International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 9, 2004

April 9, 2004





**  "Sunni-Shia cohesion" is a "nightmare scenario" for the U.S. 

**  Any transfer of sovereignty will be "nothing more than an empty ceremony."

**  Muslim, liberal writers seek a new government under a UN "umbrella" to provide stability.

**  Dailies from Coalition countries vow their nations won't "renege" on their commitments.



'Unity among Shi'ites and Sunnis' means resistance is 'increasing and widening'--  Many outlets said the opposition now "involves Sunnis, Shi'ites and all Iraqi groups," indicating "universal antipathy" towards the U.S.  Speaking for many, Turkey's mass appeal Sabah judged "ongoing Sunni-Shia collaboration" as proof Iraqis perceive the U.S. as a "common enemy."  Conservative dailies rejected the "facile comparison" to Vietnam, but papers such as Japan's Asahi saw the "Vietnamization" of Iraq.  Muslim observers hailed Iraq's "heroic resistance" against the "unjustified U.S. occupation," with Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Bilad declaring the current situation simply "national resistance against a foreign occupation...not terrorism."


The promised handover of power 'just cannot work'--  Dailies called the 30 June plan to hand over power "nearly impossible" given the "almost total lack of planning" and the continuing "hellish violence."  France's right-of-center Le Figaro held that the U.S. "cannot withdraw in the near future" as it would plunge Iraq "into chaos or a civil war" because the "ragbag puppet government" is "weak and unreliable."  Several dailies noted the "American dilemma":  a "harum-scarum withdrawal" will make the U.S. appear to be "running away," but a delay means "it will have gone back on its word."  Many papers warned the Coalition's "highly military" and "excessive" response will "only lead to increased resistance and violence."  Portugal's influential Publico stressed the crisis "can't be combated exclusively by military means." 


Only the UN can create a 'credible transitional regime'--  The "sustained civil strife" prompted leftist observers to favor a "swift move by the UN" to take control; Pakistan's popular Din said the U.S.' "only honorable way out" is to give "maximum control to the UN."  Other analysts countered that "Iraq's own intifada" makes it "probably too late for the UN" because it "cannot play a military role."  The "deeper inner struggle for power" spurred warnings that al-Sadr's "intolerance and sectarianism" could lead to the "emergence of a Shia theocracy."  Arab and Turkish outlets slammed al-Sadr's "Taliban-like movement," while Lebanon's moderate An-Nahar stressed that al-Sadr "does not represent all the Shiites in Iraq." 


'Withdrawing from Iraq' would show 'extreme irresponsibility'--  Japanese, Polish and Korean writers agreed their governments cannot "renege" on their pledge "to ensure peace in and reconstruct Iraq" despite "deplorable" and "contemptible" hostage-taking acts.  Poland's centrist Rzeczpospolita warned that "failure in Iraq would be not only a failure of U.S. policy, but...of the entire West."  Austrian and Belgian papers argued Europe "must do more" because a "splintered Iraq would be a danger for everyone" by breeding more "extremists of al-Qaida's ilk."  But liberal dailies saw an impending collapse of the "coalition of the weak-willed"; Russia's reformist Vremya Novostey alleged "the U.S.-led coalition is falling apart."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 114 reports from 42 countries over 6 - 9 April 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Bush And Blair Have Lit A Fire Which Could Consume Them"


Seumas Milne wrote in the left-of-center Guardian (4/8):  "Where are they now, the cheerleaders for war on Iraq? Where are the US Republican hawks who predicted the Anglo-American invasion would be a 'cakewalk,' greeted by cheering Iraqis?....  The attack on a mosque during afternoon prayers will, without doubt, swell the ranks of what has become a nationwide uprising against the U.S.-led occupation. By launching a crackdown against the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr--and, in an eloquent display of what it means by freedom in occupied Iraq, closing his newspaper--the U.S. has finally triggered the long-predicted revolt across the Shia south and ended the isolation of the resistance in the so-called Sunni triangle....  This revolt shows every sign of turning into Iraq's own intifada....  Across Iraq, US soldiers and their European allies are now killing Iraqis in their hundreds on the streets of their own cities in an explosive revival of the Middle East's imperial legacy....  The growing panic in now focused on the date for the formal--and entirely cosmetic--transfer of sovereignty to a hand-picked Iraqi puppet administration, currently timetabled for June 30....  In any case, according to existing plans, the US will maintain full effective control--of security, oil, economic policy, major contracts--under a rigged interim constitution....  If Iraq is now to regain its independence, the lessons of history are that the Iraqi resistance will have to sharply raise the costs of occupation....  There is a multiplicity of different possible mechanisms to bring about a negotiated, orderly withdrawal and free elections.  Tony Blair calls that 'running away' and admitting 'we have got it all wrong.'  But he and Bush did get it wrong: there were no WMD, Iraq wasn't a threat, there was no UN authorisation, and the invasion was manifestly illegal....  The lessons of empire are having to be learned all over again."


"More Troops For Iraq"


The conservative Daily Telegraph stated (4/8):  "It is not the outcome that George W. Bush wanted; in an election year, he would have preferred to be bringing the boys home.  If compelled to send more troops, he will doubtless seek to sweeten the pill by persuading allies, first among them Britain, to follow suit.  Tony Blair is due in Washington for talks with the President on April 16....  A strong allied military presence remains essential to the nurturing of Iraq's embryonic democracy."


"Press Forward"


The conservative Times asserted (4/8):  "Iraq is not Vietnam and the campaign should not be haunted by that facile comparison.  It will be a year tomorrow since a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad was pulled down and the original war in Iraq deemed to be completed.  Post-conflict management has been blighted by a number of mistakes, some very serious, but Mr. Bremer deserves credit for the adjustments he has made.  The next stretch may be the hardest of the enterprise.  It will demand resolve in Washington and in London. It also depends on mainstream Iraqi leaders accepting that it is their country and their challenge too."


FRANCE:  “Debacle”


Patrick Sabatier wrote in left-of-center Liberation (4/9):  “Faced with the growing uprisings, the coalition of volunteers is turning into a coalition of the weak-willed...awaiting the sounding of the retreat....  All feel they were fooled by the U.S. about the risks of the adventure and the reasons for going to war. Hostage taking may speed up the debacle....  A year after the start of the war, the coalition controls very little in Iraq....  Militarily speaking, the defeat of the coalition changes nothing for the U.S. Politically speaking, it is a harsh blow....  President Bush is beginning to consult the countries whose position on the war he disregarded, including France, asking them to participate in a multinational peace keeping force to protect the UN. One can easily imagine that these countries will think twice before stepping in to save Bush from a trap which he created for himself.”


“A Year Later, America Pays For Its Mistakes”


Renaud Girard noted in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/9):  “What assessment can we make of Iraq a year later? All is not bad: an open economy has benefited the population....  The American administration is improving all the infrastructures....  Hospitals are working and doctors are getting paid. In short, daily life in Sadr City has improved....  But the Americans have failed to improve security for goods and people across Iraq....  Without security, freedom will always remain an empty word....  The auspices for the transfer of power on June 30 are not the best....  The Americans sincerely want to hand over power, but they know that today there is no one able to take the relay....  If they leave too soon, the Americans run the dangerous risk of leaving behind anarchy and civil war....  The Americans must learn and persevere until their efforts begin to finally bear fruit.”


“The Worst Possible Scenario”


Patrick Sabatier held in left-of-center Liberation (4/8):  “The question is no longer whether the U.S. is mired in Iraq--the answer is yes--but whether it can get out of the quagmire and how. In spite of his determination not to change strategies, President Bush is witnessing the worst possible scenario....  The one he had been warned against by those allies who did not want to follow blindly. The Sunni guerrilla war continues, part of the Shiite population is rebelling, the provisional Iraqi government has no power, Iraq’s reconstruction is compromised by the level of insecurity and more and more GIs are going home in body bags....  Iraq is not Vietnam, not yet. But like Vietnam, Iraq is a disaster in the making. President Bush is set on transferring power on June 30 to an Iraqi phantom government. Intent on being reelected as ‘a war President,’ George Bush is running the risk of leading his country into a debacle, taking his allies with him. Not everyone has the makings of a Roosevelt. For his allies, the dilemma is immense: how to help without sinking themselves. The risk of a regional explosion is real. So is the danger of an Iraqi civil war if the coalition withdraws. It is probably too late for the UN....  The worst may not be a certainty. But what is certain is that President Bush has no solution to the problem. He is the problem.”




Jean-Paul Pierot commented in communist L’Humanite (4/8):  “The Shiite rebellion and the harassment the GIs must endure in the Sunni triangle are signs that the situation is getting out of hand. President Bush promised his soldiers they would be welcomed as liberators. One year later the war is escalating....  The crusade is turning into the Twelve Stations of Christ....  There were no weapons of mass destruction: recently Secretary Powell acknowledged his mea culpa, albeit belatedly. As for terrorism, it showed its face in Iraq with the war...and killed hundreds in Madrid....  At least America’s defeat in Vietnam led to a sovereign nation. In Iraq, on the contrary, the war and the occupation have led to a climate of intolerance and sectarianism that could endanger the country’s unity....  Caught in this quagmire, President Bush may be tempted with an escalation, leading to more casualties and more terrorism all over the world.”


"We Must Not Hinder The Americans"


Renaud Girard judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/7): “In view of the serious difficulties the Americans are facing, we must not rejoice in their misery. First because America is our ally, an ally that has helped us terribly in the past. And mostly because a complete failure in pacifying Iraq would have terrible consequences for the West.… It is a fact that the U.S. has led its country in a war under false pretenses.… The neo-cons, ignorant of the land they were coming into, seriously overestimated their soldiers’ ability to colonize a country they knew nothing about. They totally forgot about political preparedness for the post war.… France on the other hand, with its long colonial experience, predicted the dangers and told them to its American ally...inviting the Americans to be careful.… The problem is that the neo-cons’ audacity was misplaced. They should have invested their energy in resolving the Middle East conflict, in ‘nation building’ in Afghanistan and dismantling terrorism’s financing networks.… But it is useless to cry over spilled milk. We must grasp the new Iraqi reality.… The Americans have promised a transfer of power by June 30. This just cannot work. The Iraqi governing council enjoys no real authority and the country is in the grips of a double insurrection: Sunni and Shiite. The truth is that America cannot withdraw in the near future, at the risk of plunging Iraq into chaos or a civil war. France is therefore well advised to keep from diplomatically harassing its ally over the transfer of power and stop calling for the UN at every turn… The UN has never once been able to pacify and effectively administer a territory it has been handed.”


GERMANY:  "Before An Uprising?"


Wolfgang Guenter Lerch opined in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/8):  "An armed uprising against U.S. and British occupiers and its allied forces is not yet happening in Iraq, but an outbreak could only be a question of time.  The most recent escalation of fights and attacks is making us worry:  From the Sunni triangle, mainly in Fallujah, up to the holy sites of the Shiites in central and southern Iraq, we witnessed bloody attacks that almost began at the same time.  It is likely that the Americans will have to send even more soldiers to the troubled country.  What we must now fear are two things: that Shiites and Sunnis will closely cooperate and that the radicals among the latter could pull the moderate forces onto their side.  This will depend on whether influential Ayatollah al-Sistani gives up his previous restrained attitude.  An unconfirmed report that the Americans had transported POW Saddam Hussein secretly to the U.S. base in Qatar shows how nervous they are.  They are probably afraid that old forces and new terrorists could launch a liberation attempt."


"Bush Going Down In Chaos"


Andreas Oldag judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/8):  "A nightmare scenario is developing for President Bush. Three months before the planned handing over of power, Iraq is going down in chaos....  Because of the heavy fighting in Sunni and Shiite regions, the president is in a dilemma.  The U.S. forces urgently need re-enforcements...but if Bush gives in to his generals' request, he will get under increasing domestic pressure a few months before the presidential elections....  The impression among U.S. voters that their president deceived them should play a main role in the coming weeks in the domestic controversy....  All this comes at the right time for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The more Bush is going down in the Iraq chaos, the more Kerry will be able to capitalize on it, and present himself as a credible alternative, while time is running out for Bush....  With respect to foreign policy, Bush will be able to save the confusing situation only if he succeeds in integrating Iraq into an international peace mission.  There is no way around the UN....  But a solution will become more difficult day after day, since a civil war is looming in Iraq among hostile ethnic groups."


"Captured Occupier"


Heiko Flottau opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/7):  "The date of June 30 demonstrates that it is the American election and not the situation of Iraqis that determines U.S. plans.  It is the day Americans want to transfer power to Iraqis, but people between Basra in the South and Dahuk in the North believe that Americans want to retreat to military bases and rule from their new fortified embassy.  As transparent this political maneuver is as illusionary is the timetable.  Iraqis desire the U.S. retreat but also demand that the occupiers leave controlled circumstances behind.  A harum-scarum withdraw would be interpreted by many as shrinking responsibility.  And the UN?  Washington and London ignored the world community before the war.  Turning to the UN now is a confession of failure.  But the UN cannot play a military role.  All it can do is help politically.   Is there an exit?  Unlikely.  It could be right what Senator Kennedy said that Iraq turns into 'Bush's Vietnam'."


"Slogan: Let's Get Out Of Iraq"


Martina Doering contended in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (4/7):  "Bush could not deploy the necessary number of soldiers to combat so many Iraqis adept at fighting.  Not in an election year.   NATO could engage, but what is it supposed to do there?  The second idea to transfer power to an Iraqi government--even if it were just the old governing council--and to retreat to military bases is no option either, because this ploy would not appease insurgents.   They would not respect a puppet government.  Americans would not be left in peace at their bases.  The third option would be the best but also the worst for Americans:  'Let's get out of Iraq' the slogan should read.  The U.S. has achieved its main goal, which was to topple Saddam and his regime, and done Iraqis, mankind, human rights and democracy a favor.  That would also mean power transfer to Iraqis, although a bit sudden.  However, the plans to democratize the Middle East would have finally collapsed.  The Bush government and the U.S. as hegemony power would stand disgraced.  The region would be more unstable than ever before and international terrorists would triumph."


ITALY:  “The President’s Thorns”


Mario Platero commented in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (4/9):  “Exactly one year from the taking of Baghdad, America is lost and confused before the apparent failure of the action plan in Iraq. Instead of reconstruction, freedom and peace, at least three fronts remain open in Iraq on which U.S. international credibility and White House elections 2004 are being played out: the first is a military front; the second is foreign policy--a complex front due to the problematic relations with the UN and with ally nations like France, Germany and recently Spain; the third is the front of domestic policy, which is fragile, erratic and volatile to the point that domestic priorities have been inverted: they used to say that Bush would have had problems with the economy, but that he would have ‘maintained’ the majority of the electorate on the Iraqi issue. Today we realize that the economy is picking up, but that the Iraq issue could cause Bush to lose the elections.”


“The Return of Vietnam”


Vittorio Zucconi maintained in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (4/8):  “Thirty-six years after those years of confusion and anxiety [Vietnam], while insurgents force an army, that believed it had won, to fight in eight Iraqi cities, America is once again facing the fear of looking ahead....  It is stupefying to see the way the Americans accept with indifference or stoicism the bitter price to pay for the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime....  The Iraqi insurgents, who burn bodies and launch attacks against armored tanks, shouldn’t fool themselves that a new Vietnam is about to take place. For now, the country is operating under a Hollywood password: ‘action.’”


“The Shi'ites' Hope Is Sistani”


Alberto Negri concluded in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (4/8):  “The Shiites’ exasperation is mounting because they were expecting to take power after an electoral victory that certified their demographic weight. The issue regarding the provisional Constitution continues to cause bad blood between Sistani and CPA Paul Bremer: the ayatollah has already stated that if the document is not blocked there will be no meetings with Lakhdar Brahimi’s UN mission to set up a schedule for elections. Al Sistani is using moderate tones and methods to harshly contest the legitimacy of the U.S. process. In this destabilizing situation, the great ayatollah must also be careful the radicals do not surpass him, but in the meantime he can take pride for having warned the CPA of the threat of a radicalization of the battle. The Americans could resort to him, besides resorting to weapons, to calm the waters on the Shiite front and to bring Sadr or some of his followers back into their right mind. But it’s not clear whether the U.S. is also willing to pay the political price for the ayatollah’s cooperation.”


"Europe’s Hourglass"


Franco Venturini opined in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/7): “The war in Iraq doesn’t only involve the civilian population and coalition soldiers. The rebels are also striking the political pacification plan that the international community worked hard to draw up in view of the transfer of powers in June, as well as the efforts put forth by the not only by the Americans and  British, but also the German and French in order to heal the wounds that divided the West before the intervention in Iraq. Only if we begin with this premise can we understand the seriousness of the acceleration in the situation: the opening of a Shiite front in addition to the Sunni one will tend to thwart every future strategy to withdraw coalition forces, it fuels the temptation of a civil war, and it is trying to hinder the transfer of powers.… A new UN resolution should be approved by mid-June, finally giving the UN clear political responsibilities.… But the UN’s exact duties are still problematic. The U.S. won't accept the transfer of military responsibilities.  Spain demands it and is backed by France. And Bush can’t give too much given the upcoming elections.… Old and new divisions run the risk of coming back up at the Security Council.… The real risk is that it may be too late for a UN political cover in Iraq--the UN’s umbrella may not be able to stop the diabolic spiral of the occupation, the uprising, and of the guerrillas. What is needed is a common strategy on the part of the West. It would help if we would admit that we must correct our course, together, with courage and imagination, perhaps by involving the moderate Arabs and by identifying in Baghdad leaders and structures with local credibility. And we had better do it fast. Because if Iraq is becoming a quagmire for many foreign soldiers, for the terrorists it’s a rich territory they can cultivate.”


"Without Dialogue Chaos Is Inevitable"


Carlo Cabigiosu commented in Rome-based center-left Il Messaggero (4/7): “The fact that General Abizeid has asked Washington for immediate reinforcements in Iraq gives us the sense of the emergency. The situation which is currently unfolding is the worst possible scenario.… Those who were set out to challenge the coalition and its governments have succeeded in doing so.… What can we do to try and limit the damage? We should first learn who our counterparts are, who we can attempt to talk to, who we can negotiate with. But this at this point this is practically impossible. The events that are taking place are the sum of various tensions that could lead to chaos. The Iraqi transitional government that already exists, and whose members include Annan Pachachi and Al Hakim, must assume the responsibility that up to now they had delegated to CPA Bremer. They must give the population the right message to reassure them and to calm their exasperation. … One more thing: a great deal has been done in Iraq. The population is much better off today than a year ago, but it seems that the Iraqis have already forgot Saddam and what he represented. The presence of foreigners, the military occupation, and laicism have become the greater enemies and it’s easier to find those who support this cause more than those who support a peaceful transition to democracy.”


"The Compass-less Coalition"


Lucio Caracciolo opined in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (4/7): “[If things go on like this] we run the risk of losing the war - not only the Iraqi campaign, but the strategic confrontation with Islamic terrorism. One year after the fall of Saddam, the U.S. is still unable to resolve the Iraqi conundrum. The fronts have multiplied: first there were the Sunni fighters...then the infiltrated terrorists...and now there are the ‘hot-headed’ Shiites. The only ones missing are the Kurds.… So here is the ‘transfer of powers’ fixed by Bush for June 30, for reasons that have very little to do with the situation in Iraq and almost everything to do with the U.S. elections. Unless there’s a miracle, the change of guard in Baghdad will be nothing more than an empty ceremony.… The Islamic fundamentalists’ main objective is to isolate the United States.… If Washington were to feel abandoned by its friends then it would attempt to dump the crisis on them. The Americans cannot win the war alone, but they have the economic and political means to take revenge on those who abandon them at the most crucial time.”


RUSSIA:  "Fortitude Test"


Vladimir Dunayev and Maksim Yusin asserted in reformist Izvestiya (4/9):  "It is a real war the kind of which we didn't see even a year ago, when the Americans spectacularly did away with Hussein's demoralized army, capturing cities without a single shot.  Now they are abandoning those cities.   The unrest in Shia and Sunni districts has grown into organized resistance, with the insurgents looking more like a regular army....  Put to a fortitude test, the U.S.-led coalition has proved less than what the Americans would like it to be....  Unlike George Bush and Tony Blair, who can tell their voters, 'We started this war, so it is for us to end Iraq Democratization,' the other countries have not been directly involved in the hostilities and, for that reason, bear no responsibility for postwar Iraq....  While the rebels virtually have no chance to win militarily, they can beat the West propagandawise.   Hostage-taking is very effective against 'weak links' of which there have been quite a few in the U.S.-built chain. There will be even more, as the insurgents take more cities and hostages."


"Americans In Panic"


Vyacheslav Tetekin noted in nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (4/8):  "The Americans are in a panic.  The U.S. leadership dreads any comparison of what is happening in Iraq to the Vietnam War.  But as things are going, the situation is now worse than it was in Vietnam.   In Vietnam, the Americans could rely on the puppet government, which had power and an army....  The Americans controlled the cities, while the guerrillas reigned in the countryside.  In Iraq, the Americans control nothing except their bases, sitting there quietly, afraid to stick out their necks.   The local police are no help, preferring neutrality or siding with the insurgent people....  There is no way the Americans can stick around in Iraq.  They need to flee.   But because of its arrogance and superpower complex, the U.S. top leadership will persist on staying on, making its defeat even worse."


"Arab Vietnam"


Elmar Guseynov and Vladimir Bogdanov wrote in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (4/8):  "Iraq's Shiites always opposed Saddam Hussein's secular totalitarian regime.  Most of them greeted with relief, if not joy, the toppling of the Baghdad dictator and the arrival of the Coalition forces.  With the intervention of the U.S. and allies, the Shiites got hope for political leadership in Iraq and even autonomy in the south.   All they have had to do is wait until a new civil administration comes along and profit from their restrained loyalty to the Americans and Co.   The al-Sadr revolt has virtually dashed those hopes.   It benefits only those in Iraq and the region who would like the Americans to stay with their hands bound for an indefinite time.  Remarkably, the Shia revolt happened at the height of a row over a nuclear project in neighboring Iran.  Tehran has had to own up

to possessing nuclear arms production technologies....  The unrest will most probably be crushed because, for one thing, it lacks support among the majority Shiites, and, for another, the Sunnis will hardly want to side with their religious opponents.   Meanwhile, the Americans will have more reason to claim that their presence is a must in a country that is doomed to religious and clan wars."


"Coalition In Agony"


Aleksandr Samokhotkin averred in reformist Vremya Novostey (4/8):  "The U.S.-led coalition is falling apart.   As Spain's new leadership has announced plans to pull out of Iraq by June, Norway may follow suit....  The dramatic and unexpected events have forced British Prime Minister Tony Blair to reschedule his visit to the U.S., initially planned for June, for next week.  London and Washington would like to present the unrest in Iraq as a case of ordinary thugs clashing with progressives....  Fighting is going on on two fronts, with the Shiites in the south and the Sunnis in the west....  Bush spoke of the Americans remaining firm in their resolve. As he did so he was not aware of 20 U.S. marines killed and two military warships shot down in a battle against Sunni militants in besieged Fallujah....  U.S. actions are likely to lead to Sunni-Shia cohesion."


"Choosing Between Evils"


Vladimir Dunayev observed in reformist Izvestiya (4/7): "It seemed before the war and right after it that having the Sunnis clash with the Shia would be the worst scenario.  Today the Americans would surely have called it the least of evils.   With a war between them, the Sunnis and Shia would have been too busy to fight the occupation forces."


"Bush Pins Hopes On Blair"


Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/7) ran this by Artur Blinov and Andrey Terekhov: "George Bush and Tony Blair are meeting next week for this year's most important 'war council.'   The Coalition leaders are desperate for a way out of the Iraq predicament, as it has grown much worse lately.   The British Prime Minister has more than once acted as the U.S. President's closest advisor, particularly when it comes to trying to justify unexpected, more often than not violent, moves."


AUSTRIA:  “Iraq Is Burning”


Gudrun Harrer noted in liberal Der Standard (4/8):  “The only mercy that the Americans were granted in Iraq--the fact that the problems and catastrophes that they were confronted with did not tend to happen simultaneously--has come to an end. Every corner of the country has caught fire....  One year after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, and less than three months before the U.S. wants to release Iraq into sovereignty--just in time for the presidential elections--the Americans are forced to conquer Iraq a second time. This time, there is little chance of success. Even though it is unlikely that the Iraqi resistance movement...will actually force the Americans out of the country, a pacification of Iraq in the near future is unrealistic. Even more unrealistic are the plans that the U.S. administration originally had for Iraq: a stable country, where the Americans assert their influence as welcome guests, and where it is accepted gratefully by an American-friendly government supported by the majority of the population. In the current situation, all they can hope for is that the worst-case scenario won’t become reality: continuing guerilla warfare all over the country, with selective cooperation of the disparate groups, who will nevertheless turn against each other at a later point, when it comes to dividing the spoils.”


"Ignorance As Crisis Management"


Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder commented in liberal Der Standard (4/7): “It is becoming increasingly obvious that the way the Bush administration officially handles the Iraq issue is a result of transparent calculation and sheer helplessness. On the one hand, there is the desire to simply talk facts away, but also the hope that with the magic date of June 30, the true turnaround in Iraq is going to set in, and the U.S. government is going to be rid of one of their most annoying burdens in the election campaign. However, what this hope is based on remains a complete mystery.… A sloppy ‘solution,’ such as a ragbag puppet government in Iraq, could maybe take the pressure off the Bush administration in the short term, and spare it more pictures of burned and mutilated Americans blurring the election campaign. However, the U.S. can forget about their mantra of ‘the world has become a safer place since Saddam’s downfall,’ if Iraq is torn apart by a civil war.… Right now it looks as if nothing much will remain of the high-sounding plans of the Bush administration for the speedy pacification and democratization of Iraq. But with a bit of luck, the dogged verbal faith healing of the problems there might get the current President a second term in office.”


"Gloating Is Pointless: Europe’s Responsibilities In Iraq"


Foreign affairs writer Wieland Schneider wrote in centrist Die Presse (4/7): “Many Europeans seem to actually gloat at the problems the U.S. is facing in Iraq, according to the motto: we told you all along that the war was a mistake.  But there is quite a lot of masochism in this attitude: the U.S. military campaign against Iraq may have been precipitate, or even wrong.  But the fact is, it happened--and it created facts that concern Europe just as much as the U.S. The Europeans therefore should do whatever they can to help sort out the mess, even if this mess is American in origin. Decisions to withdraw from the issue, such as the one taken by Spain, do not solve anything, even though they might be understandable on a national political level. The Europeans must do more in Iraq than has been the case so far. The alternative is a country torn apart by civil war, which breeds all sorts of extremists of al-Qaeda’s ilk – right in the backyard of Europe.”


BELGIUM:  "Miles Away"


Marc Van de Weyer observed in conservative Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (4/8):  "Washington is miles away from the Arab model democracy that the American visionaries wanted to create in Iraq.  In this election year, the U.S. government has barely any breathing space.  Large number of fresh troops could cost Bush many votes.  To allow the rebels to act as they please is not an option either.  Iraq is still far from a Vietnam, but another person might fall from his pedestal during the elections in November--in Washington this time."


"Americans Have No Plan"


Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn commented in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/7):  "The most important day in Iraq was the day after the disappearance of the dictatorship.  On that day a plan should have been available to prevent Iraq from drifting away into chaos.  The blueprint of the American plans with a vision on the country's future should have been ready.  How should Iraq be ruled?  How should the transition from a brutal dictatorship to a democracy take place?  One year later, the Americans still don't have that plan and have to concentrate virtually all their efforts on the suppression of violence. In recent days, the situation has even become worse....  The Americans' objective was to transfer power to the Iraqi transitional government on June 30.  President Bush sticks to that plan, but it is becoming riskier day after day.... Neither the UN nor Europe can afford a disintegration of Iraq.  Today, keeping the country together is a task for the entire world community.  It is also a question of self-interest because a splintered Iraq would be a danger for everyone.  The war was probably an example of a successful military campaign, but what followed is a mess.  There is no early way out.  Running away is no longer possible."


CROATIA:  “Peace More Expensive Than War"


Zagreb-based mass-circulation Jutarnji list carried a commentary by Antun Masle stating (4/7):  “The spiral of violence in Iraq is becoming longer and longer.  The closer it is, the transfer of power to Iraqis seems farther away.  If Bush and a few mega oilmen who have brought him to power and pushed him into the war want to transfer power to Iraqis is another issue.  Judging from everything they have, or haven’t done, one can conclude that they don’t care about it too much.....  The war in Iraq is turning into a religious war.  All Christians and their assistants are becoming targets.  Simply, armed fanatics do not want foreigners in their country, regardless of their intentions.  What will happen next?  The day of transfer of power is approaching, so are the American elections.  What can we expect?  We certainly cannot expect less violence.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "War Is Not Only Good Or Bad"


Martin Novak commented in business-oriented Hospodarske Noviny (4/8):  "The Americans and the British are in Iraq for over one year now.  And the discussion, what they have achieved good or bad, what they underestimated, whether they have made the world safer, has been proceeding for even longer....  Also this conflict will most probably confirm that wars--with the exception of those in the movies or computer wars--very often do not have entirely good or bad ends....  Those who relentlessly defend the war in Iraq and those who are on the contrary its staunchest opponents should reconcile with the fact that it will not end unambiguously.  It will be neither a triumph nor a fiasco.  Iraq will not fall apart nor will it be ruled by militant militias....  And the newly created regime will be fragile and perhaps not more democratic than other countries in the region."


"Director Called Muqtada"


Teodor Marjanovic claimed in center-right Lidove Noviny (4/8):  "Nothing in the world will force the Americans to withdraw from Iraq now.  Radical spiritual leader Muqtada Sadr, Sunnite Saddam proponents or murderers from terrorist al-Qaeda are wrong if they really think that the most powerful country in the world will start packing.  This theorem worked eleven years ago in Somalia...but America has changed and 'the threshold of endurance' when watching corpses of its own soldiers has been raised much higher....  So what can Muqtada Sadr and the riffraff from Falludja achieve?  To have the term June 30, set by President George Bush for handing over the power in Iraq to Iraqis, fall.  This date has become a magic formula for Bush...and thus it is shaping up as a test of Bush's credibility.  If he does not keep this date, he will become a laughing stock in the Middle East and in the U.S. as well....  And following the consequences of the massacre in Madrid, this would be another blow to the effort to make our world safer."


"The Coalition Must Finish The Work Started"


Petr Pravda wrote in mainstream MF Dnes (4/7):  "The coalition is entering a critical phase in Iraq.  Militias of radical Shiite leader Muqtada Sadr are unleashing hellish violence in many places....  From many sides voices are being heard that it is high time for U.S. and other foreign soldiers to withdraw from Iraq....  Since the coalition has entered Iraq once and bet on the card of armed democratization of this country, it should not leave its reconstruction at the mercy of the current chaos.  It must try to do everything possible to calm the situation down, suppress radicals and return to normality.  This is not only a question of war operations and repression, but also of intensive diplomacy....  But not everything may be already lost.  May be it looks bad from remote Europe now, and it certainly is bad in some places in the country, but Iraq does not consist only of restless Shiite quarters in Baghdad, Basra and other cities, where Sadr's militias are trying to bring about increasing disorder....  The last poll of the renowned Oxford Research International reveals that the violent actions against the coalition forces are supported by only ten percent of the Shiite population of Iraq....  Thus, the reconstruction of Iraq has a chance."


HUNGARY:  "The Shiite Scenario"


Laszlo Szentesi Zoldi wrote in right-wing Magyar Nemzet (4/8):  "At the moment, the most likely scenario in Iraq is that separate worlds, private empires independent of each other will be built. It has been obvious from the beginning that the Kurdish majority living in the northern territories directed by Talabani and Barzani will be able to enforce their political rights. This, however, does not mean that they would also be interested in maintaining the federal Iraq in the long term, but at least there is no reason for them to cultivate closer relations with people living in other parts of the country than they do now. The idea of an Iraqi Kurdistan is, in fact, built on economic independence coming from the rich oil resources on its territory, and not on the solidarity within the state. The Sunni living in the middle territories of the country are, in fact, isolated, and do no participate in the chess games of international politics. Ankara and Baghdad is not going to stand up for them as they did in the case of the fetal Iraqi Kurdistan. Neither can they count on Iran's political and spiritual support as the Shiites in Southern Iraq can. Whatever is going to happen on the ruins of Saddaam Hussein's empire, it is for certain that with the Shiites having entered the war, the intifada emerging in the southern territories, the civil war has entered a new phase."


"Self-Destructive Shiites"


Editor Ferenc Kepecs opined in leftist Nepszava (4/7): "In Iraq, the members of this group [the Shiites] are competing with the Sunnites and the Kurds to achieve power to which they lay a claim based on their supremacy in numbers. However, they could only enforce their majority in democratic elections, as both the Kurds and the Sunnites are more united and more bellicose than they are. The democratization of the country would be in the elementary interest of the Shiites, and what, for the time being, is identical with it, the longest possible Iraqi presence of the allied troops. If enemies of the Shiites would assign someone the mission to weaken [the Shiites'] position, all he would do would be what Moktada el-Sadr is doing. One again, the lesson is that demagogues cause the greatest harm to those they keep referring to: their own people."


POLAND:  “One Mistake Is Enough”


Editor-in-chief Grzegorz Jankowski maintained in tabloid Fakt (4/9):  “Perhaps Poland, when it decided to take part--and quite rightly--in the ousting of Sadddam Hussein’s regime, should have made it known to its coalition partners at the very outset that it would withdraw its troops from Iraq immediately once the tyrant was removed. We decided, though, to stay in the Middle East. Today there is much to indicate it was a mistake. But making another error will not correct this very mistake. And withdrawing from Iraq now would be such an error.”


“It’s Our War”


Jan Skorzynski held in centrist Rzeczpospolita (4/9):  “As the situation in Iraq is becoming fiercer, more and more voices are calling for Poland’s withdrawal from this war. ‘It’s not our war,’ more and more politicians from various parties, and publicists from newspapers, are claiming. They are wrong--it is our war....  Withdrawing from Iraq during the rebellion staged by Shiite radicals would be extreme irresponsibility on the part of the coalition....  A failure in Iraq would be not only a failure of U.S. policy, but a failure of the entire West. And its consequences would be felt equally by America and Europe.”


PORTUGAL:  “The Second Iraqi War”


Associate editor Eduardo Dâmaso wrote in influential center-left Público (4/8):  “The fall of Saddam Hussein is an indisputable benefit for humanity, but all of the consequences that are arising from the open military conflict toward this end have completely reverse the rule of proportionality and adequacy between the means used in the application of violence and the results obtained.  The military violence used resolved one problem--the continuance in power of Saddam Hussein--but it created many others.  Saddam fell but Iraq didn’t get better, Al Qaeda is enlarging its camps of recruitment and action in the hate and anti-Americanism that flourish, terrorism is affirming itself on a planetary scale, and you can’t catch a glimpse of a rapid transition in an Iraq plunged into the most absolute chaos....  Every day, the Iraq situation demonstrates that terrorism can’t be combated exclusively by military means, that the terrorist spiral not only was not slowed down but rather worsened in the world and that the war option could impede a political solution for the Middle East for decade.”


"From The Government To The GNR"


Portuguese wire service LUSA chief Luís Delgado, in his daily 'Straight Lines' column in respected center-left Diário de Notícias, observed (4/7): "The radical Shiite leader Sadr...thinks that he will end up victorious in a fight against the majority of the Iraqis, the allies, and history.  Today, he is crying out, but a year ago he was fleeing.  Today he condemns the allied forces, but it is on account of them that he is living in Baghdad.  He is stretching the cord so much that it will break, and on the weakest side: for him, of course."


ROMANIA:  "Vietnam II"


Marina Constantinoiu remarked in popular Jurnalul National (4/9):  "On the streets of the Sunni city of Fallujah, where the Americans struggle against a ferocious resistance, the corpses on the streets recall the images of the Vietnam war....  The violence of the battles only underlines that coalition forces have reached a deadlock, one year since the fall of Hussein’s regime.  And will also make it nearly impossible to transfer power to the Iraqis on June 30th.”


SWEDEN:  "Iraq Is Moving Toward Civil War"


Social Democratic Stockholm-based tabloid Aftonbladet editorialized (4/8):  "Few can today seriously believe in a military solution to the deep and bloody crisis in Iraq. The formula for a peaceful solution has, for a long time, been to hand over to the UN main responsibility for crisis management and the re-building of the country....  However, the question is whether it would be possible for the UN to work in Iraq during the present situation with growing violence.  The war has constantly been justified by the ousting of the Saddam regime, which was a great and beneficial success. But this victory was won at the cost of continued war, corruption, civil war-like conditions and an almost total lack of planning for a future that points towards peace, democracy, and the improved welfare of the Iraqi people.”


TURKEY:  “Unbelievable”


Fehmi Koru said in Islamist/opinion maker Yeni Safak (4/9):  “Almost all the assumptions of Bush and his team about Iraq have turned out to be false....  They had hoped to break the Sunni resistance, and expected the Shiite to collaborate with them just like the tribes of Barzani and Talabani in the north. However, the Shiites have revolted, and are receiving powerful backing from the Sunni....  Countries supporting the US-UK front have declared that they will not keep their troops in Iraq....  The front that has been established to fight terrorism has collapsed just like Saddam’s statue that was toppled a year ago.  The situation that the U.S. faces after a year in Iraq is unbelievable.” 


“It’s Iraq, Not Vietnam”


Cengiz Candar observed in mass appeal DB-Tercuman (4/9):  “Muqtada es-Sadr and his armed militia aimed to kill rival Shiite leaders.  They have terrorized women without headscarves at cinemas and restaurants in Baghdad.  They have established an illegal monopoly on media distribution, exerted influence on the Shiite Turkmen of northern Iraq, and incited the conflict between the Turkmen and Kurds.  Es-Sadr and his armed militia must be eliminated....  The only criticism we can make of the Americans is for waiting too long to take action....  It’s interesting that Ayatollah Sistani issued a call for common sense, and declined to stand behind es-Sadr.  Muqtada does not represent the Shiites.  He may be a hard nut to crack, but his authority is limited.  After a long delay, the Americans are now attempting to do what they should have done months ago.  But without taking action now, expecting stability in a post-June 30 Iraq would be a dream....  If normalization and stability are to be achieved, es-Sadr and his group seeking a fundamentalist regime must be eliminated, and the resistance of the remainder of the Baath Party and al-Qaeda in Iraq must be crushed.  It should not be surprising if recent developments in Iraq oblige Turkey’s security axis to consider cooperation with the Kurds in northern Iraq.”


“The Shia Fight”


Fikret Ertan observed in Islamist-intellectual Zaman (4/8):  “Al-Sadr emerges as a young Shia leader.  The recent escalation shows his strength in controlling the Iraqi groups....  Al-Sadr is not only campaigning for the withdrawal of occupation forces for good, but also looking for legitimacy for himself from the Shia leaders by asking a recognition of ‘Islamic government’, which was formed last year.  His power is clearly not sufficient to make all of this happen, yet it is certain that Al-Sadr will do his best to expand his influence in southern Iraq.  Al-Sadr’s presents himself as a new and radical political Shia figure.  It is interesting that he also pays respects to the Iraqi Shia leader Al-Hayri who lives in Iran.  The fact of the matter is that Al-Sadr is after political leadership, and he does not have any problem with Al-Hayri who is the religious leader....  Al-Sadr presents a portrait of an ambitious and vigorous leader.  He is fighting on two fronts.  He is fighting against the Americans just 85 days before the transfer of power and, at the same time, he is fighting for Shia leadership.  It remains to be seen how this challenges will end, but certainly his name will be in the news very often.”


“Bremer’s Gamble”


Soli Ozel commented in mass appeal Sabah (4/8):  “It seems that Al-Sadr is making plans to accelerate tensions even further and get Sunni groups involved in weakening the American forces.  Bremer, on the other hand, hopes that Al-Sadr and his forces will be eventually defeated due to the fact that he is not a respected figure among other Shia leaders.  Yet Bremer seems to fail to project the ongoing Sunni-Shia collaboration.  It is obvious that Shia leaders would like to see to get rid of Sadr, but at this point they have a common enemy....  It is very hard to make an assessment of Iraq’s future.  But it will be almost impossible for the US to shape Iraq as it would like unless the unrest in Fallujah ends and Al-Sadr proves to be ineffective.”


"President Bush Has Lost Control Of His Policy"


Semih Idiz observed in the mass appeal sensational Aksam (4/7): “A keen observation of the Washington scene shows that President Bush is losing significant political ground, and for the first time Republican circles are talking about the possibility of losing the election.  The growing tension in Iraq has become a major concern and has led to a serious debate on how best to respond.  The debate centers around two arguments.  One group supports harsh retaliation, while another group warns about the severe consequences of escalation and urges the administration not increase tensions through harsh reprisals.… The general view in Washington  is that the Greater Middle East Initiative has become invalid due to recent developments.  The realities of the region make it impossible to apply.  In sum, President Bush seems to have lost control of his foreign policy line, and developments in Iraq will be playing more significant role in shaping U.S. policies.”




ISRAEL:   "Facing a New War"


Chief Economic Editor and senior columnist Sever Plotker contended in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/9):  "Without intending to do so, the U.S. soldiers found themselves facing a battle not against Saddam's junky army but against the Muslim jihad army....  If they surrender, give-up, they will pave the way before the jihad brigades to Riyadh, Doha and Amman.  As it seems, the comparison between Iraq and Vietnam is not exaggerated.  In Vietnam the Americans tried to stop the Soviet communism, In Iraq they are trying to stop the Muslim jihadism.  The American determination in Vietnam paid off; the Soviet leadership was convinced it couldn't forcefully impose communism on Asia.  It is not certain that this

will happen in Iraq."   


"Iraq: Mission Impossible"


Shlomo Avineri remarked in pluralist, mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot (4/8):  "The current increasing hardships endured by the Americans in Iraq are evidence of the hopelessness of the attempt to establish democracy in a society that utterly lacks the foundations needed for that purpose....  During the last decade the Kurds have enjoyed a de-facto autonomy sponsored by the U.S. They have established a regime that performs in an impressive fashion.  It is doubtful whether they would agree to find themselves again under an Arab regime....  The current violence in Iraq is indeed directed at the Americans and their allies, but this is in fact a domestic civil war symbolizing the end of Sunni hegemony in Iraq.  In such a situation, something can be learned from the example of Yugoslavia....  It won't be easy to convince the international community--the U.S. in a first stage--that it will be very hard to reestablish a united Iraq, the original British dream of 'Mesopotamia.'  Should three states arise--a Kurdish one in the north, an Arab-Sunni one in the center and an Arab-Shi'ite one in the south--there could be a chance for stability of some kind.  If this doesn't happen, what would be awaiting Iraq would be what characterized Yugoslavia in the '90s. That lesson had better be learned."


"You Must Finish What You've Started"


Foreign News Editor Arik Bachar wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (4/7):  "Life on our planet is hard enough.  Should the Americans leave Iraq and leave it as booty for extremists like Sadr, life will become unbearable for everybody--from the New York yuppie to the last of the Indonesian villagers.  Bush and his staff know this, but they might be ousted from the White House in half-a-year; a Democratic administration in the U.S. would find a way to leave Iraq as soon as possible.  U.S. failure in Iraq would constitute a war call for generations of Islamic fanatics, would torment the lives of all of us [on earth].  The U.S. Administration has less than one year to complete its Iraqi project decisively.  This requires a significant boosting of the number of troops sent to Iraq, but that is an incommensurably worthwhile investment.  For every American soldier who is now staying home, America will have to send five soldiers in the future to eradicate the bad news that might come from Iraq."


WEST BANK:  "A Year After The Fall Of Baghdad"


Independent Al-Quds declared (4/9):  "The development of events in Iraq proves without any doubt that the invasion of Iraq was planned regardless of the presence or absence of the former Iraqi regime.  A clear proof of this inevitability was the statement by the American administration only hours before the aggression that even if Saddam accepted the rigid American conditions and left the country with his two sons, American forces were still to attack Iraq due to a plan [the administration] had ready for implementation....  What's currently taking place in Iraq from north to south--a unified popular movement engaging Shi'ites and Sunnis together--proves that the fall of Baghdad a year ago was just a slip and that Iraq will reawake to close ranks, to liberate its land and to restore its lost sovereignty."


"America Stirs Up The Hornet's Nest Of Everything It Claims To Fight"


Ibrahim Du'ibes commented in independent Al-Quds (4/9):  "The American administration lost the Iraqi battle the day it lost the Iraqi people's trust, the day the kind of democracy that doesn't accept the launching of a newspaper was exposed and the day it faced peaceful demonstrations with bullets and destroyed an entire neighborhood simply to kill an armed man who may or may not have been there....  The present American administration has stirred up the hornet’s nest of what it calls terrorism while creating an ideal atmosphere for nurturing it and pushing moderates toward extremism....  Finally, it is important to notice the Israeli template in the Americans’ behavior." 


"Iraq...A New Stage Of Resistance"


Ahmad Umrabi noted in independent Al-Quds (4/8):  "The last thing the occupation in Iraq wanted to see is unity among Shi'ites and Sunnis in their national resistance against the occupation....  Why did America's 'horrific nightmare' come true?  Perhaps because of American shortsightedness, but the real reason is that the Shi'ite masses--based on the increasing armed resistance by other Iraqi groups--are fed up with the false American promises to achieve stability and hand over sovereignty to Iraqis....  The American occupation has also been shortsighted in taking provocative measures against the Shi'ite groups that support Muqtada Sadr, leading the already volatile situation to explode."




Abdullah Awwad wrote in independent Al-Ayyam (4/8):  "Even though it is resisting the occupation alone, Falluja...did not end up falling or collapsing like the American occupiers might have expected.  Unlike the fall of Baghdad that led to the fall of more Iraqi cities, Falluja continues to resist, providing evidence of the deep-seated Iraqi ability to resist.  The spread of resistance from Falluja...involves Sunnis, Shi'ites and all Iraqi groups; regardless of their faith or ethnic origin they are resisting the American occupation that destroyed their country and continues to kill the Iraqi people every day."


"From Fallujah To Rafah:  Americans Repeat The Israeli Experience"


Hani Habib opined in independent Al-Ayyam (4/7):  "American sources claim that the administration of the occupation will deal with tension spots in the southern Iraqi cities same way the British forces did, which was to use force in parallel with building mutual understanding with public figures there.  However, recent days have proved that the American occupation has in reality failed to apply this method on the ground and that the American forces are basically a copy of the Israeli forces in Palestine....  Any scene of the events in Falluja reminds us of Ramallah, Jenin or Rafah....  Another similarity between the two occupation forces in Palestine and Iraq is that both make stupid and provocative decisions.  At first glance, this might appear as a tactical mistake, for the Israeli occupation, which claims to control the situation by assassinating Palestinian leaders, is in fact provoking retaliation.  The American occupation, which began to realize the sensitivity of the Shi'ite position, has foolishly prevented the issuance of the pro-Muqtada Sadr paper 'Al-Hawza Al-Natiqa,' triggering wide public protests....  The American occupation is aware that such measures will stir up the internal situation and open the door to extremely dangerous outcomes."


"American Dilemma In Iraq"


Independent Al-Quds observed (4/7):  "Until few days ago, the American administration and its allies relied on what they believed as Shi'ite support for their presence in Iraq.  It has also focused on the threats of the 'Sunni triangle' and the potential oppression [of the Sunnis] against what it calls the Shi'ite majority.  Nevertheless, the Shi'ite Intifada in many Iraqi cities has belied this claim.  What we see now are masses of Sunni and Shi'ite Iraqis unified against the foreign occupation [and] demanding an immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces.  The only solution to this dilemma is a withdrawal of the foreign forces from Iraq so the Iraqi people are left to determine their own destiny.  If there has to be any outside intervention, it should be an objective and trustworthy one by the UN but without dictating by America."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Balance Of Power Against Al-Sadr"


Ahmed al-Rabhi remarked in London-based pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat (4/7):  "Sadr should not act rashly because he has a long list of his enemies and the balance of power is against him....  Many parties are against Sadr: the coalition forces, the UN, the GC, the Kurdish parties, Sistani, the Shiite Iraqi Supreme Islamic Council and many Sunni parties.  If Sadr continues his uprising, he will find himself isolated, with many parties keen to see his demise....  Although unlikely, if coalition forces withdrew from Iraq because of Sadr's rebellion, the country would be plunged into a civil war....  Sadr came from a family famous for its resistance to the fallen Iraqi regime and that the young cleric should not squander his family's reputation with such blunders."


"Where Are The U.S. Promises?"


Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad editorialized (4/8):  "No Iraqi can be blamed for sacrificing himself for the sake of achieving freedom for his country.  Iraqis are fighting for their security and the security of their children.  What is happening now in Iraq is simply a national resistance against a foreign occupation. It is not terrorism....  The days are gone when one country could occupy another and exploit its resources.  Foreign occupation of Iraq no longer has a justification....  Where is the American democracy and American justice?"


"Retreat Forward Is The U.S. Policy In Iraq"


Abha’s moderate Al-Watan contended (4/8):  "The U.S. effort to draw NATO into the Iraqi quagmire is a ‘retreat-forward’ policy.  Sending more troops and mobilizing more countries behind U.S. policies is not the right thing to do at this time.  The answer is to formulate political solutions that originate from within Iraq, as opposed to the foreign ideas that come with U.S. tanks.  A deadline for a gradual withdrawal of foreign troops must coincide with serious efforts to transfer the political power back to Iraqis.  U.S. military operations in Iraqi will only lead to increased resistance and violence.  Military solutions, no matter how effective and powerful, do not provide positive political stability.  This is not the solution for building a democratic and independent Iraqi state."


"An International Solution"


Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina editorialized (4/8):  "The rapid developments in Fallujah, Ramadi and Basra leave no doubt among observers that what is going on is an organized resistance.  Yet, the question remains who are they, whom do they represent, for whose benefit do they work, and what kind of Iraq do they want?  In all cases, it seems that the U.S. administration is in a real dilemma as the presidential elections get closer. The use of excessive power by the U.S. army against an unarmed nation has raised anger among Americans as well as people abroad....  The rapid developments in Iraq require a swift move by the UN in order to bring things under control.  This is a move the Arab league must endorse and support....  Before military operations against Iraq began, the U.S. attempted to make it an international problem.  Now we ask for an international solution."


"A Point of No Return In Iraq"


Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazirah noted (4/7):  "The Shiite resistance has reached a point of no return....  For the first time in this war, the U.S. occupation specified the opponent in Iraq.  The confrontation is now with the Shiite militiamen and Sunni insurgent Iraqis."


JORDAN:  "The Way Iraq Goes"  


The elite English-language Jordan Times stated (4/8):  "The gates to chaos and bloodletting were thrown large open when the Iraqi Shiites, under the leadership of Moqtada Sadr, started a new front in the war against the U.S.-led forces occupying their country.  With the Sunnis already engaged in an armed uprising against them, the coalition forces now have to deal with two fronts; they just thought that the defeat of the Sunnis was virtually assured.  Iraq now seems to be a big ball of fire that may well consume much of what was left of the country.  The timing of the second front under Sadr's leadership is worth noting. Coming as it did, on the heels of an increased Sunni tempo, it may signal the Shiites' desire to flex their muscles lest they should be forgotten in the political game that will decide the future of the country.  With the June 30 deadline for passing control to a civilian Iraqi government fast approaching, the Shiites must also be jockeying for power. They constitute about 60 per cent of the Iraqi population and Sadr must surely want to stake a claim to power in Baghdad. The young Shiite leader feels that he is the natural heir to the throne in Baghdad and does not want to see his people outplayed by the two major minorities in the country.  Whatever the reasons, these ominous developments spell grave danger to the U.S. occupation and control of Iraq....  The fallout of the fast and growing deterioration of the situation in Iraq is certain to weigh heavily on the U.S. election choices....  The ramifications of what is happening in this Arab country will affect, most of all, the Middle East. The way Iraq goes may offer an indication of the direction the other countries in the region will follow as well. May it be towards the professed democracy and not towards the chaos and anarchy that now reign supreme in Iraq."


“The Iraqi People:  From Oppression To Occupation To Extremism”


Bater Wardam stated in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (4/7):  “We have to be logical in viewing the flaming confrontation between the populist authority Muqtada Al-Sadr and the military occupation authority as part of the power struggle in Iraq.  Had the young Al-Sadr’s revolution been in defense of Iraq and Iraqi sovereignty and against the occupation, then it would have started on April 9, 2003, but it comes a year late.  Muqtada Al-Sadr acquired his authority from his followers and through his religious supporters.  His (movement) is very similar to the Taliban-type of fundamentalism....  Al-Sadr worked shrewdly to strengthen his authority, as all other authorities in Iraq were crumbling....  The oppressive authority of the occupation has been completely discredited as Iraqis have come to believe that the American army is not there to liberate them but to occupy them and rob their resources.  The authority of Al-Sistani deteriorated because of his repeated work at co-existence with the American occupation.  As for the authority of the governing council, it was shaky from day one and has now proved a total failure.  Authority in Iraq is absent, waiting for someone to grab it.  The fiery confrontation between the authority of Muqtada Al-Sadr and the American occupation is but a link in the chain of this struggle that is going to last for a long time in Iraq....  The Taliban-type approach adopted by Muqtada Al-Sadr throughout the past year did not bother the Americans as much as it did the Iraqis.  However, as soon as Al-Sadr decided to face the occupation authority, the American war against him started, which led to the fact that the Iraqis rallied around Al-Sadr....  What is happening in Iraq now is another example of the utter stupidity of the American administration in Iraq.  The administration fought the Taliban in Afghanistan, but now they created in Iraq and in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world a Taliban-like movement that acquires its legitimacy from religious concepts and from fighting the occupation....  Al-Sadr may get arrested, but the Taliban of Iraq has risen and will not stop.”


“An Open War In Iraq”


Center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour remarked (4/7):  “It is too early to say that the American occupation forces have lost control of the situation, but it is certain that the situation is liable to deteriorate, particularly if the occupation forces insist on arresting Muqtada Al-Sadr.  The whole situation needs to be handled wisely and cautiously, lest Iraq become a war zone and the expectations of many people, who believe that Iraq is on the verge of a civil war leading to its division, become true.”


LEBANON:  "Anarchy And Rebellion:  The Illegitimate Child Of American Policy"


The English-language moderate Daily Star argued (4/8):  "The situation in occupied Iraq is spiraling out of control, and while the U.S. government is doing its best to pin the blame on both general bogeymen like 'foreign fighters' and specific ones like hard-line Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, it is American policy that has nurtured the growth of anarchy and encouraged the spread of rebellion....  The administration that promised to 'democratize' Iraq has presided instead over a steady slide into national chaos. Washington has failed to honor its own promises and thereby convinced a great many Iraqis that their suspicions were correct: George W. Bush used the rhetoric of freedom and justice to camouflage naked aggression.  The seemingly decisive military victory obtained last spring overshadowed what was always going to be a tenuous hold over a considerable piece of real estate, and the Americans have frittered away so much good will that many of the same people who welcomed them as liberators are now determined to force them out. Sadr's case illustrates the aimlessness of U.S. policy and constitutes a harbinger of darker days to come unless Bush and his team can regain the initiative....  However egregious and numerous US mistakes were in insisting on war, the one gift that America had the unquestioned capacity to bestow on post-Saddam Hussein Iraq was the rule of law, and that all-important mission has been a colossal failure....  In less than 60 days, the CPA is scheduled to relinquish power to an interim Iraqi government. The term 'sovereignty' rings hollow, though, when one considers how little control will be handed over by the occupier to any indigenous successor body. Responsibility for this must be placed with the Americans....  The CPA is preparing to leave behind a motley collection of weak and unreliable mechanisms that can only be viewed with contempt by the guilty and with outrage by the innocent."


“Playing With Blood”


Bechara Charbel maintained in independent Al-Balad (4/6):  “Sadr is not playing with the blood of Americans in Iraq, he is playing with the blood of Iraqis....  Al-Sadr’s game is dangerous, but what is worse is the fact that he is young and has no memory except the memory of hatred against Saddam who killed his father....  This means that Sadr can change into a tool in the hands of those who want nothing but to keep Iraq in an unstable state and put obstacles in the American path in Iraq....  Sadr is at the heart of the battle now, has a militia, and is connected to Iran....  For this reason, no one is convinced that he unilaterally called for terrorizing the Americans, and obviously, he is not working alone.  Sadr is not more patriotic than Muhammad Bahr Al-Oloum or other members of the Governing Council, however, he is less experienced and more susceptible to the attraction of violence and bloody dreams.”




Sahar Baasiri contended in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (4/6):  “We wish that President Bush would relieve the world from his speeches, particularly his repetition of statements like ‘the free Iraq will change the Middle East and will make the world and America more secure'....  As if the problems in the Sunni triangle and addition to the U.S. power used against these areas are not enough problems...for Iraq today....  Despite the fact that Sadr does not represent all the Shiites in Iraq, the U.S. will have to be really wise in dealing with him because he belongs to the Sadr family in addition to the fact...that he was able to build a large militia for himself especially among the poor....  What the Americans did is put Sadr before two options: resistance or surrender.  The Americans know that he will not his decision to resist lead to a division among the Shiites....  All the above cannot be considered good news...and will certainly neither lead to a free Iraq...nor make the world and America more secure."


“Questions That Are Getting More Difficult”


Joseph Samaha observed in Arab nationalist As-Safir (4/6):  “Any American response in Iraq that would really protect its occupation will threaten to expand the confrontation...this means that Bush will have to swallow all his claims about democracy in Iraq....  Furthermore, an expanded confrontation will increase the enemies of the U.S...and will definitely not ‘make the world more secure'....  Obviously, deterioration will impact negatively the American plans to transfer power back to the Iraqis.”


SYRIA:  "In Defense Of Common Destiny"


Izziddin Darwish wrote in government-owned Tishreen (4/8):  "Syria is shouldering its pan-Arab responsibilities...the challenges are grave....  Armies of aggression, control and pillage are occupying the Palestinian and Iraqi territories and preparing for more occupations....  What is taking place in Iraq proves that the US-British objective is nothing more than occupation and that democracy is nothing more than a big lie. Even if democracy were the goal, no Iraqi wants it after all the killings, destruction and humiliation....  What is even more dangerous is that there is a convergence of objectives between what is taking place in Iraq and Palestine. This coordinated of aggression targets all Arabs from east to west."


"A Force Of Occupation"


Government-owned Al-Ba'th said (4/6):  "Over the last 48 hours, accelerating events in Iraq show that the multinational force is obviously an occupation force that doesn't hesitate to use bloody repression to curb peaceful demonstrations nor to use organized military might against civilians who call for abandoning the U.S. campaign of repressive arrests and press restrictions....  Coalition forces have paved the way for new revenges in an Iraq governed by tribal differences, and sectarian disputes...where it will be difficult to cement security and stability....  Coalition forces have used lies and deception for a long time as a diplomatic capacity and political means to reach their goals. The hour of truth has come and has exposed the true nature of occupation."


TUNISIA:   “Iraq In The Turmoil”


Editor Sabri Brahem asserted in independent French-language Le Quotidien (4/7):  “On the verge of anarchy, left to its own devices, and facing U.S. hegemony, Iraq seems to be slipping into chaos.  One year after its occupation, Mesopotamia is much more threatening than was the American’s fabricated speech on WMD . The naive hope of the American project of ‘Liberation’ recently evaporated with the entrance of the Shiite community in the circle of violence/resistance....  With things getting worse in the White international intervention is urgently needed.  Tangled in a deep quagmire, the occupation forces are unable to bring things under control....  It seems that the situation in Fallujah is not as isolated as Governor Paul Bremer had thought.  In order not to appear to be throwing in the towel during the election campaign, the Bush administration continues its headlong rush into Iraq....  In this respect, French and Russia’s call to organize an international urgent conference on Iraq could build the basis of a renewed international action That which is done in Iraq, in particular concerning the transfer of power, should not be based solely as a reaction to the emergency of the escalating violence or on the U.S. miscalculation of the role of the Shiia....  The international community should guarantee the stability of the country, as a prerequisite to its reconstruction.”


UAE:  "Coalition Fails Adequately"


The English-language expatriate-oriented Gulf News declared (4/9):  "The growing violence in Iraq is extremely dangerous for the future of the country. This has dramatically escalated this week with fierce fighting from the followers of Shiite leader Moqtada Al Sadr....  The American-led coalition is under assault, and if the violence becomes established Iraq will be increasingly ungovernable. But the coalition's highly military response will not win it any support. This one-dimensional response is wrong from an administration that has been in Iraq for over a year and should know better. The high level of resentment against America across the political spectrum in Iraq is being skillfully exploited by Al Sadr, who is fast becoming a popular hero....  The coalition forces are the target of the present fighting by both the Sunni and Shiite groups. The coalition's answer has to come from a combination of tough policing by their forces, mixed with good politics. Unfortunately, the coalition has resorted to outright military action without maintaining its policing role, with all the social understanding that is involved in that process.  And the coalition also has to offer a political answer. Iraq needs its own political life, and the technocrat administration under Paul Bremer has failed to allow an Iraqi leadership to emerge. The unfortunates on the Interim Council do not have enough authority to be able to give a lead to the people, and this vacuum is being exploited by the extremists like Al Sadr." 


YEMEN:  "What Else Did Bush Expect?"


The English-language pro-government Yemen Times declared (4/8):  "The Bush Administration was optimistic and hopeful in turning Iraq into a model state that could serve as an example to other Arab states in becoming a real democracy with peace and order. He imagined that the war he led in war Iraq would be received with cheers and gratitude for so called ‘liberation’ of Iraq. Today, as violence is mounting everywhere in Iraq, and as Americans are dying in the dozens, the issue is no longer a pleasure cruise.  The way U.S. forces dealt with Iraqis with mass arrests, crackdowns, killing journalists, and other negative actions, have only inflicted more damage and insecurity for them....  The recent developments concerning the clashed between the Shiites and U.S. forces has added more difficulties to an already troubled government that is now being questioned by large number of Americans about the real reasons for invading Iraq, as the so-called WMD were not found....  Using force against Iraqi factions or groups is one of the gravest mistakes the U.S. Administration has committed. The forces may regain parts of the country from the hands of the rebelling Shiites and could possibly enforce the law using the power of their military arsenal, but this will trigger a 180 degree change in the attitudes of Iraqi Shiites....  Hence, it is only a matter of time for us to see where the country is heading and how power can be handed over within a few months according to an agenda that--like many other steps taken by the U.S. administration--has not been researched and studied thoroughly. And who knows? Maybe such a rush into a war in Iraq could cost the U.S. President his post. And I think Bush is not ruling out anything, including his own defeat." 




AUSTRALIA:  "Iraq Is Looking Like A Quagmire"


Shahram Akbarzadeh asserted in the liberal Melbourne-based Age (4/9):  "A civil war involving three groups, Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, is becoming more likely.  The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the much-celebrated regime change have encountered unexpected difficulties....  The boldness of the Shiite militants has added to the unpredictability of Iraq's future.  But we are not dealing here with a Shiite revolt. At least, not just yet. These clashes represent the growing impatience of the Iraqi Shiites with the continued presence of foreign troops on Iraqi soil and the imposed restrictions on their political aspirations.  Muqtada al-Sadr, a young Shiite cleric, has managed to exploit this resentment for his political ends. But the more experienced ulama, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, considered by most Shiites as a source of ijtihad (authority to issue fatwa), have refrained from encouraging revolt....  The Shiite mistrust of the emerging political system is likely to have been heightened by the present tensions between Sadr supporters and the U.S.-led coalition forces. The growing agitation among the Shiites is likely to increase pressure on Sistani and make his 'middle of the road' strategy untenable....  A three-partite civil war is becoming more and more a possibility.  Many observers warned of this danger in the early days of the invasion, but Washington appears to have been caught unprepared by the ferocity of Sadr's supporters....  The rush to deal with the supposed 'clear and present danger' posed by Saddam has generated the danger of sustained internal strife and instability--a condition that is bound to invite greater foreign intervention and extend Iraq's instability to its neighbouring states."


CHINA:  “U.S. Military Starts Serious Fighting In Iraq"


Wan Ting and Shi Ding commented in official Communist Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (4/9):  “The strong resistance forces are humiliating the U.S. in front of the whole world, showing the world that the U.S. is trapped in an ocean of hatred in the hub of the Arab world....  The basic reason for the fiercer resistance against the U.S. in Iraq is that both the U.S. and anti-U.S. forces are trying to make the Iraqi political situation develop to their benefit before the transition of power.  Sadr worries that he will be marginalized on Iraq’s future political map and thus hopes to expand his influence by maintaining the resistance.  Sunnis hopes to destroy the U.S. power transition plan through resistance.  Moreover, the U.S. no longer keeps restrained but is trying to eradicate Sadr as Israel assassinated Yassin.  This is also a direct reason for the explosion of the conflict.  The chaotic situation in Iraq puts forth a severe challenge to the U.S.  Primarily, it is a question mark whether or not the U.S. can bring off the power transition on time....  Second, major casualties will have a severe impact on the U.S. election....  Third, the U.S.-organized coalition may collapse.”


"Bloodshed Jeopardizes Transition Of Power"


Bi Mo commented in the official English-language China Daily (4/7):  “The spiralling tit-for-tat violence in Iraq is being played out against an increasingly dismal backdrop for the U.S.-led occupation, which has strayed far from the Bush administration's expectations of a quick, easy transition to Iraqi self-government....  U.S. troops launched a major operation against insurgents, targeting the killers of the four U.S. civilians as well as rebels who have attacked US forces in the past month....  Confrontation with Shi'ites--who stand to benefit most from the removal of Saddam Hussein--would point to a disaffection with U.S. rule so great that the transition plan for Iraq, starting with the June 30 handover of sovereignty to unelected Iraqis would become untenable.  Still, the escalating violence overshadowed the arrival of UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who the U.S. hopes will build support for the transition plan.  Iraq is sliding toward chaos--the post-war conditions in hospitals, schools and refugee camps are worse than those on the eve of the U.S. invasion. Outside the Kurdish north, there is almost universal antipathy for the occupation, for what Iraqis refer to derisively as the 'Governed Council,' and for a draft constitution that analysts feel has enough holes to ensure continued repression and corruption, despite its veneer of democracy.  A prominent Iraqi psychiatrist who has worked with the U.S. military explained: ‘There is no way the U.S. can be this incompetent. The chaos here has to be at least partly deliberate.’”


“Why The Shiites ‘Rebelled’”


 Song Jieyun held in official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun) (4/6):  “The serious conflicts over recent days show that the Shiites’ attitudes on the occupation authorities have changed.  If the situation continues to deteriorate, it will spin out of control.  Analysts say that the open challenge by Iraqi Shiites has presented the U.S. government with a difficult problem. If it continues to try to manipulate Al-Sadr’s supporters, the occupation administration’s authority will undoubtedly diminish, leading the Iraq security situation to deteriorate and making Iraq’s internal conflicts more serious after the power transfer on June 30.  However, if it takes tough measures to suppress Al-Sadr and his supporters, it may arouse a larger-scale reaction too, which would also lead the situation to spin out of control.”


JAPAN:   "GOJ Must Do Its Utmost To Rescue 3 Japanese Abductees"


Liberal Asahi editorialized (4/9):  "The abduction of three Japanese nationals by an armed group called 'Saraya al-Mujahedeen' is an unforgivable act.  The group must release the Japanese immediately.  The GOJ must also do whatever it can to rescue them.  With the CPA's transfer of power to Iraqis set for the end of June, anti-U.S. insurgents are intensifying fighting with U.S.-led coalition troops.  At least three mortar shells were reportedly fired toward the GSDF camp in Samawah.  Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called the current fighting in Iraq 'resistance' put up by small numbers of terrorists, militias, demonstrators and criminals. Even moderate Shiites, who welcomed the US's removal of Saddam Hussein from power, now oppose the coalition forces' occupation of Iraq, seeing it as an act of aggression.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda rejected the abductors' call for the withdrawal of SDF troops from Iraq within three days, saying that the Japanese troops are deployed in Iraq on a humanitarian and reconstruction mission.  But the GOJ should fully realize that as things stand in Iraq, SDF troops can hardly devote themselves fully to such a mission." 


"Don't Surrender To Abductors' Threat!"


An editorial in top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri read (4/9):  "The abductors of three Japanese nationals in Iraq called for the withdrawal of SDF troops from Iraq within three days.  It is a typical act of terrorism for a group to abduct unarmed civilians and threaten to kill them in order to make unreasonable demands.  The GOJ must not yield to such a contemptible demand from these militants. It should seek help from U.S.-led coalition forces to locate and rescue the Japanese abductees.  The latest abduction case may obstruct the implementation of humanitarian and reconstruction operations undertaken by SDF troops in Iraq.  The intensification of fighting between Shiite militiamen and coalition troops is putting the pace of restoring order and promoting reconstruction--prior to the CPA's transfer of power to Iraqis--at risk. At such a juncture, members of the international community, including the US, Japan and EU nations, should cooperate more than ever before in promoting Iraq's reconstruction."


"PM Koizumi Facing Political Crisis?"


Conservative Sankei asked (4/9):  "Despite the abductors' call for the GOJ's immediate withdrawal of SDF troops from Iraq, PM Koizumi reportedly remains firm on SDF deployment in Iraq. But should the militant group kill the three abductees, the Koizumi cabinet would grow unstable under mounting public criticism.  Considering Japan's public opinion giving top priority to human lives at this juncture, the continued SDF presence in Iraq has already become a big political gamble for Mr. Koizumi. Should the prime minister yield to the abductors' demands and withdraw SDF troops from Iraq, Japan would draw severe criticism from members of the world community, particularly the US, who has made a costly sacrifice of hundreds of American troops in the Iraq war."


"Vietnamization Of Iraq War Feared"


Liberal Asahi declared (4/8):  "The fighting between Shiite militiamen and U.S.-led coalition troops should be not regarded as clashes between terrorists and coalition troops, but as full-scale collisions between resistant Iraqis and occupation forces. Shiites have become increasingly dissatisfied with the CPA's creation of an interim government, believing that they will not be able to exercise leadership after sovereignty is passed back to Iraq.  Shiite Muslims welcomed the collapse of the Hussein dictatorship but do not favor the presence of US-led coalition troops.  Use of force by coalition troops to contain continuing acts of resistance would result in a rise in the number of deaths and injuries among Iraqis and cause a flare-up of anti-U.S. feelings and stronger resistance in Iraq....  Despite the intensification of fighting in Iraq, the Bush administration has reiterated its intention to 'stay the course' and is said to be studying the dispatch of reinforcements, if necessary.  The U.S. intends to neutralize resistant forces as much as possible before the CPA transfers power to Iraqis at the end of June.  However, Democratic Sen. Kennedy recently described the present state of affairs in Iraq as President Bush's 'Vietnamization" of the Iraq war.'  This war must not live up to such comments."     


"International Community Must Help Stabilize Iraq"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized (4/7):  "The fighting between supporters of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric al-Sadr and U.S.-led coalition troops in Iraq may slow the postwar nation's reconstruction.  The CPA has announced the issuance of an arrest warrant for al-Sadr in connection with the 2003 murder of a moderate Shiite cleric.  The CPA and US-led coalition forces must maximize their efforts to prevent the strife from spreading further. We hope that the current fighting will not adversely affect the CPA's transfer of power to Iraqis, scheduled for the end of June.  Shiite Muslims account for about 60 percent of the Iraqi population. However, supporters of al-Sadr are said to be in the minority among Iraqi Shiites.  Many observers, therefore, believe that most Shiites are unlikely to get involved in the fighting between the coalition forces and al-Sadr's followers, many of whom are poor and jobless....  When reconstruction efforts become more visible, the number of those participating in anti-coalition demonstrations will decline.  Strong international support is necessary to promote Iraq's reconstruction." 


INDONESIA:  "Western Irony”


Muslim intellectual Republika stated (4/8):  “Iraq and Afghanistan are two sovereign nations now under foreign occupation....  Guerilla groups fighting for freedom are emerging, such as Moqtada Al Sadr.  They are being hunted down like rats.  Everyday is a song of death.  There is no peace.  If necessary their hearts should be defeated with a new faith.  Evangelists are being sent to preach the gospel.  Therefore, a series of denials of sovereignty, democracy, and universal humanity that the U.S. has thus far been yelling are mounting.  It is time for Australia to send a James Cook statue to the U.S. to replace the Statue of Liberty.  If necessary, send in Nostradamus so that Tocqueville would stop dreaming about democracy because true democracy contains no irony.”


MALAYSIA:  "Getting Stuck In Iraq"


The government-influenced English-language New Straits Times contended (4/8):  "When Saddam Hussein was captured last December, Washington bragged that this would knock the stuffing out of the resistance.  Instead, armed opposition has steadily continued and expanded....  The assertion that opposition has come from residual Baathist elements and outside agitators is wearing thin.  But President George W. Bush continues to depict them as nothing more than 'thugs and assassins,' and the White House continues to indulge in high-minded rhetoric about liberating Iraqis and establishing democracy....  Despite growing evidence of the increasing and widening resistance to American occupation, Washington is digging in its heels....  Although the U.S. possesses the economic resources and military might to stay on as long as it wants, this will be at the mounting cost of American and Iraqi lives.  History shows that when wars of national liberation are waged, it is the colonial powers that lose.  In saying that Iraq is turning out to be 'George Bush's Vietnam,' Senator Edward Kennedy is not only drawing from the lessons of history but also painting a picture of what can come to pass."


SOUTH KOREA:  “Americans’ ‘Vietnam Nightmare’”


Kang In-sun wrote in conservative Chosun Ilbo (4/9):  “As more casualties for U.S. forces in Iraq are expected with the security situation in the country getting more out of control, some Americans are beginning to evoke the ‘nightmares of the Vietnam War.’  Whenever President Bush asserts that the U.S. will certainly triumph [in the fight against terror,] they recall that former President Johnson misled the Americans during the Vietnam War by saying that everything was going fine.  The problem is that there is no end in sight to this U.S. dilemma in Iraq.  Even countries, including the ROK, that have promised to cooperate to ensure peace in and reconstruct Iraq, are being driven into a situation where they have to agonize over whether or not to jump into the Iraqi situation heading for another war.”


“Guarding Against Iraq Troop Deployment Becoming A Bone Of Contention Ahead Of General Elections”


Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo opined (4/9):  “Even if political parties and civic groups are demanding the withdrawal of the decision to send troops to Iraq out of concern over the safety of our soldiers, the demand will further break up our society and may damage Korea’s reputation in the international community....  The deployment is not only a promise to the U.S., but also our declaration before the world....  Although a situation could arise where a promise has to be broken, it is important to work to keep it for as long as possible....  Instead of debating whether Korea will send troops or not, it would be better to observe the situation carefully and to help the ROKG make decisions on details of the dispatch after consulting closely with the U.S.”


“Faced With The Abduction Of Korean Pastors By Iraqi Insurgents”


Independent Dong-a Ilbo editorialized (4/9):  “With the Iraqi situation apparently headed for ‘another war,’ a deplorable incident occurred yesterday in which seven Korean church ministers were briefly detained by Iraqi resistance forces.  The U.S. is mostly to blame for this situation.  Furthermore, the increasingly stronger resistance by Iraqis clearly shows that force alone cannot defeat them.  Instead of trying to resolve the situation by military force, Washington should reflect on its failure to properly read Iraqi public sentiment and make every effort to embrace all Iraqis.  It should also listen to international calls to seek the UN’s cooperation....  The troop deployment to Iraq is a national commitment that was decided by the ROKG and approved by the National Assembly.  In this regard, it is not right to renege on such a promise just because things are getting worse in the country.  It is best, at this juncture, for the ROKG to do its utmost to ensure the safety of our troops deployed in Iraq.”


“The Need To Keep A Close Watch On Rapidly Changing Iraqi Situation”


Conservative Chosun Ilbo editorialized (4/8):  “The armed struggle against the U.S. by hard-line Shiite militiamen loyal to young radical cleric al-Sadr appears to be spreading across Iraq, helped by the joining of forces by Sunnis as well as moderate Shiites.  We worry that Iraq might become a 'Second Vietnam'....  The current Iraqi situation is a result of a combination of several factors.  First of all, there has emerged no Iraqi authority powerful enough to restore order while filling the power vacuum that followed the collapse of the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein.  Second, little progress has been made in the post-war reconstruction led by the U.S. military authority in Iraq.  Third, Iraqi provisional government leaders are incompetent [to manage the Iraqi situation.]  Finally, neither basic law nor U.S. military authority policies, which were aimed at bringing all of Iraq’s political and religious factions together, satisfied any faction....  Fortunately, the Kurdish autonomous regions to which Korean troops will be dispatched have yet to be caught up in the current winds of anti-Americanism in Iraq.  However, no one knows for sure what would happen in the future.  As the last nation in the world to send troops to the Gulf state, the ROK must keep a close and constant watch on the rapidly changing Iraqi situation and work out countermeasures ahead of time.”


“U.S. Instigates ‘Civil War’ In Iraq”


Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun opined (4/7):  “The root cause of the recent armed revolt by Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority is the U.S. policy of handing over power to the local elements that most suit its taste.  The U.S. military in Iraq has provoked fierce resistance from anti-American Shiite forces led by al-Sadr by excluding them from discussions on forming a new Iraqi government, and most recently, trying to remove them from the scene, with only three months left before the scheduled transfer of power.  In sum, after joining hands with the Shiites and the Kurds to isolate the Sunnis, which had formed the powerbase of the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. is now seeking divisions even among the Shiites, instigating a complicated civil war in the country.  A year after the start of the illegal and unilateral U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Gulf state is in a historically unprecedented state of division and confrontation....  The Bush Administration must drop its ambition of ruling the Middle East by force and work with the international community to explore ways to immediately end its occupation of Iraq.”   


THAILAND:  “Multilateralists Please Stand Up”


Independent, English-language The Nation observed (4/9):  "Critics of the U.S. war in Iraq may derive some degree of satisfaction from the quagmire that the world's only superpower has found itself in at the moment.  But the international community has clear interest--if not obligation--to make the post-Saddam Iraq transform itself to become a functioning democracy, regardless of whether or not they believe in the excuses the US made to topple Saddam in the first place.  The skeptical international community has every right to believe that the overthrow of Saddam may have been merely a by-product of a sinister, unilateralist design of US hegemony.  But that's hardly an excuse for continuing to sit on its hands and see people of the new Iraq suffer worse predicaments than they had faced under Saddam.  For a new initiative to get the international community on board to rebuild Iraq, all sides must set aside differences and find appropriate roles allowing everyone to work together under the umbrella of the UN.  This may take a leap of faith.  But it also presents an opportunity to those countries that say they fervently believe in multilateralism to prove once and for all that theirs is the principle that offers not only a better moral choice but also produces better outcomes that lead to true justice, lasting peace and international security.” 




INDIA:  "Anarchy In Iraq" 


Independent Urdu-language Awam argued (4/7):  "The worsening situation in Iraq tells only one thing: the people are vehemently opposed to the unjustified U.S. occupation of their country. They are even determined to fight against it. Secondly, the U.S. has also failed in dividing the people and exploiting their internal differences. Infuriated by the united struggle of various sections of the Iraqi people for the freedom of their country, the U.S. has been indiscriminately resorting to oppressive measures and taking actions leading to bloodshed at a massive scale. If the U.S. is of the view that it can silence the people at gunpoint, it is seriously mistaken."


"Slide Into Anarchy" 


The centrist Indian Express declared (4/7):  "The marked deepening of the spiral of violence in Iraq since the weekend seems to have multiple dimensions in an already difficult situation. An apparent Shia revolt seems to have combined with the ongoing acts of violence by Sunni resistance groups across the cities of Iraq....  The resistance by different groups may well be parallel struggles against the U.S. occupation which tends to hide the deeper inner struggle for power among Iraqis. With the U.S. committed to handing over governance of the country to Iraqis in less than three months from now, the pace of violent resistance seems to be intensifying, threatening to narrow U.S. choices and endangering chances of stability in Iraq....  What makes things more complicated is the fact that this is an election year for the U.S....  The need for the involvement of the international community in Iraq is becoming ever more urgent by the day. There is a serious risk that the situation may well spin out of control into a broader crisis, when even a UN-mandated international authority may be unable to prevent a slide into anarchy and civil war."


"American Dilemma" 


The centrist Statesman observed (4/7): "The chickens are coming home to roost for the Americans in Iraq, where things are unraveling quite rapidly even before the planned transfer of power on 30 June. First there was the slaying of American security contractors at Fallujah and the desecration of their bodies by an exulting public, captured in television images....  To compound matters the uprising has now spread to Iraq's majority Shias, which must be Washington's worst nightmare coming true....  The Bush administration faces a dilemma now that will be hard to resolve. If it sticks with the June 30 date for the transfer of power, it will look as if it is running away from Iraq after facing stiff resistance, as it did from Somalia after bodies of American servicemen were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. If it does not transfer power it will have gone back on its word once again; besides, photo opportunities comparable to the desecration of American bodies in Fallujah may mount precisely when President Bush is trying to get re-elected in November....  Iraq could do for American neo-conservatives what Vietnam had once done for militarists in the Johnson and Nixon administrations. New Delhi has acted with foresight in keeping out of this mess notwithstanding American pressure, and deserves to be commended."


"Fury Of The Shias" 


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer commented (4/7):  "In a way, the eruption of Shia violence in Iraq since last Saturday was an event waiting to happen. Suppressed during Saddam Hussein's regime, the country's Shia majority saw in its collapse an opportunity not only to assert its rights but also to claim the political ascendency that its numerical superiority would give them in a democratic set-up....  Attempts by the U.S. to rein in Shia political ambitions has prompted the community's clerics like Moktada take a strident anti-American posture which readily appeals to the growing popular mood in Iraq....  Clearly, the Americans have not only to rethink their wider political and military strategy in Iraq but also their commitment to handing over power to an Iraqi Government by June 30. At the current rate, any Iraqi regime that is perceived to be a creature of the Coalition could not control the situation even if a large body of Americans and other troops remain to help it out. The result will be civil war and perhaps the emergence of a Shia theocracy at the end of it. The U.S., which justifies the war in Iraq as a bid to establish democracy has a responsibility to ensure that this does not happen.  The answer lies in holding consultations with the moderate Shia leadership to contain the spread of militancy in the community and giving the UN a greater role in determining Iraq's political future."


"War In Iraq"


Independent Urdu-language Siasat declared (4/7):  "The only reason for the escalated and intensified violence in Iraq is the prolonged occupation of the country by the US and its oppressive measures to suppress the voices of freedom and sovereignty. While the people of Iraq are being denied their right of full sovereignty, American companies are given free hand to plunder the resources of country on the plea of reconstruction. More than political stability in the country, the US is so focussed solely on ensuring its economic interests. Growing realization of the fact that the US has colonized Iraq is leading to greater violence and stronger determination to get the occupying forces out at every cost. Making things worse, the US has launched a campaign against one of the most popular Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, which has only confirmed the apprehensions of the Shia majority, turning them vehemently against the occupation authorities. It is only self-delusive on the part of the US if it thinks to make Iraq peaceful through tyrannical and oppressive measures. The country is witnessing a new Karbala of its history in which the evil forces are trying to suppress the right. The fight will go on until the invaders are pushed out. Iraqi people will have to rise above all internal differences to fight the occupation forces with unity and determination."


PAKISTAN:  "Stuck In A Hole"


The center-right national English-language Nation argued (4/9):  "The Wednesday bombing of a mosque in Fallujah killing 40 worshippers shows how desperate they have become; the U.S. seems to be hitting out at anything, even targeting places of worship, unmindful of the backlash in Iraq as well as in the wider Islamic world....  The Bush administration should lose no time in re-evaluating the entire spectrum of its anti-Islam policies and sincerely work out damage-control measures. A reconciliatory approach alone can pave the way for peace."


"U.S. Marines Hit Mosque"


The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer noted (4/9):  "The U.S. marines' rocket attack on a mosque in Fallujah and killing of 40 worshippers on Wednesday is obviously outrageous, as its desecration has hurt the religious sentiments of the Iraqi Muslims.  It constitutes glaring violation of the rule of the game, besides exploding the myth of the so-called U.S. respect for Islam.  The attack on the mosque apparently represents American troops' growing frustration over the mounting resistance in Iraq.  Its debris will turn into the symbol of hatred and incitement against the U.S.  The fact is that the situation is becoming grimmer for the US with every passing day as the Iraqi fighters are fiercely resisting the U.S. raids."


"The Price Of U.S. Hubris In Iraq"


The Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily Times said (4/8):  "What is really worrisome is that at the current level of violence, the UN will become very largely irrelevant again.  Also, the U.S. army would be called upon to put down the insurgency with greater force.  That would lead to unacceptable levels of repression, resulting in cycles of more violence.  This situation makes clear how even the best laid plans can go awry.  Far from being garlanded by the Iraqis, the American soldiers are now paying the price of a political blunder by the Washington neocons."


"Better Leave Iraq"


Popular Urdu-language Din advised (4/8):  "After the inclusion of Shia community in the resistance against Anglo-American occupiers in southern Iraq the area of resistance has widened and the events of last four days represent an open revolt....  The display of unity by Iraq's traditional rivals, the Shias and Sunnis, for struggle against foreign occupiers is a danger bell for the Anglo-American occupying forces, where the basis of Anglo-American strategy was the acrimony between the two sects.  That was why Americans declared Iraqi Shias, 60 percent of the population, their natural allies....  Some circles have accused American administrator Bremer of deliberately inciting relatively peaceful Shia sect to create mayhem in Iraq so that American military's stay in Iraq could be prolonged.  This point of view appears credible....  In these circumstance the only honorable way out would be for America to adopt a multi-pronged strategy and give maximum control to the UN."


“New Phase Of Iraq’s Resistance Movement”


Karachi-based, pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu-language Islam argued (4/7):  "The latest situation in Iraq reveals that the resistance movement of the Iraqis against the American aggression has taken a new dimension.  Sporadic and scattered incidents of violence in different cities have now taken form of an organized movement with a visible political thinking and comprehensive strategy behind it.  This movement is not confined to any particular sect but has taken shape of a general revolt.  Each and every citizen of Iraq has become a mark of protest against the illegitimate U.S. occupation and American tyranny."


“Iraqis Rebellion Against America”


Center-right Urdu-language Pakistan asserted (4/7):  "Iraqis did not have anything to do with al-Qaeda, but now they are pitted against America and sacrificing their lives besides making America pickup bodies of American soldiers.  American soldiers' body bags from Vietnam brought about public uprising against that war, and sooner or later America is going to face the same situation.  It should be clear on America that its occupation of Iraq is proving as correct the propaganda of Usama bin Laden that America wants to control the wealth and oil of the Arab countries....  From this angle America itself is responsible of promoting terrorism against itself.  If America understood this angle and gave up aggression then terrorism would end automatically.  America should not take more time to understand this point."


"Increasing Resistance In Iraq And American Actions”


Lahore-based populist Urdu-language Khabrain opined (4/7):  "This is for sure:  peace can’t be established in Iraq sans establishment of an elected government.  America should think on these lines instead of dreaming about strengthening its hold on Iraq by putting up a government if its choice....  The Iraqis resistance is getting organized and if various sects joined hands then maintaining the U.S. occupation would become difficult.  It is better for U.S. to hand over Iraq’s affairs to UN so that UN peace force could be sent there and a democratically elected government could be established."


BANGLADESH:  “Growing Iraqi Resistance”


Independent English-language Bangladesh Observer commented (4/8):  "The premise on which the Bush administration waged the war against Iraq has proved hollow.  Admission from both the Bush and Blair governments is coming--albeit slowly.  They would have done well to unreservedly admit that it was a mistake to attack Iraq.  The Shiite’s turning against the U.S. troops spells disaster both for the occupying forces and the Iraqis because  the Iraqis have nothing to lose....  Now the U.S. will have to decide how many more lives it is ready to sacrifice before it pulls out."


"Only People’s Own Government Can Bring Peace In Iraq"


Independent Bangla-language Prothom Alo commented (4/7):  "Whatever the U.S. says, the people of Iraq did not accept the occupation.  It is also clear that the U.S. appointed administrator or the administration under its control would not be able to contain the situation.  So far, Sunnis were behind the anti-U.S. violence, but now the Shia demonstrations have added a new dimension to the Anti-U.S. resistance.  The establishment of a government by the Iraqis can be the only way to overcome the situation.  We hope the power to govern the country will be handed over to the Iraqi people through an international effort under the UN." 




KENYA:  “Bush’s Bloody Iraq”


Independent pro-business Standard held (4/8):  “The resistance to the American occupation of Iraq was at its bloodiest on Monday when 12 US marines were killed by insurgents....  And despite the growing insurgency, Bush was emphatic that the occupiers will hand over Iraq to a new administration at the end of June.  The Bush administration is saying that the daily slaughter of Iraqis, Americans, and others is meant to prolong the occupation!  Bush wants to hand over Iraq to former exiles who form the governing council and leave behind a country in turmoil to suit his re-election bid.  We wish to ask Bush and the new-conservatives in Washington why, if the world is that safe without Saddam Hussein, is Iraq not as safe?”




CANADA:  "Bush Needs UN To Stabilize Iraq"


The liberal Toronto Star stated (4/9):  "The ugly warning signs were evident a month ago....  Shia leaders complained bitterly that U.S. President George Bush's 'war of liberation' has brought Iraq neither true liberation, nor security nor hope....  Regardless of how legitimate U.S. intentions were in going after a preacher of hatred and a crowd of killers, Bush has now invited a broader insurrection that threatens to pit U.S. troops against the general population....  This is no mere uptick in violence before Washington hands over symbolic 'sovereignty' to Iraqis on June 30, whatever U.S. commanders may say.  Something bigger is afoot when minority Sunni insurgents join forces with their majority Shia rivals to attack U.S. Marines. And when the Marines pacify cities by attacking mosques....  Given Washington's fast-eroding credibility, the last thing Bush should do is defer the planned transfer of sovereignty, as some on Capitol Hill have urged. That would stoke the fires of insurrection.  A better approach would be to ask the UN to set up a credible transitional regime to replace the current Governing Council, and to organize elections. The U.N. could authorize, and legitimize, U.S. military support for the new regime, and encourage other countries to help....  Bush's plans are murky, feeding Iraqi frustration. But he seems to want his handpicked Governing Council to remain in charge, ideally with the UN's blessing....  , This is hardly a strategy for dousing the fires of rebellion.  Neither is tinkering with the timetable of a purely symbolic transfer of 'sovereignty' to Iraqis while the U.S. continues to call the shots. Or pouring in more U.S. troops. Those approaches invite worse violence, Vietnam comparisons and a steeper slump in presidential approval ratings.  There is a way forward, but it runs through the UNSC to a credible, popularly elected government. Bush told Iraqis he was toppling Saddam to put them in charge. They want to see it happen."


ARGENTINA:  "Slip Of The Tongue"


Marcelo Cantelmi observed in leading Clarin (4/8):  "With that rare ability he usually shows of shooting himself in the foot, Pentagon Chief Donald Rumsfeld yesterday acknowledged the deep quagmire in Iraq and blamed a 'small group of terrorists' for such a disaster. It's understandable. Washington is trying to convince everyone of small size of the enemy that managed to kill hundreds of soldiers since the end of the war. But the conclusion may be complex, to say the least: a bunch of fanatics places the army of the world's largest military power against the wall. Surely, this isn't what Rumsfeld meant to say. But these slips of the tongue can be explained given the difficulty in recognizing that this 'daily and routine death' challenge is more a nation-wide upheaval than a fanatics' wild dream."


BRAZIL:  “The New Iraq"


Center-right O Globo stated (4/8):  "Early last year Americans and English entered Iraq without facing practically any resistance.  Saddam’s fall was surprisingly as easy as the statue overturned by the crowd.  Without wasting time President Bush declared the end of combat.  But, a year later only Saddam, his sons and advisors are really out of combat.  In recent days, occupation forces are facing the Sunnis’ ferocious resistance in Baghdad and the Shiite’s uprising spreading out in the south-east.  It seems the beginning of the real war.”


"The Risk Of An Iraqi Intifada"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo held (4/8):  "It may seem exaggerated or hasty to say that Iraq is 'George W. Bush's Vietnam,' as Senator Ted Kennedy recently did....  But Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's warning that the U.S. is 'dangerously close' to losing control of the Iraq situation does not sound exaggerated or hasty in view of the risk of a disseminated insurrection against the occupation. The Americans can only blame themselves for the serious deterioration of the situation in Iraq....  The word intifada has been spread among the Iraqi population to designate actions against the forces of the invading coalition....  As Vietnam taught the U.S...military superiority has a limited range against insurgent movements in an invaded nation. The use of more brute force, called for by American conservatives, may produce a boomerang effect by increasing the support to the insurrection among the civilian population."


"Increasing Obstacles To The Bush Administration In Iraq"


An editorial in business-oriented Valor Economico read (4/8):  "The transition as conceived by the neo-conservatives who advise President George W. Bush and dominate his foreign policy is at stake. The U.S. strategy for the region will run the risk of collapsing if the Iraqi situation gets out of control. The increase in resistance indicates that such a possibility is no longer remote....  The trigger of the revolt was the prohibition against Shiite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr's newspaper....  Instability in Iraq has reached a level that leaves no room for easy options....  Although the U.S. situation in Iraq has been substantially worsened, it is still far from being 'Bush's Vietnam,' as the Democratic opposition is calling it. But there is no doubt that bad news related to his military adventures will harm Bush electorally....  The strategy to 'change the face' of the Middle East and impose a democratic regime in Iraq is just another slogan of the Bush administration's neo-conservatives. Actually, the main U.S. allies in the region are not democracies, and, in addition, the major problem for peace in the area - the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians--has not received the slightest serious effort by the U.S., which has supported Israel's actions."


"Bomb-Propelled Democracy"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo political columnist Clovis Rossi commented (4/6): "What causes indignation is the fact that a government such as that of George W. Bush, who since the beginning managed to do everything wrong, has been spared domestically. First, he lied about the so-called WMD.... He lied again when called Saddam's Iraq the center of international terrorism.... Then Washington disrespected the UN, the only institution that could provide legality and legitimacy to the invasion of Iraq. Finally, the Bush administration attracted the wrath of the Iraqi Shiites--a religious community that had been discriminated and persecuted by the dictator.... Terrorism, which the invasion of Afghanistan and Saddam's overthrow were meant to combat, continues strong and is sowing blood and panic in different nations.... It is rare to find concentrated in so limited a period of time a remarkable collection of mistakes committed by one leader. It is unbelievable that the world is running the risk of having him elected for a second term."


MEXICO:  "Will The Sayyid Have The Same Luck As Sheik Yassin?"


Gabriel Moyssen asserted in business-oriented El Financiero (4/6):  "After months of indecisiveness and threats, 'Viceroy' Paul Bremer order the arrest of young cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose militia killed several members of  the occupation forces last Sunday.  This could have been the prelude to a radical Shiite uprising against Washington domination.  The risks behind this decision are huge. Evidently it was desperate decision, due to the breakdown of Bremer's plans for a 'transition' to take place on June 30, when a new collaborationist government would have taken over the Iraqi government....  The U.S. is playing with fire because a religious rebellion could mobilize up to 60 percent of the 25-million Iraqi population.  Paradoxically, the U.S. expected this sector's support to move forward in its plans for a 'democratic Iraq.'"


CHILE:  "The U.S. And Violence In Iraq"


Top-circulation, popular Santiago-based La Tercera editorialized (4/6):  "Violence in Iraq is becoming increasingly more difficult to control...and is beginning to seriously compromise the U.S.-led mission.  Iraq has not been pacified, democracy has not been installed...citizen support of the coalition has not been as widespread as expected, and WMD clearly have not been found.  Worse, there is growing fear of an eventual civil war....  All this shows that operations in Iraq must be handed to UN peacekeeping forces....  George Bush faces today perhaps the worse scenario since the war was declared on Saddam Hussein: as information accumulates on the ‘mistaken evidence’ regarding Iraq’s destructive power, a significant portion of those who supported the U.S. president are questioning his anti-terrorism strategy.”


GUATEMALA:  “Victim Of A Foreign War”


Ana Heydy Mendez wrote in leading Prensa Libre (4/7):  "El Salvador’s people are distraught over the death in Iraq of soldier Natividad Mendez, because they consider this a senseless loss of human life, as he died in a war that is meaningless, foreign and far removed....  Why does Central America have to get involved in the political interests of the world’s superpower....  From our own perspective it dangerous to revive the role of army at a time in which our citizens are demanding a reduction of the armed forces....  If the new tendency in the world is to resolve disputes through dialogue, negotiation and consensus, to participate in a war is to negate the universal desire for peace."




Guillermo García Ponce said in pro-government tabloid Diario VEA (4/6):  "Mr. Bush thought that the occupation of Iraq would be a triumphal conquest.  He wanted to show the subjugation of Iraq as a trophy for his reelection campaign.  However, things couldn't be worse.  Instead of being a peaceful and normal place, Iraq is now the stage of a hot war in which the U.S.  and its allies see more and more of their nationals killed and wounded.  The heroic resistance of the Iraqi people has been increasing and challenging the American power and its intimidation campaign.  The goal that brings the Iraqi people together is to kick the invading troops out of their country and be an independent nation again.  Bush lied about the WMD and about the characterization of Iraq as a 'rogue country'  to get many countries involved in his adventure."



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