April 14, 2004
IRAQ: THE UN MUST 'TAKE OVER THE MESS OF IRAQI
** Dailies say only the
"UN's open involvement" can prevent a "tragic, undesirable
** Conservative writers
deem it "essential" for the U.S. to avoid the "counsel of
** Pessimists warn the U.S.
is facing "the specter of defeat" and a "tragic failure."
** Critics declare the
"intensification of U.S.-led military action" is aggravating Iraqi
'The people of Iraq need the UN'--
the "brutal blood-letting," many papers called "transferring the
issue to the UN" the "best way to reduce the armed
conflict." The center-left Irish
Times judged that "only a new UN mandate...can overcome continuing
Iraqi resistance," while China's official Global Times said
"Iraq must be taken over completely by the UN." Jordan's center-left Al-Dustour
demanded the "Zionistic Bush administration...leave Iraq and hand it over
to the UN." Several Euro analysts
termed the UN idea "pure fantasy", though, since it is "unlikely
that even the...UN can resolve" the Iraq crisis. France's center-left Liberation warned
"the UN cannot restore peace where the U.S. Army has failed."
The world must win this 'important battle against
terrorism'-- Backers of the U.S.
labeled the violence "a sign of desperation" by those who seek to
sabotage the "evolution of Iraqi self-government," and sought "a
way to help Washington" because an "American defeat would signal a
victory of terror." Australia's
tabloid Daily Telegraph added it would be a "betrayal to abandon
the cause" of freedom for Iraqis.
Papers united to blast the "horrifying tactics of kidnapping and
extortion," but split on how to respond.
Japanese dailies agreed Tokyo "should not yield to terrorist
demands," but the moderate Manila Times saw "serious divisions
within the Coalition" and concluded the "Philippines must avoid
getting swallowed up" in Iraq.
'Washington has already lost Iraq'-- Leftist and Arab critics claimed "anarchy
reigns," blaming the U.S.' "myopic vision of a complex Iraq" for
creating a "growing united front of Iraqi patriots." The "disastrous failure" is about
to become a "second Vietnam war" because the "U.S.-led coalition
has lost the peace," said Germany's left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau. A Kuwaiti writer hailed
what it saw as a setback in a U.S. "plan of spreading its hegemony all
over the world," agreeing with Tanzania's pro-government Mzalendo
that "America invaded Iraq... to exploit the country's oil
wealth." Outlets across the globe
dismissed the IGC as unrepresentative, some labeling them "American
stooges" who will "be the first to take refuge in foreign embassies
or to flee to American ships" when Coalition forces depart.
'Uncalculated and impetuous actions' caused this 'insanity'-- Regional papers criticized
"oppressive" military tactics for the "popular anger and
resentment." Saudi Arabia's
conservative Al-Madina stated that "massacres of innocent and
peaceful civilians" do not help "lay the foundations of
democracy"; Pakistani outlets assailed the "atrocities of unarmed
Iraqis and desecration of their holy places." The centrist Times of India blamed the
"marginalization of important Shia factions in the U.S.-brokered
power-sharing arrangement" for the anti-U.S. sentiment. Other papers urged a "New Deal"
based on "political finesse" and putting "more money in Iraqi
hands" to win the support of Iraqi's "silent majority."
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
146 reports from 52 countries over 9 - 14 April 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
Apologists Are Using Cliché Camouflage"
Columnist Simon Jenkins commented in the conservative Times
(4/14): "In his briefing last
night, George Bush, like Mr. Blair on Sunday, uttered many Churchillian
phrases. But both men failed to give any
coherent account of the Iraq strategy over the next three months to
'handover'.... [Blair's] collusion in
Mr. Bush's obsession with Iraq will remain a puzzle of modern history.... The occupation of Iraq has been military
madness. A nation cannot be driven to
democracy by Cobras and Apaches. An
orderly withdrawal is now urgent. Yet
all Mr. Blair can do is fantasize and abuse his critics."
"The One Chance Left For The IGC Is That It Will Separate
Itself From The Occupation"
The center-left Independent editorialized (4/13): "Today, the IGC finds itself a servant
of several masters. What authority it
possesses, it owes to the United States.
It is supposed to operate in the name of the Iraqis.... But the composition of the IGC also proved
divisive and its divisions made it vulnerable.
Iraqis increasingly saw its members as stooges of the Americans.... Serving an occupation, even one as
comprehensively victorious and powerful as the US authority in Iraq, even in
the name of your own people, is not for the fainthearted. The tragedy in Iraq is that the IGC started
as promisingly, and lasted as long, as it did."
"UN In Iraq"
Former UN Director of Communications in Iraq,
Salim Lone, held in the left-of-center Guardian (4/13): "The UN image has fallen to abysmally
low levels in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and it must correct its excessive
pro-US tilt if it is to function there with the people's support. But doing this will only be possible if the
US itself recognises that the legitimacy it seeks from UN imprimaturs is
becoming less and less meaningful, and relieves the excessive pressure it
places on the secretary general."
"Iraq's Insurgency Is Not The Tet Offensive"
The conservative Daily Telegraph
editorialized (Internet version, 4/12):
"So the Shia and Sunni uprisings in Iraq turn out not to have been
the Mesopotamian equivalent of the Tet offensive.... President Bush, unlike Lyndon Johnson, has
not opted to retire in an election year and even Tony Blair...remains as
determined as ever to see the campaign through to a successful conclusion. At the military level, too, this phase of the
insurgency has not triumphed.... More
important still, the Shia masses did not rise up in support of the militia led
by the clerical firebrand Moqtada al-Sadr, who was conspicuously shunned by
divines with much greater followings, such as Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Indeed, ordinary Shi'ites seem to have
regarded al-Sadr as little more than an Iranian stooge. Nor is there much evidence that radical
outsiders have been able to foment a sectarian civil war between Shi'ites and
Sunnis.... Much of the good that has
been achieved by the Allied armed forces could be undone if the siege of
Fallujah and the hostage crisis are now mishandled. The danger here lies as much in the Americans
being 'suckered'...as it does in 'Rambo-ism.'... If the truce that has now been called between
Allied forces and the insurgents in Fallujah is a face-saving prelude to a
total surrender (or even a ruse to bring about an SAS-style raid to free the
kidnapped) then all well and good. But
if it comes to be perceived as part of a broader political deal with the
insurgents...then any short-term gains will be massively outweighed by problems
further down the pike. Many within Iraq
and the wider Arab world will draw unfortunate inferences from the political
aesthetic of gunmen negotiating on an apparently equal footing with the
mightiest superpower on earth. One of
the reasons for the 'kinder, gentler'' American approach towards the Fallujah
rebels...is the fear that the Sunni Arab members of the governing council will
resign if the Allies raze the Sunni Triangle along the lines, say,
of...Sherman's march through Georgia....
The Americans should, however, call the Sunni Arab politicians'
bluff. They have one third of the seats
on the Governing Council, but little more than 15 per cent of the total
population: they would then have to
explain to their constituency why they threw away a most advantageous sectarian
carve-up. But if the Sunni Arabs on the
Governing Council get away with the politics of brinkmanship, then the Shia
mainstream will gradually come to the conclusion that radicals such as al-Sadr
and his gang represent a better bet for their communal future than the more
conservative leaders they presently have."
"Iraq Needs The UN"
The left-of-center Guardian commented
(Internet version, 4/12): "'Their
victory would do far more than defeat America or Britain,' Tony Blair wrote of
the insurgents in Iraq in yesterday's Observer. 'It would defeat civilization and democracy
everywhere.' This is a large claim to
make of a war that many regard as more provocative than prophylactic. But he is right in that to retreat now,
leaving Iraq to almost certain civil war, would destroy the basis for
intervention and make absurd any pretence of a moral case.... It has been a grim anniversary. Security in Iraq is more arbitrary even than
in the days of Saddam, while post-war reconstruction has reduced Iraqi
sovereignty to a Washington franchise and democratic reform, in the view of
some Arabs, to a euphemism for U.S. intervention. But by riding with Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair has
exerted a little influence on the direction of U.S. ambitions. There was a route map to a Middle East
deal--and it was a UN route prior to war....
This week gives [Blair] a chance of restoring his version of the
relationship [with Washington] with progress on engaging the UN.... Following the eruption of Iraqi resistance,
the visit is being seen as a chance mainly to stand by Mr. Bush in defense of a
June 30 handover. The prospect of a new
UN framework for involvement in peacekeeping and reconstruction--said to be
paralyzed by divisions within the Bush administration over the degree of power
to be delegated to the UN--is thought to be about nil. M. Blair is having an easy ride domestically
compared with Mr. Bush. Despite the
damage done among his own backbenchers and his wider party, he is partly
cushioned by the party's failure to develop its stance on Iraq and anxiety
about policy splits. But activists whose
campaigning efforts are vital in June's local and European elections deserve a
credible defense of the war. And the
people of Iraq need the UN."
"Iraq Needs Democracy"
The conservative Scotsman took this view
(Internet version, 4/12): "Foreign
troops, even under a United Nations mandate, cannot indefinitely maintain the
peace in Iraq.... U.S. public opinion is
going to tire quickly of its troops being in Iraq. The solution is to give the Iraqi army
legitimacy by transferring sovereignty to the IGC, so the local Iraqi security
forces do not feel they are mere extensions of the U.S. military. There will be those who counsel that Iraq is
a dysfunctional entity that can never be stable except, perhaps, under the hand
of a strongman such as Saddam Hussein.
That is a counsel of despair....
All of Iraq can be again. But it
will take the cut and thrust of politics, not the just buzz of helicopter
gunships. Only setting a date for
elections will undercut the accusation that the U.S. is an occupying
power. And only the prospect of
elections will give popular legitimacy to the IGC and its army."
"Run For Your Life"
Patrick Sabatier observed in left-of-center Liberation
(4/14): “The specter of defeat,
political if not military, is indeed weighing on the shoulders of the American
president.... The dynamic in Iraq favors
the anti-coalition insurgents who retain the initiative. They, as opposed to the U.S., have a clear
strategy--the strategy of the worst.
Terrorism and hostage taking targets the Achilles’ heel of democracies
and their need for support from their publics.... The probable assassinations of hostages aims
to destroy the coalition...with everyone running for their life out of
Iraq.... Without NGOs and private
citizens, Iraq cannot be reconstructed....
And the UN cannot restore peace where the U.S. Army has failed.... It may be time to acknowledge that invading
Iraq was a serious mistake and that the occupation poisons the situation. Before it is too late it may be time to
convene an international conference to try to save Iraq from chaos. The chance of succeeding is slim. But to persist in one’s mistake will lead to
a tragic failure.”
Denis Jeambar had this view in right-of-center weekly L’Express
(4/14): “From Madrid to Berlin, Paris
and Rome, no one believes any longer that U.S. soldiers are dying in Iraq for
peace. This regrettable schism mirrors
the conflict over Vietnam.... The
worsening situation in Iraq and the trap closing in on the U.S. feeds the
neutrality adopted by the Europeans and theorized by France.... But a U.S. defeat in Iraq and its
consequences would be worse than the Vietnamese debacle. The question is no longer whether the
Americans made a mistake about Iraq.
They intervened because they are the most powerful. They can walk out for the same reason. They would then revert to an isolationism
that would be dangerous for Europe.
Europe would be on the front lines of triumphant Islamism and of
terrorism fueled by the Middle East’s lack of stability. Europe cannot remain idle. It must find
quickly a way to help Washington get out of the Iraqi hornet’s nest. An American defeat would signal a victory of
terror and the beginning of terrible events.”
"The U.S. President And The ‘Internationalization’ Of
Antoine Basbous, Founder of the Observatory for Arab Nations, held
in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/14):
“President Bush should shed the posture of calm he has adopted. Unless he finds an alternative to his
strategy, he is on his way to defeat....
We cannot forget the initial goal of the mission: to rebuild Iraq, to stabilize a traumatized
country, to create a legitimate state and to withdraw. Considering the threat which the Iraqi wound
represents for international security, it is time for President Bush to revise
his strategy, involve the UN, and call on his allies, like France, who can
offer a new approach to end the crisis, in order to save the Middle East from
Antoine de Gaudemar wrote in left-of-center Liberation
(4/13): “The crisis that is developing
in Iraq illustrates Washington’s failure to implement adequate relays. The
transitional government is non-existent and without authority.... The new security forces...are often
ineffective.... In dealing with the
hostage takers, the little negotiation that has taken place was with tribal
religious leaders rather than through members of the government in Baghdad. In
fact, anarchy reigns in Baghdad and the...kidnappings have increased the
impression that no one is in control of the situation in Iraq.... The resistance to the occupation forces is
finding new members in the local population, which to date had remained neutral
or at least undecided.... The Sunni and
Shiite are joining forces against the Americans, giving new life to Iraqi
nationalism. The resistance seems well organized, making it hard for the
Marines to take back Fallujah.... The
Americans find themselves faced with an impossible dilemma: either they
negotiate with the rebels, possibly giving ideas to other opponents who have
for the moment chosen to remain quiet, or they refuse to negotiate, leading to
a clash that could ignite not only Iraq but the Middle East. In this vacuum
where chaos reigns, the transfer of power is a major wager.”
“Hard Times For The U.S”
Jean-Luc Macia maintained in Catholic La Croix (4/13): “Beyond the number of casualties, the Americans
cannot escape the fact that after a year of war...they have triggered a
resistance which is more difficult to deal with than Saddam’s army.... The new alliance they have created between
the Sunni and the Shiites, even if temporary, should be their primary
concern.... Even if the extremists are a
minority, their forcefulness is giving them a sort of legitimacy in the eyes of
public opinion.... The U.S. and its
coalition has failed to fill the void left by the fall of Saddam’s
dictatorship.... The transitional
government has no credibility and the transfer of sovereignty can be expected
to be most chaotic. The latest hardship for the Americans is the matter of the
hostages. The extremists remember what happened in Lebanon 25 years ago.... The indignation of the Japanese people… is
proof that President Bush has no guarantee that his allies will stay. The
fragile cease-fire in Fallujah proves only that the logic of violence can be
suspended for a time, but not reversed. And only if the Americans accept the
humiliation of dealing with terrorists.”
Left-of-center Liberation editorialized (4/11): "With the insurgencies becoming more
frequent and violent, the 'coalition of the willing' is proving to be a
'coalition of the wavering'... A year
after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the coalition no longer controls much in
Iraq, which is starting to look like Afghanistan at the time of the Soviet
Right-of-center Le Figaro commented
(4/11): "The Americans have failed
to re-establish security for property and people throughout the country, and
security is the minimum service that any population expects of the state. Without security, freedom will always remain
an empty word in Iraq."
Miriam Lau editorialized in right-of-center Die Welt of
Berlin (4/14): "No government that
looks like an American puppet will have a chance. As a result, the new government must include
people such as al Sadr, even Baathists from lower levels, and Sunnis from the
Bermuda triangle. One must request help
from many Arab countries, maybe even from Iran.
One will require the UN and its envoy Brahimi, who enjoys Shiite's
respect. For Bush's father this would
not have been a problem. In other
words: one must postpone the noble
American project of democratizing Iraq.
Public peace must be restored before one can think of democracy. One should start a kind of 'New Deal' with
more political finesse, more money in Iraqi hands and more soldiers--exactly in
"They Love Power And Life"
Clemens Wergin opined in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of
Berlin (4/14): "Most insurgents
don't seem to be suicide assassins, ready to sacrifice their lives. This also applies to Sadr. In other words: one can negotiate with them and deter them
with military force, as the Sadr militia's retreat from several towns
shows. It is now important that
Americans don't make Sadr a martyr.
Killing the cleric sheik [sic] would only emphasize the comparison, made
in the Arab media, between the U.S. occupation and the Israeli occupation of
the Palestine territories. Once the
majority of Iraqi believes this, Americans would fail to pacify the
country. But the most important hit
against insurgents came from Washington, where John Kerry said in an op-ed that
there would be no early retreat if he were president. Even if insurgents succeed in bombing Bush
out of office, they will not get rid of U.S. troops.... Iraqis who want to cooperate with the U.S.
must no longer fear to be left unprotected at the end."
Rolf Paasch commented in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(4/14): "The date of June 30 has
become nonsense, because behind the lack of loyalty among the new recruits
stands the weakness of the Iraqi governing council. Iraq's Interior Minister Badran had to
resign, following Bremer's wish, which strengthens the faction of the Pentagon
pupil Chalabi, probably the most unpopular exile politician on the governing
council. One should recruit higher
officers of the Saddam regime, thwarting Bremer's decision to dissolve this
"The New Vietnam"
Malte Lehming opined in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin
(4/13): "Was it wrong to go to
war? That is the essential question
nobody can avoid. Those who wash their
hands of the daily horror reports try to avoid it. Would the world be better off if the dictator
was still in place in Baghdad, oppressing his people and filling mass
graves? Maybe one must say that. Maybe Saddam was an illness that could only
be cured with a medicine, which has more serious effects than the illness
itself. Those who are not troubled by
this understanding are moral scalawags.
One year ago Bush triumphed with an arrogant pose, but to pay him back
with the same arrogance should be forbidden."
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger commented in
center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/11): "There are two tasks immediately facing
the occupying powers. They must take
control of the spreading lawlessness within the Sunni Triangle; and they must
defeat the guerrilla uprising by Sadr's supporters, without thereby bringing
engendering widespread solidarity with them on the part of the Shiites. For, the greater the number of victims among
the (Shiite) population, the harder it will be for the Shiites' spiritual
leaders, who hitherto have viewed Sadr as nothing more than a rival and
trouble-maker, to remain committed to a new political order.... It will also be essential to ignore those
counseling against proceeding in just under twelve weeks with the transfer of
sovereignty--whatever that may mean in specific terms--to an Iraqi transitional
government.... Postponing the
transfer...would be regarded as evidence that America is not in fact minded to
relinquish political control.... A year
on from the dictator's downfall, it is therefore now evident that there are
numerous internal and external forces seeking either to sabotage the fresh
start, or else to divert it toward their own preferred direction. This was to be expected. In both the Shiite heartland and in the
Shiite districts of Baghdad, Iran is exerting rather greater influence than is
generally appreciated. Tehran's plans
are far from benign. Elsewhere too,
there are plenty of leaders within the Arab world who would like to see the
Americans failing. But the United
States' partners, including those who opposed their actions, should clearly
realize that such failure, far from giving them cause for satisfaction, would
be an alarm call to the whole world. For
they too could then forget about such notions as a liberalized Middle East that
had rid itself of Islamist fanaticism."
"No Clear Path To Peace"
Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
held (4/11): "The invasion of Iraq
is still suffering from the error that existed at its birth: there is no clear formula for how the country
can live in peace. Prophesies that Iraq
would be ungovernable seem now to be coming true."
"Losing The Peace"
Center-left Berliner Zeitung opined
(4/11): "They won the war. But...have lost the peace in Iraq. The worst thing is that each day takes the
country even further away from the vision that allegedly brought the 'coalition
of the willing' into the country."
"The Second War"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
remarked (4/11): "The U.S.-led
coalition has lost the peace in Iraq--if it ever existed and was not just
self-delusion. The second war--following
the first, which began a year ago and seemed to have ended with the overthrow
of Saddam Hussein--has only just begun."
"One Year Later"
Wolgang Guenter Lerch commented in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (4/10): "Exactly one
year after Saddam's statute was toppled in Baghdad's center, the defeaters are
threatened to lose control over large parts of the country. Increased resistance in the Sunnite triangle
and among Shiites, terror attacks and hostage-takings have created a situation,
in which the word 'Vietnam' is often said.
Although most analogies with this American tragedy of the century are
false, many emphasize one question: stay
or withdraw? Given the current situation
it seems unlikely that Americans will transfer power to Iraqis on June 30 and
go home soon after.... Of course, all
countries of the coalition face this dilemma.
They have joined an enterprise with ethnic and religious peculiarities,
which planers--contrary to the suggestions of experts--assessed falsely. Americans might be able to calm down
insurgents for some time militarily, but only at the costs of intensified
hatred, which creates new violence. Even
Arab allies at the Gulf, who don't shed any tears over Saddam, seem to lose
support. The Islamic Republic of Iran
kept quiet until Saddam was captured, but now the leadership takes its chance
to play off its nuclear program against its attitude toward the Iraq conflict. It is important for Shiites from Lebanon to
Afghanistan how Iran, the home of Shiites, approaches the conflict."
Bernardo Valli noted in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica
(4/14): “No Iraqi, Arab, Kurd, Sunni,
Shiite, rich or poor, religious or lay, has recently declared himself to be a
friend [of the U.S.]. Not even one
member of the Governing Council that was established by the Americans has
expressed his solidarity with the Marines in Fallujah.... One year after the end of the war, and two
and one half months before the transfer of power, this silence is
disturbing. It’s certainly disturbing
for the Americans, who cannot help but feel alone.... In Iraq, no one wants to define himself as a
U.S. ally. It’s as if there were no ties
between the occupying forces and Iraqi society worth manifesting.”
“Bush And An Iraq Without the Iraqis”
Ernesto Galli Della Loggia asserted in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera (4/13): “What is
happening in Iraq certainly shows that the Americans were wrong...in believing
that the war against Saddam Hussein would represent a strong political signal
against Islamic terrorism, but it also shows something much more alarming. It shows that in Iraq there are Shiites,
Sunnis, and Kurds, but there are no Iraqis: in other words, there is no
national public opinion capable and willing to assume responsibility for the
country’s general problems.... This is
the main stumbling block causing the failure of the American strategy.... The Americans are as a result left without
interlocutors apart from the high priests of the various Muslim
religions.... The results of Saddam’s
alleged efforts to make Iraq a lay and modern country are now visible to
everyone.... Modernity and laicism have
come down to nothing else than efficient police and terror structures, huge
military expenditures, merciless persecutions against the dissidents, both
religious and others.... This is the
main difference between ‘us and them’....
This is the difference that makes any type of dialogue problematic and
weak. It seems unlikely that even the
good offices of the UN can resolve the problem in the near future.”
“The New War Has Begun”
Alberto Pasolini Zanelli noted in pro-government, leading
center-right Il Giornale (4/13):
“More U.S. troops are leaving for Baghdad. No negotiations with the leader of the Shiite
revolt and a renewed commitment not to withdraw in the face of
difficulties. Let’s stay the course at
all costs. Bush’s announcements...point
towards a definition (of the Iraqi situation) that seems to have no
alternatives: a new war is beginning in Iraq, the second one, exactly one year
after the announcement--obviously premature--of the victory. This is a new war and not just the
continuation of the previous one, given the fact that goals, methods and political
strategies, but also military strategies, have changed.... This is a ground war, with goals changing any
moment, with a longer-term strategy and an outcome that is basically
uncertain.... The second Iraqi
war...will be more difficult and more expensive, especially in terms of human
lives, as Bush made a point of warning his fellow citizens. Many illusions have vanished, the main one
being the Americans’ hope of being ‘welcome with flowers.’”
"Iraq Covered By A Black Turban"
Nikolai Zimin opined in the reformist weekly Itogi
(4/13): "Bush's chances to win in
November now look illusory.... It looks
like rare voices of protest may soon merge in a flood of protests on a national
scale. Perhaps only when Bush loses the
battle for the White House he will come to realize that the East is quite a
intricate thing. But this will not make
it easier for the rest of the world, including Russia. Bush may go, but the Iraq problem will remain
there. If a new U.S. president decides
to sort it out just by bringing U.S. troops back home and leaving Iraq to the
mercy of figures like al-Sadr, it will be a blow to the whole world harder than
the current war. So, all members of the
anti-terror coalition have slightly more than six months to try to come to
terms and, through joint efforts, avert Iraq's turning into a clone of
Afghanistan under the Taliban."
"All Quiet On The Iraqi Front"
Anatoly Andreyev contended in centrist Trud (4/13): "Observers note the growing coordination
and cooperation between Shia and Sunni resistance units. The Shias are helping
the beleaguered Sunni city of Faluja by sending food and medical supplies and
the pictures of the Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr are very popular among Sunni
fighters. He is regarded as a national hero. So, it is not international
terrorists and remnants of Saddam Hussein's followers who are fighting the
Americans, but a growing united front of Iraqi patriots, both Sunni and Shia. The more far-sighted observers think it is
futile for the occupiers to put the stake on discord between Shias and Sunnis
and regard warnings that a civil war in Iraq is inevitable if the Americans go
just as a pretext for them to stay. Meanwhile, recent opinion polls show that
64 percent of Americans fear that Iraq may become a 'second Vietnam.'"
"The Shia Crept Up Unnoticed"
Nikolai Zubov observed in reformist weekly Vlast
(4/12): "The Americans hoped that
the Shias they liberated, who form the majority in the country and were
brutally oppressed by Saddam, will join them in celebrating the anniversary of
his overthrow. But instead, the Shias started a revolt in Iraq. The massive
Shia uprising on April 6 this year organized by the young radical Shia leader
Muqtada al-Sadr has shown the true results of the American-led international
occupation of Iraq. Iraqis are dancing in the streets, just like they did a
year ago, only now they are dancing on top of the burned-out vehicles manned by
US soldiers and Iraqi police as the coalition forces step up their military
actions. The casualty toll in the rebellion is already running into
"Blackmail And Awe"
Political scientist Ibragim Taufik wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya
Gazeta (4/12): "For Bush to withdraw
American troops from Iraq before the presidential election in the U.S. would be
tantamount to giving up. It would mean admitting his own defeat. After the November elections, either this or
another administration may decide to leave Iraq. But then it won't be the elections that will
determine the decision. Iraq is still a
long way away from a popular uprising.
What is happening now does pose a certain threat to the Americans, but
not a mortal threat. However, if the
U.S. fails to find a common language with the Shiites, the Sunnis and the
Iraqis as a whole, the situation will probably deteriorate."
"Americans Surrender Al Fallujah To Iraqi Rebels"
Georgy Stepanov opined in reformist Izvestia (4/12): "The U.S.-led coalition is fast losing
control of those sections of the Iraqis with whom it seemed to have established
some kind of understanding. Problems
arise with the transformed Iraqi army.
Its 620-strong second battalion (one out of four) refused to march on Al
Fallujah and restore order there together with the Americans. 'To fight against our brothers? Never.' the Iraqis told their
'principals'.... The question now is how
will the American military hand over the functions of security to Iraqi
AUSTRIA: "The Nasty
Little Voice Inside Us"
Historian and publicist Peter Huemer wrote in mass-circulation
provincial daily Kleine Zeitung (4/14):
“The optimists in the West were proven right about Iraq: a short war, a speedy victory, a low number
of casualties among the allies, the terrible dictator overthrown. However, the pessimists were proven right
even more: military victory alone is not
enough, chaos will break out in Iraq and claim more dead soldiers than the war
itself did...and the threat of international terrorism will increase, and not
spare Europe this time.... What to hope
for now?... Of course, no reasonable
European can hope for a defeat of the U.S. forces, and a victory of the
terrorists, Islamists, and fanatical murderers who want to set fire to our
world in the name of their God.
But: we also haven’t forgotten
who we have to thank for this situation.
In November this year, America will elect a new president, and never
before have so many Europeans been so interested in the result of an American
election. What the majority here wants
is clear: the defeat of the current
president and his administration. What
counts is not the victory of the opponent, but the ousting of Bush.”
“Further Shocks In Iraq”
Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer stated in liberal Der Standard
(4/13): "The worst shock for the
U.S. should be the answer to the question that experts have been discussing for
months: where, in case of conflict, would the loyalties of the new Iraqi police
and army lie? After first reports that police forces were fighting against the
U.S. and for the Shi’ite rebels in Baghdad last week--a fact that was
attributed mainly to the general chaos of the situation--an increasing number
of incidents has been recorded where security forces at best kept out of things
altogether, and at worst joined the chorus of ‘long live Sadr’ in the streets.
In Fallujah, the U.S. army was forced to admit that an Iraqi battalion that had
been sent there refused to act. It is too early to draw conclusions from these
events for the entire police force and the entire army, but it is highly
unlikely that the security agendas will be handed over to the Iraqis as
planned. This means that yet another pillar of the U.S. plans for Iraq has
Liberal Der Standard took this view
(4/11): "The peace was lost from
day one when Baghdad was taken over by looters, robbers and murderers."
"More Difficult Than Ever"
Chief Editor Peter Vandermeersch remarked in Christian-Democrat De
Standaard (4/13): "One year
after the spectacular destruction of the Iraqi dictator's statue the situation
in Iraq is more difficult than ever.
While most Iraqis may be happy that they got rid of one of the bloodiest
dictatorships ever, they want--every day a bit more--to see an end to the U.S.
occupation.... President Bush--soon
fully immerged in an election campaign--is pressing for a transfer of power on
June 30, when an Iraqi interim government should take over full sovereignty. However, the recent war situation makes that
timing rather unlikely. Washington is
caught in a perfect Catch-22 situation: it cannot leave. That would drive the country--and the entire
region--into chaos. Staying is not an
option either. In that case, Iraq would
drift away into a spiral of radicalization.
The violence that the occupation forces need to survive is
counterproductive and holds the risk that moderate Iraqis also become
radicals. There is only one way out of this
deadlock. Washington--and the various
Iraqi rebel movements--must accept that the UN play a major role in the
administration of the country. As long
as that is not the case the war will go on.
It is a paradox in this war: the United Nations could not prevent it,
but they must help to end it."
"Why The War In Iraq Makes Sense"
Jan Rybar wrote in leading, centrist MF Dnes (4/10): "It is easy to do what many world
politicians as well as wiseacres in pubs do, that is to make lists of who has
made what mistakes in Iraq. Yes, George
Bush and Tony Blair may have made mistakes and said things they should not have
said, but that must not overshadow the fact that their war has given Iraq
freedom and a new chance. Yes, the
Americans now realize that the situation in Iraq is getting out of hand, but
telling them that that they should not have entered Iraq in the first place is
simply not fair. Saddam represented evil
and it is good that he is gone. Believe
it or not, the Americans, the Brits and somehow the Czechs, too, are really
fighting there for the peoples’ right to be free. History shows that people do not always
cherish their freedom. Even in the CR,
one fifth of the voters vote for a party that murdered millions of people
across the world. Why blame the Iraqis
for being happy about Saddam’s departure but reproaching the Americans at the
same time? There will be more clashes in
Iraq, but the war gave its people a chance for a free future. This is why the war makes sense."
"U.S. And Allies Must Consider Changing Course In Iraq”
Centrist Kristeligt Dagblad opined
(4/13): "Recent violence is of such
a serious nature that it appears that the U.S. and its coalition partners will
have to reconsider current policies. A
year after the start of the war, the situation in Iraq appears to be no
better--in some ways, things are even worse.”
“Kidnappings Could Open The Door For The UN In Iraq”
Foreign Editor Michael Jarlner said in center-left Politiken
(4/13): "Hostage taking has
increased pressure on the U.S., both internally and externally, to accept the
U.N. mandate for Iraq. This
would...increase international support for peacekeeping. Hostage taking is cynical and appalling, but
(unfortunately) very effective.”
"Finding A Better Course For Iraq"
The center-left Irish Times editorialized (4/10): "One year on...the expressed objectives
of the war are unfulfilled. No WMD have been found. Links between Saddam
Hussein and the al-Qaeda movement responsible for the 9/11 attacks have been
created by the occupation of Iraq, not destroyed by the war. The Middle East
region is now more unstable than before. It is a bleak picture, even if it is
not the whole story. Many parts of Iraq are quiet. Most Iraqis are as delighted
that Saddam has gone as they are angry they have not yet regained national
sovereignty.... Iraq is far from the
democracy and stability proclaimed by ideological supporters of the war in the
Bush administration, when they pressed ahead with it one year ago. They were
unprepared for the nation-building effort required to reconstruct Iraq.... The problem now is how to ensure Iraq
retrieves its political, economic and security sovereignty as soon as possible.
President Bush has pledged to withdraw formally by June 30th and hand power
over to an Iraqi administration which would hold elections in January. But the
US-led military coalition would remain and so would a U.S.-dominated
transitional government. Only a new UN mandate enabling a much more broadly
based administration can overcome continuing Iraqi resistance and consequent
regional instability in the Middle East.”
"Seeds of Doubt Over Dubya's War Shoot Up
All Over Iraq"
The center-right, populist Irish Independent
editorialied (Internet version, 4/12):
"Early dire predictions of Iraq becoming another Vietnam were
invariably simplistic and frequently seemed to relish the idea of America
becoming embroiled in long and dirty war as punishment for their sins. But as it becomes increasingly clear that
what we have witnessed in the last week isn't just an increase in sporadic
fighting but a clearly organized and frequently well executed battle plan, it's
impossible not to suspect that things are going to get a whole hell of a lot
worse before they get better.... With
their operational goals in Iraq becoming increasingly blurred and with a
genuine sense of confusion spreading from the president down to the men on the
ground in Iraq, this administration is beginning to exhibit something it never
has hinted at before--uncertainty. For
all the numerous faults of Team Dubya, uncertainty and confusion were never
among them; indeed, if anything, most people had fervently hoped that even a
degree of uncertainty might have imbued Bush and his cronies with a little
humility. Instead we seem to have fast
forwarded all the way from monstrous arrogance to barely suppressed
Influential liberal De Volkskrant observed (4/10): "America and its allies are fighting on
three fronts: against the Sunnis, the Shiites, and foreign combat groups that
have used the post-war confusion to settle in Iraq.... The real danger lies in the possibility of
different groups merging and receiving widespread support of the
population.... What we are seeing here
is caused by lack of post-war planning in Iraq and the small number of troops
that have to guide Iraq into a new era.
This precarious situation calls for a coalition that has a lot of tact
and courage. Further destabilization of Iraq will have far-reaching
consequences--and not only for Bush."
"Iraq One Year Later"
Left-of-center Trouw editorialized (4/10): "No matter how one feels about the
legitimacy of the American actions in Iraq, turning one's back on Iraq right
now simply is not an option. Hopefully,
President Bush, the allies, the UN, and Iraqi leaders will come up with a strategy
that will lead to real peace."
"A Bull In An Iraqi Shop"
Mariusz Zawadzki wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(4/14): “For several days, the Americans
have been moving in Iraq like a bull in a china shop. It all began with a fuss over a brochure
published by the belligerent warlord Mukhtad al Sadr...and Paul Bremer issuing
a decree suspending the paper for sixty days.
One can hardly think of a better example of using a cannon to kill a
"Bush Has No Idea Of How To Get Out Of Trouble"
Zbigniew Lewicki opined in tabloid Fakt (4/14): “While George Bush Senior stopped too early,
George Bush Junior did not stop at all.
Moreover, he did not realize that he had not beaten either the Iraqi
military or security forces. The huge,
well-armed mass simply disappeared...and the human bomb started to tick. Bush’s other big mistake was in neglecting
the Iraqi people.... If the enormous
funds the Americans are spending in Iraq were allocated for creating a system
of public works, the situation would look different today.... Perhaps if Bush considers average Iraqis
instead of focusing on the Governing Council, something can still be
saved. I am afraid, though, it is already
too late for this.”
“Colin Powell’s Disorientation”
Maria Wagrowska commented in right-of-center Zycie (4/13):
“Colin Powell’s extraordinary statement; ‘We did not anticipate what is
happening in Iraq now,’ which coincided with charges against President Bush
that he ignored warnings on the risk of terrorist attacks, could start a
political storm with far-reaching consequences.... This statement also confirmed that the
situation in Iraq has reached a critical point.... The point is that two months before the
transfer of power to the Iraqis, there have emerged phenomena that can thwart
those plans. Aside from the military opposition, there are signs of frustration
within the Governing Council...and dissatisfaction among the Iraqi army and
police, whose members are cooperating with the rebels. Thus the basic question
is: Will the Iraqi structures, established after the ousting of Saddam, and
intended to cooperate with the American civilian governor, be able to fulfill
the tasks of instilling order? Will they remain credible in the eyes of the
people of Iraq?”
“The Debacle of Nation Building”
Manuel Carvalho wrote in influential moderate-left Público
(4/11): “It’s the confirmation of what
many suspected of: the concept of nation building is no more than an extremist
ideology, a dangerous combination of Messianism and voluntarism that is totally
destitute of any sense of History.... By
wanting to turn Iraq into a lab for that belief, Bush and his radical wing have
shown a total absence of sensitivity to understanding even a basic truth: one
does not make friends through the use of force.... The last fallacy of the Iraqi Operation is
beginning to tumble down. For the U.S., as for Europe, the creation of a new
and uncontrollable quagmire in the Middle East is a gloomy sign into the
Vasco Pulido Valente observed in respected center-left Diario
de Noticias (4/10): "Given that
there aren’t many solutions, the usual panacea--the UN--is once again under the
spotlight. Zapatero wants the UN, John Kerry wants the UN, even the Pope wants
it. Why? Because of legitimacy, they say....
As if the Iraqis recognized the UN as a neutral referee and as if they
would respect it without a shadow of doubt....
There is no political agreement over the nature of the troops to be
sent.... It does not even seem possible.
The U.S. will not accept a solution that humiliates or harms it. And the Iraqi
factions will distinguish between the Arabs who suit them and those who don’t.
The UN idea, great to hit Bush, is pure fantasy. Iraq’s agony will not be over
ROMANIA: "An Even
Bogdan Chireac stated in respected Adevarul (4/9): “Iraq today is becoming an example of how an
anti-terror war should not be administered.
The removal of Saddam Hussein, one of the bloodiest dictators in the
history of humankind, should not have lead to an even greater danger to the
civilized world. We don’t talk now about
the decision of the U.S. to defeat the dictator, which, a year ago, had split
the west into two. It’s about
administrating the situation in Iraq from the moment Baghdad fell until
now. Washington had tried to put in
practice in Iraq, with no modifications, the model of transition to democracy,
which took place in the former communist world.... Unfortunately, the Iraqi reality was meant to
overcome the most pessimistic post-Saddam scenarios. In the quest for democracy in a Muslim
country, the only thing of political value existing in that country was
lost--stability.... If America will
leave behind an Iraq torn by civil wars, this would be a defeat not only for
America or for President Bush, but for the entire western world. If the situation in Iraq is not stabilized in
a reasonable timeframe, the consequences would be huge for the entire world. If America withdraws all of its troops from
Iraq tomorrow, this would be considered a defeat, even if Saddam is no longer
in power. This fact would be a sign for
any Al Qaeda member that he can attack anywhere, anytime. Not only the terrorist organizations would
feel compelled to attack. The countries
on the terrorism black list, which are negotiating with the U.S., would
automatically return to their initial positions of full force.”
"Kidnappings In Iraq"
Conservative ABC said (4/13): "Now we are seeing the real face of
terror in a new phase [in the Iraqi conflict] which aims to impede the slow
evolution of Iraqi self-government and the improvement of the conditions of
life. To a certain extent it's a good
news because the resort to the terror in Iraq is a sign of desperation. However, the down side is that [these
actions] demand a moral clarity and principle that democracies have not always known how to maintain. The fact is that today a very important
battle against terrorism is being fought in Iraq and it's more necessary than
ever to defeat it where it's breaking out."
"Iran Stirs Up The Iraqi Crisis"
Luis Maria Anson wrote in conservative La Razon (4/12):
"The current crisis in Iraq, in a pre-civil war period...is stirred up by
Iran.... Tehran wants a weak,
impoverished and unstable Iraq. If the
Americans could strengthen a democratic regime in Baghdad, Iranian
fundamentalism would be in danger because freedom is infectious."
Centrist La Vanguardia editorialized (4/11): "The Shiite majority has resisted until
now all attacks knowing that elections will be benefit them. However, if the local revolts, the taking of
foreign prisoners and the American repression cause a classic action-reaction
cycle, the chain of violence could have unforeseeable effects."
"Against The Occupier"
Left-of-center El País held (4/11): "The U.S. is making a mistake with its
strategy. Razing to the ground with
bombs a city like Fallujah, in the Sunni triangle, with hundreds of deaths and
the leveling of mosques, does not seem the way to build the future. Six months of efforts for the political and
security stabilization of the country have been jettisoned with the shedding of
blood. Bush remains unshaken in his
objective to turn sovereignty over to an Iraqi interim government designated by
the U.S. on June 30, although the reality is that, today, there is no
sovereignty to turn over, only chaos....
The U.S. should understand that it is urgent it stops being seen as an
occupier.... Even at the expense of
losing the election in November, Bush should realize that he should radically
change the approach and make the UN and its Security Council take political
control of the situation. This won't
solve chaos, but would make it easier for countries such as France, and
especially other countries of the Arab and Muslim world, to provide forces for
real stabilization work.... Spain should
urgently rethink its military presence in Iraq.... Spanish forces didn't go there to fight
battles or remain besieged by a population who rejects them, but to help in
reconstruction. Either Washington
changes the approach or they will have to come back."
Conservative ABC editorialized
(4/11): "The situation in Iraq is
getting increasingly explosive. Shia and
Sunni rebels are uniting their forces...a clear challenge to the occupying forces,
pushing the conflict towards a new, unpredictable situation. The war in Iraq is copying, in other ways,
the worst characteristics of other conflicts.
As in Chechnya, the first kidnappings of foreigners have emerged."
Asli Aydintasbas wrote from Washington for the mass appeal Sabah
(4/12): “The uprising in Sadr and
Fallujah has strengthened the Americans’ willingness to deliver Iraq’s
administration to the new UN representative, Lakhdir Brahimi.... Brahimi aims to expand the Iraqi Governing
Council (IGC) in a way to include the Sunni and other elements in the
country.... Shiite and Kurdish leaders
claim that Brahimi is an Arab nationalist, and that he has no legitimacy in
Iraq because of the alleged scandal in the UN oil-for-food program. However, Washington has sent the IGC a clear
message to ‘shut up’.... The new U.S.
envoy to replace Bremer after June 30 will either be State Department Deputy
Secretary Richard Armitage or White House Iraq policy shaper Robert Blackwill. Ankara has not been on good terms with
Bremer. With this change of office,
Ankara might seize an opportunity to make a new beginning in relations with
"Law And The Struggle Against Terrorism"
Gunduz Aktan commented in the intellectual/opinion maker Radikal
(4/12): “U.S. forces have besieged Fallujah
and killed 300 Iraqi civilians as a punitive action for the ferocious killing
of four American civilians. The
international community has accused U.S. of using excessive force.... U.S. forces’ simultaneous attack on the
es-Sadr militia has changed the nature of the war in Iraq.... Clashes have spread to Najaf and Karbala, and
groups loyal to al-Hakim and moderate Shiite leader Ayatollah Sistani have
joined in the resistance against U.S. forces.... The U.S. has thus managed to unite the Sunni
with all Shiite groups.... Shiite and
Sunni solidarity in a unified resistance will strengthen Arab nationalism. If the U.S. grants sovereignty to the Kurds,
clashes will spread to northern Iraq.
The Kurds would then be at risk of another catastrophe, like those they
have suffered so many times in their history.
Such developments would render invalid the annual U.S. report on human
rights practices around the world, as these reports do not include Iraq, where
the worst violations are taking place.
The U.S. will then lose its leading role in the field of human rights.”
"Security Without Protection"
Independent Belgrade-based liberal Danas commented
(4/14): "A year after the
successful military intervention in Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein,
coalition forces lead by the Americans are trapped, almost without a chance for
an honorable exit strategy. The uprisings of the radical Shiites in the south,
of the Islamic Sunnis in the north, in the so-called Sunni Triangle and in
Fallujah, portend the possibility that
coalition troops might face their own 'Vietnam Story' in the Iraqi sand.... New war and information technologies, 'smart'
bombs, surgically precise cruise missiles, invisible fighters completely
changed the face of modern warfare and enabled the mightiest power to win
without major difficulties and with minimal casualties. However, when the
interventionists come to a defeated country to provide democracy and economic
prosperity, 'smart' bombs and futuristic
technology become useless and incapable of preventing terrorist actions, ethnic cleansing and to
provide security to ordinary citizens....
New approaches to fighting global
terrorism are needed. The fight against global terrorism and the word's
security require global unity."
"Every Occupation Has An End"
Talal Ukal commented in independent Al-Ayyam
(4/12): "If the first war on the
Iraqi regime was based on some worthless justifications, who should bring the
U.S. to justice for its second war against the Iraqi people who are fighting
for their freedom and democracy?.... The
events in Fallujah and other cities remind us of what's taking place on
Palestinian land. Scenes of brutality,
collective punishment, disrespect for human rights, random killing, harassment
of civilians and desecration of holy sites are so much the same that some
people might wonder whether Israel has a role in managing the work of the
[occupation] forces in Iraq."
EGYPT: "The Tragedy Of
Ahmad Hasan opined in aggressive state-owned Al-Akhbar
(4/11): "With tears in her eyes,
the mother of one of the three Japanese citizens held hostage in Iraq said 'I
could not stay alive for one day if my son did not return safely from
Iraq.' Those few words not only reflect
the tragedy of a frightened mother who learned that her son had been
kidnapped...the tragedy of a nation as it sees three of its citizens
blindfolded and kneeling on the ground helplessly at the mercy of gunmen who
threatened to burn them alive if Japanese forces did not withdraw from
Iraq. What happened was expected and the
Japanese government...have found themselves in the midst of a crisis which
might throw them out of office; particularly since they have turned their backs
on Japanese public opinion, which strongly rejected U.S. pressure to send those
troops to Iraq. Despite the enormous
efforts exerted by the Japanese to emphasize that their mission in Iraq is not
one of combat and that their objective is to rebuild this country and assist
its people...despite the health and development projects that Japanese troops
are implementing there, Japanese soldiers remain a force operating under the
banner of U.S. occupation. This makes
them one of the tools of occupation which serve the interests of occupying
forces before serving the Iraqi people.
Although the crime of kidnapping civilians is an appalling one,
occupation is an even more dreadful crime.
Therefore, the criminals who made the decision to invade the people of
Iraq and occupy their land under the pretext of a series of shameless lies and
tricks are primarily responsible for the tragic kidnapping of those three
Japanese nationals and other civilians.
Moreover, the weak governments which succumbed to U.S. pressure and
participated in the crime of occupation are also to blame. Ultimately, however, innocent people end up
paying the price of their governments' collusion with the U.S."
"Temporary Ceasefire And Angry Volcanoes"
Dammam’s moderate Al-Yaum noted (4/13): "Extending the ceasefire will not stop
the Iraqi resistance. This resistance is
the legitimate right of Iraqis to defend their land. The U.S. called for a ceasefire because it
is embarrassed about the increased loss American soldiers, which has also
provoked protests in the U.S. against the war and the raids in Fallujah... A ceasefire is only a temporary solution if
the occupation forces do not learn their lesson. The UN and the provisional government will
not achieve any progress in Iraq. Iraq
is on a volcano that is ready to explode at any moment... In the absence of security, the political
situation is not going to improve. The
time is not appropriate for the transfer of power to the Iraqis."
"Failure To Spread Democracy"
Dammam’s moderate Al-Yaum editorialized
(4/12): "Unfortunately the American
administration has failed to spread democracy, as was its justification for
invading Iraq.... After one year, Iraqis
have not realized the American promises.
The American raids on Fallujah and the killing of unarmed people in
their houses has increased instability in Iraq."
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazirah maintained (4/12): "The U.S. is mistaken if it thinks that
the Fallujah battles will scare the Iraqis. Preventing the injured people in
Fallujah from reaching hospitals to receive prompt medical care has widened the
gap between the occupation forces and the Iraqi people. The occupation
authority should consider accelerating the process of handing over sovereignty
and security responsibility to Iraqis and prepare to depart. The trauma in
Fallujah is not easily cured within a short time, and the terrible sight of
women and children being bombed will not be forgotten."
"What Is Behind The Arab Silence?"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina opined (4/12): "Iraqis blame their Arab brothers for
not helping them to get rid of a dictatorship that put them, and the whole
region, in danger. They also blamed
Arabs for not making a move to stop the American massacres of innocent and
peaceful civilians in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities.... It is neither acceptable nor reasonable to
believe that the best way to improve the lives of Iraqis is through F16 rocket
launchers and Apache helicopters. This
is not the best way to lay the foundation of democracy in Iraq. Those who murder hundreds of innocents in
Fallujah cannot say that they are doing it with the interests of Iraqis in
mind. Unless, of course, they think that
death is the best gift a superpower could give to a nation that has been
suppressed by a merciless dictator."
"The Needed International Cooperation"
Jeddah’s conservative Al Madina editorialized (4/11): "With each passing day the military
coalition proves its disastrous failure, especially when it insists on
conducting military operations without paying any attention to the interests of
the Iraqi people. The cooperation that
is needed is not military. Iraq does not
need more forces to protect it.
Cooperation is needed to rebuild Iraq, re-organize its institutions, and
to help it recreate its political, social, and economic infrastructures. A serious effort to help Iraqis regain their
freedom is what is needed. This is the
only guarantee for peace and security in Iraq."
"Iraq’s Strength Is In The Unity Of Its People"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan declared (4/11): "The Occupation of Iraq has left no room
for negotiation. The forces went into
Iraq with fire and guns, disregarding all norms and cultural traditions. This is a message to the U.S. occupation
force: 'Iraqis, who have suffered
through the old regime are willing to renew their sacrifices, this time for the
sake of national dignity and their autonomy.'
What is happening in Iraq these days is no surprise. Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis have joined together
to oppose an occupation that is disrespectful of their religious and cultural
diversities. The people of Iraq consider
themselves Iraqis first, and then they are Shiites or Sunnis."
"Bottomless Pit Of Violence"
Ahmed Rabhi held in London-based pan-Arab Asharq
Al-Awsat (4/10): "If the
fighting raging in Iraq takes root, Iraqis will fall into a bottomless pit of
violence.... The Iraqi factions, who are
currently united in facing the coalition forces, will soon be fighting each
other.... In addition, the regional
forces that support and arm certain groups in Iraq will find themselves
confronted by other regional forces supporting other groups in Iraq.... But it is the Iraqis who will ultimately pay
the price for the violence perpetrated by both the Iraqi factions and the coalition
forces.... The situation is exacerbated
by the absence of a strong Iraqi leadership....
The condition of Iraqi civilians, who bear the brunt of the conflict,
has put the religious authorities in an uneasy situation. They abstain from
commenting on the situation, or at best issue vague statements to avoid
irritating anyone.... Those instigating
violence are intent on blaming the Governing Council (GC) for the deteriorating
situation, adding that this was mistaken because the GC represents the broad
political Iraqi spectrum.... The problem
lies in the failure of regional forces implicated in Iraq to recognize the
gravity of the regional repercussions, if the violence continued
"Iraq One Year After The Fall Of Baghdad"
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad maintained (4/10): "One year after the fall of Baghdad the
U.S. Administration is trying to convince the world that it liberated 25
million Iraqis. But reality shows otherwise.
If the world has fallen for this trick, Iraqis won’t. One year after the
fall of Baghdad, Iraqis are still drinking the bitter cup of U.S.
democracy. There is no difference
between the freedom that Saddam promised and the freedom the U.S. offers.
Iraqis clung to Saddam’s freedom through traditional old weapons, but now they
get U.S. freedom through missiles, state of the art tanks, and bombs of
democracy that fall on their heads day and night."
Another ‘Vietnam’ For The Americans"
Small-circulation, French-language La Nouvelle Republique
opined (4/12): "If the U.S presence
in Iraq is a trouble-making factor, their departure will arouse a bigger
chaos.... The fact that Americans call
for a coalition against the ‘resistance’ demonstrates that they do not admit a
transfer of sovereignty to the UN. This
means a total impasse.”
“Political And Military Impasse In Iraq:”
Influential French-language Le Quotidien d’Oran noted
(4/11): “One of the options would be
that U.S. transfers the sovereignty on Iraq to the Arab League. This league would be in charge of
consultations with different Iraqi parties in order to find a consensual
solution. But, the Arab league is an
empty set that has neither a common foreign policy and defense means, nor the
will to solve its own internal conflicts."
"Iraq: One Year Later"
Moderate-circulation French-language L’Expression held
(4/11): “While the U.S. is pumping Iraq’s oil, the world is
helplessly watching a colonization of a country, a colonization that brings
each day an increased number of Iraqi and western victims (American, Japanese
and South-Korean). Meanwhile, the Arab
dictators are reinforcing their regimes and are still looking for a place and
date to discuss the old Andalusian splendors.”
JORDAN: "The Bitter
Columnist Mohammad Kawash wrote in mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm
(4/14): “What is happening now on Arab
territories is the inevitable result of America’s uncalculated and impetuous
actions that were based on the logic of force and the use of the military
without any consideration to the values, traditions and beliefs of Arab society
in general and the Iraqi society in particular..... As everyone expected, shrapnel from this
bloody war and the violent confrontation are flying to Iraq’s neighboring
countries as a result of a series of American mistakes and the lack of American
understanding for the issues affecting the Iraqi people. The cycle of violence is expanding in the
region and safe and stable Arab countries are now faced with threats resulting
from the spread of the phenomenon of extremism.”
"The Departure Of The Invaders From Iraq Is An Escape"
Columnist George Haddad remarked in center-left, influential Al-Dustour
(4/14): “Now that the invaders have used
up all the pretexts behind which they can take cover, they remembered the
United Nations in the hope that it might lend a helping hand.... The Americans have come to realize that, on
one hand, they cannot contain the Iraqi Intifada, and, on another, they cannot
stand still because that would mean more losses in lives and money. They also cannot declare the bankruptcy of
their position and the defeat of their project.
True, they can commit massacres and they can destroy cities, but that,
as barbaric and vicious as it is, will not bring them any closer to
victory. What to do then in these
difficult times with the presidential elections in the horizon? There is no solution but for the Zionistic
Bush administration to leave Iraq and hand it over to the UN."
“America Looking For Excuses”
Fahd Fanek stated in semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai
(4/13): “The excuse used to justify the
Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was the disarmament of the WMD. When it was proven that there are no WMD in
Iraq, American leaders began looking for other excuses, and hence the search
began of Iraqi ‘programs’ to manufacture WMD.
When these programs were proven not to exist, they started talking about
Iraq’s 'intentions’ to manufacture WMD.
These excuses convince no one.
America’s aggression was already planned, because the neo-conservatives
who dominate Washington policy-making believed that occupying Iraq would
guarantee their control over not only Iraqi oil, but also Arab oil, and that
establishing pro-American rule in Iraq would give them the chance to dominate
the whole of the Middle East. So the
talk about reshaping the political map of the Middle East started, talk we no
longer hear these days because it became evident that Iraq left a bitter taste
in the mouth, that its occupation is no picnic, and that the occupier is paying
the price everyday with money and blood.
The Americans need a new excuse to justify the vicious resistance they
are facing in Iraq...and this excuse says that the terrorists are afraid of
democracy and that they want to abort the American project of making Iraq a
free and democratic country. This is an
attempt to belittle the minds of people who know that Iraq today is as far from
democracy as it will ever be and that what awaits Iraq under the occupation is
more bloodshed, destruction and sectarianism.
The only way for the American people to get out of the Iraqi quagmire is
to oust the current administration or to bring about what is called a ‘regime
change’ in Washington. The world will be
a much safer and more stable place and America’s position would be better off
if it returned to respecting legitimacy and international law.”
“The Country Of People Rejecting The Occupation”
Mohammad Kawash contended in independent, mass-appeal
Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/13):
“The security situation in Iraq collapsed faster than the Americans
expected. The situation is so out of
control that it worries the leaders of the occupation. Meanwhile, resistance actions have reached
their highest level, placing the occupation forces and collaborators in a
situation that is similar to the last days of America’s occupation of South
Vietnam.... The occupation forces and
the U.S. administration have committed a number of mistakes, slip-ups and human
rights violations, so much so that the Iraqi people, of all sects, have become
inflamed with anger and revolution. What
is going on in Iraq today confirms that those who painted a rosy picture for the
occupiers’ journey to the land of fire and anger are a group of orientalists
who are so distant from the Iraqi people’s concerns and who know nothing about
the traditions, the values, the morals and the faith of this hard and stubborn
Arab community. These orientalists, who
have taken up the seats at the governing council, do not have the support and
respect of the Iraqis, and when the time of reckoning comes and when the
occupation forces get ready to leave, these governing council members will be
the first to take refuge in foreign embassies or to flee to American ships,
exactly like the Vietnamese collaborators did when the occupation collapsed in
"Washington Has Already Lost Iraq"
Musa Keilani wrote in the independent, elite, English-language Jordan
Times (4/11): "There are
several theories to explain the eruption of resistance against the U.S.-led
occupation on a scale that could not have been anticipated. The first,
according to Arab conspiracy theorists, is, of course, that the U.S., seeking
to pre-empt and eliminate all forces challenging its plans in Iraq ahead of the
transfer of power to a hand-picked government, engineered the crisis with help
from some of the penetrated fronts and supporters.... Another theory is that the U.S. is convinced
that the 'transition' plan is not workable because of opposition from Shiite
leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani and therefore creating many bloody
crises...would give Washington the right smokescreen to argue why the plan
could not be implemented.... Bush's camp
is seeking to pacify Iraq, keep the situation under control and send out a
message that the president's plans for the country after toppling Saddam
Hussein had been working, are working and will continue to work effectively. An
Iraq in chaos would not be any good for Bush.... Therefore, it is imperative for Bush's
reelection campaign that the situation be brought under control soonest.... The mandate of the U.S. military is simple:
settle the problem no matter what before June 30.... The American approach is based on the
acceptance that the interim government to be installed on July 1 will not have
any credibility.... While the extent of
military support for Sadr among Iraqi Shiites is debatable...most Iraqis back
his stand that the people of Iraq should be in charge of running their
affairs.... No doubt, the intensity of
resistance has jolted the Americans....
In the days ahead, we could expect to witness an intensification of
US-led military action to put out the resistance throughout Iraq. There will be
massacres that would only inflame the passions of the people of Iraq which
will, in turn, be translated into further vendetta attacks against coalition
forces. The U.S., using massive military force, might be able to inflict heavy
casualties, and also take casualties, in its effort to pacify Iraq, but
Washington has already lost Iraq and its continued rule of the country is not
conducive to peace in the region."
KUWAIT: “Iraq On A Hot
Salah Al-Fadhli wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-A’am
(4/11): “One year after the occupation
of Iraq, the picture is black for the Americans. The American Administration miscalculated and
is currently embroiled in a serious crisis.
Senator Ted Kennedy was right to describe Iraq as George Bush’s
Vietnam. It appears America is not ready
to pay a heavy price for its presence in Iraq, nor is it able to retreat, as
that would be considered a loud victory for what it allegedly calls terrorism
and religious radicalism. It also seems
that the coalition occupiers have lost leave of their senses, and are using
tanks, heavy artillery and military aircraft against anyone opposing their
presence. These actions serve to sever
any last bridges of hope with the Iraqi people, who have begun to compare these
actions with the way Saddam used to deal with them.”
“American Plans For Iraq Fail”
Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabai stated in independent Al-Watan
(4/11): “It is beyond doubt, one year
after the fall of the former Iraqi regime, Iraq’s occupation had nothing to do
with the former regime’s possession of WMD, nor had anything to do with the
events of 9/11. The occupation is linked
to America’s plan of spreading its hegemony all over the world, starting with
the Middle East, through the GMEI.
Israel, of course, will be America’s main partner in using Iraq as a
testing ground; therefore, any resistance in Iraq must be crushed. Despite this, America’s plan for Iraq is
beginning to fail. The American Giant
has gone mad and has foolishly begun attacking all segments of Iraqi society,
even those who welcomed the American intervention.”
Mohammed Musaed Al-Saleh maintained in independent Al-Qabas
(4/10): “A year has passed since the
fall of the former Iraqi regime, and that was welcomed by all Iraqis. However, the American military leadership
committed a few mistakes upon entering Baghdad; the American military and their
allies should have stayed on the outskirts of the city, observing from afar,
without clashing with Iraqi resistance and militia. The American military also made the mistake
of disbanding the former Iraqi army, and of not collecting weapons. Today we see the consequences of America’s
mistakes. Americans in particular do not
know how to deal with Iraqis, and their policy toward Iraq is a shambles.”
Shi'ite cleric Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah
contended in Arab nationalist As-Safir (4/11): "U.S. foreign policy has lost
credibility, plunging the world into political chaos.... The US administration's resort to lies since
the Sept. 11 attacks indicated the degree of the moral crisis looming in the
world in the absence of international law, and amid untruths promoted by the
country that presents itself as the world leader.... All humanity is paying the price of a
hypocritical policy implemented by the U.S. intelligence community, and others
in the region and the world.... The only
solution for facing this international chaos is the nurturing of local popular
forces that seek change in the East and West, and will work on moralizing
"Make Democracy And Accountability Real In
The moderate, English-language Daily Star
editorialized (4/10): "The
situation in Iraq is striking, volatile, worrying--but not new.... Human nature and history have walked through
this valley of death and destruction many times...this place and mindset that
reflect immense firepower by a foreign military invader and irrepressible
resistance by less well militarily endowed native fighters. And the outcome is
always the same, has always been the same....
There is a better way to do this, though, than to degenerate further
into the insanity that we have now wrought through the intemperate and
amateurish American policies and the provocative and reckless response of
Moqtada al-Sadr's followers. The way to
prevent a wider civil war from engulfing Iraq is for the U.S. to use the same
political firepower in building a democratic Iraq as it is using to kill Iraqi
resistors and shell Iraqi mosques and homes. Give Iraq and the world the rapid,
relevant deeds of democratization and liberation, rather than only the rhetoric
and future promise.... The Iraqi people
want the U.S. to achieve its pledge to
leave Iraq soon and leave behind a stable democracy, not just to keep repeating
that pledge while sending helicopter gunships into action against poor urban
neighborhoods. The U.S. has had a year now to show the fruits of its policies
and promises, with very mixed results. A dramatic and pivotal situation like
this requires decisive action to make democracy and the rule of law real to
Iraqis. Make the case-fire permanent. Make the promises real."
"Bush Dons Sharon's Role And Enjoys The Blood Of Iraqis"
Hossein Yezzi wrote in Casablanca-based
independent Arabic-language As-Sabah (4/10): "President Bush last Monday donned Ariel
Sharon's robe when he ordered that Iraqis in Faluja be massacred and all the
population there be collectively punished....
Sharonist Bush also ordered that Ramadi, Kut and Karbala be besieged,
that mosques be shelled and that Iraqis, the elderly, women and children be
attacked. In clearer terms, the US President had given orders that the Iraqi
people be killed, that same people to whom, before his well-known invasion, he
had promised happiness, freedom and democracy.
This happened concomitantly with clashes taking place in Iraq on two
main fronts. One of these fronts is Falujah, west of Iraq, where the American
colonial Marines continue the massacre of the population.... The 'brave' Marines forces are killing
innocent civilians who, because of treason, have been deprived of an army that
would have protected them against these rabid aggression and attacks.... Islamonline.net said that it had learnt that
a decision to activate the Shiite resistance in Iraq was taken at a conference
in London in mid-March last. The conference brought together representatives of
several important Islamic movements, in addition to public figures close to
Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr.... The
activation of the Shiite front against the American occupation of Iraq was one
of the most important recommendations made during the secret talks of the
secret Islamic conference that was held in London.... The conference brought together important
Islamic movements in Europe, Sunni and Shiite representatives of the Iraqi
Islamic movement, especially a representative of the young Imam Moqtada Sadr,
as well as a representative of the Hizballah international section.... Regarding the Iraqi resistance, no matter what
is said about it, it is a resistance that has one color, that of Iraq, a color
that can never be mixed with the American aggressive, colonial color."
"Ceasefires And Investigative Committees"
Semi-independent Arabic-language Al Watan
judged (4/12): "The Fallujah
massacre, committed in cold blood by the American invading forces, illustrates
why President Bush wants to exempt his soldiers from being tried in courts of
law. Even though U.S. forces tried to
hide the details of this calamity, the number of dead people exposes the
conspiracy and its impact on the people of Fallujah. If the ceasefire becomes a reality, a
committee under the supervision of the UN should be formed to investigate this conspiracy
and the killing of women and children.
Iraqis should have the right to raise legal cases against the U.S.
administration and its aggressive armed forces.
This will happen if the international community wants to enforce
international law. We hope that the UN
and the Arab League will stand up for the human rights of the Iraqi people,
which are enshrined in international law."
SYRIA: "Occupation And
Mohamed Ali Buza wrote in government-owned Al-Thawra
(4/13): "It is tragic that the
strong-headed people in the US Administration--those who dream about
controlling the world and going back to the old colonial age--still refuse to
acknowledge defeat and the deep impasse in Iraq despite the current
mis-steps.... Instead of correcting
their performance and erroneous policies they rush towards committing more
military follies, ignoring all ethics and international law and establishing
the law of the jungle. So far drowning
in the Iraqi sands has not fulfilled the invaders' hopes.... The U.S. Administration must learn this
lesson, contemplate the Iraqi people's uprising and acknowledge the uselessness
of its much-vaunted war machine before it is too late."
"Occupation Generates Resistance"
Muhammad al-Khadr commented in government-owned Al-Ba'th
(4/11): "Hundreds of civilians were
killed and thousands others wounded in five days of confrontations.... The plans and programs that Bremer drew up
under the direct supervision of the White House have begun to fall
apart.... The widespread insurgency
refuted naive claims and allegations about infiltration of resistance fighters
and anti-occupation elements from outside Iraq. Will Wolfowitz and others now
say that all these rebellious millions also came from outside Iraq!"
"One Year Past Occupation"
Haydar Haydar said in government-owned Al-Thawra
(4/9): "The administration in
Washington is considering sending military reinforcements to Iraq. It will
certainly send these reinforcements, but for what? According to previous
claims, the goal was to eliminate dictatorship, remove WMD, bring freedom and
democracy to Iraq, and defend human rights in the country. Today, what excuses will the U.S.
Administration offer for the deployment of more troops? The Americans are
bitterly asking: Why did we go to Iraq? Voices are now heard in the U.S. and
abroad: Why all this madness? Why are we sending our sons to Iraq to die there?
We are perpetrating massacres and killing innocent people aimlessly. We found
no weapons of mass destruction. We achieved no stability. And what is worse, we
are not any safer than before. No one proved to us there was a connection
between Iraq and the bloody event of 11 September.... The U.S. Administration is embarrassed
because it misled Americans, who are demanding that their president be held
accountable... Americans are asking: Where are we heading? Is there a way out
of the tunnel?"
UAE: "Clear And
Present Danger In Iraq"
The English-language expatriate-oriented Gulf News
contended (4/12): "Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi of Japan has run into easily the toughest challenge yet to
his government. Even as Koizumi is trying to put up a brave face to send the
message that Japan is no soft-touch, pressure is mounting on him to pull
Japanese troops out of Iraq to save the lives of three Japanese kidnapped by
Iraqi insurgents.... The similar dilemma
faces the leaders of all countries that are part of the U.S.-led coalition in
Iraq and the countries whose nationals are one way or the other involved in
Iraq. The new tactics of kidnapping by those who have risen up against the US
occupation add another, wholly undesirable dimension to the ever-worsening
situation in Iraq. The Iraq imbroglio presents a 'clear and present' danger to
Koizumi's leadership. If he stands his ground and refuses to give in to the
threat of kidnappers, he is certain to antagonise majority of Japanese people.
If he opts to pull out his troops, he risks the threat of being perceived as
'soft on terror' by big powers including Washington. The kidnapping episode itself does not really
come as a surprise.... Desperate men
adopt desperate measures and Iraqis do not see any ray of hope in near
future.... Since this was the first time
Japanese troops were being deployed in a foreign country after the World War
II, there were serious reservations about getting involved in a war which has
nothing to do with Japan. However, now
that Japan has entered the fray, it has no option but stay the course in Iraq.
Koizumi has a lot at stake--his government's future, Japan's credibility and personal
integrity. His leadership qualities are put to test. And he just cannot afford
to fail the test."
"A Nation's Torment"
Top-circulation popular Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph
editorialized (4/14): "The job of
securing a free, democratic society in Iraq is far from complete. So it would be entirely premature to withdraw
forces. It was inevitable that,
following decades of repression by Saddam Hussein, the transition to democracy
would not be done overnight. Those who
look on the disorder and violence in Iraq and conclude the best course is to
withdraw our troops should reconsider.
We went to Iraq with the offer of a new way of life, a life of peace and
freedom. Having held out that promise,
it would be a betrayal to abandon the cause now. In fact, the upsurge of violence in Iraq
should strengthen our resolve to do the opposite--to stay until the job is
"U.S. Strategy Condemns It To Failure"
Paul Kelly observed in the national,
conservative Australian (Internet version, 4/14): "The recent uprisings prove not just
that the Iraq project was more difficult than George W. Bush realized but that
the U.S.'s global strategy against terrorism should be reassessed.... Bush must get the best outcome he can from this
point--that demands fortitude and more international support. But the supreme message from Iraq is its
proof of the limits to U.S. power. Bush
underestimated the task in Iraq and, as his military said from the start, more
troops were needed."
"Defying The Kidnappers"
The conservative national Australian argued (4/13): "By taking international hostages, the
insurgents in Iraq have done their various causes no good. However horrible the threatened fates of the
hostages, any or all of their deaths will not erode the determination of the
U.S. to restore order prior to the transfer of power to an Iraqi government. If
anything, the kidnappings will only stiffen the resolve of those governments
whose citizens are being held not to back down. No nation can afford to let
standover men dictate its policies. The
same strategy that led to the terrorist bombing of the UN headquarters in
Baghdad last August is now being used anew to try to frighten foreigners away.
The government of every nation whose citizens are under threat must make it
absolutely clear that kidnapping will not sway them from their involvement in
the reconstruction of Iraq."
"Only UN Can Fix Iraq Woes"
The left-leaning Canberra Times declared (4/10): "The U.S. approach is fundamentally
compromised. It can be rescued, if at
all, only by a new coalition of the willing-- the United Nations. But not a UN brought in to rubber stamp or
lend authenticity to decisions already made by the failed and discredited
"The New Iraqi Front"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald
declared (4/10): "The war in Iraq
has taken its most dangerous turn. A string of emerging battlefield alliances
between Sunni and Shiite factions are uniting Iraq's traditional rivals around
the common cause of killing Americans and all those allied with them.... A new spate of indiscriminate kidnappings of
foreign civilians...paralysed the reconstruction effort and will further
polarise public opinion around the world.
The U.S.-led forces have now been drawn into urban warfare on multiple
fronts.... The potential for crossfire
casualties to rally ordinary Iraqis to the insurgents' cause should not be
ignored.... The uprising, inspired by
the radical Shiite cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, undercuts a central pillar of the
occupation--that of Shiite co-operation....
It is clearly no longer possible to characterise the fighting as a power
struggle between competing Iraqi factions, into which the occupation forces
have been, incidentally, dragged.
Washington's insistence it will hand sovereignty back to the Iraqis as
scheduled on June 30 raises the urgent question: 'To whom?' The potential for the violence to be defused
by the withdrawal of the primary target, the US-led coalition, and its
replacement by a UN--led force, should not be overestimated.... For Australia, the moral obligation to stay
in Iraq remains. The Vietnam quagmire comparison is unavoidable. However,
Vietnam's victorious communist forces had built an organised, alternative
administration over more than half a century of war. There is no such stable
Iraqi administration waiting in the wings. Any hasty withdrawal risks
condemning the Iraqi people to the chaos, and possible civil war, of a power
vacuum.... The indiscriminate targeting
of foreigners, however, means all Australians in Iraq are threatened. Valid
public debate over the Howard Government's decision to join the Iraq campaign
should be separated from equally valid concerns about the worsening violence.
Australia's exit strategy is firmly attached to its obligations to the Iraqi
people as part of the invasion force."
CHINA: "Chaos In Iraq
Triggers And Stirs Terror"
Su Bei commented in the official Communist Youth League China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (4/14): “The U.S.’ victory in Iraq has played the
role of triggering and stirring terrorism around the world.... The power vacuum after the Iraqi war...has
enabled terror organizations to gain a new base in Iraq.... The U.S. invasion of Iraq provoked the
indignation of the Islamic world, which has enabled al-Qaida to spread its
concepts extensively and easily attract terrorists to the organization.”
"Iraq In Maximum Chaos"
Xu Anjie, Wu Wenbin and Liu Aicheng reported in the official Communist
Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(4/14): “Iraq is now like a powder keg
that could explode at any time, and the coalition forces have fallen into a sea
of hatred.... Iraq’s stark reality today
has made the Iraqis finally realize that democracy, freedom, and prosperity,
which were promised by the U.S., are only empty slogans. The coalition military’s suppression of them
is even more severe than Saddam’s dictatorship.
Another mistake of the coalition is that it adopted a partial policy
toward Iraqi political reconstruction.
It favors one group and strikes at the other, attaching importance to
the overseas returnees and ignoring the locals.... Analysts point out that Iraq must be taken
over completely by the UN, the U.S. must reduce those forces that have no
peacekeeping capabilities, and the U.S. must make public its specific timetable
for a complete withdrawal.”
"Kidnappings Fan Flames Of Iraqi Resistance Forces”
Hu Xuan averred in the official English-language China Daily
(4/13): “Iraq is in chaos. The steady
escalation of violence between US-led coalition forces and local militias has
resulted in hundreds of casualties, most of them civilians. A spree of
kidnappings is the latest outrage, and among the hostages are seven Chinese
citizens.... Insurgents in Iraq have
claimed to be holding a number of foreign citizens hostage in an effort to
negotiate a ceasefire prior to the full withdrawal of occupation forces. But no
political pretext can justify targeting innocent civilians. Whatever calm could be said to have existed
in Iraq was shattered last weekend against an increasingly dismal backdrop of
the fiercest fighting between US-led forces and militias loyal to Shi'ite cleric
Moqtada al-Sadr, when US troops stepped up actions against the centres of Iraqi
armed resistance.... U.S. President
George W. Bush keeps assuring the public the militia forces represent a tiny,
freedom-hating fringe. But that fringe is willing to spill blood on the
streets.... Hence, the U.S. is in
serious danger of overplaying its hand and creating a broader Iraqi rebellion.
Even President Bush, campaigning for re-election in November with Iraq high on
the agenda, acknowledged it had been a tough week in Iraq and said it was hard
to tell if the violence would ebb soon....
With the coalition forces' superior firepower, is asymmetrical warfare
the right course of action for the Iraqi resistance? Can it bring an end to
guerrilla war and the targeting of civilians and innocent noncombatants? In fact, the escalating violence has further
strained the credibility of the transition plan for Iraq, starting with the
June 30 handover of sovereignty to unelected Iraqis.... The deeper the U.S. tries to penetrate Iraqi
society, especially with tanks and troops, the more legitimacy it
needs.... It is impossible to build a
better Iraq unless there are Iraqi leaders willing to stand up to extremism, UN
participation to give the effort international legitimacy and a credible exit
strategy. The U.S. and the coalition forces should make best
efforts to end the occupation.”
“U.S. Military Has No Alternative But Cease-Fire: Fails To Defeat Adversaries, Allies Seek
Gao Yuan remarked in official Communist
Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(4/12): “The coalition is not involved
in a war with an order. They are a mix
of resistance forces, and it is difficult to distinguish who are besieging and
who are the besieged. What is even more
difficult for the coalition troops is that they don’t know how to deal with
opponents who are a combination of military and civilian. At this point the most prominent
characteristic of the Iraq situation is: the coalition continues to fight on
both fronts and at the same time to negotiate on both fronts. Before this would have been
unimaginable. The successive military
conflicts have inflicted great casualties on the Iraqi people, making anti-U.S.
sentiment overwhelming among become Iraqis.
This adds to the sentiment of the U.S. military having no support in
Iraq.... Now the Iraqi provisional
government has become divided. The rift
within the coalition forces in Iraq is also widening.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Iraq Will Become Bush's Vietnam"
Independent Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily News asserted
(4/13): "The situation in Iraq is
becoming increasingly chaotic. Over a
three-day period, 23 U.S. soldiers were killed.
Hostage taking has replaced attacks against coalition forces and become
the focus of news. Even the Chinese, who
have maintained their neutrality, are now in the vortex. This chaos may upset U.S. President Bush's
plan to withdraw gracefully after fostering a pro-U.S. power in Iraq.... The Bush administration is exploring every
avenue to extricate itself, including urging the UN to take over the mess of
Iraqi reconstruction. This wishful
thinking, however, may not work. If the
Bush administration fails to extricate itself, it will sink deep into the
quagmire. If it assumes all the burden,
the U.S. will be badly hurt and will leave Iraq in chaos. Iraqis will then be living in harsher
situation than that of Saddam's reign."
"Taking Hostages Without Differentiating Between Friend Or
Independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal
contended (4/13): "Over the past
week, the situation in Iraq has worsened dramatically. In addition launching attacks against
coalition forces, anti-U.S. Islamic militants also took foreign hostages. Yesterday, seven Chinese citizens from Fujian
province were kidnapped in Iraq. China
has long suggested that the situation in Iraq be resolved under UN
auspices. China rejected the U.S. use of
force and has continued to maintain diplomatic ties with Iraq, refraining from
sending troops there. Nevertheless,
seven Chinese citizens were kidnapped.
The activities of Islamic militants have spun out of control. The militants do not differentiate friends
from foes. They are just using extremism
to shock the international community....
The difficult situation in Iraq is reminiscent of Vietnam in the
1960s. The U.S. is facing increasingly
strong foreign and domestic pressure and wants to free itself from Iraq as soon
as possible. If the U.S. withdraws its
troops under the current conditions, however, the situation will be too ghastly
to contemplate.... The U.S. should
prepare to have troops in Iraq for a long time."
JAPAN: "Japan Should
Help US Revise Iraq Strategy"
Liberal Mainichi held (4/13): "The meeting between visiting Vice
President Cheney and PM Koizumi took place on Monday amid the prolonged
Japanese hostage crisis and intensifying fighting between U.S. troops and Iraqi
insurgents. Cheney and Koizumi agreed on the need for the U.S. and Japan to
work closely to resolve the hostage crisis early and promote the US-led
reconstruction of the postwar nation.
Japan should not yield to terrorist demands for an SDF withdrawal from
Iraq in exchange for the release of the hostages. The U.S.-led occupation forces are fully
responsible for the restoration of peace and order in Iraq, which is essential
for the CPA's June 30th transfer of power to Iraqis; subsequent Iraqi
elections; and the smooth implementation of the SDF humanitarian and
reconstruction mission. As a close ally,
Japan should give the US more candid advice on Iraq's stabilization and
reconstruction. Tokyo should also tell
Washington to involve the UN in the postwar nation's reconstruction."
"Hostage And Fallujah Crises"
Liberal Asahi observed (4/13): "With Sunni and Shiite insurgents
joining forces to fight US troops in Fallujah, even pro-US Iraqi Governing
Council members are growing critical about the 'tough' US military action in
Iraq. The Iraq war is on the brink of
becoming a second 'Vietnam War' or 'Lebanon crisis.' PM Koizumi asked Vice President Cheney to
assist in the search for and rescue of Japanese nationals taken hostage in
Iraq. But did the prime minister tell
the Vice President that an improvement in the security situation would also
help reduce the chances of foreign nationals being taken hostage?"
"Global Cooperation Necessary To Stop Abductions In
Moderate Tokyo Shimbun opined (4/13): "The Cheney-Koizumi meeting turned out
to be an important occasion to test the closeness and strength of the US-Japan
alliance in gathering intelligence on the increasing number of kidnapping cases
in Iraq. Fighting is intensifying in the
post-war nation, putting at risk the already unstable security situation. The U.S. should provide assistance in
securing the early release of the three Japanese citizens. If the U.S. cannot meet Japan's call for help
on this issue, the Japanese people may become distrustful of the effectiveness
of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. The
International community should band together to deter and stop terrorists from
abducting civilians in Iraq and elsewhere."
"Japan Should Ask U.S. To Exercise Self-Restraint"
Liberal Asahi editorialized (4/11): "At present, there
are no concrete clues to resolving the prolonged hostage crisis involving three
Japanese nationals in Iraq. Prime
Minister Koizumi has rejected the abductors' demands that the GOJ withdraw SDF troops
from Iraq in exchange for the release of hostages. We believe it was a difficult decision for
the prime minister to make. But Mr.
Koizumi should also realize that intensifying anti-U.S. activity, including
abductions, is a backlash against the U.S.-led occupation policy in postwar
Iraq, which is based on military force.
The GOJ should ask the USG to change its policy as soon as
possible. From the start, the Iraq war
was a 'mistaken' war. As long as the
U.S. continues its present occupation policy without diplomatically resolving
issues with religious and tribal groups, the situation in Iraq will worsen
further. Japanese are beginning to think
that if the GOJ had not sent SDF troops to Iraq, the risk of the abduction of
Japanese nationals might have been much smaller. It is ironic that Vice President Cheney
visited Japan before the original expiration of a deadline set by the abductors
for an SDF withdrawal from Iraq. During
their talks, the Vice President and PM Koizumi are expected to reaffirm the
strengthening of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the continued SDF deployment in
Iraq. There are concerns that the
planned meeting will rub the abduction group the wrong way."
"Concern Over Intensification Of Fighting In Iraq"
An editorial in business-oriented Nihon Keizai read
(4/11): "The situation in Iraq has
rapidly turned for the worse during the past fortnight. Clashes between U.S.-led coalition forces and
armed Iraqi insurgents have claimed the lives of several hundred Iraqis,
prompting even pro-U.S. Iraqis to express strong indignation over oppressive
U.S. military action. As things stand,
there are rising concerns over the transfer of power by the U.S.-led CPA to
Iraqis on June 30, as scheduled. Vice
President Cheney's visit to Japan on Saturday afternoon came as the deadline
set by the abductors of three Japanese nationals drew near. The GOJ should fully cooperate with the U.S.
in winning the release of the trio, while retaining its basic position of not
yielding to terrorists' demands."
"Stay The Course In Iraq"
The left-leaning English-language Japan Times
held (4/10): "Iraq is in chaos. A
widespread uprising against the coalition forces has resulted in hundreds of
casualties and the targeting of civilians in a desperate attempt to equalize
strength through asymmetrical warfare. Kidnapping is the latest
outrage.... To its credit, the
government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi never claimed that the
deployment of Japan's Self-Defense Forces to Iraq was risk-free.... Despite the dangers, this is not the time to
pull the SDF out of Iraq. That would only encourage the forces of disorder in
Iraq and terrorists worldwide to increase their violence.... Japan could not withdraw its forces.... to do so would only encourage more such
violence. While these acts are horrific,
they could have been anticipated. Given the coalition forces' superior
firepower, asymmetrical warfare was the only option available to the Iraqi
resistance. Guerrilla war tactics were to be expected, as was the targeting of
civilians and noncombatants. The
situation in Iraq is grim, but it is not yet lost. At this moment, there is a
battle among Iraqis that is as important as the struggle with the coalition
forces.... The insurrection is an attempt
by Mr. al-Sadr to supplant his rival....
Mr. al-Sistani condemned the violence and the occupation. He may condemn
Mr. al-Sadr more forcefully if he feels his own power is threatened. Similarly,
the Sunni may break their alliance with the Shiites if they see themselves
becoming the next target. In other words, a careful and measured response to
the violence that exploits the fissures within Iraqi society may crack the
resistance. In the interim, Japan must
steel itself for more outrages.... The
groups that are targeting Japan and other coalition forces have no concern for
the good of the Iraqi people. They care only about revenge and power. No matter
what one thinks of the decisions that created this situation, the situation
exists. Turning our backs on Iraq now
would be an even greater mistake than those that have already been made."
Dilemma In Iraq"
Smith Alhadar commented in
independent weekly Tempo (4/14):
“The best way to reduce the armed conflict in Iraq is by transferring
the issue to the UN. But from the outset
Washington has refused it because it has a special mission there. In addition, the U.S. has lost much, both
materially and immaterially, since its invasion of Iraq in March. Fulfilling the demands of al Sadar, i.e.
reviving Al Hawza, ending the siege of the Mahdi leaders offices, and
releasing al Yakoubi, is also almost impossible for this would only demonstrate
U.S. weakness. In addition, resuming the
Al Hawza publication, which encourages violence against the U.S., would
only maintain the anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq.
Apparently, the future of the U.S. in Iraq will be in a mess.”
"Bitter Fight In Fallujah Kills Hundreds Of Iraqis"
Leading independent Kompas observed (4/12): “Resistance is rising although the U.S.-led
coalition forces are counting down for withdrawal from Iraq. Even without resistance and pressure, the
U.S. and its allies will certainly pull out on June 30 [sic]. But for the Iraqis, waiting 2.5 months is too
long. The presence of the occupation
forces led by the U.S. is felt as an insult to the honor and dignity of the
Iraqi people. Their presence has not
made the conditions better, but the other way round. It also remains a mystery as to what the
situation and the future of Iraq will be like after the U.S. and its allies
pull out of Iraq in June 30. People are
wondering how the Iraqis will pass this difficult and challenging transitional
NEW ZEALAND: "Getting
Deeper Into Bush's Vietnam"
The left-of-center Dominion Post declared (4/10): "U.S. resolve needs to be firm. Nothing
else, other than the fear of humiliation, and desperation to turn Iraq around
in time for better press ahead of the U.S. elections, will keep it going
through a campaign that is being referred to as 'Bush's Vietnam'.... Iraq is going very badly for Mr Bush, his
troops and their families. It is worse still for Iraqis. International despair over the Iraq quagmire
runs deep. Countries that opposed the U.S. and British-led invasion of Iraq
predicted the outcome would look like this....
The U.S. was well warned that getting in to Iraq was gong to be far
easier than getting out, and so it has proved.... While valiant efforts are being made by many
countries, including the US and Britain, to improve the infrastructure and
society for Iraqi civilians, there are only occasional and isolated examples of
them succeeding. Much of the country remains lawless or under the control of
religious or ethnic militia. As Sunni and Shia now both turn on coalition
troops, the country seems ripe for anarchy....
Somehow, sometime, the rest of the world will need to pick up the broken
pieces of Iraq, deal with a legacy of hatred that many Iraqis now have for the
West and deal too with the damage the unilateral invasion did to the standing
of the UN.... For now, the New
Zealanders should stay. Committing defence personnel to what was, effectively,
a war zone is not done lightly and nor should the troops be hastily
withdraw.... Should the situation there
deteriorate, however, and the personnel find themselves so committed to
protecting their backs that they cannot do what they went for, they should be
brought home. This was never New Zealand's war."
PHILIPPINES: “No Transfer
Of Power On June 30”
Luis Teodoro wrote in progressive Today (4/13): “Any ‘Iraqi’ government that will be in place
by June 30 will be largely chosen by the occupying power. That government will have no other function
except to draw up a budget and to prepare for the 2005 elections--the outcome
of which the United States will largely decide.... The ‘Coalition Provisional Authority’--alias
the U.S. occupation forces--has also
placed the Iraqi military...under U.S. military command. No government that has no control over its
military component can ever claim to be sovereign. The interim ‘Iraqi’ government will not have
any power over the special tribunals that will try former members of the Baath
Party either. The United States will
retain control of the central bank law and companies law. The United States
also created a Communications and Media Commission to license and regulate
telecommunications, information and other media in Iraq.... With no time limit in sight for its presence,
the U.S. will tutor Iraqis in democratic governance even as it continues to be
the real ruler of Iraq.”
"Can Manila Handle The Heat?"
The moderate Manila Times held (4/12): “The days ahead will be a critical time for
the U.S. and its allies in Iraq.... The
new tactic of abducting citizens of the Coalition’s member-countries further
complicates the situation. Indeed, it
could lead to serious divisions within the Coalition as individual governments
agonize over whether to keep their contingents in Iraq amid rising clamor at
home to pull them out.... If a Filipino
peacekeeper is taken hostage, it could plunge the government into a political
crisis similar to the predicament Japan and Spain are in. The question is, can the government handle
the heat? Will it stand by its
commitment to its allies or will its resolve melt under intense pressure? Malacañang must come up with a clear policy
on Iraq in the light of the escalation in the violence. Iraq is turning into a quagmire, and the
Philippines must avoid getting swallowed up.”
SINGAPORE: "Hostages A
The pro-government Straits Times said (4/13): "Next to killing American soldiers and
hurting the morale of the allied coalition, Iraqi insurgents are discovering
that taking civilian hostages possibly can accomplish just as much. This is a
scary new element in the conflict, made scarier by the realization that
military force is not decisive in ensuring that captives come to no harm. The
coalition partners which have had citizens seized cannot crumble before threats
of execution, but neither can they treat such kidnaps as an 'externality' of
war. Either way, this is some pickle to be in. The anguished reaction of the
Japanese people to the uncertain fate of three of their nationals in insurgent
hands probably is what their captors had anticipated.... The Japanese are making it clear that Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi shall stand or fall on the outcome. There is no
stronger motivation for coalition parties to invest more thinking in this
issue. How to blunt the insurgents' edge is vital. Mr. Koizumi has said he
would not buckle. This is a moral standard safe and correct to cling to. But he
and any other leaders in like situations basically are staring at an abyss. Mr.
Koizumi has shunted part responsibility for the hostages' safe return to the U.S.,
whose Vice-President Dick Cheney is visiting North Asia. The US, as coalition
leader, has to be mindful of the effect an epidemic of hostage-taking can have
on the allies' unity of purpose.... The
game plan of the hostage-takers, assuming they have a degree of coordination,
is not just to fragment the coalition and raise the political cost for the U.S.
Possibly more urgent to the insurgents is to spread anarchy as the transition
approaches for a symbolic handover to an Iraqi civil administration at the end
of June. On top of the American occupation authorities' slowness in restoring
basic services and a semblance of street safety for war-weary Iraqis, any
suggestion that the country is sliding towards a full-scale continuation of the
war supposedly over will swing what little Iraqi support there is for the
coalition over to the resistance. While the allies work at turning back the
Sunni and Shi'ite fightback, now thought by U.S. military sources to be showing
signs of coalescing, resources need to be poured into the hearts-and-minds
campaign. Many of the civilians taken were aid workers and contractors, people
who are there doing dangerous work to make life more tolerable for ordinary
Iraqis. A clear condemnation of hostage-taking by the Iraqi Governing Council
and Arab governments may help to reduce the incidence. But they seem to
underrate the stakes involved."
"Tough Going For Bush"
The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (4/10): "American troops face the daunting
prospect of a long hard slog in Iraq as the casualties mount. Could the quagmire become President George W.
Bush's 'Vietnam' as the war escalates?
Not yet, but it could well be that if the current uprising becomes a
nationwide rebellion against the United States occupation.... The U.S. has no choice but to press on
doggedly because any retreat in the face of the intensified fighting will mean
weakness in its resolve. This is no time
for self-doubt. But there could be more
troubles ahead for Mr. Bush as he seeks re-election in November. The U.S. will have to stay the course in
Iraq. But one year after toppling
Saddam, the Bush administration has shown it does not have a viable exit
strategy.... The three Japanese taken
hostage this week by an Iraqi group, which threatened to kill them if Japanese
troops do not leave the country, will only put more pressure on the U.S.
coalition. Above all, Mr. Bush is unable
to persuade the United Nations to go back to Iraq. Clearly, Mr. Bush faces an uphill and lonely
battle in the days ahead. The upsurge in
fighting has forced the Pentagon to rethink its plans about the rotation and
deployment of its troops in Iraq. While
the polls show that American public support for Mr. Bush remains constant, the
approval rating for his handling of the war has dropped. Like the U.S. troops in the front line, he'll
have to soldier on to finish a war he started."
SOUTH KOREA: "Failure
Of Unilateralism in Iraq"
Kim Yeon-churl, professor of the Asiatic Research Center at Korea
University, wrote in the pro-government Seoul Shinmun (4/14): “The ongoing outrage vented against the U.S.
..is a result of a structural failure in Washington’s occupation policy. As long as the vicious cycle of violence
continues, it seems difficult for Washington to win the hearts and minds of the
‘silent majority of Iraqis.’… The
negative implications of U.S. unilateralism are appearing in the shape of rifts
between coalition allies in Iraq....
Certain American companies are monopolizing most of the so-called
post-war reconstruction projects in the Gulf states, and countries with troops
in Iraq are facing anti-war demonstrations at home and the dangers of terrorism
from abroad. Unless the Bush
administration creates a forward-looking situation that enables the
participation of the international community, more and more countries will want
to leave Iraq.”
“The Need For UN To Join Forces In Resolving Iraqi Crisis”
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (4/13): “Before assigning blame, we must realize that
if the situation in Iraq is not handled properly, the vicious cycle of violence
will spread to the whole country, resulting in a bloody civil war. In this regard, it is very important to
restore order in Iraq, especially in order to immediately halt the ongoing
kidnappings of civilians and lootings caused by the absence of public
order. Some argue that the U.S.-led
coalition forces should immediately leave Iraq, but if the coalition forces
withdraw from the country without restoring order, the Iraqi situation will
become even worse and the possibility of civil war will increase.... The U.S. and the coalition must concentrate
all their efforts on stabilizing the situation by cooperating with
representative Iraqi officials on a democratization schedule and the transfer
of sovereign authority. In particular,
Washington must drop its arrogance of unilateralism and appeal to the UN and
the international community to join forces, since the war on terror cannot be
carried out alone. The UN and the
international community, for their part, should show their will to resolve the
Iraqi crisis through cooperation, instead of only criticizing the U.S. The only way to remove confusion in the
Middle East and the world is by creating a legitimate Iraqi government
supported by the vast majority of Iraqis.”
“The Need To Reconsider Iraq Troop Deployment”
Moderate Hankook Ilbo asserted (4/10): “It is wrong for the ROKG, obsessed with its
commitment to send troops to Iraq, to underestimate the seriousness of the
worsening political situation in Iraq....
In a situation where our goal of sending troops to the Gulf state for
peacekeeping and reconstruction efforts is becoming increasingly unclear, with
a surge in mass uprisings in Iraq, it is irresponsible for the ROKG to insist
blindly on sending troops, citing ambiguous national interests and the need to
keep an international promise. The
deployment of troops [to a country] is a serious sovereign choice and thus
should be based on a clear good cause and a thorough analysis of the political
situation in the country.”
“No More Delays In Canceling Plans To Send Troops To Iraq”
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun argued
(4/10): “Resistance forces in Iraq are a
byproduct of the unilateral and illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of the
country. As opposed to the arguments by
U.S. administration hardliners, the resistance forces are not just the minority
remnants of the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. They are growing in strength across the
country, riding on increasingly stronger nationalist sentiment. If Washington does not change its policy toward
Iraq, the ongoing bloodshed will continue until thousands or tens of thousands
more are killed on both sides. The troop
deployment to Iraq, whatever our justification for it, will inevitably drag us
into the fighting. Furthermore, it will
rapidly increase Iraqi hostility toward us, ruining our hard-won achievements
obtained through decades of sincere diplomacy toward the Middle East. Now that Iraqis still have favorable feelings
toward the ROK, it is high time to withdraw the decision to send troops to
Thanh Hien remarked in official Hanoi city government-run Ha
Noi Moi (4/13): "Taking
hostages seems to have become a new strategy of Iraqi insurgent forces when
they were cornered. That also proves
that Iraqi people increasingly dislike the presence of Americans and their
allies in Iraq. To them, the U.S.
government not only has failed to bring a good life to them but even worse has
pushed them down to the bottom of poverty and misery.... On April 11, President Bush once again stated
'What we are doing is right.' But what
he said to be 'right' is making not only the U.S. and its allies suffer heavy
losses but some other countries as well."
INDIA: "The Worst And
The Best News Of The New Bengali Year"
Imanuel Haq commented in Calcutta-based left of center
Bengali-language Sambad Pratidin (4/13):
"At the very outset of the...Bengali New Year commencing April 14,
Iraq is bringing the biggest tidings. The fighting that the Iraqi people are
putting up is better news than the Indo-Pak cricketing friendship. This time it
is not the individual Saddam but the Iraqi people who are the real
heroes.... The Iraqi people, after
ironing out the differences between the Shiites and the Sunnis, and ignoring
the fear of death, are engaged not only in a guerrilla war but have also been
able to build a mass resistance. They are attacking through novel ways. The
U.S. administration is frightened and they have been compelled to talk about
cease-fire as part of their strategy. They will be under more pressure and
suffer more humiliation. The Iraqi people will make them do this."
Mumbai-based centrist Marathi-language Navashakti declared
(4/13): "It is clear by now that
President George Bush's invasion of Iraq is a failed mission.... With the presidential elections fast approaching,
the White House cannot pursue its military occupation of Iraq. The popular
anger over the war-like situation in Iraq might give vent to itself through the
ballot. On the other hand, the fear of
loss of face before the international community compels the Bush administration
not to transfer power to the Iraqi council immediately. Therefore, the bloodbath continues. Bush's recent proposal of a cease fire placed
before the Saddam-supporters is an indirect admission of his defeat in
Iraq.... The increasing number of deaths
of American soldiers on the Iraqi soil is certainly going to haunt Bush in the
presidential elections, even if the U.S. government does not declare the death
"Deep Into Iraqi Quagmire"
The pro-economic-reforms Economic Times opined (4/12): "The last few days have seen the worst
fears of the US administration come true.
The year-long truce between the US-led coalition and the dominant Shia
community in Iraq is in tatters. Large-scale violence has erupted in Sadrtown
and other Shia districts.... Ironically,
when the US and its allies first began their offensive in Iraq, it was widely
assumed that the Shias, long suppressed under Saddam Hussein, would flock to
their side. And initially it did seem as
though they were happy to see the last of Saddam.... As pictures of their mutiliated bodies
flashed across TV screen in the US, speculation was rife whether the incident
would be a turning point for US involvement in Iraq, much like a similar
incident in Somalia years ago. Such
speculation proved short-lived. President Bush was quick to declare that the
U.S. would 'stay the course' and not back down. How far his tough talk and
renewed show of force will serve to cow down the Iraqis is highly
debatable. Spain's decision to pull out
of the Iraq unless the UN steps in makes the US-led coalition look increasingly
fractured. Worse, the step up in
violence, with attacks now targeted at non-U.S. coalition forces, has raised a
big question mark over whether the US will be able to adhere to its three-month
deadline for handing over control to an interim Iraqi government. With both Sunnis and Shias ranged against it,
the US is fighting with its back to wall.
The only hope, even at this late date, is to turn to the UN. But will Bush be willing to show that kind of
sagacity, given the macho image he has consciously built up? And in an election year?"
"The End Of Might"
The centrist Calcutta-based Telegraph maintained
(4/11): "The anarchy in Iraq today
questions, starkly and radically, the concept of untrammeled military power
itself--its motives as well as its fruits.
The coalition troops' spectacular inability to contain the burgeoning
'insurgency' in Iraq brings to mind George Bernard Shaw's observation that any
political arrangement that depends on soldiers is not likely to continue
long.... It would be patently wrong, at
this point, to call the violence in Iraq a civil war--as the Americans,
understandably, still maintain. On the
contrary, fighting against the common enemy seems to have brought Iraq's Shias
and Sunnis together. Here too,
Falluja...has become the symbol of a unity being fervently affirmed by
influential clerics, young and old, from both sects. This, then, is not a civil war, but an armed
uprising against the occupation forces....
Bush had hoped to reinstate democracy in Saddam Hussein's
dictatorship--only after asserting his own 'absolute military superiority' in
that ravaged country. But, less than a
couple of months before the official handover of 'sovereignty' to the people of
Iraq, with over 600 Americans dead and the people of Falluja burying their dead
in the football stadium, what exactly do these words mean? And what do they say about the people who still
invoke them to reassure the world, and themselves?"
The centrist Times Of India remarked (4/9): "Almost a year after the U.S. declared
victory in the war against Saddam Hussein, Iraq is no closer to peace or
stability, let alone democracy. If
anything, the events of the last few days suggest that the security situation
on the ground is rapidly slipping out of coalition control.... The reported shifting of the detained former
Iraqi dictator from the theatre of conflict to a secure military base in Qatar
is the surest sign of the panic that has gripped the Americans.... If the initial attacks against the U.S.
forces came from Baathist elements, mainly Sunnis--with some help from
foreign-based mercenaries--the latest uprising has the widespread support of
the majority Shia community. The immediate cause of the dramatic escalation is
the U.S. decision to arrest of popular Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr, who is
accused of being involved in the murder of a fellow religious leader in the
early phase of the war last year.... The
depth of popular anger and resentment against the U.S. has many roots. But it
is, in part, a reflection of the marginalization of important Shia factions in
the U.S.-brokered power-sharing arrangement.
So what can the US do? For one,
president Bush must decisively put on hold his June 30--deadline for handing
over 'sovereignty' back to the Iraqis....
Bush is no doubt eager, for domestic political reasons, to extricate
himself from the mess that is Iraq but he must realize that he was the one who
created it in the first place."
Crisis And UN Responsibility"
Populist Urdu-language Khabrain held
(4/13): "The resistance is not
limited to the Iraqi people only; the reports are out that a battalion
of...Iraqi army personnel refused to fire at those compatriots who had resorted
to resistance in Fallujah. In Iraq
unarmed civilians are being targeted and such atrocities are committed against
them, which come under the purview of human rights violations. The UN should raise its voice. As the American administration has failed to
establish peace and order in Iraq...the UN has a justification to take control
of Iraq and deploy peacekeepers in that country."
"The Resistance Passion Of The Iraqi
Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang
opined (4/13): "The silence of the
international community and the Muslim world over the unprecedented American
atrocities of unarmed Iraqis and desecration of their holy places is real
tragic. Whatever expectations of success
the U.S. had after its unjustified aggression over Iraq, have gone to ashes
with the martyrdom passions of the Iraqi people. The Bush government is getting entangled in a
bigger quagmire than Vietnam. But need
of the hour is that the Islamic world should raise a protest against it and
wholeheartedly support the people of Iraq."
The centrist national English-language News declared
(4/11) "The message to U.S. is
clear: Get out of Iraq! With the Iraq
policy in ruins there will be a sense in trying to salvage whatever is
possible. With the earlier desultory hit
and run guerrilla tactics having been replaced by full-fledged mass uprisings
against the occupation forces, it is unlikely that the conditions will reach a
level of normality which allows an interim administration to run the country
after ‘transfer’ of power."
Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn
argued (4/10): "The Americans are
trapped. They cannot cut and run. Their only solution so far is to use more
force. They remain convinced that they have done a great job.... The international community must feel more
concerned with the Iraqi problem and the future of that benighted country. It must clearly condemn the oppressive
tactics of the occupying authority and persuade the U.S. to abandon any
political role for itself in Iraq and all pretensions of shaping a future for
the country.... The world cannot just
sit back and let the Middle East continue to be wracked by death and
“Worsening Situation In Iraq And Responsibility Of American
Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Akhbar-e-Jehan
observed (4/12-18): "The U.S. has completely lost its battle in Iraq, at
least on the moral count. Even now if
the American leadership admits its mistakes, hands over the affairs of Iraq to
the UN, and leave the country then it will be able to have some face
saving. Otherwise, all its moral
credibility will be demolished. This
situation would be very dangerous for the American citizens themselves. The world which, according to the U.S.
leadership, is being made more safer a place is in fact becoming more and more
dangerous for the American citizens owing to the flaming of the sentiments of
the people against the U.S. It is the
American public who has this responsibility to stop their government from
treading further on this path."
“Obduracy Despite Defeat”
Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat claimed (4/11): "After the backlash on the U.S. troops
and citizens, the adverse reaction of the game of fire and blood that the
U.S. had launched in Iraq and
Afghanistan has started confronting the U.S. allies and supporters. President Bush is not so much grieved over
the rising number of casualties of his troops than he is on his fading chances
in the forthcoming elections."
The conservative English-language Tehran
Times opined (4/11): "The only
reason for the recent unrest in Iraq is Bremer's incompetence.... Bremer, due to his scant knowledge of Iraq's
complicated social and religious structure, intends to use military power to
suppress the biggest community of the Iraqi nation--the Shiites.... The recent bloody conflicts that started in
Kufa and have spread to Baghdad, Najaf, Nassiriyah and Basra, demonstrate
Bremer's failure to administer Iraq's affairs.... U.S. forces should not have closed down a
local paper in Baghdad or issued an arrest warrant for a Shiite cleric at such
a sensitive juncture, but instead should have tried to solve these two problems
with the help of certain moderate Shiite clerics.... In order to end the current deadlock in Iraq,
Bremer should be dismissed, UN peacekeepers should be dispatched to Iraq, the
U.S.-led occupying forces should withdraw from the country, and free elections
should be held.... If Washington insists
on keeping Bremer in his post and continues to suppress the Iraqis, the country
will face worse bloodshed in the future, which will probably spread to regional
Spirals In Iraq: From Hemorrhage To Bloodbath?”
The independent English-language Daily Star stated
(4/10): "While Shia militiamen
controlled large swathes of three Iraqi cities, U.S. marines were fighting
insurgents around a mosque in the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Fallujah. All the
emotive fuel to the fire is there to exacerbate the anti-occupation sentiments.
In the US perception, President Bush's stakes are growing heavier by the day.
More importantly, the transfer of sovereignty scheduled for July looks
consigned on to the backburner. The Bush administration has to realize that the
best way to wriggle out of the Iraqi quagmire is to take the UN onboard in
KENYA: "President Bush
Has Met His Waterloo In Iraq"
Independent pro-business Standard opined (4/11): “The war on Iraq has been a spectacular
failure. It was a war that was sold to
the world as an attempt to 'democratize' the Middle East.... It was a war that was premised on the need to
rid a murderous dictator of dangerous weapons of mass destruction. Those existed only in the imaginations of the
authors of the war at the Pentagon. Most
dangerously, this was a war that was supposed to lessen the threat the world
faces from terrorism. The opposite has
happened.... For the sake of the U.S.,
its allies and the world, American voters must make the legacy of the Iraq war
the speedy ejection of this right-wing administration from power in the same
way the Vietnam war proved Lyndon Johnson’s Waterloo.”
NIGERIA: "America And
Iraq: The Seeds Of Disaster"
Lagos-based independent daily New Age editorialized
(4/14): "It is all very well for
the Bush administration to put a positive spin on rapidly unfolding events and
for Secretary of State Colin Powell to say America would not cut and run from
Iraq, but there is no disputing the fact that the American occupation is
turning into a very bloody quagmire."
"Staying The Course In Iraq"
Lagos-based independent evening daily PM News commented
(4/14): "The American occupation
forces should not be deluded into thinking that force can achieve all its aims
as the siege on Fallujah has shown. It
should seek to end its occupation of Iraq as soon as possible for the majority
of Iraqis have made it clear that they do not want to see Americans on their
streets treating them as conquered people."
"American Troops Should Leave Iraq"
The pro-government Swahili-language weekly Mzalendo
opined (4/11): "It is now a year
since American and coalition forces invaded Iraq with the aim of deposing
President Saddam Hussein’s regime. However, removing Saddam’s regime was not an
easy task; it has cost not only money and materials but also the lives of many
innocent people.... One year after
Saddam was removed from power, fighting is raging on between American troops
and the people of Iraq. This week, a new wave of fighting erupted between US
forces and Iraqis who want the occupation forces to leave their country. The new wave of fighting is not only claiming
many innocent lives, but American troops are also dying. Why is the Bush
Administration clinging onto Iraq? One
of the justifications of this war was to get rid of Saddam’s regime, which had
allegedly stockpiled WMD. To date, no such weapons have been found. The current
excuse for the continued occupation of Iraq is what they call the fight against
terrorism. It is this continued
occupation of Iraq, which has led to tempers and hatred flaring up, sending the
people of Iraq onto the streets to fight the occupation forces. It is now becoming clear that America invaded
Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein and create a conducive climate for it to exploit
the country's oil wealth.... Given that
Iraq is a free country with people capable of running their own affairs, we do
not see the logic of the continued US presence in that country. If the aim is
to exploit the country’s oil wealth, the international community should not sit
back and watch innocent people being killed and maimed for life. American and coalition forces should be told
to leave Iraq as quickly as possible....
The people of Iraq have rejected foreign occupation. The continued
presence of US troops in Iraq means giving credence to the brutality that
innocent civilians in that country have to endure.”
"U.S. Has Brought No Liberation To Iraq"
The conservative Islamic magazine Weekly
Message stated (4/14): "One of
the reasons presented by the U.S. for invading and occupying Iraq was to
liberate the country and bring freedom to its people who had been brutalized by
Saddam Hussein. However what has
transpired now are acts of genocide perpetrated by the so-called
liberators. The constant killing of
Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops has united both the Sunni and Shiite in grief
and anger. Arresting or killing the
firebrand cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, who wields a lot of support among Iraqis
will only cause a large-scale civil war and turn Iraq into another Vietnam for
Americans. As the situation further
deteriorates in Iraq, common sense and respect for international law must
prevail. A society functions best when
people govern themselves in liberty and this is what the people of Iraq
lack. It is high time the U.S. stopped
the genocide and leave Iraqis to do what is best for their country."
"U.S. Paying The Price"
The editorial in the state-owned New Vision read
(4/12): "Iraq is in chaos. U.S.
troops are fighting Iraqi resistance forces in different parts of the
country. It was expected that by now,
Iraq would be settling down to a new, quiet future as a nation at peace with
itself and the world community. Or was it?
It appears that the U.S., confident of its military might, was hell-bent
on ousting Saddam. Alongside defying international opinion, the U.S.
administration did not pay sufficient attention to the situation in Iraq, let
alone put in place the resources needed to run a complex country. Now resistance to the military occupation is
complicating the planned handover to Iraqi administration, threatening a
widespread civil war. America is paying the price for its myopic vision of a
Government-owned Zambia Daily Mail
declared (4/13): "The brutal
blood-letting in Iraq brings to the fore, the folly of any belief in absolute
power as the sole means to solve international disputes. The lawlessness in Iraq in general, and
Falluja in particular, re-emphasizes the wisdom of the French and the Germans
and other members of the international community that opposed the military
action in Iraq. If power alone was the
sole means to deal with whatever excesses against the fallen Iraq dictator,
Saddam Hussein, then problems of Iraq would have been history by now.... But...[America]...did not realize...that
military power alone could not overrun the resilience of the spirit of a people
driven by the single purpose of sovereignty.
The painful 13-year- old sanctions taught the Iraqis to believe that the
Americans were as much their enemy as Saddam Hussein.... The amazing military power at the disposal of
the U.S. should only be used as an extension of diplomacy not at every
slightest provocation--real or imagined....
Nations and regimes can melt away in the face of the incredible American
power but the courage of the human spirit can never be conquered by
arms.... Republicans in the U.S. seem to
have a fundamental problem understanding the Arab world and the values that
keep these societies solidly behind their leadership, dictatorial or
otherwise.... Political and social
reform cannot be imposed on the Arab world. It has to come from within. Democracy and freedom, just as much as we
cherish it, cannot be an exportable commodity; it has to come from within
rather than from without. The Arab world
needs reform and will not resist positive change forever, but this has to come
in a manner that does not insult their religion, in a way that does not malign
their culture, and in a fashion that Arabs themselves perceive as
"Painful And Sad Development"
The independent Post editorialized (4/12): "The loss of so many innocent lives in
the fighting in Fallujah and other Iraqi towns is a very painful and sad
development.... Why should so many
innocent people pay for the United States and Britain's invasion of Iraq? Who can deny the sad role the imperialists
are today trying to compel the United Nations to play in Iraq? The U.S. wants to play the role of a new
world-wide Roman superpower, which, of course, will last much less than the
Roman empire; and as we are staring to witness in Fallujah, it will meet with
"Bush, Caught Between Mistakes Of The Past And Uncertainty About
Oscar Raul Cardoso judged in leading Clarin
(4/13): "Trapped between a gloomy
recent past plagued with serious judgment mistakes and an uncertain future and
possible chaos in Iraq, George W. Bush seems to be in a situation in which,
until a couple of months ago, just a few believed he could be: his attempt to
be reelected in November elections has been jeopardized due to his
antiterrorist policy and the US military incursions abroad of the last three
years. Contrary to certain U.S. regular wisdom, it seems it is not only 'the
economy, stupid,' that defines a US election. And both domestic security and
the chaos in Iraq seem to place the Democratic opposition in the skin of the
animal smelling fear and weakness in its victim.... Iraq is today a threat in itself for
Bush.... Washington is facing a national
resistance movement that could deepen if it is able to develop a unified
leadership and, particularly, if Shiites are able to coordinate what happens in
the South and center of the country. Because, what 'sovereignty' could the US
'return' to Iraqis on June 30 if its soldiers are unable to effectively
exercise it today?"
"Europe Can't Accept U.S. Defeat"
Giles Lapouge remarked in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo
(4/13): "France--like the whole
world--is worried about the [U.S.] wreckage in Iraq.... The disaster is even
worse than what President Jacques Chirac predicted one year ago.... This war has made us go deep in human
ignominy. Suicidal terrorists, who were invented eight centuries ago in Persia,
were multiplied by the Palestinians against the Jews, and then by the Sep. 11
pilots and now in Iraq. Iraqis have improved the use of hostages. According to them, the Japanese hostages will
be burned alive.... The more mistakes
the U.S. makes, the more other nations will be forced to support it so that
Iraq is not abandoned to fire and blood. Therefore, Europe is today the hostage
of the U.S.' stupidity."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo said (4/12): "The U.S. has more than sufficient
military power to smash the Iraqi revolt, but this does not resolve the
essential. Conditions for the creation of a firm and at the same time
acceptable local power by the U.S. have deteriorated. One year after Saddam's
fall, the war continues and the situation in Iraq has only revealed the
mistakes of Bush's adventure."
Center-left Jornal do Brasil noted (4/10): "A cold analysis of the facts behind the
U.S. invasion of Iraq show some points in favor of the entire operation. No one with a conscience could be against a
war whose immediate objective was to defeat Saddam Hussein and his bloody
dicatatorship. It's also undeniable that
the Americans pulled off, in a short six weeks, an absolutely brilliant
campaign.... Notwithstanding the saintly
innocence of U.S. society--that imagines its values can be transferred to any
society in the world--there appears to have been a wrong appraisal, no matter
how well intentioned. Since before the
war, the word democracy has been associated with the U.S. interests.... But is the the simple idea of democracy
enough to bring a ray of hope to a people that who for so long have lived under
the ironhanded regime?.... Does the Iraq
of the Shiites and Sunnis really want the American gift of democracy? Is Iraq be culturally prepared to live in
such a comprehensive democracy like the one in practice in the Western
world?.... There is the religious
component--tainted with fanaticism--that determinates the political
super-structure in a way unknown to the West.
This phenomenon changes everything.
And the Americans in an analysis of its military occupation strategy
should not have ignored it. The
consequences are seen everyday on the news on the tragedy that is post-war
Iraq.... Therefore, the American
incursion in Iraq is proving to be a political disaster to the U.S. The Americans went to war based on false
information. They have shamelessly lied
and, as the world's greatest power, have given a very bad example. There has been a clear attempt by the
so-called coalition to implode multilateralism in a globalized world. It has downgraded the UN as an institution
and now not even that institution can manage to enter Iraq. It has managed to send to the world an
arrogant message that has created a huge wave of anti-Americanism. Worse than that: the U.S. has proven to be
completely unprepared to the post-war.
What one sees in Iraq is chaos.
The U.S. is also losing the propaganda war.... To whom will the U.S. deliver power, after
all? And, what’s worse, with what legitimacy?
The panorama in Iraq is obscure.
It seems to lead the country to an extremely volatile situation, with
unpredictable consequences to Iraq, the Middle East and the world."
"The War Continues"
An editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo read (4/9): "The military transition plans the U.S.
developed for Iraq are running the risk of failure amidst a scenario of
radicalization. The possibility of a civil war cannot be ignored. The U.S.
Democratic opposition is openly speaking about a new Vietnam. President George
W. Bush is aware that something the public opinion may interpret as similar to
the South Asian disaster will represent a major risk for his re-election
plans. Many mistakes have been committed
so far, beginning with the unacceptable invasion without UN support. And there
is no sign that the Americans and their allies will change course."
Right-of-center O Globo remarked (4/9): "In (light of) the military, political
mess Iraq is becoming for Americans, it is timely to ask...who are friends of
the U.S. in the country? It would
certainly not be the Sunnis. They were the prevailing political faction during
Saddam’s regime.... The intervention has
irremediably undone this arrangement....
Neither is it the Shiites--although it would be reasonable to expect
some demonstration of gratitude.... One
of the biggest enemies of the U.S. today in Iraq is the Shiite leader Moqtada
Al-Sadr, who used his influence to incite uprisings in the country’s southern
center. Only the Kurds are left...also
persecuted and massacred by Saddam. They
might be relieved but not satisfied since tomorrow is a question mark to
all. The expected Sunni resistance and
the recent, not totally unpredictable Shiite uprising may not represent the
majority’s wish.... But if they are a
people with nationalistic, unifying vision--and not factious--capable of
understanding the potential benefits of the American presence, their voices
have not yet been heard. The Iraqis to
whom President Bush intends to transfer the power on of June 30, are precisely
the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds.
Therefore, it is uncertain the destiny of the political, military
pattern of intervention adopted by the U.S.
The Americans have, with their own hands, created the trap into which
they have fallen. But one should not hold illusions on an eventual failure in
Iraq. A victory of the religious
fanaticism or of the ethnical intolerance would be fatal to the Middle East
stability. So, it’s increasingly clear
that only the UN’s open involvement--or NATO’s--will prevent a tragic,
CHILE: “Iraq: A Fight On
Conservative, influential Santiago-based El Mercurio held
(4/10): "The Vietnam syndrome is
still alive in the U.S. psyche....
Although there are many differences between the two wars, several days
of violence in different Iraqi cities and a Shiite leader's remarks that ‘Iraq
could become another Vietnam for the U.S’ should not be viewed as a mere
threat. His resistance message could
actually lead to a general uprising by Shiites--who account for 60% of the
Iraqi population--and thus become a never-ending fight against the U.S.-led
COLOMBIA: "It Is Time For The UN"
Cali-based Conservative party-oriented El Pais concluded
(4/12): "The occupying countries in
Iraq...have lost control of the situation while the insurgency groups have
resorted to horrifying tactics of kidnapping and extortion.... The five permanent members of U.N. security
council... must be aware of the gravity of the current situation and act with a
sense of history, granting the UN the mandate that it requires, and the tools
needed to achieve its goal. The UN is capable of bringing peace to Iraq as some
Iraqi leaders have stated.”
"Harvesting The Storm"
Cartagena-based independent El Universal
editorialized (4/11): “The Iraq crisis
is more than just the result of resistance against occupation forces. Iran’s
fundamentalists want to place the U.S. in adversity by provoking the Shiites,
to prevent their own country from becoming the next target.... Besides this complex scenario, American civil
groups have programmed demonstrations in the whole country against the war,
saying that Iraq is becoming another Vietnam.... Those are the consequences of a blind and
Melvin Pineda contended in leading tabloid Nuestro
Diario (4/13): "With his sights
put on Iraq to invade it...and assume control of one of the most important oil
regions in the world, George Bush had no trouble inventing the motives to be
able to carry out such a travesty. It is
no secret that he was looking for political merits which his image sorely
needed, after his debatable triumph in the presidential election.”
Montevideo-based leftist tabloid La Republica declared
(4/12): "It is this same policy
that is provoking a new level of violence in Iraq, making visible on a
world-wide level the magnitude of the dead-end comprised of the U.S. and her
allies stuck in an unfair war of powerful armed forces, inspired by the
immeasurable value of the petroleum beneath the ground, against a people united
against invaders in order to defend their dignity, their families, and their
society. Which is the exit left to the
hard-headed aggressor, provoker of a holocaust of inexpressible horrors
broadcasted whilst they occur? We are referring to President George W. Bush,
who surely, due to the fog of arrogance, finds himself stuck in a true
dead-end, without giving a whit of importance to the loss of innocent lives in
an act of aggression begun more than a year ago."
Montevideo-based rightist business-oriented El Observador
held (4/10): "If the U.S. pulls out
of Iraq now, the bloody internal conflict could turn into a bloodbath that ends
up tearing apart the nation. If the U.S. stays it commits itself further each
day to the error of the invasion, with its consequence of increased global
terrorism, until the protests of its allies and of its citizens obligate the
throwing in of the towel. Obviously no
one laments the overthrow of a bloody tyrant like Saddam one year ago. But a
price is excessive if paid in political chaos, a renewed vigor in global
terrorism and many thousands of dead as yesterday’s unhappy birthday