International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 6, 2004

August 6, 2004





**  Lack of security and rampant instability remain since "theoretical" sovereignty transfer.

**  Dailies assert the "guerrilla war" is exacerbated by foreign troop presence and ethnic rivalry.

**  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 leadership." 


'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 state." 


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 Britain too."


"All Together"


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 scourge."


"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."


 "Uniting Iraq"


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."


FRANCE: "Insurrection"


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 easily.”


GERMANY:  "Saudi Move"


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. reform plans."




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 war.":


"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."


"Useful Division"


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."


ITALY:   "Islamic 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.”


RUSSIA:   "Resistance 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 kidnapping."


"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 security."


"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 Tears"


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.”


"Hostage Drama"


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.”


BELGIUM:  "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 be successful."


"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 Blair"


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."


BULGARIA:  "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."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Ruler's Pistol"


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."


HUNGARY:   "Country Hostages"


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.”


IRELAND:  "The 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."


POLAND:  "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 were killed.”


SPAIN:  "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."


"Iraqi Fragility"


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. 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 affair."    




IRAQ:  "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."      


"Collaborated Effort"


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 already."


"Violence-Perpetrating Groups"


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."      


"Renounce Violence"


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 Iraq"


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 Together"


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 Force"


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 Column" 


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 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 this effort."


"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. 


JORDAN:  "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." 


KUWAIT:  "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 Predicaments"


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 leaders].”  


"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 Inquiries"


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.”




AUSTRALIA:  "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 Blood:  Witnesses"


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."


JAPAN:   "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."


INDONESIA:  "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 general.”


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 works...."  


"The Decision To Withdraw Is A Costly Mistake"


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.”


SINGAPORE:  "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 clear vision."


THAILAND: "What Did The Philippines Do Wrong?"


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."


 PAKISTAN: "Whose Guilt?"


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 infamous conquest."




KENYA:  "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."


NIGERIA:  "Unimpressive Score"


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 Iraq."




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...."


ARGENTINA:  "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."


MEXICO:  "Baghdad Burns"


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."


NICARAGUA:  "Imagine 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."



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