May 23, 2003
IRAQ SANCTIONS LIFTED: TRIUMPH OF 'REALISM'
and "flexibility" overcame lingering ill-feeling to spur resolution's
** The U.S. got what it
wanted for postwar Iraq, but onus will be on Washington to succeed.
** Unity in the UNSC
inspires some hope for UN's relevance, U.S.-Europe rapprochement.
** Skeptics deride the
action as "legitimizing" the war and giving the U.S.-UK a
"mandate to run Iraq as they see fit."
UNSC practiced 'the politics of the possible'-- Though some saw a "complete victory for
the U.S." in the unanimous vote on the UN resolution lifting sanctions on
Iraq, more viewed the outcome as reflecting the prevailing "political
realism" that recognized the "undeniable" fact of the
coalition's position on the ground in Iraq.
While the resolution was a "bitter pill" for the anti-war
countries on the UNSC, they took the "overdue" step of lifting the
sanctions to facilitate "the Iraqi people's return to a normal
life." Writers took note of U.S.
"compromises" that led to a "less sweeping" resolution than
the original draft. Many papers, like
Britain's Financial Times, contended the U.S., despite its newly
sanctioned authority, "would be unwise to attempt" the
"incredibly risky Iraq adventure" alone. If things did not progress smoothly,
"Washington will need help, and troops.
How it behaves will decide whether it gets them."
Hope the 'good mood' in N.Y. will spill over into U.S. relations
with pre-war 'doubters'-- European papers
expressed limited optimism that "the return to international
cooperation" shown in the UNSC would spill over into U.S.-Euro
relations. "This U.S. narrowing of
difficulties with the Europeans breathes new life into NATO," held
Germany's right-of-center Die Welt; center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
agreed that "influencing Washington--even though to a limited degree--is
possible again." Russian papers
stated that "people in the Kremlin...realize that it's time to get
over" the disagreements over Iraq and that "Moscow intends to
normalize relations with Washington as soon as possible." Some analysts also hoped that the resolution
"gets the UN into the game," though others cautioned that the
resolution marks "the beginning of a difficult partnership" between
the UN and the coalition partners.
Arabs, others criticize resolution for giving U.S.-UK "carte
blanche" over Iraq's oil and political future-- Dailies in the Arab world, as well as
elsewhere, contended the resolution "officially blesses" the
coalition occupation and "legitimizes the looting of Iraq's treasures and
fortune." Tunisia's Ash-Shourouq
held that the UN action "opens the door to the American-British forces to
legitimize their status" and "allows them to dispose of the Iraqi
people's wealth and of its political future without any censor." An Israeli outlet stated that "every
country that wants to conduct business in Iraq will have to negotiate"
with the U.S. and UK, while a Swiss daily held that thanks to the resolution,
"Bechtel will determine where and how the reconstruction of Iraq will
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 42 reports from 21 countries, May 23, 2003.
Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent
BRITAIN: "Resolution May
Not Be Perfect, But It Is A Start"
The center-left Independent commented (5/23): "The UNSC practiced the politics of the
possible yesterday. It would be better
if the occupation of Iraq were directly supervised by the UN. But at least the U.S. was engaged with the UN
to the extent of offering minor concessions on its original draft
resolution. Yesterday's UN resolution is
far from the perfect basis for the transition to democratic Iraqi rule, even
though it has been improved a little in the negotiations. For example, the promotion of the UN
figurehead in Iraq from 'coordinator' to 'special representative' (as in
Afghanistan) is symbolically important.
Nevertheless, the complaint that the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq is
'illegal' is to miss the point."
"Cautious Backing For Iraq Occupation"
The independent Financial Times held (5/23): "With yesterday's almost harmonious vote
by the Security Council on Iraq, the UN, according to the French foreign
minister, is back in business. That is
improbable, but just about conceivable--depending on what happens now. The resolution confers on its sponsors, the
U.S. and the UK, the transitional control of Iraq and its oil wealth. The UN, other multilateral institutions such
as the IMF and the World Bank, and an interim Iraqi administration have been
written into the transitional picture.
But their role is defined with--one hopes creative--ambiguity; as more than mere subordinates to the
occupying powers but less than real partners.
Still, the mandate is less sweeping than the original draft, which gave
the Anglo-American victors of the war against Saddam Hussein the sort of
mandatory powers the victors of the first world war awarded themselves over
tracts of the Ottoman empire (three of which Britain bolted together and called
Iraq). That is one reason the French-led
axis that opposed the war assented to a UN mandate for the peace. Another is the combination of acute emergency
for Iraqis with weariness in the Council at the transatlantic and
intra-European tug of war over Iraq. But
all agreed that the regime of sanctions that had driven Iraq back into a
pre-industrial age had to end. This
resolution should not give the occupiers carte blanche for the year before they
have to report back to the Council. They
are accountable to the UN, as the trustees for a future representative
government elected by the Iraqi people.
Can the UN, in practice, hold the US accountable? Perhaps not.
But the Iraqi venture remains incredibly risky, and the U.S. would be
unwise to attempt it (almost) alone. On
the evidence to date, the odds must favor the U.S. mismanaging what will in any
case be a treacherous transition.
Washington will need help, and troops.
How it behaves will decide whether it gets them."
The center-left Guardian stated (5/23): "In pressing significant amendments to
the new UN security council resolution on Iraq, France and Russia did Britain a
favor. The original draft, principally
authored by the U.S., failed to give a central role to the UN and was objectionable
in several other respects, not least in its silence on resumed UN weapons
inspections. The resolution passed
yesterday corrects some of these imbalances.
The resolution is still unsatisfactorily vague about future,
'confirmatory' UN inspections, promising only to revisit the issue. It sets no timetable for the establishment of
a new Iraqi government while giving extraordinary powers to the
occupier.... But overall this is a
better outcome than might have been expected after all the pre-war ructions."
FRANCE: "Back To
Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (5/23): “The change in French attitude is eminently
clear. The war is over. America’s victory came faster and easier than
expected. No one will regret the fall of
Saddam Hussein. But in spite of the
display of Franco-German-Russian solidarity, France has found itself largely
isolated in Europe. Abstaining on the
new resolution might have been interpreted by Washington as a hostile act, just
when Jacques Chirac is about to welcome his G8 colleagues. In order to ensure the success of the summit,
the French President needed the support, or at least George W. Bush’s kind
neutrality. The relative flexibility
that the U.S. demonstrated at the UN shows that it has also taken stock of reality.
The difficulties encountered in Iraq in reestablishing order, as well as the
difficulty of rebuilding a new state, may lead the U.S. to be less
self-assured. French diplomacy continues
to bet on the idea that in order to ‘win the peace,’ the Americans will need
all their friends, including those who objected to the military
intervention. This is true. But betting only on its allies’ concerns
would be shortsighted.”
"The End Of Principles"
Bruno Frappat judged in Catholic La Croix (5/23): “Yes, the UN is back in the game, but in what
state? There is no longer talk of the
‘central’ role France wanted it to play.
On the jump seat they have been granted by the occupation forces, the UN
and its advisor will not be in command.
Necessity dictates a return to ‘pragmatism’ while it marks the end of
principles.... France wants to turn the
page.... The Anglo-American coalition
has won the war on Iraq. The UN will do
what the coalition will want it to do.
No more, no less.”
Stefan Kornelius observed in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (5/23): "In reality, this
was a resolution about the future treatment of the U.S., as the diplomatic
knife-fighting before the Iraq war was supposed to determine the balance of
power between western Europe, Russia and the U.S.... For France, Russia and Germany, it again
opens the door to U.S. policy.
Influencing Washington--even though to a limited degree--is possible
again and the UN has been able to tear up its death certificate at the last
moment. The price for this is high,
maybe too high. Those who were opposed
to the Iraq war are now recognizing the outcome of this war: the occupation of the country by the U.S. and
Britain.... The former opponents to the
war get little for this fall to their knees.... But this mock conciliation also offers a
chance. With this resolution, the U.S.
very reluctantly signaled that it prefers to don the cloak of legitimacy with
the assistance of the UN. If chaos in
Iraq grows and domestic thunder increases with the coming presidential
elections in the United States, the U.S. government could really need the cover
of the international community. This
would be the moment when the UNSC can demand a dividend."
"United In Peace"
Christoph von Marschall contended in centrist Der Tagesspiegel
of Berlin (5/23): "This is a good
day for all who suffer from the fact that the law of the jungle prevails too
often in global politics.... The gloomy
predictions at the beginning of the war did not come true: that the UN will be
marginalized, and that international law has abdicated. With the new resolution the UN is again
officially the authority that can legitimize foreign interference in a
country.... In this new resolution, the
U.S. gets off cheaply because the real UN has so many flaws and doesn't
correspond to the ideal picture the Germans have of it.... The negotiations about the text of the
resolution again showed that at issue is not global well being but national
interests.... But should such lackluster
compromises be cause for joy? Yes, for
the distant goal of a world order that respects international law. A postwar Iraq with a UN mandate is better
than without such a mandate. Those who
want to strengthen the UN should not ask too much of it and must cooperate with
it as it is. We do not have any better
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine noted (5/23): "A good mood is programmed for the
upcoming G-8 summit. The foreign
ministers have now seen to this....
According to Foreign Minister Fischer, the German position on the Iraq
war is still 'unchanged,' but, at the same time, Berlin raises the picture of
'transatlantic friendship' and a 'close indispensable partnership' with the
"Organizations Believed To Be Dead Live Longer"
Andreas Middel argued in an editorial in right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (5/23): "The
latest U.S. draft resolution meets with support mainly because the future UN
role has now been defined as more political than in the past. This U.S. narrowing of difficulties with the
Europeans breathes new life into NATO.
This resolution paves the path for the Alliance to considerably increase
its engagement in Iraq beyond only cautiously offering assistance for the
Polish occupation zone. It is now
thinkable that the Alliance will play a similar role in Iraq as it does in the
summer in Afghanistan where it will take over command of the protection and
peacekeeping forces. If the partners in
the Alliance manage to find an understanding on this, NATO would indeed be back
in the play. Not because it is present
as a military alliance, but mainly because it has demonstrated its load-bearing
capacity as a transatlantic bridge despite the painful rows."
"Peace Pipe In New York"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
editorialized (5/23): "The
opponents of the Iraq war have arrived at reality. It was a crash landing.... They have thus sent the urgently needed
signal for an end of the confrontational course, even though the peace pipe
tastes bitter.... The war opponents
should now fully support Iraq's reconstruction to the best of their
abilities. An upgraded role for the UN
representative in Iraq--one of the few U.S. concessions--offers a good basis. A personality with stature could give efforts
for Iraq's future an international face.
The UN would enter the stage through the backdoor."
Realism Before Bush The Winner"
Bernardo Valli observed in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (5/23): “The European
countries on the opposition front have recognized the consequences of an
intervention that they had condemned.
They declared their faith, in theory, to their original principles--the
central role of the UN and respect of a multinational world--but they bent
before ‘reality’--the war ended and there is one dictator less in the
world.... By legitimizing the Iraq
occupation, the Security Council has recognized an undeniable reality. And France, Germany and Russia gave their
significant votes with correct pragmatism.
They reiterate, in theory, their loyalty to those principles which at
the moment don’t coincide with those of Bush’s America, but which might become
valid, operational, during this long adventure that just started in Iraq and
the Middle East.”
RUSSIA: "Time To Get
It Over And Done With"
Reformist Izvestiya commented (5/23): "Now the U.S. and Britain have
extraordinary rights to govern the occupied land and control its oil
industry. The concessions the Bush
administration has made to the chief critics of the U.S. armed action in Iraq
are less than basic. They don't change
the essence of what is going on but help the advocates of the UN's 'key role'
save face.... The UN has had to
legitimize reality that has come to be in Iraq and, in return, it has won the
right to be formally present in that country, which does not add to its
authority there or anywhere else. We
have to accept that and concentrate on the development of new, more effective
mechanisms, including those where Russia might have a big say.... People in the Kremlin and around it, as they
are discussing the issue of Iraq, realize that it's time to get it over and
done with. They have even coined a new
term, an honest divergence, meaning a divergence with the U.S. over Iraq."
"Cutting Gordian Knot"
Reformist Vremya Novostey held (5/23): "The resolution that has been adopted
puts everything in its place. The U.S.
and Britain will stay in Iraq, in control of its oil resources, while France,
Germany and Russia have had their reputations unsoiled and, more importantly,
have a chance to have their interests in Iraq taken into account."
"Moscow Favors Normalization With The U.S."
Gennadiy Sysoyev and Leonid Gankin wrote in reformist
business-oriented Kommersant (5/23):
"Russia's vote for the U.S.-submitted draft resolution on Iraq
means that Moscow intends to normalize relations with Washington as soon as
possible. Apparently, Washington wants
the same.... The reason is not only mutual
sympathy between the two presidents.
Moscow has managed to convince Washington that international terrorist
organizations pose an equal threat to the United States and Russia, which make
our countries natural allies in a global antiterrorist campaign."
Maksim Glikin noted in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(5/23): "Moscow believes that
Washington, as the two were coordinating on the final text of the resolution,
revealed great flexibility and took into account practically all Russian
proposals. The Kremlin appreciates that
and the fact that the Americans have been restrained, commenting on Russia's
tough stand on the issue of Iraq lately."
"SC Agrees To Occupation Of UN Member-Nation"
Vladimir Skosyrev contended in reformist Vremya MN
(5/23): "It is the first time that
the Security Council has agreed to the occupation of a UN member-country
despite the fact that most members of this worldwide organization protested
against the use of force.... The truth
is that the resolution gives political legitimacy to the U.S.-led temporary
coalition governance. Also, it is a
chance for international financial institutions and governments that called the
overthrow of the Baghdad regime illegal to take part in Iraq
reconstruction.... It is clear to all
that the back-stage bargain was not so much about principles as about
AUSTRIA: "The Return
To International Cooperation"
Senior editor Helmut L. Müller commented in independent Salzburger
Nachrichten (5/23): “The opponents
to the war in Iraq had to swallow a bitter pill--with the new UN resolution,
the U.S. has more or less reached its target: The sanctions against Baghdad
have been lifted--a step that was more than overdue after the overthrow of
Saddam. The Allies (not the United
Nations) have the core competence for the administration of Iraq, and they control
the oil revenues of the country, albeit under the supervision of an
international board. France, Germany and
Russia have to admit to themselves that they have failed in their attempt of
forming a counter-power to the U.S.
However, the new Iraq resolution offers absolutely no retrospective
justification of the military attack.
The UN mandate rather puts the occupying forces under pressure: they
have to prove that they are capable of driving forward the reconstruction
process in the country. Within 12
months, the Security Council is going to assess the progress made. The fact that the UN was given a bigger role
helps the former war opponents to save face, but it is also an admission from
Washington that the U.S. cannot successfully complete the reconstruction of
Iraq on its own.”
"Complete Victory For The U.S."
Mass-circulation provincial daily Kleine Zeitung held
(5/23): “The U.S. victory in the
Security Council couldn’t have been more complete. With the backing of the UN, the Americans may
now do pretty much anything they like in Iraq.
The big anti-war alliance led by France had to eat humble pie, and the
Germans are also following the same line as the U.S.... We have seen another example of what is a
well-known fact, but often forgotten: In a legal sense, the UN Security Council
is the only authority in the world that can decide over war and peace. However, at the same time, it is a body of
powerful states that base their decisions on their own interests rather than
international law. This conflict has
destroyed the UN claim of being the highest authority in the world. It will probably survive, however. Some of the interests of the nations in this
world do actually match the ideal task of the UN. And where they match, the national interest
is immediately promoted to a moral interest.
If you think that is just another way of describing foul double
standards, you are right. But that’s the
world we live in.”
"United In Pragmatism"
Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal Der Standard
(5/23): “The association is inevitable:
on 11/8, the UN Security Council adopted the resolution 1441, which was
supposed to give Saddam Hussein 'one last chance.' ... The text was rightly applauded as a
diplomatic masterpiece, a collection of creative ambiguities in dry legal
wording, and it was signed by all 15 members of the Security Council, even by
Syria. The chaos over interpreting the
text, which broke out immediately afterwards, led to the UN being pronounced
officially dead by a lot of people. Six
months and a war later, the unity in the Security Council seems to have been at
least formally restored.... There is no
danger of anyone misunderstanding the ambiguities in the text this
time.... Basically, nobody has any say
in Iraq at all except the 'occupying powers,' coyly referred to as such in the
preamble. Later in the text, they are
called 'the Authority.' which sounds better--The Authority, the only one. And yet, let’s welcome this new resolution,
which re-unites the fractious association of states in pragmatism, even if this
happens under the auspices of the winners....
The question remains whether the resolution, which is supposed to bring
a comatose UN back to life (even though this life might be slightly less
meaningful than before), is actually going to have direct effects on the
situation in Iraq. The answer is
negative. The U.S. has to cope with the
police tasks in the country immediately, and they will not listen to anyone
when setting up an interim government.
The fact that the formation of a government was postponed for the time
being is certainly not a good sign.”
Foreign editor Gerald Papy held in independent La Libre
Belgique (5/23): “The after-effects
of the crisis between those who were in favor of the war and those who opposed
it are not gone. But the instability in
Iraq and the will to appease the tensions led to this compromise
solution.... Tensions might nevertheless
surface again when the time comes to solve the difficult question of political
leadership in Iraq or when the decision is made on how to use the profits from
the sale of Iraqi oil. But, on both
sides, political realism prevailed and led to the end of the sanctions that,
actually, hurt the Iraqi population more than the fallen regime. For Washington, the recent discovery of the
scale of the Iraq reconstruction job and the first problems encountered by the
American interim administration--combined with the apparently sincere will of London
to give a greater role to the UN--forced American diplomacy to make concessions
without appearing to be retreating....
As far as France is concerned, it could not run the risk of another
crisis with the U.S., especially on the eve of the G8 Summit in Evian, which
French President Chirac cannot afford to let fail."
"Sweeping Up The Broken Glass At The UN"
Adam Cerny noted in the leading business Hospodarske noviny
(5/23): "It was a question of time
before the great powers decided to make up after their dispute over Iraq.... The key question was what position will be
given to the UN.... The process of
finding the compromise was easier this time, because it was not conducted by
politicians but by professional diplomats who usually don’t resort to arrogant
or offensive insults. The new Security
Council resolution gets the UN into the game. However, we’ll still need to see
what kind of a game it will be and what will be its result."
Frantisek Sulc observed in the center right Lidove noviny
(5/23): "Everything suggests that
controversies caused by the war in Iraq are slowly but surely being smoothed
over. The abolition of the UN sanctions
is a positive signal to the Iraqis, and the reconciliation [among the UN
Security Council members] is no less positive.
All the great powers are tired out by the several-months of
quarrels. At the end, the British, and
the Americans found out that they would need the UN because it will provide
legal support for their administration of Iraq. And on the other side, 'the
non, nein, nyet trio' needs to cooperate with the U.S. and Britain. It discovered that the U.S. and the UK can do
without it to a certain extent, and thus the trio would not gain anything in
the long run by a boycott, on the contrary, it would lose."
FINLAND: "UN Passes New
Regional right-of-center Aamulehti editorialized
(5/23): "France, Russia, Germany
and China joined the world's only hyperpower.
In the overall picture, this was a wise decision even though the four
countries did not get all their wishes. Resolution 1483 gives the final
say word about Iraq reconstruction to
the victors of the war, i.e. the United States and Britain, but also
strengthens, somewhat, the role of the UN.
This is a compromise acceptable to all which provides a good basis for
POLAND: "A Chance For
A Return To Unity"
Krzysztof Darewicz commented in centrist Rzeczpospolita
(5/23): “The new resolution is not just
a promising signal that all sides want the resumption of sobriety in transatlantic
relations, and cooperation under the aegis of the UN. It is equally important that it validated
Polish foreign policy, which consistently underscores the need to maintain
balance on both sides of the Atlantic without forcing countries such as Poland
to choose ‘between mommy and daddy.’”
"How Europe And USA Came To Terms At Last"
Bartosz Weglarczyk wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(5/23): “Fortunately, everyone has come
to their senses in the end. The gravest
conflict in years between part of Europe and America can be considered closed,
but its repercussions will be felt, alas, for a long time.... Yesterday’s vote showed that a compromise on
Iraq was possible since the very outset.
What impeded it was inciting rhetoric from some American politicians on
the one hand, and unreal French and German demands on the other. Poland did the right thing supporting America
in the war in Iraq, but it was also right to demand a UN mandate for
stabilization forces. The vote in the
UNSC showed that Poland’s stance was wise.”
SPAIN: "Wiping The
Left-of-center El País judged (5/23): "As in Kosovo, the UN is legalizing the
postwar situation without having entered the war. Only in this case what is at stake has a much
bigger economic, social and geopolitical dimension. As a consequence, the responsibility of the U.S. and Great
Britain is huge.... We don't know if
Iraq is an isolated case or the first step in a wider U.S. military campaign in
the region. If that were the case, the
resolution approved yesterday would create a bad precedent. Like it or not, the resolution means to wipe
the slate clean."
"A Victory of Realpolitik"
Independent El Mundo observed (5/23)): "Does the resolution approved yesterday
by 14 of 15 members of the security Council legitimize the military
intervention against Saddam? The answer
is no. It is inevitable to feel a
certain frustration respect to a resolution that ignores that the actual
Alliance presence in Iraq has at its origin a blatant violation of international
law. But things are what they are and
yesterday's resolution recognizes established facts, which one must
face.... But that realpolitik has been
put above principles does not mean one has to abdicate convictions. The U.S. achieved a great political and
diplomatic success yesterday...but that does not legitimize a posteriori the
triumph of force over law and reason."
"Iraq Without Sanctions"
Centrist La Vanguardia contended (5/23): "For historians and international policy
analysts, the resolution approved yesterday introduces a new element of
reflection into the inflamed controversy about the legality of the armed
intervention in Iraq. Although what was
clear is that on the Security Council there wasn't a majority for approval of
the use of force, what is less true is that the text approved yesterday blesses
the occupation and, in practice, turns Iraq into an Anglo-American protectorate
for an indefinite period."
Walter Niederberger wrote in center-left Berner Zeitung
(5/23): "With the passage of UNSC
Resolution 1483, the Bush administration has managed to cap its military
victory in Iraq with a diplomatic triumph:
The resolution officially blesses the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Although the U.S. agreed to about 90 changes
in the text of the resolution, most of those concessions were purely
cosmetic. The central fact remains: the U.S. will determine the composition of
the civilian administration in Iraq, and will decide who is allowed to exploit
the country's oil fields and modernize its infrastructure and industry. No wonder that more than 2,000 firms, twice
as many as expected, showed up at the first meeting called by the American
construction company, Bechtel. Thanks to
the resolution, Bechtel will determine where and how the reconstruction of Iraq
ISRAEL: "U.S. Joining
Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (5/23): "The UN resolution isn't a roadmap for
the political rebuilding of Iraq; neither does it set a calendar for ending the
occupation or establishing an interim administration and a permanent
government.... According to the spirit
of the resolution, the UN is at most a guest of the occupying state, even if an
envoy of the UN Secretary-General will be able to play an independent, if vague
role in Iraq. Thus, until an Iraqi
government is established, every country that wants to conduct business in Iraq
will have to negotiate with the U.S. and Britain--no longer with the UN."
Partnership In Legitimizing Occupation"
Rafiq Khoury commented in Al-Anwar (5/23): "The Security Council gave the
American-British occupation of Iraq international legitimacy...however,
legitimizing the occupation is not the only face of the UN resolution.... The second face is the fact that Washington
had to go back to the UN, and other nations, which originally rejected the
war.... Every UN resolution is a deal--and
this deal was imposed by the balance of power and the balance of interests that
emerged following the war on Iraq....
This resolution is the beginning of a difficult partnership to build
peace.... The real test is to work on
removing this occupation and pave the war for a democratic Iraqi
"The American Phase"
Aouni Al-Kaaki wrote in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq (5/23): "The new UN resolution gave the U.S. and
England a political victory. In form,
the UN resolution ended sanctions on Iraq, but in essence it gave the
(American/British) occupation economic and political empowerment over
Iraq.... All in all, the resolution
legitimizes the looting of Iraq's treasures and fortune and gave America and
England extraordinary powers that surpass the power that was given to
occupation forces in the 1949 Geneva convention."
"'Legitimating' The Occupation"
Editor-in-chief, Abdelhamid Riahi commented in independent Ash-Shourouq
(5/23): "Finally the great forces
agreed to exploit the Iraqi wealth and its political future, seeking their
share of the cake of Iraqi oil.... The
UN decision to lift the embargo on Iraq opens the way for the American-British
forces to legitimize their status in Iraq and to change their position from
colonizer to protector of the Iraqi people, which allows them to dispose of the
Iraqi people's wealth and of its political future without any censor...since
the big worry of the U.S.-British forces was the fact they had no legal cover
for...the shame of their colonization....
The international community lost the opportunity to limit this new
colonization that started with Iraq and will not stop there."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Blueprint Of
Iraq Reconstruction Has Emerged"
Ding Gang commented in the official Communist Party People’s
Daily (Renmin Ribao) (5/23):
"The antagonism that has lasted for several months among Security
Council members has finally ended....
Lifting the 13-year sanctions against Iraq is a choice of the Security
Council in the face of the reality. It
mended the divergence caused by the Iraq war inside the Security Council, and
facilitates the Iraqi people’s return to normal life.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"UN Marginalized As U.S. Plans To Abolish OPEC"
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal
stated (5/23): "The U.S. wants both
the international community's acknowledgement of the war's outcome and
legitimization of its framework for post-war reconstruction. Although the UN played a key role in
supervising Iraq during sanctions, the new U.S.-sponsored resolution to lift
sanctions effectively eliminated the UN's role.
The U.S. next wants to establish an 'overlord' status in Iraq. The most important impact of the new
resolution is its providing legitimization of the U.S. control of Iraq's
oil. To recover and export as much of
Iraq's oil as possible, the U.S. has even more shocking plans for its next
move: the abolition of OPEC.... The resolution was even supported by anti-war
member states, who were trying to 'put the interests of the Iraqi people
first.' The U.S.'s powerful foreign
affairs influence has prevailed over the UN and other powers. While no one knows whether or not the 'democratic
reformation' of the Middle East will succeed, there is no doubt that U.S.
regional influence there is unequaled."
NIGERIA: "UN Regains
Lagos-based independent This Day editorialized (5/23): "It's a relief that President Bush and
Prime Minister Blair are finally coming to terms with the reality that they cannot
go it all alone and sideline the UN in dealing with the Iraqi problem. A silver lining seems to be on the sky for
resolving the immense socio-political and humanitarian problems posed by the
post-war Iraqi situation. America and
Britain have abandoned their attempts to secure a resolution strengthening
their hands on military action in the face of French and Russian threats to
veto it. In the end, the role of the UN
has been brought to the fore."
The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (5/23): "Is an American occupier better than an
Iraqi despot, or a United Nations trustee?
The people of Iraq will soon find out.
If U.S. President George Bush moves swiftly to end the chaos in Baghdad
and other cities, to name a credible interim administration dominated by
leaders from the Shia majority and to give Iraqis the chance to elect a truly
representative government, his 'war of liberation' will be judged a
success. But he hasn't yet. Bush did manage yesterday to win UN Security
Council approval for his occupation, which confers much-needed legitimacy on
it. In a 14/0 vote with Syria absent,
the UN also lifted the economic sanctions that have impoverished and embittered
Iraqis for 13 years. The Americans and
British now have a legal mandate to run the country of 23 million as they see
fit, indefinitely, with only secondary input from the UN and its agencies. Companies can more safely invest. And they can sell Iraq's oil without
hindrance, and begin to rebuild. The UN
also has managed to patch up its ugly rift over Bush's unilateral drive to
topple Saddam. The cost is high: The UN
has had to sanction the outcome of a morally dubious war. But at least the global community speaks with
one voice again.... Bush was determined
to call the shots. Now he will carry the
can for his success, or failure."
ARGENTINA: "The UN
Grants The U.S. The Handling Of Iraq"
Alberto Armendariz, New York-based correspondent for
daily-of-record La Nacion commented (5/23): "In a clear diplomatic U.S. victory, the
UN Security Council approved, by an overwhelming majority, the lifting of
sanctions that Iraq has suffered for 13 years. It also granted the U.S. and
Great Britain extraordinary power to manage the country and its juicy oil
resources while it leaves the UN with a limited role in the reconstruction
process.... The U.S. obtained in this
way much more power than the one set forth by the Geneva convention (1949) for
an occupying force. Washington did not
obtain the consensus without making concessions. During the intense process of negotiations,
and faced with the pressures from France, Russia and Germany...the U.S. had to
cede a more active role for the UN than the one it had foreseen in the
reestablishment of Iraq's political institutions and in supervising oil
"An Attempt To Heal Injuries"
Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La
Nacion wrote (5/23): "The
European countries' and Russia's gesture to get closer to the U.S. position and
the signs given yesterday by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that there
will not be sanctions against the Chirac administration...pave the way for the
European countries' participation in the reconstruction of Iraq, which only
seemed to be reserved for U.S. corporations."
"The U.S. Is Green Lighted To Exploit The Iraqi Oil"
Marina Aizen, New York-based correspondent for leading Clarin
took this view (5/23): "The UN
Security Council approved a resolution that not only legitimates the military
occupation of Iraq, but it green lights the U.S. and Great Britain to control
the Iraqi oil and gas. Only Syria dared
to boycott 14-to-0 vote, symbolically leaving its seat empty.... Undoubtedly, this is a great victory for
Washington, which went to war without the UN Security Council's
blessing.... France, Russia and Germany,
the main opponents to the invasion, felt the need for restoring transatlantic
relations and seeking a more important role for the UN in Iraq. For its part, the U.S. would not have been
able to legally sell the Iraqi oil if sanctions had not been lifted, and this
is why it returned to the UN beyond its resentment due to the strong opposition
of many of its members to the attack.
This is why, this is said to be a 'compromised resolution,' although in
fact Washington got what it wanted, and it will be able to rule Iraq and
control its natural resources with the whole world's consent."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (5/23): "The UN's new provisions for Iraq as
approved by the UNSC were an overwhelming victory for the U.S..... According to the new provisions, the U.S. and
the UK will maintain strict control over Iraq and its oil until a
representative government is established....
What prevailed was a fait accompli policy. Even without the UN's authorization, Bush
waged war against Iraq.... To accept
Washington's terms opens for the anti-war nations the prospect of receiving
part of what Iraq owned them.... It is
not exactly a surprise to have it confirmed that interests, not principles, are
the motivating factors in international relations."
"Diplomatic Success Brings Responsibilities"
International writer Marcio Senne de Moraes asserted in liberal Folha
de S. Paulo (5/23): "The
adoption of the Resolution 1483 by the UNSC was an unquestionable diplomatic
victory for the U.S..... In less than
two weeks Washington obtained the victory it was looking for without making
major concessions.... Washington now has
an even greater responsibility in regards to Iraq's future. If its authority is a benign one, the
international community will surrender to the facts--regardless of the opinion
of the French, Russians and Germans.
However, if the U.S.'s intention is simply to give contracts to its
companies and sell oil, its legitimacy will be questioned more than ever."