August 6, 2004
POST SOVEREIGNTY SECURITY ASSESSMENTS
of security and rampant instability remain since "theoretical"
** Dailies assert the
"guerrilla war" is exacerbated by foreign troop presence and ethnic
** The volatile situation
hinders UN assistance and deters foreign help in reconstruction.
** Outlets differ on how
best to enhance security.
'Climate of chaos'-- Despite progress being made,
"devastating bombings" and "the reality of an out-of-control
Iraq" have overshadowed efforts towards political reform and
reconstruction. "The facts speak
for themselves," stated Italy's Corriere della Sera; "endless
days of bloodshed" have been regarded as "normal and routine
occurrences," observed Indonesia's independent Kompas. Germany's left-of-center Sueddeutsche
Zeitung argued that unrelenting violence demonstrated terrorist
indifference to "whether the country is ruled by occupiers or a domestic
'Roots of restlessness'-- Seeing signs of a "civil war,"
Italy's center-left Il Riformista worried that tensions between Iraq's
religious and ethnic groups were "amalgamating" into a "poisonous
mixture" in which all were battling for "the chance that the new Iraq
offers." A Belgian paper judged
that "power-sharing" and an "efficient government" are the
last thing terrorist groups want.
"It is the battle of a privileged [Sunni] minority which feels that
almost a century of ascendancy and hegemony is slipping away," alleged the
center-left Irish Times. Other
dailies perceived the unrest to be the result of America's occupation and its
"virtual autonomy" over PM Allawi, described by Nicaragua's leftist
national El Nuevo Diario as a "tomagochi-like" virtual pet of the U.S.
'Effects of erratic environment'-- Recent kidnappings illustrated that
"insecurity is blocking the stabilization process" and deterring
global involvement in rebuilding Iraq.
India's centrist Telegraph made clear that the "early return
of security and stability" is a prerequisite for New Delhi's full
participation in reconstruction.
"The climate of violence and fear" makes it "impossible"
for the UN to enter and deliver "indispensable" assistance, analysts
said, thus prolonging the "humanitarian tragedy." Some noted the "nostalgia" among
Iraqis for the "past [regime]."
Others stressed Iraq is teetering "on the brink of becoming a
failed state" and could go over the edge if more is not done to "dry
up the reservoir of terrorism."
'Means to mollify mayhem'-- The majority of commentators agreed that PM
Allawi should be "stronger and firmer…to ensure national
security." However, Pakistan's
center-right Nation surmised that only a transfer of power to a more
"representative government" and a withdrawal of "invading
forces" would then allow for a contingent of Muslim troops to "play a
more positive role." Meanwhile,
some Western publications speculated that the proposed deployment of Muslim
forces to Iraq could turn the "original secular Iraq...into an Islamic
EDITOR: Daniel Macri
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. Some
commentary is taken directly from the Internet.
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 101 reports from
35 countries ranging from July 12- 30, 2004.
Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Appalling For Iraq And Britain"
The conservative tabloid Daily Mail judged (7/30): "Despite official claims that the fall
of Saddam has made a safer world, the [House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select]
Committee's Labor chairman, Donald Anderson warns we are in greater danger from
al-Qaida than ever. But the Committee's
bleak analysis of conditions in Iraq is just as worrying.... Most chilling of all, Iraq teeters on the
brink of becoming a ‘failed state,’ plunging the Middle East into utter
chaos.... As he relaxes in his freebie
Barbados holiday home, Mr. Blair might care to consider that the shameful,
shamming mess he has precipitated is not only ‘appalling’ for Iraq, but for
The conservative tabloid Sun editorialized (7/30): "One war has been won in Iraq to depose
Saddam Hussein and liberate his people.
But a new battle has sprung up, making Iraq the front line in the fight
against al-Qaida terrorists. That
doesn't mean America and Britain were wrong in what they did. Far from it.
As the foreign affairs select committee points out, the problem in Iraq
is not that there are foreign troops on the ground.... Countries like France and Germany need to
stop carping from the sidelines and do their duty.... Only if we unite will we beat the terrorist
"Bombs And Ballots"
The conservative Times editorialized (7/29): "The reaction of the population in a
city that has been one of the most awkward security challenges since the end of
the formal military conflict 15 months ago was, however, one of unambiguous
hostility towards those who planned and executed the crime.... There will, alas, be more outrages as Iraq
develops its political structure. The
Iraqi administration is, though, capable of withstanding atrocities. The people of Iraq have shown that they
recognize the historic opportunity within their grasp."
"Gradual Assumption Of Responsibility"
The conservative Daily Telegraph commented (7/29): "Iraq's gradual assumption of
responsibility for its own affairs is also evident in the more prominent part
being played by the National Guard and the police in combating
terrorism.... Realizing that security is
the key challenge, Iyad Allawi, the prime minister, is reversing the CPA's
policy of excluding former Baathists from the military by inviting former
Republican Guard officers to rejoin.
Increasingly, the terrorists can expect to face indigenous forces set on
preventing Iraq's descent into chaos."
The independent Financial Times editorialized (7/26): "Since the transfer four weeks ago,
wishful thinking in London about the restoration of 'underlying' security, and
windy assertions in Washington about Iraqi 'freedom,' have been
confounded.... Nevertheless, Iyad
Allawi, Iraq's provisional prime minister, has a chance to retrieve his
country.... Aware that his is another
appointed government, Mr. Allawi has put out feelers to disgruntled and
dissident bits of Iraq's complex ethnic, religious and tribal mosaic.... Yet the U.S. needs to acknowledge its
grievous mistakes in Iraq. It broke the
back of the state by disbanding the regular army, and by an indiscriminate
purge of the civil service and blanket de-Baathification. An amnesty crafted to reunite Iraqis and
isolate Islamist terror squads is an indispensable first step if Iraq is to
have any chance of a united and peaceful future, rather than the failed state
and Jihadist front it is close to becoming."
"Firm Hand In Baghdad"
The conservative Times had this to say (7/12): “Where two months ago there was pessimism,
bordering on despair, there is now a belief that a corner has been
turned.... There is already growing
respect for the government in Baghdad, which appears to have both the confidence
and the means to restore order and purpose to Iraq. This has been largely because Dr. Allawi,
backed up by President al-Yawer, has made security a priority."
Patrice Chabanet wrote in regional Le Journal de la Haute Marne
(7/29): “The perpetrators of the attacks
in Baquba yesterday have a double objective:
to dissuade Iraqis from cooperating with the new government on the one
hand and to invite themselves into the American election campaign on the other. This attack is a way of reminding the two
candidates that the Iraq issue has not yet been resolved and that the U.S. may
be forced to heighten security operations....
"Paris And Baghdad Reestablish Diplomatic Relations"
Thierry Oberle in right-of-center Le Figaro wrote
(7/13): “For Baghdad, the warming of
relations between France and Iraq was not a simple matter because for the Iraqi
officials, who for the most part come from within the ranks of Saddam’s
opponents, France's opposition to the war was perceived as a desire to protect
Saddam’s regime. But having turned a
page in history, the new Iraqi Prime Minister is looking to establish some
distance in his relationship with the Americans. Allawi, who is seeking emancipation from his
American godparent, is eager to diversify his relations in order to acquire
more international credibility....
Except for the Kurds who remain somewhat distant, all other Iraqis are
beginning to feel more positive about the French. Still, this return to diplomatic normalcy
does not mean everything else is back to normal. The handicap which France suffered because of
its relationship with Saddam’s regime prior to the war will not be overcome
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch judged in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/30): "This plan
that was discussed in Jeddah under Saudi leadership to send an Arab-Muslim
peacekeeping force to...Iraq is worth considering. Baghdad's Prime Minister Allawi is in favor
of it as are the Americans. But the
discussion still focuses on the modalities of such a plan. If it were realized, the Arab-Islamic world
would have brought itself in a common action to create law and order in a
member state of its own Islamic hemisphere or to act at least in a de-escalating
way. This would be all the more
important because it would also--at least partially--mean an 'Islamization' of
this conflict. This action could succeed
only if Saudi Arabia and the other sides involved put their own interests into
the background. But according to
previous experience, this is hard to imagine."
"Proposal With Implications"
Heiko Flottau noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of
Munich (7/30): "Of course, any
proposal that is appropriate to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis is
welcome.... If the Muslim world were really
able to end the agony in Iraq, this would certainly be a welcome
development. But skepticism
predominates. Even a Muslim peacekeeping
force would run the danger of being considered and treated like an auxiliary
U.S. force. This is all the more the
case because this proposal became public after Secretary Powell's visit to
Saudi Arabia.... A precondition for the
chances of such a plan to succeed would be a kind of timetable for the
withdrawal of international forces. But
from a Western point of view, it would be more worrisome that the originally
secular Iraq would develop into an Islamic state. What is striking of the Saudi proposal is
that it is not directed to the Arab League, which also represents states that
do not have an Islamic state concept like Saudi Arabia. The Saudis emphasized in particular the
Muslim nature of the intervention force.
Riyadh is thus following its traditional policy of strengthening Islam
wherever it is possible. Such a turn in
Iraq would certainly not be in George W. Bush's interest."
"Dreams For Baghdad"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg noted
(7/30): "The proposal from Saudi
Arabia is no more than a diplomatic encouragement for the U.S. government. Islamic forces have as little chances to fight
terror as have British or U.S. forces.
The Iraqis meet their neighbors with a suspicion that borders on
persecution mania. They waged a war
against Iran for more than eight years.
Kuwaitis are the number one object of hatred, and Syria is the country
with whom Iraq did not have any diplomatic relations for years. Jordan is considered a minion of the United
States, and Saudi Arabia the main competitor at the oil markets and always
suspect.... But even if we ignore the
question of whether Muslim forces would be able to cope with the problem, the
affected governments have not shown any inclination to help. Egypt refused to send soldiers, and even if
they only protected UN members, the Cairo government must fear that dead
soldiers would upset Egyptians."
"Death In Baquba"
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch judged in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/29): "The
terrorists know that the bad security situation will create even more
difficulties for the hated Allawi government.
Allawi's most recent trip abroad was, unfortunately, not very
successful. He was told in a polite but
resolute manner that he is a creature of the Americans. But only if one succeeds in creating a more
or less stable situation in the country can the Iraqis elect a government next
year that has not been imposed on them.
The international community must, as difficult as this may yet be, do
more on site to promote stability in the country and dry up the reservoir of
terrorism in cooperation with security forces."
"The Silence Of The Victims"
Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of
Munich (7/29): "A nightmare has
become reality. We heard much about a
re-awakening of a nation when the Americans officially transferred power to an
Iraqi transition government. But the
evil genies of destruction were awakened even before this process. And the devastating bombing in Baquba shows
that the criminals do not differentiate between whether the country is ruled by
occupiers or a domestic leadership....
But since the clock cannot be turned back and an evil genie cannot be
pushed back into the bottle, the international forces and the Iraqi security
forces have only one choice: to take up
the fight, even though their means are limited.
But the people can demonstrate to the terrorists that their fight is in
vain. Why for instance, is there not a
single mass protest by all those who want law and order? A public spirit, which could produce such
activities, cannot be found in Iraq. And
it has not even been promoted by the occupation."
"Terrorists Pushing Themselves Out Into The Cold"
Right-of-center Neue Presse of Hanover editorialized
(7/29): "With these attacks, the
insurgents will not topple the transition government nor will they chase the
occupiers out of the country; they are only pushing themselves out into the
cold. With the attacks they bury any
chance to win the Iraqis' hearts. But
the terrorist remains dangerous. Shortly
before the Iraqi national conference they are showing in a brutal way how
disastrous security in the country still is.
Under such conditions, the elections cannot take place as planned. But nobody seems to know how to improve the
security situation by that time."
"Allawi And Assad"
Guenter Nonnenmacher had this to say in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/26): "It is
uncontroversial that Iran and Syria, in particular, not only closely watch
developments in neighboring Iraq but that they also try to influence them. As a counter power to all the internal
dangers in Iraq, and against pressure from the outside, [PM] Allawi can only
offer support from the Americans. But he
must also keep a certain distance to them to strengthen his legitimacy. This is also necessary because of the
elections that will take place at the latest in six months. Behind the scenes, Allawi seems to negotiate
with his previous opponents in Iraq: for
instance with radical Shiite preacher al Sadr, who has more or less isolated
himself over the past few months but who continues to be a disruptive factor
with his militia forces. At the same
time, the government leader is increasingly taking advantage of the foreign
policy stage. His visit to Syria...has
spectacular traits. Twenty years ago,
Saddam Hussein broke diplomatic relations with the Baathist brothers. With trips to his Middle East neighbors,
Allawi and his foreign minister are trying to get the support from rulers and
governments who feel under pressure from and even feel threatened by U.S.
Jochen Bittner opined in center-left, weekly Die Zeit of
Hamburg (7/22): "Since civil
administrator Paul Bremer has transferred power to the Iraqi transition
government, the revolt in the country is becoming increasingly
threatening. The message of the
attackers is no longer: 'Ami go home,'
but instead we can hear: 'To hell with
the future.' The attacks on patrols have
by no means declined, since the GIs have cleared the roads one after the
other. The attacks are now increasingly
hitting Iraqis.... Slowly but gradually
the zeal of the clerics, the wounded honor of patriots, and the anger of the
people who were deprived of their power are amalgamating to a poisonous
mixture. Islamists, nationalists,
Baathists, Saddam loyalists, they all declared war on the chance that the new
Iraq offers. As different as their
motives are, they have the common goal of sabotaging this transformation. One reason is that the new state is not a
religious state. But a much more
important reason is that this new Iraq could teach everyone that the country is
narrowing its views with the West and no longer supports a western conspiracy
theory. Those who underestimate the
dimension of this revolt in Iraq are underestimating the danger of a civil
"The Coalition Of The Frail"
Peter Muench concluded in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (7/19): "Nobody should be
surprised at the crumbling of this coalition, but every satisfaction would be
wrong either. It is not only Washington
but also the Iraqi transition government that urgently needs military and
political support. Following the
war...the stabilization of the country remains the great task."
Business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (7/13)
opined: "The Iraqi transition
government is modifying its policy towards the insurgents in the
country.... The move of the government
comes at a time in which reports on internal disputes among the insurgents are
on the rise. Reportedly, international
terrorists are no longer able to move like fish in the water, but are attacked
by parts of the Iraqi resistance movement.
This offer could drive a wedge between Iraqis, whose support the Iraqi government
still needs to win, and bin Laden's supporters, who are solely interested in
fighting the United States. But a
precondition is that the transition government is also able to exercise its
power. This is true for both parts of
the government's offer: the amnesty and the repression. At the same time, it must try to urge the
U.S. forces to give up certain moves that would forge together again diverging
resistance factions. This kind of
cooperation will be looming if the U.S. military launches a large-scale attack
on Fallujah, something about which it has been thinking for days."
Contingent For Iraq"
Leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore noted (7/30): “It wasn't violence, which is a daily
presence, that marked yesterday, but politics.... Saudi Arabia's proposal stated ‘only Islamic
countries could constitute a contingent to help Iraq....' Secretary Powell views the Saudi plan as ‘the
means to provide additional forces for the coalition....' Powell refers to the forces as ‘additional’
while the Arabs refer to them as ‘replacement.’
It will be difficult to reconcile the two ways of thinking.”
"Terrorists Attack, Recruits Slaughtered"
Renzo Cianfanelli wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera (7/29): “At this point
the number of deaths no longer count.
The most tragic aspect in this war, which was declared 'accomplished’
over a year ago but that is becoming increasingly brutal, is the existence of a
strategy of terror where the presence of foreigners and religious differences
are little more than excuses. By opening
the Pandora's box that is Iraq, through the decision to destroy Saddam without
a complete strategy on how to rebuild the country afterwards, the region may
become a breeding-ground where pseudo-Islamic fanaticism is allowed to fester.”
"With John Kerry, Against Al-Qaida"
Elite, center-left daily Il Riformista noted (7/29): “The anguish, blood, and death that continue
to dominate daily life in Iraq shouldn't mask the new nature of the
situation: what is occurring is a civil
war, not a war against the occupier because the occupier is no longer
officially in that position. And now the
enemies of Iraq are fighting against Iraq, against its government, against
measures intended to restore order, and thus measures that might offer hope for
well being, safety, and progress. How
can one miss this? And how is it
possible that Europeans don't realize how helpful to the new Iraq they could be
if they assumed some responsibilities:
if they aided the Iraqis through deeds instead of words for the fight
against terrorism, against those who don't want Iraq to be independent, but
instead hope to create an autonomous Republic of al-Qaida.“
"The Road To Reconstruction Is Steeper"
Alberto Negri opined in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore
(7/29): “The ‘twin’ reconstructions of
the war on terrorism, in Iraq and Afghanistan, are in trouble. The facts speak for themselves--there have
been days of endless bloodshed.... The
crisis can be identified as the lack of security on three different
fronts: military, economic and
humanitarian. In Iraq the U.S.-led
coalition is the only credible force on the ground. The constitution of the military forces is
still in the making.... The longer the
military occupation continues, the harder it will be to find a political
solution to the guerrilla war and to terrorism.”
"Filipino Freed, Now Tokyo Is Targeted"
An article in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore noted
(7/21): “It's the realpolitik of
terrorism: if you can't strike he who is in command, meaning the U.S., be
content to eliminate his allies one by one, from the Philippines to Japan. Mussab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s alleged
representative in Iraq, is demonstrating strategic competence. Shortly after the departure of the last
Filipino soldier from Iraq, Zarqawi’s group launched a new message via
internet--this time it called on Japan [to leave Iraq].... This was not a random choice, but rather a
strategy that aimed to exploit the vote cast by the Japanese people last week
against Premier Koizumi’s decision to leave troops in Iraq. The terrorists have shown, even if they are
submerged in the Iraqi quagmire, they are capable of monitoring the domestic
situation of coalition countries.”
"The Massacre In the Streets Of Baghdad Continues"
Maurizio Molinari noted in centrist, influential daily La
Stampa (7/20): “The guerrillas are
attacking policemen and politicians in Iraq in an attempt to weaken Baghdad's
new government. From Washington Bush
warned Teheran: ‘We will investigate your involvement in the September 11
attacks.’ Yesterday's attacks
established the use of a military strategy that aims to erode consensus for
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, by proving through a number of attacks that he is
not capable of guaranteeing security.”
"Truck-Bomb In Baghdad: 15 Dead"
Toni Fontana wrote in pro-democratic left party (DS) daily L’Unità
(7/20): “The massacre that took place
yesterday in Baghdad is not a ‘normal’ one in a country like Iraq, but a
horrific slaughter that signals just how serious and risky the situation is
only a few days after the ‘transfer of powers.’
Not only were 10-15 innocent civilians killed...but once again scores of
people danced around the wreckage of the truck-bomb used by the suicide bombers
and chanted slogans in favor of Saddam....
Even policemen lashed out against the Americans for not guaranteeing
security. This latest wave of terrorism, which Saddam’s former secret service
chiefs could be behind, is evoking nostalgia for the past, while the new
government is totally at a loss as to what to do.”
"Baghdad Asks Islamic Countries For Troops"
Gian Micalessin opined in pro-government, leading center-right
daily Il Giornale (7/16): “Iyad
Allawi is once again in a hurry. He had
fooled himself for a while that there could be a truce. But Wednesday's bombings, the killing of
Mosul’s governor, and yesterday's attacks and victims brought a rude
awakening.... He is working on the
creation of an agency for counter-espionage in order to combat domestic
terrorism; he has announced important arrests within the al-Qaida network; he
has revealed the details regarding his upcoming diplomatic tour that will take
him to Arab capitals, as well as to Tehran, Islamabad, London and
Washington. He is asking for troops from
India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Morocco.... The prime minister's move [to create an
intelligence agency] is indispensable.
Following the disbanding of the army and of all the security apparatus'
imposed by CPA Paul Bremer, Iraq had fallen into the hands of U.S.
intelligence. During its fourteen months
of operation, U.S. intelligence failed to penetrate enemy structures. By re-creating an intelligence agency, the
new prime minister wants to furnish eyes, ears and brains to the police force
and to the new Iraqi security forces, which are groping in the dark.”
"Another Massacre In Iraq--Pipelines Sabotaged"
Paolo Mastrolilli noted in centrist, influential daily La
Stampa (7/16): “In order to respond
to the latest violence against persons and to the attacks against the
infrastructures, the leader of the provisional government has announced the
creation of a new secret service agency, the ‘General Security Directorate,’
which according to Allawi will be used to ‘annihilate the terrorists....' These kinds of initiatives could provide the
needed leverage in the fight against the insurrection, and that the could
demonstrate that the Americans couldn't handle for obvious reasons of political
correctness. However, the Iraqi government can allow itself the use of harsher
methods against its own people involved in the guerrilla war.”
"Iraq's New Calendar"
Bernardo Valli opined in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (7/14): “The Americans
are supposed to leave Iraq in January 2006, as soon as a constitutionally
elected government is established in Baghdad...according to resolution 1546 of
the Security Council.... Right now the
Iraqi calendar looks totally unrealistic.
In fact, a month and a half after the Security Council approved the
resolution, U.S. military and political authorities...have regularly extended
deadlines way beyond the pre-set dates and have previewed that it will take
‘about five years starting now’ to defeat the enemy, meaning the armed
insurrection. So the January 2006
deadline moves up to 2009. Currently the
insecure situation created by the guerrillas and terrorism makes it impossible for
the UN to set foot in the country and to carry out the assistance which is
considered indispensable by those who feel that the international organization
should have a precise role and not only limit itself to declarations that
legitimize the actions of the American super power.... On a political level, reconstruction has made
great progress. Scores of parties are in
full swing. Newspapers abound.... With respect to the past, enormous progress
has been made. However, it is not fully
appreciated by the population because of the guerrillas, crimes and the
difficult economic situation.”
Is Promise Of Peace"
Andrey Krushinskiy stated in neo-communist weekly Slovo
(7/30): "It is naïve to suggest
that if the Americans should withdraw now, leaving Iraq in chaos because things
would become even worse. To cure a
disease, you need to remove its cause.
The Iraqi resistance, for all the bad things it involves, is no cause
for instability in the Middle East.
Quite the contrary, it is a promise of peace in the future."
"Iraqi Police Under Attack"
Aleksandr Samokhotkin said in reformist Vremya Novostey
(7/29): "The situation in Iraq is
far from peaceful. The local police and
security services often come under attack from militants. Under the circumstances, the United States,
the driving force in the MNF, has been working hard to get NATO to help bring
order to Iraq. NATO Secretary General
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is hoping to coordinate plans to help train personnel for
the Iraqi army in spite of France continuing to oppose the presence of NATO
officers in Iraq, if only as training instructors. The Iraqi authorities insist on that kind of
assistance. Local experts would be in a
better position to ensure security, especially when it comes to fighting
"Lack Of Security Guarantee"
Andrey Terekhov of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta charged
(7/23): "It goes to show that
despite the formal sovereignty transfer and attempts by the interim government
to put the house in order, there is still no one in Iraq to guarantee
"It Won't Add To Government's Popularity"
Mikhail Zygar opined in business-oriented Kommersant
(7/16): "The U.S. command has been
placing ever more responsibility on the new Iraqi leadership. Yesterday Prime Minister Iyad Allawi,
yielding to U.S. pressure, spoke of plans to establish a general security
directorate, the first special service in postwar Iraq. It will encourage the population to provide
information to help identify rebels involved in attacks on foreigners. The directorate will hardly add to the new
government's popularity, as most Iraqis are likely to associate it with similar
agencies that existed under Saddam."
AUSTRIA: "Blood And
Senior columnist Ernst Trost observed in mass-circulation tabloid Neue
Kronenzeitung (7/30): “Two scenes--the
Democratic Party convention in Boston and Baquba in Iraq after the suicide
attack that killed 70 people and injured a lot more.... The bloodiest massacre since the transfer of
power shook Iraq just at the time when the new government is desperately trying
to establish democratic institutions. In
the next days the National Congress will convene and form a preliminary
parliament until the elections that are to take place in January next year. From all parts of the country, from different
clans and tribes, leading political figures are coming to Baghdad to choose
from among themselves a National Assembly of about 100 persons. But this commendable development towards
normality is being threatened by the traumatic security situation. Security is also the leading topic in the
U.S. It is expected that the candidate
who Americans think will protect them best, is going to win.”
Markus Bernath commented in liberal daily Der Standard
(7/14): “These days, Philippine
President Gloria Arroyo is experiencing the dilemma of a politician who is
faced with terror: whether to save the
life of a citizen that only got into Iraq through government intervention or
preserve the image of the country as a close ally of the U.S. and signal once
more to the militant radicals in the Philippines that the government will not
appease terrorists. For the first time
since the beginning of hostage takings in Iraq last April, a government is now
about to fulfill the demands of the terrorists.... Bringing forward the planned withdrawal of 51
soldiers is...a first concession to the captors of truck driver Angelo de la
Cruz. Terrorists, however, calculate
differently: to them, the murder or
release of a hostage does not mean much--their real aim is to generate panic in
the government offices and among the public.”
"Muslim Troops Are Difficult To Sell"
Foreign affairs writer Isa Van Dorsselaer held in
Christian-Democrat De Standaard (7/30):
"Saudi Arabia wants to establish a contingent of troops from Muslim
countries to help the new Iraqi government make Iraq a safe place. However, most (of these countries) are under
heavy pressure from their public opinion not to do a 'favor' to the United
States--which is the demanding party.
The murder of two Pakistani Muslims makes the decision even more
difficult.... The offer gives the Saudis
an opportunity to improve the relationship with its old ally which cooled down
after the 9/11 attacks. But, (Saudi
Arabia) realizes that a large unstable neighbor is not in its interest. In recent weeks Saudi officials expressed
concern about infiltration of extremists from Iraq.... For Iraq, the situation is urgent. After the transfer of power to Allawi's
interim government at the end of June the insurgents remained quiet for some
time, but the last few weeks they hit back brutally--with the sad climax of the
heavy attack in Baquba where 70 people were killed. Since last week the Iraqi security services
have carried out genuine offensives, but they are insufficiently prepared and
equipped to fight the insurgents efficiently.
The fact that the crucial national conference--the next step towards
democracy--has been postponed until mid-August is also bad news."
"Iraqis Need To Support Government"
Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert remarked in independent
Christian-Democrat De Standaard (7/29):
"It is quite understandable that many Iraqis do not like the
foreign military occupation. However,
those who want the Americans and their allies to leave as soon as possible should
do their best for a stronger Iraqi interim government and a perfect
organization of the elections. The
sooner Iraq has an efficient government of its own, the sooner foreign
troops...will leave. However, efficient
government and equitable power-sharing among the ethnic groups is the last
thing terrorist groups want--whether they are followers of Saddam or
Islamists. With their abductions and
attacks they want not only to pester the entire foreign presence out of their
country. They also radically reject the
system of values that that foreign presence represents. Either they want a return to a regime in
which a minority prevails and a dictator can murder unpunished, or they strive
for an Islamic system whose blessings are demonstrated by the Saudi and Iranian
regimes.... Those who carry out the
attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan are not people of goodwill.... They are trying to create a climate of
violence and fear to the point that people forget the crimes of the ousted
regime and begin to feel nostalgic about the 'order' [that existed]. The shocking conclusion is that they seem to
"A Powder Keg In The Middle East"
Foreign editor Jean Vanempten in financial daily
De Tijd editorialized (7/15):
"U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair adamantly defend the war and do not want to hear about apologies. In the eyes of both Bush and Blair the war in
Iraq is still a good thing. Because the world has become a safer place and
because Iraq is on its way to democracy, they claim. The idea that the world
has become a safer place is contradicted by State Department figures. There were more attacks in 2003 than in 2002
and more people were killed. To date the
war on terror has only produced more terrorists.... The attacks against the coalition troops
continue and abductions of foreigners end with bloodshed.... Iraq remains a powder keg in the Middle
East. Just like in Afghanistan, the war
was won without a scenario for the reconstruction. The pre-war intelligence work was a
failure. The political leaders gave
public opinion incorrect information and shrink away from the difficult task of
reconstruction. Even in that field the
sense of reality is not penetrating."
"Those Reports That Bother Bush And
Baudouin Loos noted in left-of-center Le Soir
(7/13): "Last Friday, the U.S.
Senate report on intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has
confirmed the massive destruction of the other justification of the American
'hawks' for attacking Iraq--i.e., the direct threat that Saddam Hussein's
weapons of mass destruction represented.
And indeed, these weapons have never been found.... The U.S. Senate's report is not
complete. A second part pertaining to
what use high officials of the Administration made of
this--erroneous--intelligence is not ready.
In that second part, the CIA is reportedly being blamed for not having
transmitted to Bush information supplied by Iraqis according to which Baghdad
had given up developing weapons of mass destruction. This report, which is likely to be
politically devastating, will probably not be released until after the November
2 presidential election."
"The Country Of Hostages"
Second-largest circulation daily 24 Hours
held (7/16): "Since last Friday
Bulgaria has been facing an absurd ultimatum aimed at the U.S. It's a demand that cannot be met by
Bulgaria.... This ultimatum was not
posed so it can be fulfilled, but rather as a sinister opportunity for the
terrorists to flex their muscles in front of the new Iraqi government.... The goal is two-fold: to punish Bulgaria, an inconsequential
country, but a most loyal vassal and favorite pet of the U.S. Secondly, to demonstrate that in America's
quest for world hegemony, the human life holds no value whatsoever."
Radek Honzak wrote in center-right Lidove noviny
(7/21): "It is said...that Iraqi
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi drives around prisons and shoots captured
extremists. Although this story is
certainly not true, the Iraqis believe it.
After three weeks in office, Allawi has managed to acquire...the image
of a tough ruler. And although he
probably laughs at the stories about him shooting prisoners, he knows that
precisely such a reputation will build respect for him among Iraqi
citizens. The Iraqis can only hope that
he will also manage to handle terrorists and establish peace in the country. However, the PM will need much more than just
a good image to achieve that."
Chief editor Janos Avar wrote in Vasarnapi Hirek
(7/25): “The hostages whom the various
insurgent groups in Iraq take seem to be individuals, but, as a matter of fact,
the taken hostages are countries [that the individuals represent]. Through their actions those insurgent groups
continue to blackmail not only those capitals that have sent soldiers to Iraq
but, also those [countries] that have business contractors and private
civilians in Iraq. So a baleful homework
is set to the governments. And it can
unfortunately happen that the lesson is being given also to the Hungarian
government, because there are a couple of Hungarians in Iraq. From now on the governments bear the
responsibility of taking care not only of their citizens but of the long-term
interests of their nation as well.”
Insurrection In Iraq Is A Minority's Battle For Power"
Shlomo Avineri, professor of political science at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, opined in the center-left Irish Times
(7/21): "The formal transfer of
power from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the Iraqi interim government
under Iyad Allawi does not seem to have changed the picture of constant
violence.... There is logic in the
apparent madness.... It was the Sunni
minority regime, not only Mr. Hussein, that was toppled by the American
invasion of Iraq. With the exception of
one case--Moqtada al-Sadr's renegade Shia Mahdi Army--all the violence is a
rearguard action of the Sunni minority that had ruled Iraq, which is desperately
trying to cling to power by the only means it knows: violence....
The aim of these attacks is clear:
if a coherent form of government is established in Iraq, it will mean
power-sharing between the various religious and ethnic groups, and an end to
the historical Sunni Arab hegemony....
It is the battle of a privileged minority which feels that almost a
century of ascendancy and hegemony is slipping away.... The Sunni Arab insurrection in Iraq could
have wider ramifications for the Middle East.... In most Arab countries, Sunnis form the
majority; and even in those where they are in the minority, they have
maintained hegemony.... Something much
more basic may be at stake than the matter of who rules Iraq: the historical equation of Arab rule with
Sunni hegemony is being challenged....
Just as the wars between Catholics and various Protestant groups were
not just theological disputations but contests about power, the same is
happening in Iraq."
"Casualties Cannot Be For Nought"
Editor-in-chief Grzegorz Jankowski wrote in tabloid Fakt
(7/30): “More sad news from Iraq--a
young Polish soldier was killed by a roadside bomb, and a few others were
wounded. Which again raises the
question: is it worth sacrificing the
lives of Poles for the security of a remote country? Is Iraq really worth our blood? Such questions are hard to answer.... But their deaths would make no sense if we
recognized that they needn't have gone to Iraq, that the participation of our
troops in the Iraqi mission was a mistake.
It is too early for such assessments.
We do not know the consequences of the Iraqi war.... We must now assume, however, there was no
other way out.... An attempt to flee
Iraq--as the Spaniards did--would be aimless, because it would show that the
assailants were right, which is something we cannot allow. At least out of respect for the Poles who
"Unsafe Reconstruction Of Iraq"
Independent El Mundo judged (7/29): "One cannot rebuild politically and
economically a country that lacks even minimal guarantees of security.... Only a strong government can guarantee
security in Iraq. But Allawi has focused
his efforts on integrating the competing factions into the government,
something that will make it extremely weak.
The paradox is that if he manages to form a solid army and police with a
weak government, this increases the risk of a coup d'etat once U.S. troops
abandon the country."
"The Killings Continue"
Left-of-center El País commented (7/29): "No political agenda can be developed
with guarantees amid the chaos and violence still rampant in the Iraq of
Allawi, who is searching for a legitimacy that his fellow countrymen deny
him.... In Iraq, a war without rules is
taking place, where an impossible mix of factions, national and foreign, each
with its own agenda, combine. Their
tragic result are tens of deaths every day--most of them civilians--and a
climate of general anxiety that, instead of raising hope, makes Saddam
Hussein's former dominion sink further into the abyss."
Centrist La Vanguardia commented (7/26): "The kidnapping of an Egyptian diplomat
in Baghdad has demonstrated the fragility of the new interim government and has
made evident that insecurity is blocking the stabilization process of the
country after the theoretical transfer of power from the American
administration.... It is clear that the
efforts of the interim government to unite allies in the region and gain
foreign support are clashing with the reality of an out-of-control Iraq, where
the fear of a 'Lebanonization' of the conflict is growing."
"Firsts Steps In Iraq"
Left-of-center El País commented (7/18): "Bush's affirmation that, today, after
the invasion of Iraq, the world is more secure than it was before is more than
questionable. Everything indicates the
opposite. Iraq has turned into a new
school of terrorism for many Islamists from all origins. Everybody, except the latter, is interested
now in the stabilization and pacification of Iraq, but [that vision lies] in
the distance. If the elections are
organized in such a way to legitimize a government with a wide majority...Iraq
can be a starting point for a deep change in the Middle East. Far from that idyllic solution, there's only
hope that the pain and death in this process are as minimal as possible."
TURKEY: "Is Everything
In Order In Iraq?"
Hikmet Bila commented in the social democrat/intellectual Cumhuriyet
(7/30): “The occupation forces are lost
in Iraq. The troops are worried for
their lives. The U.S.
administration...is in a panic. Bush
asks NATO to intervene in Iraq and Powell wants the Muslim countries’ troops
placed there. Bush is desperate prior to
the presidential elections. The U.S. and
its allies cannot establish stability there and cannot even protect
themselves. They cannot establish the
most important police and military force there, because the resistance does not
allow it. Locals, who want to join the
military or the police force, have been blown into pieces by the resistance. The occupiers cannot stop the assassination
of government officials or the kidnapping of the foreigners in Iraq. With every passing day, the initiative passes
from the occupiers to the resistance.
Northern Iraq is still the region where the U.S. maintains the most
control. In full coordination with
Barzani and Talabani (and of course,
Turkey's contribution of 13 years), the U.S. managed to establish an
independent Kurdish State there. The
only missing thing for this Kurdish State is international recognition.... Stability cannot be established by praying or
wishing. It is not possible for the
U.S., which lost the initiative there and is defeated in the military and the
administrative arenas, to establish stability in Iraq.”
"Coordinating With Whom In Iraq?"
Erdal Guven opined in the liberal/intellectual Radikal
(7/30): "Lets not fool ourselves.
Turkey beat the PKK despite Syria and Iran.
Coordination regarding Iraq’s integrity?
Do you think Iran and Syria care about this issue? They view Iraq’s possible change into a
democratic and secular country as a security threat to the Iranian and Syrian
regimes. And, of course, just the
opposite is valid for Turkey. Turkey's interests
in Iraq can only be attained by giving
the necessary support to Iraq during the normalization process, not by
establishing an alliance with the those working against the normalization. This is the only concrete solution to secure
Iraq’s integrity and to eliminate whatever is left from PKK."
"Is Iraq 'Iraq's Internal Affair'?"
Center-right, mass appeal daily, Vatan wrote
(7/20): "The summit of the foreign
ministers of Iraq's neighbors will be held in Cairo. From the standpoint of the regional
countries, the summit is of vital importance in terms of Iraq's restructuring
and the establishment of internal stability in this country. This is because lack of stability in Iraq
deeply affects not only the neighboring countries, but also the entire Middle
East. As a matter of fact, within the
framework of the global terrorism risk, lack of stability in Iraq also deeply
affects the EU countries and the United States.
Still however, it is Iraq's neighbors that primarily feel the influences
of the chaotic environment with all its damages and effects. Given that the United States has not been
able to achieve the desired results in Iraq within a certain period of time and
given that it has failed in Iraq, certain people contentedly note that
"the United States is stuck in the desert that it has turned into a
quagmire. Nevertheless, these people
will eventually understand more clearly that they are very wrong.... This is because compared with the United
States, Turkey primarily and Iraq's neighbors are more open and "limitedly
vulnerable [sinirli savunmasiz]" to adverse effects. All the realities and the sensitivities of
the region therefore force Turkey to engage in more effective and more active
diplomacy during the process of Iraq's restructuring and the process of the
establishment of internal stability in this country.... Given that the United States, Britain, Spain,
and even Israel do not view the security issue as Iraq's "internal
affair," it is impossible for Turkey to see this as "its neighbor's
internal affair.... Iraq's stability
concerns us. Similar to the Arabs and
the Kurds, the Turkomans are also our relatives and we feel responsible toward
them. Similar to the way that we
protected the Kurds when they were subjected to cruelty yesterday, we will
protect the Turkomans today if they are subjected to injustice. This should not be seen as efforts made by
Turkey to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq. In light of these remarks, it is necessary to
say the following: "As long as it
affects Turkey, Iraq cannot be viewed as "[Iraq's] internal
"We Are On The Same Boat"
Al-Adalah editorialized (7/21): "We believe dialogue with the neighbours
is the best means to encounter the imminent danger and protect our people. The
Cairo meeting for states neighbouring Iraq is only an evidence that they all
sense this danger and are ready to face it in cooperation with others. We see our neighbours have changed. They are
now closer to us than ever before. They understand our suffering and realize
how things will end if the terrorists impose their destructive
"logic" in Iraq. Therefore, it
is no longer, and never was, right to deal with our neighbours with the threat
logic. We have to know that now is the
time for dialogue and exchange of benefits, on top of which security. We repeat our calls to the neighbours: We are
on the same boat. If we steer it well,
we can reach the safe shore. Otherwise, we will end in the seabed "
"Security, First Real Challenge"
Salman al-Shimmari opined in Al-Mu'tamar
(7/21): "It is no exaggeration to say that security is the first real
challenge and test to the government's success in undertaking the tasks
entrusted to it by the Iraqi people, United Nations and world community. Therefore, the measures taken by Iyad
Allawi's government, in the forefront of which the national safety law
represent the most important and bravest step needed to maintain stability and
security in the Iraqi streets. But if
democracy could not prevail in a country ruled by chaos and lawlessness, how
then could its principles be established without adopting legal, deterrent
measures that would preserve order, establish the rule of law and spare Iraqis
further bloodshed! It is a question we
put to all those shedding crocodile tears for the Iraqi people."
"Epidemic Of Terrorism"
Al-Adala editorialized (7/20): "Terrorism is an epidemic that will keep
infecting one country after another, defying all efforts of containment made by
any individual country. Terrorists, who
have come into Iraq across its borders, if allowed to take root, will soon
cross the same borders back into the same neighbouring countries they
originally came from. If they manage to
establish a terror base here on Iraqi soil, our neighbours will never be safe
from their evil deeds. This is a fact no
wise person can fail to see, a fact none of Iraq's neighbours can dismiss
lightly. We should not, therefore, ask
our neighbours to just leave us alone, but rather urge them all to join forces
with us in our drive to eliminate terrorism and wipe out terrorists."
Salwa Zakku of Al-Nahdah wrote
(7/20): "Why are our police and
National Guard forces left to deal with terrorism and organized crime
single-handed? These are valiant Iraqi
youths paying with their lives to protect us, while everyone else is acting as
by-standers, just looking on and expressing praise and admiration, without
actually lifting a finger to help, as if they were alien to our community and
unaware of the existence of all these terrorists and criminals living and
moving under their very noses. Who, if
not civil society organizations, should then take the initiative to activate
men in the street and nudge them into doing their part? To count on individual initiatives alone is
to embark on a long, time-consuming course when what is urgently needed is a
short-cut, as we cannot afford to waste any more time, having wasted too much
Safi al-Yassiri opined in Al-Nahdah
(7/18): "No matter how divided
opinions may be on how to deal with violence-perpetrating groups, they all
agree in the end that these groups should either be eradicated or tamed and
brought under the rule of law, in which case they can be acceptably reintegrated
into the democratization process. The
problem is how long all this will take, considering the fact that these groups
are desperately trying to undermine any progress towards free general elections
as a necessary step towards their ultimate aim of making it impossible for a
new Iraq to emerge and for their old Iraq to be scrapped for good."
"Political Role To Iraqi Tribes?"
Khalid Isa Taha wrote in Al-Shira
(7/17): "Given the present
situation in Iraq, is it in the best interest of the nation to allow Iraqi
tribes to exercise a weighty political role? We firmly believe that any attempt
at involving Iraqi tribes in the political process should be considered with
utmost caution because allowing tribal forces to wield political influence can
bring the ills of feudalism back to this country and revive the old injustices
suffered by Iraqi farmers at the hands of their erstwhile masters."
Mahdi al-Hafidh wrote in daily political
newspaper Al-Nahdah (7/14):
"The most important lesson derived is to renounce violence as a
means of political struggle and to adopt peaceful and democratic dialogue in
solving the country's problems.
Violence, in all its forms, cannot meet cultural and humanitarian
values. It can, however, beget counter violence and opens a never-ending chain
of actions and destructive reactions. This is what happened over the past four
decades. It is better to commemorate the
revolution anniversary with more keenness and determination to learn from its
historical experience with its deep implications."
"Culture Instead Of Ethnic Identity Could
Bring Security And Political Stability"
Maytham al-Janabi opined in Al-Mada
(7/13): "To establish Iraqi
cultural identity as a solid point of reference in terms of political
patriotism is to ensure a harmonious mechanism whereby ethnicity and
nationalism in Iraq are smoothly brought together on the basis of cultural,
rather than ethnic, national identity--a development that can prove highly
conducive to active participation in promoting security and political stability
in the region."
"Moral And Material Subversion In
Al-Bayan alleged (7/13):
"The large-scale moral and material subversion Iraq is being
subjected to at the humanitarian, administrative and reconstruction levels, the
persistent attempts to promote corruption and the lack of effective vigilance
to deter some from being co-opted by the enemy camp--all require an
extraordinary measure of firmness as well as meticulous care in choosing men
and women of enough strength and integrity to face up to the historic brunt
that has to be borne, in line with the holy script: 'The best you can hire is a
strong trustworthy man.'"
ISRAEL: "Keep Iraq
Efrayim Inbar commented in independent,
English-language, right-of-center The Jerusalem Post (7/18): "The basic interests of Israel and
Turkey clearly converge in Iraq. Both
states want the US to stay there, hoping Washington will not be humiliated by
the aftermath of its military intervention. They clearly favor the emergence of
a stable Iraq that is not a threat to its neighbors. While Ankara and Jerusalem do not anticipate
the development of an Iraqi democracy in the near future, they concur with the
American attempt to generate a process of political change through which a more
accountable and responsive regime may be created...."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Muslim
The pro-government, English-language Saudi Gazette held
(Internet version, 7/30): "Saudi
Arabia once again finds itself at the forefront of efforts to introduce order
in the Gulf region. The visit by U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell...has raised the prospect of a Muslim defense
force to assume security responsibilities in Iraq.... The prospect that Coalition forces in Iraq
might be replaced by troops from the Arab world must represent a tantalizing
prospect for Washington, mired as it is, in the treacherous sectarian clashes
that are presently taking place in Iraq.
The joint statement by Prince Saud and Secretary of State Colin Powell
on the subject of Iraq came only shortly after news of another suicide
bombing.... Riyadh is right, however, to
be cautious. Arabs are understandably
aggrieved they were not consulted about the invasion of Iraq and were
effectively presented with a fait accompli that was certain to create regional
tensions with which all Arab countries, especially those in the Gulf, have had
to contend. Then there is the tension
that exists between the State Department and the Pentagon, reflected in the
more moderate pronouncements emanating from Mr. Powell and more belligerent
ones coming from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.... It is not the responsibility of Arab and
Muslim countries to pull America's chestnuts out of the fire, especially as
they had no part in lighting the fire in the first place. Convincing Arab and Islamic governments to
tackle Iraq's security problems may be desirable but whether it is achievable
will depend on the diplomatic skills of all concerned."
"The Arab [Governing] System Requires A New Vertebral
Pan-Arab, Saudi-owned Al-Hayat
editorialized (7/18): "Despite what
happened and what could possibly happen, countries neighbouring Iraq should remember
their borders are not only open to Iraq but are also in direct contact with the
USA.... The destiny of Iraq is a great
test because a US victory is difficult, yet it is necessary at whatever cost
because a US defeat will have great repercussions that will be out of control
and transcend Iraqi borders...."
"The Deadly Mistake And Its Aftermath"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina remarked (7/17): "One of the fundamentals of Britain's
foreign policy in the Middle East during the early years of the twentieth
century was to preserve and protect the stability of the Iraqi Army. The U.S. followed suit, but added Israel to
the equation.... The decision of the new
Iraqi prime minister...to establish a security service is an attempt to fix
Paul Bremer’s fatal mistake. We
hope that this new security service will be able to carry out its duties, and
ultimately restore peace and security in Iraq.
But we remind here that stability in Iraq will not be achieved until its
army is reinstated. Many of the patriotic
officers in the former army have expressed their willingness to help out in
"Changing Regimes With Goodwill!"
Abd-al-Wahab Badrkhan wrote in pan-Arab,
Saudi-owned Al-Hayat (7/17):
"Perhaps the aim of toppling the [former Iraqi] regime was
acceptable. However, what the war has caused after the regime was toppled has
affirmed to all that war can never be ethical at all."
"America's Increasing Terror [Method]"
Dr Awda Boutrous opined in independent pan-Arab,
pro-Libyan Awda Al-Arab al-Alamiyah (7/16): "The seven-day [Iraqi]
war planned for Bush is still continuing... [and the coalition] forces are
still dying from the weapons of the growing Iraqi resistance... Because of the
nature of their criminal practices, [these forces] don't think of anything
else, apart from the terrorism they invented. Their minds are fully occupied
with terror methods..."
"Changing The Excuses For War Against Iraq
Reveals Political Motives"
Independent, pro-government Al-Watan
(7/16): "The war on Iraq was not
for security purposes and did not even have humanitarian grounds concerning
human rights. The reason for the war was mainly political... This war taken us
back to the century of colonialism."
"Where are the WMD in Iraq?"
Makkah’s conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (7/14): "We will not be astonished if eventually
it were proven that Iraq did not have any WMD.
To date the CIA investigations have failed to prove that Iraq possessed
any of these weapons prior to the war....
The former Iraqi regime has been toppled, and no secret chemical or
biological weapons have been found. Not
because Iraq did not own such weapons, but because the U.S. does not want to
disclose that such weapons did at some point exist in Iraq. Since April 9, 2003 Iraq has become a part of
the U.S. Iraq now is friend of the U.S.
rather than a foe.... Preserving what is
left of its weapons program is of interest to the U.S. because these weapons now
are at the disposal of America to do with them what it sees fit.
"Reordering The Iraqi House"
Damam’s moderate Al-Yaum editorialized (7/14): "Since Iraq aims at having full
sovereignty, which is based on democracy, it must pave the way for this
step. It must unmask those who kill,
kidnap, and slay in the dark in the name of Iraqis.... Threats that used to be directed toward
occupation forces have lately included citizens and the Iraqi police. The militant groups have fallen into fighting
each other. The result is a major
distortion of the genuine and legitimate resistance of the Iraqis against the
occupation. Some Iraqis think that the
occupation became a multinational occupation, and others think that it did not
change.... We must admit that it is very
hard for the Iraqi government to fight all these obstacles by itself. To solve these problems Iraqis must initiate
an organized movement through committees that represent them.
"The USA's Project In Iraq Has Failed"
Independent, pro-government Al-Ra'y's
Fahd-al-Fanik asserted (7/23): "It
has now became clear that WMD do not exist in Iraq and that Al-Qa'idah's
terrorism did not enter Iraq except during the USA's occupation of
Iraq.... Iraq has become the scene for
killing US soldiers, and the security of US citizens has been threatened all
over the world...."
"We And Iraq En Route To The Future"
Independent, pro-government Al-Dustur
stated (7/20): "Jordan, which sees
Iraq with a strategic eye, is now prepared to make it its top strategic
priority so that it overcomes transcends this difficult period."
"Idealism Is Not Good For Iraq"
Independent and conservative Al-Siyasah
held (7/17): "The situation in Iraq
is difficult but the government there is strong. We trust that this government
will subdue all those who violate the law and threaten the lives of Iraqis. We
urge President Ayad Allawi to be stronger and firmer in using force to ensure
national security and serve the people."
LEBANON: "The Tour Of Revealing
Joseph Samaha remarked in Arab nationalist As-Safir (7/28): “The Iyad Allawi storm in Beirut ended. But only after it shed the light on a fragile
political situation.... Allawi’s visit
expresses a moment where three predicaments meet. The first is the crisis of the American
occupation of Iraq...which made the relations between the Iraqi regime and
regional countries a relation of pressure imposed by the former and pressure
received by the latter.... The second is
the crisis of the Iraqi resistance.
Allawi made those who received him stammer. Even those who opposed the American
occupation and Allawi himself stammered because none of them could raise the
slogan of ‘the Iraqi National Liberation Movement’ straight in his
face.... The third predicament is the
crisis of the Arab situation...and because Arab regimes are already living a
crisis and a state of helplessness, Iyad Allawi, whose position can be
challenged for a million reasons, manages to appear like a counterpart [to Arab
"Many Cut Off Heads"
Raji al-Khuri commented in independent,
centrist, Arab nationalist Al-Nahar (7/23): "The latest 'heroes' in the series of
displaying the kidnapped are the seven hostages from poor brotherly countries
who were looking for daily bread for their children.... They were kidnapped despite the fact that
their countries are not participants in the [US] military coalition.... They appeared stressed, horrified and
collapsed. They are now tens of those
who want to follow the steps of [those who are] beheading crusaders, whether
they are the heads of nationals from allied countries led by the US or of
countries that are irrelevant like Kenya....
This means that the world is yet to witness a flourishing season of
flying heads like what is taking place at the moment."
"U.S. Democracy And Irritating
Government-owned Al-Thawrah opined
(7/15): "What Iraq is witnessing
since its occupation, such as the British and US military escalation and enmity
against the Arab people in Iraq by killing and displacing them, shows the level
of hostility of the occupation and its savagery under the pretext of bringing
about democracy.... The details of all
that had been happening in Abu-Ghurayb prison and other prisons in Iraq were
known to the US Administration.... The
US president has come to bring about the good tidings of the alleged democracy
which he wanted to disseminate, but in reality we can see from the time the
occupation began that it has been translated into arrests, destruction,
killings and the indiscriminate shelling of innocent people."
SYRIA: "What Syria And Iraq Have For Each Other"
Izziddin Darwish remarked in government-owned Tishreen
(7/25): “Iraq is presently in a
crisis. This is no secret. Its fraternal people are suffering from
economic and security problems that are known and covered by the media around
the clock. But this does not mean Iraq
is alone, and it will not be alone, for all the Arabs are with it and Syria is
at the forefront, having spared nothing for the sake of its unity, freedom and
reconstruction so that it may assume its fitting role on the Arab and
international levels. It is no
exaggeration to state in this context that Syria is more sensitive to Iraq's
woes and more concerned for its well-being and recovery, and on extending a
helping hand to it under all circumstances.
Anybody who says otherwise is deluding himself and is not good at
reading history and benefiting from its experience and lessons. Syria has been and remains with the people of
Iraq--with the healthy Iraq that is capable and effective in its Arab Nation
and on the regional and international arenas.
Iraq's Prime Minister Mr. Iyad Allawi, who knows this better than anyone
else, ascertained more of these facts about Syrian-Iraqi relations during his
Damascus visit. He heard statements from
Syrian officials, headed by President Asad, that made him more deeply convinced
of the necessity for serious action to develop the relations of the two
brotherly countries. Indeed, he
announced in Damascus that a new phase of strategic relations between Syria and
Iraq has begun.”
"Priority Is For Effective Sovereignty And Independence"
Mahdi Dakhlallah, chief editor of
government-owned Al-Ba'th, commented (7/21): "The occupation case
has become a basis for an invented international law instead of respecting the
real one with its established principles which are considered as necessary
measures to reach peace and stability.
The resultant law, produced by this case of imbalance between power and
occupation, denies the most important principle in international law, namely,
the principle of sovereign equality, or equality of sovereignty between states.
The result is a sort of protectorate by one state over another, which the
international community is trying to forget since it has become old history. Suddenly
it is coming back to life with the sole superpower theory.... The Syrian people completely support the
efforts of their Iraqi brother to finalize their sovereignty and enhance Iraq's
independence and territorial integrity..."
"How Did They Make The Quagmire?"
Daily columnist Jamil Nimri wrote in
independent, mass-appeal, Arabic daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm (7/15): “The war was launched on the basis of lies,
deceit and misinformation, and there is no other incident in the history of
those two countries (the US and UK) that has so debased their democracies as
this one did.... Only the British and
American peoples can punish these leaders in the next elections. Now we can understand why matters in Iraq
took this disastrous turn. An action of
such immorality cannot yield moral results in war, either during its course or
in the post-war era…. A false start for
a false path. A noble and moral
action, such as claiming to save the Iraqi people from dictatorship, cannot be
achieved by way of lies, deception and misinformation.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Downer Disregards Our Interests"
Geoffrey Barker wrote in the business-oriented Australian
Financial Review (7/27): “[Foreign
Minister] Alexander Downer continues to plumb the depths of political absurdity
by claiming that the latest terrorist threat to Australia results from
decisions by the Spanish and Philippines governments to withdraw troops from
Iraq. The foreign minister's claim
reflects his mulish refusal to acknowledge that any heightened terrorist threat
to Australia is the direct result of the government's decision to keep Australian
troops in Iraq. But Downer and other
ministers are reluctant to admit this reality for probably groundless fears of
adverse political consequences in the federal election.”
"Allegations That Cannot Be Ignored"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald editorialized
(7/26): "The allegations against
Dr. Allawi [about his alleged shooting of prisoners] raise the alarming
prospect of an Iraq slipping back into the brutal injustices of the Saddam
Hussein era. Any suggestion of such a
retrograde trend must be confronted. The
U.S. has not only the responsibility but the power to see that the claims
against Dr. Allawi are properly investigated.
Australia, as one of America's closest allies, should be the first to
demand that it use it."
"Allawi Shot Prisoners In Cold
Baghdad correspondent Paul McGeough wrote in the liberal Sydney
Morning Herald (7/17): "Iyad
Allawi, the new prime minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as
six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before
Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according
to two people who allege they witnessed the killings.... Given Dr. Allawi's role as the leader of the
U.S. experiment in planting a model democracy in the Middle East, allegations
of a return to the cold-blooded tactics of his predecessor are likely to stir a
simmering debate on how well Washington knows its man in Baghdad, and precisely
what he envisages for the new Iraq."
"Tough Road Ahead For Democracy"
Liberal Asahi observed (7/30): "Prime Minister Allawi's last-minute
decision to postpone a national conference illustrates the difficulty of
introducing democracy to Iraq.... If the
government can convene the meeting after a two-week 'grace period' by restoring
security and containing discontent among feuding political groups, the negative
effect of the postponement might be minimized.
However, chaos in Iraq is bound to increase if the meeting is further delayed
and other political schedules put off."
"Car Bombing Bad News for Allawi Government"
Liberal Asahi commented (7/29): "The attack [in Baquba] comes amid
interim government efforts to ensure domestic stability by quickly increasing
the number of police officers. The attack
is likely to have an adverse effect on the psyche of potential applicants and
police recruitment drives across Iraq....
Growing concern over the interim government's ability to hold a major
national conference this weekend is likely to force Prime Minister Allawi to take
more aggressive counter-terrorism measures, including the invoking of a
national emergency law."
"Iraq Security at a Crossroads"
Japan's prominent Arabist Satoshi Ikeuchi opined
in the top-circulation, moderate-conservative Yomiuri (7/16): "It is true that the Iraqi interim
government is seen by some as a U.S. 'puppet' regime. However, at a time when Iraq has to rely on
the U.S. to maintain security and deliver basic services to locals, it is a
matter of course that politicians having close ties with the U.S. assume top
government positions. Otherwise, more
confusion would spread.... Iraqis will
give a positive evaluation to the provisional government if it can successfully
restore law and order. If the
international community can extend assistance to Iraq to enable it to enhance
policing and administrating capabilities, the Middle East nation would be more
stable in the long run."
"When Will Waves Of Deaths End In Iraq?"
Leading independent daily Kompas commented (7/30): “The car bomb exploded outside an Iraq police
station in North Baghdad was described as the worst since the U.S. transferred
sovereignty to Iraq just a month ago....
Death threats in Iraq have been so horrible that many people could
easily become victims. The number of
victims can no longer be counted.... The
situation raises questions: when will
the waves of death end in Iraq? No less
disheartening are the violence and death taking place every day, which have
been regarded as normal and routine occurrences. The level of sensitivity is getting weaker,
allowing humanitarian tragedy in Iraq to be prolonged.”
"Iraq And The Collapse Of Civilization"
Nationalistic daily Merdeka judged (7/30): “The news from Iraq is more saddening when
the violence has diverged from the goals that are identical with human
dignity. Day by day, it's getting more
difficult for us, who live far away from Iraq, to differentiate violent acts
being perpetrated by various players such as warriors, militias and terrorists.... The U.S. invasion has created a total
mess.... The UN must be reformed and the
U.S. must be kept away from its unilateral approach, which in fact has
endangered peace in Iraq in particular and the civilization of the world in
PHILIPPINES: "Manila Buckles"
The pro-government Straits Times opined
(7/16): "The Filipino government's
decision to pull out its troops from Iraq is wrong. With only 43 soldiers and policemen there, the
decision will have no material impact on coalition strength in Iraq, but it
will have devastating psychological consequences - not least in the Philippines
itself.... The decision sends the same
message to the world in general and the Arab/Muslim world in particular, as did
Spain's decision to withdraw its forces following a bomb attack in Madrid:
Terrorists are brave, prepared to die for their twisted cause; the
anti-terrorists are weak, and will fold under pressure; terror therefore
"The Decision To Withdraw Is A Costly
The editorial in the moderate Manila Times stated
(7/14): “The withdrawal of Filipino
troops, as announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs, impoverishes the
leadership of President Arroyo and the credibility of the Philippines in the
world. It does not make Iraq safer from
terrorists. It does not make the lives
of our workers safer in Baghdad and other Middle East capitals. The decision will even embolden terrorists
and make the practice of abducting Filipino workers part of their violent
program. The repercussions could affect
long-term relations between Manila and its allies, in terms of military
assistance, security cooperation and trade investments.”
"Unrest In Iraq Becoming More Crucial"
Singapore's only Malay language, pro-government
daily, Berita Harian, editorialized (7/12): "The
step taken by Iraq's interim
government to pass new and stricter laws to reduce unrest in the country is
appropriate. The government led by Prime
Minister Iyad Allawi is also compassionate in being willing to grant amnesty to
rebels. However, a greater difficulty
that it faces is the perception that it is a US puppet and that it does not
have the people's mandate. Besides
implementing firmer rules, Iraq's interim government should also launch
campaigns to win the hearts of the people.
Restoring electricity and water supplies as well as key public amenities
with international help will convince the people that changes are being made in
the country.... Iraq will become a
touchstone of democracy in the Arab World.
It is also capable of becoming self-reliant because it has the most
educated population among the Arab countries.
However, it needs unity, transparency, an efficient leadership and a
THAILAND: "What Did The Philippines Do
The lead editorial in elite, business-oriented Krungthep
Turakij stated (7/23): “We think
that the Philippines’ withdrawal of troops from Iraq in order to save the lives
of de la Cruz and his family is not the reason for more abductions or violence
in Iraq.... We should respect the
decision made by the Philippines who have more than 3,000 workers in Iraq. It's the U.S. and its allies who should be
blamed for having invaded Iraq without paying heed to other nations.... We think that the U.S. should step aside and
let the UN take the lead in the peacekeeping mission in Iraq.... And the formation of the new international
forces should be on a voluntary basis.
The current method of coercion or applying pressure indirectly to
achieve legitimacy should not be accepted.”
INDIA: "Altar Of Violence"
The centrist Asian Age editorialized
(7/27): "U.S. President George W.
Bush is losing the war in Iraq. He might
ensure that the country remains under U.S. occupation but he has long since
lost the initiative in winning over the hearts and the minds of the
people. The violence continues with
innocents paying the price for American follies. Now it is the turn of three Indian truck
drivers, drawn from the poorest of the poor in this country, to be sacrificed
at the altar of violence that has taken a strong grip over Iraq.... The Americans can call the kidnappers
terrorists, but this cannot deny the fact that they have the support of the
local people who want the Americans and the foreign troops to get out of the
country.... The Americans should come
under pressure from the world community to evolve a policy that will free Iraq
of the foreign yoke within a specific time frame.... Unfortunately, the political will to see an
end to the impasse and the resultant violence appears non-existent with the
rest of the world having extended a virtual carte blanche to the U.S. to
continue its violation of Iraq."
"Terror At Work"
The centrist Telegraph held (7/27): "The economies of terror and of work are
not separate any more. They are
conflicting currents within globalization itself. The Indians, Kenyans and Egyptians who are
now being held hostage in Iraq are caught in the dangerous and inevitable
crossing of these two currents.... It is
profoundly ironic that the free movement of terror and of labor are both the
consequence of globalization. Without
the global circulation of 'goods, weapons and military equipment', without
computers and the Internet, terrorism, in its post-9/11 form, could not have
become an international phenomenon.
Indeed, 9/11 itself could be seen as globalization's strange fruit. But poor Indians, Kenyans and Egyptians use a
parallel global mechanism, which gives them access to lucrative destinations
outside their countries, where they can work and earn good money. Iraq is now such a place, with around 5,000
Indians working there.... But the growth
of terrorism is inversely proportional to the advancement of human
freedom. India has now followed Kenya in
advising its people to stop working in Iraq and come back to their own
country. Delhi has forbidden new
recruitment, and no-objection certificates have been stopped again in
Kuwait. Work and terror cannot both be
global any more."
"No Troops, Only Trainors For Iraq"
The centrist Telegraph editorialized
(7/15): "India might not send
troops to Iraq but is willing to play a significant role in its reconstruction
by training policemen, teachers, nurses, IT personnel, diplomats and administrative
staffers. Even so, it has expressed concern
over the situation there, saying early return of 'security and stability' is
necessary if Indians are to go over and help.
The issue came up for discussion between visiting US deputy secretary of
state Richard Armitage and the Indian leadership during a series of
meetings.... The role India can play in
reconstruction came up by way of Delhi's clarification on its Iraq policy,
especially over whether it supports the US-initiated democratization
process...Delhi's attempt to let Armitage know it is willing to help in Iraq
was a signal that it does not want to create a fresh controversy over the
issue. Last month, Natwar Singh had sown
confusion by hinting that India could send troops to Baghdad.... The deputy Secretary of State denied that the
US was isolated as more and more countries are unwilling to send troops."
The center-right national English-language Nation observed
(7/30): "It should be clear to the
government that subterfuges like making the decision to send troops contingent
upon other Muslim governments' similar moves would not work.... The safety of millions of our workers in the
Gulf lies in declaring that, pressure or no pressure, we would not deploy our
troops in Iraq as long as the U.S. and its coalition stay put there."
"Troops For Iraq"
The center-right national English-language Nation argued
(7/25): "Only a complete withdrawal
of invading forces will create conditions for a multinational Muslim force to
play a positive role, and too if power is transferred to a more representative
government than the present lot of American nominees. This is unlikely, so if Pakistan can do
nothing practical for the liberation of Iraq from foreign occupation, at least
it should not float proposals which make it appear an accomplice in this
"Spare Kenyans, We Were Not In The War"
Independent Pro-business Standard (7/23): “Iraq is scary even for citizens of countries
that had no direct involvement in the conflict.
Kenya, for one, has no troops or known companies doing business there on
behalf of the United States or any other country that was militarily involved
in the second Gulf war.... The militias
say they will behead the hostages--one by one every three days--unless Kenya
withdraws its troops and citizens in Iraq....
This is a tall order based on a falsehood. The Ministry of foreign Affairs has confirmed
Kenya has no troops in the Gulf, and Kenya did not take sides in the war that
saw the US and its allies--Britain, Spain, Bulgaria and Australia--invade Iraq
against the counsel of the UN Security Council."
Ikechukwu Eze of the Lagos-based pro-labor independent daily Vanguard
commented (7/13): "It is instructive that Bush, who went into Iraq against
UN advise now courts the Security Council as a means of legitimizing the mess
he has created. As the Bush
administration savors the handover bliss it is important to remind the
President that his score card in Iraq is far from impressive. Just as Iraq daily swims in its own blood
with anarchy ruling the streets, the United States is not faring better. Apart from the fact that Bush's bullish
indiscretion has driven away even America's conventional friends, homeland
America and the heart of Americans all over the world are ruled by a consuming
fear. Only the likes of Bush will see
all that as victory."
"Iraq Not Yet Sovereign"
Dr. Emmanuel Esiemokhai commented in Lagos-based independent daily
The Guardian (7/12): "It is
incorrect to assert that sovereignty has been handed over to the Iraqis. One of the criteria for sovereign statehood,
according to Article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention, is the absence of
foreign armed force. Iraq suffered
'dismembratio' and 'deballatio', as a result of the invasion and
occupation. The question is, can
American soldiers be tried under Iraqi law or American law. As long as the American soldiers are in
Iraq, the country is under consular jurisdiction or the regime of capitulation
not full sovereignty, that is why a Super US embassy has been put in place in
CANADA: "Silence Shrouds The Moral Abyss Spawned
By The War Against Iraq"
Left-of-center Vancouver Sun (7/22): "The so-called liberation of Iraq is now
a nightmare of civil violence in which senior officials of the new regime are
routinely assassinated, a clandestine resistance seems to be growing rather
than shrinking and the moral capital accumulated by Britain and the U.S. over
many decades has been squandered in a matter of months...."
"A State of Denial"
James Neilson in the liberal English-language Buenos
Aires Herald opined (7/22):
"According to experts in these matters, the number of Islamic
terrorist cells is multiplying by the day....
Thanks to the now widespread willingness to assume that Western
countries, in particular the U.S., would be well advised to leave the Muslim
world to its own devices, a steadily accepted pullout could already be under
way. That finished, would the terrorists settle down to a less hectic life or,
at any rate, limit themselves to blowing up Jews so nobody else need worry?
Such a pleasant outcome would be most unlikely. Far from helping pacify the
'Greater Middle East', an epic victory over the forces of darkness would merely
make God's warriors redouble their efforts, which would mean there would be
many more, perhaps thousands more terrorist atrocities in the future."
Left-of-center La Jornada (7/21): "When American elections take place in
November, the number of casualties in Baghdad will have reached over a
thousand...The warlike adventure in Iraq is a chain of misfortunes, which began
with the story of the weapons of mass destruction, a key pretext to carry out
the invasion...democracy in Iraq became the second enticement after the
WMD. The destruction of the Hussein's
Baath party was also a priority for the new regime. Both in Fallujah and in other cities of Iraq,
occupation forces were forced to hand the power out to the old authorities
belonging to the hated official party....
Occupiers think that their democracy, composed of corrupt parties, is
the only one existing on earth; to impose it--to the style of Bush, Blair and
Berlusconi--they must first win the peace for the Iraqi territory, a goal that
will be difficult to reach."
There Is A War And Nobody Goes"
Leftist national daily El Nuevo Diario commented
(7/28): "In Iraq the farce
continues. Iyad Allawi is the new
tamagochi (a Japanese 'virtual baby' toy). Virtual autonomy."