December 15, 2003
SADDAM'S CAPTURE A 'COUP' FOR THE COALITION
** Saddam's capture is a
"political and psychological triumph" for the U.S. and coalition.
** Optimists view the
arrest as a turning point for Iraq and an opportunity for reconciliation.
** Critics say nabbing
Saddam doesn't solve Iraqi crisis, rather it could "inflame" the
** Global media call for
justice not revenge; most want Saddam to be tried in an Iraqi court.
Saddam's arrest is a 'coup' for the U.S., major 'morale booster'
for coalition forces-- In the immediate wake of
Saddam's arrest, writers worldwide portrayed it as a political and
"psychological" win for the U.S.
From Europe to the Muslim world, writers expressed relief that "a
monster has been caught" and that Saddam's "psychological grip"
on the Iraqi people had been broken.
Capturing the positive mood, Kosovo's mass circulation Bota Sot
declared: "Saddam's capture by the American military ended once and
forever the nightmare of the Iraqi people." Even anti-war outlets conceded his capture
was a "blow for good."
Canada's liberal Toronto Star commended the U.S. for taking
Saddam alive, noting the "Americans have wisely ensured that a mass
murderer does not become a martyr."
Others saw the arrest as a major boost for Bush, suggesting "he
could not have dreamed for a better Christmas present."
U.S. must take advantage of a 'new beginning,' time for reconciliation-- Positive editorials asserted that Saddam's
arrest offers an opportunity for the U.S. to "turn the mood around"
and "to end the indecent bickering" over Iraq. Underscoring the U.S.' "great chance"
to win the support of the Iraqis, Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
explained the arrest "united the U.S., its allies, the opponents of the
war and mainly the downtrodden Iraqi people." Arab writers concurred that this was "a
turning point and an opportunity to start afresh." While UAE dailies urged it was time to move
ahead with "rebuilding Iraq based on the free will of the Iraqi
people," Saudi Arabia's moderate Al Bilad advocated "a real
beginning for the return of Iraq to its people" and "the departure of
foreign troops forever."
It 'remains to be seen' whether Iraq situation will improve, may
get worse-- Skeptics emphasized that
Saddam's arrest did not mean the end of the conflict or change the "grim
reality" facing Iraqis. They
stressed that the war is "still going on" and "worse
still," according to a Russian daily, "it is gathering
steam." Taking note of the
"Middle East paradox," writers in Israel as well as in the Arab world
worried that not only will his "capture not stop terror, it is even liable
to spur it." "Without a doubt,"
asserted the PA's independent Al-Quds, capturing Saddam in such a
"humiliating and shameful way will inflame the Iraqi resistance."
Saddam should be 'tried by those he tyrannized,' but now is not
time for 'revenge'--
Most writers agreed it would be important that Saddam be tried by
the Iraqis themselves, in a "real court" but "according to
international law." Saddam's trial
will be "cathartic" for Iraq, asserted Britain's conservative Times. The Netherlands centrist Algemeen Dagblat
instead countered that a fair judicial process is "unthinkable as
long as there is no Iraqi government with a self-obtained mandate." Chinese and Indian dailies warned that
"kangaroo court justice" could make a martyr of Saddam. Muslim writers demanded "law and justice"
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report
is based on 88 editorials from 39 countries, December 14-15.
"The Humiliation Of A Bloody Tyrant"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (12/15): "The video footage aired yesterday was
worth so much more than the toppling of any statue.... That video has broken the psychological grip
[Saddam] held on Iraq, beginning a process of political exorcism. It is a badly needed triumph for the U.S.-led
occupation authority, certainly, but above all it is a huge boost for Iraqis, a
cultured and wealthy people the Saddam regime brutalized and reduced to
penury.... It follows that the
occupation authorities should use the capture of Mr. Hussein as an opportunity
to embrace the alienated Sunni community and assure them of their
rights.... The capture of the tyrant can
only help, by making Iraqis believe they can at last start believe in a future."
The conservative Times commented (12/15): "Rarely do the monsters of history have
to account for their crimes.... As long
as he remained at large, his familiar voice coming back on clandestine tapes
from the political grave to taunt and haunt his people, Iraq could not
recover.... His capture was therefore as
dramatic as it was vital.... The way in
which the farmhouse was pinpointed and isolated and the quarry finally
unearthed in the 'spider hole' beneath the ground was a textbook example of a
military operation properly planned and skillfully executed.... Beyond this necessary proof of his capture,
the Americans would be wise to say and show as little as possible now of their
prisoner.... The more Saddam is treated
with the dignity of common humanity, the more pointed will be the contrast with
the way he tortured and humiliated prisoners during his rule. Iraqis will be able to see for themselves
that the aim of the war in the spring was neither to seek domination nor exact
revenge but to free them of the tyranny of one man. That man must now be tried by those he
tyrannized.... Saddam's trial will be
cathartic for Iraq. It will, at last,
define the parameters of his misrule....
The question that must now preoccupy world capitals is whether Saddam's
arrest will speed up Iraq's recovery."
"Saddam: We Got him"
An editorial in the right-of-center Sun
held (12/15): "Mr. Blair has played
a key role in the capture of Saddam. He
had the courage to stand by President Bush during the war itself and in the
bloody aftermath. He never wavered for a
moment, despite relentless sniping from the Labour Left.... All the coalition troops involved in Saturday
night's brilliant operation deserve our thanks.
So too do the British security forces who helped track the tyrant to his
hole.... Nevertheless, a blow for
freedom has been struck. A monster has
been caught. And that is something worth
"Now Let The Iraqis Rule Themselves"
An editorial in the center-left Daily Mirror
stressed (12/15): "Even those who,
like the Mirror, believe it was wrong to go to war in Iraq can agree. His capture is a blow for good. But getting Saddam does not suddenly make it
right to have invaded and launched a war against international law at the cost
of thousands of lives.... There is still
no evidence that he had any WMD and it is hardly likely that he will now
miraculously produce them, letting George Bush and Tony Blair off the
hook.... All those involved deserve the
highest praise. But the capture of
Saddam is no more the end of the conflict than the fall of his statue
was.... There are bound to be problems
over what happens to him now. Tony Blair
is right to want him to face trial in Iraq....
But the greatest day will be when the Iraqi people can rule themselves.
That is when true peace and security will at last come to that long-troubled
land. And Saddam's legacy will finally
"Out Of The Shadows"
An editorial in the left-of-center Guardian
claimed (12/15): "Like his sons,
Iraq's deposed dictator appears to have been betrayed by an informer or
informers. But unlike Uday and Qusay,
who resisted to the death...there was no fight left in Saddam.... It seems, when the moment of reckoning finally
arrived, that he was all but deserted and alone.... [A]s a force within Iraq, his reign ended
yesterday; his terror has been terminated.
Iraq's future will happen without him.
Here was a more truly liberating, emancipating moment than the bloodily chaotic
fall of Baghdad to American arms last spring.... Saddam, happily, now has no say over Iraq's
future. But he has an awful lot to say
about its past. It is vital that the
world hear his full, unexpurgated testimony.
Saddam was a horror of our age.
But the guilt for his deeds is not entirely his alone."
Bush's Good Fortune"
Michel Schifres remarked in right-of-center Le Figaro
(12/15): "Even if Saddam's capture
was in the cards, considering the forces deployed by the U.S., the symbolism of
his capture emphasizes three basic truths:
the Iraqi dictatorship is definitely part of the past; the armed
supporters of the tyrant have lost their main reason for being; Iraq's citizens
can psychologically feel liberated....
To the eyes of the world this capture illustrates even more America's
energy and its president's good fortune....
After a period of uncertainty, the year-end is bringing President Bush
an almost certain reelection. At the
same time he must feel vindicated about the appropriateness of the Iraqi
campaign and more broadly about America's intervention in world affairs. This is nothing to rejoice about. While this capture gives America newfound
authority, it leaves many things unresolved in Iraq. And so we wonder whether this capture
represents a chance that Washington will seize.
The choice is clear. Either the
Americans demonstrate their real desire to reinstate Iraqi sovereignty, or,
hiding behind democratic smokescreens, they will serve only their
interests. Since they are the masters of
the world, the future will tell whether they will lead the world or dig their
own graves. Winning the future is
something to be determined today."
Patrick Sabatier judged in left-of-center Liberation
(12/15): "The question of Saddam
has been resolved, but not the question of Iraq.... George Bush could not have dreamed of a
better Christmas present.... Even if
Saddam's role in the attacks against the Coalition remains uncertain, his
capture is sure to discourage some of the resistance groups.... But the Iraqis' opposition to a prolonged and
humiliating occupation remains....
Saddam's capture gives Bush a new opportunity to get out of the
quagmire. He can seize this opportunity
to speed up the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis, internationalize the
transition and the country's reconstruction by handing them over to the UN. He must guarantee that Saddam's trial will be
handled by a real court, an Iraqi court, but according to international
law. President Bush did not make the
mistake of clamoring premature victory.
He must not conclude that his policy is now validated and let vengeance
take over. The proper outcome of the
Iraqi crisis is the emergence of a regime founded on the rule of law, more
democratic and free than Saddam Hussein's."
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger had this to say in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (12/15): "Since the
specter of old times can no longer play a ravaging role, reconciliation can now
begin. Of course, this process is linked
to the hope that the remnants of the former regime, whose terrorists attacks
have raised cost of the occupation, will no longer have the will and the
resources for continuous resistance now that their leader has been
captured.... It is a consequence of the
capture that it will now be easier for President Bush and Prime Minister Blair
to reject their critics, but this is of secondary importance. We are now anxious to see how the skeptical
and critical Arab neighbors will react to the fact that the former dictator
from Baghdad can no longer be considered a myth. They will have to adjust to the new
realities. We are also keen on finding
out what Saddam has to day, if he says anything at all and if his
testimony...is published. Why did he not
give his military the order to confront the invading forces? What role did WMD play? Do they still exist?... What will be read in future history books on
the Iraq conflict will depend on these answers.
The fact that the ousted [tyrant] is no longer at large will be seen as
a signal by those who want to rebuild Iraq, showing that the renewal of the
country and the region is possible."
"Those Who Deserve Sympathy"
Christoph von Marschall noted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel
(12/15): "Great moments sometimes
happen in a very sobering way: Saddam
Hussein captured. America and the
majority of Iraqis have waited for this relieving message for months. The cheers are understandable but,
nevertheless, they are also a bit pale.
When we see Saddam on TV as an old and worn man with tousled hair, he
creates an unreal astonishment. This is
supposed to be the head of the resistance movement who made the United States
appear helpless and weak for more than six months?... For his supporters it no longer makes sense
to continue fighting now, and many Iraqis need no longer be afraid; they can
now openly support the building of a new Iraq.... The strike against Saddam gives the U.S.
government a chance to turn the mood around.
Saddam should be put on trial in Iraq, and the representatives of his
people should judge him, in the name of the innumerable victims. They, above all, are the ones who should call
him to account."
Peter Muench opined in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (12/15):"Saddam's arrest is an enormously important
success for President Bush on two fronts: in Iraq and at home, but it was even
more: a reason for delight that can finally be shared with the whole world that
was divided by the Iraq war. This arrest
unites the United States, its allies, the
opponents of the war, and mainly the downtrodden Iraqi people.... But we cannot expect a quick turn to the
better in Iraq now. The guerrilla
attacks against the occupying forces will not end overnight...but there is no doubt that the
fighting will now be reduced. Saddam's
supporters have lost their idol and the Djihadis are not really rooted in the
country. This is why the Americans now
have a great chance. If they are serious
about their view that this is a 'historic day,' then it is now up to them to shape history.... This chance for the Americans is to win the
support of the Iraqis...and a reconciliation process must be initiated between
occupiers and the Iraqi people, between the diverging forces among the Iraqis,
including the Sunnis, and also between the United States and the opponents of
this war. Only if the U.S. government
realizes that it must take advantage of this second chance for the
reconciliation process, will this arrest be more than an act of
"Arrest Is Pleasing But Will Not Resolve
Washington correspondent Tom Buhrow commented on
ARD-TV's (national channel one) late evening newscast Tagesthemen (12/14):
"The arrest is really pleasing, for this success will not resolve all
problems, but it will open a number of chances that should not remain
unused. The United States now has the
chance of demonstrating moral greatness.
America can now show the rest of the world that it believes inthe rule
of law even in international relations -- and not only in areas where the laws
has no chance like in Guantánamo. But
the western world as a whole now also has the chance to leave the dispute and
the know-it-better behavior behind and show its commitment to common values and
tasks. The indecent bickering about who
should get which contracts in Iraq should nowcome to an end. President Bush should stop punishing
skeptical allies like France and Germany, and we should stop describing
problems and instead cooperate in finding solutions. Every one knows which governments were in
favor and opposed to the war, but this will not bring us any further. When Bush's special envoy Baker arrives in
Europe on Monday and negotiates the cancellation of Iraq's debt, Germany should
raise one question in particular: How
can we help?"
"After The Triumph"
Sergio Romano opined in centrist,
top-circulation Corriere della Sera (12/15): "Saddam Hussein, in
the hands of the United States is a political and psychological triumph. The
operation gives new confidence to the troops and compensates for the many
frustrations they have had to bear. U.S. forces demonstrated extraordinary skill....
If the Iraqi leader would have...swallowed a capsule of poison, his body would
have become...the symbol of the resistance....
The U.S. will have a better chance at reconstructing the country.... It's Bush and Blair's first success since the
end of the invasion. The attacks, the downed helicopters, the sabotage of oil
wells and missiles against the hotels and coalition headquarters in
Baghdad...are of secondary importance...as are the missing weapons of mass
destruction, which were the leaders' principal justification for the war. For
Bush, while his adversaries are getting ready for the presidential election,
the capture is an extra card, perhaps the decisive one. For Blair it's the end
of a nightmare.... It remains to be seen
if his capture will mark a final military victory.... When the U.S. investigated the Iraqi
resistance, it came up against a constellation of heterogeneous forces.... If
the leader is Saddam, the movement can consider itself decapitated. I hope the
Americans will considerhim a belligerent man, rather than a terrorist and that
they will give up the idea, if they ever had it, to imprison him in Guantanamo.
And I hope that his trial will be conducted in an Iraqi tribunal. For his
fellow countrymen, a verdict issued at home will always be more fair than a
"The American Lesson For An Increasingly
Ernesto Galli della Loggia commented in
centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (12/15): "The capture
of Saddam definitely dismisses one of the fables of European public opinion:
the fable of secrets and agreements between the U.S. and Saddam to guarantee
the latter's impunity, in the wake of the rumors regarding a weapons-oil
arrangement that dates back years....
reveals its inconsistency with these fables as
well.... One of the lessons to be learned from Saddam's capture is this one:
before the U.S.' clear objectives, their ability to pursue them on the world
scene, before their commitment, which is also a moral one, to respond to terrorism,
what did Europe propose, what did it do? Nothing; nothing serious and real. The
French-German axis...was only capable of raising the flag of disassociation and
of fake irenical ethics which is a cover for its substantial moral and
"Baghdad's Turning Point"
Stefano Silvestri noted in leading business Il
Sole-24 Ore (12/15): "Now this victory must be handled as best as
possible, especially to reinforce the possibility of pacification in Iraq,which
obligatorily passes through the provisional government's growing role and
authority.... In other words, Saddam's capture must also signal the rapid
approach of the end of an occupying regime if we want to avoid the
strengthening of a new armed opposition, which unlike the present one still
centered around the figure of the old dictator, could find new political
reference points and give new life to the guerrillas. This is why it is
probably important that Saddam be tried by the Iraqis themselves, perhaps with
the help of an international criminal court, which should act not inthe name of
the winners, but in the name of the dictator's innumerous Iraqi victims."
"Pacification Or All Against All"
Marco Guidi opined in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero (12/15): "President
George W. Bush said it best: 'the
capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq.' Saddam's
capture is undoubtedly very important, however it will certainly not mark the end to terrorism in
Iraq and elsewhere.... Now Saddam awaits his trial and it will be interesting
to learn who will try him and where....
Saddam will have a lot to say, and [he will say] some embarrassing things for
many countries, and foremost for the U.S., who is now an enemy. It will be interesting to learn
whether the trial will be public and if the defendant will be allowed to speak
freely on everything."
Nabbed. War Goes On"
Reformist Izvestiya commented (12/15): "It is the United States' biggest
success since early April, when its troops, practically unopposed, captured
Baghdad and overthrew Saddam's regime....
With the Saddam arrest, just as with his sons' deaths, nothing is going
to change. The war is going on. Worse still, it is gathering steam. Saddam neither organized nor guided the
resistance. Other people, more
dangerous, fanatical, irreconcilable, and effective, did. The corrupt dictator, who surrendered his
country to the U.S.-British coalition virtually without a battle, has long
ceased to be a symbol of the 'liberation struggle,' replaced by other idols,
including Osama bin Laden and other sponsors, international Islamic
groups. Secular dictator Saddam was a
weak, almost perfect, opponent. First,
he clung on to power too much. After
losing power, he clung on to life. The
Iraqi Rais has ended up as gracelessly as he ruled."
"Saddam May Save Bush"
Yulia Petrovskaya held in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(12/15): "Saddam must push up
Bush's popularity rating. But this will
only happen if, with the 'ringleader' caught, the Iraqi resistance really
subsides. Very many observers doubt
that. To the average American, PR visits
and the arrest of key figures may well be a yardstick of the success of the
most risky U.S. operation in the post-Vietnam era. But caskets with the dead bodies of soldiers
arriving in America and rows involving Iraq reconstruction contracts affect the
popularity ratings of the leader of the main Western democracy even more."
AUSTRIA: "Now The
Triumph, Soon The Retreat"
Chief editor Andreas Unterberger wrote in centrist daily Die
Presse (12/15): “After so many
humiliations, this is finally success.
For the Americans, the arrest of Saddam Hussein is a reason for
cheering. Not only the Americans, but
also the majority of Iraqis, and hopefully also of Europeans, are greatly
relieved. The stubborn and bloody
resistance against the new power in the country was supported neither by
Shi’ites nor by Kurds, but only by what remained of Saddam’s clan in the
Sunnite triangle. Future generations
will debate on whether overthrowing a dictator who killed hundreds of
thousands, deprived millions of their rights and enslaved just as many, who is
responsible for the only two wars of conquest in recent decades, by a foreign
power is justified, or whether the Americans and the British are guilty of a
crime in the eyes of history.... Much
more important for the future of Iraq--and of America, too--is the question of
how soon the liberators/conquerors/occupiers will be able to organize a speedy,
yet organized withdrawal, and will hand over the power in the country to at
least more or less respectable structures.
The high after the capture of Saddam does in fact present the U.S. with
the chance of a honorable retreat.”
"The Evil Spirit Has Been Exorcized"
Deputy chief editor Viktor Hermann wrote in
independent Salzburger Nachrichten (12/15): “Saddam Hussein must be put on trial. For this purpose, a special tribunal has
already been set up in Baghdad, which is to decide on the fate of the most
important heads of the old terror regime. This tribunal now has the chance not
only to question and sentence his accomplices, but to judge Saddam Hussein
himself, the chief offender, one of the worst criminals the world has seen
since World War II. The way Baghdad is
going to conduct the proceedings against the old power league will be a good
indicator of whether Iraq will succeed in making the jump to a modern
"Warning To Other Dictators"
Bretislav Turecek noted in center-left Pravo (12/15): "It was hard to believe that the
decrepit old man shown on TV could be Saddam Hussein, the man who incited two
wars.... All those who contested the
sincere happiness of ordinary Iraqis
over the toppling of the regime were proven wrong by media images of people
throughout Iraq rejoicing over the capture of the dictator.... Saddam’s arrest has fundamental importance
not only for the coalition soldiers and the officials decimated by guerrilla and
terrorist attacks, but especially for the future of Iraq.... The opponents of the current status quo help
will now have a much harder time, since they will no longer have the fear of
Iraqis [that the old regime will be installed] as ally. The arrest has also an international
perspective. The leader of the rogue Iraqi regime will have to account for his
activities in front of either the American justice or the newly established
Iraqi tribunal.... It can safely be said
that the American policy has, notwithstanding the notorious comments of anti-Americans,
Capture Great Victory For Iraq, Too"
Finland's leading daily, centrist Helsingin Sanomat
editorialized (12/15): "The ability
of the former Iraqi dictator to avoid capture...added to the general impression
of an incomplete military victory. Among
the Iraqis, who had suffered from the reign of terror, this maintained fear of
the old system possibly returning after the departure of the occupying powers. Therefore, the capture of Saddam Hussein was
a great political and psychological victory for both Washington and all those
Iraqis who want stable democratic order for their country. Sooner or later, Saddam Hussein will have to
be brought to justice, but he must not be allowed to become the martyr of any
important group of Iraqis. The court
which handles his case has to be as prestigious as possible. A hasty sentence could politically be as
harmful as a drawn-out process, which would provide the dictator a chance of
holding up his judges to ridicule. The
most likely alternative is an Iraqi court.
Another option would be a separate international tribunal.
Both have their disadvantages.
These are difficult problems and will be debated bitterly, but compared
to the main issue they weigh little.
Saddam Hussein's long and cruel political history has come to its
end. Nearly all other stumbling stones
do still exist. The problems of the
transfer of power and the division of power between the different demographic
groups remain unchanged. Democracy and political
stability are still frighteningly distant."
"Saddam's Capture Gives An Opportunity For A New Start"
Left-of-center Hufvudstadsbladet observed (12/15): "Initial reactions from countries that
have been critical of the war in Iraq point to a new opening. Both France and Germany congratulated the
United States. The French and German
leaders said that the arrest provides a new opportunity to stabilize Iraq
through international efforts and to give Iraqis the control of their
country. The arrest of Saddam Hussein
was an important victory for President
Bush. He has now rallied
important support for his election campaign but also gained an opportunity to
contribute to the normalization of
relations between western democracies--not a day too early."
IRELAND: "The Capture
Of Saddam Hussein"
A column in the center-left Irish Times editorialized
(12/15): "The capture of Saddam
Hussein by U.S. troops near Tikrit this weekend is undoubtedly an historic
event in Iraq and has been widely and justifiably welcomed there and through
out the world.... But it remains to be
seen whether his capture marks a decisive turning point in the U.S.-led effort
to reconstruct Iraq, bring it security, quell the insurgency and return
sovereignty to the people.... There is
considerable evidence that the resistance is much more broad-based, going
beyond Saddam loyalists and Islamist movements.... Much will depend on how the fledgling Iraqi
legal authorities and the governing council handle the forthcoming trial and
respond to the new political circumstances.
They say a trial is to be public and conducted according to
internationally accepted norms....
Iraqis are delighted to see him in custody, but realize that, in itself,
this will not solve the problems they face.
There is a growing demand that their sovereignty be restored, which must
be considered alongside the U.S. commitment to transfer control decisively back
to Iraqi authorities by the end of June next year.... The governing council has been ineffective,
partly because the occupation authorities have been reluctant to trust it with
extra powers. The resistance looks
increasingly like a struggle for control of Iraq between Sunni, Shia and
Kurdish forces in anticipation of U.S. departure. Iraq will not be stabilized unless there is a
major internationalization of its political and military control through the
United Nations, which would allow funds to flow for its redevelopment."
"Spectre Of Saddam Out To Rest"
An editorial in the left-of-center Irish Examiner stated
(12/15): "The decision that now
remains, is what, precisely, is the most appropriate forum in which he should
be arraigned.... A tribunal in Iraq,
adhering to international standards and with international observers, would
appear to be the most appropriate forum in which the people of Iraq should see
justice administered. It is imperative
that his judgment day is not too long postponed.... The people of Iraq can now believe they have
ultimately been released from the reign of terror he presided over for almost
35 years. The resistance which the
U.S.-led coalition has experienced since the invasion will not diminish with
Saddam Hussein's incarceration, because opposition to their occupation was, and
is, beyond his sphere of support and influence.
It is crucial the governance of this tormented country is returned to
the people once it is practically possible, because ultimately they must decide
there own destiny. Before that juncture
the infrastructure must be put in place to allow them to take back a governable
KOSOVO: "George W.
Bush And The U.S.A. Have Liberated Iraq For The Second Time"
Elida Bucpapaj, a columnist of the pro-LDK, mass
circulation Bota Sot wrote (12/15):
“And so the capture of Saddam ends once and forever the myth of a
tyrant, who while hiding, continued to frighten Iraqis and to inspire chaos and
insecurity in Iraq.... Saddam’s capture
by the American military forces is another total victory of George W. Bush that
left the critics of the U.S. President short-winded; all those who speculated with the ghosts of
Saddam and Bin Laden. Saddam’s capture
too left short-winded those ghosts of the Old Europe that through their silence
and boycott have given support to the ex-tyrant. Now that U.S.A. has captured Saddam, the
former dictator will not spare any of those ghosts, whether they are in Europe
or elsewhere.... Saddam’s capture by the
American military ends once and forever the nightmare of Iraqi people. Therefore, with the capture of the former
dictator Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush and the U.S.A. military have liberated
Iraq for the second time.”
"Americans Arrested Saddam In A Hole"
The pro-PDK Epoka e Re noted
(12/15): “This top action has echoed
across the world and made very happy the leader and the architect of the
removal of dictatorships of the world:
President Bush, even more for the fact that this action came in a day
sensitive for his unstable popularity and was carried out without firing a
single bullet.... The detention of
Saddam Hussein is a big boost to the morale of the American troops in Iraq who
are facing the daily attacks of Iraqi guerrilla, some of which are believed to
have been directed by the former Iraqi President from the hole he was found
hiding in.... There are many holes in
Iraq. Saddam was staying in one of them
until yesterday. Saddam was a President,
now he is just a prisoner awaiting to face the justice of the people, in
another hole (prison cell).... Rooms of
torture and Saddam’s secret police now belong to the past of Iraqis.”
NETHERLANDS: "Hope For
Influential liberal De Volkskrant editorialized
(12/15): “By capturing Saddam Hussein
the Americans have dealt a heavy blow....
Eight months after the fall of Saddam’s regime the fear for his return
has also been removed.... Let’s hope
that this also marks the end of the attacks and that security will be increased
so that a real start can be made with the urgent task of improving the living
conditions of the Iraqi people.... Bush
was right not to look too triumphant because optimistic scenarios have failed
to materialize before. The people of
Iraq were happy about the fall of Saddam’s regime in April but that did not
mean that they were happy about the American presence, which made
reconstruction in Iraq a lot more difficult than people like Rumsfeld had
anticipated.... At the same time,
pessimistic scenarios also not always come true in Iraq. After the invasion in March, the anticipated
urban guerrilla [warfare] in Baghdad did not occur. And now Saddam turns out to be less elusive
than thought. Right now it’s important
to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people as soon as possible. And one of the first tasks for the Iraqis is
to put Saddam on trial for the crimes he has committed.”
Centrist Algemeen Dagblad in its editorial (12/15):
“Bahgdad’s tyrant has been captured.… The big question right now is what role
Saddam Hussein played in organizing resistance from his hiding places over the
last months. The answer to that question
may determine developments in the near future…
The Americans are taking into account that it was not just Saddam
loyalists who wanted to block the process of reconstruction by the attacks they
carried out. If that is the case,
Saddam’s arrest could be no more than a footnote in the course of a multitude
of events.… The way in which the former
dictator will be tried is very important to the re-establishment of the legal
order in Iraq. It seems logical that the
trial will take place in Iraq. However,
it is important to realize that in these circumstances the country does not
have the means to take legal actions against its former ruler. A fair judicial process is unthinkable as long
as there is no Iraqi government with a self-obtained mandate. And so the arrest of Saddam Hussein will put
an extra burden on the shoulders of those responsible for governing Iraq. Even behind bars, Saddam remains a source of
problems and so the euphoria felt over his arrest could turn out to be
Conservative De Telegraaf concluded in its editorial
(12/15): “The arrest of Saddam Hussein is not just a victory for coalition
troops: most of all it is a victory for the Iraqi people who can now move
forward to a just society.… It seems
likely that the Iraqis will try Saddam Hussein in his own country. This is the wisest thing to do. It will surely silence those Iraqis that
might object to foreign interference.
Furthermore, such a trial will give Iraq the opportunity to close the
dark chapter of dictatorship once and for all.”
Respected center-left daily Diário de Notícias
editorialized (12/15): "The capture
of Saddam doesn't represent the end of the battle for democracy. The mission of the allied forced is far from
being considered accomplished. It will
only be finished with success when the Iraqi people have peace and fully assume
the sovereignty of the country.... With
the capture of Saddam comes indisputably a historic turning point in Iraq,
because a very powerful symbol who fed, or could have fed terrorist resistance
movements, fell. But, the apprehension
of the dictator will not resolve all the problems, including the attacks
against the coalition forces. Many of
these attacks are, as is known, organized from the outside, some of them
attributable to Al-Queda. Which
signifies that, as new attacks being foreseeable,...will now be a test of the
involvement, or not, of Saddam in the organization of recent attacks."
"After The Bloody Trinity"
Influential Catholic University international security studies
scholar Prof. Miguel Monjardino, wrote in an op-ed for respected center-left
daily Diário de Notícias (12/15):
"The Capture of Saddam Hussein and even the way in which it was
carried out has enormous political implications for Iraqis, Washington and its
allies.... Those who want to politically
transform Iraq will begin to have fewer difficulty in competing for the loyalty
of the Iraqis.... The number of Iraqis
who don't want to stay on the wrong side of history will increase
substantially. The same can be said of
the many high and mid-level civil servants of the former regime who will now
have a much bigger incentive to speak on highly sensitive topics.... The capture of Saddam...permits George W.
Bush and his allies to gain credibility of Iraqis in general and have more
political room to manoeuvre at the domestic level.... It is in this context that the capture of
Saddam Hussein has to be seen: as an
important step in the difficult transformation of the country. As Winston Churchill said in 1942 about the
toppling of the German Africa Corps in Egypt:
'This is not the end. It is not
even the beginning of the end. But it
is, likely the end of the beginning.'"
SPAIN: "Saddam's Capture Facilitates A Transiton Under
Independent El Mundo editorialized (12/15): "As far as trying Hussein, the most
desirable course would be an International Court similar to the one formed in
The Hague to try Milosevic.... There are
many clear advantages of an international court's trying Saddam, rather than
the court born only days ago in Baghdad....
The guarantee of impartiality will always be higher outside of Iraq than
inside the country. Much time would have
to pass before the Iraqi Government could legitimately proclaim itself
sufficiently impartial to judge the tyrant....
The U.S. and the international community are on the spot and the management will determine not only the future of Iraq
but also that of the region. They can
choose to persist in the way improvised by a White House ruled by its electoral
schedule or make good use of the reactivation of the Baathist regimes to give
the transition the time and legitimacy it needs for lasting and solid
success.... It's time to say 'Mission
Accomplished' and pass the leadership of the process to those who can best
exercise it. This is the big challenge
for the U.S. and the international community."
"Iraq After Saddam"
Conservative ABC asserted (12/15): "Western public opinion should know that
Iraq will continue to be a scene of danger and risk.... Despite the good news of the arrest, Iraq
continues being a very complex country....
The uncertainty in Iraq has not been banished, nor has the pain. It is predictable that the Baathist regime
will continue striking now that it sees itself as mortally wounded. There is no doubt that extraordinary
successes have been attained in the last months. Capturing Saddam is another one.... Now we have to take advantage of this
success.... His arrest should be used
with intelligence. With it there is the
opportunity to get supporters, add forces and deactivate the criticism still
existing. In this respect, it is
essential to remember that there are many who demonstrated with fact that war
was made against Saddam and his regime of oppression.... Apart from the legal problems on the matter,
the allies should demonstrate that now is not the time for revenge, but for law
"The Tyrant Falls"
Left-of-center El Pais asserted (12/15): "With Saddam's arrest, the world can be
better, if certain conditions are met.
The first one is if the U.S. and other democratic countries never again
support, for various reasons, despots of that ilk.... The second is that the dictator receive a
fair, transparent legal process, with due process for his defense.... It is unquestionable that the arrest of the
dictator is a moral boost for U.S. troops and their allies, and a serious
problem for the Baathists and Saddamist sectors.... The biggest news of Saddam's arrest should be
to serve for both supporters and detractors of the war to unite and urgently
address placing the Iraqi case under UN control, with a clear and agreed
program and calendar for the birth of a democratic state.... Without the nightmare that Saddam
represented, the Iraqis are, beginning today, in better conditions to be
masters of their own destinies."
SWEDEN: "The Best
X-mas Gift We Could Get"
Stockholm-based conservative morning-published Svenska
Dagbladet editorialized (12/15):
"The old tyrant, "The Ace of Spades," did not look very
arrogant after being captured in his hole in the ground. This was a suitable
place for this kind of person, not much of a hiding place for a man who for
decades has portrayed himself as an emperor. After 35 years as a dictator his
empire finally was reduced from the golden palaces to a small underground
dungeon.... Bush and Blair's propaganda
triumph has made even the most reluctant to wake up. While the UK Prime
Minister rightfully congratulated the Iraqi Muslims for being relieved of the
greatest symbol for the oppression, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder
hastened to express their pleasure over the success of the freedom
coalition.... How brave they are! Too
bad that France and Germany do not belong to this alliance but, on the
contrary, have oppose it in every way and thereby contributed to its
setbacks.... Whether or not the capture
of Saddam Hussein will have a positive effect on the security situation in Iraq
is unclear. The pleasure of the symbolic value likely is not in proportion to
the situation on the ground.... Last
Sunday was, just as Prime Minister Göran Persson pointed out, a historic day.
The capture was the best political X-Mas present we possibly could have
received. But much remains in rebuilding and development before the Iraqi
people can choose a new ruler. And for the alliance the remaining problem is to
capture more crooks, among them Usama bin-Laden."
TURKEY: "Bush Has Two Options"
Ali Aslan commented in the Islamist-intellectual Zaman
(12/15): “The capture of Saddam Hussein
brings two options before the Bush administration. Washington is either going to pursue a spirit
of humble victory by moving toward a greater international role for Iraq’s
future, or isolate itself from the world even more than before. This is the real issue for the Bush
administration, and it is even more important than the upcoming November
elections. The choice between these
options is of direct interest not only to the U.S., but to the whole world.”
"Turning Point "
Hasan Cemal noted in mass appeal Milliyet (12/15): “The Bush administration is going to feel
stronger as a result of the capture of Saddam.
Let’s hope that Washington uses this important development as an
opportunity to restore its relations with the UN as well as the EU. The capture of Saddam also has the potential
to have a positive impact on the modernization and democratization of the Arab
world. Iran and Syria in particular are
expected to take a lesson from this event.
This is a turning point which gives a chance to establish a stable and
peaceful order in the new Iraq.”
"All Applause For Americans"
The elite, English-language, moderate Turkish
Daily News editorialized (12/15):
"Saddam's capture is of great symbolic value but it is up to the
coalition forces to make it have a more lasting impact. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein should
be thankful that he has been captured in free Iraq and not under a rule that
resembled his totalitarian regime that executed what it regarded as opponents
in an arbitrary manner.... Now that
Saddam has been captured alive he should be brought to justice to pay for his
atrocities. This is a great coup for the
Americans and a major morale booster for the coalition forces who are trying to
serve under extremely adverse conditions. It is a Christmas present for the
administration of President George W. Bush and the ailing Tony Blair government
in Britain.... With Saddam's capture the
expectations of some radical improvement in Iraq may be heightened among the
masses who celebrated in the streets. Can the coalition rise to this occasion? Saddam's capture has an important symbolic
value but for it to make a real and meaningful impact the occasion has to be
turned into a new chapter for the suffering Iraqi masses. Can this be
done? We feel the Americans can do this
but it will require a new approach.
Besides all this we feel it is time Saddam and his collaborators in Iraq
face a tribunal controlled by the Iraqi people and pay for their
Zvi Bar'el stated in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(12/15): "For the Americans far
more than the Iraqis, Saddam's capture is a huge political triumph.... Yet the importance of Hussein's capture will
be measured in terms of its effects on the war still being waged in Iraq, and
on the country's political future.... Up
to now, the American occupation has derived its legitimacy from the military
imperative of removing the 'remains' of Saddam's regime.... Now, these movements are likely to take
political and military steps to resist the continued presence of coalition
forces in Iraq. In these respects,
Hussein's capture is liable to intensify local opposition to the continued U.S.
occupation.... Judging by statements Bush made yesterday, it appears the U.S.
is setting the state for a continuing presence in Iraq and is not bringing
forward the dates on its departure timetable.... Therefore, it's going to be a long war, one
that would continue casting the Americans as a conquering regime and therefore
a legitimate target for attacks."
"A Psychological Blow"
Caroline Glick held in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (12/15):
"Saturday night's capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was
another great victory in the war on terror, equal in importance to the fall of
Baghdad.... The psychological impact on
Saddam's loyalists and on terrorists around the world of the picture of the
tyrant's dirty, mired face and meek complicity during his medical exam by U.S.
army doctors is immeasurable....
Saddam's surrender is a signal to his allies as much as to his
victims. The former attain from this
sight the beginning of understanding, that theirs is a lost cause.... In capturing Saddam, the U.S. went a long way
to proving that it can be relied upon to win its war. In his surrender, Saddam showed that his
loyalists, like his fellow dictators, will lose."
"A Heavy Price"
Guy Bechor declared in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (12/15):
"There is no doubt that the U.S. can chalk up a military and
intelligence achievement, not to mention a morale booster, upon the capture of Saddam
Hussein. However, this is an achievement
on the symbolic and personal level, and of course television.... However, the Middle East is not a Hollywood
movie, and on the ground, not much can be expected to change after the tyrant's
capture.... Very unfortunately, Saddam
Hussein's capture is no longer relevant to the violent situation of
Iraq.... But worse than that, there is a
Middle East paradox at play here: not
only will his capture not stop terror, it is even liable to spur it.... The Arab world is watching these developments
with shock. For their regimes, this is a
terrifying lesson. Assad, Mubarak and
Arafat saw Saddam on television, but in fact, they saw themselves in his place,
imagining the American investigator poking at their teeth, pulling on their
hair.... People didn't love Saddam in
the twilight of his days, but his very figure, which embodied hope for Arab
greatness, has now vanished. The
Americans will yet pay a heavy price for those pictures."
WEST BANK: "Downfall
At Red Dawn"
Bassem Abu Sumiya commented in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(12/15): "It is natural for the
Iraqis to take to the streets to express their joy, and, likewise, it is
understandable to see many others express their sadness to the same news. It is also predictable that the resistance
will diminish if indeed it is shown that it has been managed by the captured
president and that the fighters have been fighting in defense of and out of
loyalty to their president. However, if
it turns out that the resistance has indeed been against the occupation, then
it will surely continue, exactly like what happened shortly after the capture
of the Iraqi President [a reported car bomb in Baghdad yesterday].... In any case, the capture [of Saddam] is
undoubtedly happy news for President Bush, who certainly will benefit from it
and be re-elected now that the Iraqi President has been brought down."
"There Is No Justification For Any Occupation"
Independent Al-Quds noted (12/15): "The capture of Saddam exposes how
fragile the Arab regimes are once their people abandon them. The coverage of the historic capture of the
Iraqi President by the international media based on footage provided by the
coalition forces is painful to watch and reflects the Arab nation's state of
humiliation and degradation caused by internal conflicts and disputes.... The really sad thing here is the fact that
Saddam Hussein's capture and the fall of his regime were achieved at the hands
of the occupation forces."
"Will Capturing Saddam Hussein Rescue The Americans From The
Mohammed Nobani wrote in independent Al-Quds (12/15): "There is no doubt that capturing a
leader at the level of Saddam Hussein will have its temporary psychological
impact on the Iraqi resistance. It is
also expected that the American administration will try to capitalize on the
event in favor of President Bush's re-election.
It is equally anticipated that seeing Saddam behind bars will bring a
burst of joy to some Iraqis and Arab ruling parties as well as Israeli Prime
Minister Sharon. But will this be the
last chapter in the Iraqi scene or will it be the beginning of something
worse? Without a doubt, capturing Saddam
Hussein in such a humiliating and shameful way will inflame the Iraqi
resistance.... The Iraqi issue is that
of occupation and liberation, and therefore the resistance will continue to be
the only response to such an occupation regardless of the person or force that
Abha's moderate Al-Watan opined (12/15): "The U.S. administration has
accomplished its goal to remove the (Iraqi) regime and to arrest its
leader. Yet, it has not found weapons of
mass destruction. We believe that it is now absolutely necessary that it
publicly and clearly state the future of its presence in Iraq, now that it has
achieved its objective and captured they person they thought was a threat to
its security and the security of the world."
"Will Arrest Of Saddam Return Iraq To Its People?"
Jeddah's moderate Al-Bilad asked (12/15): "The capture of Saddam Hussein was a
real and powerful blow to the Iraqi resistance, which fought bravely the
foreign occupation and was drawing its strength from Saddam's remaining out of
the reach of the occupation forces.
Saddam's capture is certainly the last nail in the coffin of the former
regime, now the Iraqi resistance faces a real test, especially after it has
lost its spiritual leader.... But we
hope that this is a real beginning for the return of Iraq to its people...and
the departure of foreign troops forever."
"What Is After Saddam?"
Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina editorialized (12/15): "The fact that the world without Saddam
is a better one is only one side of the coin.
The post-Saddam Iraq must be a free, sovereign, and independent country.
If the U.S. Administration is to be true to its word and intentions, then the
current conditions create a golden opportunity to fulfill those promises and
obligations. The transfer of autonomy to
the Iraqis must be done quickly, and the occupation of Iraq must come to an
end. Washington's reputation is at stake
here. President Bush also has a golden opportunity to win the up coming
election if he does the right thing."
"The Lesson Of Saddam"
Jeddah's English-language pro-government Saudi Gazette
(12/15): "Those attacking the
foreign forces in Iraq and the Iraqi politicians who are seen as puppets of the
American occupation are not all Saddam Hussein loyalists as some claim.
Analysts believe that there are over 30 separate groups engaged in attacking
occupation forces and some speculate that since Saddam is gone those who didn't
want to be associated with him will be encouraged to join the resistance which
will take a more nationalistic form....
Meanwhile, the capture of the Iraqi leader alive should be exploited for
more than just to give U.S. President George Bush's election campaign a much
needed boost.... It is a shame this
great lesson had to be learned through the services of an ugly occupation. We hope that the security protecting the courtroom
from a sudden devastating blast will not be American. Hopefully, Saddam Hussein will be tried in a
democratic Iraq, so that the lesson is learned."
The independent, English-language Jordan Times observed
(12/15): "With the shadow of Saddam
no longer hanging over the future of Iraq, the target now is to rebuild what
dictatorship, war and lack of clearly articulated strategies have
destroyed.... The question is how will
the man who ruled Iraq with an iron fist for decades be treated.... Emotions aside, Saddam should receive a fair
trial that will reflect the new Iraq. His trial must be a significant step
towards instituting the rule of law in Iraq. In a democracy, there is no room
for vendettas and emotionally driven reaction. Revenge against Saddam is not
the answer--his trial is. The law will
ultimately prevail, and the former Iraqi leader will receive the punishment
specified by the law. The U.S....cannot
afford to be intoxicated by the victory that the arrest of Saddam represents. The Americans erred greatly in entering Iraq
without having a clear plan of action.
They now have a chance to right some of their wrongs and move steadily
towards helping build a safe and modern Iraq.... Despite its political and psychological
significance, the excitement over the arrest of Saddam will soon fade as the
continued absence of security and basic commodities remind the Iraqis of their
grim reality. When the excitement ends, Iraqis will once gain start wondering
when their lives will return to normal and when the foreign occupation forces
will leave their land. Unless they have a promise to cling to, the Iraqi
quagmire will continue to drag Iraq and the rest of the region into further
despair, instability and misery."
MOROCCO: "The Fall Of
Ahmed Zaki, director of the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS),
wrote in government coalition Al Bayane (12/15): "It goes without saying that President
Bush will take advantage of this to polish his tarnished record, which was
blackened by the failure to establish security in Iraq after the invasion of
allied forces.... Let’s not forget that
for years the Iraqi dictator enjoyed the support of Western powers that did not
hesitate to use him for their dark designs....
The acts of resistance in Iraq, far from being enacted in support of an
eclipsed dictator, were in fact directed against the Western occupation and the
arrogance of the American army operating on occupied territory.... Thus, if Bush wants to be effective and
defuse the explosive situation in which the Middle East finds itself, he must
abandon his adventurous policy and respect the will of the international
Amina Talhimet, head of the Rabat office of Socialist Union of
Popular Forces (USFP), commented in French-language Liberation
(12/15): "He took himself for the
worthy successor of Saladin, but in fact, he was only a dictator and,
furthermore, in a region of the world hermetically sealed off from liberty and
democracy.... Iraqi justice will surely
take care of this better than any other.
His capture was undeniably a shock, but a shock that is neither totally
happy nor totally unhappy...since the end of a dictator can only be
welcomed.... On the down side, his
capture will presently give a new 'green light' to an American administration
for which war is a policy like any other policy. At less than a year before the American
presidential elections, Bush will have every chance of being re-elected.... In any case, the world will not be a better
place as long as Usama bin Laden, man of international terrorism, hasn’t been
arrested and judged for all the crimes that have been committed in his name and
with his blessing."
LEBANON: "Capture Of
Saddam Creates Both Danger And Opportunity"
The moderate, English-language Daily Star
opined (12/15): " The sight of
Saddam in custody has to be a demoralizing blow for at least some of the
organizations that have been resisting the occupation. It might also, however,
embolden others who had thus far stayed out of the fight for fear of helping
the former dictator in any way.... What
remains to be seen is whether U.S. activities will increase or decrease
stability and whether its influence will accelerate democratization or engender
an authoritarian backlash.... Saddam’s
capture will be portrayed by hawks in the Bush administration as confirmation
that their strategy is working. On the other hand, more moderate voices in
Washington will now feel better-equipped to recommend that America use its new
position of strength to repair relations with its own allies and Iraq’s
neighbors. It is essential that these voices be shored up by concrete proposals
from this part of the world.... For far
too long, governments in the Middle East have moved with all the agility and
imagination of a glacier. That will simply not do any longer. Right or wrong,
the United States has decided that its interests are best served by exerting
greater and more direct influence on this troubled area. This can be translated
into positive effects, but only if the inhabitants of the region and their
leaders are ready for creative diplomacy, tough decisions and hard work. They
have to show the United States how its weight can be put to good use. It is our
own actions and intentions, not America’s, that will decide the issue."
UAE: "Window Of Hope
Opens For Iraq"
The English-language pro-government Gulf News declared
(12/15): "The capture of Saddam
Hussain marks a turning point for Iraq, which has to be seized by both the
Iraqi Governing Council and the American-led coalition. It offers an opportunity to start afresh, to
end the phase of armed resistance to the coalition, and to move ahead with
rebuilding a new Iraq based on the will of the people as expressed freely and
without coercion. However, the Americans
have proved far too willing to let Iraq drift since they took control of the
country. The Iraqi leaders and the coalition commanders must take this chance
to build a new political momentum looking for peaceful political
development.... Getting Saddam into
custody is a substantial boost for US President George W Bush, who has been
losing credibility following his foreign adventures.... Saddam should be moved to a public trial
under the Iraq tribunal on crimes against humanity. The trial should be fully
transparent and conducted to the highest standards of evidence. It is important
for Iraq's rediscovery of its self-respect that the trials of all the senior
officials of the regime are carried out fairly and openly, with no trace of
revenge or corruption.... Legal action
is the only way in which the full truth can be established, untainted by
revenge, through which a new political reality can be built, disowning the
shocking legacy of the past.... The
coalition has won the war, the Americans control the country, the Iraqis are
slowly taking power into their own hands, and elections will follow soon. With Saddam captured he will not be able to
orchestrate events, nor will people have to fear that he might try do so.... Today, simple rejoicing is enough, and it
should be cherished so that renewed optimism can come into the Iraqi political
"A Great Day For All Iraqis"
Mohammed A.R. Galadari commented in pan-Arab
Sharjah-based Al-Khaleej (12/15):
"It was a great day, dear readers, for the Iraqi people as also to
the rest of the world. The former iron man of Iraq, the cruel ruler, Saddam
Hussein, has been captured by the allied forces. See how bad an experience for a former ruler
after an equally bitter ouster from power at the hands of the world's super
power. Saddam will never again be able to rule Iraq, nor can he punish,
terrorise or indulge in all kinds of cruelty in the name of maintaining law and
order in the country.... Now, as I said
before, the Iraqis must give a chance to the Iraqi Governing Council and the
allied forces led by America to set things right in their country.... The United States and its allies are in a
position to do positive things, and I hope they would take a positive view of
things. Iraqis need a better standard of life and they need to restore their
dignity as well as make proper use of their wealth for the speedy development
of their country. Now is the time for
all Iraqis to unite, keeping aside their differences, to rebuild their nation
with the help of the allied forces. It is a great time for Iraq, as Bush said
he wants to make Iraq a democracy and an example for others in the region to
follow. It is the right time for Iraqis
to seize a historic opportunity. The US has made it clear that they would hand
over governance to Iraqis by the middle of next year, and that there would be
an elected government and new constitution. Things appear to be moving in the
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "This Will Make The World Of Difference"
Foreign editor Greg Sheridan observed in the conservative Australian
(12/15): “The capture of Saddam Hussein
is the most significant event in Iraq since the end of formal combat. It is a
turning point in the history of Iraq, with consequences that could be global in
scope. This will have profound and
immediate consequences in Iraq. But it
will also massively bolster the position of U.S. President George W Bush. And perhaps most significant of all, the
pictures of the captured and humiliated Saddam Hussein were being watched last
night in Syria, Damascus and Pyongyang.
Axis of evil dictators should know this is the end point of the defiance
of US power.... The failure to capture.…[Hussein and bin Laden] was, in short,
a symbol of American failure. Now the dramatic seizure of Hussein from a Tikrit
basement is an equally powerful symbol of U.S. success. This landmark event should have immediate
operational consequences inside Iraq itself.
First, it will convince all Iraqis that Hussein will never, ever come
back to rule them, and to persecute them, again.... This must also be a massive
boost for George W Bush domestically. Nothing succeeds like success and it will
be very hard for his opponents to deny this success to Bush and his
policy. All politics are temporary, but
this is a great day for the good guys everywhere. “
"Baghdad Streets Filled With Gunshots And Revelry"
Wan Ting and Tan Zhujie commented in official Communist Party Global
Times (Huanqiu Shibao, (12/15):
"For the U.S., shooting Saddam dead might have been 'more
expedient' than capturing him.... Iraqi
and Arab attitudes to Saddam will all influence his sentence.... Most analysts think that putting Saddam
through a trial in an Iraqi court will benefit the U.S. more than bringing him
before an international court....
Capturing Saddam is definitely good as far as regards the U.S.
military's control of Iraq, but what kind of effect the capture will have
primarily depends on the extent of Saddam's involvement in the previous Iraqi
insurgency.... Saddam's capture may have
struck at a certain cadre of resistance forces, but may not bring about a
reversal in the U.S. military's passive position over the past couple of
months. Many people think that Iraqi
stability is a rather complicated, systematic process, and one that not only
requires the Iraqi people's support, but also one that needs to obtain
understanding and cooperation from the whole Arab world. Capturing Saddam is just a step. Both Iraq and the Arab world at the moment
have 'so much hatred' for the U.S.
Removing this hatred may be more important than capturing Saddam."
"Can The U.S. And UK Coalition Breathe A Sigh Of
Shao Jie and Li Jizhi commented in official Xinhua Daily
Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun, 12/15):
"Analysts believe that Iraqi resistance forces will not call off
attacks on coalition troops after Saddam's arrest. The U.S. and UK occupation authorities may
thus face a new dilemma.... Anti-U.S.
military forces in Iraq are not all Saddam followers. Quite a few have no direct political or
financial connection to Saddam. If the
security situation in Iraq does not improve soon after Saddam's capture, the
occupation authorities will face even more dissatisfaction from the Iraqi
people. After Saddam's arrest, Iraqi
people's expectations for political and economic reconstruction will just
become fiercer, and the U.S. and UK will face greater political and economic pressures. That Saddam may turn his trial into a
spectacle for expressing his opinions...will become another difficulty for the
occupation authorities.... In a word,
Saddam's capture is significant for the U.S. and UK, but does not necessarily
mean the that various problems in Iraq would be immediately solved."
"Bush Administration Gains 'Timely Help'"
Zhang Guoqing commented in official Beijing Times (Jinghua
Shibao, 12/15): "Saddam's capture
will inspire the coalition troops, especially helping American troops' morale,
putting them in a better mood to face the resistance forces who may possibly
become depressed.... The Bush
administration's domestic pressures will be greatly alleviated. Bush can happily say to Americans--`we got
him.'... Capturing Saddam alive will not
radically change the current situation in Iraq.
Bush is still facing a lot of challenges if he indeed wants to walk out
of the winter of Iraq."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Iraqis Can Turn The Page On A Brutal
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
editorialized (12/15): "Whether the
violence and terror attacks end immediately, it is clear that the capture is a
significant milestone in the war. Most
importantly for the Iraqi people, it means that Hussein will be brought to
justice. If an open and fair trial is
delivered as promised, there will be a chance for the people to understand and
put Hussein's brutal reign behind them....
Bringing the former leader and his top lieutenants to justice would lay
the groundwork for reconciliation and reconstruction--through psychological
catharsis and also by allowing the country to finally tap the talent, knowledge
and energy of those who served unwillingly in Hussein's administration.... For those Iraqis who did not really believe
that the tyrant was out of power, the capture will come as a relief. The cloud of fear under which they lived, up
until his confirmed capture, was real.
The scenes of celebration were also genuine. It was a great day for Iraqis. But much hard work remains ahead, for Iraqis
and the international community."
"Merry Christmas In The Battlefield, Not Victory In Counter
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times
commented (12/15): "Former Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein was arrested--this is good news. However, the world cannot rest in peace just
because of the arrest.... The arrest of
Hussein is a victory for Bush and it will be favorable for the financial
market. However, is it a victory for the
war on counter terrorism? No. The 'axis of terror' is not Hussein or
Iraq--it is bin Laden and the al-Qaeda group.... Capturing Hussein may reduce the arrogance of
the terrorists, but it will not be a heavy blow.... It is troubling that the arrest of Hussein
may bolster the morale of the U.S. hawks.
They may even lead U.S. diplomacy again.
If U.S. unilateralism and pre-emptive policy become the norm again, it
will be bad for the U.S.' European allies and it will be difficult to secure
global assistance. Whether the arrest of
Hussein is good or bad for the global war on terrorism hinges on the actions of
"Saddam Is Caught, U.S. Burden Has Not Yet Been Removed"
The independent Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily News opined
(12/15): "Former Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein is captured; a corrupt
autocrat has come to a frustrated end.
It is also the best Christmas present for U.S. President George W.
Bush. However, for the Iraqi people who
are still living with the flames of war, peaceful and happy days are far
away. The road of reconstruction is long
and difficult.... Life for the Iraqi
people after the war is even harder than before. Although they have rich oil resources,
outdated facilities and damaged transportation facilities have slowed down oil
production. When the machine of
dictatorship, which was used by Saddam to maintain the country's stability,
dissolved, more than half of the new military troops applied for
retirement. There is still no figure or
system that can stabilize Iraq. A stable
and prosperous Iraq is still far away.
For the U.S. to find a way to withdraw from Iraq without leaving an
awful mess behind will be more difficult than capturing Saddam Hussein."
"Encouraging News For President Bush"
Quasi-governmental NHK-TV's chief Washington
correspondent Teshima observed (12/15):
"The U.S. military's capture of Saddam Hussein during a lightning
night-time raid came as an encouraging sign for President Bush, who had been
anxiously waiting for 'good news' since the fall of Baghdad about seven months
ago. The arrest of the former Iraqi
dictator will undoubtedly help boost the morale of senior Bush and DOD
officials at a time when an increasing number of American troops are coming
home from Iraq, tired of combat and critical about the administration's conduct
of war in Iraq.... President Bush
cautiously welcomed Saddam's capture, and expressed hope that the capture would
help bring stability to Iraq and lead to increased reconstruction efforts. With the transfer of authority from the
U.S.-led CPA to an interim Iraqi government, set for June 2004, the Bush
administration is likely to use this morale-boosting event to re-start plans
for Iraq's stabilization and rebuilding by convincing Iraqis that Saddam's
capture means a final end to decades of his ruthless dictatorship. The U.S. military will intensely question
Saddam about his WMD plans and possible locations of such weaponry in order to
address doubts about the justification of the US-led war on Iraq."
"Saddam's Capture and Iraq's Future"
Baghdad-based freelance journalist Watanabe commented on
commercially-run Fuji-TV's Monday morning talk show "Scoop"
(12/15): "What most Iraqis are
looking for in their chaotic and economically ailing country are good paying
jobs to support their families. They are
desperate and poor. If the U.S.-led CPA
is not able to create more jobs readily, hard-pressed Iraqi will become more
antagonistic to the 'heretical' US government and its military. It is little wonder that some die-hard opponents
will take advantage of deep-rooted Iraqi desperation and anger to intensify
acts of terrorism against coalition forces, international organizations and
even NGO groups.... The capture of
Saddam will not readily bring stability and improvement to the war-fatigued,
impoverished, religiously separate and intrinsically anti-Western nation. Confusion will continue for more time to
SOUTH KOREA: "Seizing
The independent, English-language Korea
Herald noted (12/16): "With the
capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein by Coalition forces, the planned
dispatch of additional Korean troops to the Middle East country makes a little
more sense. The mission of the Korean contingent that is to help rebuild the
country politically and economically has become clearer and it will be easier
to accomplish.... The Coalition forces
have failed to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Bush's primary reason
for going to war. But the U.S. president can comfort himself and his people with
the capture of Saddam Hussein, who a European leader wittily described as a
human WMD. Bush must now believe that, by illustrating the atrocities Saddam
committed against his own people through a war crimes trial, he can offer
sufficient justification for the war.
Yet there is the issue of how the trial should be carried out. Members
of the Iraqi Governing Council assert that a public trial should be conducted
by an Iraqi tribunal after July 1, when the U.S. occupying administration is
scheduled to end. But many in the United States, and elsewhere, seek to have a
trial conducted under international law....
The Iraqi people should decide what to do with the captured
dictator.... That stabilization process
will definitely need the assistance of Coalition forces to eliminate armed
resistance. But it also seems to be an appropriate time to begin discussing in
earnest how to augment the participation of the international community in the
rehabilitation of Iraq."
“Fate Of Saddam Hussein”
Independent Media Indonesia commented
(12/15): “Saddam was finally captured
alive in a bunker made for him. He
looked healthy and showed cooperation during his medical check-up.… The fall of Iraq and the end of the Saddam
Hussein regime reflected more of Bush’s subjective view. It constituted the arbitrary stance of the
leader of a superpower that no one, even the UN, could prevent. In this perspective Bush should be punished
because he has devastated a country without being able to prove its mistake and
toppled a leader of a legitimate country through armed force.… What is clear is that the U.S. does not have
any right to punish Saddam. He should be
returned to the Iraqi people and let’s them decide his fate.”
The centrist Times of India observed (12/15): "Just when it seemed that having won the
war in Iraq, the U.S. was losing a troublesome peace...the dramatic capture of
Saddam Hussein will send George W. Bush's plummeting ratings soaring through
the roof again. The iron man of Iraq was
literally caught napping, bringing to an end one of the greatest manhunts in
history. With a single lucky stroke,
Bush would have silenced his growing band of critics and vindicated Operation
Iraq.... Saddam's capture should not only
break the back of the guerrilla opposition but also ease America's path in
getting wider endorsement and support to set up a bona fide Iraqi
administration. However, dealing with
Saddam after his capture could prove as tricky as getting him. Because there is always the risk that any
hint of kangaroo-court justice will only make a martyr out of Saddam and rally
more jihadis to his admittedly lost cause.
Washington's best bet would be to form an international tribunal under
UN auspices, to try Saddam and pronounce suitable sentence. For now, it's two cheers for Dubya. He'll get the third hurrah when he gets
Osama, who, if anyone cares to remember, was Bush's original target."
"Iraq Insurgency Isn't Dead Yet"
Foreign affairs editor Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
wrote in the nationalist Hindustan Times (12/15): "Until his capture on Saturday night,
his (Saddam's) image had evolved to that of a wily desert fox. In the end, his capture was largely symbolic. But in the Arab streets and in a U.S. heading
for a presidential election, symbols count big time. No one expects the Baathist fidayeen, the
most effective and most numerous of the Iraqi resistance fighters, to hand in
their weapons.... The U.S. believes one
of Hussein's former vice-presidents, Izzat Ibrahim al Duri, has been leading
the fidayeen. And he is still at
large.... What Washington really hopes
to realize from Hussein's capture is to make more Iraqis willing to cooperate
in building a new, pro-Western Iraqi order.
U.S. officials and most reports by visitors to the country say most
Iraqis may have hated Hussein's regime but they are reluctant to work with the
Americans. One reason was that so long
as Hussein was free there was a fear he would return to power--and wreak
vengeance on those who had worked with the Americans.... This fear was heightened as the U.S. was
faced in Iraq with an escalating cost in bodies and dollars. Each day only strengthened a concern the U.S.
would pull out and Hussein would return to power. Only now has this scenario been
buried.... Hussein's capture, anything
that helps ensure the U.S. finishes the job, is judged as being for the
"Difficulties Still Ahead"
An editorial in independent Calcutta-based
Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika read (12/15): "The concern of what would be the high
point of his annual and the last edition (this time) of the State of Union
Address must have been pestering Bush.
Saddam's capture indeed has lightened that burden on him. Now, Bush
would be able to echo Paul Bremer's dramatic announcement and his single
sentence, 'We have got him' will push President Bush much ahead in his PR
exercise.... However, at this moment he
needs to tackle the serious question of Saddam's trial. It can be said
undoubtedly even keeping Milosevic's reference in mind that post WWII an
opportunity of such a great trial did not occur before. How Saddam's trial gets
conducted as well as how its media management is handled would be one of the
chief attractions in the next year....
The concept of the balance of the international power-play will be put
to test once again centering this trial. And experience does not kindle
"Implications of Saddam's Capture"
Ejaz Haider wrote in the Lahore-based moderate Daily Times
(12/15): "First, the arrest is a
major breakthrough for President Bush in terms of domestic political
advantage. It will also give a boost to
the sagging morale of Washington neo-cons; two, it reflects improved
intelligence capabilities of the U.S. military; three, it is likely to be a
setback to the morale of whatever percentage of Saddam loyalists there might be
out there hoping for a return to power, or, at least frustrate attempts by the
U.S. to install a new political dispensation to govern Iraq.... However, what the U.S. might do with Hussein
will be an interesting reflection of the maturity of U.S. policy.... If Hussein is tried by the Iraqi Governing
Council, it will establish Washington's credentials as a power that has Iraq's
interests at heart; if he is tried by a U.S. court, it would denote the hubris
of an occupying power."
Sajjad Mir maintained in second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-E-Waqt
(12/15): "What is my reaction, I
don't know. I should not be grieved
because Saddam was never my hero. But I
was not happy either--no victory of the Americans in Iraq makes me
happy.... Perhaps there is a
revolutionary inside me that wants an imperial power to be defeated at all
costs. Perhaps there is a Muslim inside
me who wants the annihilation of anti-Muslim forces. Say what you will, I admit I was not happy at
Saddam's capture either."
GHANA: "The Arrest Of Saddam Hussein And The
Future Of Iraq"
An editorial in the tri-weekly Heritage stated (12/15):
"It is certainly a great day in the history of Iraq and a decisive moment
in the U.S.-led coalition forces campaign in post war Iraq. The nightmare may finally be over for a
traumatized nation. It is equally
essential for the U.S. to quickly relinquish administrative hold of post-Saddam
Iraq to Iraqis. The longer they stay on
conquered soil, and the more reconstruction contracts go to U.S. corporate
bodies, the stronger the impression in Arab minds that the whole campaign in
Iraq was a colonial resource-grab. As a
postscript, the Heritage notes that the video footage apparently showing a
dishevelled-looking Saddam Hussein with a long black beard hiding in a hole
barely six to eight feet deep tends to lend credence to the philosophy that all
dictators are cowards. That is a lesson
for other despots to learn."
Uganda's Swahili-language Bukedde editorialized
(12/15): "The capture of Saddam
Hussein is a very great achievement for the coalition forces in Iraq. However it is just one step in the global
fight against terrorism. The U.S should
now actively pursue its goal of winning the hearts and minds of the people of
Iraq by speeding up the rebuilding of the ravaged country. This will prove that the U.S administration
is really interested in the welfare of the Iraqis and that the war wasn't
carried out as a mere personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein."
ZAMBIA: "Capture Of
Saddam Is Climax Of American/British Invasion"
An editorial in government-owned Times of Zambia contended
(12/15): "Saddam may have been a
tyrant, a criminal, call him anything, but the world still quarrels with the
manner and mode in which he was ousted from power by the powerful nations who
on paper believe in democracy and the rule of law.... The people of Iraq who had been oppressed
under Saddam's iron rule for over two
decades need relief very quickly. The war has also brought insecurity and
untold misery. As if that is not enough, there are insurgents, some of them
reportedly foreign fighters, who may want to continue fighting because they
consider the invasion of Iraq as an attack on Islam and the Islamic world.
Therein lies the problem. America,
Britain and other allies need to move very quickly to restore order in Iraq.
There is a huge task of reconstructing the nation whose structures have been
brought down to debris.... However, many
people in Iraq believe that the situation in that country can only improve when
the Americans and the British leave. For them whether Saddam has been captured
or not, foreigners are still occupying their land.... But the real challenge would be putting down
the insurgency of foreigners mostly from the Muslim world who would not like to
see a democracy emerge in Iraq. A
successful democracy in Iraq will certainly not only be a threat to surrounding
countries but the rest of the Muslim world."
CANADA: "Iraq Without
The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (Internet version,
12/15): "Until Saturday's dramatic
capture, Iraq was in danger of tipping the wrong way.... The insurgency has taken its toll. The escalating attacks on U.S., Iraqi and
international targets have undermined confidence in the noble U.S.-led effort
to rebuild the country and turn it over to a new, representative Iraqi
government. Mr. Hussein's capture will
not end that insurgency, as U.S. military leaders were the first to point
out. There may even be more attacks in
the short term as elements of his old Baathist regime retaliate for the capture
of their leader. Even so, the arrest of
the old tyrant is bound to have a huge psychological impact.... For Iraqis, both pro-Saddam and anti-Saddam,
he is a legendary, almost superhuman figure, portrayed in his own propaganda as
invincible. Now Saddam Hussein has been
revealed to all Iraqis for what he is: a
man like any other. The unforgettable
photos of the fearless leader, bearded and bewildered, meekly opening his mouth
for an oral examination will crush what is left of his cult of
personality.... Iraq's governing council
says that Mr. Hussein will be put on trial by the country's new war crimes
tribunal. Good. He has much to answer for. But the main task ahead is to translate his
capture into progress for Iraq. It is
not just the United States that stands to win or lose in Iraq. The whole world has a stake in a successful
transition from dictatorship and war to democracy and peace. The capture of Saddam Hussein is a crucial step
in that process and an exciting day for Iraq.
Now let's all pull together to finish the job."
"Capture Puts Lie To 'Quagmire' Tag"
Kelly McParland remarked in the conservative National Post
(Internet version, 12/15): "When
Saddam Hussein was dragged from his pit near Tikrit yesterday, the air got
knocked right out of the 'Iraq is a quagmire' campaign. Iraq has never been a quagmire, nor even
close.... There have been setbacks in reconstruction, but a great deal of
progress too. There has been legitimate
frustration and anger among Iraqis that their lot has not improved as quickly
or as dramatically as everyone would have hoped, but also regular indications
that most Iraqis nonetheless recognize they are better off under temporary U.S.
dominance than they were under Saddam's decades of tyrannical control.... As long as Saddam remained alive and on the
loose there was always the danger--no matter how remote--that he would
return. As the frequency and effect of
anti-U.S. attacks grew bolder, the fear of this possibility grew, and co-operation
with the Americans waned.... It has
somehow become more acceptable to attack Mr. Bush for risking U.S. lives than
to condemn Saddam for murdering Iraqis....a situation that may finally change
with the capture of Saddam. It
underlines a simple question. Given the
choice, who would you want running your country: a democratic if imperfect administration like
the one in Washington, or that madman they dragged out of a hole in the ground
"Saddam's Capture Brings Iraqis Hope"
The liberal Toronto Star took this view
(Internet version, 12/15): "Saddam
Hussein was a sworn foe of America and its allies, a mocker of the United
Nations and a regional bully.... His
capture by American troops in a bloodless raid, as the 'Lion of Baghdad'
cowered in a rat-infested hole...closes a brutal two-decade chapter in Iraq's
tortured history and turns the page to hope.
By taking Saddam alive the Americans have wisely ensured that a mass
murderer does not become a martyr. They
have decapitated his Baathist party. And
they have served notice to Saddam's insurgent sympathizers that the regime is
truly finished, making armed resistance pointless.... Bush had no need to gloat over Saddam's
arrest. Pictures of a dishevelled,
humiliated Saddam captured the moment as eloquently as the president might
have.... Ideally [Saddam] should be
brought to justice before a United Nations' tribunal or one sanctioned by the
U.N., as were criminal leaders in the Balkans and Rwanda. Justice, not vengeance, is required. While a UN court would not impose the death
penalty, it would be better placed to hold a credible trial than the
U.S.-dominated Iraqi Governing Council, acting alone.... This arrest does nothing to strengthen Bush's
weak moral case for a $150 billion war that cost the lives of 13,000 Iraqis and
more than 500 allied troops.... Still,
his arrest invites Iraqis to move forward, and rebuild their society. What's needed now is a speedy transition to
Iraqi self-rule, preferably under UN supervision, with the U.S. playing a
supporting role. And with financial help
from nations such as Canada that rightly sat out the war, but which should
offer Iraqis a helping hand shaping the peace."
Victory Bush Needed"
Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La
Nacion wrote (12/15): "While it
has not marked the end of terrorist violence on Baghdad streets, the capture of
Saddam Hussein represents a political victory for U.S. President George W. Bush
that places him again on the center of the stage with the strength and leadership
of the days following the downfall of the Hussein regime. The capture of the former dictator can mark a
turning point in postwar by undermining the morale of guerrillas who are loyal
to the removed leader and encouraging the reconstruction process.... It is also some important encouragement for
demoralized U.S. soldiers, who were just starting to wonder why they were
fighting in Iraq, and also for the Iraqi people who, encouraged by terrorist
violence, had started to believe that coalition forces were vulnerable, and,
therefore, that it was not worthwhile to remain passive in view of the military
occupation. The capture of Saddam also
empowers the campaign on terrorism and the efforts in the war on al-Qaida.... For Bush, it is a victory both in U.S.
domestic politics and in the international field. On the international front, it is a
demonstration of a concrete outcome, the most important since the downfall of
the Saddam regime.... It can give new
impetus to his ambitious project to democratize the Middle East.... The head of the White House's future was
largely tied to the luck of U.S. soldiers in the Iraqi war and, why not, to the
capture of Saddam. The violence of
latest months had undermined the president's international credibility."
"Was The Leader Of The Resistance Captured"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading Clarin
judged (12/15): "Will this capture
mark the end of violence in Iraq? It is
very difficult to answer this question because the phenomenon of the Iraqi
resistance to the occupation...is so unknown that it is impossible to know who
inspires it and, particularly, who leads it.
In any event, Saddam seems an unlikely leader--cornered in successive
refuges, in a limited area and almost alone, he does not seem to have been in a
position to lead not even his own luck.
Also, the hatred he raises among many Iraqis does not place him in the
best position to inspire any fight. It
would be a mistake if this victory of Bush diverts the attention of analysts of
this resistance and of Islamic anti-U.S. feeling, if they only saw in the
captured dictator 'the' symbol and not just one mere symbol among several
Dictator's Imprisonment Encourages Arab Opening"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo international editor Sergio
Malbergier held (12/15): "Saddam
Hussein's capture is good news for George W. Bush's reelection campaign, but it
may be potentially even better for Iraqis and Arabs in general.... His capture has emptied the dreadful
dictator's myth. It was difficult during
his regime to hear in Baghdad's streets any opinion about Saddam Hussein due to
fear of retaliation that the mere mention of his name might cause.
Seeing the humiliating images of his capture, the Iraqis will no longer
fear the threat of the dictator's comeback.
But the main benefit of Saddam's imprisonment may be an encouragement to
the Arab world's timid movement of opening....
Let's hope that Saddam is publicly judged by his fellow Iraqis who
suffered under his bloody regime."
"Capture Is Bush's Electoral Trump Card"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo NYC correspondent Cintia Cardoso
noted (12/15): "Saddam Hussein's imprisonment will be one of the major
trump cards to try to ensure President George W. Bush's reelection.... The
military occupation in Iraq has been a focus of instability for Bush's
campaign.... Saddam's capture may cause changes in the Democratic Party's
campaign.... The tone with which the democrats reacted to the capture was one
of not giving it political relevance."
MEXICO: “A Good Sign”
An editorial in business-oriented Financiero read
(12/15): “The capture of Saddam
Hussein...allows us to glimpse a more rapid global economic recuperation. The effects will be seen immediately in the
financial markets.... The news--a
political triumph for George W. Bush- will strengthen his efforts for
re-election, and also provides an opportunity for the White House to assume its
responsibility under international law and hasten its exit from Baghdad.”
“A Pyrrhic And Dark Victory”
Left-of-center La Jornada editorialized (12/15): “The capture of the former Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein by the American army that invaded and destroyed Iraq has been
presented to international public opinion as a great victory for the Bush
administration and a fundamental step to undermine the Iraqi resistance and
pacify that unlucky Arab country....
From all these suppositions, the only true fact is that the arrest of
the former Iraqi leader could turn into an important boost to the popularity of
President Bush.... The American and
English soldiers are over there not to liberate Iraqi people nor to guarantee
national or regional peace, but to conduct their dirty business using stolen
Iraqi resources...and with frauds like that one by the former partners of
COSTA RICA: "The
Influential La Nacion opined (12/15): "The capture of Saddam Hussein opens
great expectations for Iraq.... The all
powerful and sanguinary 66 year old man is today a prisoner in the hands of
justice...and though it is not certain where he will be tried...we do know with
certainty that there is no impunity for his crimes.... Among the risks (that lay ahead) are profound
religious and ethnic divisions in the country, the lack of a democratic
culture, the renewed impetus for Shiite Muslim fundamentalism, the impact of
international terrorism and the instability of some of its neighbors. Joining this is the scarce legitimacy and
administrative capacity of the local authorities named by the United States and
the difficulty of giving a real multinational characterization to the foreign
presence in Iraq.... U.S. President
George Bush was clear in reiterating his intentions to collaborate in the rise
of a free and independent Iraq, which implies the well being of its
population. We do not doubt this
objective, but we believe that to improve the possibilities of reaching it, the
U.S. should seek a full reconciliation with the international community and the
full spectrum of Iraqi society. With
Hussein finally behind bars, this process will be easier. We hope that the new window of opportunity
and hope that has opened will soon overflow in better results.”
NICARAGUA: "The Great
Center-right Managua-based La Prensa observed (12/15): "Saddam Hussein's capture is the U.S.
and its allies' most important victory since the tyrant's fall in April. And it
is particularly important because it happened at a time when the Iraqi people
and the allies are resisting the most fierce terrorist offensive since the
beginning of the war. And, although this does not mean the end of the war
against terrorism, what is most probable is that the process of normalizing
democracy in that country will enter a stage of faster and more consistent
advance.... The U.S. could have kept
Saddam Hussein's capture a secret, taken all information possible out of him,
killed him and informed the public that he was killed in combat; something
everyone would have believed since the killer said that the U.S. would only
take him dead. But in a democracy, principles are more important than
conveniences. So the U.S. prefers that Saddam live, and they can bring him to
justice, even if they have to pay a high political price, because the world's
left--with a high influence on the media--will without any doubt use all types
of pressure in favor of this singular prisoner. In any case, Saddam Hussein
should go to trial as soon as possible, necessarily in a summary trial because
of his terrible crimes, and the tribunal who judges him must apply the maximum
penalty possible, which is the least with which the Baghdad murderer should be
punished with; he who has millions of lives on his conscience, victims of his
GUATEMALA: "Saddam Hussein"
Guatemala's largest circulation tabloid Nuestro
Diario commented (12/15):
"After eight months of intense search... Saddam Hussein was captured yesterday
morning.... He gave himself up like a
lamb. The announcement has caused satisfaction to the entire civilized
world. The challenge at hand is to
initiate the reconciliation process in a country broken by Hussein's
dictatorship.... For the United States
and its allies this is an opportunity to honorably conclude this chapter...and
return Iraq, the cradle of civilization, its sovereignty."
JAMAICA: "Saddam's Capture"
Editor-in-Chief of the centrist, business-oriented Jamaica Observer opined
(12/15): There is something humiliating
about the process...many people distrust America's motives. Add to this the incendiary matter of radical
Islam and a sense that the U.S. policy in the Middle East has hardly been
even-handed, and there is the mix for a deadly cocktail. Which is what has been playing out daily in
Baghdad and other Iraqi cities...the removal of Saddam Hussein could well make
matters more complicated for President Bush and his key ally, Prime Minister
Blair of the United Kingdom. Groups who
might not have wanted to be identified or to be associated with Saddam may now
emerge to resist the occupation, either at the political level or in guerrilla
attacks...with the shadow of Saddam Hussein gone, the quarrelsome religious
factions, which have kept their disagreements in check--for fear that they
might appear to be giving strength to Saddam loyalists--may spill over into
major public fights.... It is important,
therefore, that our friends in Washington manage this situation carefully. The Bush administration has to be more
accommodating to the international community on the Iraq issue and has to talk
with greater humility about the process in Iraq. There must be a credible exit strategy. Our friends must not assume that Europe after
the Marshal Plan provides a clear template for a culturally different society
in a different historic and political context...too much of the official speak
about the country and what is being done in Iraq rings as patronizing. Iraq is a major sore on the international
body politic. It demands delicate and
judicious handling if there is to be healing."
PANAMA: "Freedom Wins"
Pro-government La Estrella de Panama declared (12/15): "Thanks to the decisiveness,
perseverance and courage of U.S. President George Bush and of the international
coalition...the oppressive regime fell and Iraq now is building a solid democracy
where human rights, freedom of expression, and religious liberty are respected,
along with the self determination of each and every people, nationality, or
minority that integrates that great country. “