February 28, 2003
BLAIR & AZNAR VS. CHIRAC &
SCHROEDER: CHOOSING SIDES ON IRAQ
** Media speculate that intransigence in both
the Blair-Aznar and Chirac-Schroeder camps will hamper a "compromise"
on a second UNSC resolution and impose political costs on both sides.
** French analysts worry that a UNSC veto by
Paris will have the effect of an "atomic bomb."
** Non-P5 UNSC outlets complain about U.S.
"arm-twisting" and encouraged their leaders to resist Washington
Blair and Aznar may pay political price for
siding with U.S. at expense of public opinion--
European papers credited Blair for putting his political career on the line and
"refusing to buckle to a parliamentary protest." London's conservative Times sighed
that Blair "for all his powers of persuasion...is finding the battle for
Westminster hearts and minds over Iraq very hard going." Others, such as Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung, held that Blair had "linked his fate too much to the man in
the White House" to turn back now.
Commentary on Aznar tended to scorn his "loyalty to
Bush." Madrid's left-of-center El
Pais accused him of acting as an "agent of the Bush
administration." Calling him a
"Don Quixote" who "has lost touch with reality," a centrist
Berlin daily quipped that Aznar was angling for a "reward" from
Washington "once the Spaniards...get rid of him." Mexico's far-left La Jornada put
President Fox on notice for moving closer "to the dangerous, dishonorable
attitudes of Aznar and Blair."
Chirac and Schroeder's 'intransigent pacifism'
is 'triggering misunderstandings throughout Europe'-- A number of German and
French outlets from left to right challenged the "Franco-German
couple's" handling of the Iraqi crisis.
Hamburg's center-left Die Welt questioned whether, if war is
avoided, the pair had the stomach to "take on the responsibility of
containing Iraq." Many French
outlets voiced trepidation over Chirac's supposed willingness to exercise
France's UNSC veto. While state-run
France Inter radio declared that it would mean "France is being true to
itself," more shared private RTL radio's fear that a veto is equal to a
"diplomatic nuclear bomb."
Others regretted how an "absurd, lopsided analysis" had led
the French to put "America's interventionism in the dock of the accused
and turn Saddam Hussein's barbarity into a guarantee for peace." An official Russian gazette, by contrast,
praised a "savvy Chirac" for providing a face-saving option for Bush
to "do the right thing by calling off the GI's."
Outside the P-5, other UNSC outlets complain of
U.S. 'arm twisting' for votes-- Writers in Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile,
Mexico, Pakistan and elsewhere warned their governments not to
"subjugate" their interests to the U.S. Capturing the vindictive spirit, Pakistan's
centrist national News called upon Russia, France and China to use their
"veto-wielding powers" and (bizarrely) to threaten Washington with
their "nuclear arsenal" to force the U.S. to comply with the UNSC's
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 68
reports from 29 countries, February 22-28.
Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent
BRITAIN: "Crunch Point"
The conservative Times held (2/27): "The votes cast after the debate on Iraq
suggested, unfortunately, that a crunch point might also be imminent between
the Prime Minister and his parliamentary party.... For all of his powers of persuasion, the PM
is finding the battle for Westminster hearts and minds over Iraq very hard
going. Mr. Blair will not buckle in
response to a parliamentary protest. A
second resolution of itself will not bring all the dissenters into line, nor
would the failure to achieve one because of a solo veto cast by France
necessarily undermine him. Stalemate at
the UN, though, especially if combined with equivocal remarks from Hans Blix,
would make his political life exceptionally uncomfortable.... The stakes for him personally are, on last
night's evidence, enormous."
"The House Divided"
The liberal Guardian averred (2/27): "Labor suffered its biggest revolt last
night when 121 Labor MPs voted to amend the government's Iraq motion.... The
overall result of a day of high drama and great seriousness at Westminster
should not be mistaken or underestimated.
Though wounded, the Blair government will treat the result as a green
light to go along with America's intention to attack Iraq at a moment of its
own choosing. MPs had a choice, and they
made the wrong one. The die has been
cast for a war-enabling policy. It is
one which Britain may rue for many years to come."
"Blair Threatens War For Peace"
The independent Financial Times observed (2/26): "Opening the debate yesterday, Mr. Blair
showed again that he has understood the need to try to maintain an
international consensus, and thereby exert the maximum pressure on Baghdad,
better than his fellow leaders.
Certainly far better than the peace-at-any-price camp represented by
Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder of Germany, or the war-at-all-events hardliners
within the Bush administration. Neither
of these extremes gives Saddam Hussein any incentive to start
disarming.... Seeking middle ground
yesterday, Mr. Blair measured his criticism of the plan by France, Germany and
Russia to give United Nations inspections more time and said the U.S. and UK
would not put their new resolution, in effect endorsing war, to an immediate
Security council vote so as togive Mr. Hussein a 'further final chance'to
comply.... Perhaps giving Mr. Hussein
the 'final further chance' is a U.S. concession to Mr. Blair. Equally, however, the delay may just
berecognition by the U.S. and the UK that they do not command a majority in the
The conservative Times asserted (2/26): "Tony Blair's powerful performance in
the House of Commons yesterday was that of a man on the brink of war.... The Prime Minister emphasized that he is pursuing
an independent foreign policy which in this era happens to coincide in large
part with that of the Bush administration....
There is a straightforward answer to the crude question of 'what's in it
for us?' It is that the proliferation of
biological,chemical and nuclear material will have been checked and the
credibility of the international community established in a critical test
FRANCE: "On Stage and Behind the Scene"
Claude Imbert stated in right-of-center weekly Le
Point (2/28): "On stage the
target is Iraq, but behind the scene the real target is the financing of
Islamism with Saudi oil.... As to the
means used to combat the Islamic threat, it is natural for France and Germany
to be reticent about America's tough methods.
They both fear the reaction of their Muslim population.... But since the conflict appears
inevitable...it is time to weigh the consequences of an Atlantic break.... We should give ourselves the possibility to
accompany the U.S. if not in the war, at least in the post-war reconstruction
of the Middle East.... The Franco-German
handling of the Iraqi crisis has been functioning on stage like an intransigent
pacifist force. But behind the scene,
western solidarity is falling apart and the Franco-German couple is triggering
misunderstandings throughout Europe. The
curtain will soon go up. What ruins will
we be looking at on stage?"
"A Comedy of Errors"
Denis Jeambar in right-of-center weekly Le
Point (2/28): "As Jean-Francois Revel said, a comedy of errors is
taking place in France: an absurd lopsided analysis has led us to put America's
interventionism in the dock of the accused and turn Saddam Hussein's barbarity
into a guarantee for peace. Our tendency
to give lessons to the world has made us blind to how we function. Our enthusiasm has underscored our failings
rather than revealed our courage. In
spite of appearances, this enthusiasm does not bode well for democracy."
"A French Veto At The UN: Pros And Cons"
Dominique Bromberger told listeners this morning
on state-run France Inter radio (2/27): "To use our power of veto on an
American resolution...would mean that France is being true to itself, standing
tall and not giving up at the last minute, contrary to what U.S. officials are
saying under their breath. But this also
means that we would appear to be defending Saddam Hussein and that we would fan
the flames of hostility between our country and Washington.... Not to mention the fact that it would in no
way change the determination of the U.S.... The veto is the atomic bomb. We cannot say that we will not use it or we
risk losing all credibility.... It would
seem that France's only solution to this quandary would be to submit its own
resolution, it would no doubt get more votes than the American
Brezet editorialized in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/27): "In the autumn of his political career,
Jacques Chirac has succeeded in bringing together the nation like no one else
before him.... He could have schemed,
stalled, used the customary diplomatic cant while waiting for events to unfold
and for the Americans to call the shots....
Instead he chose the path that French public opinion and demonstrators
the world over applaud. This
heterogeneous coalition is not without risk.
The American vigor, the European half-heartedness, the self-serving of
the UN and especially the stubbornness of Saddam Hussein could put France in an
uncomfortable situation and push the president to flag."
"What Is Chirac Looking For?"
Left-of-center Liberation's Jacques
Amalric observed (2/27): "A veto,
like a nuclear weapon, must be handled with care. Especially against a long-standing
ally.... French diplomacy brilliantly
won the first round of the Iraqi crisis, thanks in part to the understanding of
Colin Powell, by convincing the U.S. to remain within the context of the
UN.... But the two-fold mistake that
France made was to align itself with the German position without warning its
other European partners...and several days later to brandish the threat of a
veto if the U.S. did not give the inspectors more time.... Colin Powell felt as though he had fallen
into a trap and the hawks...sang in chorus 'We told you so.' Considering Saddam Hussein's more than
doubtful willingness to disarm...and considering the lax attitude of the UNSC
with regard to the Iraqi dictator over the last five years, we should not bank
on American patience.... So the question
remains, what is Chirac Looking for? To
oppose the U.S. so that Europe can exist?
He is certainly going about it the wrong way, with a continental
arrogance comparable to Bush's imperialist arrogance.... Or is he trying desperately to keep his
popularity rating high by masking the economic and social problems that are
"France's Weight at the UN"
On private RTL radio, commentator Jean-Marie
Lefebvre asked (2/27): "Does France
still have a place as a permanent member of the UNSC? This is what some people in Washington are
asking themselves. The severity of the
crisis and the apparent exasperation of the Americans vis-à-vis France will
leave scars. The hawks cannot forgive
Jacques Chirac for threatening to use his power to veto. A veto that would have immeasurable
consequences on the Franco-American relationship. The veto is the diplomatic nuclear
Patrick Sabatier held in left-of-center Liberation
(2/26): “In spite of the unanimous
domestic support for Chirac, would it be sacrilegious to wonder about the
future? It is possible to admire and
approve Chirac’s determination to keep the UN from subscribing to a war decided
solely by President Bush. France’s
determination can help to build up its influence on the international
scene.... But it will cost France. When the time comes to vote, France will have
to give in...to war or to exercising its veto, knowing full well that it will
incur collateral damage. At this point
it is best not to count on Moscow’s and Beijing’s solidarity.... The consequences that can already be considered
are a weakening of the UN, the triumph of Washington’s neo-imperialist crusaders,
a lasting division of the EU, the sidelining of France’s Middle East policy,
and American reprisal measures in strategic diplomatic and economic
sectors. France can choose to lose it
all except its honor or back out to save what can still be saved. But in a democracy choices must be
explained. Chirac cannot avoid
explaining his choices for very much longer.
Unless Saddam makes it easy on Chirac by refusing to destroy his
GERMANY: "Blair’s Phyrric Victory”
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of
Munich (2/28): “Even though Tony Blair
clearly won the vote on his war course, it is the unprecedented number of
opposing MPs that make up the significance of this vote. Never before has there been a mutiny of this
extent in the governing party. Following
the enormous peace protests two weeks ago and in view of the devastating
opinion polls, this is further evidence of the fact that the PM is no longer in
step with the majority of people he represents.
There is no doubt that Blair is in the most dangerous period of his
governing time.... But Blair has linked
his fate too much to the man in the White House and it is now impossible for
him to disassociate himself from Bush.
The result would be a foreign policy debacle. But if Blair stays the war course, he is
faced with a domestic fiasco.... Only a
UN mandate could turn the mood. Blair is
aware of this and that is why he will do everything to get the mandate.”
Josef Joffe noted in a front-page editorial in center-left weekly Die
Zeit of Hamburg (2/27): "Let us
assume that Paris and Berlin succeed in stopping the U.S. in the UNSC. In that case, Saddam would be the winner. Have Chirac and Schroeder really considered
what would happen if Saddam revealed the UN's powerlessness for the 17th
time? Will France andGermany take on the
responsibility of containing Iraqi imperialism, will they maintain order in a
region whose main exports are oil and terror?
Anyone who wants to prevent this war and disarm Saddam according to UN
rules must not encourage the Iraqi leader to continue his game. The message for Baghdad is this: Disarm or
Step Down. And what about the
Americans? It would be smarter if they
sent someone like James Baker, who patiently and astutely built up an almost
global coalition against Baghdad in 1990/91.
Rumsfeld, on the other hand, is more willing to sacrifice a good friend
than a good quip.... Only a political
victory can justify the murderous risks of war, which means treating the
political pathologies that have made the Middle East a global trouble spot:
economic failure, lack of democracy, poor education, no prospects for the
future. However, such ailments cannot be
cured with the help of laser-guided weapons, or with a quick in-and-out
strategy. A multitude of nations has to
become patiently involved in the region in the name of development and
security. This is the kind of coalition
that Bush and Blair, Chirac and Schroeder need to put together. Otherwise, Saddam will remain the most
powerful political force in the West."
"Don Quixote Against Saddam"
Christian Boehme judged in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/27): "There are more reasons for Prime
Minister Aznar's beginning political decline than his Iraq policy, which is
simply a symptom of an underlying trend.
Aznar has lost touch with reality.
His success in previous years, a flourishing economy, fewer unemployed,
the introduction of the Euro has given rise to megalomania and made him lose
contact with the population. Otherwise,
he would have realized that Spanish voters have a decidedly different opinion
when it comes to Iraq, for reasons not unlike those influences public opinion
in Germany. Many Spaniards are still
painfully aware of the suffering that accompanied the civil war in the thirties. Aznar's loyalty to Bush is probably not just
the result of friendship. The Spanish
prime minister is likely hoping for a reward maybe a prestigious job once the
Spaniards are ready to get rid of him."
Uwe Vorkoetter opined in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (2/27): "Let's concentrate on the most essential things, the
question of whether the U.S. campaign against Iraq can still be prevented and
which role Germany plays on the international stage, once the issue is war or
peace.... The decision of the superpower
for war has been made, everything else is only a question of time. The second question cannot be answered that
easily. Schroeder has placed himself and
Germany in opposition to Bush's policy.
He did so with false arguments, but he and his foreign minister also
used the right arguments: It has not
been clearly proven that Saddam is a danger for the world, that is why there is
no right for a preventive strike, that there is no reliable perspective for a
post-war Iraq, and that the stability of the entire unstable region will be
endangered. Not only the convincing
arguments speak in favor of the German position. We must also acknowledge that Schroeder has
succeeded in avoiding the greatest risks of a strategy that carries many risks:
Germany's isolation towards its partners.
On the diplomatic stage, Germany is not alone; rather it is the U.S.,
Britain and Spain that have difficulty finding more allies. But for the decision over war or peace, this
has become insignificant. In the Gulf,
the U.S. military deployment has almost been completed, and in New York, the
talks have entered the final round. The
campaign against Baghdad will take place, and it will begin soon."
"Enigma Jacques Chirac"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland
of Hamburg (2/27) argued:
"President Chirac does not leave any doubt that he is the counter
player to President Bush. Since the
beginning of the Iraq crisis, the French leader has used every opportunity to
increase his influence, to prompt the U.S. to accept UN decisions, and to slow
down the hawks in Washington. Only a
while ago, it was considered a commonplace that France, would, in the end, give
in and vote in favor of a UN resolution that would legitimize war. But since Chirac counteracted a second UN
resolution with a memorandum to intensify weapons inspections, this seems to be
unlikely. Chirac is considered a gambler
who acts in foreign policy the way Gerhard Schroeder acts in domestic policy. Skeptics argue that Chirac would endanger
French economic interests if he is not involved in the Iraq war. That is why the French president will weigh
the pros and cons of a position that could weaken the UNSC and thus the
influence of his country."
"War or Peace In The Gulf?"
S. Flocken commented on regional radio stations Norddeutscher
Rundfunk of Hamburg and Westdeutscher Rundfunk of Cologne (2/25): “War or peace in the Gulf? This question has now been decided with the
British-U.S draft resolution.... The
Franco-German-Russian attempts to prevent this war have no chances to
succeed. The Bush administration speaks
of Iraq’s disarmament on a regular basis but unlike Paris, Berlin, and Moscow,
the Americans understand disarmament to mean depriving Saddam of his
power.... Saddam’s ouster is
Washington’s real goal and that is why Washington resolutely rejects further
going monitoring and inspection systems.
Diplomatic solutions that allow Saddam to stay in office are
unacceptable for Bush. That is why the
peace plans have no chance in the United States.... A rejection of the draft resolution in the
UNSC could send a signal. A war would
not be prevented by it, but there would be the hope that the U.S. hegemonic
power would not treat the United Nations a second time they way it did in the
ITALY: "Collateral Damages Among Old
Sergio Romano leads his report in centrist,
top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/28) as follows: "Heavy words
are flying back and forth between the United States and Europe. The Americans are imperialists,
unilateralists, arrogant. And Europeans
are shrewd, inactive, cowards, ungrateful....
This exchange of insults has obscured the key elements of the issue.... Instead of accusing the Americans of
being...arrogant, let's instead try to explain to them the reasons why Europe
is suspicious of a new Iraqi war....
Europe's strongest concern...is another.
If Europe were asked which of the two is the most dangerous crisis -
between the Palestinian and Iraqi one - the majority of Europe wouldn't
hesitate to indicate the former.... In
case of a war, Europe will lose whatever influence and the United States will
remain the only dominant power. But its
negative consequences...will mainly affect Europe.... The concerns of the majority of European
public opinion are real, they are not prompted by anti-American
prejudices.... And if we don't want
EU-U.S. relations to become the first 'collateral damage' of the Iraq war,
sooner or later, we should start from this point."
RUSSIA: "Bush Would Do Well To Call It Off"
Vadim Dolganov wrote in official parliamentary Parlamentskaya
Gazeta (2/27) published this piece by in Paris: "Savvy Chirac, playing with typical
French finesse, suggests a way for George Bush to save face, as the
Administration has put itself in a stupid situation, dragging along the whole
wide world. America, he seems to say,
has won already, with Saddam forced to cooperate with the international
inspectors in the face of the U.S. troop deployment in the Gulf area. Politically, Bush would do the right thing
by calling off the GIs. Then he might
say, firstly, that he has made Iraq disarm and, secondly, that he has done that
bloodlessly. Chirac, who roamed the
States in his green years, doing odd jobs here and there, offers the Texan
virtually winning tactics for use at home in the run-up to the presidential
"It's About UN's Future"
Boris Volkhonskiy contended in reformist
business-oriented Kommersant (2/26): "As expected, France and
Germany, with Russia having joined them recently, have come up with an
alternative proposal. Theirs is not a
draft resolution but a non-binding memorandum.
That alone suggests that the opponents of the U.S.-British plan have
agreed to give up their strategic positions.... To Washington, it does not really matter
whether the UN will approve the plan....
Washington and London have made it clear... that their resolution is not about war and
peace but about the UN's future as a reputable international body.... Under the circumstances, countries that have
resolved to resist U.S.-British pressure to the bitter end are likely to lose
the most. They may find consolation in
thinking that they are doing the right thing, acting according to their
conscience (the price for it is multibillion oil contracts with the dictator's
regime), but they will go down in history as the gravediggers of the United
"Anti-Iraq Alliance Weird"
Reformist Vremya MN noted in a page-one
piece by Andrey Zlobin and Aleksandr Timofeyev
(2/26): "The trouble with the new resolution is that Washington has
few supporters. The unbreakable
anti-Iraq alliance of the United States, Britain, Spain and Bulgaria looks odd
because of an enormous disproportion among its members."
"Bush In a Trap"
Aleksey Pushkov commented in reformist
mass-circulation weekly Argumenty i Fakty (2/26): "Bush has gotten
himself in a trap. With nearly 200,000
troops massed on the Iraqi border and global warmongering at its climax, there
is no way he can back down. That,
surely, would kill his chances in the next election and bring a humiliating
defeat at the hands of junior allies and partners France, Germany and Russia,
making him a laughing stock, with hundreds of millions of Muslims gloating over
great America's impotence, and striking a crashing blow to U.S. leadership or
rather U.S. hegemony. America can't let that happen.... Iraq is only the beginning of a long battle
for American domination, dangerous to America itself and far from won.
"The Paris-Berlin-Moscow Axis Is an Illusion"
Vyacheslav Nikonov, president of the Politika Foundation,
commented in reformist Izvestiya (2/25):
"The Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis dubbed a new anti-American
alliance...is an illusion. Self-delusion
is dangerous. Germany's and France's
interest in economic, political and military partnership with the United States
is incomparably greater than their interest in cooperation with Russia. Defending the Iraqi leadership, peace, and
justice does not preclude caring for Russia's interest.... Pursuing idealistic goals is
impractical. It is a great deal wiser to
focus on goals that we can reach. Those
include maintaining normal relations with the West, reducing the danger of WMD
proliferation, and retaining important economic positions in Iraq. The best policy is not to strive for the
impossible.... We can't prevent
war. But we can still be a serious
player in Iraq."
BELGIUM: "If Saddam
Refuses...Resolution Will Be Approved Without Any Problem"
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn in conservative
Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (2/26): “The chance that Bush and Blair will find a
majority (for a second resolution) is small.
That means that they will have to act alone - probably with a fatal rift
in the UNSC. However, if Saddam refuses
to disarm the resolution will be approved without any problem. In that case, Bush and Blair will have what
they need. You never know with Saddam.
He likes to challenge. It makes
him feel important. Even today, nobody
knows what is driving him. Is he trying
to pushing his enemies to the extreme?
Or, does he believe that the coalition against him cannot survive when
the war begins? Nobody can answer those
questions with certainty. But, there is
one other certainty: should Saddam want to avoid war, (he should know that)
time is very limited.”
BULGARIA: "Bulgaria And Hegemony"
Mikhaylina Dimitrova considered in the largest
oppositon, Socialist party's Sofia Duma (2/28): "The situation at the Security Council
has become more complicated since yet another resolution was submitted to the
Security Council. France, Germany, and
Russia, supported by China, came up with their own plan that is completely different
from the US insistence that a war should be waged at any cost. The plan envisions a rather long term for
the UN inspections in Iraq and explicitly points out that no evidence
whatsoever has been presented to date that Baghdad has weapons of mass destruction....
So, the ratio between the forces on the Security Council is still four to three
in favor of the political peacemongers.
Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and Beijing are against Washington, London, and
Madrid. World news agencies and
observers have already gotten used to numbering Bulgaria among the warmongering
troika. What are the other nonpermanent members of the Security Council
doing? They are keeping a low
profile. It is very smart of them to do
so. Unlike Bulgaria, they do not make
hasty statements and it cannot be ruled out that they will support a document
that might not be voted on at all....
"The United States can afford to apply its
so-called democratic yardstick and to treat Germany on a par with Libya because
it is a superpower. Spain can afford to
firmly support the United States in NATO, the EU, or the Security Council because
it joined the two unions long ago and devises plans for future lobbying and
realignment. Bulgaria, however, cannot
afford to behave in a silly manner as it has tried to do to date. It will be a member of the Security Council
for some time but wants to join the EU for good. Sofia has achieved little progress with much
difficulty in the European club and is ready to give it up at the drop of a hat
so as to win the transatlantic support that our rulers consider more valuable
at present. However, the world will be
completely different after the Iraq crisis.
Where will Bulgaria be situated then?"
Scour World Capitals For US support"
Conor O-Clery noted in the center-left Irish
Times (2/25): "American diplomats have been dispatched to world
capitals, especially those of countries serving on the UN Security Council,
with the instruction: use 'all diplomatic means necessary' to get support for a
new resolution on Iraq that would authorize the use of force. For the smaller, more vulnerable countries on
the 15-member UN body that clearly means - vote with the United States, or risk
paying a heavy price.... The stakes are
high for both the US and its small group of allies. For Washington a new
resolution will mean international legitimacy and a greater prospect of the UN
sharing the cost of rebuilding Iraq. A vote against the resolution would be a
domestic political disaster for the British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony
Blair.... Mr. Bush made clear yesterday
that if he did not get the votes the US would not be stopped - making any
opposition not only perilous for bilateral relations with the world's
super-power, but ineffective."
"Those Wanting Peace, Should Prepare For War"
Financial Het Financieele Dagblad
commented (2/26): "The division, of
which Chirac is the best mouthpiece, gives Saddam Hussein the impression that
he can continue the path he started years ago.
Hussein still thinks he can survive given his arrogant refusal to
destroy his Al Samoud II missiles....
The fact that the Americans and British were willing to invade
Iraq--without a UN mandate if necessary, made Baghdad cooperate with Hans
Blix. Instead of closing the ranks to
increase pressure, the French and the Germans, supported by China and Russia,
now came with an alternative resolution that gives Saddam months to continue
his cat and mouse game with the international community. The paradox is that the part of Europe that
has the biggest problem with war, is exactly the part of Europe that his increasing
chances for a war."
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad
editorialized (2/25): "There are
two resolutions floating around in the UNSC....
There are no signs that we can expect either of the two camps will
compromise. The UNSC has to solve the dilemma--a tough job because the UN's
authority is at stake.... Chancellor
Schroeder said the old Europe knows too well what war means and therefore does
not want to do that. Fancy words behind
which there is a world of powerlessness.
Nobody wants a war--and the Americans really are also aware of the
horrors of a war--but the number of credible alternatives is rapidly
reducing. Schroeder and Chirac know that
but they are not acting accordingly. Not
NORWAY: "The Logic Of A War"
The newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (2/26)
commented: There is still a distance to go before the Security Council is
facing its last Iraq debate, and a veto situation does not seem very likely.
Still there is hardly any doubt that the United States in reality has given up
what the country must have had of faith in the effects of the UN inspections,
and is now soon ready for a military attack. Saddam Hussein knows this... The
political profit that the combination of military and diplomatic pressure was
about to give may therefore quickly be wasted. This way the actions of the
leaderships both in Baghdad and Washington can be marked by the logic of war
that there is now all reasons to warn against."
SPAIN: "Without Basic
Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (2/26):
"As D-day appears ever closer, the need for [Spain] to maintain a united
front...is ever more distant. The
government and the opposition have opened a chasm where the citizens walk
(those who protest against the war, and those who are silent with their
opinion) without any hope of coming together in a common position. The tension between U.S. and Iraq has broken
European unity and now threatens to break the basic consensus among
"Cheating and Solitude"
Left-of-center El País wrote (2/26): "Aznar's government is
acting as an agent of the Bush Administration to try to get approval for [a
second UN] resolution, which from a strictly legal point of view wouldn't even
automatically legalize the use of force, much less legitimize it."
"Pressuring Saddam To Exhaust The
Conservative ABC maintained (2/25): "In spite of everything, the U.S...is
willing to give more time. It's not
irrelevant to remind that Washington has given way on issues that three months
ago were supposedly impossible....
Bush's allies--especially Spain and Britain--have had much to do with
Washington's continuing on the UN path....
There are two weeks left to continue negotiating between the new
resolution and the French-German memorandum, and, fortunately, we will be where
we have been: in the UN Security
Council. The solution must come from
"Aznar Tries To Save Relations With Arab
Independent El Mundo wrote (2/24):
"One of the consequences that could come out of Aznar's strong support of
Bush is a chilling of relations between Spain and the Arab world.... In an
attempt to neutralize this image of an unconditional ally of the US, Aznar made
clear to Bush the necessity of putting on the table a peace plan for the Middle
East... [But] with Sharon's policies, and on the eve of a war which many countries
in the region see as unjustified aggression, it does not seem likely that this
attempt by Aznar will be very successfully.
What it reveals is that [Aznar] is conscious that something must be done
to help recover the confidence of those [Arab] countries which are united [with
Spain ] by geography and history.
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO: “Global Privileges, Global Drama”
Pro-government Politika's analysts M. Pantelic commented on
the decision-making process related to a new UN resolution on the use of force
(2/28): "An unprecedented strong political and financial lobbying is going
on to obtain a majority in the Security Council and to gain a moral victory.
The veto is a powerful means, however, it is not omnipotent. Washington's
message that it would go to war against Iraq even if Paris vetoes the
Resolution, suggested that diplomatic paralysis could only harm the authority
of the Security Council and present it as a futile body incapable to act
decisively. However, if the U.S. and the
UK enter a war without the approval of the remaining three (permanent members)
it would prove their military dominance, and also their political weakness to
maintain the unity of the leading countries.
If Paris opts for a veto, it would be the first time in contemporary
history that someone from the West said 'no' to one of Washington’s strategic goals. “
EGYPT: "The International Fig Leaf"
Opposition Al Wafd's columnist Mohsen
Mohamed wrote (2/25): "Tony Blair lost much of his popularity due to his
alliance with the U.S. against Iraq. The British want Blair to secure a UNSC
resolution... That is the reason President Bush agreed to propose the
resolution for war to the UNSC.... The UNSC is thus a fig leaf for America and
Blair to invade Iraq. A UNSC resolution
will also be a fig leaf for Arabs as support offered by international
legitimacy for a war would allow the use of our bases and our territories for
the strike against Iraq. In such critical circumstances, Baghdad fails to grasp
the logic of force...and insists on defiance. But, these days, defying foolish
American power is impossible."
"The Sonata of a Second Resolution"
Ahmad Hamada opined in government-owned Al-Thawra
on (2/27): "Not only have President
Bush and the war-mongers in his Administration refused to listen to the voice
of reason and the millions who demonstrated throughout the world against the
war, they (the war-mongers) have started blackmailing the world by submitting a
new resolution to the Security Council that contains no substance except a
threat to the world and its international organization that they must either
comply with the U.S.'s military demands or they will be marginalized. What are
Washington's motives behind the new resolution? It is a race against time to
implement military plans in Iraq, since opposition to an Anglo-American war
against Iraq is growing as time passes. This is why the White House came up
with this new sonata that says Iraq is in material breach of resolution 1441
and that this merits the gravest consequences. Once again the American
Administration is interpreting resolution 1441 in accordance with its
aggressive vision... If resolution 1441 does not require inspectors -as Powell
claims- to look for alleged weapons of mass destruction or even find new
evidence of attempts to posses them, then why are the inspectors in Baghdad?
What America wants is to bury resolution 1441, stop the inspections, and obtain
a second resolution that legitimizes military action against Iraq in
contradiction to the desires of the countries and peoples of the world."
"War Regardless Of Another
Government-owned al-Thawra opined
(2/26): "The U.S.-British
insistence on the issuance of a new UN Security Council resolution on Iraq aims
at paving the way for military action against Iraq and to have Spain involved
in the war.... London and Washington are
going to war with or without a second UN Security Council resolution.... The U.S. administration's public discussion
of the war and its repercussions on the U.S. interests in the region, as well
as U.S. military preparations in the Gulf, indicate that the war will break out
in the next few weeks."
MOROCCO: "Diplomatic Guerilla"
Front page article in Liberation
government coalition, French-language USFP party, on 2/26: "The struggle
has started at the UNSC. The U.S., Spain and England have presented a new
resolution to get a green light to wage war. Bush administration is aware of
the failure of its communication. If the crusade of the world leader, The U.S.,
is not understood, it is because this big nation of transparency has lied and
that everyone is aware of this."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: “Strive For Peace, Uphold Justice And
Jiang Daoli commented in official Communist
Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao,
2/26): “Considering the progress
achieved in the weapons inspection, although Iraq has not devoted all its heart
and soul, at least it supports the inspectors’ work with a comparatively
cooperative attitude. As for Iraq having
relations with terrorists, the evidence provided by the U.S. still cannot
explain some substantial questions yet.
As Iraq’s strength is limited and its behavior is passable, the evidence
for a war against Iraq is not abundant yet.”
(HONG KONG SAR):
"China's Engagement Gives Cause For Hope"
The independent English-language South China
Morning Post noted in an editorial (2/28):
"Over the last few weeks, the world has been gripped by the
large-scale drama of the U.S. struggling to build its case for the impending
war against Iraq, while keeping North Korea from exploding into a second,
unwanted battle front. Hardly a day
passes without a new tactical development, as the U.S. plays the classic game
of great powers at times of stress, calling on its friends and attempting to
bend the multilateral system to its will....
Against such a backdrop, it is hard to notice much else. But from a Chinese and Asian perspective, one
of the extraordinary new developments of Gulf War, Round Two, has been China's
emergence as a force for multilateralism....
China is using its influence not only in the UN Security Council, but
through its broader relationships to shape a global political process. Its tactics are standard fare for big powers
acting through multilateral institutions, but until recently China stood
aloof.... China is now using the political capital it has built up with both
the U.S. and Russia since September 11 to push for a UN-backed solution to
Iraq, and an approach to the Korean peninsula crisis that does not isolate the
northern side. It is one of the
surprising and promising developments of this season of war that China should
emerge as an effective counterweight in an institution that the U.S. invented,
at a time when the U.S. seems to be playing fast and loose with its own
SOUTH KOREA: "Bad
Approach From The Start On Iraq"
An op-ed in the national capital's Canberra Times by Ron
Huisken from the Strategic and Defense Studies Center reads (2/27): "One
would think that getting widespread support for the general proposition that
this situation [with Iraq] had to be addressed and resolved would not be too
hard. It has, however, proven to be very hard. And along the way, it has
polarized opinions within nations across the world and created divisions
between nations that will not soon be repaired.... The U.S., in my judgment, is
irreversibly committed to driving the issue to a definitive outcome.... The
United States will not draw down its forces in the Gulf until one of these
outcomes is secured.... No-one is happy with how this issue ended up back in
the UN.... But the UN is where the issue belongs. If it is allowed to escape,
and the precedent of preventive war allowed to be set, it will be a tragedy
that we will all rue for a long time to come."
"Compliances, Not Defiance"
Karachi's independent national Dawn (2/26): "Hans Blix, has asked Baghdad to start
destroying its Al Samoud-2 missiles by March 1.... Common sense demands that Iraq pay heed to
the UN directive at this critical juncture when the U.S. and Britain are readying
their forces in the Gulf for an invasion and have already tabled a resolution
in the Security Council to this effect.
Any dilly-dallying by Iraq on the issue would give its arch denigrators
the chance they have been waiting for: to take on Baghdad militarily in the
name of disarming it.... Wisdom and
realism require (Saddam) to use this last opportunity to avert the terror and
suffering to a punitive war for his beleaguered country and its hapless
people.... Full and willing compliance
with the UN directives and resolutions is the only way to deny the U.S. and
Britain the pretext they need to go ahead with their war plans."
"Arabs, U.S. Aggression and Pakistan"
Syed Mohammad Tariq Pirzada wrote in the center-right national Nation
(2/26): "The U.S. cannot twist our
arm today to win our support as it did against the Taliban when it had an
apparent cause. Our position at the UNSC
gives us the opportunity, at least, to stay with the majority on Iraq.... A Muslim Pakistan will also be remembered for
betraying a brotherly Iraq when the majority of the non-Muslim Western Europe
and Latin America is openly challenging the U.S. on the Iraq question.... Mr. Musharraf needs to know that a post 9/11
retaliatory U.S. strike against Afghanistan, when we didn't have a choice, is
in sharp contrast with the U.S. aggression against Iraq. Especially when the
majority of the world is vehemently opposed, and when we do have a
"New U.S. Resolution Against Iraq"
Populist Khabrain declared (2/26): "There is a likelihood that the U.S. may
not be able to get the necessary votes for the passage of the new resolution on
Iraq. It is also possible that one or
the other permanent members of the Security Council might veto the
resolution. In such a scenario, what justification
would the U.S. have to attack Iraq?
Also, if the U.S. still goes ahead and attacks Iraq, what then would be
the worth of the UN, the Security Council or its members?"
"Stop Lord Of The Bush"
I. Hassan took this view in the centrist national News
(2/25): "If the U.S., sensing that
the UN Security Council will not authorize an attack on Iraq, goes ahead and
destroys Iraq, then the only remedy to keep the policeman, i.e. the United
Nations, in place and intact would be for the three veto-wielding
powers--Russia, France and China--to ally themselves and send an ultimatum,
yes, ultimatum to the U.S. to cease fire, withdraw from Iraq and abide by the
instructions of the UN Security Council.
They should make it known to the U.S. that should the U.S. disregard
this instruction, then their nuclear arsenal would be used against the U.S. in
order for it to comply. In fact, this
will bring forth the very scenario that the U.S. is ostensibly avoiding by
pretending that it is threatened by Iraq with nuclear weapons. If the U.S. invades Iraq without any legal
authority and if the three powers do not band together to oppose the U.S., then
we can say good-bye to any civilized behavior, and the lord of the bush will prevail."
Editorialist Serge Truffaut in the liberal Le
Devoir wrote (2/26): "If not
for the interview granted by Saddam Hussein to Dan Rather, the chances the memo
written by Paris and Berlin --and endorsed by Moscow and Beijing -- had of
being adopted by the Security Council would have been much greater. But Saddam caught everybody by surprise and
gave the Bush-Blair duo...everything it wanted, namely a reason to send armies
to Baghdad. Indeed, Saddam's clear
refusal during this interview not to destroy the missiles constitutes the
motive the war side was waiting for....
If Hussein sticks to his guns, it is likely neither Bush nor Blair will
be forced to demand a vote at the Security Council on their new
resolution. More exactly, if Hussein decides
to keep arms prohibited by the UN, he will reduce to ashes the position
defended by Germany, France, China and Russia."
"Only George Bush Could Make Chirac Look
Like A Dove"
Columnist Paul Knox commented in the leading Globe
and Mail (2/26): "Mr. Bush has managed to drive the deepest wedge in
half a century between the United States and Europe over an issue tangential to
counterterrorism, which is the central challenge of his presidency. Every time his pal Tony Blair digs himself
out of a public-opinion hole, Mr. Bush pushes him back in with another dose of
illogic and mendacity. The U.S. President has single-handedly resuscitated the
global antiwar movement -- no mean feat in a post-9/11 world. And he's
accomplished something Bill Clinton could only dream of: He's actually made
people feel good about being liberals once again. That, of course, is not such
a bad thing. But there is a great tragedy about Mr. Bush's meltdown in the
arena of international public opinion. His obsession with military action has
made it easy for others to avoid addressing the plight of civilians in Iraq,
and their claim on a brighter future.... The humanitarian plight of Iraqis has
been trotted out so belatedly by Mr. Bush and his allies that it lacks all credibility
as a pretext for war. In any case, their overwhelming focus continues to be
WMD.... If the current crisis is defused, there is no reason why the focus of
United Nations involvement can't be broadened from weapons of mass destruction
to include a mechanism to address the civil, political, social and economic
rights of Iraqis. Those who would be peacemongers should make that their
ARGENTINA: "Seduction Plan With Favors and
Ana Baron, leading Clarin
Washington-based correspondent, opined (2/26): "Beyond Great Britain and
its historic ties with Washington, the only countries that are really in
agreement with going to war are those with governments which are ideologically
similar to George Bush's administration, such as Spain, Italy and Portugal. In
Latin America, all U.S. attention is focused right now on Mexico and Chile, two
UNSC members whose vote will be of key importance to determine whether the UN
will support going to war or not. The carrot the U.S. seems to be showing Mexico
is immigration.... Chilean President Lagos said 'I wouldn't like to mention the
word 'pressure' because there isn't such thing...but we're all aware of the
consequences of taking or not an action without having to say it's a matter of
pressure or not.' Lagos is bearing in mind his recently negotiated bilateral
free trade treaty with the U.S. In this
context, the Argentine experience is interesting. After being declared a Non-
NATO ally of the U.S. during the Menem administration and after receiving billions
of dollars from the IMF... Argentina ended up with a huge foreign debt...and it
started having problems to pay back its loans.... So the U.S. interrupted
financial aid.... In the text where President Bush outlines his new security
strategy, there's no reference of Argentina, not even as a Non-NATO ally of the
"In U.S. Opinion, Saddam Missed His Last Chance"
Alberto Armendariz, on special assignment in New
York for daily-of-record La Nacion write (2/25): "Determined to go
to war, yesterday the U.S. formally presented at the UNSC a draft resolution
against Iraq saying that Saddam's regime 'is missing its last chance to
disarm', warning that 'he'll face serious consequences.' The U.S. draft --
co-sponsored by Great Britain and Spain, to be voted in two weeks --, was
immediately replied by France, Russia and Germany in a memorandum, supported by
China, in which they reiterate their rejection to use force in their attempt to
disarm Iraq and demand an intensification of WMD inspections with a clear
action program and specific deadlines. Based on Iraq's previous refusals to
abide by UN resolutions, President Bush pointed out that now, it's the UN's
chance to 'prove whether it's relevant or not relevant' and warned that even if
the new UNSC resolution project is not approved, the U.S. will take part in
Iraq's disarming process.... Washington faces the challenge of obtaining among
UN members the 15 votes it needs to approve the resolution. It needs 5 positive
votes and not a single veto of the 5 permanent members... However, up to now
Washington only counts on the sure votes of 2 non-permanent members: Spain and
Bulgaria. 'Nothing justifies a new resolution,' says President Chirac.
Yesterday's draft resolution doesn't mention the word 'ultimatum' leaving the
door open for the U.S. to impose its own deadline when the resolution is
BRAZIL:"A Necessary Confrontation"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (2/26)
editorialized: "George W. Bush's strategy to obtain the UNSC's
authorization for a military intervention in Iraq is somewhat truculent....
Unfortunately, the U.S. decision to go to war has already been made. Bush has
already given many indications that he will resort to all means available to
destroy Saddam Hussein. After sending more than 150,000 troops to the Persian
Gulf region, to bring them back home after anything less than Saddam's
overthrow would possibly mean political suicide for Bush. The situation is
delicate, but it does not mean that the SC's members have to accept the U.S.'s
demands.... If Bush insists on military action even without international
support, he will have to cope with the political burden of unilateralism. It is
true that a UN without the U.S. would be a relatively innocuous organization,
but it is also true that Washington depends on the world for almost everything,
from trade to security. If the majority of the international community believes
that war is not the best solution, it can and must confront the U.S."
MEXICO: "Fox Went To War"
Carlos Montemayor wrote in left-of-center La
Jornada (2/27): "The pressure of the Bush government on President Fox
to modify Mexico's stance in the UNSCouncil has been effective. Fox's speech has modified its essential points.... The Fox government is closer now to the
dangerous, dishonorable attitudes of Aznar and Blair. The point (with this new turn in the
president's speech), is to prepare to justify Mexico's vote in favor of the
war. It is no longer a matter of proposing
peace as a better option than the war, now Fox announces its subjugation to the
Bush administration.... The thing that
matters is the disarmament of Hussein.
Fox has changed, and informs us that he will join the dishonorable vote
of the puppet governments that obey the emperor of the war. The Fox government has suddenly understood
and accepted, that it has the same opinion and the same objectives that the
Soledad Loaeza wrote in the left-of-center La Jornada (2/27):
"Many will be annoyed with the change in Mexican foreign policy, but it is
necessary to admit that America's hegemony imposes restrictions that no
responsible leader can thrust aside. The dilemmas that face the Mexican
government regarding the Iraqi crisis are not easy to resolve. It cannot
pretend not to hear the prompting of the Bush government to support it without
putting many things at risk (we do not know what, though we feel that it is too
much); we can admit that there are a lot of buttons that Washington can push to
make us cry."
"Mexico And The World"
Juan Maria Alponte writes in El Universal (2/27): "Saddam Hussein was pampered by the
U.S., France and the then Soviet Union because he was fighting Khomeini. Jacques Chirac also signed an impressive
contract to build a nuclear energy plant...while Donald Rumsfeld, then the
special U.S. envoy to the Middle East, negotiated a large package of U.S.
economic and military assistance with Saddam.
They shook hands on this on December 17, 1983. It is too bad that the current U.S. Defense
Secretary has forgotten about this development."
"Mexico And The International
Luis Felipe Bravo, chairman of ruling party PAN,
statee in El Universal (2/27):
"The goal is to achieve Iraq's disarmament to the satisfaction of
the international community. This is
what Mexico is trying to promote.... In short, Saddam Hussein has in his hands
the road to either peace or war....
Because of the importance of our relationship with the U.S., Mexico also
pays attention to the U.S. arguments vis-à-vis Iraq's disarmament and U.S.
security. Mexico has made it clear that
both the U.S. and Mexico share the common objective of Iraq's disarmament, even
though they can also have different approaches to this issue.... Finally, the common goal is to re-set the
foundations of a secure, stable, peaceful and cooperative international system,
with revitalized international institutions that are capable of addressing with
efficacy the challenges of the 21st century."
"Limits To Pressure"
Raymundo Riva Palacio judged writes in nationalist Universal
(2/24): "The large hands of the
Americans are being heard on Mexican tables.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said that if Mexico did not
support the USG at the United Nations, there would be consequences. U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza, Bush’s old ally,
said that there would not be direct reprisals, but that a negative vote would
harm bilateral relations. Garza repeated
the same message as U/S Marc Grossman, about Mexico’s global responsibility as
a member of the U.N. Security Council....
Mexico has been one less headache for Washington to deal with, at this
moment. In light of this craziness, we
should act with prudence. In light of
the threats, we should act with firmness.
President Fox has paid attention to these issues, but his moral and
political reasons should be accompanied by a political activism toward the USG
so that it understands it should put its arrogance aside, and remember that in
regard to bilateral relations, a few divergences have not created enemies, but
have created trustworthy allies."
CHILE: "Time For Decisions”
Influential, conservative, Santiago newspaper-of-record El
Mercurio editorialized (2/26): “With
the introduction of a new draft resolution...the Iraqi crisis has reached what
seems to be a turning point at the UN Security Council.... None of the economic, military, diplomatic
means, or the inspections has proven effective against the Hussein regime. Therefore, it is time to make a
decision. It might be painful, but the
alternative is unacceptable and, predictably, even more costly in terms of
human suffering....In these ongoing critical negotiations, Chile will have to
defend its principles while taking into account the challenge raised by the
Iraqi regime to the UN and its authority... in addition to the close relations
tying us to the U.S., with whom we have renewed our association.”
"Chile At The UN"
Top-circulation, independent, popular La Tercera carried an
editorial stating (2/26):In the following weeks, Chile will take part in
internationally important decisions at the UN Security Council....The position
against war that the national political parties have expressed in recent weeks
seems to synchronize with the French-German proposal. Although preserving peace is a [matter of]
national interest, it is also of national interest to demand concrete evidence
of Saddam Hussein’s willingness to disarm and respect the UN resolutions within
the deadlines....Chile, as a small country with limited international
influence, is interested in having the UN respected as an organization dedicated
to the preservation of international peace and security. As such, Chile should support the ideal of
countries following UN decisions without exception.”
“Chile At The Security Council”
Popular, conservative, afternoon-daily La Segunda commented
(2/27): The existence of two concrete
and opposite resolutions that will have to be considered by the UN Security
Council in the next few days raises the need for Chile -- a current member of
the Council -- to clearly define its position.... It is a complex problem...
which in [Chile’s] case concerns the dual and close relations that stem from
the two recent agreements with the United States and the European
Union.... Certainly, the emphatic denial
by the president of the existence of pressures [from the proposal-sponsoring
nations] does not negate [the fact that there was a] strong exchange of
information with partner nations and other members of the Council...including
the [upcoming] visit to Chile of President Bush’s special envoy.... In face of this challenge, it is desirable
that the Chilean government acts with solid national support.”
"Pressure From Blair, Bush Complicate
Santiago-based conservative, influential El
Mercurio editorialized (2/25):
"The calls from U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime
Minister Tony Blair may have put Chile in a 'complex political situation,' say
various political analysts.... Bush's
call could not be defined as pressure, because that action would involve
sanctions, but there is a strong push to convince our country. A call from the president is a grander
gesture. This reduces the room to maneuver that Chile must have to make a free
and sovereign decision in accordance with its own interests, and puts us in a
politically complex situation.... It is
not unimaginable to suppose there could be reprisals against Chile on the part
of the United States if the country does not make a decision with regional
support, at a time when there are pending issues with the United States such as
the ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) and the purchase of
airplanes, among other matters.... For
this reason it is important to show the United States we are representing a
regional opinion. Chile cannot appear to stand alone, because it has no weight,
and when it votes it will have to lean toward one of the positions, because
abstention would be disgraceful.... But
in conclusion, any decision from the United Nations will allow for a sort of
open window to legitimize military intervention. It is unlikely the United Nations or the
Council will turn its back on the United States."
"Chile’s Position On The War"
Government-owned, but editorially independent,
Santiago daily La Nacion ran an editorial (2/25): "In this
scenario, many voices have been raised advising Chile to act with ‘realism’
when casting its vote at the UN Security Council. And that so-called realism is linked to the
possibility of not upsetting Washington at a moment when the signing of a Free
Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Chile is still pending.... It would be
very sad for our country to decide its position at the UN Security Council by
following considerations that would imply abdicating our sovereignty. Chile is an independent nation and its vote
should be a dignified expression of that."
COSTA RICA: "Irresponsibility In The Face
An op-ed in San Jose's economic La Republica
asserted (2/26): "Rumsfeld, despite his powerful army, is not able to
prove to anyone that the war against Iraq is going to last only six days, or
even six weeks or months, but he knows that the American public needs to hear
this diagnostic in order to continue
supporting the interventionist policy of Mr. Bush's government... Instead of
easing the differences with his old European allies, Secretary
Rumsfeld has gone so far as to treat
them disparagingly, especially France and
Germany, referring to them...as the representatives of an irrelevant
'old Europe'. These comments by the Secretary of Defense
have caused irritation at the highest levels of both countries...Rumsfeld
should know that the US is sitting on
the hot seat and that it has isolated itself
from worldwide public opinion."
"Hello Dos Santos, Are You With Us, Or This Them?"
Privately-owned Portuguese-language weekly Luanda
A Capital declared (2/22):
"There are two positions on the Iraqi crisis and this is the reason
for the two telephone calls received by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos
Santos from the U.S.' George Bush and France's Jacques Chirac. These were "'courtesy' calls only
because Angola is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.... The more logical and rational people know
what harm could come to humanity with a war, especially at a time when the
creation of an independent Palestinian state is not resolved. But the world is going to find serious
difficulties in discouraging the American fury led by the Republican Bush, who
has sent out his sophisticated and modern American war machine.... In order to halt the war, France has taken
Germany's side and now the Atlantic Alliance is weak.... The American fury finds in Iraq the escape
for what was its intervention in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime and Bin
Laden's al-Qa'ida. The U.S. vetos all
information which refers to the awkwardness of the Americans and the allies in
general, where the troops only move about in highly protected columns. While Washington and London beat the drum of
war, these countries sell at a good price the image of an invisible devil that
can attack at any moment. Selling fear
is good, as is the belief that Islam is the center of all ills.... With this history of barbaric vampires ready
to take the blood of blond American children, Bush is hiding the damage that he
is causing the American economy."
"African Union Says No!"
Privately-owned independent Portuguese-language
weekly Luanda Angolense observed (2/22):
"On the one hand Washington is asking for a yes, while France and
its allies are asking Angola not to heed to the U.S.' desire of approving a
resolution that allows for the use of force....
Joining this is the pledge with the African Union, in which Angola said
in the last summit that it would reject the use of force.... Simply ignoring the pledge that Angola made
with the African Union would be very bad. After all we are in the Security
Council because we have the support of the continent.... Given this sticky situation not voting would
be the best solution."
The Yaounde-based, pro-opposition French Mutations
carried an unsigned article, next to a picture of President Bush, headlined
“Dragon" in which the author opined (2/25): “Eleven years ago, just before
what has come to be known as 'the first Bush war', there was as much tension in
the air as there is now. But the irony is that at that time it was Iraq that
was being implored to leave Kuwait. It is similar to those fights in the
neighborhood where the most excited of the two combatants who are about to fight,
is being held down by neighbors so as to stop the fight from happening. Now,
preparations for war are intensifying. No day goes by that one does not see the
handsome, very important, well-cared for and well-armed American soldiers
putting in place all what is needed for the war. Tankers are lined up, guns are
cleaned, missiles are prepared and the canons are greased.... Those naïve
people who still think they can stop the war from taking place are just some
killjoys who want to spoil the world movie that the son of Bush wants to
entertain us with. All that we are waiting for now is the beginning of the
show. But the wait is becoming too long and might get the spectators angry and
The independent English-language Yaounde-based
tri-weekly Herald carried a report by Asong Ndifor stating (2/24): "U.S. President George Bush intends to
send an envoy, the American assistant secretary of state for African Affairs
Walter H. Kansteiner, to 'woo Biya' to support war against Iraq. The decision to
'buy' the three [African] countries to support a war resolution against Iraq is
said to be as a result of the France-Africa summit at which all the 52 African
countries unanimously endorsed Jacques Chriac's opposition to a U.S.-led war
"Hanging In The Balance"
Melvin Akam and Alex Gustave Azebaze opined in
independent French-language tri-weekly Douala-based Le Messager
(2/24): "The heart of the Yaounde
regime is hanging on the balance. The
U.S. wants war and France is heading a group of countries that prefer the
continuation of weapons inspection in Iraq.
Cameroon belongs to the group of countries that have to decide on these
options and now has to choose between its main partner (France) and those
responsible for its security (the U.S.)."
GHANA: "Give War A chance"
An avowedly pro-ruling party (NPP) with small
urban circulation Accra Mail (2/26): " Religious leaders, ordinary
people, the vast majority of countries on the globe, just name it, are all
unanimous on one thing: give peace a chance. Two men, President Bush of the US
and Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK seem determined on one path: give war a
chance. This war with Iraq which the two
men want to prosecute with such zeal and passion is now beginning to send
different signals. It is beginning to look and sound like some kind of crusade
that goes beyond just the disarming of Iraq. We are very worried about
that. We now hear of the UN becoming
"irrelevant" if a certain course of action not taken...Yes, Saddam
may qualify for all the four-letter expletives that could be dredged out from
the barrel of infamy, but going after him should not also endanger the rest of
us, that is the caution being expressed."
"U.S. And Britain Disarming Iraq Reads"
Government owned Zambia Daily Mail
editorialized (2/26): "The United
States and Britain's insistence to disarm Iraq by force has undoubtedly put the
whole world on edge. While the two super
powers' stance may be justified, peace-loving citizens the world over fear the
repercussions such a move would bring about....
It is surprising that while the US is willing to use dialogue over the
threat being posed by North Korea, including yesterday's missile launch, which
upstaged the inauguration of South Korea's new President Roh Moo-hyun, it
cannot consider the same for Iraq. We
therefore support Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's assertion that the U.S.
and Britain are creating a world where powerful 'Big Brother' states impose
their will on weaker ones.... Had
peace-loving nations-like China , France, Germany and Russia not opposed the
military action, war could have already broken out. But the four nations have resisted efforts by
U.S. and Britain to use the UN as a rubber-stamp in their quest to smoke out
Saddam Hussein and install a puppet regime....
However, even the resistance by China , France, Germany and Russia is
still being undermined by U.S. and Britain who have gone ahead in preparing
logistics for war against Iraq."