September 2, 2003
NAJAF BOMBING PROMPTS CALL TO GIVE MORE RESPONSIBILITY TO IRAQIS
** Writers fault the
U.S.-led "occupation policy" for the "precarious" security
** Regional dailies fear
that Najaf bombing could provoke a civil war "just like in Lebanon."
** New cabinet "a
first step in the right direction" of handing over more responsibilities
'The bombers are exploiting a political vacuum'-- "Faltering U.S.-led efforts" to
stabilize Iraq, editorialists said, have left "the extremely worrisome
impression" that the Coalition authority "is in a state of confusion
if not paralysis." Russia's
centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta judged that "an indefinable enemy has
worn down the world's biggest military power." The attack in Najaf, so soon after the
bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, "has further exposed the
incapacity" of the Coalition to provide security, said India's nationalist
Hindustan Times. An Arab
nationalist Lebanese paper held that "the occupation alone is
responsible" for the Najaf, UN and Jordanian embassy bombings, as "it
represents the ultimate authority in Iraq." Abu Dhabi-based Al Ittihad reflected,
"The only silver lining among all these negatives is the disappearance of
the previous regime."
Arab papers foresee 'a whirlwind of violence' following Najaf
'massacre'-- Commentators in the Arab
world held that the "ugly crime" committed in Najaf targeted not only
Ayatollah Baqir Al Hakim but "also assassinated the aspirations of the
Iraqi people" for a better life.
Dailies worried that sectarian and tribal violence could erupt following
the "martyrdom" of Al Hakim.
Egypt's pro-government Al Ahram stated the bombing "is about
to ignite sectarian religious strife and to spread chaos and
destruction." Abu Dhabi's pan-Arab Akhbar
Al Arab editorialized that the assassination of the cleric "will lead
the country into a hurricane of crazy violence just like the civil wars in Lebanon
and Afghanistan." A Kuwaiti Shiite
writer, in contrast, opined that Al-Hakim's murder will "help Iraqis
realize the importance of their unity."
New cabinet might achieve 'the beginnings of legitimacy'-- Considering the "current chaos,"
Malaysia's government-influenced Berita Harian found it "not
surprising" that the U.S. "is now hastily trying to hand off"
Iraq reconstruction to the UN. Other
outlets argued that "no major countries" will respond unless the U.S.
is willing to cede more powers to a multinational force. Analysts contended also that "the only
way to end the ongoing chaos...is to return the sovereignty of Iraq" to
the Iraqis. One Arab paper, though
referring to the naming of the new cabinet by Iraq's Governing Council as a
"non-event," said it still had some "value," affording
Iraqis some "feelings of relief" that Iraqis were handling their own
affairs. France's right-of-center Le
Figaro also viewed forming the cabinet as a step in the right direction of
"returning sovereignty" to the Iraqis. Japan's liberal Asahi held that the
U.S. "should now frankly admit" the failure of its occupation policy
and "accelerate a new political process that allows Iraqis to establish
their own government."
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 58 reports from 32 countries, August 30-September 2,
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
The independent Financial Times editorialized (9/2): "Well honed tactics and superior force
are no substitute for a coherent strategy and international legitimacy. The U.S. has so far been unable to deploy
either of these weapons in Iraq, where someone is trying to start a civil war
and is going about it in a chillingly coherent way.... The U.S.-led occupation authorities are
unable to control the roads or the borders, the water or the electricity
supply. It is now increasingly clear they are also unable to defend the allies
and institutions they need to rebuild Iraq....
[The recent attacks] appear to be aimed at deterring anyone--inside or
outside Iraq--from working with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA),
which is floundering in its attempts to get a grip on the country.... The bombers are exploiting a political vacuum
characterized by a deficit of external and internal legitimacy. The occupation has been legalized by the
Security Council. But a second
resolution is needed to legitimize it and give the UN a clear political
mandate. Only then will America's allies
be able to provide desperately needed peace-keeping troops. The governing council...needs to become a
fully fledged provisional government; the council's nomination of a cabinet
yesterday will create another tier of administration under the CPA but is
unlikely to give ordinary Iraqis the sense that they 'own' their
country.... Iraq needs an elected
assembly to write the new constitution....
These outlines of a possible solution are unlikely to change; only the
situation on the ground is--by getting steadily worse."
"A Cabinet In Search Of Legitimacy"
Pierre Rousselin commented in right-of-center Le Figaro
(9/2): “Iraq’s first post-Saddam cabinet
has no legitimacy.... This governing
body cannot hope to be representative or claim to be democratically
elected. But at least it exists.... If it gets to work and attains some results,
it can hope to achieve the beginnings of legitimacy. Iraq will then be on the road to
progress. But the cabinet must be
careful not to look like an instrument of the occupying forces. The recent past is not encouraging.... None of the former Iraqi opponents has taken
initiatives.... Maybe because their
exile was too prolonged, but also possibly because America’s approach was
improvised and disorderly. The Americans
have been unable to put forth individuals who can take on responsibilities.... One of the few who did has paid dearly for
his courage.... The attack against
al-Hakim has made Iraq even less governable....
Richard Perle has acknowledged that ‘the Americans’ main mistake has
been not to have worked closely enough with the Iraqis before the war....’ Every day one can see the price for such
errors, for the Americans and the Iraqis.
The cabinet is a first step in the right direction: sovereignty for the
Iraqis. But elections need to be a
priority for the transition team. As
long as Iraq does not have a legitimate and independent government...Iraq will
remain a source of conflict.”
"Iraqi Sovereignty, Now"
Jean-Paul Pierot argued in communist l’Humanite (9/2): “Events are confirming that Iraq is settling
into chaos.... The recent bombings
against the UN and the Najaf mosque prove the coalition’s inability to secure
Iraq.... And the longer the American
occupation lasts, the more severe will be the blows against American soldiers
and Iraqis alike.... Restoring security
and securing peace in Iraq must be in the hands of the UN.”
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger observed in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (9/2): "It is clear
that, in addition to meeting basic supplies, the improvement of the security
situation is the pivotal point in Iraq....
The security presence must be expanded by quickly establishing Iraqi
forces, but probably also by sending additional international forces. The debate about the future umbrella under
which this international stabilization force is to act, must quickly come to an
end. It is sterile and a bit
stupid. In view of the explosive
situation in Iraq not too much time is left, since there are a few people who
would like to see Iraq--and with it America--go down in chaos. This is not a fortunate prospect for
anybody. Russian leader Putin has
obviously realized this."
Frank Herold argued in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung
(9/2): "There is no doubt that the
U.S. occupation policy is the reason for the currently precarious
situation. It is also uncontroversial
that, according to international law, only the victorious powers, i.e. the
United States and its 'coalition of the willing,' is obliged to protect and
supply the people with the means necessary, reconstruct the country and
normalize the situation. And Washington
should not be allowed to give up this duty so easily. But to blame the United States alone for all
the shortcomings and mistakes and then take on a wait-and-see attitude until
Washington admits its failure in Iraq and calls for the United Nations to help
would be cynical, because nobody can say how many Iraqis starve of die of
thirst due to such a policy."
"Peace Needs Muslims"
Christoph von Marschall argued in an editorial in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (8/31):
"The GIs will be unable to win the hearts of the Iraqis on their
own. In the Arab world, they are faced
with latent distrust. Almost every check
at street patrols or house raids intensify the feeling of cultural
distance Other nations with a better
feeling of how to behave must help. It
is not the Europeans, since they have similar problems with cultural
discrepancies. Muslim forces are better:
from Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey. It is
not a problem of different national emblems on uniforms, but the problem is to
change the character of the occupation.
This starts by learning how to say good morning and by no means ends
with the knowledge about Muslim sensitivities during raids, for instance, of
women's dormitories. Cultural competence
is now more important than technical superiority."
RUSSIA: "The U.S. Worn
Down By Enemy"
Vladislav Inozemtsev observed in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(9/2): "By the end of August the
situation in U.S.-occupied Iraq...has all but gone out of control. Since May 1, when President George Bush
officially declared the main stage of the military operation complete, the
United States' casualties have surpassed the casualties it sustained in
battle. Its control over the occupied
territory has been false, as born out by the bomb attack on the UN Headquarters
in Baghdad. An indefinable enemy has
worn down the world's biggest military power.
Fighting 'terrorism' U.S. style only spawns more terrorists and wears
down the fighters' patience."
AUSTRIA: "Helping The
U.S. In Iraq?"
Senior editor Hans Rauscher wrote in liberal
daily Der Standard (9/2): “The
American occupation of Iraq is rapidly turning into a nightmare, with
potentially catastrophic consequences.
The fact is that the right-wing advisors of the Bush administration have
led their President--who was quite willing anyway--and their country into an
extremely dangerous situation, under false pretenses. The danger represented by Saddam’s WMD, which
were allegedly still around, was exaggerated massively, while the potentially
much more serious danger posed by the angry population of Iraq after the
victory was underplayed. Blindness,
hubris, and sheer ignorance of the country and the region were the background
for the current situation, in which an occupying force that is out of its depth
on a personal, financial, and political level, is trying to bring some order in
the chaos--without success--and to prevent the country from sinking into an
orgy of violence.... It is evident that
Iraq needs help, fast--especially when it comes to building functioning civil
structures. It might already be too late. Nevertheless, the world has to try, because
the consequences--civil war in Iraq, coup d'états in the neighboring
pro-Western states like Jordan, or even Saudi Arabia, a final poisoning of the
relations between 'the West' and 'Islam'--are too disastrous to
contemplate. The world should help the
Bush administration in Iraq, but on its own terms.”
"The Pax Americana Is In Ruins"
Foreign affairs writer Thomas Vieregge commented
in centrist daily Die Presse (9/2):
“Even in their worst nightmares, the strategists in the Pentagon were
not expecting this: Since the official
end of the war in Iraq, more U.S. soldiers have died than in active
combat.... The planners at the drawing
board of power have fallen victim to a crass miscalculation. The U.S. government is at the end of its
tether, the Pax Americana is in ruins.
The terrorists no longer hold anything sacred: not the UN, not the Arab embassies, not even
the Shiite sanctuaries. The last three
large-scale attacks did not target the U.S. occupation directly, but they
nevertheless undermined the already frayed authority of the U.S. troops. The danger of radicalization, especially
among the Shiite majority, is growing with every day in which the Americans are
not able to gain control over the situation--a horror scenario. At the moment, reducing the troop
contingencies is out of the question, even though the Americans at home are
beginning to demand this more and more loudly.... What is needed now is help from outside, from
the international community.... However,
it won’t be easy to rope in the anti-war camp now.... Why should it be, as it was them who urgently
warned the U.S. of this military operation?
A lot of diplomatic skills will be needed in order to convince the UN to
assist with reconstruction.... Only a
combination of military and civilian competence can lead Iraq out of its
present chaos and anarchy.”
"Death Of The Shiites"
Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer opined in
liberal daily Der Standard (9/2):
“The killing of Shiite leaders in Iraq has not stopped with the
overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime....
Out of an understandable reflex, as a first reaction the victimized
group has accused the rests of the Baath party.
This is not implausible: Hakim’s
militia has actively fought on the side of the U.S. during the war. And it is part of the strategy of the Saddam
loyalists, who have long been cooperating with Sunni Islamists, to bring about
chaos and insecurity, in order to show the Iraqis that the Americans are not
getting the country under control.
De-stabilizing the comparatively quiet Shiite areas in Iraq could well
be the next item on the agenda. But
Saddam Hussein’s horrible legacy has of course also marked Shiite society: a violent, de-socialized group of young men,
who believe that they will find their salvation in a radically politicized
religion.... They are also possible
attackers. It might have been an
illusion that the different groups of the Shia would come to some sort of
peaceful agreement. Besides, there never
has been anything like an Iraqi Shia as a social and political category,
although Washington chose to believe this.
It is also problematic to accuse the U.S. of not doing enough for the
safety of the Shiite leaders: Shiite
shrines guarded by American soldiers would only provoke new violence.”
Baudouin Loos observed in left-of-center Le
Soir (8/30): “Everything is now
taking place as if Washington, doing its accounts, realizes that its own
resources--army and budget--will not be sufficient. American efforts at the UN are now even
accepting the idea of a UN mandate, provided that the military command remains
in U.S. hands. That would be after the
1993 model in Somalia, yet of evil memory.”
Jan Rybar editorialized in the mainstream MF Dnes
(9/1): "Terrorists are seldom able
to win. However in the short run, they
can achieve their goals...creating chaos, inciting riots and complicating the
establishment of order...which could undermine the trust of Iraqis in their
belief that better times are coming....
The overwhelming majority of Iraqis are happy that Saddam’s regime has
been toppled...and if their cautious optimism is eroded then it would be a
partial defeat of the West as well as partial victory of the terrorists."
The center-left Irish Times judged (9/1): "There appear to be two struggles going
on in Iraq: one within the Shia community, the other against U.S. forces, by a
group or an ad-hoc alliance of groups determined to make the U.S. occupation of
Iraq untenable.... Washington is
proposing to deal with the increasingly unstable situation in two ways.... Establishing a large Iraqi paramilitary force
to help impose order in the country.
This is precisely what Iraq’s Governing Council has been proposing for
several weeks.... Last week the Bush
administration circulated ideas for a Security Council resolution.... U.S. forces would be freed for the struggle
against resistance groupings while additional foreign troops would assume
responsibility for security on local and municipal levels. There was little support for the U.S.
proposal among council members....
Unless there is a change of mind in Washington, a large influx of fresh
troops is unlikely.... The Bush
administration is caught between bombers and countries which are not prepared
to help deal with the bombers unless it concedes control to the UN."
"Iraqi Crisis Worsens"
The conservative, populist Irish Independent editorialized
(8/30): "President Bush hardly
needs to be reminded of the risks associated with the occupation of Iraq, but
the carnage at Najaf demands a multilateral response.... To date Mr. Bush has been resolute in his
terms for the involvement of international assistance. America would have to retain control having
shouldered the burden of risk with the UK....
President Bush’s most vocal critic French President Jacques Chirac...urged
the U.S. to begin transferring power to an Iraqi provisional government..... Germany’s foreign minister Joschka Fischer
has made an equally passionate plea for the UN to be given a leading role, with
a clear timetable for the return of sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Washington may not relish accepting advice
from 'Old Europe' but the situation has gravely moved beyond face-saving.”
MALTA: "Can (And
Ahould) America Police The World?"
Anthony Manduca, editor, wrote in the English-language independent
weekly, The Malta Independent (8/31):
"Iraq is proving to be more difficult to police. While the Germans, French and Turks have
troops in Afghanistan, they are reluctant to do the same in Iraq. This is a pity because it is clear that the
U.S., which is not particularly good at peacekeeping, cannot cope with a
situation which is fast getting out of control.... While the U.S. must remain committed to its
international responsibilities, one hopes that the rest of the international
community realize that they too must share part of the burden of policing the
Fear Of Civil War In Iraq"
Erik Sagflaat commented in the social democratic Dagsavisen
(9/2) : “With the bomb in Najaf on
Friday, we see the signs of a conflict between ethnic groups in Iraq that those
who were against the war warned about.
The pressure applied by the dictatorship is thrown away by foreign
military power, while the Iraqis themselves neither have had the time, nor the
possibility to install a new and better government system.... It was warned that a war against Iraq would
become a dead end in the fight against terror.
It appears worse than that: the war in Iraq is a step backward that has
strengthened al-Qaida and allowed the terror network an opportunity to
establish themselves where they previously were banned."
Leopold Unger opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (9/2): "Following the tragic events in Najaf,
the reverberations are getting more and more grave. They provoke questions and
raise doubts against which the Americans and their allies seem to be
helpless. First, was the bomb under the
Shiite mosque, which killed Baqir al-Hakim and more than 80 Shiites just an
episode or a part of the larger whole?
Is it the manifestation of the tribal hatred between the Shiites and
Sunnis; in other words, the beginning of a civil war in Iraq? Or is it a link in a chain of an organized
war against coalition troops, which started with the attack on the Jordan
embassy to be followed by the UN office bombing and massacre in Najaf?... The present situation in Iraq is a test for
the coalition forces, naturally mostly for Americans in crisis management. For the time being, it is a failure. Iraq is falling apart and the coalition
cannot keep abreast with the events as they unfold. The Americans have failed the exam in
foreseeing the outcome of their own actions....
It is already seen that by using force only--without extensive
cooperation from the Iraqi people and the world--one cannot establish democracy
in Iraq. The Americans need help."
Foreign policy analyst Mihaela Ganet commented in the business
oriented daily, Curentul (9/2):
“In this landscape, the attitude towards the United States and the war
in Iraq are in a continuous process of subtle adjustment. Fearful of repeating the March incident when
the Turkish parliament rejected a U.S. request to allow the deployment of
troops in Turkey at the beginning of the war in Iraq, the Turkish government is
presently trying to convince its MPs to send 10,000 Turkish troops to
Iraq. Financial assistance that the U.S.
has promised is at stake, as well as relations with Washington in the new
geostrategic map of the world.”
SPAIN: "The First Post Saddam Cabinet"
Conservative daily ABC wrote (9/2): "The fight for stability in Iraq, the
advance towards a complete transfer of power to the Iraqis, the creation and
strengthening of a system based on legality and warranty, and democratic
decision making are now on the front line of the global fight against
terrorism. Defeating terrorism in Iraq
is the beginning of its defeat in the whole region and the creation of a
scenario for bringing crisis situations to the negotiating tables without
terrorist blackmail hanging over the conversations."
TURKEY: "Should We
Send Troops To Iraq?"
Hursit Gunes noted in the mass-appeal Milliyet (9/2): “The U.S. wants to station Turkish troops in
central Iraq. If the U.S. had not asked,
Turkey would not be willing to go to Iraq.
Thus, such a deployment will serve U.S. interests rather than
Turkey’s.... It would be wrong to
correlate financial aid and military support, for the U.S. has provided
monetary support for Israel and Egypt, the two countries it did not ask for
help. Iraq is increasingly turning into
a military swamp. Sending troops to Iraq
would be extremely risky.... High-risk
help that would bring low gains is irrational.”
"Can The UN Bring Stability To Iraq?"
Sahin Alpay wrote in the intellectual-conservative Zaman
(9/2): “Ankara should go to Iraq only
through a UN resolution, and under a UN command.... Washington is not cold to the idea of UN
peacekeepers in Iraq under U.S. command....
The question is whether a switch of mandate from the U.S. to the UN will
bring stability to Iraq. From an Iraqi
viewpoint, it is questionable that the credibility of the UN, which imposed
economic sanctions on Iraq for years, is higher than that of the U.S.... Some analysts think that such a change of
administration will encourage the U.S. to undertake new military interventions
in Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.”
Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya
editor-in-chief Samir Ragab wrote (9/2):
"Should we congratulate Iraqis on the new government they formed
without Saddam Hussein? Or, should we
present our condolences to them because their rulers are coming out of exile,
during which they preferred bars to struggle, and under the protection of
occupying troops? It is a great tragedy
that Iraqi affairs are currently run by U.S. supreme envoy Bremer and the
members of the [Iraqi] National Congress.
It is no surprise then that resistance operations increase
daily.... In addition, it is a great
humiliation that the new government lacks a ministry of defense and one of
Islamic property, which means the will of Iraqis will be in the hands of
"Who Did it?"
Senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama wrote in pro-government Al
Ahram (9/2): “The Najaf massacre is
about to ignite sectarian religious strife and to spread chaos and
destruction.... There are real fears
that...this may lead to civil war.”
"So Iraq Does Not Turn Into Another Somalia"
Aggressive, pro-government, daily Al Akhbar suggested
(9/2): “The assassination of Baqir Al
Hakim and tens of his followers is not an ordinary crime. It is a planned crime for which the place and
time were carefully chosen in order to strike more than one nefarious
goal. One of them is striking at the
unity of Iraq and its security in the same way as was done in Somalia, which
has been divided into tribes and groups after once having been a single,
sovereign country. And though what
happened in Somalia and now [is happening] in Iraq is the natural outcome of
the ugly rule of dictatorship, still it is even worse to replace that with a
foreign occupation blinded by its interests.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
Abha's moderate Al-Watan editorialized (9/1): "The American allegations about the
existence of Islamists in Iraq are based on fabricated intelligence reports,
similar to those about the WMD. However,
today the U.S. can say with confidence that the Iraqi stage holds within it Islamist
cells that have gone public. In the
absence of security in Iraq, the country has become a safe haven for al-Qaida's
sleeper cells, and all the anti-American groups. If the coalition forces keep on protecting
themselves alone without paying attention to what is happening to the Iraqis,
then many more incidents like the one in Najaf are likely to happen."
Riyadh's English language moderate, Riyadh Daily judged
(9/1): "It is said that America has
a mighty military machine but lacks understanding of the nature of other
people. The failure of America to
protect its own forces in Iraq and the Iraqi people will pose a major challenge
to the Bush administration. Was the
killing of Ayatollah Hakim an early warning to America and those cooperating
with it or was it meant to create conflict between one sect and another? Is it in the interest of America to get rid
of a person like Hakim because he was close to Iran, fearing that an alliance
could be reached between the Shiites in the two countries? If we admit that it was in the interest of
America to restore law and order in Iraq, we can rule out that America had a
hand in the killing of Hakim. But if we
consider the lack of security in Iraq, America will be the number one
suspect. What happened was a big
crime. Not against a religious leader
but against all Iraqis. This will deepen
the differences between the various Iraqi groups. Iraq will remain unstable, particularly in
the foreseeable future, and one day we may discover mass graves of those killed
in car bombs in Iraq alongside other mass graves in the country."
Jeddah's English language daily, Arab News held
(8/31): "On the basis that my
enemy's enemy is my friend, it now seems very likely that an alliance has been
formed between al-Qaida and the dangerous remnants of Saddam's regime. Whether this will in the long run make it
easier or harder to defeat the forces opposing the coalition occupation remains
to be seen.... It is a fact, however,
that with every new attack from whatever source, the Iraqis protest ever more
loudly at the U.S.-led coalition's inability to restore law and order. Thus after the Najaf horror the curses were
for George W. Bush as well as Saddam."
"Al-Hakeem's Death Is A Sign Of American Security
Abha's moderate Al-Watan editorialized (8/31): "Al-Hakeem was not an ordinary man. Protecting him may not have been an easy
task, especially in a town such as Najaf.
But at least the U.S. forces should have been better prepared,
especially after the attacks on the Jordanian embassy and the UN
headquarters.... The killing of Mr.
Al-Hakeem will lead to a whirlwind of violence.
If these killings continue to become a daily occurrence then Iraq's
national unity is endangered, and that is in itself a failure of the American
security measures taken to secure Iraq."
Jeddah's English language daily, Saudi Gazette judged
(8/31): "In the present
circumstances, the Arab League should come forward to save an important Arab
country from total destruction or what is going to be a prolonged civil war. The U.S. administration of president Bush has
its own agenda for Iraq. But today, it
is in America's interest as well to protect Iraq from disaster. The question is not in which direction the
Iraqi oil should flow. The issue is
Iraq's survival as a nation. In this
situation, the Iraqi people, regardless of their ethnic origin or religious
persuasion, will trust the Arab League more than any other international
organization. An emergency Arab summit
should take up the issue and decide how to protect a member country from an
KUWAIT: "Terrorism Is
Saud Al-Samaka judged in independent Al-Qabas (9/1): “Those who are behind the assassination of
Baqer Al-Hakim were aiming at causing a civil war in Iraq after the end of
Shiite MP Abdul- Mohsen Yousef Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas
(9/1): “The death of Baqer Al-Hakim is a
tremendous loss for Iraq. His death, however, will also be an important factor
in strengthening Iraq’s unity. It will
help Iraqis realize the importance of their unity and the importance of
deciding on pending issues before things get out of control.... Al-Hakim’s martyrdom will expedite the birth
of a new Iraq according to his vision and one that the Interim Governing
Council had adopted and the majority of the Iraqi people will approve. His martyrdom is a strong blow to Saddam’s
cronies who are corrupting this earth.
His martyrdom will also be a strong deterrent to the forces of
occupation so they may speed up the process of handing over security to the
Iraqi people and to help establish their forces and institutions in order to
prevent the situation from deteriorating.”
"Who Will Save Iraq?"
Dr. Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Seyassah
(8/31): “It seems that the situation in
Iraq will deteriorate more especially after the assassination of [Baqer]
Al-Hakim. This makes it uncertain if it
is possible to achieve peace without the foreign presence in Iraq.... The problems in Iraq today are not due to
internal disputes among the parties, but because these parties and sects have
adopted the language of terrorism and violence, instead of adopting the
language of dialogue and tolerance. We,
as Arabs, must demand that coalition forces remain in Iraq until it is stable
and a new constitution is written. We do
not want another Somalia or Afghanistan near us.”
Sahar Baasiri wrote in moderate anti Syria An-Nahar
(9/2): "Iraq witnessed what is
supposed to be the long awaited event:
the naming of the first government since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s
regime. But that event is in truth a
non-event. That is because the new
government does not bring any qualitative novelty or any essential change to
Iraq’s reality today. The American
government-appointed Iraqi Interim Governing Council cloned itself in the
cabinet in terms of the ethnic and religious distributions.... Yet the absence of the quality of ‘event’
from the new government, does not mean the absence of any value to its role. It will probably play a role in enhancing the
practical abilities and functions of the Interim Council. It might also give feelings of relief to the
Iraqis, to a certain extent, and to the Americans, for sure, that Iraqi names
were handling their affairs.... It is a
step that some have described as a ‘step on the right track.'... But what could bring about a real event in
Iraq and produce an essential development is either of two things. The first has to do with the representation quality
of the principle of governing and that is linked to elections and cannot be
settled except through an election. The
second has to do with the notion of sovereignty...and that can be provided by
decreasing the role of the occupying forces and transferring authority to the
Iraqis or to an international force that would guarantee transfer of authority
to the Iraqis. And the international
force that seems possible today is the UN."
"The Occupation Is Responsible"
Talal Salman held in Arab nationalist As-Safir (9/1): “Iraq is the martyr, and the American
occupation is, first and last, responsible for the attempt to assassinate this
country, which is the founder of the human civilization. This assassination attempt is expressed through
breaking its national will by invading it militarily and trying to incite feud
to distract the Iraqis from what the American occupation is preparing for their
present and future. The occupation alone
is responsible for the Najaf massacre...for the Baghdad massacre that targeted
the UN mission...for the Jordanian Embassy’s massacre.... The American occupation is, first and last,
responsible since it represents the ultimate authority in all Iraq.”
QATAR: "Iraq’s New
Semi-independent Al-Watan editorialized (9/2): “The Iraqis will never accept any initiative
from this new cabinet which was formed according to a denomination basis unless
this new cabinet states a date for the departure of the American
occupation. Otherwise, the new cabinet will
always be seen as a toy in the hands of Governor Bremer. The Iraqis want to see a cabinet that
reflects their hopes and dreams and not the orders and the instructions of
Bremer. If a date is to be set for the
occupier to leave and for elections to take place, the Iraqis may accept the
American presence for a transitional period of time; otherwise the resistance
and the killings will continue and the Iraqis will be the only loser in this
Of The Occupation Of Iraq"
Mohammed Khair al-Jamali, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (9/2): "Within the framework
of repercussions of the U.S. impasse in Iraq...we can list the feverish U.S.
endeavors to drag the world community into the Iraqi quagmire by requiring
other countries to send military forces to Iraq under the pretext of preserving
security. We can also list the recent
U.S. admission of the importance of the UN role in reconstructing Iraq. What aggravates the U.S. impasse is that the
world community is refusing to accede to U.S. demands unless international
participation is conducted under UN auspices and coupled with ending
"The Sinking Ship"
Dr. Haydar Haydar held in government-owned Al-Thawra
(8/31): "Supported by London,
Washington insists on its stand and wants the world to share the burden, but
under U.S. command. It does not seek
effective UN participation, but wants an international umbrella in order to
sustain its occupation. In other words, it
wants the United Nations as a political fig leaf to cover its failed policy in
Iraq. Events on the ground and intense
discussions in Washington and London clearly indicate that the ship of
occupation is sinking."
"A Diabolical Plan"
Hajer Jeridi editorialized in independent French-language
daily Le Temps (9/2): “Could we still hope for the situation in
Iraq to become clearer? Alas no! The Iraqi imbroglio has reached such a degree
of complication that no solution out of this crisis is currently
perceivable. It is total disorder and
anarchy. Iraq is back to the tribal
era.... This is what the ‘liberated’
Iraq looks like: a wounded country, on the verge of disaster. The ones who have rekindled the fire are
there watching the ‘scheduled’ decline of a civilization, without concern. Their only problem is how to find the money
to cover the expenses of the war....
Despite the failure to reestablish security and despite the loss in
human lives, the coalition forces do not seem to be discouraged in their
mission--to redeploy in the region after leaving Saudi Arabia and to
redistribute the cards to build pipelines in order to send Iraqi oil to
Israel...and to revive the seeds of division among the Iraqis. The plan is diabolical but it will backfire
against its instigators.”
"Are The Americans Finally Facing Facts?"
Senior editor Manoubi Akrout argued in independent French-language
daily Le Quotidien (9/2):
“According to the latest news, a hope is born. Since many sources agree that the Americans
will finally be convinced that there is no salvation for the reputation of the
superpower except by working with the UN....
International observers support the idea that only international
legality is able to convince the Iraqis to overcome this difficult period.... If Americans still have a sense of logic
left, they should give the UN its role, which is to reestablish order in Iraq
and ensure only the Iraqi interests prevail....
It is only by acting this way that the U.S. can face the harmful wave of
the neo-conservatives that is pushing the world into the abyss of a sordid clash
UAE: "Ugly Crime"
Sharjah-based pan-Arab daily Al-Khaleej remarked
(9/1): "Yesterday, the UAE
confirmed that this ugly crime targeted not only Ayatollah Al Hakim but also
assassinated the aspirations of the Iraqi people for a better future, and that
was by striking [Iraq's] national unity and the efforts of its loyal people to
re-establish stability and security....
The committers of the Najaf massacre...took advantage of the instability
which Iraq is drowning in because of the occupation's deliberate delay in
handing over the country to the Iraqis."
"Hurricane Of Violence"
Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab daily Akhbar Al Arab editorialized
(9/1): "This (the assassination)
will lead the country into a hurricane of crazy violence just like the civil
wars in Lebanon and Afghanistan that will prevent the country from escaping
this blind violence, and all the country's resources will be destroyed in this
"Only Silver Lining"
Abu Dhabi-based semi-government Al Ittihad editorialized
(9/1): "The only silver lining
among all these negatives is the disappearance of the previous regime and all
its manifestations.... There is no
argument that the sooner the Iraqis handle their own issues the sooner the
dangers that threaten their country will minimize.... The transitional Governing Council, which has
been formed a month ago, has proven that the Iraqis are able to rule themselves
without any guardianship."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
JAPAN: "U.S. Should
Allow Iraqis To Rule Their Country Early"
The liberal Asahi editorialized (8/31): "The car bombing that killed more than
100 people on Friday, including a powerful Shiite leader, threw the Shiite
community and many other Iraqis into turmoil and further set back faltering
U.S.-led efforts to stabilize and reconstruct postwar Iraq… Although President
Bush recently renewed his firm determination to continue the U.S. military
deployment in Iraq to fight terrorism, French President Chirac proposes that
the U.S. relinquish control of the reins of government to Iraqis as soon as
possible. It is ironic that some
'hawkish' USG officials have become critical about what they call an 'error' in
the present U.S. occupation policy, demanding that Iraqis administer their own
country. We believe that the U.S. and
Britain should now frankly admit their failed occupation policy and accelerate
a new political process that allows Iraqis to establish their own government,
regroup their own military and police forces and restore law and order to their
CHINA: "Huge Bombings
In Iraq Shock Islam"
Fa Di and Wan Ting commented in the official Communist Party
international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(9/2): “Three bombings in the span of
one month has entrapped the U.S. completely in a difficult situation. The Jordanian Embassy bombing severely struck
at pro-U.S. forces, further isolating the U.S.; the bombing of the UN
headquarters...made the international community reconsider the cost of entering
Iraq; it is possible that the Najaf bombing may again arouse terrible religious
conflicts. These three bombings have
caused the U.S., which has not improved the security environment, to bear an
even heavier burden.... The U.S. will
become entrenched deeper and deeper in this country if it does not hand over
Iraq to Iraqis as soon as possible.”
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARs):
"Iraq Has Become Terrorists' Paradise"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(8/31): "Thanks to Washington, Iraq
has become terrorists' paradise....
Since the end of the Iraq war, control is still very loose, and the
border exists in name only. This is like
opening the door for terrorist groups....
At the same time, Iraqis against the U.S.-British invasion may welcome
these radical elements in the hope of ousting the occupation army.... U.S. troops are facing a bigger threat in
Iraq. They are looking for the
international community to send troops to Iraq to help stabilizing the
situation. However, the U.S. and
Britain...only agreed to grant limited military power, but not security,
political or economic powers in Iraq. As
Russia, France and Germany have said, the U.S. and Britain are just using the
UN to clean up the mess after the war.
They are not respecting the UN authority. Of course, no major countries will respond to
"It Is Hard For The U.S. To Cope With The Chaotic Situation
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal
editorialized (9/1): "The current
Iraqi situation does not have the same political and economic impact on the
world as before. Since the U.S. is
already deeply involved in Iraq, the frequent casualty reports have raised
anxiety in the U.S. government, Congress and the general public. More and more Americans have begun to
question the utility of the Iraq war.
Moreover, the heavy economic burden is too much for America to endure. The Iraqi situation will therefore affect the
U.S. presidential election, the U.S. role in global security, and international
SOUTH KOREA: "Is The
United States Sinking Into The Mire Of Iraq?"
The moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized (9/1): “U.S.-led efforts to reconstruct Iraq are
facing a lot of difficulty due to a number of terror attacks, including a
recent car bomb attack outside a mosque in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Al
Najaf that killed 120 people, including Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr al-Hakim, a
leading Shiite cleric who had cooperated with the U.S. This unfavorable development has raised
concerns that the U.S. might be sinking deeper into the mire of Iraq.... The U.S. is to blame for all this difficulty,
considering its unreasonable and unjustifiable push for the war against Iraq.”
"U.S. Mistake In Iraq"
The nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun contended
(9/1): “The current chaos in Iraq is the
result of the U.S.’s unjustifiable invasion and occupation of the
country.... The U.S. must admit to its
mistakes and pull its troops out of the country. The only way to end the ongoing chaos in Iraq
and to stabilize the political situation in the Middle East is to return the
sovereignty of Iraq to Iraqi people....
No one wants Iraq to become a second Vietnam.”
MALAYSIA: "Pleas Of
The World Have Moved The U.S."
Government-influenced, Malay language daily Berita Harian
editorialized (8/30): "The American
public has been shocked at the rising body count and are losing confidence in
Bush’s ability to handle this crisis. It
is not surprising why his administration is now hastily trying to hand off the
restoration of peace and stability to the United Nations. The refusal of India, France and Germany to
send troops to be under U.S. control has also put Bush at a dead end.... However, before the UN takes over the
situation in Iraq, the 170,000 U.S. and British soldiers have to be
withdrawn. This will allow UN
peacekeepers the ability to operate without U.S. influence, and also give
confidence to the Iraqis who have been bristling under the American occupation."
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
INDIA: "Nasty, Brutish
The centrist Indian Express contended (9/1): “The despicable assassination of Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr
al-Hakim...intensifies the reality of increasing insecurity and violence in
Iraq. Opposition to the Anglo-American
coalition authority runs the serious risk of gravitating toward a pattern of
assassinations as a tool to bring about political changes to suit the goals of
groups and individuals.... Recent
developments leave the extremely worrisome impression that the U.S.-UK led
authority in Iraq endorsed by the UN is in a state of confusion if not
paralysis amidst this growing chaos....
The situation in Iraq is rapidly deteriorating, generating new challenges
that were not foreseen even two months ago.
In a curious way, events are pushing India inexorably toward what may
yet become the moment of decision, especially since New Delhi had offered to
consider sending a peacekeeping force in case of an appropriate UN
mandate.... Iraq seems to be sliding
down an instability spiral and we must reassess our options under the changing
situation. Any decision to participate
in stabilization arrangements must be based on an unambiguous conclusion that
it would succeed in its goals at minimum acceptable costs. And that conclusion must be derived from a
"Death In Najaf"
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (9/1): “The assassination of Ayatollah Mohammed
Baqir al-Hakim...is arguably the most significant political development in Iraq
since the toppling of Saddam Hussein....
A section of the Sunni population [is] in revolt against the occupying
forces, and trouble starting up between the Kurds and the Turkomens in the
north.... It is symptomatic of the
prevailing confusion that neither the office of L. Paul Bremer, the American
‘viceroy’, nor Iraq’s newly set up Governing Council, handpicked by the
Americans, has said anything on as major an incident as the Najaf
bombing.... The attack in Najaf, coming
on the heels of the destruction of the UN office in Baghdad, has further
exposed the incapacity of the U.S.-led occupation to provide security to Iraq.”
PAKISTAN: "The Correct
The Karachi-based, right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu daily, Jasarat
contended (9/2): "As many as
300,000 Iraqis participated in the burial rites of renowned Shiite religious
scholar Ayatollah Baqar Hakim. All these
people were raising the slogans of 'down with America' and everybody was
expressing his deep resentment towards America.
Isn't it enough proof that a majority of the Iraqis do not accept
American occupation? Will the U.S. still
claim that it is the liberator of the people of Iraq?"
"Iraqi Tragedy And U.S. Dilemma"
Irshad Ahmad Haqqani opined in the leading mass circulation Urdu
daily, Jang (8/31): "It is
now established that all the Pentagon calculations about the post-war situation
in Iraq have turned out to be wrong and the U.S. is confronting such problems
that were never anticipated. It is
becoming difficult for the United States to remain present there with each
passing day. But it is also not finding
any respectable exit strategy. In fact
American wisdom is failing to face the Iraq situation. If President Bush does not show the
capability to rise above his limited and self-conceited approach then he would
not only drown Iraq but himself also."
"Carnage At Najaf"
The centrist national English daily, The News judged
(8/31): "Coming within a week of
the blast at the UN office in Baghdad, the Najaf carnage is another reminder of
the insecurity and instability that has accompanied U.S.-UK occupation of
Iraq. It is also a reflection of the
Anglo-American priorities in Iraq, which seem to dictate greater security cover
for the country’s oil installations than its people.... Even after the carnage, it was the rag tag
Iraqi police that were seen scratching around for the dead and injured while
the American soldiers looked on. This is
hardly the recipe for winning Iraqi hearts and minds. Calling for more foreign troops is neither
going to diminish the Anglo-American responsibilities under international law,
nor is it likely to improve the security situation."
"Iraq And The UN"
The Lahore-based liberal English daily, Daily Times held
(8/30): "The United States is
coming round to realizing that the costs for it in men and material in Iraq are
increasing and it should bring in the United Nations to give multilateral cover
to its unilateral exercise.... The
attack on the UN headquarters in Iraq shows the UN is already in the crosshairs
and is seen as Washington’s handmaiden....
For the UN to be effective, it is important that the various contenders
in Iraq should come to see it as independent of the United States. The Bush administration would do itself and
the UN a lot of good by reviewing its Iraq policy. If the Iraq carbuncle is allowed to fester
any more, even the UN won’t be able to do much good."
Question America’s Neo-Conservative Plans For Iraq"
Brian Whitaker opined in the government-controlled daily The
Herald (9/2): "Unfortunately
for President Bush...he has left no face-saving escape route for himself and
his country. The neo-conservative
solution is to devote to Iraq whatever it takes and for as long as it takes,
for a whole generation if necessary....
Only total commitment on a scale not seen since the end of the Second
World War can ensure U. S. success in Iraq....
But turning Iraq into a neo-conservative paradise...cannot be done in a
hurry, and that is the heart of the CPA’s problem.... The main political divide in Iraq at present
is not between Sunni and Shia, or between Arabs and Kurds. It is between those who are willing to accept
the U.S. occupation in good faith and those who aren’t. Currently the U.S. still has the benefit of
the doubt, but the longer it seeks to retain control, the more that will
change. The U.S.’ reluctance to cede
control to Iraqis stems from a fear that the wrong sort of people might get into
power and blow the project off course.
But delays can blow it off course too.
Iraqi members of the new governing council...must consider their own
credibility with the electorate. There’s
a limit to how long they can cooperate with the U.S. and have nothing to show
for it. Not ceding control to Iraqis
also creates another problem. It ensures
that all the many grievances and grumbles of ordinary people are directed
against the U.S. Giving real power to
the governing council would redirect complaints and focus attention on possible
Right-of-center O Globo remarked (9/2): "The death of an important Shiite leader
in Iraq as a consequence of an attack, has sent crowds to Baghdad's streets to
protest. But in this case, the great
problem is neither the attack nor the protests.
It's rather, the perception that once taken the excrescence represented
by the Saddam government, what lies below is not a country, but rather pieces
of a puzzle--as feared by those who in the Gulf war had warned of the risks of
overthrowing Saddam. To overthrow a
government is easy. To construct a
country where there is no one at all is a task that challenges the geniuses of
political or military strategy."
"Terrorism As An Electoral Weapon"
Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized
(8/30): "The refusal by President
Bush and his close advisors to recognize that the post-war period in Iraq has
been a series of disasters is amazing....
Bush's eyes are not turned to the chaotic reality in Iraq or its human
and financial cost, but to the votes he needs in November 2004.... The role of the sole protector of an America
threatened by homicidal barbarism is what Bush is preparing to play to convince
the voters who, for the first time, seem to be more inclined to place another
leader in the White House."
Left-leaning Noticias noted (9/2): "Governing a democracy is a complicated
issue because those who govern must submit themselves to the will of those they
govern. The citizens of the United States
are disturbed by the number of deaths and will soon lose their patience, even
if the interests of the country have not been secured between the Tigris and