February 14, 2003
UNSC MEMBER MEDIA ON THE USE OF FORCE IN IRAQ
In the wake of Secretary Powell's February 5 UN presentation on
the Iraqi WMD program, INR/MR surveyed 278 editorial excerpts from 73 countries
on the U.S. case for the use of force against Iraq. Excerpts were categorized as "Supportive
of the U.S. Case", "Unconvinced by the U.S. Case" and
"Opposed to the U.S. Case."
U.S. embassies and consulates surveyed major media and submitted these
excerpts. The following survey is based
on the 81 editorial excerpts from media outlets in 14 UNSC member states.
ANGOLA: Both articles
surveyed--from state-run Angolan outlets--backed "strengthening and
continuing weapons inspections" to ensure the "peaceful
disarmament" of Iraq. Both were
strongly opposed to any war, with Jornal de Angola terming the Iraqi
situation a "threat" but stressing the need for a "peaceful
BRITAIN: A majority of British
editorials surveyed--five out of eight--supported using force in Iraq. The independent Financial Times hailed
Secretary Powell's "persuasive case" in concluding that Baghdad
"is in defiant breach" of Resolution 1441. Another paper added that Saddam must be
stopped "even if it ultimately takes war." Two liberal articles, however, opposed any
war, emphasizing that Iraq can be contained.
The liberal Independent warned any "act of aggression"
would "virtually guarantee an upsurge in global terrorism."
BULGARIA: Two of three
Bulgarian editorials backed war against Saddam, mainly because of fears over
harming relations with the U.S. The
weekly Sofia Echo put it thus:
"In the war against terrorism, those who are not for America are
CAMEROON: Among three editorials
in the sample, two were unconvinced of the need for military action, one was
supportive. Privately-owned Radio Venus
joined the government-owned Cameroon Tribune in judging that Secretary
Powell presented "an indication but not proof" of Iraq's deceiving
CHILE: In a small sample of
three editorials, all straddled the fence on military action. Most made war contingent on the weapons
inspectors "verifying Washington's accusations." Santiago's conservative, influential
newspaper-of-record El Mercurio believed that Washington will try to
link the yet-to-be formalized U.S.-Chile free trade agreement with Santiago's
adopting a UNSC position "closer to the wishes of the United States."
CHINA (including Hong Kong and Macau SARS): Out of seven articles surveyed from China, not
one supported immediate military action.
Four were opposed to military action in any case; in one typical remark,
the Hong Kong Economic Times accused Secretary Powell of merely seeking
to "justify war" using evidence that "contained nothing
new." Three pieces conditionally
backed war but only if the UN approved, with concerns over whether "the
world will no longer have checks and balances on U.S. power."
FRANCE: None of the selected
French editorials backed military action against Iraq at the present time. Of eight pieces, five gave conditional
support to eventual use of force but insisted that "if there is the
slightest chance of convincing Saddam to save his people from a war, then France
is right" to seek intensified inspections rather than war. Left-of-center Le Monde summed up a
common theme: that Secretary Powell's
much-anticipated presentation became the "day of reiterated
suspicion" rather than the "day of proof." Three pieces remained against using force in
any scenario, accusing the U.S. of being "totally consumed with its
GERMANY: Three of seven German
editorials surveyed backed using force against Iraq, declaring that Secretary
Powell's "impressive presentation" means the "UN has to
act" to avoid "political paralysis." Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
termed Saddam a "genuine danger," while right-of-center Die Welt
said opposing the U.S. would "alienate Germany from its most important
ally." Four pieces, meanwhile, said
Powell's evidence "did not convince them of the need and the inevitability
of war" and called for additional proof.
GUINEA: Both editorials in this
small sample opposed military action.
They said flawed U.S. policy made support for war untenable. Government-owned Guinean National Radio
stated, "Washington sought, in vain, to justify an unjustifiable war. In response, Guinea, which is to chair the
Security Council in March, seeks a political solution and the respect of
international law in Iraq."
MEXICO: All four editorials
examined firmly opposed a war. Most
judged that the U.S. failed to provide "clear evidence" that Iraq is
an immediate threat and has links to al-Qaida.
Independent Reforma focused on the negative consequences of any
military action, positing gloomy "day-after" scenarios in which the
U.S. becomes bogged down in a Vietnam-style quagmire and terrorists exact
reprisals against U.S. and Israeli citizens.
PAKISTAN: Only one of 15 articles
from Pakistan supported the use of force with Iraq. The majority firmly declared that the
"arguments against war are stronger than those for it." Of these, most said Secretary Powell's
evidence was "doubtful" and "littered with gaping holes." Popular Khabrain reflected common
sentiment by accusing the U.S. of "beating the war-drums." Four papers conditionally supported military
action, but emphasized that Secretary Powell's evidence was "not
sufficient to start the bombing of Baghdad."
RUSSIA: Half of eight articles
from Russia opposed resorting to a military solution in Iraq, with many
declaring that Secretary Powell's presentation lacked "absolute
proof" and was not "valid."
Others, including reformist Vremya Novostey, said the
"world's reaction has been one of mistrust" of the U.S., generating
calls for additional inspections and negotiations. Only one piece backed the use of force,
saying Powell's "impeccable piece of oratory" proved that Saddam is
"a criminal and ought to be punished."
SPAIN: Spanish reaction was
mixed, with all five pieces opposing wars in general. However, one of the five noted that sometimes
"there is nothing left to do but wage them." Three pieces were unconvinced, with
independent El Mundo stating that Powell's "serious" evidence
supports "an extension of the inspectors' mandate" but not a
"blank check for an invasion."
One editorial opposed any military action, fearing the
"consequences of a war in the Middle East and the impact in the Moslem
SYRIA: In the harshest
criticism found on the UNSC, all of Syria's government-run media expressed
adamant opposition to any military intervention. Secretary Powell's evidence before the UNSC
was termed "no more than a scandal and a farce." Dailies maintained that U.S. policy
disqualifies it from receiving support for unilateral action and that U.S.
"contempt" for the UN is undermining the body's authority. The government-owned Syria Times
challenged the UN to exercise greater leadership on the Iraq issue or undergo
restructuring to "liberate it from American hegemony and disdain."
EDITORS: Steve Thibeault,
Ben Goldberg, Gail Hamer Burke
"Angola Supports Continuation Of Inspections In Iraq"
Luanda's government-controlled Jornal de
Angola asserted (2/6): "The U.S. Secretary of State's speech on Iraq
during yesterday's UN session was 'convincing,' but despite this Angola still
supports strengthening and continuing weapons inspections, confirmed the deputy
minister of Foreign Affairs, George Rebelo Chikoty, yesterday. Speaking to the
Security Council in New York following Colin Powell's address, Chikoty said the
information presented would help to ensure the UN was 'prepared to take a
stance in terms of the Security Council's work.'... Iraq has to substantially cooperate in terms
of Resolution 1441 passed last November, which compels it to destroy its
arsenals of destruction, emphasized the Angolan diplomat. The Security Council 'needs a clear and
unambiguous stance from Iraq on issues brought up by the inspectors,' he
added. George Chikoty added that Angola
believes 'extending and strengthening the inspection body' is imperative to
'increasing its efficiency'. 'Our global
point of view regarding the situation is that the inspection program has to be
continued.' said Chikoty. And, to
maintain peace, he confirmed, 'the Security Council should remain united and
continue to provide political support for inspections,' which should be
concluded 'resolutely.' The situation in
Iraq is 'a threat to peace and international security,' said Chikoty, but 'a
peaceful solution can still be found.'"
"Angola Believes In A Peaceful Solution To
Government-controlled news agency ANGOP in its
Internet version commented on Deputy Angolan Foreign Minister George Chicoty
statement that Angola "believes in a peaceful solution to the Iraq
issue" (2/6): "This position
was defended during a UN Security Council session, which came together on
Wednesday to hear the proof presented by the United States about the existence
of missiles, chemical and biological weapons in Iraq. Chicoty labeled the proof
presented by US Secretary of State Colin Powell a significant contribution to
encourage the UN Security Council to adopt pertinent decisions that will result
in the peaceful disarmament of Iraq, without the need for war..... He urged Iraq to give more cooperation to the
UN weapons inspectors in order to comply with resolution 1441, with the
objective of showing the world that it has destroyed its chemical and
biological weapons and its missiles. He
argued that the destruction of the missiles, chemical and biological weapons is
a guarantee for international peace and security, as well as the stability of
the African states in accordance with the Pelindaba Treaty. Chicoty, citing the
conclusions of the last African Union extraordinary summit, which ended on
Tuesday in Addis Ababa, said that everyone should continue to support the UN's
efforts, to try and avoid a war in Iraq, which would be a destabilizing factor
in the region, and would have serious economic consequences for the world, and
Africa in particular. Chicoty, continuing his speech, called for unity to
continue within the Security Council on the Iraqi issue, with the objective of
achieving the disarmament of Iraq in an effective and peaceful manner.
'Avoiding the war is strengthening international peace and security,' he
The independent Financial Times expressed this view
(2/7): "judging by the reactions of
a number of Democrats, Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council
may have been a pivotal moment in the U.S. debate on Iraq.... That may owe much to the identity of the messenger; Mr. Powell has a credibility no other member
of the administration can match. Mr.
Powell has proved persuasive in the past with America's allies, too, but here
the success of his presentation is still uncertain. The considered reaction of even the more
skeptical European governments, now that they have had time to digest the
allegations, suggests that Mr. Powell, with Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons
inspector who reported last week, has provided a persuasive cse that, at least
as of today, Iraq is in defiant breach of its obligation to comply with UN
Resolution 1441. But the skeptics
continue to urge extended diplomacy....
Skeptical governments are right to demand more evidence from Mr. Blix
and Mohamed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency when they
report to the Security Council next week. But unless there is a dramatic change
in Iraqi behavior, those who insist that the threat posed by Mr. Hussein can
indefinitely be dealt with by means other than force will have to give more form
to their approach if they are to retain credibility."
"The Final Countdown To An Unsupportable Conflict Has
The liberal Independent stated (2/7): "We come to the sad conclusion that we
should be braced for war. We fervently
hope that if it comes, it will be short, and that the morale of the Iraqi
military is in tatters. We hope that
Saddam will not, in desperation, use the chemical and biological weapons that
he probably does possess. We hope that
the UN continues to be engaged as much as possible, in order to dilute the
perception that this is a war of the Christian West against Islam. We hope that the reconstruction of Iraq will
not be seen in Arab countries as American imperialism. If we could be sure that all these hopes
would be realized, we might be persuaded that a war would be just. However, as
the case has not been presented in those terms, we remain to be convinced. Whatever the undoubted benefits to the Iraqi
people of deposing Saddam by force, they cannot, in this case, justify the
means. Saddam has been guilty of crimes against humanity in the past, but
however awful his regime, he is not threatening genocide now. And the threat of his biological and chemical
weapons can be contained."
"Powell Shoots To Kill"
The liberal Guardian editorialized (2/6): "This was not the dread moment that war
became inevitable. As the French foreign
minister was quick to point out, there remain other ways of defusing this
crisis. But the U.S. secretary of state
did provide persuasive, disturbing information suggesting that Iraq's efforts
to circumvent the inspections are well-planned, thorough and centrally directed
and as such constitute an unacceptable defiance of the UN's will. Most powerful, perhaps, was Mr. Powell's
detailed listing of the many ways in which Iraq has apparently sought to
conceal proscribed activities. But as he
reeled off case after case...only one conclusion was possible.... Saddam, the bloodiest of dictators who has
caused so much pain and suffering for so long, is once again recklessly
courting the very disaster so many people rightly fear. Iraqi behavior must change radically and
without any more delay. Much of the U.S.
evidence must be accepted, if it is accepted at all, on trust. Mr. Powell's sources were mostly anonymous
defectors, detainees, third country spooks and U.S. intelligence.... Mr. Powell certainly did the UN a service in
finally opening his Iraq dossier to public view. But the way forward must now be expanded,
intensified inspections equipped with this new evidence, as France
proposes. Iraq must disarm. The U.S. and Britain must not jump the
"The Case For The Prosecution"
The independent Financial Times lead editoral judged
(2/6): "Using the measured approach
of a prosecutor--albeit with evidence requiring a high degree of trust--Mr.
Powell has powerfully reinforced the judgement of Hans Blix's that it is five
minutes to midnight for Mr. Hussein. He
can now fully cooperate in his disarmament or face war. The next few days of debate will be
exceptionally difficult, culminating in Hans Blix's report next Friday. Only if he states unequivocally that the
inspections route has run its course is there much chance of a consensus
forming in favor of using force. But a consensus is what the UN and the world
"Powell Makes The Case"
The conservative Daily Telegraph took this view (2/6): "Colin Powell's presentation yesterday
to the United Nations on Iraqi defiance of the Security Council was an
extraordinary event.... The fact that
the case against Saddam Hussein was being made by the leading dove in the Bush
Administration was a powerful reminder that Baghdad has been given ample time
to demonstrate compliance with the UN.
Mr. Blix will report again to the Security Council tommorrow week. It will then have to decide whether to face
up to its responsibilities. If is does
not, America and its allies will go to war without its blessing. The risk, post-September 11, of leaving
Saddam in possession of deadly weapons is not one that they are prepared to
"An Impressive Show But Powell Failed To Make Case For
The liberal Independent editorialized (2/6): "General Powell asked the international
community to understand that, in the light of all we know about Saddam and all
the intelligence that the Secretary of State shared with the UN, the United
States government could not 'run the risk' of allowing Saddam to remain in
power. In turn, General Powell and the
Bush administration must understand that much of the rest of the world is not
ready to countenance the even more terrible risks involved in a war. Such an act of aggression by the U.S.
threatens to destabilize the whole region, would be a huge encouragement to the
fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and would virtually guarantee an
upsurge in global terrorism. The policy
of containment and sanctions, pursued for 12 years, has been frustrating and
messy; but it has constrained Sddam.
General Powell did not tell us why we must abandon it."
The conservative Times held (2/6): "This was, as the general had said it
would be, a sober presentation, but the cumulative effect of his
circumstancial, visual, and auditory evidence powerfully reinforced the U.S.
and British contention that Iraq continues to deceive UN inspectors, to defy
the UN Security Council, and to manufacture weapons so appalling that they are
outlawed by UN conventions. In Iraq, the
world is not up against a diminished threat lingering from the past, but
confronting a dangerous serial offender, a dictator as contemptuous of human
life as he is of international law.
Containment has failed to to prevent him building and hiding weapons
that, he must be assumed to believe, would make him ultimately impossible to
restrain. Even if it ultimately takes
war, he must be stopped."
"And We Still Wait For The Evidence"
The liberal tabloid Daily Mirror opined (2/6): "Some smudgy old photos and blurred
taped conversations are not the basis for war.
Saddam Hussein is an abominable tyrant--a deceiver and liar who no doubt
glories in trying to cheat the UN's weapons inspectors. But is he a serious threat to the world? Mr. Powell says so, without producing real
evidence to back up his claim. Everyone
can agree that Saddam Hussein must be controlled. And he is being--not because the U.S. and
Britain are threatening him with war but because the United Nations has taken a
strong line. The greatest protection the
world can get is by uniting behind the UN.
Unilateral action will divide it and weaken the front against
terrorism. Colin Powell said that this
is a defining moment for the United Nations.
He is right in that--but not in the way that he intends. It is a defining moment because the world's
only superpower threatens to go it alone--apart from Britain's help."
Political Support On Call"
Left-leaning Monitor held (2/10): "For the first time in the last 50 years
Bulgaria is being involved in a war. No
one is taking into account the sentiment of the Bulgarian nation. Washington demanded and received the
Bulgarian government's unconditional support.
The Bulgarian cabinet offered its services to the U.S. and is seemingly
oblivious to the impression this would make on the rest of the world.... The
Bulgarian politicians are always ready to compromise with their hard-won
dignity, but in all too many cases they also compromise with the nation's
dignity as well."
"Iraq As An Admission Exam For NATO"
Center-right, pro-West Dnevnik (2/10) ran this piece by
political scientist Anton Todorov:
"Even if it had prayed for it, the country could have hardly
received a better opportunity to back its bid for NATO membership than the
current Iraq crisis.... All countries
bidding for membership are currently under close scrutiny and any sign of
hesitation would not benefit the hesitant state. The engine of the anti-Saddam coalition is
the U.S., and the U.S. is the country that will have a decisive say about the
accession of the new members to NATO....
It would b wrong to claim that Bulgaria should base its commitments to
NATO and the Iraq crisis in particular on national interest only. Such behavior could turn into an obstacle for
preserving NATO's internal stability and could encourage future splits with the
other NATO members.... An ambiguous
position or an attempt to copy other examples of restraint is unacceptable as
well as counterproductive. It would be a
pity if Bulgaria turns out to be the only new aspirant country that weakens,
instead of strengthening, the Alliance."
"U.S. Asks Bulgaria To Anct ON De Facto Alliance"
English-language weekly Sofia Echo editorialized
(2/7): "By the time U.S. Secretary
of State Powell was preparing to take the podium at the UNSC this week, it was
clear that the phase of diplomacy and the exchanging of messages through
multilateral channels and the media was winding down.... As Bulgaria's Cabinet gathered this week to
consider the U.S. request for military assistance, mainly in the form of
allowing the passage of troops and equipment, at very worst they would have
remembered the U.S. line that in the war against terrorism, those who are not
for America are against it. The United States has done no more than ask
Bulgaria to act in terms of an alliance already de facto in existence. One day,
it may be that in Sofia a U.S. ambassador and an Iraqi ambassador speak face to
face on amicable terms. One of the
prices for this: Bulgarian assistance
CAMEROON: "Facts Or
Yaounde-based bilingual, government-owned Cameroon
Tribune's editorialist Gregoire Djarmaila questioned (2/6) “Powell’s presentation was very
argumentative.... The speech eloquent
and well done. Arguments were learnedly
prepared to prove that Iraq has not fully cooperated with the UN inspectors and
that it possesses weapons of mass destruction... Must one conclude that the information
provided by Collin Powell is true evidence?
For the moment, it is difficult to answer this question. The sources of the information are
exclusively from American intelligence services. The data was highly technical
to many observers who think that this information is an indication but not
"Cameroon Seeks Stronger Weapons
The Yaounde-based bilingual, government-owned Cameroon
Tribune (2/6) gave a lot of coverage to the remarks of Minister Francois
Xavier Ngoubeyou who said in the UNSC:
"War is not inevitable....
Cameroon understands and shares the concerns and apprehensions of the
United States as well as its determination to disarm Iraq…but let us give the
inspectors the time to utilize and verify the elements of the information that
has been presented.” The editorial
detailed the evidence laid out by Secretary Powell and stated, “Mr. Powell methodically
made the case that Iraq has defied all demands that it disarm...as he warned
the special Council session against any further delay.”
"Evidence Not Very Convincing"
Radio Venus a private radio station, in a news
bulletin (2/6) said that the Secretary of State presented tape recordings,
satellite photos and other information to explain why Iraq is dangerous to the
international community, but that the evidence was not convincing that Iraq
actually possessed WMD. Radio Reine,
which is owned by a Catholic priest, highlighted in its newscast several key
points raised by the Secretary of State to prove that Iraqi possesses WMD and
to prove the connection of Baghdad’s regime to al-Qaida. According to the news
presenter, “the evidence was not very convincing. The Secretary of State was persuasive
but his arguments were not impressive.
He balanced his presentation with the positions of Cameroon and other
UNSC members who are urging the United States and the UN give more time to the
inspectors, before backing any military action against Iraq.”
"Iraq Before The United Nations"
Santiago's conservative, influential
newspaper-of-record El Mercurio opined (2/8), "On Wednesday U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Iraq's non-compliance
with UN resolutions to the UN Security Council.
Powell's statements did not convince...Russia, France, or China that
Iraq is producing weapons of mass destruction.... Chile's position as a non-permanent member of
the Council seems an uncomfortable one.
It has been inclined--along with Cameroon, Angola, Guinea, Mexico and
Pakistan--to favor a majority of that institution, putting aside a position
closer to the wishes of the United States.
In a call related to the Iraqi crisis, President Bush referred to the
(U.S.-Chile) free trade agreement, which was recently reached but not
formalized. It does not seem a casual
reference. Its contents were not
"An Unnecessary War"
Noted international affairs journalist Raul Sohr
wrote in Santiago's government-owned, editorially independent La Nacion
(2/7). "Secretary of State Colin
Powell made a solid presentation to the UNSC.... Although it is impossible to corroborate each
one of Powell's points, there is no reason to question them, either.... Paris and Berlin agree with Washington that
Hussein is an unscrupulous dictator and a potential threat, but they do not
view him as an immediate threat. They
believe that by strengthening the inspectors they will save themselves the cost
of a war...and succeed in getting Iraq to effectively disarm. The only good thing about a war is that it
relies on the will of individuals to either end or begin. Therefore, it is still possible to stop this
"Inspectors Must Verify Powell's
Daily-of-record El Mercurio held (2/6):
"Rather than convincing the other 14 Security Council members to attack
Iraq... the 'evidence' presented yesterday by Secretary of State Colin Powell
convinced several countries that it is necessary to continue with the weapons
inspections and verify Washington's accusations."
"A Skeptical World"
Top circulation La Tercera commented (2/6): "Secretary Powell's presentation, which
lasted more than 90 minutes, centered around three main points: that Iraq
continues to manufacture WMD, that it continues to deceive UN weapons'
inspectors, and that it supports international terrorism.... Certainly, Washington managed to prove a
point that few still doubted: the government in Baghdad has repeatedly
attempted to flout the dictates of the UN and that Saddam Hussein's words about
cooperating with the inspectors must be evaluated with a great deal of caution
and skepticism. Nevertheless, Powell's
evidence was insufficient to convince an incredulous international community
that an immediate war is the only alternative to ensure that Hussein is no
longer a threat to world peace."
Embarrassing Result Of Plagiarism”
Sheng Jingren commented in the official Communist Party People’s
Daily (Renmin Ribao) (2/10):
"It is out of people’s expectation that the U.S. report elaborating
Iraq’s violation of the UN Resolution 1441 is plagiarized from an official
document of the U.K. It may be the U.S.’
last choice under an urgent situation that the U.S. intended to frame a case
against Iraq but could not find sufficient evidence.”“In fact, the U.K.
document is also of a questionable origin.
It is reasonable for people to question how many times the U.S. and the
U.K. have lied in important international affairs.”
“Powell Launched A Multi-media Attack, War Is Drawing Close”
Official Xinhua declared (2/7): “In order to prove the necessity of military
action against Saddam, U.S. Secretary of State Powell launched a ‘multi-media
attack’ on Iraq at the UN Security Council meeting on Feb. 5, doing all he
could to convince the member countries of the Security Council that Iraq was
trying its best to conceal weapons of mass destruction. However, the fact is that he seems to have
wasted his breath. Although Powell’s
speech has had little effect, many people from Arab countries, no matter
whether or not they support the U.S. stance, think that Powell’s speech has
proved at least one point--that war is drawing nigh.”
"Powell Plays His ‘Intelligence Trump Card’"
Guo Lijun and Duan Jiyong reported on the
website of the official Xinhua News Agency (2/6): “According to analysts, first, U.S. President
Bush’s further publication of the necessity to attack Iraq in the State of the
Union speech shows the U.S.’ determination to resolve the Iraq issue at any
cost even through unilateral military means.
Powell’s presentation of the evidence about Iraq delivering and
concealing WMD is obviously to echo Bush’s national general mobilization for
war. Second, the U.S. presenting the ‘evidence
of Iraq’s crime’ at this moment is for the purpose of expediting its diplomatic
efforts to gain the authorization for war from the UN. Third, the U.S. has not only accused Saddam
of having relations with terrorist organizations, but also clearly related the
Iraqi Government to al-Qaida. This
behavior is to warn Americans that the ‘dangerous weapons’ Iraq has can
directly threaten every American through terrorist organizations.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Who will be the losers? The
innocent, as usual"
Cesar Chelala, international public health consultant and
co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award, remarked in the
independent English-language South China Morning Post (2/9): "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's
forceful presentation to the UN Security Council failed to convince key members
of the need for immediate war against Iraq....
The Iraqi people have experienced two gruelling wars in the recent
past--one against Iran and the 1991 Gulf War.
These have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, mostly civilians
or youngsters forcibly conscripted. A
new war against Iraq would further undermine its health infrastructure and lead
to the suffering and death of huge numbers of civilians. As a result of the skewed priorities of the
current Iraqi regime and the economic sanctions imposed against it, a country
that was once prosperous has suffered a dramatic decline in the health and
quality of life of the general population....
Although there is every reason to want Saddam Hussein out of power in
Iraq, any action contemplated against him should take into account the serious
humanitarian consequences of such action."
"War Or Peace Hinges On U.S. And Iraq"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao commented (2/7): "On February 5, U.S. Secretary Powell
addressed a special meeting of the UN Secretary Council, providing evidence to
show Iraq was in violation of the UN resolution. Secretary Powell also detailed Iraq's
connection with al Qaeda in a bid to win UN support for military action against
Iraq. From preliminary reactions, U.S.
efforts were not very successful....
From an objective point of view, the 'evidence' raised in Secretary of
State Powell's speech was mainly based on questionable data collected by its
intelligence and inferences made from that data. This can hardly be taken as 'proven
evidence.' Powell's information,
however, should provide some clues for the UN weapons inspection to conduct a thorough
investigation and evaluation. In other
words, the information provided by the U.S. should be verified by the UN before
it can be considered as evidence. In the
interim, Iraq should also provide an explanation and clarification to the
doubts raised by the U.S. and the weapon inspection team.... The majority of Security Council members,
however, especially China, Russia, France and Germany, continue to call on the
U.S. to resolve the Iraqi crisis within the UN framework."
"Easy To Win War, But Hard To Deal With Aftermath"
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong
Economic Journal editorialized (2/6):
"With Secretary Powell's submission of 'evidence' of Iraqi
non-compliance to the UNSC, U.S. diplomatic efforts were brought to a temporary
close. As the Secretary of State
appeared in person to submit the 'evidence of crime,' the evidence is naturally
proven. If the Security Council and its
allies still refuse to support military action, the U.S. will have 'sufficient
grounds' to act alone. In fact, U.S.
aircraft carriers deployed to the Middle East have already sailed closer to
Iraq, within the range of fire.
Everything is ready. War on Iraq
could break out at any moment. Although
the U.S. did not secure strong support from its allies, its military
deployments continue to go smoothly.
According to the Deputy Secretary of State Armitage, 21 countries have
shown their support for a U.S. strike against Iraq, and they promise to provide
assistance to the U.S.... People are
more concerned that if the U.S. ignores the UN and no longer needs the support
of its traditional European allies to act, this will show the U.S. is a huge
military power that can command the world.
Unilateralism will become the leading force behind U.S. national
policy. Will the world no longer have
checks and balances on U.S. power!?"
"Powell Blows The Trumpet; Iraq On Brink Of
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong
Economic Times commented (2/6):
"Secretary Powell yesterday addressed the UNSC. He submitted 'evidence' showing Iraq
possesses weapons of mass destruction.
Regardless of whether or not the evidence is sufficient, Powell used it
to lobby for other countries' support....
[He] appeared in person at the Security Council, lifting the curtain on
the last show of the U.S. war against Iraq.
Many people feel that the so-called 'evidence' Powell submitted, which
included satellite photographs and audio tapes, contained nothing new. U.S. President Bush and Secretary Powell,
however, are not concerned about whether the evidence is shocking. They were simply using the Security Council
'show' to justify war and show that they are not fighting alone."
Left-of-center Le Monde said in its editorial (2/7): “The Bush administration chose its best
spokesperson to defend its Iraq policy. Secretary Powell inspires confidence.
It is more than just his stature and his self-assurance. It is more than his
exceptional personal achievement. It is
the way he is. The man cultivates a form
of careful pragmatism; he is not a warmonger.... Banking on this capital of trust Secretary
Powell was able to stage an extraordinary presentation in favor of war.... Secretary Powell was able to confirm the
general feeling that Iraq is lying and that it is not playing the game by the
rules, a feeling shared by the other members of the Security Council. The
result, when added to what one knows of Saddam’s past, was enough to raise
doubts.... Everyone was waiting for the
‘day of proof.’ What we got was the ‘day of reiterated suspicion.’ On the basis
of his own examples Secretary Powell managed only to evoke possibilities, not
demonstrate factual reality. Does one go to war because of one’s suspicion? A
majority of the UN Security Council members says no and suggests more time is
needed before the inspectors can confirm these doubts, or not.”
“Paris, Washington, Baghdad”
Bruno Frappat commented in Catholic La Croix (2/7): “The nature of Secretary Powell’s proof was
not of the sort to lead France to change its position. It is possible that
France may change its stance in the weeks to come. But only after every avenue
has been explored.... Paradoxically, and
in spite of appearances, the extreme positions adopted by Washington on the one
hand and Paris on the other could be interpreted as being complementary rather
than antagonistic. At least in as much as both are seeking to disarm
Iraq.... If there is the slightest
chance of convincing Saddam to save his people from a war, then France is right
to hold on to its position. If Saddam is closed to reason, then the U.S. will
be right. One is saying that Saddam still has a chance. The other states that
he has ruined every chance. Paris believes that however small, the hypothetical
chance is worth the wait.”
“War Against War!”
Claude Cabanes noted in communist L’Humanite (2/7): “What can be said of a court in which the
same man is the judge, the prosecutor, the witness, the cop and the expert, and
who pronounces the sentence before the opening of court. At the UN Secretary
Powell was in fact settling a score....
His show was a flop.... If
Washington had any proof, it would have been more effective to give it to the
inspectors. But Washington no longer cares about the inspections. It is totally
consumed with its war… In another era a call came for ‘War Against War!’ It was
a war against imperialism. That time has come again.”
Yves Therard commented in right-of-center Le Figaro
(2/6): “During 80 minutes Secretary
Powell used words that frighten, he heaped [accusations] on the rogue state of
Baghdad, showed garbled pictures, broadcast inaudible communications and tried
to prove that war was necessary. What do
we, the public, know today that we didn’t know before? Not much....
Secretary Powell presented arguments that only experts can
evaluate. Intangible proof, presumption,
clues? To Saddam’s lies we can probably
add the U.S. administration’s own lies....
The truth is that since Sept. 11 America is hungry for revenge and needs
to reaffirm its power.... It has chosen
Saddam, an old acquaintance, for its purpose.
It could have picked North Korea...or Pakistan.... One way or another everyone owes
Even France, which has been threatening to use its right of veto, seems
to be speaking with less determination, as was apparent in de Villepin’s
remarks. As for the UN it is in the
hands of the Americans.... The stage has
been set from the beginning. What
remained was convincing pubic opinion, which is largely hostile to war. That was Secretary Powell’s job. While he may have convinced the Minnesota
cattle breeder, the European farmer is probably still doubting. But so what.
America’s leadership does not care about differences. It is in itself justification for every
"Arsenal of Persuasion"
Gerard Dupuy held in left-of-center Liberation (2/6): “Powell’s long presentation was only
convincing to those who are already convinced, not because the presentation was
lacking in substance but because between probability and proof there is firm
belief.... Last fall, French diplomacy
forced the U.S. to recognize the legitimacy of the UN and in doing so won a
significant diplomatic battle.... Colin
Powell’s arsenal of persuasion was an indirect homage to this international
institution.... Even if the U.S. decides
to act without the approval of the UN, it would do so only after acknowledging
that this unilateralism is a choice by default.
The question is to know whether the U.S. can quickly obtain (perhaps
before the end of the month) a green light.
Will it be able to speed things up?
This will depend on its ability to pressure and seduce the Security
Council members. The French...fear that there will be a second resolution, yet
they were the first to support this option....
Yesterday, de Villepin spoke of a French military participation as the
last resort. Is this a clear change or
are we still limping along?… Powell’s
intention was not to convince but to influence. If his interlocutors refuse to
be influenced he can always ignore them.”
"Who Will Judge?"
Catholic La Croix editorialized (2/6): “The U.S. decided yesterday to turn the UNSC
into an international tribunal.... It
would be presumptuous after this presentation, which was nevertheless
troubling, to pass sentence.... The
‘truth’ does not jump out at us to the point that all of our doubts
vanish.... It has become clear that
since the beginning George Bush and his team have lost all faith in the
inspectors’ work. Emphasizing the
ambiguous role of being both accuser and judge does not mean that the accused
is beyond reproach. We do not need ‘new’
proof to be convinced of the duplicitous and cruel nature of the Iraqi regime. But this ‘trial’ does not involve Saddam
Hussein alone, it involves all of the people who live under his rule. It
involves other people in the region. It
involves perhaps the security of the whole world. And the only judge that is competent remains
the UNSC. Now it is up to each of its
members to assess the scope of the proof and of the doubts.”
"Peace As Proof"
Patrick Le Hyaric in communist l’Humanite (2/6): “The
important revelations that Secretary Powell was supposed to make to the world
turned out to be an empty bag of ‘clues, suspicion and proof.’ The famous
‘material breach’ remained unproven. Will manipulation go so far as to
demonstrate that the absence of proof is proof in itself? Secretary Powell’s
declaration must be read in light of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s recent
affirmation: ‘we will change the name of the ‘bureau’ but that will not keep us
from lying’... What is at stake is much too serious to base decisions on
unclear satellite photos and CIA-tapped conversations whose validity the FBI
doubts. The whole thing was staged to give more time to the deployment of
"The Last Card"
The editorial by Pascal Aubert in centrist business-oriented La
Tribune (2/6): “The assignment that
Colin Powell handed in was well-presented but lacked the substance necessary to
convince the world of Saddam Hussein’s duplicity so that the deliberate
dramatization that preceded the presentation of the ‘evidence’...fell flat. Those countries that have already decided to
join the ranks of the U.S. saw in the Secretary of State’s explanation a
justification of their conviction....
The others, among which is France, saw in these explanations ambiguous
accusations, biased connections and hypothetical arguments that further
legitimize the need to continue the inspections.... Today the ball is clearly in Baghdad’s
court. Faced with President Bush’s
avowed hostility, Baghdad still has one card left to play...that of
transparency. America has laid out what
it sees as Saddam Hussein’s underhandedness....
Now it is up to him to meet the challenge...by complying without reserve
or ruse to all of the UN demands. This
is Iraq’s only chance to convince the international community to hold George
Bush back. The point of no return will
be reached next week when the inspectors hand in their report. It will be up to Saddam Hussein to decide if
he wants to undertake the rehabilitation or the annihilation of his country.”
GERMANY: “Will And Aversion”
Peter Muench editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (2/7): “Saddam will not change
but the inspections could change the situation in Iraq because they will
deprive him of the possibility to use trickery.
If we really wanted to convince men like Donald Rumsfeld, then we should
use the following phrase: It is better
to stop Saddam from breathing than cutting his head. But it is getting increasingly difficult to
make Washington change its tough war course.
In this controversy the war opponents have the better arguments, but the
worse cards. The U.S. government has all
the trump cards in its hand. The UN
Security Council sits in a credibility trap with UN resolution 1441 which
threatens ‘serious consequences’ if Saddam is proven guilty of a material
breach.... The entire United Nations is
now faced with the choice to sanction war with another resolution or to fall by
the wayside if the Americans go it a lone.
With this link, the U.S. government can succeed in breaking at least the
resistance of the veto powers in the UNSC….
If a war breaks out, almost everybody will then accept the
unavoidable. Powell’s appearance in New
York will then have been an important waystation on the path to Baghdad.”
"The UN Has To Act"
Thomas Frankenfeld wrote in right-of-center Hamburger
Abendblatt (2/6): "Now the UN
has to act. It was not a particularly
great day for Saddam Hussein yesterday.
After the impressive presentation by the American Secretary of State at
the Security Council, the end of the tyrant at the river Tigris has come
considerably nearer.... The UN has to
act, otherwise it will be accused of political paralysis."
National radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (2/5) aired the
following commentary by Burkhard Birke:
“What Secretary of State Powell presented sounds conclusive but is not
really convincing in all its details. In
a courtroom we would probably talk about a trial based on circumstantial
evidence.... Of course, it is up to
Saddam to prove that he is innocent, but it would be naïve to think that the
despot from Baghdad would give up his cat-and-mouse game without massive
pressure. That is why one thing is
important: To take a coherent position and increase pressure on Saddam and to
build up a credible position....
Basically, a fundamental thing is now at stake: the credibility of the
United Nations. Thus far, the United
States has left it to the international community to resolve the Iraq
crisis. It must now make clear to Saddam
that the hiding game must come to an end once and for all. At the same time, Washington should be aware
of the consequences of a military strike that has not been sanctioned by the
United Nations. Bush would place himself
above international law. And this is
something nobody can seriously want.”
"The Iraq Case"
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted in a front-page editorial in
center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/6): “Powell’s presentation made it clear that
Saddam represents a genuine danger, that he continues to strive for weapons of
mass destruction and does not intend to disarm, cooperate with the inspectors,
or fulfill the Security Council resolutions.
Powell’s presentation has not made it any easier to believe in the purpose
of ongoing inspections. This much should
be clear to anyone by now--the U.S. administration is not willing to live with
a danger it judges unacceptably high....
The other Security Council members...will not suddenly accept the U.S.
position. The reluctance to say ‘yes’ to
a war that could create much greater dangers for the world tomorrow cannot be
overcome with a few satellite images....
Powell has reminded the Europeans what kind of deal they accepted with
resolution 1441. And it is true--anyone
who accepts that Council resolutions are being ignored...risks disappearing
"Powell Makes His Case"
Andreas Oldag judged in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (2/6): “Powell
gave a perfect performance, coming across as an experienced statesman.... He did not present any material that could
count as irrefutable evidence of the existence of weapons of mass
destruction. While there was plenty of
information about the alleged ties between Saddam and Al Qaida, the material
remained inconclusive.... The Security
Council is not a court. It must make a
political decision to avoid becoming superfluous--a second UN resolution that
unmistakably underlines that time is running out. The Council will have to take into account
that another dictator is playing with nuclear fire in North Korea, representing
at least as much of a threat to global peace as Saddam. Finally, Powell’s speech was also meant as a
wake-up call for the Europeans on the Council.... Their recent disagreements have helped only
the Washington hawks.”
"Baghdad Must Deliver Evidence"
Jacques Schuster stated in a front-page editorial in
right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/6): “Powell’s material did not and could not have
the strength of irrefutable evidence....
The most important piece of evidence for Iraq’s power games has been
available for a long time. It is Saddam
himself.... The German government and
people must be aware that more is at stake than the Iraqi danger. This is also about the consequences of a
‘without us’ position. A strict ‘no’ in
the Council, maybe together with Syria, would alienate Germany from its most
important ally, damage the Western alliance, and create distrust about the
‘unpredictable Germans’ in Europe....
One cannot imagine a worse scenario.”
"Guilty But Not Yet Overpowered"
Washington correspondent Malte Lehming filed the following
front-page editorial for centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/6): “Powell’s words did not fail to have an
effect. He spoke with an impressive
voice, strung facts together did not agitate nor did he use polemics. This man is surrounded by an aura of sincerity. That is why he is a stroke of luck for the
U.S. government and its Iraq policy....
He is now ringing the alarm bells.
Those who still continue to close their eyes to the tricks with which
Saddam operates...will be convinced by no evidence at all. Until proven the opposite, one thing is true:
Iraq has biological and chemical weapons.
In addition, the Iraqi regime continuously violates UN resolution
1441.... What does the UN plan to do
about this?... Powell’s address gave
this question new urgency. The German government must also face this
question. A simple ‘go on and give the
inspectors more time,’ will not be enough.
But the decision over war or peace has not become easier since this
historic meeting of the UNSC.... The
controversy is based on the question whether there is an appropriate
cost-benefit ratio for the costs of a war, including the civilian casualties
and the burden of an occupying regime that will stay for years. This was a question even Powell was unable to
answer. He exerted considerable pressure
on the members of the UNSC to act, but he did not convince them of the need and
the inevitability of a war. Not yet.”
"The Die Is Cast!"
First independent newspaper La Lance ran
this piece (2/11) by Prosper Dore: "Well, has Colin Powell succeeded in
convincing his audience? The opinions
are split, and the war of words immediately resumed with ferocity between
Washington and Baghdad. In any case, to
the point of where we are, the carrots are cooked! One doesn't know by which miracle one will
prevent Bush-the-son, from making his war against the inescapable master of
"Guineas Seeks A Political Solution"
Government-owned and operated Guinean National Radio reported
(2/7): "The speech of the American Secretary of State did not convince
many people. Colin Powell did not
furnish any proof of flagrant violation (byIraq) of Resolution 1441. Washington sought, in vain, to justify an
unjusifiable war. In response, Guinea,
which is to chair the Security Council in March, seeks a political solution and
the respect of international law in Iraq."
Sergio Sarmiento wrote in independent Reforma
(2/11): "Understanding the legacy
of Sept. 11 is very important to comprehend why the U.S. public is preparing
for war. The majority of Americans
supported the war against Afghanistan, and the majority supports a possible war
against Iraq. However, there is a
difference. There is not clear evidence,
not even what was presented by Colin Powell at the UN Security Council, that
al-Qaida has definite links to Saddam Hussein’s authoritarian regime in
Iraq. Is it possible that Iraq has
weapons of mass destruction? Of course
it is. But would Hussein use these
weapons in a war against the United States and its allies? Maybe.
Even though no one doubts that the USG would emerge as a victor if this
war comes to fruition, it is also true that the dangers for the United States
and its allies would not end there.
Responses to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein could come in the form of
terrorist attacks--against U.S. citizens, Israeli citizens, or even
other people, months or years after the
"Would Bush Go To War Without The Support
Of The United Nations?"
An editorial in nationalist Universal (2/11)
read: "Yesterday, Saddam Hussein
informed the United Nations that Iraq was willing to permit the U.N. to use U-2
spy planes to fly over Iraqi territory in search of weapons of mass
destruction. With this statement,
Hussein complies with a U.N. demand and invalidates one of Washington’s reasons
to attack Iraq. However, Washington has
not ceased in its military insistence and in its determination to attack
Iraq. It seems not to care about the
costs of pursuing a bellicose adventure against the will of its allies and many
other important nations. And it seems to
not be concerned about the risks of creating a crisis within NATO as well as
the within the United Nations."
"You Did It"
Pablo Marentes wrote in nationalist Universal
(2/11): "Colin Powell presented a
virtual document which did not show signs of nuclear weapons factories. But he did present a new theory that if
Hussein remains in power, Iraq will become the main distributor of weapons for
terrorists. The absurdity of this search
for clandestine weapons factors is even more apparent when it is revealed that
the USG is the biggest arms manufacturer in the world. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has gone
against British public opinion by following President Bush’s instructions. The panorama is clear. Citizens of all nationalities should know who
is making weapons and launching extermination bombs. And they will be able to say, ‘you did it!’
The tide of history will reveal this…not to foretell this tale, but Powell’s
helpers unveiled Guernica."
"The Day After"
Isabel Turrent wrote in independent Reforma
(2/9): "Colin Powell's speech
before the UN Security Council was unconvincing. The only unquestionable evidence that the
Council gained from his presentation was that Washington continues with its
bellicose plans, organizing troops and war supplies in the Middle East, and
that soon it will launch an attack upon Iraq in the coming weeks, with or
without the approval of the United Nations.
There is no doubt that this war, one of the most foretold in history,
will last a few weeks and will culminate in an overwhelming victory by the
United States and its few allies. The
next day, Washington will face the truly delicate problems of its operation
against Saddam Hussein: those related to what has been euphemistically baptized
'the national reconstruction.' Inside
Iraq...the existence of tribal nationalism could turn Iraq into a battlefield
among internal groups and U.S. troops.
The success or failure of Iraq's reconstruction will depend upon the
behavior of these groups."
"Powell Presents Evidence, Seeks UN Action Against Iraq"
A news story in the centrist national News
held (2/6), "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday played
tapes and showed satellite pictures which he said proved the Iraqi military had
conspired to conceal banned weapons from UN weapons inspectors. In a high-stakes address at the United
Nations to win over skeptical countries to the U.S. view that force may be
needed soon if Baghdad fails to cooperate, Powell said Iraqi officers hid
weapons, gave orders to sanitize documents referring to 'nerve agents' and
cleaned up chemical weapons sites."
"Madness Marches On"
Anwar Ahmad wrote in the centrist national News
(2/10): "If the American case
against Iraq was halfway as 'sober, straightforward and compelling' as Secretary
of State Colin Powell had promised it would be, and as 'irrefutable and
undeniable' as he assured the Security Council that it is, why has all the
sound and fury left the world unconvinced that there is a 'just cause' to wage
war? Mainly, because America's credibility ratings are plummeting to new depths
as it spins outright lies and false excuses to turn its unrivalled power into
unparalleled profits.... Actually, the
U.S. never really had a case against Iraq and had gone to the UN very
reluctantly. Even Secretary Powell's heart did not seem to be in the charges he
was leveling. Realizing perhaps how he was diminishing himself, he practically
rushed through the prepared text and then sat back impassively to absorb the
reaction.... If Iraq has the WMDs that
the U.S. says it does, isn't it reason enough for not driving Saddam to
desperation? But the U.S. knows that he doesn't have any, as the post-conquest
'rethink' will show.... In any case, the
Bush brigade is playing for very high stakes and has already come too far to
retreat. And most countries are bleating for the UN fig-leaf only to hide their
impotence. If the UN balks, the U.S. will go ahead with Rumsfeld's burgeoning
'coalition of the willing.' If the UN
yields, it will be dead any way. The question really is whether to let the U.S.
wreck the UN from within or force it to try doing so from without."
"Has Diplomacy Failed?"
Ikram Ullah opined in the center-right national Nation
(2/9): "As for the views of the 15
Security Council members, 12 had sent their foreign ministers to attend the
February 5 meeting. Their views after
Powell's address are significant. Not a single member advocated war. Everyone
pleaded for peace. Everyone urged diplomacy to be given the utmost
chance.... It is, therefore, obvious
that diplomacy has not yet failed, as stated by Secretary Rumsfeld at Rome. At
least not until the inspectors make their next report to the Security Council
on February 14, and the Council passes another resolution to deal with the
situation in the light of their report. One may also ask whether President
Bush's reference (at the White House Prayer Breakfast) to Roosevelt's belief
that 'all men and women born to freedom in the image of God will not forever
suffer the oppressor's sword' also applies to the oppressed people of Kashmir.
And whether Kashmir is included in Bush's prayer that "the people in every
part of the world wish for freedom, not tyranny."
"Powell's Speech And Iraqi Rebuttal"
Najmuddin Shaikh commented in the Lahore-based Daily Times
(2/9): "Secretary Colin Powell's
presentation at the UN Security Council was, as expected, a personal
triumph.... Many looked upon it as a
tour de force. It earned some compliments from his Security Council colleagues
even though it became evident from the speeches that followed from France,
Russia, China and even Pakistan that it had not changed the position these
countries had taken on the need to let the inspections run their course while
exhorting Iraq to be more pro-active in cooperating with the UN
inspectors.... But the Security Council
members were only a part, and perhaps an unimportant part, of the audience
Powell's president, if not Powell himself, was seeking to influence.... The setting may have been the hallowed
chambers of the Security Council, but the principal target audience was the
American people.... On the international
front, perhaps as anticipated things are worse rather than better for the
proposition that the Americans are intent on selling. The Iraqi rebuttal press conference
in Baghdad the day after Powell's speech left many questions unanswered, but it
seemed to cast credible doubt on many pieces of the evidence that Powell had
adduced.... While it would probably be
an exaggeration to say that the Iraqi rebuttal of the allegations made by
Powell had shattered the American case, it would be fair to say that it was
left considerably damaged."
"What if Powell's Speech Were To Be Applied To Israel?"
Kaleem Omar declared in the Lahore-based Daily Times
(2/9): "Much of what U.S. Secretary
of State Colin Powell said in his address to the UN Security Council on Iraq on
Wednesday applies, if anything, even more so to Israel, the most heavily armed
country in the Middle East and one that is known to possess an arsenal of more
than 200 nuclear weapons including hydrogen bombs.... Or are we to take it that the United States
thinks that weapons of mass destruction in Israel's hands are "good
things" and that such weapons only become "bad things" when they
are in Iraqi hands? And are we also to take it that terrorism is not terrorism
when it is carried out by Israel against the Palestinians? There is an element of double standards in
every country's dealings with other countries. But when it comes to double
standards, the United States is in a class of its own. No wonder some wags have
taken to calling President Bush's U.S. the 'United States of Israel.'"
The centrist national News (2/7): "The prosecution case presented by U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell to finally damn Iraq was considerable in length
and exhaustive in sweep, but it was not sufficient to start the bombing of
Baghdad. Much more needs to be provided than what was disclosed to convince the
sceptics that in the given circumstances a war would be more preferable than
abiding with threat of WMDs in unsafe hands. War needs a weightier case to
obfuscate the conscience and humanity of nations to prepare them for intentional
murder of people. Mr. Colin Powell's
exertions produced a corpus of American allegations against Mr. Saddam Hussein,
not a universally acceptable case.... It
is difficult to see how the Americans expect the world to accept that proof
when the UN team of weapon inspectors after months of searching has still not
found any credible evidence. If the U.S. Secretary of State had so much
information at hand, he should have made it available to speed up the work of
the inspectors, not kept it to himself."
"Evidence Presented By Gen. Colin Powell"
An editorial in popular Urdu daily Din held (2/7),
"While no one called the evidence presented by Gen. Powell 'a heap of
lies' like Iraq did, no one drew the conclusion that America wanted drawn,
either. Conversely, Russia, China and France said that after this evidence, it
has become even more important that the UN inspectors be given more
time... Although U.S. President Bush has
already decided to attack Iraq and has even said that 'it is a matter of weeks,
not months" that Saddam will face a U.S. attack, a war on Iraq will defeat
the very purpose America wants to promote: eliminating terrorism. An attack on Iraq will engender more
terrorism and strengthen extremist religious elements in Muslim countries. The
negative effects of this war will engulf the Arab world and spread to Central
Asia also. Therefore, while the U.S.
might not have any sympathy for Iraq and the Iraqi nation, it should avoid war
for the sake of its Arab friends. The arguments against war are stronger than
those for it."
"Powell Puts His
Credibility At Stake"
An op-ed by Nasim Zehra in the centrist national daily News held
(2/7) Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of
State, is a man generally credited for wisdom. He brings sobriety to the 'gun slinging'
ways of the Bush Administration....
Departing from his usual calm demeanor, Powell took to table thumping,
finger pointing and fluctuating tones to argue that the world was being exposed
to a grave danger, since Saddam was not genuinely cooperating with the UN
inspectors.... Many questions arise from
Powell's case for war against Iraq. First, about the nature of the
evidence. The United States is without
doubt an interested party in the Iraq crisis. It had pre-judged the outcome of
the mission of UN weapons' inspectors and had begun calling for war on Iraq.
Given this, the question about the U.S. insistence and desire to pursue war and
not diplomacy backed by force to resolve the crisis, no evidence provided by
the U.S. can be accepted without verification. This is what justice would
require.... Significantly, there are two
principle parties in the Iraq conflict, Saddam and the United States. Both
suffer heavily on the credibility front....
Logic, therefore, demands that neither Iraq nor the United States should
alone define the way forward on the Iraq crisis. Clearly, the multilateral way,
which seeks more time for the UN weapons inspectors and demands complete
cooperation from the Iraqi regime, is the only way forward. This is not a
risk-free way. Only less risky than the war route that the United States keenly
proposes.... This is about wisdom, not about fear. A strict regime of
political, military and economic containment of Iraq which also brings Iraq
back into the mainstream may be the most viable way of preventing Iraq from
threatening world security.... End
"Unsatisfactory U.S. Evidence"
An editorial note in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt
(2/7), "France, China and Russia have rejected the satellite pictures
presented on the UNSC platform by the 'dove of peace, U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell. By rejecting these photographs, these countries have proven that
they consider U.S. evidence more suspect than Iraq. When this is the actual
situation, why try to fool the world with lame excuses?... We must review and understand the
consequences hidden in Colin Powell's statement that "the Iraqi Embassy in
Pakistan is the center of links with al-Qaida. Pakistan must devise its Iraq
policy keeping in mind the U.S. bias, as well as the sentiments of the
"Colin Powell's Address To The Security Council"
Center-right Urdu Pakistan held (2/7), "The tone the
U.S. Secretary of State adopted in his address to the Security Council and the
manner in which he threatened to render UN existence meaningless cannot be
condoned at all... Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri has responded to
the speech by saying that a final report by the weapons inspectors must be
awaited before taking any decision on Iraq. Mr. Kasuri also encouraged Iraq to
respond to questions raised by the U.S. Secretary of State. However, Mr. Kasuri
did not comment on the allegations leveled against the Iraqi Embassy in
Islamabad. Of the ten permanent and temporary members of the Security Council,
none but Britain has supported the U.S. However, all urged the U.S. to exercise
restraint and asked the Council to give more time to the inspectors. But Colin
Powell's speech, U.S. Spokesmen's statements, American war preparations and
military exercises in Kuwait and other countries reveal U.S. plans very
clearly. It must be said, though, that a unilateral U.S. strike would plunge
the world into a crisis."
"U.S. Secretary Of State's Speech"
An editorial in Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic Urdu daily Jasarat
held (2/7), "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech at the UNSC
failed to convince the world at large that the war against Iraq was
unavoidable. The evidence that he has
put forth was doubtful. The photographs
and cassettes presented by him did not provide a justification for an attack on
Iraq. Colin Powell was considered to be a moderate person, but now he has
started talking about war after coming under pressure from hawks in the Bush
administration. The common fear after
this speech is that the U.S. would definitely go to war. End quote.
"America's Cry Of the UN Becoming Meaningless"
Karachi-based, pro-Taliban Urdu daily Islam said (2/7),
"The world and the permanent security council members have very rightly
rejected the evidence presented by the U.S. Secretary of State against
Iraq. Now justice demands that the world
community should acquit Iraq of all charges.
But if it cannot do it in the light of American pressure, then it
should, at least, reject war, wait for the inspectors' final report and
advocate a peaceful resolution of this crises through dialogue."
"U.S. Declaration Of War At UN"
Popular Urdu daily Khabrain said (2/7), "The Iraqi
weapons and technology giving the U.S. sleepless nights today were given to
Iraq by the U.S. itself. This proof was presented by the U.S. Secretary of
State in his speech yesterday when he said that that Iraq had used 400 chemical
weapons in its war against Iran...
Permanent members of the Security Council, China, France and Russia, are
looking upon American activities with distaste, while British PM Blair
continues to play the role of America's unpaid servant. But this British support is only limited to
Mr. Blair - the British nation is protesting President Bush's plans. It is, however, saddening that the Muslim
countries are not protesting as much as the non-Muslim countries are... We feel
that the U.S. excuses in the Security Council are like beating the war-drums.
Circumstances demand that this issue be resolved through dialogue, because any
step taken in haste could produce negative results."
"Improbable, Not Irrefutable"
The center-right national Nation held (2/7), "What
Secretary Powell has called "irrefutable" evidence of the Iraqi
program of maintaining or manufacturing weapons of mass destruction at a UN
Security Council session on Wednesday is littered with gaping holes. At close
inspection, it is highly improbable....
The sites of the images might as well be from anywhere in the world and
the dates a manipulated imposition....
The charge of mobile construction facilities having escaped the notice
of eagle-eyed inspectors is rather flimsy; for, as pointed out by an Iraqi
official, by their very nature they would have to be too sprawling to permit
tucking them away in the event of a surprise inspection visit. The tape
recording purporting to contain Iraqi officials' conversations establishing
President Saddam Hussein's continued resolve to defy UN dictates to disarm
would simply fall flat before an impartial tribunal. Any Arab with Iraqi
accent, and there are dissidents aplenty ready to sell their services, could be
hired to do the bidding.... Solution
lies in letting the inspectors complete their job, as demanded by Russia, China
and France and Iraq."
"Endgame On Iraq"
The Lahore-based Daily Times held (2/7), "U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations last Wednesday
built a case against Iraq and brought Washington almost to the point of no
return. Also, the speech - replete with human, electronic and satellite
intelligence "evidence" - shows that internal dissensions in the U.S.
government on the war have ended. And while opposition from France, China and
Russia continues, it is a matter of time before they fall in line.... The last part of his speech is a semi-veiled
threat of unilateral action: 'We wanted to go through you (UN), but since you
have chosen to frustrate us, we will go in alone and sideline you.' So this is the moment of reckoning.... The opponents know this is the endgame. They
must decide whether to keep on opposing the U.S. and risk being deprived of any
post-war dividends or jump on the bandwagon as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Mr. Powell's reference to the
Iraqi embassy in Islamabad being a liaison between Baghdad and al-Qaida is most
intriguing. General Musharraf says nothing of the sort happened and if it did,
the government of Pakistan was not aware of it. This shows clearly, and more
than ever before, that the government of Pakistan is walking a tight rope. Like
most American allies, General Pervez Musharraf does not like the idea of war in
Iraq. But like most of them, he has no choice but to stand with America and
make the best of a bad situation."
"Emotions Prevail Over Facts"
Vadim Markushin held in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda
(2/7): "The speech was long-winded
and delivered in the best tradition of American rhetoric, with emotions clearly
prevailing over facts. The arguments as
laid out by the chief of the State Department lack the most important thing,
absolute proof that Iraq has been involved in terrorist acts and has WMD ready
to be used against the United States and its allies. With Washington constantly invoking the law,
Baghdad's intentions don't count since they are hypothetical."
Vitaliy Gun asserted in neo-communist weekly Slovo
(2/7): "Even in America today,
serious observers would not call the White House-produced evidence valid. The general opinion is that Washington has
failed to change the balance of forces in favor of a military operation against
"Bombshell It Is Not"
Maksim Makarychev argued in official Rossiyskaya Gazeta
(2/7): "Stylistically, it was an
impeccable piece of oratory.... Special service analysts did a great job,
presenting some evidence so the man in the street, anyone with an
impressionable heart, has no doubts that Saddam is a criminal and ought to be
punished. There is one 'but' about it,
though. The U.S. report would have been
invaluable had Saddam been caught red-handed.
So a bombshell it was not to be.
What Powell said was no revelation to savvy diplomats."
"There's No Averting War"
Reformist business-oriented Kommersant commented
(2/7): "The Powell speech, so it
seems, has resulted in no big changes in the alignment of forces on the issue
of Iraq. It has made it clear that war
is inevitable. That being so, those who
are against the war must think of not how to avert it but of what line of
action they should pick now. It looks
like Russia has made its choice.... What
the Secretary of State has definitely succeeded in is convincing his fellow
countrymen that armed action is a must."
"World Shocked Into State Of Trepidation"
Reformist Vremya Novostey carried this commentary
(2/6): "Divided on the subject of
war in the Persian Gulf, the world is nonetheless preparing for it. This in spite of the fact that Secretary of State
Colin Powell fell short of doing what U.S. Ambassador Edlai Stevenson did in
the autumn of 1962, when he silenced Soviet officials by producing
satellite-taken pictures of Soviet rockets in Cuba. Powell was not as convincing as he was
eloquent, even though he spoke for a full hour and a half.... It could be that the Americans did not tell
everything for fear of disclosing their methods and sources. Their arguments in favor of a military
operation seem weak, anyway. You can
interpret them either way, depending on whether you are for war or against
it.... The world's reaction has been one
of mistrust. Speaking more precisely,
everyone stands his/her ground....
Powell's speech has made divisions in the world even deeper, causing
more complications inside many countries."
"There's Nothing There"
Igor Fedyukhin wrote in business-oriented Vedomosti
(2/6): "Secretary of State Colin
Powell submitted to the UN Security Council one more illustration of Saddam
Hussein possibly hiding WMD from the inspectors. This evidence is circumstantial, too, but,
because of it, the Euro has fallen slightly against the dollar.... Washington remains firm, insisting that
Baghdad should prove its innocence to the UN.
The Administration has made it plain that it can by rights launch an
invasion without UN authorization, based on November's resolution 1441
alone. Washington is of the opinion that
it just does a favor to the UN by discussing the matter with the
Mariya Zelezneva remarked in reformist Novyye Izvestiya
(2/6): "References to a need to
protect 'sources and methods' are clever.
You can use them to parry all charges by participants in yesterday's
session that the 'disclosed' intelligence is nothing new."
"U.S. Tries To Rewrite Law"
Valeriy Panyushkin stated in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(2/6): "Generally accepted norms
presuppose that even an exposed criminal has a right to use a lawyer, open
hearings, competition between the sides, the benefit of alleviating
circumstances, and a jury. Open hearings
are the most important of all.... It
appears that the United States is trying to rewrite international law so Iraq
looks like a criminal."
"Learning The Lesson"
Ramon-Perez Maura observed in conservative ABC (2/7): "Javier Solana...said yesterday that
Secretary Powell's UN presentation was 'very solid'..... Wars are supremely unhappy facts that we
should try to avoid. That is why no one wants them. But, when deciding if there is nothing left
to do but to wage them, we shouldn't take measure popular sentiment, but
rather, the [judgment] those who know what is at stake and what the
"Pacifism And Aggression"
Hermann Tertsch said in eft-of-center El País
"(2/7): "It is quite funny to
see how those who discredit Bush and U.S. citizens in general for being
simplistic show unanimous simplicity themselves, adopting the same attitude of
moral superiority as any Methodist community in the heartland of America and
refusing to understand anything.... The
risks are immense, both in acting and in not doing it. We may be in favor or against and express it,
but it is advisable to always try to understand the other, perhaps even more so
if he is the one determining what is going to happen."
"The U.S.' Reasons"
Left-of-center El País wrote (2/6):
"The United States has strengthened its case against Saddam
Hussein.... It's difficult to imagine a
step backwards from Bush’s military plans, after listening to the string of
indicators that reinforce the supposition that the Iraqi dictator has violated
the unanimous 1441 resolution through the hiding of biological and chemical
weapons.... From the documents that
Washington has decided to finally share with the international community, to an
observer of good faith, it can be deduced that Baghdad had embarked before the
arrival of the inspectors on a plan of concealment.... Washington cannot loose reason, which is
assisting [it's case], by ignoring international legality. But the danger [Saddam] represents...does not
justify unilateral, immediate and, by
any reckoning, disproportionate action....
Nobody can predict the consequences of a war in the Middle East, and the
impact in the Moslem world of an U.S. occupation of Iraq. But there are enough signs to judge that the
risks are of a nature that make the last option the military one."
"There Are Reasons For Keeping Saddam In
His Place, But Not For Attacking Iraq"
Independent El Mundo wrote (2/6):
"U.S. Secretary of State provided some serious pieces of evidence that
Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, but failed in his attempt to prove the
links of [Saddam's] regime with Al Qaeda...
Powell played an important card yesterday and... this emphasizes the
pressure from the countries that are demanding an extension of inspector's
mandate. If Powell and Bush want to be
coherent with their search for international support, they should put aside
their threats to act unilaterally and accept the prolongation of the
inspector's mandate...they should try to generate a consensus for a second
resolution that would serve to put the handcuffs even more on Saddam, but this
would not be a blank check for an invasion...Yesterday's meeting of the
Security Council corroborates that there are reasons for keeping international
pressure on the Iraqi leader and even for approving new diplomatic and economic
sanctions, but that there still is not a clear justification for war."
Conservative La Razon wrote (2/6/):
"Colin Powell limited himself... to showing some loose facts, that are
perhaps insignificant if you consider them in an individual way, but in
totality they paint a pretty troubling shadow of suspicion about the real
intentions of Saddam."
"Between Exposed Invasion and Required Arab Stand"
Dr. Khalaf al-Jarad, chief editor of
government-owned Tishreen, editorialized (2/10): "Regardless of whether Powell's
'irrefutable evidence; which he presented to the Security Council in a
Hollywood fashion and a style reminiscent of magic shows, was wholly or partially
lifted from a dissertation by an Iraqi student in California... This evidence,
by any assessment, is no more than a scandal and a farce... It was unconvincing, unreasonable and
illogical. The best description of it was stated by the British journalist,
Robert Fisk, who described it as 'old soup, which was newly reheated.... At a time when everyone is focusing on Iraq's
alleged WMD, the real goals behind the US Administration's insistence on
invading Iraq remain absent. To seize Iraqi oil and impose a siege on Iraqi
scientists and researchers, to isolate them suspend their scientific activities
and maybe even deporting them outside Iraq; all this only serves to maintain
Israeli supremacy as the pre-eminent scientific and technical power in the region.... Powell testified before the Congressional
Foreign Relations Committee that changing the regime in Baghdad will be a
prelude to reshaping the Middle East in a way to promote US interests and help
end the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is
the core issue... Arab existence has become jeopardized. This compulsory prescription for democracy
will spare nobody. Reorganization and reformation will come only after
demolishing Iraq and exterminating its people.
Have Arab leaders listened to President Asad's call for Arab
cautiousness and solidarity in the face of the coming storm?"
"Rumsfeld Continues his Attack against 'Old
Shawkat Abu Fakhr, an op-ed writer in
government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote (2/10):
"Rumsfeld described Europe as 'old' in reference to Paris and
Berlin a month ago; today he says that Germans have no role. The US
Administration will continue categorizing against those who oppose its policy
and believe a war against Iraq is unjustifiable as long as inspectors continue
their work with positive cooperation from Baghdad... The old Europe that opposes war has not
convinced the US Administration, but at the same time it will not conform to
Washington's logic of power possibly due to the wisdom of old-age. If Europe's fault lies in its old-age, at
least it has logic and experience... Americans have forgotten the lessons of
history as they prepare for the second war of the century. They will be repeat
others' mistakes by denying principles they have advocated in the near
Ahmad Hamadah, a commentator in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (2/6):
"Anyone who followed the direction of the U.S. wind preceding
Secretary Powell's alleged evidence about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass
destruction and its linkage with al-Qaida and international terrorism
immediately realized that the issue had nothing to do with presenting evidence,
rather it is merely a new U.S. attempt to militarize the world against Iraq and
fabricate lies to justify Washington's military misadventure.... The alleged evidence was no more than a link
in the chain of war against Iraq, the goal of which is not to help the
inspectors find weapons of mass destruction, but rather to invade Iraq and
establish a new scheme for Iraq and the region.... If the U.S. administration is serious in its
claims, shouldn't it have presented its evidence to the inspectors? The
inspections have been taking place for more than two months; if the US
possesses definite information it should have presented it to Blix and Al-Baradei to implement UN Resolution 1441.
It didn't because such evidence is no more than a collection of weak and
unconvincing pretexts. Powell himself acknowledged that he had no irrefutable
"Reforming The UN Is The Answer"
Fouad Mardoud, chief editor of the
government-owned Syria Times, editorialized (2/6): "It was a sad time for the idea of the
United Nations as a chamber of wisdom and peacemaking. Colin Powell's speech at the Security Council
represents a tragic event in the Council's deliberations, and illustrates the
need for quick and dramatic reform of the world's body. Keeping international peace and resolving the
world's conflicts will require greater leadership from the United Nations than
has been in evidence in recent years....
The time has come to reform the UN and liberate it from American
hegemony and disdain. The February 5 meeting of the UNSC showed how much the
Bush Administration scorns the United Nations and the contempt it holds for
"Americans Are Themselves Engaging In
Government-run Damascus Radio commentary
maintained (2/5): "The (U.S.) tone
has started taking on a new and rather strange turn. This tone indicates
confusion on the one hand, and an exaggerated insistence on launching an
aggressive war against Iraq and its people on the other, regardless of reasons,
justifications, and pretexts.... They
(Americans) said the evidence would be very convincing and would support the
idea that Baghdad is not honestly cooperating and is attempting to remove or
hide equipment behind the inspectors' backs, as (Powell) he put it. In keeping with this new approach, there were
references accusing Iraq of eavesdropping on the inspectors and claims that
their work has been hampered. In addition, there were those who volunteered to
provide special information personally obtained from a source inside Iraq and
other such naive talk that shows disregard for the issues to be discussed in
the Security Council's meeting today. They (Americans) also show deception in
seeking to achieve a floating resolution or a position that does not conform to
any measure of justice, logic and law."
"The Iraqi Issue Between Facts And
Dr. Mahdi Dakhlallah, editor-in-chief of
government-owned Al-Ba'th, editorialized (2/5): "The mountain has
given birth to a mouse! The American
Secretary of State's report to the UNSC did not present anything new to justify
the eagerness of war-mongers on both sides of the Atlantic. Rather the report presented a collection of
hypotheses and personal evaluations presented in an aggressive speech. At best the speech included unconfirmed
information that needs to be reviewed and verified by the inspection teams. Anyone who listened to the report would
imagine that Iraq is a great power that manufactures all kinds of weapons of
mass destruction. But is it logical for a country that has been suffering an
economic and political siege for over 12 years to produce all these advanced
weapons? The writer of the report unintentionally
admitted what he termed 'Iraq's genius' in manufacturing and hiding all these
weapons. Does this mean that the powers
that are watching Iraq with their advanced technological eyes are stupid? Or do we find ourselves in front of the clash
of geniuses? (i.e. the U.S. versus Iraq).
As for the information about a link between al-Qaida and Iraq, this
raises the question for which everyone knows the answer: Which is the 'superpower' that established
al-Qaida and supported it, and set up many other 'Qaidas' in the different
corners of the world? Which is the
'superpower' that has supported organized Israeli state terrorism since the
establishment of the Zionist entity? The
one who does not have material evidence for his accusations uses illogical
exhortations of the type: 'Believe me... because I am saying the truth.' And such an exhortation is followed up with
the threatening tone along the lines of 'we... or else!' The chief of American diplomacy used this
expression and stressed that the UNSC must either 'shoulder its
responsibilities' or it will be a 'useless forum.' So the question now is: Is the objective of all of this (rhetoric) to
find a way to salvage peace or to find 'justifications for declaring war?"