January 29, 2003
BLIX REPORT A CASE FOR 'MORE TIME' OR IS 'TIME RUNNING OUT?'
** World media found "something for everyone" in the
Blix report; some fearing its lack of closure will deepen discord at the UN,
others seeing it as a "green light for warmongers."
** Most concluded that Blix and El Baradei made a stronger case
for "more time and better proof," preferring to disarm Saddam via
international pressure vice U.S. "unilateral" action.
** An emerging chorus of impatient voices, however, criticized
open-ended inspections and decided that Saddam has "run out of time,"
warning the onus was on him "to avoid war."
Report raises as many questions as it answers-- Writers in all regions
complained that the report offered "nothing new" and failed to
clarify an "extremely vague situation." While some agreed with London's liberal Independent
that the report was "dispassionate" and "Mr. Blix got it
right," more shared a French daily's concern that Blix's comments were "convoluted
enough" to "pit both sides against each other." A number faulted the report for being "open to several interpretations." Most conceded that while the report did not
provide a "pretext" for war, it advanced the likelihood of a U.S.
"unilateral" decision against Iraq."
Saddam not to be trusted, but few see enough proof for war-- Absent concrete "proof" of the
"danger" posed by Iraq, a majority endorsed staying the
"rational" course of more time for inspections and more pressure on
Iraq. While they acknowledged that
Saddam still had "many serious questions to answer," their
reservations about the "imperious wager" of war and its repercussions
outweighed their negative feelings for the "tyrant." European writers were especially rankled by
Washington's "impatience" and "rush to war," issuing
hand-wringing pleas against "blind consent" and the "heave-ho to
a war." Capturing the prevailing
hostility, Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung insisted: "As long as there is no proof of such a danger...the
U.S. administration might be the bigger threat to world peace." Arab and Asian writers inveighed against
American "intransigence" and "aggression," with a Pakistani
daily accusing the U.S. of an "unsuccessful attempt to deceive the
Countering the 'give peace a chance' camp, some
concur 'time is running out' for Iraq-- Observers dissenting from the majority anti-war
opinion expressed growing "impatience" with Saddam's "cat and
mouse game." They backed
Switzerland's center-left Berner Zeitung's argument that it was
"illusory to think that extending inspections will be enough to bring
about a peaceful solution." Several
gave their unequivocal support to the U.S and the removal of Saddam, which a
Nigerian writer defended as "a superior argument to the meaningless
rhetoric of pacifists." Speaking
from experience, Kosovo's Pro-PDK Epoka e Re proclaimed: "The most
natural and just thing to do is for America to lead the coalition and to force
Iraqi disarmament by war, for the good of the mankind, therefore, for the good
of the Iraqi nation."
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 87 reports from 49 countries, Jan. 26-29. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
"Mr. Blix Left Iraq In No Doubt About How It Can Still Avoid
The liberal Independent observed (1/28): "Baghdad can not accuse either [Blix or
El Baradei] of kow-towing to the Americans to foment conspiracies. The inspectors' reports were as dispassionate
as they could be when dealing with such emotive topics as illicitly acquired
missile parts and components for chemical, biological, and nuclear
weapons. The clarity of Mr. Blix's
report should have left Iraq in no doubt about what it must do next. It has to provide evidence, documentary and
otherwise, to show that it no longer has the VX gas, anthrax and other
stockpiled substances that it once had--or explain why the records produced by
the pre-1998 inspection teams are wrong....
First U.S. reactions were angry and impatient. Iraq, American officials argued, was already
in clear breach of UN resolutions.
Initial reaction from opposed to war, such as Russia, were that the
inspectors had been unjustifiably harsh. In arguing for more time and better
proof before anyone embarked on so risky and irreversible a course as war, Mr.
Blix got it right."
The conservative Times opined (1/28): "The question before the Security
Council is whether Iraq has abandoned cheating and concealment. The thrust of his conclusion is, thus far,
inescapably negative. That is why Dr.
Blix's distinction between process and substance--the facilities offered
inspectors,and the information provided to them--is crucial. On process, Iraq's refusal to permit the
inspectors to use U2 reconnaissance is a clear violation of 1441. But still grave is the refusal to produce
documents and the falsification of evidence....
Mr.Blix has left Iraq in no doubt about how it can still avoid war"
"No Fire Without Smoke"
The liberal Guardian offered this perspective (1/28): "Two main conclusions may be drawn from
the interim reports delivered to the UNSC yesterday by the principal weapons
inspectors in Iraq, Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei. One is that while Iraq has shown a previously
unexpected degree of cooperation in creating a 'workable environment,' it still
has many serious questions to answer and has very much more to do in helping
inspectors to fulfill their mandate....
Despite the made-in-Washington aspects of this crisis, it is certainly
necessary, as before, to maintain diplomatic and indirect military pressure on
Iraq. Certainly Iraq should not be 'let
off the hook'. Credible accounting for its missing chemical and biological
weapons material remains a key goal. But
as Mr. El Baradei said, continued inspections over 'the next few months' may turn
out to be an 'invaluable investment in peace.'
There was certainly nothing remotely to justify the setting of
timetables or deadlines for a lurch into war, which while smashing untold
numbers of lives,could also smash the UN itself."
FRANCE: "Time Management"
Bruno Frappat in Catholic La Croix (1/29): "When it
comes to the war against Saddam Hussein, George Bush's America has adopted a
form of time management which is both compressed and stressing.... Then there is the pragmatic wisdom and
embarrassed hesitation of those who have not yet made up their minds.... France's position is that at this point in
time impatience is not legitimate....
Nothing proves that America's hawks can see farther than the tip of
their boots. They think a war can be won quickly. They believe that a world
without Saddam Hussein will be a safer world. It is an imperious wager, and
considering the risks, a crazy bet....
If George W. Bush hopes to build long-lasting peace, he must also
provide some 'proof'."
“The Glass Is Half-Full”
Pascal Dupuy wrote in left-of-center Liberation
(1/28): “Diplomacy keeps moving in the
realm of nuances. But in the end the
choice will be a binary choice: war or peace.... Blix’s comments are convoluted enough that
they fill the glass exactly to the half-mark.
By doing so he is pitting both sides against each other. But in time a
decision will have to be made. The
question is when? By accepting the
delay, President Bush and Tony Blair are proving they are not totally
indifferent to the UN’s approval.... But
the U.S. cannot wait much longer: as Secretary Powell said, ‘we are in the
final phase.’ There is no doubt
Washington will revert to force. Such a
decision will immediately cause considerable collateral damage to the peace of
mind of French politicians.... In spite
of FM de Villepin’s references to France using its right of veto, no one today
can exclude the possibility that Paris will, in the end, join a military action
against Iraq. It is indeed difficult to
be a big nation, but not a big enough one.”
Burkhard Birke commented on national radio
station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (1/28):
“The United Nations must continue to keep its monopoly on the use of
force. That is why a second resolution
is all the more important as a precondition for a second war against Iraq. The United States considers this desirable,
not compelling, because it is feeling that extended inspections will, in the
end, produce results that do not legitimize a war or make it highly
doubtful. But why has the much-lauded
intelligence information not been revealed and handed out to the
inspectors? Is the reason because the
United States pinned its hopes right from the start on a war and does not want
to reveal its strategic goals? Only if
the international community acts in a coherent way--increases pressure on
Saddam, forces him to disarm and makes possible for the United States a
withdrawal that saves face--can a war be avoided. Time is running, hopefully for a long time
before the final act in the Iraq drama begins.”
"For Sake Of Their Own Credibility, Bush
And Blair Must Hand Over WMD Intelligence"
Alexander Kekulé editorialized in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/29): “The reports of the weapons inspectors shows
that Saddam did not tell the truth…but in addition, the report revealed a
second truth which must be a slap in the face for the advocates of military
action: It refutes U.S. and British
reports on alleged weapons of mass destruction.... In the service of their own credibility, Bush
and Blair must now hand over all their intelligence information, including the
one they have held back thus far, to the inspectors."
"Looking For Lost Time"
Peter Muench observed in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (1/28): “Time is the most
important means of exerting pressure for the United States. The country has built up its troops and war
is coming closer.... The U.S. position
makes sense only if Washington can prove that Iraq is an immediate danger for
world peace. As long as there is no
proof of such a danger--and questions raised by Blix about anthrax and chemical
weapons are no proof--the U.S. administration might be the bigger threat to
world peace.... The rejection of U.S.
policy in the Security Council must be linked to the prospect that the United
States, too, has more to gain from additional inspections than from a premature
war. Saddam must not escape the
inspectors despite his efforts to slow things down. If Washington is to give up its time pressure
on Baghdad, the UN must exert more pressure.”
"Who Defends The UN?"
Christoph von Marschall judged on the front-page of centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/28): “What
will the Europeans do if nothing changes in the next few weeks, if Saddam
wastes his last chance? Nobody should
claim that this is not enough time. All
Saddam would have to do is grant access to his arsenals and documents, and Hans
Blix could quickly arrive at a judgment.
If Saddam keeps refusing to do so, one must assume that he has something
to hide.... The Europeans are now
realizing what kind of dynamic they started by turning to the Security
Council. Their goal was to keep the
United States from taking action--no going it alone, no preventive war. The extension of the inspections is an
expression of European concerns, but the extension cannot go on forever. If Saddam remains passive, the Europeans must
decide whether they will vote for a war they wanted to avoid or whether they
will harm the UN’s reputation by allowing Baghdad to go unpunished. The Iraqi threat is not a justification for
war, but the question remains whether Europe is willing to defend UN authority.”
Frank Barint noted in centrist Abendzeitung of Munich
(1/28): “No, the danger of war has not
been banned. It has increased following
the report of UN weapons inspectors.
Hans Blix was unable to present new evidence of WMD in Iraq, but he also
confirmed one thing: We cannot trust
Saddam Hussein. That is why the UN will
have to stick to a motto that was also Lenin’s maxim: Confidence is good but
controls are better. That means that
inspections must continue. But more time
for controls also mean more time for reason.
With a heave-ho to a victory in a war, these times are over and have
created enough misery. That is why the
position of the ‘old Europe’ is more convincing than the one of the
Americans. They will ignore the Blix report
like international law, which bans preventive war. Saddam will be unable to divide the world,
but he is distracting power and concentration away from the real global
danger. This is not Iraq, but
"Europe, Oh Europe"
Michael Stuermer maintained in an editorial in right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (1/28): “The hour of
truth is approaching. Either Saddam
gives up, which would be a miracle, or the Americans take action, with or
without a second UN resolution. Then,
Paris and the other permanent members of the Security Council need to decide
whether to play along or whether to witness their impotence.... Hardly capable of defending themselves, most
Europeans view space and time as if the benevolent end of history were already
in sight. In reality, it is only the
United States that still stands between the new horsemen of the apocalypse and
the European paradise of fools.”
ITALY: "A Step Back
Franco Venturini commented on the front-page of centrist,
top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/28): “Yesterday, Hans Blix...put the ‘smoking
gun’...on the UNSC table. Indeed, it is
not really a gun because they were not able to find sure evidence of the
existence of WMD, and many doubts about the smoke also remain.... But [according to Blix]: Baghdad has not ‘genuinely’
cooperated.... Indeed, it is not
difficult to understand what a few more weeks of further inspections will be
used for. By giving more time, even if
unwillingly, America will be able to show that it is reasonable. The most inconvenient allies--like France and
Germany--will be formally consulted. The
UN will save its role. Russia and China
will be able to stay on the margins, as they will acknowledge that many efforts
to convince Saddam were made. And the
same argument will soften the impact on moderate Arab nations’ domestic
fronts.... Indeed, even after the Blix’s
report…we should remember that European public opinions are not all affected by
anti-Americanism...but a real legitimization of the UN is the minimum the
Europeans must ask for, with one voice or many voices. Because obedience outside the rules in order
to save the precious relationship between Europe and the U.S. would indeed
condemn Saddam, but would also further discredit our sad and divided Europe.”
"Bush Calls The Old Europe"
Vittorio Zucconi argued on the front-page of
left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (1/28): "Bush's America
discovers the political need not to fight alone, and its moral need for that
despised 'old Europe.' Now that the
inspectors' report offers Bush the formal pretext he wanted--the lack of
'active cooperation'--the president calls European chanceries...in order to
find the pretext to pursue a recomposition and to pursue at least a symbolic
mediation effort between Europe and America before the fist bomber plane takes
off. Or, if the mediation should fail, (Bush) can at least to create a little
'American' Europe inside the big 'European' Europe..... Indeed, Bush has
invested too much, in political prestige, mobilization, ideological capital to
allow him to wait and do nothing. And
tonight, in that State of the Union address that has now become State of the
Peace in the World address, he should try to perform the most difficult
political operation in his life. To convince...and galvanize the Europeans and
the world public opinion on the immediate and serious reality of an Iraq that
nobody defends but that few consider as a new nazi Germany ready to invade and
strike the whole world."
Sergey Sumbayev asserted in centrist army-run Krasnaya
Zvezda (1/29): "There is nothing dramatic or panicky in the reports by
Blix and El Baradei. They say that, as
the work goes on, everything is okay, but it would not hurt the Iraqis to do
certain things so it looks even better."
"Report Doesn't Live Up To U.S.' Expectations"
Reformist Vremya Novostey (1/28)
front-paged this by Andrey Zlobin and Katerina Labetskaya: "The report has
not lived up to the expectations of very many politicians in the United States,
primarily President Bush, according to Sergey Oznobishchev, director of the
Institute for Strategic Assessments....
A new report could be slated for February. But the United States and Britain are trying
to find a pretext for war in yesterday's reports.... Washington's dictatorial methods in the
world turn off many."
"Critical But Not Deadly"
Official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta
(1/28) ran this comment by Maksim Makarychev:
"Noteworthily, as it becomes more obvious that Iraq has no WMD,
U.S. officials grow more categorical in their statements which sound more like
ultimatums. Washington, not being in
the habit of retreating, would hate to do so now, after the Chief Executive has
repeatedly spoken of a need to overthrow 'hated Saddam' and the Administration
has spent tens of millions of dollars on the shipment of tens of thousands of
troops to the Persian Gulf area alone.
It looks as if the inspection reports are no more than scraps of paper
to the Americans, and Washington's only concern now is to sell the world on a
The oppositionist Iravunk
commented (1/28): "Observers believe that military preparedness alone is
not enough for the U.S. to unleash a war against Iraq. First of all, the U.S. should succeed in
creating a favorable diplomatic and ideological basis in the world to abolish
Saddam Hussein's regime. As a matter of
fact, so far Washington's efforts to gain the support of the super powers on
the Iraqi issue have failed, similar to what happened on the threshold of the
campaign against Afghanistan... A rapid
growth in anti-American sentiment in a dozen countries, including ones which
have friendly relations with the U.S., has become a serious concern for the
United States.... Nevertheless, these
developments do not change the U.S. administration's position. U.S. government representatives continue to
make bellicose statements against Iraq, underscoring that the United States is
ready, without anyone else's backing, to go to war with Baghdad even absent the
UN Security Council's approval."
AUSTRIA: "Test For The
Senior foreign editor Anneliese Rohrer commented
in centrist Die Presse (1/29): "In the Iraq crisis, the UN has
arrived at a crossroads: Will it continue to be an instrument of peace, or
become insignificant?... Still, surveys
in Europe and the United States show that the majority of the people would only
accept military intervention in Iraq with UN authorization. In the long run, it would harm the cause of
peace far more than Washington's current tough stance on Iraq if the UN turns
out to be immobilized and powerless at such a crucial juncture."
BULGARIA: "The Price Of War"
Largest circulation Trud (1/28)
commented: "The U.S.' two most
important NATO allies, Germany and France, are against a military action
against Iraq without the UNSC sanction.
On the other hand, at least two of the UNSC permanent members--Russia
and China--are against a unilateral American strike and will certainly veto any
resolution allowing such action. Washington's pressure on smaller countries,
which have already received invitations to join NATO, is particularly
obvious. They are expected to prove their worthiness. Among them is Bulgaria, which is located
closer to Iraq and can provide logistic support to the Americans. Additionally, Bulgaria is a non-permanent
member of the UNSC and for the Americans it is important not to be completely
isolated at the Security Council--and have at least one more vote in favor of
Second- largest circulation 24 Hours Daily
held (1/28): "In the world's
history there are always periods of Great Confusion. Today
America rejects the opinions of not just any country, but the engines
of United Europe -- the ideological
engine France and the economic engine
Germany. The danger lies not in
the possibility of war, but in the
possibility of not having a UN sanction for such a war. The world would not forgive a decision for war over the heads
of the UN, the EU and China. Tomorrow,
some other country will be attacked in the same way--without consensus, without
negotiations. The nations of the world have given their silent consent to have
the U.S. as the world's sheriff, but all they want is for the sheriff not to
act like he's on a power-drunk binge."
"Inspectors Returned From Iraq Empty-handed"
Shota Utiashvili analyzed the UN inspectors' report
in Georgia's independent liberal--opposition 24 Hours (1/28): "The
inspectors are not confident to say whether Iraq has or does not have banned
weapons. 'I cannot say if Iraq does or
does not possess weapons of mass destruction,' this is what Mr. Blix stated to
the UN Security Council.... According to
Reuter's news agency, despite very aggressive rhetoric, the United States has
decided to delay military actions against Iraq for several months to come. The inspectors' report has failed, if
anything, to elucidate this extremely vague situation. Therefore, both war
supporters and war opponent interpreted the report in favor of their own
"Americans Developed Plan To Go Into
Iraq;...The Plan Will Be Put Into Action"
Independent pro-reform Resonance stressed
(1/28): "U.S.-Iraq relations are an issue that, one way or another,
worries every country in the world. This is why the world is waiting for the
U.S. army to appear on Iraqi soil; the world is waiting to see if Bush Junior
will be able to succeed in accomplishing the plan that Bush Senior started;
i.e. to put an end to Saddam Hussein."
KOSOVO: "In Case Of A War In Iraq We
Support The Americans"
Pro-PDK Epoka e Re editorialized (1/28):
"The NATO intervention led by the U.S.A. and Great Britain without waiting
for the UN bureaucratic machinery to bring a resolution, i.e. the air strikes
against Milosevic forces that were committing violence and genocide against
Kosovo Albanians, was also considered an unprecedented case.... This is a good chance for the UN, better,
some of the countries represented there, to learn how one should react when
mankind faces mass destruction. The most
natural and just thing to do is for America to lead the coalition and to force
Iraqi disarmament by war, for the good of the mankind therefore for the good of
the Iraqi nation.... In such a war the
U.S. will with no doubt enjoy the needed support of the democratic world, no
matter the current opposition by some European governments. Although elected in a democratic way, they
still do not transmit the real views of the majority on this issue.... In case
of war on Iraq, the U.S.A. will surely have the strong backing of the
Albanians; in Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and in other places they live. Albanians, especially the Albanians of Kosovo
have numerous reasons to stand by side with the U.S.A., both in peace and
war. This is not only for their
pro-American sentiment, for their pro-American feeling for the values of
democracy.... There are numerous other
reasons for supporting the U.S.A. and their strong ally Great Britain in case
there is war on Iraq.... Wherever they go, there is establishment of
democracy.... And Kosovo knows best how
important liberation from the tyrants is."
"Running Out Of Time"
The conservative, progressive, populist Irish
Independent commented (1/28):
"His (Hans Blix) message was not simple like theirs
(hawks).... The world at large certainly
believes that the tyrant does possess such weapons, but it does not agree with
the hawks as to the course to be followed. If it refuses to comply (with
Resolution 1441), a new situation arises. But it has not refused to comply.
Time is needed for the inspectors to determine the truth, and for the UN
Security Council to determine the next step. And even if (as is likely enough)
Baghdad continues to engage in concealment and deception, what is a justifiable
next step? Washington constantly asserts that its patience is running out. It
plainly thinks that war is the next step. It is not. Iraqi non-compliance could
force the Security Council to authorise the use of force. But the Americans are
on very shaky ground when they claim that they already have such authority by
virtue of Resolution 1441.... Members of
the U.S. administration could ask...if they wish to cause divisions among their
European allies, including those contemptuously dismissed as 'old Europe'. It
would be tragic if the present crisis undermined the transatlantic alliance. It
would be more tragic still if it reopened old wounds in Europe."
"U.S. Use Of Shannon Airport"
Conor Sweeney filed from Brussels in
conservative, progressive populist Irish Independent (1/28): "The Government could halt the American
right to use Shannon Airport in the event of a war with Iraq without a new UN
resolution, Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen said yesterday. The move would represent an unprecedented
breach with the United States, which has used Irish facilities throughout the
Cold War and since then, including the first Gulf War, which had UN approval.
The minister insisted Ireland would not support any attack on Iraq without a
second resolution from the UN, despite threats from U.S. President George Bush
that he may start a war without one. But Mr Cowen was reluctant to reveal what
stance the Government would take if, as seems likely, the US proceeds with an
Iraqi invasion despite failing to win international support. He insisted the United States could not take
access to Irish facilities for granted."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Impatience And Fear"
Influential liberal De Volkskrant
editorialized (1/28): "The Blix report says Iraq did not really cooperate
with the demand to disarm. The
inspectors cannot say that Iraq has illegal weapons but they cannot say that
Iraq does not have these weapons. and so, the Blix report contains something
for everybody.... Iraq does not wish to
say what happened to the supply of chemicals it had four years ago. this is
serious but is it sufficient reason to start a risky war which could have
unforeseen consequences and which could cost many lives.... Many people rightly
so think it is not sufficient reason. But the U.S. government is impatient. It fears a repetition of the mouse and cat
game Saddam Hussein played in the nineties.
The impatience with the Americans is as big as the fear with many
allies. The Atlantic alliance is heading
toward its worst crisis ever. This will
require smart guidance from all involved.
Powell said the U.S. will take actions alone if it cannot convince the
Europeans. France and Germany cannot do with just saying 'no' to military
intervention. The allies will have to
show willingness and provide instruments to make the UN inspections
successful. That seems the only way to
keep President Bush from fighting a war."
Conservative De Telegraaf had this
editorial (1/28): "Of course it is good to have the inspectors continue
their work. But this cannot last forever and ever. The Americans are understandably losing their
patience. The rest of the world should
also not lean back, hoping this crisis will pass to find out later that the country
did indeed have those dangerous weapons.
It would be too late then."
NORWAY: "Soon Ready For
In social democratic Dagsavisen Foreign
Affairs Editor Erik Sagflaat commented (1/28):
"The United States is certainly ready to go through with the war on
its own. That has been the plan the whole time.
It will be far more difficult to also handle a long lasting occupation
alone. Here the U.S. is quite dependent for help from its allies. But war alone--or with only a handful of
faithful nodding puppets--also has another and more serious side for the United
States; it will be almost impossible to sell such a war as the surrounding
world's war against Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. What we then will get is the USA's crusade
against the Arabic world."
"Saddam Must Cooperate"
The independent Dagbladet commented
(1/28): "The most serious point in the report from Hans Blix and Mohammed
El Baradei to the Security Council is that Iraq has neither accepted or
followed up the world community's request to the country about disarming by
giving an account of its weapons of mass destruction and destroying them....
But Saddam Hussein's lack of will to voluntarily give information away causes
the inspectors to be far away from being able to state that Iraq does not have
weapons of mass destructions or means and possibility to produce them."
"A Fight About The Time"
Newspaper of record Aftenposten (1/28)
commented: "The two reports from Iraq inspections that were presented to
the UNSC yesterday raise just as many questions as they answer.... One of the reasons
for this confusion is Iraq's lack of will to cooperate.... We don't know if the United States already
has decided to attack Iraq, but it sounds like it.... First step is to ensure
the inspectors from the UN and IAEA are not disturbed and have the space to
work in the fateful months to come."
Time On Hussein’s Side
Maciej Rybinski opined in centrist Rzeczpospolita
(1/28): ”The Security Council has received thousands of pages of documents, as
well as the suggestion that the inspectors’ work should be extended for many
months, perhaps even for two years. During that time, perhaps one could
successfully find the proof that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction
or, conversely, the proof that it has destroyed them. For an international and
global institution like the United Nations and its Security Council, where
different political interests and arrangements clash, the situation is perfect.
One can freely interpret the reports and reality in Iraq and in the world.... This may lead to one thing: as time passes,
Hussein will become more and more innocent while the world will be increasingly
sick and tired of controlling him."
PORTUGAL: "Time is Running Out"
In a signed editorial, influential moderate-left
Público editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes insisted (1/28): "The
chief of the UN inspectors mission to Iraq yesterday confirmed what was already
known -- but that many insist on not admitting,....[something] that the
diplomats of the United States and the United Kingdom have repeatedly
stated. He confirmed that....[Iraq]
continues to play a cat-and-mouse game with the international community. Like St. Thomas, many countries, beginning
with France and Germany, will only believe that the Iraq of Saddam Hussein
continues to be the Iraq of Saddam Hussein when their leaders trip over a
chemical warhead themselves.... In
contrast, both the United States and the United Kingdom continue to do exactly
the opposite of what they are accused of: they continue to seek a platform for
multilateral agreement, they continue to try to work with the Security Council,
they continue to do everything to convince its members to join them in the
attempt to force Iraq to comply with United Nations resolutions.... But we must be conscious of the fact that
time is passing, and that it is running out."
Associate editor Francisco Azevedo e Silva, in
the respected center-left Diário de Notícias, editorialized (1/28):
"In the face of the statements [by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei], the
reaction by U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte, that the inspectors'
report 'gives no hope that Iraq will disarm', is legitimate.... The EU has still omitted any reference to
Iraq rapidly providing the information requested by Blix and El-Baradei. The
principle that war is the last resort (and not a preventive act) demands that
EU countries put pressure on Saddam. The
inspectors are asking for more time, and Europe -- to the good -- is giving it
to them; the inspectors are asking for more information and Brussels is not
demanding anything from Baghdad, seeming to believe the cat-and-mouse game is a
peace process. It's a bad job."
ROMANIA: "Repercussions Of War With
In an editorial in the independent Ziua
foreign policy analyst Victor Roncea opined (1/29): "What was not taken
into consideration in western thinking is the violent reactions of ordinary
people, be they Muslims or Christians, reactions which could launch the most
dangerous revolt in the world. Then,
just as a boomerang, America's strike (against
Iraq) could terribly turn against all democratic values existing in the
"Not Enough For Anyone"
Zare Rojc opined in left-of-center independent Vecer
(1/28): "Reports [by Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei] offered nothing
new; particularly to those who have been observing Iraq's and America's mutual
accusations and the growing tension between them..... Both reports seem unfinished--both
[inspectors] blame Iraq and often wrong and exaggerated information provided by
the allies.... Blix in his report did
not give the final truth about anthrax and other accusations that have recently
been made by the United States. His report indicates that there is some truth
in this, but there are no traces and findings which can confirm this.... The
two top inspectors have not offered cards strong enough to interrupt the
current poker game in which bluff prevails aver facts. Americans and their
allies...will most probably not like the reports; therefore, President Bush is
expected to announce his plans about Iraq in his State of the Union Address
today. He will not be able to by-pass the resistance against a military
operation, which has been growing in the United States and in the world. The
only question is how tightly the oil lobby - which already sees Iraq's oil in
its hands - will squeeze [Bush] into a corner."
SPAIN: "Stalemate In Baghdad"
Left-of-center El País wrote (1/28):
"Washington's position cannot be mistaken.
With all that has happened, [Washington] considers that it already has
authorization to attack.... The European Union has come to the agreement, at
least, to ask for more time for the inspectors.
For the moment this position has
impeded a break between those who have come out against the war (France and
Germany) and those who are following the line laid out by Washington (UK,
Spain, Italy)...The most elementary logic demands that the Security Council
have reliable proof before its decides. If Washington has this [proof] as it
has said so many time it has, it should show it. For that there's plenty of time. However indecent Saddam's regime is, the
international community cannot give legitimacy to a war with the information it
"Bush Has The Last Word"
Conservative ABC wrote (1/28): "The
meeting [of the Security Council] tomorrow...could include in its deliberations
the extension of the inspectors' mission.
Europe seems to be ready to request it, and [the extension] would not be
inconvenient for the United States for two reasons: military deployment is
still not complete and, considering Saddam's suicidal tactics, several more
weeks of hypothetical Iraqi noncompliance would support Washington's theory and
diminish some of the resistance to war among European allies and public
opinion. The extension of the inspection
would be the most desirable option."
Marcel Huber wrote in the center-left Berner Zeitung
(1/28): "Although the Iraqis keep
insisting that they have no WMD, there is good reason to doubt their
honesty. They have yet to answer
questions regarding the current whereabouts of biological and chemical
substances suited for weapons. That
generates suspicion towards Iraq, even among those strongly opposed to
war.... Giving the UN inspectors more
time is certainly a good idea. But as
long as Baghdad refuses to fully disclose its weapons, it is illusory to think
that extending the inspections will be enough to bring about a peaceful
resolution to the conflict."
TURKEY: "Genuine Way
Toward Peace: Iraq Without Saddam"
Omer Celik, an MP from AKP wrote in tabloid Star (1/29):
"The United States should seriously think about the worldwide reaction on
the Iraq issue, which questions both U.S. 'goals' and 'methods.' It is very legitimate and very humane to
stand against war. Yet this is not where
the issue ends. Saddam Hussein
represents an incompatibility with the level of humanitarian progress, which
goes from testing weapons on his own people to posing a threat to the
region. His method of leadership, which
is fed by the weaknesses and mistakes of his rivals, is in no way acceptable
for the people of Iraq or to the world.... The fact of the matter is that
pro-peace methods have not yet produced a mechanism to end the political
careers of political figures like Saddam.
On the Iraq issue, standing against the war is the right thing, but in a
way it also contributes to Saddam's political lifespan.... Today,
unfortunately, the peace-seekers have once again overlooked the issue of the
Iraqi people, who suffer under a dictator's oppression. There is only one way to prevent a war: by
paving the way for an Iraq without Saddam.
No peace initiatives will pass scrutiny unless a clear stance against
Saddam is declared. Any peace effort
with that is not clear in its stance against Saddam will lead to an indirect
support for war."
And "New" Europe: Iraq Challenges The Transatlantic Unity"
Centrist newspaper Den (1/28), in a
frontpager by leading international affairs analyst Victor Zamyatin, commented
on Rumsfeld's reaction to Franco-German anti-war statements: "Last week's
events demonstrated that there was no consent specifically on Iraq issues among
the US and its NATO allies, particularly France and Germany; the United
Kingdom, its closest ally, did not quite share Washington's views and may not
be willing to compromise.... The
countries that Rumsfeld referred to in his speech--Poland, Hungary, Czech
Republic--really do have a somewhat different situation.... Transatlantic unity of the times of the Cold
War ceased to exist.... Many EU
countries resent the fact that the United Statesdoes not care about other's
opinions (exiting the Kyoto protocol and not ratifying the International
Criminal Court treaty), that the US is implementing a pro-Israeli policy in the
Middle East, that the U.S.creates 'agents of influence' in Eastern Europe, that
Washington is protectionist regarding American companies. All of those factors have naturally caused
the rejection of the unilateral policy of the
world's only superpower--yet Europe can hardly interfere with the process
and in fact does not want to get into a serious row with the United States."
YUGOSLAVIA: "The Finger On The
Pro-government Politika (1/29) carried an
analytical article on a possible war against Iraq by its Political-Military
commentator Miroslav Lazanski: "The states that would like to prevent a
war should act now and force Baghdad to fully comply with everything that the
inspectors requested. In the Near East chess game there are many
pawns...because the fact of the matter
is not only regional balance, but the credibility of the UN (is at
stake).... However, the political slap
that the U.S. received in the Security
Council will not stop President Bush from planning a military action against Iraq. Most probably the stands of Paris, Berlin and
Moscow will make the American hardliners
even more determined that it should not be giving in to Hussein. Washington has declared that it could go to
war, with or without allies. However,
the biggest news is the possible use of
special nuclear bombs B-61-11 which could be used to eliminate the
Iraqi president in his underground
bunkers.... Even NATO's military experts said that the use of any type of
nuclear weapon would have catastrophic
consequences for human lives and the environment, and that it would
cause enormous political damage to a
state that decides to use it, especially in
the first round of attacks."
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
WEST BANK: "Extending
Inspectors' Mission: American-Euro
Relations On The Iraqi Point"
Hani Habib opined in independent,
pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/29): "Extending the mission
of the international committee of inspectors might allow more time for the
incursive forces to get prepared. Also, such an extension will allow more time
for Iraq to exert political efforts to avoid an incursion. Nevertheless, giving
more time to the inspectors will likely hinder an incursion in light of the
growing international public opinion opposing a war against Iraq, especially in
the United States and the UK. We can assume that the reports of Blix and
el-Baradi will be an additional factor that agitates public opinion against
incursions. The two reports did not prove that the inspectors obtained any
evidence to incriminate Iraq."
"Whatever The Inspectors’ Report Is, Aggression Is
Independent Al-Quds (1/28) editorialized: “The report that Chief of Weapons Inspector
Hans Blix presented at the Security Council is foggy. It [the report] mentioned Iraq’s cooperation
with the weapons’ inspectors, but also went along with the American allegations
that Iraq does not substantially cooperate with the weapons inspectors. The
conclusion that ‘Iraq does not seem to realistically accept the principle of
demilitarizing itself so far’ satisfies the American administration.”
SAUDI ARABIA: “America, And
The Open File Of Accusations!”
Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh
editorialized (1/28): “The Iraqi corner proved that the policies in the U.S.
aren’t governed by wisdom.... We
repeatedly say, that we don’t have any reservations on toppling Saddam.... But subjecting the Iraqi people to slaughter
as what happened in Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Vietnam cities, this is another
case, where nobody will support this attack...and this is annoying the U.S.
because it can’t characterize those who oppose it as Taliban or al-Qaida followers.”
SYRIA: "The UN Addressing Its Responsibilities"
Government-owned Al-Baath asserted
(1/27): "The UN, represented by the UNSC, stands at one of the most and
difficult crossroads since its founding 58 years ago.... This is the result of the report submitted
yesterday to the UNSC on the of international inspectors mission in
Iraq.... The UNSC session shows that
there is not any argument or pretext now for the United States to launch a
military strike against Iraq. But the
United States is expected to look for specific points regarding 'issues still
under review which will require a longer period.' This position contradicts the general
international position calling for reason to find a just settlement to the
Iraqi issue that will ensure lifting the suffocating sanctions on the Iraqi
people. American intransigence and President Bush's insistence on war might
force the United States to bypass the UNSC and take a unilateral decision
against Iraq without international cover. If this happens, the United States
will be solely and directly responsible for igniting a war that all agree will
be disastrous and destructive.... This means the UNSC must accept the level of
responsibility to put an end to this foolish adventure.... The issue does not
deal with the fate of one country but rather with destiny the of the entire
JORDAN: “Jordan And The Patriot”
Daily columnist Urayb Rintawi wrote on the op-ed
page of center-left, influential Arabic Al-Dustour (1/28): “Many analysts and journalists read too much
into Jordan’s talk about the Patriot.
Some viewed it as ‘submission to U.S. pressures, while others argued
that it is preparation for Jordan’s participation in the American war on Iraq.… No one stopped to think of the ‘geographic
dilemma’ that is pressuring Jordan’s policy.
The American war on Iraq, if it expands to include Israel, which is a
possibility no one can ignore, will have direct repercussions on Jordan’s
security and its people.... Any Iraqi
strike against Israel may entail a violent Israeli response. It would be better for Jordan that Iraqi
missiles are not launched against Israel or that Israel’s responsive measures
are adopted. They [Israelis] are the only ones who continue to view Jordan as
an ‘arena’, and they would love a scenario like that… ‘Rejecting American pressures’, ‘defying the
American policy’, ‘stopping the America aggression’ are all slogans fit to
attract applause and cheers in speech rallies, but not fit for making foreign
policy, particularly in a country like Jordan and in a region like ours.”
"Throwback To Colonialism"
Columnist Abdullatif Jebrou wrote in independent
Arabic-language Al Ahdath Al Maghrebiya (1/29), "America has
sentenced Iraq and accused it of having WMD and other countries--both allies
and non-allies--should believe what America says, regardless of what inspectors
find or not inside Iraq.... Now, we have
directly returned to old colonialism era, but with modern techniques. This is
the reality of the new world order after America's aggressive war against
TUNISIA: "The Bidding
Deputy editor-in-chief, Sabri Brahem opined in independent
French-language Le Quotidien (1/28):
'The long-awaited report of UN disarmament inspectors, which kept the
whole international community spellbound, appears at first sight to appease the
warmongers.... The report is far from
giving the perfect alibi for those who badly need it. If we stick to the respective declarations of
Blix and Al Baradei, not a single proof has been discovered on the possession
of WMD by Iraq. Certainly, what the
report has provided is a new deadline, but it is far from ruling out the
possibility of a military intervention against Iraq. In fact, the declarations that followed the
report incite pessimism. However, the realities put forth in the report,
accommodate the voices of peace. Yet, as
it was expected, the report had to be strewn with doubts and uncertainties,
including an indictment of 'mitigated cooperation on the part of Iraq' which
can be interpreted as a violation of UNSC Resolution 1441. Calling for better
cooperation, the UN chief inspector is likely to 'legitimize' the determination
of the American administration...thus, the real question which should be raised
is to determine ahead the weight of the present and the 'next' report, if ever
there will be one."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "UN Must Set Firm Deadline To
An editorial in the conservative national
Australian asserted (1/29): "The case to disarm Iraq, by military
force if necessary, is now made. The report to the UN Security Council by chief
weapons inspector Hans Blix provides ample evidence that Iraqi dictator Saddam
Hussein remains committed to weapons of mass destruction--and the means to make
and maintain them--as part of a decade of direct defiance of the UN."
"The UN Calls Iraq To Account"
The liberal Age stated (1/29): "The
Security Council should continue to support the inspectors, granting Mr ElBaradei
the extra time he has requested and doing the same for Dr Blix if he makes a
similar request in his next report."
"Extra Time For Iraq Is Finite"
The business daily, the Australian Financial
Review stressed (1/29): "If anything can get them to comply now--and
avoid the terrible prospect of another Middle East war--it is the credible
threat of force. This needs to be borne firmly in mind by all the critics of
the Howard government's decision to deploy troops to the Middle East with the
Americans and British."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Give Nuclear Weapons Inspection Team
The independent Chinese-language Apple Daily
News editorialized (1/28):
"U.S. foreign policy has always been affected by domestic opinion
and politics, rather than by the international community's pressure and
views. Now more and more domestic voices
and opinions, questioning military action, are springing up. The U.S. administration must not lower its
guard; rather, it must spend more time and effort to gather domestic
support.... In order to allay domestic
anti-war voices, the crux is to get UN approval and authorization. The Washington Post recently conducted
a survey that showed most respondents believe that taking military action after
gaining UN authorization is the best arrangement.... In other words, the U.S. administration
should not announce in undue haste the ineffectiveness of the nuclear weapons
inspection and immediately declare war against Iraq if it wants to gather its
own people's support. We hope that the
United States and Britain will give the nuclear weapons inspection team
sufficient time to carry out the inspection, so as to make sure whether or not
Iraq is violating the UN resolution.
Only when the international community and the American and British
people themselves see clearly that Iraq is not cooperating sincerely and it has
not obeyed the UN resolution will military action on Iraq receive wide
"Military Action On Iraq Not Yet Confirmed; Markets Show
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times
said in an editorial (1/28): "The
UN nuclear weapons inspection team yesterday released its report on Iraq. The report shows that there is no evidence
that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. It is now U.S. President Bush's turn to
decide whether he will respect the international call to givemore time to the
nuclear weapons inspection team to dig out Iraq's 'evidence of a crime' or
declare war immediately. If Bush lets
the inspection team goon for few more weeks, financial markets will continue to
suffer a lot of pressure and will undergo many fluctuations in a short period
"U.S. Clarifies Posture Of Using Force Against Iraq"
Conservative Sankei's Washington
correspondent Komori observed (1/28): "The Bush administration has made
clear its basic stance of using force against Iraq irrespective of how the UNSC
will react to Baghdad. The U.S. administration, having concluded that Saddam
Hussein is neglecting to dispose of WMDs, is posed to launch action against
Iraq in cooperation with a dozen allies."
"Concern Over Emergence Of Pro-U.S.
Liberal Mainichi's Baghdad correspondent
Ogura observed (1/28): "Even if the U.S. launches action against Iraq and
removes Saddam Hussein from power, it will be difficult to find a new leader in
Iraq because Hussein has purged most of his political foes since he became president
in 1979. Although most Iraqis are actually dissatisfied with the current
(Hussein) dictatorship, they need a strong leader who can unite Iraq, a nation
divided and ruled by antagonistic ethnic and religious groups. Some have even
voiced concern over the emergence of a pro-U.S. dictator."
INDONESIA: "War Is Not The Answer"
Independent English-language Jakarta Post stated (1/29):
"The U.S. military buildup in the region seems to have failed to pressure
Iraq to comply with the Security Council resolution to disarm its WMD. But now
that Saddam seems to have called Bush's bluff, the threat of war has become
real.... This is about making the
region, and the world, safer from the menace of WMD.... The real victims in this gunfight, should it
take place, would not be the two men, but the innocent people, those in Iraq
and God knows where else, if Saddam Hussein decides to use his WMD."
"UN Team Work Announced, U.S. Insists On Attacking Iraq"
Leading independent Kompas commented (1/29): "Iraq has
denied all U.S. charges, but denials do not seem to be enough because what is
needed now is cooperation with the UN inspection team to uncover the real
truth. It was very rational for the UN
team to request an extension for further inspection. Whereas the desire of the U.S. to act beyond
the UN mandate would only incite the world's condemnation and anger."
THE PHILIPPINES: "Time Is Running Out"
Conrado de Quiros wrote in his column in the
widely read Philippine Daily Inquirer (1/29): "Hans Blix, the UN chief weapons
inspector, revealed the results of his search for weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, and as expected raised a storm of controversy with it.... Much of the
reaction to the report from the international community was positive, the
consensus being to allow the inspection team to continue to do its
work.... Predictably, not so for the
United States and Great Britain. A day before Blix submitted his report to the
UN, Colin Powell spoke before the World Economic Summit beating the drums of
war while blowing token rings of smoke from the peace pipe. That is to say,
cajoling the world community to hitch on to George Bush's warpath while saying
that is the last thing Bush wants. Shortly after Blix's report, Ari
Fleischer... took the same tack. It was a breathtaking exercise in imperial
hypocrisy and Catch-22 logic....
Fleischer--or Bush--complains that Saddam has not cooperated fully with
the UN inspectors, which flies in the face of Blix's report. But the United
States itself has not lived up to the arms disarmament protocols, and it must
be asked what kind of cooperation a UN inspection team could get from Bush if
it decided to look into the extent of America's arms buildup and the kinds of
weapons of mass destruction it has."
SOUTH KOREA: "U.S. Pushing Ahead While Denouncing 'Old
Conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized (1/28): “One year
after President Bush labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea an ‘axis of evil’
threatening world peace, the world remains in the grip of terror threats and
fears of war. The U.S. is planning
military action against Iraq in response to threats from the country’s weapons
of mass destruction and is pressuring the North to give up its nuclear weapons
programs.... It is regrettable that the
U.S. seems to be rushing to war with Iraq, irrespective of the results of the
Security Council’s deliberation on arms inspections and despite mounting
opposition from its allies and from within.
In particular, we worry about the consequences of the U.S. pushing ahead
with the war while denouncing its Western allies as ‘old Europe.’… As long as
the United States goes at it alone based on its superior power, it will be
difficult to break the vicious cycle of terror and war.”
THAILAND: “Please Give Peace A Chance”
Kanjana Spindler commented in the
top-circulation, moderately conservative, English language Bangkok Post
(1/29): “It is said that war is a
failure of politics. If President Bush
would like history to salute him then he needs to give the politics of peace a
chance and let the UN weapons inspectors do their job for as long as it takes
to make sure Iraq has no capability to step outside its borders. Then maybe the Iraqi people will have time
enough to figure out how to get rid of the tyrant who rules them.”
Veteran politician and former dean of noted
journalism school Kasem Sirisamphan commented in sensationalist,
business-oriented Thai-language Phujatkarn (1/28): “Contrary to earlier
predictions that the U.S. will start its war against Saddam Hussein
mid-February, present signals indicate Bush will not jump into war
easily.... Meanwhile, the U.S. will
encourage its Middle Eastern allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, to proceed in
two fronts-attempting to get political groups in Iraq to stage a coup to topple
Saddam Hussein and pressuring the Iraqi leader to go into exile… With this
two-front approach, the U.S. would be able to dispose of Saddam Hussein without
going into war which has been so painstakingly planned. Strangely, though,
Saddam Hussein has managed to remain calm and collected and still has Iraq
under his secure control. History may repeat itself!... This time around the
U.S. is threatening to wage war against Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein but
the Iraqi leader continues to rule Iraq unperturbed. If things stay this way, what a disgrace it
would be for George W. Bush."
INDIA: "A Disturbing Report"
The centrist Hindu asserted (1/29):
"The (Hans Blix) report...has come as a setback for those who hoped that
yet another West Asian war could be avoided ... The conclusions drawn by
UNMOVIC do add weight to the accusation leveled by the U. S. administration
that Baghdad is leading the U.N. inspectors on a wild goose chase ...
Washington can be expected to become more vehement in its argument that
military action is necessary since Baghdad will not give up its WMD program
voluntarily ... Whatever the truth may be, it is now essential that Baghdad takes
its friends in the international community, and neutral nations, into its
confidence and come forth with a complete disclosure of its non-conventional
weapons program. It would be unwise for
Baghdad to believe that the nascent anti-war sentiment in the West will build
with sufficient speed and strength to block a U.S. administration that appears
to be bent on war."
"On The Very Edge"
The centrist Indian Express declared
(1/29): "The long-awaited report...clearly indicates that there is no
'smoking gun' to eliminate which the United States should launch a war against
Iraq.... The United States has been saying it has unambiguous evidence about
Iraq's possession and program of weapons of mass destruction. Hopefully this
will be time they will provide that information to the inspectors before
launching a war.... The problem has been complicated by Washington often
indicating that the goal was a 'regime change' in Iraq. Most of Iraq's
neighbors may also want this; but others also see it as struggle to control
oil. A war with multiple aims not clearly mandated by the UN would set a wrong
"Attack Or Inspection?"
Second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt said
(1/29), "At a time when weapons inspectors are asking for more time (for
inspection), it is premature and interfering on the part of the United States
to demand a Security Council decision as to what message it wants to give to
the world.... America must fight against
terrorism, but not to target any country's freedom, government and security on
this pretext. Removing Iraqi leadership
is the right of the Iraqi people, which should not be usurped by a democratic
country like America."
"Avoid War And Give Inspectors More
Leading mass circulation Urdu daily Jang
held (1/29): "The American posture that it does not want to see Iraqi
people dying and wants to protect them is unjustified and baseless, because
after the war millions of ordinary Iraqis are going to be killed, and the
deterioration in their [living] condition is quite imminent...(This is) an
unsuccessful attempt to deceive the international community.... It is high time that UN inspectors are given
more time to do their job."
"Inspectors Report Regarding Iraq"
Karachi-based rightwing, pro-Islamic Urdu daily Jasarat
opined (1/29): "Blix's reports has raised certain points which would
further strengthen American designs and would provide it with justification to
attack Iraq. But the Blix reports should
also have provided answers to the questions as to who helped Iraq in the
manufacture of chemical weapons prior to the Gulf war and who provided arms to
Iraq in its war against Iran during 1980-88.
The United States should also be asked why the present Defense
Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, visited Baghdad several times when the CIA was
helping the Iraqi regime."
"War Over Iraq: When, Not
The centrist Kathmandu Post ran this
piece (1/29) by senior journalist M. R. Josse: "America's preparation for
war against Iraq is manifest…from its open support for Iraqi dissidents, as
underscored by its backing for a conference on that theme in London last
December.... Another indicator is that a
Pentagon-based office has been created to help rebuild Iraq's schools, roads,
hospitals and other critical building blocks of a civil society, in a
post-Saddam Iraq.... If Saddam doesn't
capitulate, war will come to Iraq if not by February's end, at the most, a
month or so later. The U.S. and Britain may make a virtue out of necessity and
advertise that, following the UN inspectors' report to the UNSC, they are
prepared to give…some more time to Iraq to respond to the host of serious
unanswered questions raised by Blix on Monday.
My guess is that after the inspectors' February 14 report to the UNSC,
the chips will rapidly begin to fall.
After a final attempt to obtain UNSC endorsement, perhaps lasting for a
few weeks, the U.S. and Britain will go ahead with or without it. Thus war seems likely in March--if Saddam
doesn't change his still defiant stance."
SRI LANKA: "The Report That Will Decide
Independent Tamil weekly, Sunday Thinakural
commented (1/26): "UN weapons
inspectors will reveal their findings...to the UN Security Council
tomorrow. On the following day Bush will
give his State of the Union Address.
Everyone is anxiously awaiting both events. At the same time, three
countries with veto power in the Security Council have condemned any attack on
Iraq and one of them, France, has openly stated that it will use its veto power. Other powerful countries, such as Canada and
Germany, are also showing opposition to any action against Iraq."
"Beating the Drums of War"
Editorialist Ekinneh-Agbaw-Ebai wrote (1/29) in
the Yaounde-based bilingual, government-owned Cameroon Tribune: “From all indications, the end game has now
begun and it is increasingly difficult to see how it can result in anything
other than war. The report of the chief UN inspectors Hans Blix…enabled the
United States to increase the intensity of its diplomatic assault on Iraq,
which might soon become a physical assault....
The American position is quite clear--there will have to be a complete
change of attitude by Iraq or it will be attacked.... Both U.S. President George Bush and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair…are saying that they must act in case international
terrorists get weapons of mass destruction from Iraq. There is not much which
can rationally counter this argument, and the fact that the specter has been
raised is a major reason why war is so likely.”
SOUTH AFRICA: "Trust
Balanced Business Day held (1/29),
"Even though Iraq cannot be trusted, it is far better that an orderly
process of disarmament takes place through the process of weapons inspection
rather than through war. In the chaos of
war, weapons may be widely dispersed and even handed over to terrorist
groups. The risk of this occurring under
the commission's lightning regime is far smaller. As long as the inspectors believe they are
making headway they should remain in Iraq.
Blix's report shows that his people can be trusted. But it is worthwhile to remember that the
weapons inspectors would not even be in Baghdad were it not for the threat of
war. That threat, however uncomfortable,
should not wane so long as the inspectors are doing their job. It makes them more effective and gives hope
that Iraq will answer the key questions promptly."
"Is It Oil Or Democracy?"
Pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan (1/28) commented: "No doubt, the questions Blix raises are
disturbing. There is no absolute proof
that Iraq had indeed destroyed biological agents--as it claims.... But...UN Resolution 1441...does not call for
war.... The resolution...demands that
[WMD] be destroyed. Nowhere does this
same U.S.-sponsored resolution suggest that this could only be achieved through
war. Nor has the U.S. convincingly
argued its case that military force alone can disarm...Saddam.... The U.S. has its mind made up.... In the absence of a convincing case for war, it
must be assumed that George Bush's commitment to 'regime change' in Iraq is
nothing more than a precursor to the colonization of that country's oil
fields. Even the U.S. must know now--it
will only succeed in this selfish endeavor by wasting the lives of innocent
Iraqi's that have had no hand in the quarrel between himself and Hussein."
"Bush Should Not Bulldoze The UN"
The English-language privately-owned African
held (1/29), "Pentagon officials have been quoted as saying the operation
against Iraq will be nothing ever seen before--as even Hitler himself would
have envied it.... Whatever that means
it smells like a lot of blood spilling around.
Innocent blood. We have said
Washington has assembled a deliberately intimidating military force in the Gulf
area. Intimidating to the whole world,
but in particular to the neighboring Gulf countries, who are being coerced to
adopt the Washington position--and some are already.... Even before Blix and Baradei mounted the
steps to the Council Chambers and Monday, the Bush administration was already
claiming victory--that it had already proved its case against Iraq. Proved what may we ask? The inspectors did not say that Washington
had, beyond reasonable doubt, proved its case.
Why does Washington like to be a spokesman for the whole UN? We appeal to other Council members to uphold
the integrity of the United Nations. It
should not be allowed to be bulldozed by one super power to satisfy its
NIGERIA: "Wrong Move"
The Ibadan-based independent Nigerian Tribune held (1/28),
"Bush has accused Hussein of intolerable brinkmanship, of engaging in a
provocative game of dissimulation. So
Bush wants to take Hussein out with or without the say-so of the Security
Council of the United Nations. That
would be wrong, not to say arrogant. The UN has waited 12 years for Hussein to
comply with its resolution to disarm. It
can wait a few months more. And the arms
inspectors say that they are making progress, though painfully slow progress,
but progress all the same.... Only the Security Council, voting unanimously and
without abstentions, should determine the inevitability of war with Iraq."
"Saddam Must Go"
Sola Fasure commented in the Lagos-based independent Comet
stating (1/28): "This is President Bush's moment of decision. He has announced a policy of regime change in
Iraq in furtherance of American national security, which is threatened by rogue
leaderships like Saddam Hussein's. He
must not let anything distract him from this path. The U.S. is now in a position where it can no
longer back out without losing credibility.
The situation is critical and has gone beyond whether Saddam should
go. What should be discussed now is
post-Saddam Iraq--prosecuting the war with minimum casualty and environment
damage, post-war reconstruction and reconciliation.... When Saddam is removed,
Iraqis will be free. This is a superior
argument to the meaningless rhetoric of pacifists. We saw this in
Afghanistan. When the Tailban regime was
destroyed by the superior fire power of United States and Britain, Afghans
became free and order is gradually returning to the country."
"According To Inspectors, Iraq Did Not Offer Evidence Of Its
Alberto Armendariz, on special assignment in New
York for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (1/28): "In a harsh report
addressed to the UN Security Council, weapon inspectors in Iraq accused the
Hussein regime of not fully cooperating in its disarmament, although they
requested more time to end their work in order to avoid war. In any event, the
message was clear: Iraq did not submit evidence it got rid of its entire
production of anthrax, mustard gas or dangerous VX nerve gas. It has not proved
it used all its chemical bombs and its Scud missiles in the Gulf War. The
report's submission has deepened disagreement within the Council, with most of
the countries willing to seek evidence that Baghdad is disarming itself, while
the U.S. reiterated time is running out... Most of the 15 countries in the
Council reacted more cautiously than the U.S. to the report. Even Great
Britain, an almost unconditional ally of Washington, expressed its will to
continue inspections and wait until the submission of a new report on February
14 to decide a military intervention. This is the first time since the crisis
started that Great Britain has adopted a position in line with its European
"The Argument Expected By 'Hawks'"
Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent
for daily-of-record La Nacion, stressed (1/28): "The Blix
report...fits perfectly with the USG's aggressive policy of military deployment
based on Saddam's unwillingness to disarm his country. The U.S. would not
reject the request for more time for UN inspectors but this would be the
element it would use to pressure its European allies, who still refuse to
participate in a military coalition.
According to the Republican administration, if during the time UN experts
need to finish their work, the perception that Iraq is not willing to deliver
its weapons, then there will be no excuse... In tonight's State-of-the-Union
address, President Bush is expected to use his seduction power...in order to
dispel Americans' increasing amount of rejection and doubts on a war on
"UN Inspectors Have Doubts On Iraq And Ask
For More Time"
Marina Aizen, New York-based correspondent for
leading Clarin wrote (1/28) "In an advanced UN Security Council
meeting, in which the blurry line between war and peace was at stake, UN weapon
inspectors did not submit evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction,
although they denounced that Baghdad was not able to demonstrate that it
destroyed its arsenal and they asked for more time to finished their task.... Never before had there been so much anxiety
due to the submission of two international bureaucrats from the UN Security
Council.... While Blix's statement includes more questions than signs of a
'smoking gun' directly targeting the Hussein regime, the different members of
the UN Security Council can find in his report grounds in favor or against
BRAZIL: "What Is
Worrisome In The Blix Report"
Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo judged
(1/28): "The Blix report has strengthened the U.S. posture that Saddam
Hussein refuses to give up Iraq's arms of mass destruction programs.... What is
most worrisome in the report is its support to Washington's new theory on the
reasons for the inspections and on Iraq's responsibilities in fulfilling the
resolution the UNSC unanimously approved.... The initial goal was to
investigate whether Baghdad was telling the truth and if Iraq was fully
cooperating with the inspectors.... But Washington has now adopted the
reasoning that it is up to Iraq to prove it has disarmed, while the UN's
inspectors have to evaluate Baghdad's evidences.... Washington will
insist...that Saddam has no intention to disarm Iraq and therefore must be
disarmed by force. It is very unlikely,
however, that the USG will succeed in convincing the SC's members or those who
oppose the invasion in the U.S."
"Pressure Against The War"
The lead editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (1/28)
asserted: "The report by the UN's arms inspectors is open to several
interpretations, and as is common in such cases, each interested nation will
adopt the one that it considers more in line with its own interests.... Hans Blix's evaluation of Iraq's cooperation
was in fact tougher than speculation had anticipated....The lack of clarity is
expected to persist for some time.
Despite the U.S.' increasingly bellicose rhetoric, the White House has
given indications that so far it will not launch military action without UN
support.... The U.S. forces will be ready to launch an attack only in late
February or early March. Despite the
fact that no nation is capable of opposing the U.S. in the case of an attack
against Iraq, this is the moment for all those who oppose the war to work
together toward a peaceful solution."
MEXICO: "Iraq: A
Far-left Jornada held (1/28): "Unfortunately, Hans Blix's message did
not help to dissipate threats of warlike aggression hanging over Iraq, with the
accusation that Baghdad 'has not accepted genuine disarmament' as we have
asked. However, his statements did not
seem to give President Bush enough of a pretext to launch a unilateral military
incursion against Iraq, nor did they provide enough justification for Washington
and London's calls for war to be accepted by the other three permanent members
of the U.N. Security Council. We hope
that Blix's report will not be the departure point for another war, but rather
the beginning of a new waiting period to rule out or prove that Iraq has
chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons...in the case that these accusations
are proven, Iraq should be persuaded to renounce these weapons by diplomatic
and peaceful means."
"The Size Of An Obsession"
Federico Reyes Heroles asserted in independent Reforma
(1/28): "Today President Bush will
give his State of the Union address. In
contrast to other occasions, what Bush says today will involve the entire
world. What did Hans Blix say before the
UN Security Council? Even though the
hunt did not capture its sought-after prey...Blix was very clear about his
politics. The inspections focus on the
process of the hunt, but they have another relevant outcome: to force an end to the production of weapons
of mass destruction and bring them under control. The report--his reports--are not
finished. And now, what is next? Colin Powell, the dove of the team, gave us a
preview from Davos: There is enough
evidence. War is inevitable.... Hussein is a tyrant, without a doubt, but
with the continuation of inspections, he has nowhere to hide. How many coffins covered with the U.S. flag
does Bush need to see in order to realize the depths of his obsession?"
"Bush And The Fly Swatter"
Luis Villarreal asserted in independent El
Norte (1/27): "Today's diagnosis that will be released to the public
will have to address a decision that has already been made: to attack Iraq and
overthrow Sadam Hussein, no matter the cost in human lives that this will
imply. According to Bush, the purpose
will be carried out, even though it is against the will of the U.S. people and
the UN.... A serious and ominous
precedent is days away from becoming evident: the crush of the weak by the
power of the strong. Unless, protests
and international lobbying intensify the consensus against the war. Is there time?"
Center-left influential Hoy held (1/28): "According to
the report from the UN weapons inspectors, there is not enough evidence to
presume that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, but neither is there reason
not to discount this possibility.
Therefore, it is necessary to extend the work of this UN mission. The foreign ministers of the European Union
have announced they are in favor of continuing the inspections.... The day
before the report, Colin Powell restated the determination of the U.S. to act
firmly against Saddam Hussein and he left open the possibility of an attack on
Iraq without the support of U.S. allies.
As is well known, Germany and France have expressed opposition to
military intervention.... International support for a U.S. attack has
waned. The United States undoubtedly
will not have support without evidence from the UN inspectors. President Bush's problem now is not just
international support but public opinion in the United States, which seems to
be more and more against unilateral action.
The Security Council should approve an extension for the inspectors to
complete their work. A unilateral decision against Saddam would be an error
with grave consequences for the world."
"Give The Weapons Inspectors More Time"
The editor-in-chief of the centrist,
business-oriented Jamaica Observer argued (1/28): "Mr. Blix is
reported as telling the Security Council...we expect that the war rhetoric will
crescendo and would not be surprised if the 15 members of the Security Council
are subjected to increased pressure to endorse a military solution when they
meet tomorrow.... But with doubts still
lingering in the minds of the Chinese, French, Russians and Germans, we urge
the United States to abide by the request of Mohamed El Baradei, the head of
the International Atomic Energy Agency, for a few months to complete the
weapons search.... We can't help but be
skeptical about the reason for the crisis advanced by the White House and
Downing Street--Iraq's pursuance of a nuclear weapons programme.... If that was the only reason, the Americans'
slap-on-the-wrist response to the North Koreans' open admittance that they have
resumed their nuclear programme is, to say the least, puzzling. Wasn't North Korea one of the countries named
in President Bush's 'axis of evil'?"
"Don't Rush, Mr. Bush"
Regular columnist and Jamaican journalist of the
year (2002), Ken Chaplin argued in the centrist, business-oriented Jamaica
Observer (1/28): "If Mr. Bush
has credible evidence that Iraq has any such weapons and their locations, he
should pass this information on to the UN weapons inspectors.... This column cannot support war on the basis
of suspicion.... Iraq has already been
asked to disarm. If hard evidence is
produced that the country has weapons of mass destruction, then he should not
be asked again to disarm. The UN Security Council would have no other option
but to vote that he be disarmed by an international force. In the meantime, a
mighty American and British armada has surrounded Iraq, ready to strike, and
Israel, America's ally, is preparing for war."
PANAMA: "This Time,
U.S. Will Be Aggressor"
Independent La Prensa asserted in a front
page editorial column (1/27): "The first Gulf War has nothing in common
with what Bush proposes to unleash.... This time the United States will be the
aggressor country and will be by itself.
Statesman from the area, the Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese have
condemned in advance such irresponsible adventure.... The UN experts not only
did not find anything, but also praised the collaboration that was provided by
Iraq's government. Fifty-nine percent of the Americans oppose war and a high
percentage demand that their president presents evidence before acting. For foolishness, for greed of those that
surround Bush, the president is wasting the political capital that he was able
to accumulate since September 11, 2001."