International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 14, 2004

April 14, 2004




**  Dailies say only the "UN's open involvement" can prevent a "tragic, undesirable outcome."

**  Conservative writers deem it "essential" for the U.S. to avoid the "counsel of despair." 

**  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 anger. 



'The people of Iraq need the UN'--  Given 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.




BRITAIN:  "Invasion 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' 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 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."


FRANCE:  "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.”


"Impossible Neutrality"


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 Chaos"


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 blazing fires.”




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.”


"Wavering Coalition"


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 occupation."


"Empty Words"


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."


GERMANY:  "Forget Democracy"


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 that order." 


"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."


"Naïve Amateurs"


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 army." 


"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."


ITALY:  "America’s Solitude"


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 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.’”


RUSSIA:  "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 hundreds."


"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 forces?"


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 crumbled.”


"Lost War"


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."


BELGIUM:  "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."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "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."


DENMARK:  "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.” 


IRELAND:  "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 panic."


NETHERLANDS:  "Revolt In Iraq"


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."


POLAND:  "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 fly.”


"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?”


PORTUGAL:  “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 future.“




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 that soon.”


ROMANIA:  "An Even Greater Danger"


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.”


SPAIN:  "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 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."   


"Tragic Anniversary"


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."


"Explosive Iraq"


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."


TURKEY:  "Baghdad Days"


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 Baghdad.”


"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.”


YUGOSLAVIA:  "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."




WEST BANK:  "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 A Nation"


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."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "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."  


"Fallujah Experiment"


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 unabated."


"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."


ALGERIA:  "Iraq: 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 American Harvest"


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 Saigon.”


"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 Tin”


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.”


“A Comparison”


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.”


LEBANON:  "Lost Credibility"


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 politics."


"Make Democracy And Accountability Real In Iraq"


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."


MOROCCO:  "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.... 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."


OMAN:  "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 Erroneous Calculations"


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."




AUSTRALIA:  "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 finished."


"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 'liberators.'"


"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 Withdrawal”


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 Foe"


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 Iraq"


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."


INDONESIA:  "U.S. 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 period.”


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 New Danger" 


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. 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 Iraq.”


VIETNAM:  "Hostage Taking Effect"


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."


"Bush's Retreat"


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 toll figures."


"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?"


"Iraqi Crossfire" 


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." 


PAKISTAN:  "Iraq's 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 Public"


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."


"Iraq Upheaval"


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."


"Rescuing Iraq"


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 destruction."


“Worsening Situation In Iraq And Responsibility Of American Public”


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."


IRAN:  "Scant Knowledge"


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 countries."


BANGLADESH:  “Uprising 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 decision-making terms."




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."


TANZANIA:  "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.”


UGANDA:  "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 complex Iraq."


ZAMBIA:  "Brutal Blood-letting"


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 home-grown."


"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 universal resistance."




ARGENTINA:  "Bush, Caught Between Mistakes Of The Past And Uncertainty About The Future"


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?"


BRAZIL:  "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."


"Bush's Adventure"


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."


“Moral Defeat”


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, undesirable outcome.”


CHILE:  “Iraq: A Fight On Several Fronts”


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 coalition forces.”


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 senseless war.”


GUATEMALA:  “Invented Motives”


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.”


URUGUAY:  "America First"


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."


"Un-happy Birthday"


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 demonstrated.”



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