April 10, 2003
FALL OF BAGHDAD 'IMPRESSIVE' BUT 'TROUBLING'
fall of Baghdad a "historic turning point," but reservations remain
about "enormous risks ahead" and concerns about the U.S.' ability to
"manage the peace."
opponents bid Saddam "good riddance" but do not accept that the means
used to oust him were justified, citing the absence of definitive proof of
Writers understand Iraqi "jubilation," but warn against U.S.
"triumphalism," Coalition occupation, and the Iraqi "model"
of U.S. pre-emptive war.
A 'beautiful day for democracy,' future of Iraqi
people 'brighter than ever'-- Outlets in Britain, Canada, Italy, Turkey,
Russia and Israel portrayed the fall of Baghdad as a "liberation,"
and a "turning point" in history.
Ottawa's conservative National Post asserted that the
"accomplishments" of Bush, "go beyond the battlefield" and
put an end to the conceit that the "21st-century threat" posed by
WMD, terrorism and rogue power could be addressed "according to the
dictates of 19th-century international law." Calling yesterday an
"historic day of liberation," London's conservative Times held
that "after 24 years of oppression, Baghdad has emerged from an age of
darkness," but cautioned that Iraq "now stands at that dangerous
point between war and peace."
Others suggested that the war's "fortunate outcome" now offers
America and Europe the chance for a "greater willingness for
compromise" over the post-Saddam order.
War still a 'mistake with respect to its
genesis,' as WMD remain undiscovered-- Acknowledging that the world will be better
off after the "fall of the dreadful regime," those opposed to the
"irresponsible bellicose adventure" maintained that its positive
outcome did not make the war legitimate.
The very swiftness of the campaign and absence of a decisive WMD
discovery revealed that Saddam was not enough of a threat to warrant the
Coalition's "unilateral move" and "obscene" use of
force. Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung insisted that "a military success" did not mean that the
"regime could not have been ousted and eliminated otherwise without the
bloodshed and without the political damage." Echoing the skepticism in European outlets
about the existence of WMD, liberal Folha de Sao Paulo noted, "WMD,
whose existence was the main justification for the attack, have not been
Obstacles and 'enormous risks' lie ahead-- Dailies also focused on
the challenge of winning the peace, pointing out that the war was not over
yet. Reiterating the common refrain that
getting rid of the regime "is the easy part," the Saudi
pro-government Arab News stressed that the difficult part is filling the
"resulting vacuum." The paper
joined others urging the Iraq people not to settle for being ruled by "a
quasi-democratic leadership" from an administration "propped up by
those greedy for Iraq's oil" and set on, as an Algerian writer noted
"providing complete security for Israel's interests." The risk of "enraging" the Arab
world and the possibility of "lawlessness" and "anarchy"
were additional concerns. South Africa's
balanced Business Day cited the "new seeds of anger sown among
Muslim militants," among the "massive challenges for the
world." A UAE daily observed "there is more to the liberation of Iraq
than removing the regime; a new rule of law has to be introduced." The UN was considered essential to the
reconstruction of Iraq. Tokyo's liberal Asahi
advised that in order to "restore stability," the U.S. should
"let the UN take the lead role in setting up a tentative
Iraq may serve as 'dangerous model'-- Dailies focused on the
possibility that the U.S., "crowned with this military success,"
would repeat the Iraqi experience elsewhere.
These observers found that "Iraq does not mean future pre-emptive
unilateral, illegal war-making is now somehow OK." Belgium's conservative La Derniere Heure
advised the U.S. to "remain modest and avoid granting itself the right to
become the policeman of a world that it wants to reshape according to its
interests." Editorials from Muslim
countries in particular speculated that Iraq was "just the
beginning." Turkey's mass-appeal Sabah
alleged that "dictatorships and other backward regimes in the Middle
East are next on the list," and Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak
warned the U.S. "might target any country in the world by using 'magical'
terms such as liberation and freedom."
A Pakistani paper cautioned against "giving America the license to
replace any disliked foreign government using military might."
This report is based on 73 reports from 34 countries, over 9-10 April
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
The conservative Times editorialized (4/10): "Baghdad, once the glittering capital of
the Muslim world at its zenith, has been attacked, besieged, bombarded and
occupied more often than any capital in the Middle East.... But yesterday was like no other day.... After 24 years of oppression...Baghdad has
emerged from an age of darkness.
Yesterday was an historic day of liberation. For the first time, Iraqis felt free to voice
their suffering, to recall their horrors and to spit out their hatred of the man
who had crushed their spirit.... When
dictatorships fall, a political structure based on intimidation
disintegrates. The vacuum could easily
lead to a catastrophic collapse of living standards, endemic violence and
ethnic or tribal disputes. Iraq now
stands at that dangerous point between war and peace.... The immediate challenge is to hold together a
country and society exhausted by everything it has been through....
"Liberating Iraq from its past means binding up the wounds,
as quickly and fairly as possible, of a society all but destroyed by
dictatorship.... Liberation means more
than this, however.... The road back to
prosperity and legitimacy will be strewn with obstacles. A continuation of the European bickering that
preceded the U.S.-led liberation must not be one of those obstacles, and nor
should battles for institutional turf.
Efficacy matters more than who does what. The goal must be Iraqi self-government just
as soon as is practical, and transitional machinery should be kept simple and
free of paternalism.... One of the first
needs is the swift resumption of United Nations humanitarian aid. That needs no new resolution: help can be
channeled through the existing oil-for-food regime.... Baghdad recovered from devastation by the
Mongols and sacking by Tamburlaine. Now, at last, it has a chance to recover
from the devastation wrought on it by the tyrant from Tikrit."
"After The Fall"
The left-of-center Guardian took this
view (4/10): "The collapse of
Saddam Hussein's regime will send shockwaves of joy and alarm around the
world.... Finding [Saddam] and bringing
him to justice is a more urgent priority than ever. Until the body of Saddam is handed up, dead
or alive, until the spectre of Saddam is finally exorcised, many Iraqis will have
trouble believing they are really free....
Iraqis' problems are not at an end; they merely change in form and
scale. Baghdad, let alone Iraq as a
whole, is not yet secure. Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction have not been found.... There may be hard fighting still
ahead.... There may be yet more civilian
casualties to add to the uncounted thousands.... For them and many like them, victory is
meaningless. But the swiftness of
Saddam's rout reduces the chances of continuing carnage. For this relief, much thanks.
"Iraq's state of shock, replacing its state
of siege, will have many difficult manifestations. Already, revenge and reprisal intermingle
with celebration.... Parts of Baghdad
and other cities are close to anarchy....
Such tendencies to chaos, unless quickly curbed, threaten civil
conflicts sucking in thinly-spread allied troops. The shock of the day weighed heavily on
some--but not all--Arab hearts.... This
unprecedented show of U.S. offensive power sends a daunting message. Who knows which way the Abrams tank barrels
will swivel next? And who in Damascus,
Tehran or Riyadh is entirely sure that the Iraqi people's release, although
largely involuntary, will not find willing emulators there? If reconstruction works, and that is an enormous
'if', a resource-rich, democratic Iraq may become the throbbing engine of the
Middle East. The political ramifications
of that do indeed invite shock and awe.
On one level the U.S.-British success to date is deeply impressive and
on another, troubling. Saddam's
overthrow is a great boon. But Iraq's
'liberation' must not lead to internal destabilisation or external
exploitation. Pre-war promises must be
fulfilled; there must be long-term follow-through and a major rethink,
too. For George Bush's America must
understand that Iraq does not mean future pre-emptive, unilateral, illegal
war-making is now somehow OK. Sometimes
war proves unstoppable; but it is seldom OK. "
FRANCE: "A Page Is
Turned In The Middle East"
Jean de Belt held in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/10): "Yesterday marked a historic date: Saddam Hussein's regime is no more. This is a victory for George W. Bush.... This is a war than strengthens America's
unilateralism.... America's goal goes
beyond Iraq and it would be insulting the U.S. to imagine that its
unilateralism is being implemented without vision. The White House has a simple plan: to pacify the Middle East, bringing democracy
to Iraq, turning it into an example.
This is why tomorrow's task is as decisive as yesterday's
victory.... No one can predict how the
U.S. model will be accepted. Yesterday,
a dictator fell. While we cannot accuse
President Bush's plans of lacking coherence, we cannot ignore the risks
"What Lies Ahead"
Patrick Sabatier argued in left-of-center Liberation
(4/10): "Saddam's regime is over,
even if the war is not completely finished....
We rejoice along with the liberated people of Iraq.... But the hardest task is still ahead.... The weeks to come will be decisive. The Coalition will need to harness the
emergence of anarchy and secure the distribution of humanitarian aid. Will President Bush know how to handle
victory and avoid exacerbating the rage which feeds Islamic terrorism in the Arab
world? Establishing a government under
UN supervision is essential."
Bernard Guetta had this to day on state-run France Inter radio
(4/10): "Now that the regime has
fallen...two questions remain. This
first is whether the Americans will know how to deal with the challenge of
peace.... The Americans are determined
to manage peace the way they managed the war, on their own. This will not make the second problem any
easier: finding political stability for
Iraq.... How Iran will react is part of
Act II in this regional Great Game."
"The Law Of Might"
Denis Jeambar opined in right-of-center weekly L'Express
(4/10): "The fall of Baghdad will
determine how our world is organized for years to come. This battle will fall in the category of
symbolic battles which have changed history....
International relations are being redefined...with religion playing a
new role.... The notion of force and its
use will play a new and central role."
GERMANY: "Fall Of
Siegmund Gottlieb commented on ARD-TV's
(national channel one) late evening newscast Tagesthemen (4/9): "This is not yet a historic day, and we
have not yet experienced the end of the war.
Reality is much more complicated than a simple perception of pictures on TV. Where are the weapons of mass destruction,
which served as the main argument for Washington's campaign? Was the regime of the dictator really as
dangerous, making it necessary to disarm Saddam? This question must be raised, and it must be
discussed with the Americans.... But to
insinuate that they would wage this war out of hegemonic lust for power, for
billions they could raise from oil resources, or in religious blindness, would
be too shortsighted, since it were not we but the United States that has still
not yet overcome the trauma of September 11.
But it would also be too shortsighted to insinuate with European
arrogance that the Arab world is incapable of democracy until further
"The Judgment Of Iraqis"
Berthold Kohler noted in a front-page editorial
in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/10): "With its swift military success, the
United States has been able to make up some of its political defeats which it
had to suffer from its attempt to get a UN mandate for its activities. As long as the American soldiers are welcome
as liberators in Baghdad and not spit at as imperial oil thieves, even die-hard
anti-Americans will have difficulty refusing Washington's leading role in
shaping the post-war order in Iraq.
Believing that America would give up control over Iraq, just as it has
achieved a swift victory over a feared terror regime and demonstrated to the
world and itself its power, would be naive.
And this is also true for the notion that the UN could take over control
immediately. A massive military presence
will be necessary to end this war, prevent a rekindling of the conflict and to
restore a more or less stable order in the country. The surprisingly quick collapse of Saddam's
rule should not prompt us to assume that a democracy could be set up on the
debris of the regime. If the smokescreen
of the war has faded, many existing conflicts will come to the fore again like
the one between the Shiites and the Sunnis, and the Arabs and the Kurds. There will be a lot of work for so
experienced civil society builders as the Europeans. But for a long time to come, someone with a
gun will have to stand right next to them."
Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (4/10):
"Liberation is no act of the moment, it is a process. It is
necessary to work for liberation; to fight for it and to celebrate it is
not enough. The end requires a new
beginning, chaos requires order. Regime change, which the Americans and British
have written on their colors, cannot be more than a stopover on a
waystation. A great number of
significant problems is now on the agenda: safety must be created in a country
in revolt; assistance must be offered to a pauperized population of 24 million
people, and an infrastructure that was destroyed within three weeks requires
billions of investment. But the war of
the alleged coalition was a unilateral move of a few willing nations which
deliberately put off the others. Now the
allies are faced with the dilemma that
they need support but are unwilling to give up control. In addition it is necessary to follow an iron
law: the future cannot happen without
coming to terms with the past. Two
things must be reprocessed: the legacy of the regime and the legacies of the
war that toppled the regime. The first
is not easy, but, nevertheless, the easier task. After the war, not only Iraq, but the entire
Middle East and the whole world, must search for a new order. The question of the effects of this war
should not push aside the question of what were
the reasons for this war. The
outcome does not decide whether it was justified. A military success does not clarify whether
the regime could have been ousted and eliminated otherwise without the
bloodshed and without the political damage.
If the question of preventive war is now being pushed aside, it could be
raised again at another troublespot."
"The Right Thing"
Christoph von Marschall stated in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/10):
"Even the positive outcome of the war does not undo the violation
of international law, which cost the lives of many people. But obviously, even a false war can create
something good. This is the distressed
experience for the old Europe, which gives doubts a higher priority than the
fight against a criminal regime. And all
this is happening on the same day--and this is another symbol when the European
Parliament agrees on the acceptance of ten new members in the EU, states that
are more open for the idea of democratic intervention because of their history. The new Europe will not support a policy that
speaks of multilateralism and the United Nations as the highest authority, but
means America's containment and uses the United Nations to assert national
interests. France and Germany already
had to feel this.... The fortunate
outcome of the war offers America and Europe the chance to show a greater
willingness for compromise to negotiate the post-Saddam order. President Bush made the first step and
offered the UN an important role. But
what Iraq now needs the most cannot be guaranteed by the UN nor by Germany and
France: security and public order. The
pictures of exuberant joy should not obscure the things that this day also
produced: looting, chaos, boundless
greed. For the time being, only Bush and
Blair's forces are able to create a new order."
''The Victory With Its Challenges"
Managing Editor Ezio Mauro wrote in
left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (4/10): "A tyrant was pulled down along with his
statues...and this is a beautiful day for the Iraqi people, who invaded the
streets of Baghdad...a beautiful day for
democracy. The route through which
president Bush has reached this result proved to be successful, quick as well
as costly in terms of human lives. In
fact, all that sophisticated high technology couldn't eliminate the load of destruction and grief,
which all wars always carry with them,
no matter whether they are right or wrong wars.
This war remains a mistake with respect to its genesis, as well as a
dangerous model, because (it was
conducted) outside of international legitimacy of the UN, with the United States becoming, after September 11,
simultaneously victim, judge as well as avenger.... Once the war is won, Bush and Blair, in order
not to lose the postwar, should go through the United Nations as well as a
political European platform, so that they will actually be able to turn Iraq
into a democratic, independent (state)...free from its liberators, as
well. In fact, the building of a
democracy begins with rules, rules for everybody."
"The War That Tastes Of Jubilee"
Managing Editor Marcello Sorgi commented on the
front-page of centrist, influential La Stampa (4/10): "The war that tastes of jubilee, the
jubilee that tastes of war.... It is not
the foregone, military outcome (of the war) that weighs, but the climate of its
conclusion, as well as the relief for the liberation impressed on the faces of
the Iraqi people, which will offer the Americans an extra opportunity, as well
as many good reasons, to gather greater solidarity around them, which, until now, was quite little. They will have the opportunity, in some cases, to break out of their isolation and
build, once again, the broad chain of worldwide friendships that they had
established the day after September 11.
For President Bush, the price of this (positive) evolution consists in his
reassessment of the doctrine based on a 'pre-emptive intervention.'... In Belfast, the U.S. president appeared
sensitive, but also cautious. Victory
could push him towards a less prudent approach."
"Bush Watching TV: 'This Is History'"
Ennio Caretto reported from Washington in
centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/10): "George Bush followed fascinated the
fall of Baghdad, live on TV, from his private room next to the Oval
Office. This is the President's happiest
day.... Bush looked excited, suddenly
standing up, 'this is an historical moment,' he said to his spokesman Ari
Fleischer.... Since dawn, Bush, Cheney,
Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and others were informed that the
Iraqi capital was collapsing. They then
agreed on a common line: to contain
their enthusiasm and to warn the public that the worst could still come....
This contained approach includes a three-fold objective: to give time to the
administration to establish a temporary Iraqi Authority; to gain control of the
entire territory of Iraq; and to admonish Syria and Iran not to
RUSSIA: "Bush, Blair
Maksim Yusin wrote in reformist Izvestiya (4/10): "Today Bush and Blair have every right
to rejoice. They have won. They have kept their word. They have overthrown the 'bloody
regime.' They have not found weapons of
mass destruction yet, but they will certainly find them. Even if they don't, who will rebuke them, the
winners, after they have captured Baghdad in a matter of days, almost
bloodlessly?... Yesterday was a happy
day for the Allies. Already it is
history.... To defeat an almost unarmed
country, to destroy an army which refuses to fight, and to overthrow a rotten
regime is the easiest part of the mission.
Its most difficult part is still ahead."
"Baghdad Captured, Pillaged"
Maksim Chizhikov contended in reformist, youth-oriented Komsomol'skaya
Pravda (4/10): "While northern
Iraq and Saddam's hometown of Tikrit are still unsubdued, the war is virtually
over.... Where are the 'patriots' who
were willing to die for Saddam? Only
recently they kissed his hands. Now they
kiss the boots of U.S. Marines, pose for pictures with an 'I am an American'
sign, help topple monuments to Hussein, and loot stores and offices on the
quiet. They are the people Russia
supported. With friends like these you
don't need enemies."
"Peace Still Needs to Be Won"
Chief editor Beatrice Delvaux held in
left-of-center Le Soir (4/10):
"In spite of the persistent doubts on the reasons for waging this
war, and in spite of the legitimate criticism on the way it was imposed to the
rest of the world, the fall of this dreadful regime and of its vile dictator
arouses a feeling of relief.... It is
also simply fair to point out that the Americans fulfilled the first part of
their promises: their intervention was rapid.
But that was the least one could ask them. The upcoming challenges are bigger, riskier
and more difficult than ever. Iraq will
have to promptly become a democracy that is not the vassal of a superpower or
of Islamic fundamentalism, and that is not economically colonized. No tank or oil contract can do that. But beyond this, Bush will have to
demonstrate that he does not want to impose this 'new American order' on the
Middle East but that he wants to participate in the reconstruction of a genuine
democratic project, respectful of the rights and identities of each of the
countries of this region that is stil dominated by despotism and
injustice. A first and undeniable sign
of this would be the real resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace
Chief editor Gerald Papy in independent La
Libre Belgique (4/10) editorialized:
"One can only rejoice at the fall of the Iraqi dictatorship and at
the rapid outcome of the conflict. The
Iraqis are spared sufferings that recent history imposed to them on too many
occasions, first and foremost because of a brutal dictator but also because of
the hypocrisy of the international community and of the United States in
particular that, on other occasions in the past, let realpolitik prevail over
the respect of freedom and of human rights....
Beyond the military victory that was predictable, the challenge of
winning the peace will be much more delicate to take up. Yet, the hardly concealed intentions that
some attitudes of the Bush administration showed can be worrying. The persistent instability of a country like
Afghanistan that was also freed from a dictatorship by a lightning war--should
lead American leaders to be cautious and modest. Especially in light of the fact that the Middle East remains a
potential powder keg."
"Expectations Are High, Promises To
Patrick Dath-Delcambe commented in conservative La
Derniere Heure (4/10): "Peace
must now be won. The United States and
Great Britain have made a lot of promises to the Iraqis, and even to the entire
region. The Americans are usually not
sparing their promises. Expectations
are high, especially for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Crowned with this military success, the United States should
nevertheless remain modest and avoid granting itself the right to become the
policeman of a world that it wants to reshapes according to its interests. Their decision to impose the members of the
new Iraqi regime is not encouraging."
"How To Win The Peace"
Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert commented
in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (4/7): "With this war, the United States made
itself less sympathetic than ever before.
But, if it wants to win the peace in the region, it must take two paths
at the same time. First, it must give
the UN a role- as important aspossible--in the reconstruction of heavily
battered Iraq. Second, it must
immediately focus on a genuine peace solution on the basis of two viable
states: Israel and Palestine. Only in
that manner can the United States start to remove the Arab feelings of
humiliation and show that the great protector of Israel is no enemy of the
Left-of-center Trouw editorialized (4/10): "After three weeks of war, and
ultimately more quickly than expected, American troops captured the Iraqi
capital of Baghdad. However, the war is
not yet over.... And no one knows what
the Iraqi government is still capable of doing.... Winning a war could prove to be much easier
than winning peace. And eventually, also easier than changing a
dictatorial Iraq into a state with some sort of democracy. The latter is a task the Americans and the
British cannot handle alone but also should not want to handle alone...this
task should mainly be handled by the UN....
President Bush said the UN would play an 'essential' role in all areas. Bush will have to be held to that."
Influential liberal De Volkskrant opined (4/10): "After
three weeks of war, Saddam's regime collapsed.... Except for surprises that could still occur,
the battle seems to be settled. Son Bush
did what father Bush did not dare to do: move into Iraq to overthrow Saddam
Hussein.... After Kosovo (78) days and
Afghanistan (38 days), the military
victory in Iraq seems to be in sight after 21 days. The
outcome itself is a good thing....
But triumph would be inappropriate....
Bush and Blair started this war from a very lonely position. They can now feel strengthened by the images
of people celebrating in the streets of Baghdad; the opponents of the war cannot ignore this
fact. Whether this is sufficient to
retroactively legitimize the invasion will depend on whether or not the allied
forces find illegal weapons of mass destruction. It will also be important to see if Bush will
manage to win this war not only militarily but also politically by pacifying,
stabilizing, and democratizing Iraq. That is an enormous task, and his father can
tell him how quickly military victory can turn into political defeat."
PORTUGAL: "Saddam is the Enemy of God"
In a featured editorial, influential moderate
left Público editor-in-chief Jose Manuel Fernandes wrote (4/10):
"The images of celebration in the streets of Baghdad...remind me of Belgrade's unforgettable October 5, the
day a popular uprising overthrew
Milosevic, and the celebration that I experienced personally, almost 30 years ago, on a certain
April 25 [in Portugal]. Do you remember?.... Do you remember how they said
that we weren't ready for democracy? Or that we would never be a 'bourgeois
democracy'?.... Someone is going to have to be found quickly to take the reins
of power, more quickly than even the most optimistic had dared to believe.
And, at this moment, there are only two countries with the moral authority and forces on the ground to lead
the process: the United States and the
United Kingdom.... With this war ended
and won -- and it is still not over -- the peace has to be won. Not just in Iraq, but in the whole of the Middle East. Starting with Palestine."
Deputy editor-in-chief António Ribeiro Ferreira
penned in respected center-left Diário
de Notícias (4/10): "Freedom
for Iraq was achieved against the will of France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, and
naturally the UNSC. Despite that, the
political and economic reconstruction of
Iraq -- a cyclopean and lengthy task -- will be done, as Bush and
Blair affirmed in Belfast, with the UN
and the international community
involved.... Following the Iraqi
April 9, it is now possible to dream about a realistic and just peace process
between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Iraqi April 9 represents an
enormous defeat for international
terrorism and for all those who, either actively or passively, support
"Comic Book Re-drawn"
In an editorial in influential moderate-left
daily Público, deputy
editor-in-chief Nuno Pacheco argued (4/10): "[...] There has been a
deaf shock of fears since the beginning of this war: fear of the unknown
stamped on the faces of many young
soldiers; and fear of the known, visible in the initial attitude of many
Iraqis facing the black shadow of Saddam
Hussein. Now that everything has crumbled, and Saddam has strangely
'evaporated' --as Osama bin Laden
or the sinister 'mullah' Omar had
earlier 'evaporated' --the audacity of
the uniformed 'daredevils' whom the
obstinacy of the White House had pushed
into a war decided upon long ago has flowed out into a wave of popular
euphoria in the wake of the overthrow of the dictatorship, and into an
immense desert of unknowns."
Editor-in-chief Carlos Cáceres Monteiro had this
to say in an op-ed in left-of-center leading circulation newsweekly Visão
(4/10): "The absurd inhumanity of
this war is exceeding all bounds of the acceptable: hotels [in Baghdad] have
been declared to be military objectives....
There are no reasons that can justify this war. It
would have been possible to depose Saddam Hussein without it. And, as can
be seen, the famous arsenals of
chemical weapons in large quantities are
yet to be discovered."
Left-of-center El País wrote (4/10): "The fall of a dictator of this ilk, who
resisted in the end and added to the suffering of his people, is a reason to be
satisfied. This was not, however, the
way to achieve it.... The world is
better without this dictator, but the execution of this conflict has contributed to the weakening of the fragile
international order.... Few Arabs will
cry for the disappearance of Saddam, but probably many now feel
humiliated.... It has been a military
campaign of speed, concentration of bombing and fire, and precision, without
precedent, but it also makes very clear with so many civilian deaths that the
idea of a 'clean war' is impossible....
The war has produced too many victims, has made a mess of international
legality and has put in stark relief a bad use by the U.S. of its immense
military power.... In the hour of
victory one shouldn't forget that Bush wasn't able to get in the UN Security
Council the votes necessary to justify this war which shou ld never have
"How The Steamroller Rolled The Paper
Independent El Mundo judged (4/10): "What
this conflict has proved, without any doubt, is the overwhelming--almost
obscene--military superiority that has literally erased the Iraqi military.... What we have seen in these last three weeks
is a crushing military exhibition, worthy of the very best of international
arms fair.... But the fall of Baghdad
and the war's development has made clear the lack of justification for this
attack by Bush and his allies.... Where
is the terrible arsenal which Powell referred to? Saddam has not made use of weapons of mass
destruction in this conflict. If he had
them and they were effective, why didn't he use them when he was cornered in
Baghdad?... And if he didn't have them,
then this war has been based on a great trickery."
TURKEY: "He Did Not Even Fire One Honorary
Editor-in-Chief Ertugrul Ozkok observed in mass
appeal Hurriyet (4/10): "The
Saddam era has ended and the future of the Iraqi people is now brighter than
ever before. In the next 5 to 10 years,
we are going to see the proper use of oil money--that is, for the welfare of
the people as opposed to building kitsch palaces for dictators or producing
chemical weapons. It is sure that in the
years ahead, we will observe the domino-effect on other'Baath-like' regimes in
the region.... Yet it is also the time
for us to get rid of the 'Third world rationale' and 'Saddam-like' mentality in
Turkey. It is just the right time to
lift Turkey up to become a full member of the modern Western community."
"Iraq Is Only The Beginning"
Erdal Safak wrote in mass appeal Sabah
(4/10): "The fall of Baghdad not
only signified the end of Saddam, but also the end of the Eisenhower doctrine,
which had served as a protective shield for regimes in the Middle East since
1956.... Following the 9/11 attacks, the
U.S. has begun to shape a new doctrine.
As Paul Wolfowitz defined it, 'the U.S. cannot possibly be safe and
secure unless the Middle East is democratized'.... The Iraq war is just the beginning. Dictatorships and other backward regimes in
the Middle East are next on the list, and it is certain that the most immediate
concern is Syria.... Turkish Foreign
Minister Gul should urgently cancel his upcoming trip to Damascus, which will
only serve to increase misunderstandings between Turkey and the U.S."
"Toward The End"
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni
Safak (4/10): "The planners of
the Iraq war did not conceal their intention to move toward other countries
once Iraq is finished. It will also be
interesting to see what kind of administration is to be formed in post-war
Iraq.... The world is rapidly moving toward a new era, and
it will most likely be formed based on the 'superiority of power.' From now on, the U.S. might target any
country in the world by using 'magical' terms such as liberation and
Sever Plotker declared in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/10):
"Baghdad has not fallen.
Baghdad has risen. Baghdad has
risen from a decades-long nightmare of cruel dictatorship.... Baghdad was not captured, it was liberated in
a war that was one of the shortest, most efficient, surprising, and least destructive
in modern history.... Opponents of the
war were still demonstrating against America in the streets of Paris while the
residents of Baghdad welcomed the American soldiers with shouts of
happiness.... True, the Americans are
bringing democracy to Baghdad with the barrels of tank cannons, but Iraq will
be democratic under its own steam. It
will be the first Arab country to have the generations-old curse lifted, the
curse whereby being both Arab and democratic is impossible, whereby the two are
diametrically opposed. Iraq will
disprove the learned theories that claim that Arab culture rejects the values
of liberal democracy, because it has
other values.... It has been said of many countries in the world that they
would never succeed in becoming democratic because they have a 'culture' or
'tradition' or 'religion' that is not amenable to democracy. And they are democratic in all respects:
Argentina and Chile, Romania and Poland, South Korea and Ghana, South Africa
and Spain, Portugal and Mongolia. Iraq
will be too. And why not? Countries with an ethnic and national makeup
much more complicated that Iraq's have become democratic. For their own good."
"An Earthquake Broadcast Live"
Yoel Marcus wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(4/10): "The fall of Baghdad on Wednesday, the earthquake broadcast live,
will be remembered along with the key events of history.... People like Saddam come into the world as
promising leaders who wind up cruel dictators.
In effect, Saddam brought stability to a country of constantly changing
governments. With time, he fell in love
with his own image and turned Iraq into a medium for his megalomaniac
ambitions. It's not clear why eight years
of war with Iran were necessary, or why it was necessary to invade Kuwait or
massacre thousands of his own people.
Saddam could have gotten out of this mess by just surrendering, had he
not been over-enthusiastic for war and sure that he could win it. Saddam is one of those who believe that their
people really love them and are willing to die on his behalf. Saddam is one of
those people who live within a bubble of themselves--and end up suffocating
inside that bubble."
WEST BANK: "Baghdad
Has Another Awakening"
Independent Al-Quds editorialized
(4/10): "The painful scenes
broadcast by the satellite channels of the streets of Baghdad that fell under
the fire of the American-British occupier, may not be the last episode of the
hostile Anglo-American war. There might
be other episodes in some cities that
did not fall in the occupiers' hands. These episodes might not be
pleasent for the aggressors, or perhaps
we will see the same scenes [of Baghdad],
because all signs show the absence of the Iraqi authority. This absence
puzzled commentators and observers, even the British and the
Americans...Baghdad's fall is a catastrophe and it will not be the last one,
because the Anglo-American victory will whet the appetite of the colonialists
to devour more Arab capitals. In
addition, this victory will encourage them to reshape the Arab world according
to the political, cultural and social values of Washington."
"The Second Palestine"
Fouad Abu Hejleh commented in semi-official Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida (4/10): "We expected
the invading forces to reach Baghdad and the American-British forces to occupy
Iraq, but we did not expect it to be that easy. We were astonished by the
weakness of the Iraqi resistance in many areas and its absence in other areas
of Iraq.... There is great vagueness and
secrets, which might be cleared up later to explain the reasons of this Iraqi
surrender to the American-British-Israeli power.... It seems that the American 'shock and awe' was realized, despite our writing about
the failure of that method. We dealt
with the military dimension of 'shock and awe', but did not pay attention to
the psychological effects on the people following the first attack."
"Against The Occupation"
English-language pro-government Arab News
editorialized (4/10): "The images
of Iraqi people in Baghdad dancing on the broken hull of a statue of Saddam
Hussein yesterday were welcomed by all of the civilized world. Saddam was a
dictator and accordingly was hated by most of his people. That they are rid of
him is a good thing, and to argue otherwise would be not only foolish, but
cruel. But some things remain as they were.
The debate surrounding this war got off on a false premise. It said that
either you were with the US/UK forces and their bid to topple the Saddam
regime, or you were with Saddam himself. This was false because the world and
its problems can almost never be divided into simple black and white, right and
wrong.... Back here in the real world,
those who opposed the US/UK invasion of Iraq according to principles quite
beyond the “with or against us” dichotomy have no reason to change their minds,
celebrations or no celebrations in Baghdad....
The plan to invade Iraq was drawn up long before Sept. 11 by individuals
who are now members of the Bush administration. They had, and still have, close
ties with major energy firms whose chief concern is oil.... For the Iraqi people to be rid of a tyrant
only then to be vulnerable to exploitation by the conservative Zionist junta
who have taken over the White House is merely for them to be thrown from the
frying pan into the fire. The Iraqi people, like everyone else, deserve to be
the masters of their own destiny.... As
with all the revolutions in history, the easy part is getting rid of the
regime. The difficult part is knowing what to fill the resulting vacuum with.
The danger now is that, because the invaders offer something better than Saddam
in the short term, they may be left in the dark as to those invaders’ real
long-term motives. The Iraqi people
should not settle for second best, namely being ruled by a quasi-democratic
leadership propped up by a US administration which is itself propped up by
those greedy for Iraq’s oil and spurred on by their desire for a secure Israel.
Baghdad has fallen, Saddam is on the run and his Baath Party has disintegrated.
Good riddance to them all. But now those who were against the war must double
their protests against an American occupation."
"Baghdad + ? = !"
Independent, Arabic-language El Youm noted (4/10): "According to observers, after the end
of the American aggression against Iraq, and the end of the peace spectacle
between Palestinians and Israelis, Syria’s turn will come, in order to provide
complete security for Israel in the Middle East region. Then, a transition in
the Arab Gulf will begin, and finally in North Africa, beginning with Tripoli.
The barbarian American machine has begun. Those who prostrate themselves have
to wait their turn because they possess only subservience, for they are
rejected as a people."
JORDAN: "Listen To The
The English-language, independent, centrist Jordan Times
observed (4/10): "Some perhaps
expected that, before scenes of jubilation in Baghdad at the progressive
downfall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, some Arabs would feel shocked and
disappointed. But Iraqis' relief at what
is possibly the nearing end of both the war and the regime does not mean that
this aggression was ever just or right, nor that a US occupation is
welcomed. Some channels showed a few
Iraqis throwing flowers at US-British soldiers, cheering and dancing on the
pieces of a smashed statue of Saddam, taking off their shoes to hit his murals
and portraits. There was no footage
yesterday showing Iraqis' rejection of a US military occupation, but there will
indeed soon be plenty, if Washington makes the mistake to listen to its “hawks”
rather than to its friends.... For Iraq
and the region to be stable and secure, Iraq needs to be run by Iraqis. Iraqis might be happy that Saddam's regime is
disintegrating. It does not mean that they would be happy for that regime to be
replaced by another imposed from the outside. It does not mean that the breach
of international legitimacy and UN Charter by the so-called “coalition” was
justified. It does not mean, most of all, that all the suffering and death
brought about by this war was “for a good cause.” Never the end justifies the means. Obviously the US will win this war
militarily. One had to be seriously brainwashed or living on a remote island to
think otherwise. What the US has not
won, and is no way near winning, is the peace.
Get out of Iraq sooner rather than later. Leave Iraq to the
MOROCCO: "A New Style
Abdelkrim Ghallab wrote in pro-government, Arabic-language Al
Alam (4/9): "America has
come to Iraq to liberate it and this is a new style of liberation which
includes thousands of airplanes bombing Iraq with bombs and destroying all
cities, all villages, all schools, all hospitals and all museums and historical
sites that go five thousand years back in history. All these sites have become
rubble as a result of U.S. liberation airplanes.... It may become a tradition for America and
Britain to liberate other Arab and Islamic countries so that Israel will remain
the master in our Arab and Islamic Middle East. Let's learn the lesson from the
liberation of Iraq well taught by two countries called the U.S. and the United
Nationalists Must Maintain Iraq's Territorial Integrity And
Dr. Mahdi Dakhllalah, chief editor of government-owned
Al-Ba'th observed (4/10): "The Iraqi crisis has entered a new phase
with the occupation of extensive parts of Baghdad.... The basic principles that should now be
applied to the Iraqi issue are: Iraq's unity and territorial integrity both as an
entity and a people, and the People's right to choose their future and
destiny.... Maintaining Iraq's
territorial integrity and securing its people's right to self-determination is
the first mission of the Iraqi people, throughout all their segments and within
the framework of national unity which is as essential as water and air. All Iraqis...must now forget the past and
start working within a unified formula, without force or intervention, to
cement democratic and pluralistic rule that encompasses all strata in Iraq. The
goal is to build an Iraq that will positively contribute to pan-Arabism and be
a part of the Arab homeland; an Iraq that will achieve freedom and equality,
for its people and allow them to take part in politics. The alternative will be that occupation
forces will fill the vacuum left by political institutions linked to the
occupiers. National action must occur if Iraq is to achieve nationalist
salvation. The salvation of Iraq is one of the basic current tasks of all
Arabs, of their joint establishments and of the pan-Arab structure. It is the
mission of the international community, which must restore the respect for the
international law and international legitimacy that was so arrogantly bypassed
recently. All Arabs confirm that no matter
the circumstances and difficulties, the only option for Iraq is to restore its
important pan-Arab role and confront the Zionist scheme and its tool, Israel,
which ambushes all Arabs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf."
"On The Tune Of Chaos"
Ahmad Hamadeh commented in government-owned Al-Thawra
(4/10): "Aggression against Iraq
has entered a dangerous phase for the life of the Iraqi people. The invading
forces are promoting chaos in Iraqi villages and towns. Its trumpets of
information are focusing on fights revenge trying to force Iraq back to the
Stone Age.... After three weeks of
killing and destruction and misleading world opinion about the goals of the
invasion, the Iraqi capital is left facing complete and utter chaos.... What kind of liberation have they achieved?
The new curriculum America has prepared for Iraqi children omits everything
that reflects a pan-Arab pulse and a nationalist trend in support of Arab
rights, and that exposes Israel's racism and its colonial role in the Arab region.The
American-British aggression against the Iraqi people confirms the absence of
logic that now dominates international relations due to the US's unilateral
monopoly of international decision-making and its ownership of brute force
enticed into committing oppression and aggression against a people without any
consideration of the sanctity of law and ethical norms. What is taking place in
Iraq is the best evidence about this."
"How The Victors Can Become ‘Liberators’"
Beirut-based English-language Daily Star editorialized
(4/10): "It took almost three weeks
for the war in Iraq to produce the promised “shock and awe,” and the feeling
came not from the technological wizardry of American defense contractors but
from the heartfelt actions and emotions of Iraqis celebrating the downfall of
Saddam Hussein. The scenes of jubilation on the streets of Baghdad were many
and memorable as an oppressed people finally concluded that their tormentor had
lost the power of life and death over an entire nation. Like those of so many
other dictators, Saddam’s cult of personality proved surprisingly fragile once
it was no longer backed up by fear. Despite receiving at long last the scenes
of joy they had counted on getting as soon as they crossed into Iraq, however,
the Americans should not confuse happiness at the tyrant’s fall with a
willingness to accept occupation. The only time they will be truly welcome in
Iraq will be when they leave.... The
vast majority of Iraqis are thrilled that Saddam’s rule is hurtling toward an
overdue end, but they have every right to see the entire war as an exercise in
the United States’ cleaning up its own mess. It was Western assistance, after
all, that kept Iraq together during the long years of Saddam’s war against
Iran.... The watchword should be
sensitivity. The young soldier who first draped a statue of Saddam with an
American flag, only to subsequently remove it, cannot be blamed for his
over-enthusiasm. It is the senior US commanders who must prevent similar gaffes
from being repeated if Washington and London are to keep from fueling the
perception that Iraq has, in fact, been “conquered” in the traditional sense of
the word--and for the same traditional reasons.... The period of foreign tutelage must be one of
understanding for Iraq’s culture and respect for its people. Only in this way
will the Americans ever be regarded as genuine “liberators.”
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
"Now The Hard Work Begins"
The English-language Gulf News (Internet
version) stated (4/10): "Where is
Saddam Hussain? Along with his regime, he seems to have melted into the
background, leaving Iraqis to celebrate in the street, throughout the nation.
It is obvious from the pictures broadcast live on satellite television that
most Iraqis are overjoyed at the release of the suppression under which they
have lived for the past 35 years. While many are still cautious, since they
fear some form of retribution if they celebrate too soon at the departure of
the Baath regime, the majority have accepted that the actuality of the
coalition forces arriving in Baghdad and taking over key buildings, merely
confirms what they have all along wanted: liberation from repression. It is a
welcome sight that gladdens the heart of those who have empathy with the plight
of all Iraqis.... But there is more to
the liberation of Iraq than removing the regime; a new rule of law has to be
introduced as well as an administration that will be accepted by the populace.
There is much to do, but first, the confidence of the people must be gained.
That will include the more urgent necessities, such as the provision of
adequate food and water. Even more
important, in the light of the number of sick and wounded, is the need for
medical supplies and facilities.... What happens in Iraq in the following days
and weeks will be watched very carefully by the world community, to determine
whether there is any movement by America to be a de facto government, or
install an administration that is contrary to the wishes of the majority. Thus
far, the attempt by the coalition forces to win the "hearts and
minds" of Iraqis has been far from successful. The jubilation in the
streets of Basra, Baghdad and elsewhere is insufficient evidence to claim that
occupation by America is required, merely that the people are glad to be free
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"For Iraqi Opposition, UN Is A Force Not To Be Reckoned With"
Peter Fray wrote in the liberal Melbourne Age (4/10): "Debate about the UN's postwar role is
largely ignoring the fact that many of the leading Iraqis who will soon take
control of their country actually do not want the UN to run the show or even
play a "vital role", as US President George Bush and British Prime
Minister Tony Blair have put it. What is
important for the Iraqi National Congress...is an end to the war, restoration
of law and order and an interim authority that leads to government of Iraq by
Iraqis as soon as politically possible.
Coalition forces are delivering the first two faster than many thought
possible, and moving quickly to establish the mechanism for the third, under
retired general Jay Garner. Where then
does the UN fit in? Delivering the humanitarian aid, but possibly not much
more. For the Iraqi opposition, freedom
from Saddam Hussein has been achieved despite the UN, not because of it. Having
failed to endorse the war, why should the UN expect to organise the peace, they
argue. The Iraqis are grateful to the
coalition, but also do not need them to hang around once the job is over. Exactly how the US intends to move from
restoring law and order (now), establishing an interim authority (soon), and
then delivering free elections (in a year or so) remains unclear."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"After Saddam, The First Order Should Be Elections"
Independent South China Morning Post
declared (4/10): "The debate over
post-war Iraq is no longer academic but it is certainly still political. With American and British troops sweeping
through Baghdad, it may only be a matter of days before Lt. Gen. Jay Garner's
Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, now based in Kuwait City,
will move north to set up the framework of a transitional government. Unlike in
Afghanistan, East Timor, or Kosovo, the United Nations will not be in
charge--the United States will be, with some help from its ally, the United
Kingdom. Like the debate before the war,
the squabbling over this arrangement is already vociferous.... More importantly, the only politics that
count in a post-Saddam Iraq are going to be those fostered by Iraqis, however
confused, disorganised, and demoralised they may be by Saddam Hussein's brutal,
dictatorial rule and 12 years of some of the harshest economic sanctions ever
imposed by the UN.... The most
constructive role other countries can play at this juncture is to hold the US
administration to its words. It is promising that Mr Bush, at the top of his
political game with victory almost within his grasp, seemed aware of how
dangerous and reckless it would be to prolong the US occupation of Iraq beyond
the time needed to get Iraq's own civil and political machinery going
again.... The costs to Mr Bush of not
living up to his promises will be high, not only in the loss of international
credibility but in managing the peace. Post-war Japan aside, the US has little
experience with occupying other countries, and the American public will quickly
lose interest if Iraq proves ungovernable under America. This will be the case
if its new government carries even a taint of American orchestration. Iraq, as
Mr Blair and Mr Bush both have said, must be for the Iraqis, and as soon as
Collapse: The Test Starts Now"
Leftist Asahi opined (4/10): "Three weeks after the start of the war,
the capital of Baghdad has fallen, and Hussein's regime has collapsed. Although sporadic battles are continuing,
organized resistance in the capital is over.
In the densely populated eastern area of the city, military and police
figures have disappeared and thus looting has broken out, it has become a
situation where there is no government.
Although President Bush has indicated that the war is not over, it is
largely decided. Now, it is necessary to
urgently supply medicine, food and water to the people and the restoration of
stability. Through air bombing and land
attacks many civilians have become victims.
there is still the threat of guerilla war and terrorism. In addition, most important is to avoid
street fighting in the cities. Due to
violent attacks from the U.S. and Britain, the republican guard, the nucleaus
of Iraq's military regime, have largely surrendered. But throughout the country battles are
continuing. althoguh teh whereabouts of
Hussein himself are unclear, we seek to end all fighting and resistance from
this moment forward, not a moment too soon.
As for the war goals of both the U.S. and Britain, along with the
toppling of Hussein's regime, there is also the destruction of WMD and the
democratization of Iraq. We must grapple
with the job of reconstructing Iraq and helping create a new future
administration, which rests in the hands of each Iraqi. The U.S and Britain must first spread
military rule, and then speed up the process to restore a tentative control
structure made up of Iraqis themselves.
If one thinks of the most important issue having to do with restoring
stability, most urgent the need to end military rule from the British and the
Americans. To accomplish this, the U.S. should consider these factors and let
the UN take the lead role in setting up a tentative administration. With that, there will be more international
support, and easier to gain cooperation from Arab countries."
"A Role For The UN"
The independent Philippine Star declared
(4/10): "Whether or not Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein survived a US bombing the other day, the streets of
east Baghdad erupted in jubilation yesterday. They were scenes the world had
been looking for since the start of the war: Iraqis cheering their
'liberation'--as coalition forces want to describe it--from the oppressive
regime of Saddam Hussein. Amid the
jubilation, however, were early signs of trouble that the coalition would have
to address immediately. In Saddam City and a suburb of Baghdad, Iraqis were
seen happily entering the government buildings they once feared, then leaving
with everything they could cart away, from sacks of flour to computers and
refrigerators. Across the country, in areas under coalition control, anxious
residents asked coalition troops to stop the looting and impose order. With Saddam’s regime crumbling, Iraq could
quickly slide into lawlessness and an orgy of revenge on Saddam’s enforcers who
once held that nation in the grip of terror....
In the task of peacekeeping the coalition clearly needs help from the
United Nations. For all the cheering in Baghdad and Northern Iraq, years of
sanctions have made the United States unpopular among Iraqis. As in much of the
Middle East, there is also resentment in Iraq over the Americans’ perceived
pro-Jewish bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Facing the muzzle of an
Abrams tank, with "bunker busters" poised to strike their homes and
offices, Iraqis may accept American authority. But the Iraqis will do so
grudgingly, and simmering tensions will hobble post-war reconstruction. The United Nations is still wrangling over
who should take the lead role in rebuilding Iraq.... In dealing with these urgent problems the
coalition must call in the United Nations."
"Quick End To War A 'Sin' For The US"
Solita Collas-Monsod commented in
business-oriented BusinessWorld (4/10):
"The United States is really in for it now. It has committed the
sin of winning the war in Iraq in what looks like an obscenely short span of
time.... But, against all expectations
(even President Bush added to the doubts with his "as long as it
takes" statement), victory for the coalition seems to be all but assured
after 18 or 19 days.... The
swifter-than-expected victory is not going to stop the critics from finding
even more fault than before--and may even spur them to greater efforts on this
score. Already one can visualize the following scenarios: For starters, there's going to be a lot of
pooh-poohing of the stories of Iraqi civilian cooperation.... Then there will be analyses which will argue
that the relatively quick successful outcome was because Saddam Hussein's
military might was actually very weak or nonexistent.... There will also be, I am certain, an
enumeration of the costs of the war....
Much will also be made of the increase in anti-American
sentiment.... But what is also needed,
to allow us to come to a conclusion as to whether the decision to go to war was
the right one, but which may not be forthcoming, is a listing of the benefits
arising from it...greater stability in the region, greater stability in world
oil supply, savings in cost compared to a larger war in the future. And then
there will be the ensuing discussions on whether or not Iraq had weapons of
mass destruction. If these are not found, the US will be blamed for going to
war for no reason. If they are found, the US will be blamed anyway--for
planting the stuff. Uncle Sam makes a very large, very easy target. And with
all that mud that is and will be thrown, it is going to be very hard to
determine whether the hat he wears is white or black. But then, I guess it goes
with the territory."
The centrist Hindu opined (4/10): "The larger issue, however, is the
extraordinary human cost of this aggressive push into the Iraqi capital and,
that too, in an unequal war where there was always going to be only one victor
... The assault on Baghdad clearly reveals that the U.S. strategy is dictated
by the overweening consideration of bringing the battle to a quick end. Among
the many fears about engaging in a longer war is the adverse impact it will
have not only in the Arab countries but pretty much all over the world, where
anti-war sentiments, coupled with anti-U.S. emotions, are growing with every
passing day.... Washington never tires
of repeating that it is doing whatever it can to minimize (collateral)damage, a
claim which is hardly corroborated by the events on the ground.... The Iraq conflict has shown that while
precision munitions may work well in open country, their use in
densely-populated urban areas cannot but kill innocent people.... To make matters worse, the U.S. has
demonstrated that it is not averse to liberally using far less accurate heavy
artillery in urban areas.... The
strategy employed to capture Baghdad and incapacitate the Saddam Hussein regime
so quickly...will weigh heavily on the minds of most people are the cost at
which this was achieved and the basis it provides for constructing an edifice
"The Way The U.S. Will Travel After Winning
Pro-BJP Calcutta-based Bengali-language Bartaman
declared (4/10): "Even if there
were a few problems down the middle, Rumsfeld's plans have become the
winner. He has taken President Bush
along the path of war and he is bringing victory in the hands of the
President. In the 21st century if the
American Empire takes shape, Bush will get the recognition as the
vanguard. But Rumsfeld has brought about
the lion's share of his achievements. It
is because of this Powell is getting defeated in the domestic fights to
Rumsfeld ... The U.S. has not waged the war as an obstinate and it is advancing
with a well thought out strategy. They
are also taking calculated steps to establish the American Empire. Mere disturbances on the streets will not
help in deviating them from their goal.
These will also not help them check."
"Chief Of Baghdad"
The centrist Times Of India editorialized
(4/10): "Having waged the war
against Saddam Hussein almost entirely on its own, it is the US that will
determine the destiny of Baghdad for the foreseeable future. He who holds the
stick, owns the buffalo, as an old Indian saying has it. On Tuesday, after yet
another summit meeting with Blair...the U.S. president was willing to
concede...a 'vital role' for the UN in post-war Iraq, but it was just as well
that he was not questioned too closely on the exact nature of this role. The fact is that Washington has no plans to
include the UN, in anything other than a subordinate capacity, on the political
and administrative side of things. The 'vital role' that Bush spoke of is
restricted purely to humanitarian relief and civil reconstruction. But even
here the UN will have to work under the overall control and supervision of the
American army ... On the political front, the real issue is not so much what
role America will play but which arm of the US government ... Current
indications suggest that it would be the Pentagon rather than the state
department. As for the post-transition phase, Bush's stirring promise of a
'democratic' Iraq, running 'its own affairs', is perhaps too far-fetched to
bear serious scrutiny ... Democracy may eventually come to the Arab world, but for
a long while it will be one directed from Washington."
War: International Community And UN Must
Not Accept Any Role"
A commentary in second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt
read (4/10): "It seems as if the
U.S. wants to use the international community and the United Nations to achieve
its future objectives; and by creating the impression of differences with the
U.K., wants to ensnare the whole world....
If the U.S. succeeds in capturing Iraq after breaking all records of
barbarism and forms a government led by Jay Garner or Tommy Franks, it will be
an illegal, occupation government established by military force and
coercion.... Providing a legal cover for
this government is a political necessity for the U.S. However, the international
community and the so-called Ummah have no compulsion to recognize a foreign
regime imposed on a sovereign and independent state. Recognizing such a
government would mean giving America the license to replace any disliked
foreign government using military might."
"U.S., U.K. Remembering The UN Now"
Karachi-based right-wing pro-Islamic unity
Urdu-language Jasarat opined (4/10):
"After destroying Iraq for the last nineteen days, the United
States and U.K. have all of a sudden remembered the United Nations. Only 20
days back these two countries had abandoned the UN and its Security Council to
attack Iraq. The forceful resistance of the Iraqi public has further blackened
the faces of the U.S. and the U.K."
"Blood-Bath In Iraq"
The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan
Observer (4/10): "Iraq is
undoubtedly in a blood-bath as the U.S. and British forces have unleashed a
hell of ground and air fire against the civilians in Baghdad and other cities
and towns of the country. Men, women and
children with chopped off limbs are a common sight in the hospitals, which are
overcrowded, besides facing serious shortage of medicines. The situation in Baghdad is particularly
critical, which has so far braved thousands of tons of bombs, besides thousands
of missile and unprecedented artillery fire.
It's under virtual siege as the allied forces have encircled the
historic city, which was once the cradle of knowledge and civilization."
SOUTH AFRICA: " The Fall Of Baghdad"
Times commented (4/10): "It will still take a long time before the full
ramifications become clear of the US/UK
military victory in Iraq yesterday....
Immediate relief must be provided
to the civilians affected in various ways by the conflict... An immediate end must also be brought to
the looting and breakdown of
order... But that is just the
beginning of what will be a long and
arduous process.... The
U.S....must make room for the UN in this
process. It cannot be both player
and referee.... The UN must not become an unintended casualty of the war in
Iraq. International peace and security is not the exclusive concern of
the U.S. The U.S. made many enemies through its unilateral
decision.... It can still win back some of the goodwill by not behaving
graciously in victory."
" At The End, A Rout "
Balanced Business Day commented
(4/10): "Baghdad fell to the U.S.
Marines with barely a whimper... It is
possible the Butcher of Baghdad is dead
or being protected by Russia.
Politically, he is
finished... While the war may not be
over, officially, it is not too early to
take some stock.... The U.S. and
British forces...have done a remarkable job - in purely military terms.... On the
other side of the coin, the misery spread among the victims of the
air attacks and artillery bombardments,
the damage done to the Western body
politic in the run-up...the inevitable diversion of development funds away from Africa now to rebuild Iraq and the
new seeds of anger sown among Muslim
militants are all massive challenges for the world.... Coalition forces must quickly unearth the
weapons of mass destruction.... They
must rebuild what they have broken of Iraq.
And then they must leave.... If these [WMD] are not found then the
Americans and the British have fought
and died and killed for a lie. The
damage to the world order as we know it
will be incalculable."
"Underestimating Bush Can Be Costly - As
Foes Find Out "
Washington based correspondent Philip van
Niekerk (International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists) writes in balanced Business Day (4/10): " "Bush has
extraordinary political instincts.
And he compensates for his
deficiencies by surrounding himself with some of the shrewdest minds in Washington, people who
understand power - how to apply it and
how to keep it.... The war has
bolstered the administration
domestically.... Now that the U.S. has
Baghdad by the throat, Bush appears
vindicated in the eyes of his supporters and the swing voters.
However, much depends on what happens in the months ahead... It is
questionable whether Americans will long tolerate a drawn-out and bloody battle, particularly if
the coalition forces are unable to
locate Iraq 's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, which is what the war and the shedding of
lives was supposed to be about in the
first place... The Democrats are
starting to realize that this Bush is a
more formidable foe that the old man....
He has launched the most radical
changes in international relations since the Second World War.
His administration is peopled by proponents of a greater US power in the wider world and a smaller
government in Washington.... By
allowing his presidency to be inordinately influenced by a narrow band of ideological neo conservatives, Bush
has recruited a core of well-motivated,
well-funded, well-organized partisans who will fight to maintain their hold on Washington. "
NIGERIA: "Thumbs Up
Akeem Soboyede commented in the Lagos-based
independent Punch (4/10): "A
democratic Iraq that emerges from the ashes of Saddam's despotic regime would
serve as a shinning example for repressed citizens in other countries in the
region--the so-called 'Arab Street'--who have been sold on the lie that only
the present repressive regimes can protect their 'way of life.' If an invasion of Iraq is what it would take
to changethis frightful reality, so be it.
The whole world -- not least people in the Middle East--would owe a debt
of gratitude to the United States for this."
Edwin Madunagu wrote in the respected
Lagos-based independent Guardian (4/10):
"America abandoned the (Security) Council, gave it a one-day
ultimatum, followed by a 48-hour ultimatum to President Saddam Hussein and his sons
to leave Iraq, and finally a one-day ultimatum to foreigners and United Nations
personnel to leave Iraq. Two hours after
the expiration of the ultimatum to Iraq, American rulers attempted to eliminate
Saddam Hussein and his leading lieutenants.
Shortly after this, and in spite of huge anti-war protests across the
globe, especially in America and Europe, American and British rulers launched a
savage war on Iraq. All this while, neither the Security Council,
nor the UN Secretary-General, did anything.
And they did nothing simply because they could do nothing. The post-Cold War United Nations has become
irrelevant except as post-facto American 'undertakers.' The new global dictatorship has replaced
"The Winner Is Bin Laden"
The government-owned, influential New Vision
opined (4/10): "Who is the winner
in Iraq, Saddam or Bush? The answer is
neither; the winner is Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden hated both the Great Satan
and the heretical Saddam. Now he has succeeded in getting them to destroy each
other. When he attacked the World Trade
Centre 18 months ago, the whole world feared that the USA would indulge in a
kneejerk act of revenge against the Muslim world. Instead, Bush and the
USA...provided convincing evidence that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were responsible
and that they were being hosted by the Taliban government in Afghanistan. They
secured an international consensus to depose the Taliban with support from
Iraq, Iran and many other Arab governments. Bin Laden eluded capture but he had
been marginalised. He had failed in his
primary task of precipitating a global Islamic backlash against American
hegemony. Now bin Laden has succeeded.
For whatever reason, whether in pursuit of oil or revenge for 9/11, the
reckless adventurism of the Bush administration in Iraq has turned the Arab and
Muslim world fiercely against the USA and Britain. Every day that the Marines
remain in Iraq further reveals the hollowness of their agenda. No WMD have been found. There has been no
popular uprising. And in the end, the Americans will resort to former
Ba’aathist officials to run their interim administration because they are the
only Iraqi technocrats available. What
was the point? The only beneficiary is
bin Laden. American credibility is ruined. Bush has brought that global revolt
against the USA one step closer."
CANADA: "Next p? American
Columnist Jeffrey Simpson commented in the
leading Globe and Mail (4/10):
"The war, as was often said, would be easier than the peace, and certainly
shorter. For the U.S., there now awaits a self-appointed mission of remaking Iraq into a democratic,
peaceful, prosperous country - something
it has never been in a history stretching back thousands of years.... The public explanation for the U.S. strategy
was to remove the threat of these
weapons of mass destruction; the weapons, after all, might be given to
terrorists, who, in turn, would use them against the U.S. or its allies. The UN inspectors found little to
support these contentions. And, so far,
U.S. inspectors have found nothing.... The U.S. will have to be engaged
in Iraq for a long time in Iraq....The
easy military victory will certainly surround George W. Bush at home with the
aura of a commander-in-chief who knew what he wanted and how to get it. Those
who encouraged the military option will have had their opinions strengthened that the United States should
never hesitate to use its vast might when vital interests are at stake,
regardless of what nervous Nellies,
appeasers, doubters, multilateralists and all those mired in the 'old'
ways of thinking might say or do.
American triumphalism will be deepened at home, even while it is resented and feared abroad."
"Iraq's New Beginning After The Tyrant's
The leading Globe and Mail opined (4/10):
"Mr. Rumsfeld could have sent a much larger invasion force, of course. But
this war, while primarily about hurling
Mr. Hussein from power, was also about sending a message to other regimes that the Bush administration
abhors - Iran and North Korea, primarily, and auxiliary members of the axis of
evil, too, especially Syria. The message:
American power is unchallengeable, it can refashion history without breaking a sweat. Don't mess
with us. This is a key reason, though,
why the world also should be uneasy about what has occurred. It is impossible
not to rejoice at the liberation of Iraq's 24 million citizens from one of the worst despots of the
modern age - the man associated with
acid baths. Even those who passionately oppose the war did so knowing that Iraqis deserve a new birth of freedom.
But they wonder about Washington's goals
and about the impact on global governance if the world's sole superpower be
comes all too willing to eschew the structures of multilateralism in favour of
gunboat diplomacy. This will remain a
concern. The world is far better off with a speedy American victory than
a prolonged guerrilla war against Iraqi
fighters that saps U.S. resolve. But the victorious troops are now an occupying
force in a volatile region that, at
best, is profoundly skeptical of Western power. Many Iraqis seemed sombre yesterday, and many across the Arab
world seethed at the worst defeat since
the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The Bush administration now must prove that its motives are true - disarmament and
democracy. And it must stay only so long
as to achieve it.... The international community, riven by the diplomatic tensions of recent months, needs to
come together to put Iraq on its feet.
This is the most important reconstruction project since postwar Germany and Japan. It cannot be allowed to fail. As
the war ends, so should the bickering about the war."
"George W. Bush: Victor, Liberator"
Canada's conservative National Post
editorialized (Internet version) (4/10):
"Yesterday--just three weeks after the war began--the Iraqi capital
was effectively liberated, with the greatest threat to U.S. troops coming from
teetering Saddam Hussein statues.... How
wonderful it is to know that, after 12 maddening years of watching Saddam
deceive the civilized world, his game is up.
No more UN resolutions. No more
Kofi-brokered compromises. No more phony
inspections. Meanwhile, the euphoric
spectacle that unfolded in Baghdad's Firdos Square yesterday was as inspiring
as anything we've seen since the demise of the Soviet bloc. Indeed, it is not overly optimistic to
imagine that the Muslim Middle East might soon stand at the same political
threshold Eastern Europe did a generation ago.... Mr. Bush's accomplishments go beyond the
battlefield.... The President has done
more to revamp the world's intellectual landscape than any politician of our
time. Most importantly, he has dispensed
with the conceit that the 21st-century threat posed by the intersection of
weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and rogue power must be addressed
according to the dictates of 19th-century international law.... Even if Mr. Bush resigned today, his foreign
policy accomplishments would place him prominently among the most effective
presidents in U.S. history."
"Victory In Iraq But Success Awaits"
The liberal Toronto Star maintained
(Internet version) (4/10): "After
decades of tyranny, the feared Baathist regime is no more and the joy is
evident.... U.S. President George Bush
and British Prime Minister Tony Blair--and the military forces under their
direction--deserve the credit for liberating Iraqis from a 24-year nightmare,
in three weeks. They have yet to uncover
evidence of weapons of mass destruction, which was Bush's main pretext for this
war, much less the means to deliver them.
But people are freer today, and full of hope. That is no mean achievement.... And yet Iraq's liberation has come at a cost,
not just in the thousands of lives that have been sacrificed...but also in the
damage done to the United Nations, the global consensus and the rule of
law. The sheer speed and 'success' of
America's first 'pre-emptive' war...may now tempt Washington to hubris, and
down a reckless path.... Where will the
American superpower strike next? For
what reason? And what demands may it
make of allies?
"Looking ahead, Bush must rebuild Iraq in a
way that heals the U.N. rift, dispels some of the world's hostility to the
Anglo/American invasion, and reassures proud Iraqis that they will not be
occupied for long. Rather than impose a
lengthy American colonial administration, Bush should invite the Security
Council to mandate a speedy process whereby Iraqis can take charge of their own
government and legislature. Any
political program should have the U.N.'s formal blessing, and input. And Washington should refrain from trying to
stack the post-Saddam regime with American cronies.... And war criminals would best be hauled before
The Hague, not U.S. military tribunals.
Bush promised Iraqis liberation, not oppression under new
management. They expect no less. Delivery should begin today."
BRAZIL: "Baghdad's Fall"
The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao
Paulo judged (4/10): "The fall
of Saddam Hussein's regime is good news.
Iraq and the world are better off
now that the dictator has been removed from power. Of course, this does
not mean that George W. Bush's war has
become just or necessary. The tyrant's overthrow is a positive collateral
effect of an irresponsible bellicose adventure.... So far, the WMD, whose
existence was the main justification for
the attack, have not been found.... The end of the war seems imminent, but Iraq and the world are far from
recovering from Bush's irresponsible adventure."
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political
columnist Eliane Cantanhede commented (4/10): "Bush's war is coming to an
end. Where are Saddam Hussein's chemical
and biological weapons? Either the dictator did not want to use them because he is a saint, or there were no WMD.
The U.S. pretext was a lie. Now, with
Bagdhad occupied, it is time to look to the future. And it is as much or even more worrisome than the war. Of
course, American newspapers are showing
pictures of U.S. flags over Baghdad and Iraqis celebrating Bush's victory. But the open images of independent
television stations have shown a different reality: just a few people
surrounded by photographers really lauded the occupation.... Under the pretext
of eliminating arms that did not exist
and of 'saving' people who have different religions, beliefs and culture, [the
U.S. has] turned Iraq into a suburb of Washington. And what if these people - from Iraq and its Arab
neighborhood - did not want to be saved by western Christians? And what if, as a result, 'one hundred bin Ladens,' as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo editorial
writer Helio Schwartsman maintained (4/10): "George W. Bush will pay a
high price for his triumph, but not with
coalition soldiers. To depose Saddam Hussein, Bush has sacrificed not only the lives of thousands of Iraqis, but
also the UN, NATO, the anti-terror
coalition, the U.S. image in the world and the notion that humanity advances by creating civilized means for
nations to coexist.... Bush has already undermined several international
initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol,
the ICC and the UN's consensus for the control of light arms trafficking, to mention just a few of his achievements....
Some of his top associates are suspected
of involvement in business fraud. According to recent reports, business groups linked to Bush's
Cabinet members will be favored in contracts for the 'reconstruction' of Iraq.
If [these reports] are confirmed, then it will be the legalization of
MEXICO: "The President Fulfilled His
An editorial in old-guard nationalist El
Universal (4/10) read: "The war
in Iraq is about to end. The tortuous
process of dominating a population with sufficient reasons to feel insulted
will begin-thousands of lives have been changed for the worse forever. It will not be easy too make up a government
that is independent from the invading forces.
Iraq can be the first stage in the re-colonization of the Third
World.... With regards to Mexico, it is
obvious that President Fox acted according to the Constitution when he refused
to support the invasion of Iraq.
Further, he acted with the full backing of the Mexican people. He has been transparent, fair and honest.
Once the worse moments of the conflict are gone, perhaps President Bush will be
capable of understanding why the Mexican President acted as he did. There is no
reason for Bush to feel disappointed: there have been no double talk or
deception, but transparency, openness and fulfilling responsibilities.... It might not always be possible to agree on
everything, but we coincide on a number of issues. Let's understand the former and continue to
expand the latter."
Jesus Ortega writes in business-oriented El
Financiero (4/10): "Only 23
days were enough to confirm that barbarism contradicts humanity's future....
The military operations led by the United States and its allies to invade Iraq
will be accompanied by a ritual performed by the media that honors
victory. Whose is this victory, when the
world is being threatened by a power that has taken a path against
humanity...? The U.S. unipolar world
that resulted after 9/11, has a counterpart in the sketch of a society that
preconceived multilateralism.... to rule over the world. This means war does not fit anymore in
today's world, neither the role of a superpower over international
organizations; this is the only way to avoid humanity to remain subject to the
will of weapons."
PANAMA: "The Real War"
Attorney Juan David Morgan's oped published in
independent La Prensa (4/9):
"To keep its world leadership, the United States will have to
overcome the contradictions, paradigms, and double standards that have
tarnished some of its actions in the international arena.… Today, the United
States, being the only world power, cannot and should not make mistakes in the
international arena because the harmful effects of its mistakes will be
suffered by all of humanity.… It is time for the leaders of the great nation
[U.S.] to stop, reflect, and understand that in today's world they cannot look
for momentary solutions to resolve complex and long range problems -- just as
it was understood by that nation's admirable leaders, George Washington,
Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt when the foundations were laid to
establish their country as the paradigm of democracy, humanism and liberty."
"Reflection Of A Friend Of The United
Independent La Prensa also carried an
op-ed by Octavio Vallarino Arias (4/9):
"Rejection of war is universal, because normal people detest it.…
The U.N. Security Council failed because not enough pressure was applied to
Hussein.… Why wasn't Hussein asked to turn in Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction or to leave power to avoid war?… How would the world be today
without America's intervention in conflicts in world history? Probably Europe would be a Great Germany;
Noriega would still be in power; Cedras in Haiti; Castro would own Grenada;
etc. I don't agree with those that state
that the Americans have invaded Iraq for their oil...I have never seen the
Americans conquer or invade a country in order to take possession of its
property. It did not happen in Japan or
Germany. On the contrary, they [U.S.]
helped to reconstruct both countries.… The root to so many anti American
feelings in the Arab countries comes from the envy they have of the powerful
PERU: "Bush's Nephews"
Serious tabloid Correo editorialized
(4/9): “One of the global consequences of the...military attack on Iraq...will
certainly be the resurgence of leftist groups…
In Peru...public opinion will associate the U.S. attack...with… abuse of
power...free market policies and expansion of capitalist groups.… Even liberal groups have criticized the
neo-conservative fundamentalism of Washington’s Republican Party
representatives.… Free markets and democracy will be affected by the war.”
VENEZUELA: "The End Of
Leading Venezuelan national liberal daily of
record El Nacional commented (4/10): "From a military point of view, the
situation is finally decided in favor of the American-British alliance. A giant statue of Hussein in the center of
Baghdad was toppled by the Iraqis themselves, cheered and watched by Marines
close by.... The symbolism of the fall of Baghdad and the chaotic scenes of
people sacking palaces were more than sufficient signs to think that this is
closer to the end than the beginning....
The end of dictatorships and strongman regimes seems to obey universal
rules.... Nonetheless, winning the war does not mean that Washington and London
have won the peace.... Reconstruction is
a name given to many things. It involves
the political and economic influence in the region and the Muslim world. It involves the control of Iraq's oil, whose
reserves can determine the destiny of OPEC.
It involves control of the great wealth of Iraq in foreign banks. It involves the participation of different
companies specializing the arduous, costly and complex work to come. Finally, and not least, it involves selecting
the Iraqis who will form the post-Saddam government and building the bases of
an open society. All this has the apparently simple name of
'reconstruction.' By extension, it also
means 'the role of the UN. In other
words, no to the monopoly of the U.S."