imperial expansion become acceptable. If the Security Council, to the fatal
disgrace of the UN and even the EU, allowed itself to become a tool of American
war policy, that would not turn it into a policy of peace. The fight for peace cannot be a prisoner of
the decisions of the Security Council, even if it is of transcendent importance
and would benefit from its support...
"Support For War And Anti-Americanism"
This week's editorial in top-circulation
centrist weekly Expresso noted (1/18): "This war, like all of them,
has tended to create extremist positions.
No one defends it publicly, but in private conversations there are those
who confess to wanting it as the only way to eradicate an old evil: Saddam
Hussein's regime. On the opposing side
there is a mixture of pacifism and anti-Americanism. And in the anti-Americanism there is a strong
dose of 'anti-Bushism'.... We do not believe that the attack on Iraq and the
fall of Saddam Hussein will resolve anything: the threat to the West resides in
Islam (and not just in Saddam...), and so is not 'eradicable'. On the other hand, we think the
anti-Americanism of some sectors and hatred of George Bush is ridiculous.... It is obviously bad for a single power to
dominate the world scene -- but..it's better that this power be a country that
values democracy.... It is also wrong to
think that America is going to attack Iraq exclusively because of oil.... The war in Iraq is probably inevitable and it
will probably also not resolve anything.
But let's not get things confused.
Whether the American president is a Democrat or a Republican, let's have
the lucidity to see the United States as a friendly country and potential ally,
not as an enemy."
Between Europe and the United States"
Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (1/24) in a signed piece by
José Antich: "Nothing... seems to
be able to make Bush back down. [He]
responds to every action promoted by the Europeans--with the exception of Spain
and the UK -- by sending more troops to the conflict region. It seems evident... that it is going to be necessary
that the United Nations is heard and its decision respected before any military
intervention whatsoever. The current
disagreement should give way to the search for a way out which respects
international legality. And it is here
where Europe, besides saying no to war, should contribute to finding a solid
peace alternative in the face of international terrorism threats."
Conservative La Razon wrote (1/24): "The search for
peace is always a good cause, even if at times it hides the weakness of those
who, like [Spanish president Aznar] reminded yesterday, live protected under
the imperial security umbrella of Washington.
They are not used to paying the bill for being self-sufficient in defense
[nor] able, as in the Balkans, to employ the means and [make the] decisions to
maintain peace in our own continent.
For this reason there is room for doubt about how firm these solemn
statements [of France and Germany] will be in the case of war, one should at least consider them to be a search
for EU leadership and a protest against the unilateralism shown by Bush, who by
himself has been able to dynamite the bridge that the horror of 9/11 had built
across both sides of the Atlantic."
"Visions on Iraq"
Conservative ABC wrote (1/21): "The
four European countries consider that the double [U.N.] resolution would be
better, but Washington will only negotiate it [the double resolution] if its
approval is guaranteed in advance so as to to avoid a resonant defeat in the
Council. And although both positions
have their legal arguments, the fact is that Europe with these four big
countries seated at the star forum for international relations at this critical
point, is wasting another opportunity to speak with a common voice."
"The Iraq Situation"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in conservative, mass-appeal
Turkiye (1/22): “Saddam is aware
of the fact that he has absolutely no chance to withstand an American
attack. Instead, he will most likely
resist U.S. and UK troops until Iraq is demolished and thousands die. In this way, he will be the ‘winner’ in terms
of inciting hatred against the Americans and British among the people of
Iraq.... On the other hand, the U.S. apparently
has various game plans for Iraq and the choice among them will be shaped
according to conditions. Yet whatever
the scenario might be, it is going to be a major source of concern in the
region.... Ankara finds itself rather
puzzled and in a very difficult position.
Turkey is trying to support its strategic allies while at the same time
tempering their war-mongering acts."
Nazli Ilicak argued in conservative DB-Tercuman
(1/22): “What is the U.S. plan for Iraq
exactly? Will Saudi Arabia be next on
the list? It should be if the US is
sincere enough about its Iraq arguments.
Unless the real intention is to control oil fields, the U.S. should take
Saudi Arabia onto the list in order to prevent the financing of terrorism. Let’s not ignore the fact that terrorists are
predominantly of Saudi origin. Those who
live in Saudi Arabia are full of hatred against the Saudi authoritarian regime
as well as the U.S., which supports it.
In other words, injustice in the Islamic world has become the main
motive for terrorism. The U.S. should be
as determined as it is for the Iraqi regime by making the case against the
Saudis as well.”
"Saddam And Peace Are Incompatible"
Hasan Cemal wrote in mass appeal Milliyet
(1/21): "Saddam and peace are completely incompatible with one another,
because Saddam Hussein represents trouble and instability. Those who rush to Baghdad in the name of
peace might unwittingly fall into the traps of war. They may in fact be a comrade of a
bloody-handed dictator even without realizing it.... In fact, nobody in this region will mourn for
Saddam, yet it is also impossible to argue that getting rid of Saddam is a
piece of cake. This brings up the worry
of the post-Saddam aftermath, and the related fear of 'opening Pandora's box'
in the region. Due to the fact that
certain worries remain unanswered, war in and of itself is a reason for
fear. All of this provides a
justification for the ongoing peace efforts to continue to the bitter
YUGOSLAVIA: "The Right To Capitulation"
Belgrade centrist Glas Javnosti carried a
commentary on Iraq by Dusan Nikolis, Foreign Policy Analyst stating (1/20):
"The fact that the U.S. in the military sense has an impressive
tradition, that it is mentally and
politically predestined to win the war,
is very dangerous. The U.S.
establishment has been obsessed for decades by the demon of global
leadership...the creative centers of the spirit of the American nation are
continuously placing ideas about... enemies, dangers, national interests. The U.S. is the biggest military-scientific-technological
complex... has the biggest arsenal of WMD and the only state that has used
nuclear weapon. The latest and most
dangerous mini-doctrine that the U.S. would attack Iraq with nuclear weapons if
Iraq attacked their invading troops with WMD, has as its bottom line that no
one should dare to defend itself if it would cause the loss of American lives... Violently, with a highly-sophisticated military ... and nuclear
state terror, the U.S. abolishes the right to defend, allowing only the right
to capitulate... In the area of
international relations have we gone
off-track into a new post-ideology of democratic violence and state terror,
democratic totalitarianism, democratic neo-nazism? The American society must be in a
catastrophic crisis when it can produce, nourish and tolerate such
"Still No 'Smoking Gun'"
Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el
wrote on page one of independent Ha'aretz (1/17): "If no further evidence can be found on
the ground in Iraq, this diplomatic move [the request for an extension of the
UN inspectors' mandate], which is shared by part of the European states, could
determine whether January 27 will indeed be a decisive date. As the Arab-European-Turkish coalition is
taking shape, alongside growing public opposition in Britain to unilateral war
in the Gulf, the U.S. administration could find it extremely difficult to put
into effect its declaration that the United States can go to war against Iraq
on its own."
WEST BANK: "The
Palestinian-Palestinian Dialogue in Cairo”
Ahmed Majdalani opined in independent, pro-PA Al-Ayyam
(1/22): “An attack against Iraq will
result in changes on the regional and Palestinian levels. The major changes will include: First,
replacing the Iraqi regime with a government loyal to the U.S. and willing to
serve U.S. economic and strategic policy in the Gulf.... Second, reorganizing intra-Arab relations by
means of shifting the regional roles of some key countries, such as Egypt,
Syria and Saudi Arabia. This will have a
negative affect on the Palestinian cause. Third, giving Israel a major role on
security and the economy in the Middle East as a result of the state of
frustration created by an American attack.
Fourth, allowing for a possible exploitation by the Sharon government of
the world’s preoccupation with Iraq during an American aggression to carry out
a massive military offensive against the Palestinians.”
"Iraq And Palestine: Attempts To Avoid
Abdullah Awad opined in independent,
pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/23): “It is clear that Iraq’s efforts to avoid an
American war have reached a dead end. It
seems that a war will probably flare up any time in the next few weeks. For their part, the Palestinians, through the
Cairo dialogue, are trying to prevent an Israeli war against them.... There are many similarities between the
Palestinian and the Iraqi situations, the most prominent of which is that both
are targeted as a result of [failing to adhere to] imposed American and Israeli
standards to conduct internal changes.”
"Iraq’s Cooperation And A Single Set Of International Standards Are
Leading pro-government Al Ahram’s
unsigned editorial read (1/23):
"Iraq responded to all the international inspectors’
demands.... However, the U.S. continues
on the warpath.... While the U.S.
determines coercion with Iraq, it continues its support for Israel which
possesses weapons of mass destruction and adopts terrorist policies against
Palestinians. Indeed, Washington not
only needs to revise its position in Iraq, but also its position toward
Palestine and Israel because a superpower’s respect and credibility cannot be
realized except by justice and a single set of standards.”
"Iraq, The 51st State"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist
Reda Helal observed (1/23): “What
America seeks is to change the Iraqi regime with or without war. However, the greatest problem is the
post-Saddam stage. Iraq could be
divided...neighboring parties, such as Turkey, Iran, and Israel may exploit the
power vacuum in Baghdad for border raids or oil looting.... That is why American circles found no other
choice but a direct rule in Iraq, which means turning Iraq into the 51st state
of the U.S.... If Arabs delay their
action to fend off the phantom of war by convincing Saddam to step down, their
greatest problem is the post-Saddam period.”
"Even If Saddam Steps Out"
Aggressive pro-government weekly Akhbar al
Yom’s columnist Kamal Abdel Raouf wrote (1/18): “Even if Saddam agreed to step down, America
would not leave Iraq alone and would continue to repeat the claims about WMD
and play the broken record about democracy and human rights in Iraq--the same
song we heard in Afghanistan and nothing happened except destruction and some
Afghani women were showing their brazen faces on television. The issue is not about democracy or human
rights; America only seeks Iraqi oil and Iraqi wealth.... The idea of Saddam’s
stepping down will not change anything except provide the U.S. with a chance to
occupy Iraq peacefully.... Poor Iraqis. Once they emerged from the kingdom they
fell into the hands of Baath. Now Saddam is threatened with being toppled and
all of Iraq may be put into the hands of the American hawks surrounding Bush.”
“The Regional Phase”
London’s pan-Arab Al-Hayat carried a
commentary by Riyadh bureau chief Dawood Al-Shiryan stating (1/23): "Washington perhaps might be ready to
support the idea of the regional conference and to provide it with a new
regional momentum. Since it is a
gathering that revokes the old traditional division of the region, it could
play a vital role after the Iraqi crisis.
Israel’s participation could address the regional problem between Arabs
and Israel. Certainly, the regional
conference will not succeed if it is a repetition of (previous) Arab and
Islamic summits.... Therefore, it is
necessary to reconsider some sensitive political concepts.”
“Iraq And U.S.”
Jeddah’s English-language Arab News
editorialized (1/23): “Is the U.S. going
to lead an attack on Iraq or not? That
is the question being asked around the world with increasing nervousness--and
no one really knows the answer, not even the White House or the Pentagon;
President Bush has clearly not yet made up his mind.... It is to be hoped that today’s meeting in
Ankara of Iraq’s neighbors--Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iran and
Turkey--can produce something concrete to avoid war.... It is strange that Kuwait was not asked. This too must weaken the prospects for any
regional proposals since the U.S. is listening very strongly to what Kuwait has
to say--and Kuwait, for obvious reasons, is the one Arab state that most wants
Saddam Hussein toppled. One idea,
however, that today’s meeting ought to consider is that arms inspectors not
only be allowed to get on with their job but that they should again be
stationed permanently in Iraq. Saddam Hussein may well manage to conceal a bomb
or two up his metaphorical sleeve, but if inspectors were constantly at work in
Iraq he would never be able to move or deploy them. This may not be the solution the U.S. wants,
but it is a practical and workable alternative to war as the means of
controlling Saddam Hussein.”
“Voice Against War”
Riyadh’s moderate, English-language Riyadh
Daily opined (1/23):
"Tomorrow’s regional meeting assumes importance. It would be the first real overt effort to
take war completely off the global agenda.
Two of the countries in the regional meeting--Iran and Syria--are
staunch adversaries of the United States.
This fact should not lead the meeting to go off the mark, into a
U.S.-bashing exercise. The primary goal
is to silence the war drums by pressurizing Iraq into complying with the UN
resolutions all the way.”
“The Surprises Of The American People”
Daily columnist Bater Wardam wrote on the op-ed
page of center-left, influential Arabic-langauge Al-Dustour (1/21): “The massive demonstration against the war on
Iraq that took place in Washington last week and that accompanied more than ten
other demonstrations around the world is a nice surprise for us in the Arab
world… The fact is, the American
people’s anti-Iraq war movement is strong and effective, but it suffers from an
American and international media blackout.
Even the Arab media knows nothing about the hundreds of demonstrations
and anti-war activities that are taking place.... The Arab people must know that the world is
not in support of a war on Iraq, and that there is no international conspiracy
against the Arab world. In fact, the
world is united in rejecting the terrorism and the aggressive policies of the
current Zionist U.S. administration. The
anti-war movement may not be able to stop American aggression, but this
spreading awakening is a positive sign that the world is still OK.”
"The Ones Who Marched"
Driss Bennani wrote in independent,
French-language political and economic weekly TelQuel (1/18):
"Morocco will soon sign the FTA with the U.S. It is unthinkable that the same Ministers
that would shake the hand of administration officials in Washington, will march
in the streets of Rabat to express disapproval of U.S. foreign policy and of
course oppose the U.S.' sacred war on international terrorism."
"Passing Words: So That Our Future Won't Go
In government coalition, Arabic language
Istiqaul party Al Alam's back page column, Hamadi El Ghari argued
(1/17): "Arabs and Muslims find
themselves today at a perilous crossroad no one knows where it is leading... We
are today, both governors and governed, besieged and no one will be safe from
the siege that surrounds us from sea to sea and we will be eaten one after
another. The strange thing is that some Arabs and Muslims have paid a high
price for their own protection and come to believe that they are safe from the
deluge at their doors; especially those who say 'My heart is with Iraq but my
sword is with America.'... In front of this perilous crossroad, we should
invoke a self-Intifada which would bring us back our soul. We should return to
our religion, to Allah and make peace with ourselves, by freeing our peoples,
lifting injustice and liberating them from oppression and humiliation."
SYRIA: "Serious Situation Requires Efforts Of All
Damascus-based Arabic-language official Syrian
Arab Republic radio commented (1/23):
"The serious situation in the region, whether due to the Israeli
occupation and aggression or the threats of an attack against Iraq, requires
the efforts of all parties, especially key countries in the region. This
situation also needs the efforts of the international community, especially
rational and peace-loving forces. On
both the regional and international arenas, Syria has been exerting huge
efforts to avert war and to open the gates for peace. In this endeavor, Syria has sided with the
international consensus and the activation of the UN role.... Should war break out, it will greatly harm
not only the interests of the countries of the region, but also the interests
of Europe, Russia, and the United States.... Regarding the Iraqi issue, Resolution
1441 should be binding on the United States and all the countries concerned,
and not only on Iraq. As for the Arab-Israeli conflict, the resolutions of the
Security Council, which manifest the international will, should also be binding
on all parties to the conflict and the countries that drafted and approved
them, including the United States. All
the tensions, conflicts, occupation, killing, bloodshed, and destruction that
the region suffers from are caused by the Israeli refusal to comply with the
UNSC resolutions and the U.S. refusal to
oblige it to do so."
"What If Arab Anger Reaches The Point Of Explosion?"
Dr. Mahdi Dakhlallah, Editor-in-Chief of
government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote (1/23):
"At a time when we (Syrians) extend our hand to contribute
collectively to the construction of a new world based on legitimacy and
equality, we stress that our dignity and sovereignty is above reproach, and
that our deep sense of our role and position will prevent us from any thought
of giving up. We are an angry nation
that is feeling injustice. So does the world want the Arab anger to reach the
point of explosion?"
"To Avoid The Catastrophe"
Government-owned Tishreen stated
(1/22): "Syria is concentrating on
building an Arab and regional position to stave off an American war. As President Assad pointed out to A/S William
Burns, all parties should abide by UNSC resolutions. Resolution 1441 does not concern Iraq alone,
rather all countries are concerned with the resolution, especially the United
States. It is the duty of Arab and
Muslim countries of the region to do their utmost to avoid a war against Iraq
and spare it from the grave consequences of such a war. This is what Syria is trying with all its
capabilities to do."
Sayah Sukhni opined government-owned Al-Thawra
(1/20): ""The U.S. Administration's wise men are convinced that
preserving America's interest in the region and improving its tarnished image
in the Arab street, will not require mobilizing armies, sending fleets and
threatening to strike Iraq. The loud voices of the hot heads in the American
Administration that are overwhelming many moderate and sound voices should not
lead us to despair, nor confuse international efforts to prevent the war.
Countries around the world, especially those in the region, should intensify
efforts to contain this crisis and come up with ideas and formulae that will
not only save Iraq from the tragedies of war, but also recover the
respectability of the UN and restore its role as the sole authority on security
and stability of the world."
"Turkey In The Front Line"
Editor-in-chief Nourredine Bouttar wrote in
independent As-Sabah (1/17):
"Following the tour undertaken by the Turkish Prime Minister to a
number of Middle East and Gulf countries, the latter's government called for
the importance of holding a summit in Ankara to pursue efforts to settle the
Iraqi crisis peacefully. This diplomatic
effort reflects the worries of the Turkish government of a potential U.S.
attack on Iraq. Indeed, if the scenarios
published by the American press were to come true, the direct domination of the
U.S. over Iraqi's oil would prevent Turkey from having any control over the
rights of oil in Northern Iraq.
Moreover, the possibility of seeing the U.S. confer upon Iraqi's Kurds a
role in the new world map might cause the Turkish-Kurdish conflict to resurface
and frustrate the Turkish government....
Yet...NATO bases exist in Turkey that the U.S. will not hesitate in
using at any time.... In fact, Turkey
might turn a blind eye to any political
map for Iraq as long as it receives guarantees [from the U.S.] that the Kurdish
issue will not resurface as well as promises to obtain a share of Iraqi
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Calling For A
Peaceful Resolution To Crisis With Iraq"
Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al-Arab editorialized
(1/21): "Efforts to avert the war should not stop for a moment and should
not be confined to demands for the Iraqi President to step down and spare Iraq
the consequences of war. (These efforts)
must extend to include making Washington and the UN allow the inspectors more
time and give the leadership in Baghdad additional chances to pursue
fundamental changes to convince the world that Iraq is heading towards a new
phase .... Peaceful solutions deserve further opportunities with a
determination to implement these solutions because the alternative is a war for
which we cannot even anticipate the consequences."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Australia In Coalition Of The Willing"
Business-oriented Australian Financial Review
commented (1/23): "By its
[Australia's] decision to deploy a bigger and more complex force than earlier
signalled, it is now unambiguously engaged in an enterprise whose logical
conclusion is an assault on a sovereign state, possibly without United Nations
approval. This is a huge step for a country of Australia's size and weight in
"What A Real Mate Would Tell Bush"
The liberal Age asserted (1/22): "Australia is not an important nation in
world affairs. But there have been times when we have had the opportunity to
exercise influence out of all proportion to our size, whether for good or
ill. This is another of those times when
we can serve our own interests, as well as those of our great-power protector,
by counselling caution rather than urging Washington on to war."
"Peace Still Has A Chance"
An editorial in the liberal Melbourne Age
stated (1/18-19): "The Federal Government has a task ahead if it wants to
convince Australians either that this war is justified, or that we should be
part of it. Part of the problem is the government's own apparent
“U.S., Britain Search For Trigger For War”
Chong Zi commented in the official English-language China Daily
(1/24): “[The U.S. and British]
concession [to allow Saddam Hussein's exile], however, bluntly disregards the
sovereignty of Iraq and the validity of Resolution 1441 which was ratified by
the United Nations (UN) Security Council in November last year. Ousting Saddam is not mentioned in the
resolution. British Prime Minister Tony
Blair made it clear that he was prepared to back military action against Iraq
even if the UN weapons inspectors failed to find a ‘smoking gun’. This is wicked arrogance. Without credible evidence, military action
against Iraq is not just a foolish diversion from fighting terrorism. It is a
sure-fire way to fuel it.”
“Pre-emptive Policy Produces Instability”
Feng Changhong commented in the official
English-language China Daily (1/23):
“Its [the U.S.] strategy of launching a pre-emptive strike against
adversaries will in particular have a prolonged impact upon the international
strategic environment. Meanwhile, the
United States holds that it could launch similar attacks against other countries
allegedly carrying out terrorist actions or possessing weapons of mass
destruction. The strategy, however, will inevitably prove hazardous to the
United States and the international community.
Without a persuasive reason for military action in Iraq, a pre-emptive
attack by the United States will surely create long-term turbulence in the Gulf
region and the whole Middle East. By
carrying out a pre-emptive military attack on terrorists and ‘rogue states’
allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction, the United States does
certainly have a capability to wipe out part of its enemies' manpower. But any attack can by no means completely
eradicate their beliefs and values, inevitably resulting in retaliation.”\
“What Do The Global Anti-war Demonstrations
Er Yan commented in official Communist Party Global
Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 1/22): “The
global anti-war demonstrations are actually demonstrations opposing the United
States.... If the U.S. insists on
attacking Iraq in defiance of world condemnation, it will face moral criticism
and complaints by U.S. citizens about the government ignoring U.S. economic
development. Moreover, the U.S. will put
itself in a more isolated situation in the international community.”
HONG KONG SAR:
"The U.S. Goes To War, The Whole World Pays"
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal
remarked (1/24): "Who will pay the
astronomical cost for a war?.... Given
the current discord between the U.S. and its allies, if the U.S. sticks obstinately
to its own course, it must bear alone the military risk as well as the military
expenditures and the costs of rebuilding Iraq.
At the same time, the U.S. must handle a domestic deficit and worry
about the impact of oil price fluctuations on its economy. This is not an easy task for President
Bush.... For the sake of others as well as itself, the U.S. must control oil
production in post-war Iraq.... There is
a close relationship between U.S. control of Iraqi oil and the life-and-death
state of the economies of other oil-producing countries. If the U.S. significantly increases oil
production, the price of oil will drop, hurting Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, and
others.... War in Iraq will realign the
Middle East's political and military powers and will dramatically change the
oil economy. The U.S. is leading the war
in Iraq, but will the entire world pay the bill?"
"Time Is Running Out For Hussein..."
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong
Economic Times remarked (1/23):
"Facing objections from Europe, Bush gives the impression that he
would not hesitate to fall out with his allies.
He sounds like the U.S. is ready to fight to win or die. There is only one reason for that: Bush is running out of time. After the war on Iraq, Bush faces a tough fight
which is even more important: the battle
for reelection.... The U.S. economy will
not be able to recover by the end of this year, and it will be even more
difficult for Bush to run for reelection.
Seen from this angle, the pressures of reelection leave Bush with no
choice but to resolve the Iraq issue as quickly as possible. In the short run, the war drums will only get
louder. Now Bush's greatest test will be
how to convince his European allies to support him in war. Before taking any military action against
Iraq, Bush has to win a diplomatic battle."
"U.S. Should Close Gap With France And Russia"
Liberal Mainichi editorialized
(1/23): "The Iraq situation has
intensified even before UN weapons inspectors' Jan. 27 submission of a report
on Iraq's WMD program to the UNSC. The Bush administration says alternatives to
using force against Baghdad have nearly been exhausted.... Not to be overlooked is the fact that the
U.S. and Britain are at odds with other UNSC permanent members over how to deal
with Baghdad. While the U.S. maintains it can use force against Iraq without a
new UN resolution, France and Russia are opposed to the U.S. and British use of
force against Baghdad. The longer these
major powers remain in discord, the more likely Saddam Hussein is to take
advantage of the confusion at the UNSC. The Arab world is opposed to the U.S.
and British use of force--action that will adversely affect the Palestinian
problem and global cooperation in the anti-terror campaign. The U.S. should close the gap with France and
Russia. It may be necessary to apply
diplomatic and military pressure on Iraq. But if the U.S. and Britain
unilaterally go ahead with action against Iraq, it will only weaken global solidarity
and cooperation in dealing with issues facing the world."
"Iraq Can No Longer Play For Time"
Conservative Sankei editorialized (1/22): "It is regrettable the five UNSC
permanent members failed to iron out differences, given the possibility that
Iraq, if left unrestrained, will go ahead with developing nuclear and other
WMD. If the U.S. and Britain yield to
the call from France, Russia and China for a new resolution on the use of force
against Baghdad, the current period of UN weapons inspections would be extended
and the early adoption of the new UN resolution would be unlikely. Saddam Hussein is most likely to take
advantage of such confusion at the UN to 'play for time,' strengthen his
dictatorship and pose an unprecedented threat to the international
community. Last September, the U.S.
government issued a report indicating how Iraq has defied UN resolutions and
obstructed UN weapons inspections during the past decade. The discord among the
permanent UNSC members can no longer allow Iraq to play for time."
“Global Voices of Conscience”
The pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun
editorialized (1/21): “Demonstrations were staged in some 70 cities around the
world over the weekend to oppose a possible U.S. strike on Iraq.… We believe these rallies are the very voices
of conscience. Nevertheless, the U.S.
government is stepping up its preparations for war. The U.S. is raising its voice for that
purpose particularly following the UN inspection team’s discovery - for the first
time in 50 days of inspections in Iraq - of ten or so empty chemical warheads
and documents related to the manufacture of nuclear weapons.... The U.S. is not entitled to bomb Iraq and
kill innocent Iraqi citizens without convincing evidence. If the U.S. considers
itself the world’s policeman, it should at least respect UN agreements.
Furthermore, if it is a democratic nation, the U.S. should heed public
INDONESIA: "Protests Against Plan to Attack
Leading independent daily Kompas (1/21)
commented: "An indifferent attitude to the protests from the international
community will only worsen the U.S. anti-American sentiment which will turn
into radicalism, not conducive for the global coalition against
"The U.S. Must Refrain"
Independent Koran Tempo commented (1/21):
"Only one day after the Inspection Team reports to the UN, President Bush
is slated to deliver a State of the Union address that will likely be related
to the Iraq issue. With only a one day time
difference, the U.S. will very likely ignore the findings of the team. In other words, whether or not Iraq proves to
possess mass destruction weapons, in the U.S. mind the attacks can still be
carried out. We hope this bad scenario that will happen."
MALAYSIA: "A U.S.
Vision for Iraq"
Feature Editor Zin Mahmud wrote in government-influenced
English-language New Straits Times (1/22): "The recent aggressiveness shown by a
Bush administration...has provoked waves of criticism and praise not only from
the international community but also at home.
The decision to use the UN as the proper and unique legal forum with the
jurisdiction to manage the crisis in the Gulf was a welcome move.... To gain traction with Iraqis, senior U.S.
officials must project a positive future for Iraq, a vision which is both
anti-Saddam and pro-Iraq. Both inside
the country and in exile, Iraqis crave assurance that, once Saddam is ousted
and Iraq is in compliance with all relevant UN resolutions, conditions for the
Iraqi people will improve rapidly enough to bolster the new, possibly interim,
government. The Middle East would
greatly benefit from the re-entry of Iraq into the international community
under a new leadership. The U.S. should
take the lead in making this happen.”
"An Ambition That May Lead To Getting Bogged Down"
Minh Tam wrote in Vietnam People's Army daily Quan
Doi Nhan Dan (1/19): "By reason of preparation for a strike in Iraq,
for many months now, the U.S. Government has been carrying out a massive diplomatic
campaign to induce Gulf countries to participate in a war against Iraq... Washington has told Iraq's neighbors flatly
that they will benefit a lot if supporting the U.S. in an attack against Iraq,
and if not supporting the U.S., they are likely to be targets for economic,
political and military embargos and sanctions... The U.S. plan for Iraq and the whole Middle
East region is posing a severe threat to the security and stability of the Arab
world. With certainty, the different lifestyle of the Americans and the
imposition of American values will create many troubles to Arab people, who
have always respected their cultural and religious practices. The inevitable result is that the U.S. will
be hit by waves of anti-U.S. protests and demonstrations of the local
people. It is necessary to remind the
U.S. of lessons in South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and many other
countries, where U.S. soldiers have become subjects for hatred and revenge from
the local people... Analysts say that
the Pentagon's big ambition is likely to get bogged down and only the U.S.
military circles know what consequences they will suffer as they are the ones
that have had many bitter lessons from similar cases."
“Impact Of Iraqi Crisis On Indonesia”
Smith Alhadar declared in independent Koran
Tempo (1/23): “If the U.S. attacks
unilaterally, the [Indonesian] government must have no doubt but to condemn the
aggressor, even without the support from major Arab countries. ‘Siding’ with Iraq does not mean giving support
to Saddam Hussein but to humanity, a state’s sovereignty, and the world’s order
based on the existing international norms.”
"Finish The Job"
Julius Fortuna wrote in the independent Manila
Times (1/23): "Over at the
United Nations, the French are showing that the best policy toward Iraq is to
let the arms inspectors in Baghdad finish their job instead of preparing for
war. This is a kind of rebuke to the United States and Great Britain which--in
order to secure the oil supply--are now sending troops to the Middle East in
preparation for attack."
"Seek UN Approval"
The pro-government Straits Times
editorialized (1/23): "United
States policy on Iraq has run into a roadblock at the United Nations Security
Council.... The fundamental difference
between the U.S. and the others comes down to this question: What have the
inspections accomplished so far?.... The
fact that the inspectors have not found any smoking gun in this round does not
prove anything, Washington argues, for the guns may still be around, smoldering
in hidden places. It should be noted that this is not a position unique to
Washington, for the inspectors, too, do not believe Baghdad has come clean. As
irregular as it may seem, it is really up to Mr. Saddam to prove his innocence,
not for the inspectors to prove he is guilty. Thus far, he has not. But does this mean the U.S. should move
quickly to invade Iraq soon after the inspectors present their report on
Monday? It would be preferable if the U.S. got the approval of the Security
Council before it acted. It had lobbied hard for Resolution 1441, which set the
framework for the inspection regime, and it should allow that process to work
itself out. If the inspectors say on Monday they need more time, the U.S. is
honor-bound to give them that time. For it to invade Iraq without international
sanction would make a risky venture even riskier, and will probably jeopardize
also the larger war on terrorism."
"We Shall Swim Or Sink Together"
Iran's English-language pro-government Tehran
Times opined (1/23): "Foreign
ministers of six regional countries are sitting down in Turkey today to find a
peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis....
The regional countries are trying to ward off war...for a U.S. attack on
Iraq will have dire consequences for their countries and the entire region.... Since the United States has already announced
that if Saddam Hussein steps down, war will be averted, it will be very
encouraging if the regional countries find an acceptable process by which
Saddam can step down in the interest of the Iraqi people. But it should be
borne in mind that they cannot force him to leave power.... Unfortunately, today, the United States
assumes itself the chief of the global village. It indicts, tries, condemns,
and punishes other countries, as if it were the policeman, prosecutor, and
judge of the global village. Second, the
ministers must bear in mind that the territorial integrity of Iraq must be
respected. Indeed any dent in the
territorial integrity of Iraq...will turn the region into a hotbed of crisis
after crisis. This consultation by
regional countries is a most welcome development.... It shows that they have concluded that all
regional countries are aboard the same ship; should it sink, all will drown,
and if it is salvaged from the current turbulence, all will be rescued."
"This Chaos Will Not Lead To A U.S. Cosmos"
S. Nihal Singh opined in the centrist Asian
Age (1/23): "The U.S. declares
that it is seeking to democratize West Asia, but few believe it.... There is little subtlety in choosing Iraq and
the helpless Palestinian territories for democratic reforms.... As of now, things are going splendidly for
America's imperial aims. Post-Saddam plans are being refined in
Washington. After a period of American
military occupation of Iraq for two years to begin with, the UN and European
members of the EU, with suitable Iraqi puppets, will be left the task of
"nation-building." Iraqi oil
largesse and contracts will be doled out by Washington to those who side with
it and serve its interests.... Americans
seem to be underestimating the chinks in their armor. For one thing, an
invasion of Iraq would give a tremendous fillip to the remaining forces of Al
Qaeda and their sympathizers and the broader Arab and Muslim ranks to seek
spectacular vengeance against Americans and Israelis. Second, the resentment of
much of the rest of the world to American hegemony in the 21st century will
make itself apparent in many other ways."
"Itching For War"
An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan
Times asserted (1/20): "The United States may have found the discovery
of empty chemical warheads in Iraq 'troubling', but it is still not clear
whether they constitute enough of a smoking gun to call for an invasion...there
is still no certainty whether the American deadline for going to war before the
end of winter can be met. For one thing, there is growing evidence of anti-war
sentiments in the US itself. For another, even Britain is now somewhat less
enthusiastic about the war.... Besides, there is something faintly ridiculous
about the American preference for a war in the cold season.... There are, of
course, other bumps on the road to war. The Arab States are seemingly as
unhappy about a conflict on their doorstep as about an introduction of
democracy in a post-Saddam Iraq, as promised by the US. Both are unwelcome to
them, as they threaten their cozy dictatorships."
"Countdown To War"
An editorial in the centrist national News declared
(1/23): "The first Gulf war was
virtually a weekend affair as Iraq was at that time smarting under
international odium because of its occupation of Kuwait. This time Baghdad
emerges as a helpless, weak state threatened by an American overkill. President
Bush's florid rhetoric has invited global sympathy for Iraq, regardless of
President Saddam Hussain's real or imagined vile acts. The season, therefore, is not propitious for
an invented war that has an imperialist rubric to it, and much as Mr. Bush
chronicles the sins of the Iraqi leader, he will find no support.... Mr. Bush will be fighting not only against
the Iraqis, but his own people. Vietnam showed that a war at home and abroad is
"Washington's Lone Battle Cry"
Nasim Zehra wrote in the centrist national News
(1/23): "Clearly what is at stake
is the complete collapse of a collective international body which facilitates,
to whatever degree possible, interstate relations in these dangerously chaotic
times. A U.S. attack will indeed stamp
out all notions of multilateralism. It
will reinforce the U.S.' image of a hegemonic power that is oblivious of all 'rules
of the game' whenever it perceives real, imagined or deliberately contrived
threat to its interest linked to the flow of oil or to Israel's security....The
war may or may not destroy Saddam Hussein.
It will, however, give birth to an all-consuming hatred, resentment and
desperation among millions across the globe who understand and experience the
impact of U.S.' double standards when it comes to the issues of international
law, morality and values. In opting for a credible mechanism to handle the threat
of Saddam, the opponents of Washington's Iraq policy are in fact opting for a
multilateral path that may help to stop the global slide towards anarchy."
Center left Daily Dispatch commented
(1/22): "In spite of Baghdad's
renewed co-operation with United Nations weapons inspectors and rising calls
from all sane quarters for President George Bush to back off, American military
deployment in the Gulf continues.... But
most world leaders still hope war can be averted as support among ordinary
Britons and Americans falls.... The
central issue at stake is almost certainly not weapons or even terrorism, but
oil.... Bush's motives for war are
increasingly under suspicion. His
harshest critics call him 'a white man with a god complex' (not a very bright
one)--and see him as a possible Adolf Hitler in the making. Bush has managed to use Americans' 9/1
outrage as a license to fuel his 'war on terror' to a point where, even after
Afghanistan and the fruitless pursuit of Osama bin Laden, one in two Americans
now believes Saddam, and thus Iraq, was behind the attacks. There is no evidence to support this
belief. The damage this lunacy has done
to America's relations with most of humanity is terrifying. And war has not yet been declared."
"War Against Iraq Unjustified"
Political commentator Andrew Kenny argued in the conservative Citizen
(1/21): "An American war against
Iraq now would be unjustified and set a dangerous precedent in international
affairs.... Iraq has met all of the
conditions of weapons inspection, and the inspectors have found nothing of
importance. That means there is no
justification for a war against Iraq.
Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator, guilty of dreadful crimes against
his own people.... But there are plenty
of brutal dictators about. Why pick on
Hussein? I do not think oil is the
reason for Bush's desire to go to war....
I think it is the U.S. presidential election next year, where he hopes,
unlike his father, to get a second term.
A well-timed war is a good electoral ploy.... The United States would win such a war of
course, probably in less than a month, and the Iraqi people would be delighted to see Hussein
removed. But this does not mean it
should happen. It should not."
Prepares for War: Iraq Gets Support in
The Yaounde-based pro-opposition English-language Herald
editorialized (1/21): "Last week's
meeting in Yaounde of parliamentarians from the Islamic world offered yet
another welcome opportunity for Iraq, now under threat of attack by the US and
its chief ally Britain.... Unable to
stand the military might of the world's only super power and its chief ally,
Iraq is working around the clock to mobilize world opinion on its side.... There have been anti-war, anti-Bush
demonstrations in at least 16 capitals....
But for Paul Biya's fearfulness and vacillation over such matters,
Yaounde would have been the scene of one of such anti-war demonstrations on the
occasion of Islamic parliamentarians."
GHANA: "President Bush Blows His War
Kofi Akordor, in the state-owned Saturday weekly
with national circulation Mirror, opined (1/18): "There was the story of a
man in full battle regalia, who went to war against imaginary enemies....Today,
the world is confronted with another Don Quixote of yesteryear, this modern one
can cause considerable damage to mankind if not held in check, for he is going
to war not against windmills but against innocent people....The question is,
why after all the overwhelming evidence that Iraq and the UN weapons inspectors
are co-operating effectively, should the US and Britain be beating the war
drums?...The Jewish lobby in the Bush Administration also wants Iraq, the only
Arab country that can stand up to Israel destroyed...The attitude of the US
towards North Korea's withdrawal from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty is also
sending signals that the US is preparing to attack Iraq, not because of that
country's weapons of destruction."
"U.S.A. Versus Iraq--New Century May Begin Again"
Independent weekly Zambeze opined (1/16),
"All these maneuvers may culminate in a war that, even before beginning,
has a very negative outcome and does not dignify the people of this post-modern
era at all, who sin by being controlled by an unipolar power, namely the
U.S.A.... Even if it's hard for Bush and
his followers to believe, the truth is that the world is fed up with
"Before The War On Iraq"
Abuja-based independent Daily Trust
opined (1/22), "One, possession of weapons of mass destruction is only an
excuse for an attack on Iraq and most people around the world already know
this. Two, in an already polarized
world, an attack on Iraq will be seen as an extension of the war on terrorism,
which half of the world already believe is an excuse for unwarranted American
aggression. Three, that if they ride
roughshod on world opinion and render the UN impotent to stop them, they cannot
stop retaliatory attacks on American and British interests the world over,
since this will inevitably follow.
Finally, a war on Iraq could trigger a nuclear war if countries with
nuclear capabilities, which are fed up with American tyranny, decide to fight
on the Iraqi side."
“America Should Respect The Will Of The World’s Peace Lovers”
Kiswahili-language ruling party-run Mzalendo
opined (1/19): "We are surprised
and saddened by the statements coming out of the American government.... America’s intention remains the same: to hit
Iraq and remove President Saddam Hussein from power.... The UN’s decision to send in the weapons
inspectors and America’s consent were just ploys to placate its allies who
seemed to oppose the use of military force without a UN mandate.... While the American and British governments
continue with their preparations to hit Iraq, the world at large does not
support these plans.... This world
belongs to all of us, and every one of us should be able to live in peace,
without fear of becoming the victims of any country's bullying tactics. Besides threatening the lives of innocent
people in Iraq, the impact of a war against Iraq will be tremendous to the
neighboring countries in the Middle East, the whole Persian Gulf area,
including poor countries such as our own, which will be severely economically
affected by the prospects of drastic increase in the price of oil products.”
CANADA: "Let U.N. Bean-Counter Do His
Foreign affairs editor Gordon Barthos observed in
the liberal Toronto Star (1/23): "...Given this propensity to
create and preserve laundry lists, it's easy to see why U.S. President George
Bush finds it hard to accept that Iraq is unable to produce the paperwork to
prove that its arsenal has been scrapped.... Bush wants to keep the pressure on
Saddam, hoping he may flee or be toppled. And to bolster U.N. demands. But the
huge American/British military buildup is excessive. It all but confirms that a
decision to go to war has been made, and that military logistics, not diplomacy
and a desire to uncover the facts, now drive this crisis. Indeed, in the rush
to war, Blix's search for the truth may be the first casualty."
"The U.S. Is Ready To Strike"
Editor emeritus Peter Worthington wrote in the
conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (1/23): "There are reports that
British and American Special Forces are already active in northern Iraq. If
there's war, it's possible, even likely, Saddam will go down violently,
inflicting as much damage as he can by unleashing those thousands of litres of
chemical and anthrax weapons, and whatever else he may have. What does Saddam care about Iraqi lives? He's
killed untold thousands of his people with poison gas to solidify control, and
used these weapons against Iran."
"Bush's Moral Clarity Turns Fuzzy"
Columnist Richard Gwyn commented in the liberal Toronto
Star (1/22): "There has always also been a disturbing overlap between
Bush's moral clarity and plain moral simplicity. Bush's good/evil, we/they
division of the world, while deeply felt, was also calculatingly
convenient.... The appeal of Bush's
moral clarity persisted, nevertheless, because it was decisive and bold, and
most plainly and simply, clear. Each day
now, as Bush gets closer and closer to invading Iraq, that priceless asset of
his is wasting away. The contrast between Bush's bellicose policy towards Iraq,
which has no nuclear weapons, or none of consequence, and his diplomatic
dealings with North Korea, which has both bombs and the missiles to deliver
them, is too obvious to be justified except by resort to the old arguments of
realism and of national interest. These may be valid pragmatically; they most
certainly are not moral.... The U.S., in short, is going to war because it
wants to go to war, whether for oil, or to avenge family honour, or, probably,
because Bush would lose too much face if he didn't invade Iraq.... But while
Bush will still have his war it'll now be just that--his war, rather than a war
against terrorism or for some higher morality."
"What Do Iraqis Fear More Than War? More Saddam"
Margaret Wente wrote in the leading Globe and
Mail (1/21): "There are many reasons to oppose a war. But the best
interests of the innocent Iraqi people are not among them. And the sight of
sanctimonious Westerners pretending to speak for them, and demanding that they
be kept enslaved by the most brutal dictator outside North Korea, is not an
edifying one. War is terrible. But there are worse things. Just ask the people
"Saddam's Golden Parachute"
Under the sub-heading, "Iraq's despot
should accept an offer of cosy exile, thus saving lives," the nationalist Ottawa
Citizen opined (1/21): "Whatever promises an end to the threat Saddam
poses to the region deserves serious attention. No other contemporary
dictator--not even Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe...has demonstrated the same
capacity for aggression against his neighbours or the desire to acquire weapons
of mass destruction with which to assert his domination. That said, it would be
dangerously naive to rely on strategies such as exile or coups. Full-scale war against Saddam is no one's
first choice, but it's better than the prospect of war later on--after Saddam
acquires nuclear weapons."
"Weak U.S. Case For War"
The liberal Toronto Star commented
(1/21): "He's been demonizing Saddam Hussein for a year, but U.S.
President George Bush still hasn't managed to sell most Americans on his Iraq
policy, much less the rest of the world.... Bush has failed to put forward a
compelling case for attacking Iraq, a full year after making his 'axis of evil'
speech. That's remarkable, given America's tendency to rally to the president
in war, the 9/11 effect, the power of the presidential bully pulpit, the reach
of U.S. intelligence services, and a largely compliant American media. While
the U.S. still has reason to contain Saddam, Bush's approach looks more like
bullying and less like prudence with every passing day. The push is now on to
frighten Saddam into exile, or to spark a palace revolt. Should that fail, Bush
wants the Security Council to begin consideration of war as soon as chief U.N.
weapons inspector Hans Blix delivers his verdict Monday on Iraq's cooperation
after 400 inspections.... A majority of permanent Security Council
members...agree. They believe sanctions have blunted Saddam's threat....The
need to attack Iraq is far from evident. The timing is wrong. The human cost
could be tragically high."
ARGENTINA: "Confrontation Of The
French-German Axis Against Bush Worsens"
Araceli Viceconte, Berlin-correspondent for
leading Clarin wrote (1/24): "The repercussion of Donald Rumsfeld's
statements speaks of the US inability to neutralize the European opposition to
the war against Iraq and also of the lack of dialogue between allies on both
sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In Germany, even the conservative opposition
criticized Rumsfeld in spite of the fact that it favors the alignment with
Washington... While troops continue arriving to the Persian Gulf, the
confrontation between the US and the France-Germany axis deepens. Disappointed
by the lack of support of two traditional allies, Washington pressures the
Paris-Berlin axis... The US will send representatives to different European
countries to convince them to support war. The idea is isolate France and
Germany and blame them for the delay in the UN Security Council's
"Bush, With The Dilemma Of Having To Attack
Without The Support Of A Coalition"
Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent
for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (1/22): "The opposition of the
U.S.'s European allies, mainly France and Germany, places the Bush
administration on the road to testing his new national security doctrine,
focused on the preventive attack, which could break the prevailing balance of
recent centuries in international relations. The Republican administration has
decided not to stop war in spite of the opposition... This war scenario of war
without the support of an alliance raises fear among Americans. According to a
Newsweek opinion poll, 81 percent of Americans would support a military action
as long as the US is part of an alliance and is supported by the UN Security
Council. But this support dramatically falls to 39 per cent if the hypothesis
changes and the country attacks Iraq by itself or with the support of only one
or two allies and without the UN support."
"The Opportunistic War"
Claudio Uriarte, international analyst of
left-of-center Pagina 12 reflected (1/19): "Of all possible reasons
for a US war on Iraq, it is not unlikely that opportunism be the soundest one.
This means, there is no doubt that the US army can defeat an isolated and
weakened Saddam Hussein in a relatively fast war... while there are strong
doubts that it could defeat Iran or North Korea..., not to mention China... But
beyond this relative operation easiness, the underlying rationality of the
operation is still dark. Saddam Hussein's international aggressiveness and his
hostility towards the US are obvious, but his ties with Al Qaeda are unlikely
and the possibility that he could deliver weapons of mass destruction to
terrorism seem very low... Out of all the arguments in favor of war, the most
ridiculous one is the one about establishing democracy in Iraq. Of course, a
democratic regime would be a very bad idea to maintain Iraq's geopolitical
cohesion, Iraq being a state with two separatisms of regional impact, the Kurds
and the Shiites... , not to mention the multiple clans and factions... In this
context, a possible dangerous consequence should not be disregarded. Bush used
last year's rhetoric war to win legislative elections, but this year, with the
deployment of 90,000 soldiers, the possibility has become a real one. And the
order of retreat, increasingly difficult."
BRAZIL:"Reasons For The War"
The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao
Paulo read (1/22): "While the U.S. and the UK continue to send troops
to the Persian Gulf region for an increasingly probable military action against
Iraq, those who oppose the war are gaining more visibility.... Nevertheless,
both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have shown that they are willing
to go to any lengths to depose Saddam Hussein. Apparently, the only thing
lacking is a pretext for starting the bombings and the invasion. Saddam is
truly a bloody tyrant, and his overthrow would be more than welcome. But to
wage a war to depose him is reckless. The main reasons alleged by Bush have no
basis. There is no concrete link between the Iraqi regime and the Sept. 11
terrorists. The UN's inspectors have not yet found any solid evidence that Iraq
is producing arms of mass destruction.... There are, however, geopolitical
reasons for the war that Bush does not admit. The U.S. would assume control of
major oil reserves, thereby reducing its dependence on Saudi Arabia. The U.S.
would also show the world that it is ready to exert its hegemony through
military means if necessary."
"The Sound Of War Drums"
The lead editorial in center-right O Estado
de Sao Paulo (1/20) opined: "While President Bush continues to beat
the war drums and the Pentagon speeds up the sending of troops and equipment to
the Persian Gulf, the White House has not obtained a single diplomatic victory,
not even in the battle for U.S. public support for the planned attack. When
polls revealed that only 24 percent of the population would support a
unilateral strike against Baghdad, the U.S. was forced to make a tactical
retreat at the UNSC.... Next week Bush will deliver his State of the Union
Address.... The UN's inclination to make a possible attack contingent on
another SC resolution foreshadows another U.S. setback.... The U.S. says it has
evidence that Iraq possesses forbidden weapons but refuses to present it, and
Iraq, which denies possessing them, must prove what it states.... The problem
is determining whether war is the best solution for this presumed danger, or
whether it is nothing more than a pretext for the President to settle accounts
his father failed to settle in 1991, reduce increasing domestic discontent with
his disastrous economic policy, ensure his reelection next year, affirm U.S.
hegemony in the Middle East, control the world's second-largest oil reserves,
or a combination of all of this."
"Lose And Win"
Independent Jornal do Brasil held (1/20):
"Now it's a question of time: War seems inevitable....(But) in spite of
everything, peace is still the best road to take, for the countries directly
involved and for the rest of the world. A conflict would be disastrous for
all.... (For example), the president of the United States shouldn't attack Iraq
until the situation in Venezuela is resolved satisfactorily. The question of oil is crucial for the
world.... For George W. Bush and for Saddam Hussein, the best way is still
through the UN."
MEXICO: "The United States: Regime Change And
John Saxe-Fernandez writes in far-left Jornada
(1/23): "Under President Bush,
Washington has become the main threat to political and strategic security
around the world, because it acts unilaterally, and now it is about to launch
an attack on Iraq, in spite of differences with some of its allies…Bush has
generated the largest amount of global opposition to Washington in the past 50
years, and U.S. society is divided over hastened preparations for war. Within this context, the White House is aware
that political repercussions would increase regarding any independent
investigation into the government’s behavior related to the Sept. 11 attacks
and the web of secrecy that surrounds clandestine operations used for national
and international security. It has been
very difficult to obtain information about Sept. 11 from the USG. I wonder what they are hiding?"
"Iraq: A Political Exit Is Still
Gabriel Szekely wrote in nationalist Universal
(1/22): "In a moral sense, there
are many questions as to whether it is acceptable for a nation’s leadership to
demand that we back the use of force…even though this nation may act only in
its own interests. Why should we trust
someone who remains quiet when its allies of convenience possess terrible
weapons, which they have decided to use against Iraq and North Korea? How much will the rehabilitation of Iraq
cost? Will voters in rich nations be willing to provide large amounts of
resources for this effort, or will they settle for the increase of oil
exports? It is still possible to find a
political exit that will offer answers to these questions; I hope this will
happen, and that the world will focus on other urgent tasks that are worthy of
"Toward World Peace"
Abel Hibert notes in independent El Norte
(1/22): "What really amazes is that in several cities of the U.S.,
including the capital, thousands of demonstrators went out to the streets and
pacifically opposed the U.S. invasion on Iraqi land, which, in a certain way,
ends the myth about the existence of total consensus among our northern
neighbors concerning a new adventure in the Middle East.... The problem is that
the U.S. is establishing itself as judge and jury to decide which countries can
have military armaments of this type and which ones cannot. ... It appears
incredible that Iraq can develop the military weapons that the U.S. fear so
much. Despite the 'diabolic' Sadam Hussein, what Iraq has suffered in the last
20 years leaves many questions that it has the economic, technological,
scientific and military capacity to constitute a threat to free world. ... It
is important to wait, before any military intervention, the final results of
the UN inspectors to really see if it justifies a military intervention of this
scale. Every country should favor a diplomatic solution over a military
decision. Because the principal affected (one) in any war is always the civil
CHILE: "Hussein A Result Of U.S.
Catholic University of Chile, conservative
television station Channel 13's international commentator Karen Ebensperger
said (1/20): "The question is: why does the United States make so many
mistakes? Why did it support Saddam
Hussein in the past and give him so many
weapons? Why did the U.S. permit
Hussein to rule for 24 years if
Washington says it has the power to remove him? The only answer
always given is that the U.S. feared an
unstable Iraq without Hussein. The
difference is that today the U.S. has made a political decision to take charge
of that difficult and strategic country, even if it is for a long period of
ECUADOR: "A "Bit of Everything"
An opinion column by Edmundo Ribadeneira in
Quito's leading centrist El Comercio (1/22): "The people against
the war...that is what we see in ever greater numbers as we watch President
Bush's obsession with Iraq's oil become increasingly more threatening. Lacking positive proof of weapons of mass
destruction belonging to Saddam Hussein, Bush has resorted to hollow
accusations. Everything supposedly
points to the fact that Iraq wants to destroy the U.S.... The people of the
U.S., Asia and Europe have staged large demonstrations against Bush in his
quest to take over the world. We have to
trust that common sense will prevail over imperialist madness and that cannon
fodder will not be sacrificed by a fascist North American."