July 25, 2003
IRAQ OCCUPATION: U.S.'
CRITICS CLAMOR FOR UN INVOLVEMENT
** "America is engaged
in guerrilla warfare," but "Iraq is not Vietnam."
** America is "paying
the price" for pre-war "arrogance" and "inept"
** Bush must drop the
"tarnished role of conqueror" and accept a UN mandate.
** Euros call for
rapprochement with the U.S., arguing "America's failure is the West's
The 'slow drip' of casualties is the price for the 'lame pretext
used to disarm Iraq'-- Commentators cited the
Bush administration's "failure" to provide basic services as the
reason for the Iraqi "quagmire."
"Underestimating" resistance after Saddam's ouster, U.S.
officials failed to "prepare themselves properly for the aftermath of the
war." Austria's liberal Der
Standard remarked: "A Pandora's box is opening up here, of the kind
that the war...was supposed to keep a lid on for good." While conservative El Panama America
opined that Iraq reeks of "the stench of Vietnam," others viewed Iraq
as a unique problem. Belgium's
conservative Het Laatste Nieuws thundered: "The Americans don't
understand a thing about a world that is different from their own. They view Iraq...as an
America-to-be." Conversely, Arab
papers hailed resistance to "foreign occupation" as a "sacred
law of nature" and the "duty" of the Iraqi people.
UN involvement necessary to minimize the 'risk of chaos'-- Echoing general European sentiment, Britain's
independent Financial Times asserted that "the U.S. cannot rebuild
Iraq on its own" and called for greater UN assistance in "judicial
and legal reform, police training and rebuilding the public
cooperation is "crucial" to establishing "long-term
legitimacy" for the Iraqi Governing Council and winning "the fight
against terrorism." China's
official Global Times challenged Washington to "return to the UN
framework" to prove that the war wasn't fought for "oil
right-of-center Die Welt cited the coming election as appropriate
motivation for Bush to "reduce the burden" on the coalition.
Despite persisting differences, 'Europe still very much needs its
American ally'-- European writers warned
against "closing our eyes" to the events in Baghdad and forcing
"the drowning man to rescue himself."
France's right-of-center Le Figaro noted that Europe's large
Muslim population and proximity to the Mideast put it "on the front lines
of terrorism," making involvement in the anti-terrorism campaign a matter
of national interest. Russian papers
agreed, citing the potential to assist "our ally in the war on
terrorism" and "determine the fate of [our] oil contracts." German writers cautioned against feeling
"Schadenfreude" in light of Iraq's "armed Intifada," and
called on Europeans to join America on the path to "economic development
and peaceful stability."
EDITOR: ANDREW BORDA
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 66 reports from 30 countries, July 6-24. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed
from the most recent date.
U.S. Needs Help In Rebuilding Iraq"
The independent Financial Times argued
(7/24): "There are good weeks and
bad weeks for the U.S.-led administration in Iraq--and this has so far been a
good one. Mr Annan's special
representative, Sergio Vieira di Mello, told the Security Council on Tuesday
that the Iraqi Governing Council provided a representative body for the
international community to deal with.
But his discussions in Iraq had revealed unanimous support for a greater
role for the UN, and for a stronger role for Iraqis in the country's
administration. Faster progress requires
help from the wider international community.... The UN could help in judicial
and legal reform, police training and rebuilding the public
administration. But it needs to be
involved much more in the post-war reconstruction than it has been so far. Mr Bush yesterday appealed for such
international support. But to get it, he
must set out his timetable for putting Iraqis firmly in the driving seat. Even when there are good weeks, the U.S.
cannot rebuild Iraq on its own."
"The UN Must Have A Bigger Role In
Lord Hannay advanced in the independent Financial
Times (7/16): "The UN announced
on Tuesday that it would be sending a team of experts to Iraq to prepare the
ground for elections. Such an advance is
to be welcomed. Indeed, some observers
see it as a sign that Washington now acknowledges the benefits of greater UN
involvement in Iraq. If there has been a
change of heart, that too should be welcomed.
But the U.S. and UK are still a long way from giving the UN a 'vital
role....' If the transition to an Iraq
governed by Iraqis democratically chosen is to be achieved, it is important
that the process starts soon and also that that process should not be seen as
emanating purely from the decisions and the choices of the occupying power.... Is it really wise to keep the UN at arm's
length in the search for traces of Iraq's programmes for building weapons of
mass destruction? After all, the UN
weapons inspectors know rather a lot about the subject.... Even implementing part of such an agenda
would begin to move away from the emerging confrontation between occupiers and
occupied, which it must be in the interests of the U.S. and Britain to
FRANCE: “Iraq Back On The UN
Eric Leser in contended in left-of-center Le
Monde (7/23): “After having fought without and even against the UN, the
U.S. now needs its help.... George Bush
is faced with a dilemma: losing face by calling on the UN or losing public
opinion and maybe the upcoming presidential election"
“The U.S., The UN And Iraq”
Dominique Gerbaud noted in Catholic La Croix (7/22): “We are at a turning point in the post-war
period when the American forces may spend as much time protecting themselves
from Iraqi attacks as working towards the reconstruction of the country. The situation is a difficult one and the
Americans now are openly asking for international participation.... It is not because the UN did not give the
U.S. the green light for a military intervention in Iraq, or because France was
clearly opposed that we should close our eyes to what is happening in Baghdad
today and watch the Americans try to extricate themselves from this mess. We cannot smile at what is taking place; the
international community must help the U.S. find a solution. In fact there are two solutions. One, greater involvement of the UN in the
post-war process. And two, establishing
a framework for the Iraqis to regain economic and political control of their
country. It is under these conditions
that the U.S. will avoid being bogged down in Iraq.”
“Faced With A Guerrilla War, Washington Turns To The UN”
Gilles Biassette wrote in Catholic La Croix (7/18): “The
tone used by Washington is changing. The
UN’s marginal role could change.... The
door to negotiations is open. But the
discussions promise to be long ones, considering no one has forgotten the
tension that preceded the war. With his
re-election campaign looming, President Bush does not want U.S. soldiers caught
in a quagmire. But at the same time he
does not want to lose face after having criticized the UN as he did. And the fact is that those on the side of
peace are upping the ante, with France demanding that Iraq’s administration be
placed under the responsibility of the UN: a sharing of leadership which the
Bush administration has wanted to avoid from the start.”
“The U.S. And Its Allies”
Claude Imbert commented in right-of-center
weekly Le Point (7/17): “While the war in Iraq was won much faster than
predicted, the peace is stumbling over pitfalls that were predicted, yet
neglected by the Pentagon’s overbearing euphoria. America is having trouble securing Iraq. Through a sort of western autism that ignores
local customs, the U.S. is turning the liberator into the occupier.... Talk of having manipulated information in a
country where lying is not easily accepted is boosting the opposition. In fact,
America is paying the price for the lame pretext used to disarm Iraq. But
France and Germany will not benefit from America’s debacle.... America’s failure is the West’s failure."
“The Risk Of Chaos”
Jean de Belot argued in right-of-center Le
Figaro (7/16): “It is no surprise
that establishing peace in Iraq is turning out to be more difficult than
winning the war. And the difficulties
are only beginning. These problems are
essentially America’s problems.... The
danger today is that of seeing a situation going from bad to worse when in fact
Iraq was supposed to serve as a model....
After having lied, President Bush and Tony Blair cannot afford to
fail. Paris is right to stay out of the
game and wait until the UN is back in the picture. But the fact that the pro-war coalition is
getting in deeper trouble cannot provide the anti-war coalition with an
after-the-fact feeling of victory....
France and Europe in general are on the front lines of terrorism and of
any danger coming from the Middle East....
Europe still very much needs its American ally.... The situation in Iraq, in the Middle East and
the war on terrorism are all becoming more complex for Washington. But this statement of fact is not good news
for anybody. The main risk once again is
the risk of chaos.”
“Getting The UN Back In The Picture”
Jean Levallois urged in regional La Presse de
la Manche (7/16): “It cannot be helped: we always go back to President
Bush’s original mistake of engaging without the UN in a unilateral
operation. If he does not want to be the
only one responsible for maintaining order in Iraq, he has a very simple
solution at hand. He must give up his
tarnished role of conqueror and put Iraq’s control in the hands of the UN. France, Germany, India and many others will
then contribute to help Iraq return to normal.”
“The Boomerang Effect”
Renaud Girard opined in right-of-center Le
Figaro (7/8): “In Iraq, as administered by the Pentagon, things are not
going as well as predicted by Washington’s hawks when they were justifying a
unilateral military intervention.... All
of this would not be very serious if on the ground the coalition forces had
managed to improve the daily living conditions of the Iraqi people. This unfortunately is not the case.... The American forces are faced with an armed
Intifada which is everyday more worrisome."
GERMANY: "There Is No
Joerg Armbruster commented on ARD-TV's late evening newscast
"Tagesthemen" (7/23): "The U.S. has dangerously underestimated
the situation in Iraq. This is why we
have the developments going in the wrong direction. What will now help? There is no panacea. But one recipe could help: the UN, not as auxiliary forces and U.S.
'sweeper' but as organization that decides on its own how to help Iraq. If the Americans prevent this, then we will
soon hear in Iraq: everything was better under Saddam. Then the Americans won a war, but lost
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted in center-right
Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/23):
"The U.S. government, whose plans for post-Saddam times were
obviously insufficient, is almost driven to a point where is must decide on the
future direction: Should it adjust to a
long-lasting presence in Iraq with respect to the military and personnel? Should it include NATO? Should it swallow the idea of approving a new
UN mandate, distributing burdens and sharing responsibilities? But even if Washington does not begrudge
Paris, Moscow, and Berlin a belated triumph, there will be no way around an
internationalization of the Iraq problem sooner or later. But nobody should harbor the illusion that
the excitement of the Shiites will calm only because UN flags are blowing in
the wind. And only time will tell
whether the claim of blue helmets to create law and order towards Saddam's
Fedajin is more than an allegation."
"From Triumphant To Petitioner"
Pierre Simonitsch concluded in left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau (7/23): "Not too long ago, President George W. Bush and his
war minister Rumsfeld ridiculed the 'old' Europe. But rarely before have claims to the nation
disappeared so quickly as Bush's speeches in the preparatory stages of the Iraq
war. Less than three months after the
U.S. president sounded off about a 'mission accomplished ' aboard a U.S.
aircraft carrier, demoralized U.S. soldiers are stuck in Iraq. The success stories about the hunt for
Saddam's clique do not change this….
Since the last weekend, U.S. diplomats have been trying to narrow U.S.
differences with the UN and the ridiculed nations in confidential talks on the
East River. The triumphant has turned
into a petitioner."
“Europe’s Money, Europe’s Soldiers”
Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
judged (7/22): “Nobody should feel
Schadenfreude in light of the situation in Iraq. Even the passionate war opponents in Paris
and Berlin must realize it is in Europe’s very own interest that calm and
stability return to Iraq as soon as possible.
Only then can reconstruction begin, and only then is there a chance for
the Middle East to find some kind of peace.
That is why the European countries have now declared their willingness
to help with reconstruction. The money
they are willing to pay into a fund administered by the UN or the World Bank is
a just contribution to controlling the most volatile region in the world…. It is now up to Washington to take a step in
Europe’s direction. It looks as if
President Bush will soon ask his NATO allies to send soldiers as well as
money. But soldiers will not be as
easily had as money. Bush will have to
accept UN involvement as the price for Europe’s sons.”
"Re-Discovery Of The United Nations"
Stefan Ulrich judged in Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (7/21): "The attacks of
the guerrilla fighters and the skeptical attitude of the Iraqis towards the
occupiers are nurturing doubts in the U.S. about whether four billion dollars
are wasted months after month. In this
situation, Washington is discovering the UN again.... But nothing would be more wrong than the UN
telling the U.S. that it should settle the problem all by itself. First because Iraqis should not be punished
for U.S. mistakes; second, because the world has an interest in a stabile
Middle East; and third, because the UN founded to serve global peace. If it now fails, it would betray
itself.... But this assistance cannot be
for free. A precondition is that
Washington tries to support a new resolution that gives a multi-national
stabilization force a mandate.... A new
resolution should not result in a legitimation of the Iraq invasion through the
backdoor. In addition, Annan calls for a
clear timetable in which Iraq gets back its sovereignty. But until this stage is reached, the UN should
get more than a right to advice.... All
this is delicate and also harbors the danger for failure. But the UN should have better chances than
the unpopular occupiers. Nevertheless,
Washington will have difficulty giving in.
But even for the UN it is not easy to be dragged into this Iraqi
adventure. If it strengthens the U.S.
with its authority and its money, it must be certain to invest in a reasonable
“Victims And Gestures”
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine remarked (7/18): "That it is harder to win peace in Iraq
than the war is a painful lesson for the Americans and British.... It touches the national trauma of
Vietnam.... Doubtless all sides are
interested in patching up the transatlantic differences of the last
months. Opponents of the war should wish
America success in establishing peace in Iraq provided of course, and this is
unwritten international protocol, that Washington gives up its intention to
penalize old allies that pursued a different policy over Iraq..... The Middle East is politically the world’s
trouble spot number one; it lies within Europe’s neighborhood. America and Europe remain dependent on each
other especially in this region: only if they bundle their capacities, progress
can be attained on the path to economic development and peaceful stability.”
“The War After The War”
Peter Muensch opined in Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (7/18): “America is engaged
in guerrilla warfare.... A credibility
gap is slowly emerging. The U.S.
government must explain to its citizens and its increasingly demoralized
soldiers why suddenly everything is other than planned, promised and
announced.... The difference between
fairytales and truth, however, lies in the body bags.... As painful as the attacks are for the Americans,
these pinpricks in the so-called Sunni triangle around the Iraqi capital are
neither qualitatively nor quantitatively a guerrilla war, which would indeed be
a military challenge.... The existing
scenario cannot be likened to Vietnam."
“Mao In Iraq”
Alan Posener commented in right-of-center Die Welt of
Berlin (7/18): “The military said aloud
the one word the politicians are most afraid of: there is a guerrilla war going
on in Iraq.... Iraq is not Vietnam,
though. According to first independent
opinion polls in Iraq, a majority welcomes the allied invasion and wishes the
troops to stay. The guerrillas can only
win if it succeeds in transforming existing discontent into hatred for the
occupiers...and in bringing war weariness into America’s living-rooms with the
help of western media. America will win
if it sticks to its mission, restores law and order in Iraq, and at long last
improves visibly living conditions for the Iraqi population. This is all feasible, and the first step is
to face uncomfortable truths."
AUSTRIA: “Watch The Winner
Lose The Peace”
Viktor Hermann urged in independent Salzburger Nachrichten
(7/18): “The biggest mistake of the victorious U.S. in Iraq is directly related
to the overwhelming military superiority of the superpower. When the gunsmoke had settled, Washington’s
incapacity and unwillingness to reconstruct a new Iraq became visible.... The U.S. proved incapable of fulfilling even
the most basic needs of the Iraqi population--water, electricity and
safety. The hearts of the Iraqis,
already half won over, turned away from the allied soldiers.... Washington is now paying the price for the
arrogance with which it treated its critics and skeptics before and after the
war. Nobody wants to lend a helping hand
to the US troops now to support them in finishing the tiresome work of rooting
out Saddam’s last followers in Iraq--not even the U.S.-led NATO. It doesn’t look as if Iraq is going to be
changed into a cradle of stability and democracy in the Middle East. An important pillar of Bush’s Middle East
policy is crumbling.”
Gudrun Harrer opined in liberal Der Standard
(7/6): “Nobody, not even the most naïve
visionaries of the pro-war camp, expected a honeymoon in Iraq immediately after
Saddam Hussein’s disappearance act.... A
painful transition period was to be expected.... All these difficulties were underestimated by
the U.S. administration, and probably in part also played down, while the
question of WMDs in Iraq was blown out of every proportion.... Now, observers of Iraq have the uneasy
feeling that the assertion of resistance in Iraq being organized exclusively by
Saddam loyalists falls in this category....
The fact is that anti-U.S. attacks are also happening in areas that are
Sunnite, but in no way loyal to Saddam--one does not necessarily entail the
other. Especially in these areas,
Sunnite Islam...has gained ground over recent years, aided by the slow
religious transformation of the originally secular Ba’ath party. A Pandora’s box is opening up here, of the
kind that the war in Iraq was supposed to keep a lid on for good.”
"Support Under A Blue UN Flag"
Independent De Morgen commented
(7/23): "Washington realizes that
it needs international help to solve the problem in Iraq and it wants to ask
the UN and its UNSC for that help--two institutions that (Washington) ignored
and even ridiculed when it launched its attack against Iraq. Saber rattler Bush and his hawks in the White
House and the Pentagon begin to realize that that international support must
not come only in the form of money but preferably in the form of reinforcements
under the blue UN flag.... It is also in
Europe’s interest that there be peace and stability on the banks of the Tigris
and Euphrates soon. It has become clear
that a military standoff and lying to the world population are not the right
“Talking About Democracy”
Agnes Gorissen editorialized in left-of-center Le
Soir (7/18): “The U.S. was going to
teach the Old Europeans a lesson. The
‘Young’ America was going to show them what a democracy is, intervening in Iraq
in the name of good, ousting one of the pillars of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ and liberating
an entire country.... Technically, the
U.S. has swiftly waged its war, wiping out the Saddam Hussein regime in less
than a month. But what came next leaves
somewhat to be desired. Convinced that
they knew better, the White House strategists forgot to listen to those who
were warning them against the fact that the U.S. is not the only country where
patriotism and national pride mean something and against the fact that the
world does not operate based on the principle that ‘dollars equal stability.’ Especially if dollars are not present! For, if most of the Iraqis were delighted to
see Saddam Hussein go, they have not seen anything else coming. Facilities that were destroyed by bombings
are still in ruins, there is still no water and no electricity in many places,
and the political process that the Americans sponsor is still in its infancy
and widely criticized. In other words,
the Iraqis have the damage of the conflict and an occupation, but nothing in exchange--not
even security.... Bogged down, the U.S.
Administration does not know how to come out of the Iraqi quagmire."
Catherine Mommaerts commented in financial L’Echo
(7/18): “Today, the British-American
scenario has turned into a nightmare for tens of thousands soldiers who are
bogged down in a genuine quagmire....
While the U.S. its public opinion, and its elected officials seem to
have waken up and to now assess what the situation in Iraq really is--with a
hangover that had not been so bitter since Vietnam--the Bush Administration is
being forced to call the UN for help.
Even help from France and Germany would be welcome--that says it
all.... It is hard to imagine how
Washington--that has just admitted that it was facing genuine Iraqi guerrilla
fighters--could allow itself to impose its conditions. Yet, one should not lecture the Americans and
tell them: ‘I told you so!’ The French,
the Germans, and the Russians are smart enough not to make that mistake. Because, if the Iraqi page is far from being
turned, the page of transatlantic disputes should be, in order to
constructively and jointly address the future of a country and of a region that
has so many assets but that is potentially so explosive for all. Washington has apparently come to that
conclusion. We must take advantage of this!”
"No Bombs To Solve The Problem"
Luc Van der Kelen urged in conservative Het
Laatste Nieuws (7/18): “It is slowly
becoming clear that the Iraqis have switched to guerrilla warfare. That is the only form of war that the
Americans cannot deal with. It was the
case in Vietnam and, more recently, in Somalia.
In that kind of war, sophisticated weapons are worthless.... The Americans don’t understand a thing about
a world that is different from their own.
They view Iraq or Afghanistan as an America-to-be. Overthrow the tyrants and introduce an
American system--and everything will be okay.... But that is not the case now. Iraq can succeed only if it gets under the
UN’s wings quickly. Today, Bush is
confronted with the problems that Europe predicted. This time, there are no bombs to solve the
"Failure Of The U.S. Administration"
Frantisek Sulc held in the center-left Lidove
Noviny (7/22): "The situation in Iraq is far from becoming a second
Vietnam for the U.S.... Nevertheless the
administration of President Bush has failed in the strategy for Iraq. However, this does not by any chance cast
doubts on the rightness of the action against Saddam Hussein and his
regime.... The Administration had to
devote all its energy to defending its action in Iraq instead of carefully
preparing the so-called withdrawal strategy.
The current state of affairs proves that the people from the
administration did not listen to voices which warned against troubles connected
not so much with the military action itself, but more with securing the peace
and order as soon as possible to allow the creation of a functioning civilian
administration and a political settlement in
"Americans Need The UN"
Radek Khol opined in business-oriented Hospodarske
Noviny (7/21): "International politics is not only a matter of
military power to…change governments, but also a matter of a wider perspective
of the legitimacy of how it is carried out....
The higher the degree of legitimacy, the higher the chance of acceptance
of a given policy…and the cheaper its implementation.... The world has so far no better tool for
establishing a long-term legitimacy for an interim government in Iraq [than the
UN].... Not even a superpower is able to
create peace in Iraq on its own."
Milan Vodicka commented in leading, centrist
daily MF Dnes (7/19): "The real battlefield, which Americans must
win, is the Iraqi street where ordinary people have a lower standard of living
than they had before the war.
Electricity, supplies of all types, and health care must work
again. The Americans have been awfully
slow in this. But life in Iraq must be
better than under Saddam's rule. Only
this will strip the attackers of their support.
And this is the real battlefield where it is necessary to win
Top circulation, left-of-center, pro-GoG Ta
Nea wrote (7/21): “Today, the
situation in Iraq is much worse than what it used to be before the war. International organizations, the UN and the
EU included, not just NATO, as desired by the U.S., have to work out a solution
providing for the departure of the Americans from Iraq before the situation
gets out of control completely and peace and stability in the entire region are
put in jeopardy.”
“Vietnam Is Far”
Influential business/political daily Vilaggazdasag
commented (7/21): "The expression
‘guerrilla’ has a more threatening meaning in the American interpretation of
the word than in general. It includes
the synonym of failure. The big
bogie-man that lies behind [the terminology] is the memory of Vietnam. But Vietnam today is way too far, both in time
and in most of its characteristics.
What is going on in Iraq is, from the Iraqi point of view, mere waste,
waste of ammunition, weapons and human life.
The ousted president’s calls for resistance has no sense. It is though a different question that more
is necessary for winning peace than simply a guerrilla-free situation.”
"The Empire Strikes Back"
The center-right, populist Irish Independent
editorialized (7/23): “The occupation
power now stands at a crossroads at which it could all too easily lose the way
as it did once already. Progress
towards restoring the economy and providing an acceptable civil administration
has been wretched. Basic services are in
far worse shape than under the old regime.
The ill-named ‘governing council’ has little power and little public
support. And a stage has now arrived at
which it is possible to see that the stupendous power of the U.S. has its
limitations, in the matter of pacifying and governing Iraq--and
world-wide. The Bush Administration has
conceded--up to a point--that it needs help.
It wants other countries to share in the military task in Iraq. But it wants them to help on its own terms,
meaning in essence under its dictation.
No wonder several of its allies have balked. They want a better mandate. And a proper mandate can come only from the
UN, so deeply and so wrongly despised by Washington."
"The U.S. Situation In Iraq Compares With
Vietnam In One Alarming Aspect"
Tom Clonan argued in the center-left Irish
Times (7/10): “The longer U.S.
troops do not achieve unchallenged control in Iraq the greater the side-effects
they will suffer.... As Saddam's weapons
of mass destruction remain undiscovered, U.S. troops in a classic example of
‘mission creep’ are becoming increasingly engaged in a guerrilla war--as an
army of occupation.... The war in Iraq
shows no sign of abating.... Some
comparisons with Vietnam and even Afghanistan are being drawn in the U.S. and
international media. The current
casualty rates bear no comparison....
For Americans the situation in Iraq does compare with Vietnam in one
alarming aspect. Media reports from Iraq
speak of U.S. troops becoming more volatile while on duty at checkpoints and in
their interactions with Iraqi civilians....
All of this is taking place against a backdrop of uncertainty as to the
future of their mission in Iraq and the increased frequency of guerrilla
“Powell: A Stronger Role For The UN In Iraq”
Leading, business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore
argued (7/17): “An escalation of the guerrilla warfare is deeply affecting the
morale of U.S. troops.... The complexity
of that operation is proving...that these attacks...are well-organized actions
of a guerrilla warfare...managed directly by Saddam Hussein, his sons and some
of the old regime’s leaders.... The
Americans want to prepare the ground so that a UN force could be [established]
in support of the new [Iraqi] government....
If today President Bush, with great difficulty, is trying to find allies
who are willing to share the burden of occupation as well as the reconstruction
of Iraq, the UN flag, on the contrary, might be able to convince some countries
to send their troops.”
"Bush: NATO Could Intervene In Iraq”
Enzo Alessio wrote in pro-government, leading
center-right Il Giornale (7/8): “Will Iraq become NATO’s war? It’s still
unsure, but it is possible and it has become one of George Bush’s options
vis-à-vis the deteriorating military situation in Baghdad and its
outskirts.... But now that the ‘war is
over’ the super bombs and intelligent missiles no longer suffice, just as the
145 thousand U.S. soldiers who are in Iraq fighting the guerrilla war--a type
of conflict that they are not prepared for--are no longer needed.... Everything seems to indicate, however, that
hostilities are intensifying in a good half of the country.... In this new, unexpected strategic-political
framework, Washington has begun to perceive the usefulness and maybe the
necessity that U.S. allies take on part of the burden of the military
operations in Iraq.”
“The World Must Not Fail In Iraq”
The independent, English-language Malta
Independent on Sunday held (7/20):
"There is no doubt at all that while the military operation to oust
Saddam Hussein and his regime was conducted in a brilliant and professional
manner the same cannot be said for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.... It is clear that the Americans, and to a
lesser extent, the British, did not prepare themselves properly for the
aftermath of the war.... One of the
biggest mistakes the Americans made so far was to literally dismiss the entire
Iraqi military--all 400,000 of them....
TAs a result of one single misguided act the U.S. made 400,000 new
(unemployed) enemies in a country plagued by social unrest. These former soldiers are certainly potential
guerrilla fighters.... It is absolutely
essential for as many countries as possible to send peacekeeping troops, backed
by a UN mandate, to Iraq.... So security
in Iraq must become a priority for the UN and the U.S. must admit that it
cannot solve this problem on its own.
Furthermore, it would have also been far better had the UN been involved
in the setting up of the new Iraqi governing council; this would have
eliminated criticism that the council was simply a front for American
NORWAY: “Iraq Can Become A Quagmire For The
Newspaper of record Aftenposten opined
(7/22): “Quagmire is a real word of shame in the U.S. because it is related to
the tragic Vietnam War and the political consequences it had.... Today the U.S. is stuck in something that is
suspiciously similar to a quagmire in Iraq.
Such a bog has the sad character that the attempts to get out lead to
one sinking deeper down.... With that
the U.S. finds itself in the disgraceful position that many of the more
moderate powers within the Bush Administration see that they are forced to
return to the [UN] Security Council, an institution that the hawks in
Washington many months ago just despised."
“Must Be Successful In Iraq”
Christian Democratic Vaart Land held
(7/17): “For every day that goes with
the Iraqis experiencing that daily life has become better, with their mistrust
against the occupying force increase.
Not least because the impression festers that large portions of the
country’s enormous oil reserves are being lost out of the country.... In the U.S. one already begins to fear that
Iraq is becoming a swamp one can’t get out of, with ever increasing new
soldiers that are sent home in body bags.
It does not need to be this way, and much will be decided in the coming
months. No matter what, the U.S.--and
the world community--cannot afford to fail with the democratization project in
Iraq. Therefore the pressure should be
increased on the U.S. that the UN and other international players should get a
more central role in Iraq.”
"Russia To Do The U.S.' Bidding"
Yulia Petrovskaya opined in centrist Nezavisimaya
Gazeta (7/21): "Troops and energy resources are all Russia can use to
influence events in 'hot spots....' In
Iraq, troops are the only option available to it. The Russians' involvement in peacekeeping in
that country will, in large measure, determine the fate of their oil
contracts. The U.S. seems to face a more
prosaic task, getting its troops from under fire and having them replaced by
other countries' [troops].... That
country has a large potential.... Iraq
may not be the only country where our ally in the war on terrorism may want to
share the burden of peacekeeping in return for salvaging the contracts and
"Return To Normal Life Problematical"
Reformist, business-oriented Kommersant-Daily
expressed (7/18): "One can occupy
territory, but bringing normal life to it is problematical.... The guerrilla war in Iraq is partly due to the
memory and the strength of the toppled Saddam regime that the new
administration has nothing to counter with and partly due to the inept American
administration in Iraq. The latter shows
an amazing inability to grasp the local mentality and local
"U.S. Swaps Soldiers For Blue Helmets"
Alexander Reutov wrote reformist business-oriented Kommersant-Daily
(7/18): "According to Washington's
thinking, the world community as represented by the UN should extricate the
U.S. from the quagmire of the Iraq war....
[Russia's] coming to Iraq wearing a blue UN helmet gives access to a
slice of the oil cake which the U.S. and Britain so far have been mainly
dividing as they see fit. But a
different kind of sentiment may be equally strong. Many in the world, especially in Europe,
think that 'it is up to the drowning man to rescue himself.'"
SPAIN: "Wrestling For The Future"
Left-of-center El País contended (7/23):
"The U.S. is looking for foreign troops to pacify and stabilize Iraq. It will not find them in sufficient number
without a resolution of the UN Security Council that supports them.... If, in the last stretches of the road to war,
Bush found that the UN had become an obstacle for his plans, he can now
discover that he needs [the UN] urgently in order to win the peace, retracing
then the path of criticism and contempt he started before and during the war."
"Can The Iraq War Be Lost?"
Conservative ABC questioned (7/22): "The slow drip of casualties may become
unbearable if it lasts over months without a clear solution in view. And for the moment, the situation is far from
improving.... Fight for life in Iraq is
unbearable.... No one understands that
the superpower is unable to restore electricity.... The recently created Governing Council tries
to give power to lay Shiites, like Chalabi and Pachachi. But the first one arrived to Iraq in a U.S.
jeep; few Iraqis take him seriously. And
the second one is a respectable elder, with very little influence among popular
sectors.... The possibility of a civil
war if the occupation forces left hastily is not strange. But, in view of the current situation, the
immediate question is: can the Iraq war be lost?"
TURKEY: “The Mistakes Of The Hawks”
Cuneyt Ulsever commented in mass-appeal Hurriyet (7/24):
“Hawks are good at military strategies, but fail dramatically when it comes to
political planning and social order.
Their narrow-minded approach tells them to act with physical force at
the expense of social and political factors.
Hawks not only lost in Iraq, but also managed to create seriously high
anti-American sentiment in Turkey, which used to be staunch ally and friend of
the U.S.. Hawks think and act
unilaterally, which in itself is incompatible with societies that are changing
in a dynamic way."
“Turkish Troops To Iraq”
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamist-intellectual Zaman (7/22):
“Sending Turkish troops to Iraq has once again been brought onto the agenda;
this is like the resurrection of a big mistake.
The U.S. is trying to share with others the responsibility of being an
occupying force in Iraq. India and
France have already said ‘no’ to Washington, and there is no reason for Turkey
to act differently. It seems that the
U.S. has realized the emerging impasse with respect to its position in Iraq,
and there is no need to make it more complicated. The best thing is to arrange a calendar to
schedule the departure of the occupation forces from Iraq, and hand over the
responsibility to the UN."
"Can The U.S. Afford
To Leave Iraq?"
Ferai Tinc commented in centrist mass-appeal Hurriyet
(7/18): “Washington is now facing a guerrilla war.... On the other hand, there is no possibility
that the U.S. will permit itself to lose this game. Not only the U.S., but the whole region,
including Turkey, cannot afford for the U.S. to lose. If that were to happen, the threats of
terrorism and instability for the region will be immense. … The U.S. should
remain in Iraq, and should work together with others to achieve success. This will only be possible if the U.S.
abandons its unilateral approach.”
ISRAEL: "Iraq Needs Stability At The
Expense Of Democracy"
Mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot
asserted (7/24): "The worrying situation in Iraq apparently calls for new
thinking. Instead of representative
councils and other unsuccessful democratic attempts, what is needed--even for
an interim period--is an appointed president endowed with powers, who would see
to stability, at the expense of democracy....
Toppling Saddam was relatively easy, but only now have the Americans
started to understand how old and filled with bitter experiences the Middle
East is. Should they fail to develop a
new thinking in Iraq, they will be forced out, as happened in other places in
the world. Who will be left in that
tight spot? Israel."
“Why The Resistance?”
Semi-official, influential Al-Rai
remarked (7/21): “Every action has an
equal reaction that is reversed in direction, and the reaction to a foreign
occupation is national resistance. This
is a sacred law of nature, which cannot be weakened by some of those who are
cooperating with the occupiers on the pretext that the occupation is a reality
and must thus be acknowledged and cooperated with. What applies to the Israeli occupation of the
West Bank and Gaza applies to the American occupation of Iraq. Resistance is not only the right of the
people who reside under the occupation, but is their duty.... We will likely soon see, under the impact of
the resistance, an attempt to internationalize or Arabize the occupation by
brining in mercenary armies that would implement the will and desire of the
occupation and save the blood of the American soldiers.”
Center-left, influential Al-Dustour noted
(7/17): “The Iraqi resistance to the
American occupation forces is legitimate resistance, but it does not enjoy the
support of all the Iraqis.... We salute
the Iraqi resistance and we love to hear news of operations [against American
forces]. But at the same time, we cannot
label someone a ‘traitor’ that does not choose this path, but rather decides to
‘go along with’ the status quo.”
Iraqi America: A Revision And Not A Retreat”
Centrist Al-Anwar opined (7/22): “The simplest angle to the problem is that
administering the situation in post-war Iraq requires a military force that is
much bigger than the one which brought down Saddam Hussein’s regime. That is because the American project of
‘change’ is not only bigger than the capabilities of the biggest power in the
universe but also bigger than its desire to achieve the announced goals.... America has one of two options: Either to
accelerate both the political process in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli peace
settlement process, or to widen the scope of its military operations. The balance is very critical between the two
options and time is running short.”
“Will Bremer Listen To Dual Wake-Up Calls”
The english-language Daily Star argued
(7/18): "Sunday’s seating of the
governing council in Baghdad was a good first step, but its long-term success
or failure will be determined by the degree to which it is able to restore
normalcy to the lives of the Iraqi people.
The only way it can do this is if Bremer’s Coalition Provisional
Authority (CPA) allows it both the leeway to make its own decision and the
power to implement them. Whatever other
considerations it has, the CPA’s ultimate goal should be its own irrelevance,
which would allow it and the U.S. military forces in Iraq to leave.... Each step that empowers Iraqis to govern
their own country and get on with their daily lives also erodes the attraction
of engaging in armed resistance. That
will reduce the bloodshed and hasten the day when the Americans are again where
everyone wants them to be: back home.”
"A Misguided Foreign Policy"
Al-Thawra commented (7/20):
"In its misguided foreign policy, particularly towards the Middle
East, the U.S. is making the same mistakes.
It is trying, in coordination with Britain, to divert attention from the
embarrassing file of the war to the steps of the formation of a transitional
government in Iraq.... Iraqis...firmly
believe that the need for freedom and independence has priority over any other
need. They, supported by the
international community, believe in their right to resist occupation. The U.S. undoubtedly knows this very
CHINA: “Will NATO Send Troops to Iraq or Not”
Xu Jun remarked in China Radio International
sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (7/21): “It is not hard to see that two camps have
been formed within NATO on whether NATO will directly join the post-war peace
keeping in Iraq or not.... It may result
in the most serious crisis in NATO in history.... According to the current situation, it is
impossible for NATO to make a decision to join the peacekeeping force directly,
and chances are even slim for NATO to put forth the issue for discussion within
“The U.S. Should Return To The UN Framework”
Li Xuejiang argued in official Communist Party
international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(7/21): “There is only one easy way for the U.S. to get out of the Iraqi
dilemma: to return to the UN framework....
If the U.S. didn’t fight for oil interests and geopolitical strategy, as
is alleged, then it should discard its haughty manner as a power country and
return to the UN framework.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "A
Conflict Of Interests"
The independent, English-language South China
Morning Post put forth (7/22):
"Instead of asking personally, U.S. President George W. Bush should
have instructed his Iraq managers to arrange for the new 25-member governing
council to ask India to send peacekeeping troops. Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee would then have
obliged, claiming to be responding to a request from an Asian people, not their
Western conquerors. He would also have
agreed if the UN had asked.... A
division or two of Indian soldiers could have helped to bestow post facto
legitimacy on Anglo-American actions.
Instead, Mr. Vajpayee's refusal might encourage other governments to be
even more uncooperative.... Mr. Vajpayee
has reminded Mr. Bush that traditionally non-aligned nations that are anxious
for America's helping hand would be less uncomfortable with pro-western
policies if the U.S. took the trouble of operating through a global consensus. In short: Don't ignore the UN."
"U.S. Asks UN To Play A Bigger Role In
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News
remarked (7/22): "Faced with these
difficulties, the U.S. should not ask the UN to increase its role in Iraq,
hoping it can 'jump out of this swamp....'
The only way out of this situation for the U.S. is to let the UN lead
post-war reconstruction and peacekeeping in Iraq. Only under the leadership of the UN will
other countries be willing to send peacekeeping troops. Only then will the attacks on Americans
subside and the social order in Iraq return to normal.... Although the U.S. wants the UN to play an
expanded role in Iraq, the extent of that role is still in question--we are
sure that the U.S. will not give away its position of power."
JAPAN: "Iraqi Governing Council Should
Restore Order First"
The business-oriented Nihon Keizai
editorialized (7/18): "If reconstruction efforts are delayed, support for
the council will drop, probably encouraging Saddam loyalists to try and regain
power. A rise in guerrilla-type attacks
by elements believed to be Saddam loyalists are occurring in Iraq almost daily,
killing or injuring many U.S. soldiers.
Another concern is the future relationship between the council and the
Coalition Provisional Authority. If the two sides become discordant, anti-U.S.
feelings may intensify in Iraq."
Council Needs International Assistance"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri asserted (7/17):
"The Iraqi Governing Council, inaugurated three months after Saddam
Hussein's ouster, has a central role to play in rebuilding Iraq in close
cooperation with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).... The Council should give top priority to
restoring peace and order by resuming administrative services and
rehabilitating the tattered economy so as to ease rising Iraqi frustrations
over their daily problems, including cuts in electricity and water supply and a
high unemployment rate.... The absence
of law and order in Iraq continues to hinder world efforts to reconstruct that
nation. Undoubtedly, the world community
should never leave that task to the U.S. and Britain alone. There are more tasks other countries can
fulfill in achieving Iraq reconstruction."
INDONESIA: “Real Iraqi Sovereignty”
The independent English-language Jakarta Post
judged (7/18): “The continuing violence
in the streets of Baghdad and other major cities in Iraq have overshadowed a
significant development in Iraq this week: the establishment of a governing
council comprising representatives of the nation's various ethnic and religious
groups on Monday. This is a major step in restoring the sovereignty of the
people of Iraq.... As important as
democracy may be to the people of Iraq, it is also important that they have
real sovereignty. In fact, the two must
go hand in hand if Iraq is to have real and lasting stability and
prosperity..... At the moment, that
task and responsibility is in the hands of the United States, but it is
increasingly becoming doubtful whether Washington can continue to do this by
itself without the help of other countries....
While many countries have agreed to help the U.S. to rebuild Iraq,
including sending troops or police to oversee peace and order, most of them
would feel much more comfortable if they were deployed under the UN
flag.... A transfer of authority to the
UN therefore, would achieve two goals: greater support from countries in the
reconstruction of Iraq, and more widespread international recognition of the
governing council as the legitimate representative of the people of Iraq. The sooner the American forces leave Iraq,
the better it will be all around.
Another way of looking at this is that the sooner the Iraqis regain
their sovereignty, the better it is for them, and for the U.S.”
INDIA: “The Eagle Has
Landed, With A Thud"
Centrist Asian Age commented (7/24): “This is America’s
moment of truth. A hyperpower that gave itself the right to act pre-emptively
and preventively to invade a country of its choice to pursue national foreign
policy interests has met its match in Iraq....
The problems that have arisen after America’s short, sharp victory prove
that it is easy for a hyperpower to win a victory over a weak adversary, but
very difficult to win the peace single-handedly. And if a country is
contemptuous of international norms and treaties, it cannot expect the rest of
the world to line up.... At the very
least, the Bush administration will think twice before launching another
preventive war outside the structure of the UN Security Council.... The world is waiting to see whether the U.S.
displays the stamina to remain in Iraq for the long haul."
CAMEROON: "Guerrilla War Feared In Iraq”
Government-owned Cameroon Tribune held
(7/23): “To speak of a full-scale
guerrilla war may be premature, but this rumbling, low-level conflict has a
cumulative impact. It undermines US and
British efforts to restore normality....
It is evident that the U.S. in particular, planned poorly for the
immediate aftermath of the war. There
are too few troops to impose order, instead tyranny has been replaced by a
Post-Saddam Iraq: Guerrilla Warfare As A
Method of Resistance"
Independent weekly Savana asserted (7/14): "While the resistance continues, Bush
and Blair seek to legitimize the reason for the invasion amongst themselves and
with the UN without, however, presenting proof of the existence of weapons of
mass destruction. Meanwhile, Americans and
the British cry over their sons (of war).
History shows that guerrilla wars are the most difficult to
conclude. Modern technology still isn't
able to contend with classic guerrilla warfare."
UGANDA: "U.S. Men
'Paying' For Ignoring UN"
Independent Monitor declared (7/22): "The allied troops have lost credibility
and should let the UN take over. It is
right for other countries to refuse to contribute troops for peace-keeping
operations in Iraq in the presence of allied aggressors. The U.S. and Britain have two options: to
withdraw tactfully, and two, secretly ferry weapons of mass destruction from
their own countries (since they have them in plenty) to some location in Iraq
and then claim they belonged to the ousted Saddam Hussein."
ZAMBIA: "U.S. Far From
Government-owned Zambia Daily Mail editorialized
(7/21): "The killing of American
soldiers by guerrillas in Iraq almost on a daily basis is an alarm bell for the
American Government that the cost of unilateralism in today's world can be
bigger than the might of that country's military.... They were not ready to understand that the
conscience of any nation cannot be subdued by any amount of force.... As the U.S. now urges the United Nations to take
a leading role...we want to caution the world body that the terms should be so
clear that the war-mongering U.S. is not allowed to abuse the UN
anymore.... The difficult task of
financing the reconstruction of Iraq...squarely on...those who decided to
destroy Iraq.... In today's fast moving
globalization era...there never will be any imperial power that will ever
dominate the world and get away without a backlash.... The right wing extremism in the US
administration of the day is inconsistent with global consensus...there is need
to moderate the aggressive US foreign policy."
Right-of-center O Globo asserted
(7/23): "The U.S. would not be a
superpower if it were not able to defend its interests by force if necessary,
in any part of the world. But the
simultaneous commitments the Bush administration has taken over lately
domestically and abroad are looking excessive, even to the American Armed
Forces.... Thus, through tortuous ways,
the U.S. may be forced to abandon its unilateral arrogance and recognize that
it needs to collaborate with other countries.
And they may return to the multilateralism is has been turning away
from, at very high costs to itself and to the rest of the world."
Boris Fausto commented in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo
(7/21): "Iraq has become a quagmire for the U.S. No one knows its depth or how long it will
take the U.S. to get out.... Although
statistically irrelevant, the casualties have been a powerfully demoralizing
"Doctrine In Check"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo opined
(7/20): "The current scenario in
Iraq is one of rapid deterioration. The
U.S. command already recognizes that its troops are facing a resistance trained
in guerrilla tactics.... In addition to
the military reversals, it is difficult to establish some form of local government
capable of ruling a destroyed nation....
And the specter of Saddam Hussein hovers over all of these
setbacks.... As the first practical
exemplar of the so-called Bush Doctrine--which urges 'preventive action'
against nations supposedly capable of threatening U.S. security--Iraq can be
seen as an increasingly difficult problem....
The U.S. certainly does not want or cannot, at least for the moment,
leave Iraq. But as he wants to be
reelected in 2004, Bush will try to spread the blame so as to minimize the
risks of a defeat."
EQUADOR: “15 Minutes For
Quito’s leading El Comercio editorialized (7/17): “Following the institutional debacle created
by the conflict in Iraq and a decision by several powers to disregard its
authority, the winds of history are once again favoring the UN.... The first signs of recovery have appeared
amidst the destruction in Iraq. The
reconstruction and guerrilla resistance represent a high moral and economic
cost for the U.S. and to a lesser degree for its unconditional English
ally. Under these circumstances, it is
difficult for the victorious powers to find another organization, however
bureaucratic and slow this one is, to achieve what is impossible with force:
bringing nations together for peace....
Hopefully, from the suffering of the Iraqi people and a weakened
self-image created by Western leaders, an opportunity will arise for the
restitution of the UN as protector of world peace.”
PANAMA: "The Stench of Vietnam"
Conservative El Panama America commented
(7/23): “The last war in Iraq was another clash of high technology against
conventional war machinery. But two months
after the conflict ended, the U.S. and British add more dead and injured
soldiers by way of isolated attacks and ambushes.... The high command has just officially given it
the feared name of ‘guerrilla warfare....'
Congress discovers that the alleged presence of weapons of mass
destruction in Saddam’s hands was made up to justify the invasion, that Bush
lied.... It smells like a presidential
‘indictment’ like the one that forced Nixon’s resignation in the middle of the
bloodiest moments of the Vietnam War....
The similarities are too many to be ignored.”