November 9, 2004
FALLUJAH OFFENSIVE: A 'LOOMING FIRESTORM' LINKED TO UPCOMING VOTE
** A Fallujah victory could "stem the tidal wave of terrorism" in Iraq.
** Critics counter that "excessive force" will "increase local distrust" of the IIG and U.S.
** The state of emergency is a "dramatic admission" of widening chaos, say skeptics.
** Holding elections in January appears "highly uncertain."
'Necessary to quell the insurgency'-- Conservative dailies agreed Fallujah "represents an opportunity for the Americans to strike a major blow" against Iraqi rebels. As the "nucleus of an Iraqi form of Islamism," it "must be freed" to "pave the way for successful elections and...Iraq's stabilization." Germany's center-right Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung added that Allawi "had no other choice but to show strength," but joined many other commentators who demanded the "utmost efforts to avoid civilian casualties." Iraq's independent Al Sabah cautioned that the battle is with the "terrorists...who have occupied Fallujah," not the "citizens of Fallujah."
A 'callous strategy of killing' leaves 'precious few grounds for optimism'-- Liberal and Arab papers predicted that the "violent conquest" of Fallujah will "only trigger stronger hatred and more resistance" among Iraqis. Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Jazira noted that "all the available peaceful options should have been exhausted" before attempting a "military solution" which will only fan "anti-American sentiment among Iraqi people." Nigerian, Lebanese and Korean leftist writers blasted U.S. "war crimes against the people of Fallujah." Other writers warned that subduing Fallujah will cause "the spread of terrorist acts to other areas" of Iraq, making the city into a "proverbial Waterloo" for the Coalition.
A 'morbid non sequitur'-- The Allawi-imposed 60-day state of emergency prompted concern that the "insurgency is more widespread than the interim government had claimed." Qatar's semi-official Gulf Times judged Allawi's ability to establish "sufficient control to enforce martial law...doubtful" given the "unprecedented wave of violence." Iraq's independent Al Mashreq concluded that Iraqis "cannot ask the police to protect them because the police themselves are targeted." Other papers worried about "the return of the bad old days," with an "adverse impact on the nation's democratic process." Austria's independent Der Standard doubted the state of emergency "could lead straight to reasonable democratic elections."
'Mere wishful thinking'-- Observers split on whether the IIG can "organize credible elections" by January. Pakistan's center-right Nation described Iraq as "moving further away from democracy as the deadline" approaches, while Japan's conservative Sankei countered that "postponing the general elections would only please terrorists." Focusing on Iraq's ethnic divide, several papers contended the assault on Fallujah would cause a "boycott of the election by the Sunnis." London's pan-Arab Al-Hayat noted that "deepening the wound of the Iraqi Sunnis...will not facilitate their entrance into the political process." One German pessimist concluded that Iraq's "Balkanization...can no longer be stopped."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. 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 59 reports from 28 countries over 1 - 9 November 2004. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The Crushing Of Fallujah Will Not End The War In Iraq"
Patrick Cockburn commented in the center-left Independent (11/9): "One of the strangest justifications for the attack on Fallujah is that it will allow an election to take place. This would only be true if the Sunni rebellion was a mirage and was entirely the work of [foreign fighters] and [former regime loyalists] oppressing a local population yearning to break free. A much more likely result of an increase in the fighting is a boycott of the election by the Sunnis. Even if they do vote then there is no reason to suppose that the guerrillas will stop fighting any more than the IRA laid down its arms despite numerous elections in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s."
"Fearful In Falluja"
The left-of-center Guardian asserted (11/9): "It is important to remember that most of what we will know about the fighting will come from journalists embedded with the U.S. forces, while we will inevitably hear less about what it feels like to be on the receiving end of their vastly superior firepower. Reports last night referred to victims being buried in graves in Falluja's municipal soccer stadium, in a grim echo of the siege of Sarajevo. The most we can probably hope for is that this Iraqi battle will be fought with care, restraint and speed. But there are precious few grounds for optimism that it will."
"Attack Is Based On Shock And Awe But The City Must Be Left Standing"
Michael Evans argued in the conservative Times (11/9): "Despite the determination to overcome the insurgents, lessons from the recent past--in Najaf in August and in Baghdad during the invasion last year--will serve as a reminder that overwhelming force does not always defeat the enemy, even if a city or country is seized. And, unlike the Russians who reduced Grozny, the Chechen capital, to ruins with relentless artillery fire and bombing in the mid-1990s, to try to defeat the Fallujah rebels the U.S. forces have to win without the destruction of the city."
"This Assault On Fallujah Risks Alienating The Entire Population Of Iraq"
The center-left Independent editorialized (11/8): "The argument that this attack is necessary to establish security and prepare the ground for national elections in January is not a convincing one. It is undoubtedly true that for successful elections to take place there needs to be a higher level of security than exists at present. But just as important is the need for confidence among the population towards those who will be administering the poll. This attack is certain to add to the sense of distrust directed towards the occupying forces."
"Bush Will Now Celebrate By Putting Falluja To The Torch"
Former foreign secretary Robin Cook opined in the left-of-center Guardian (11/5): "What makes this web of reactionary ideologues a menace to the world is that they believe complex, historic problems have simple, instant, military solutions. And it is an article of faith with them that America must acquire full-spectrum dominance of military capabilities in order that it can impose such solutions unilaterally. They are the product of an era in which America has emerged as the sole hyperpower, and they regard allies not as proof of diplomatic strength but as evidence of military weakness."
FRANCE: "The First Battle of Bush II"
Adrien Jaulmes wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/9): “The battle on Fallujah comes three months before the scheduled Iraqi elections, which are in themselves a major bet for Allawi’s government.... The city has become a thorn in the side of the Americans in Iraq. Fallujah has become a rear base for most suicide attacks on Baghdad...as well as the symbol for the insurrection against the forces of occupation.... Faced with an intangible enemy, the city represents an opportunity for the Americans to strike a major blow to the Sunni rebels.... Although it has been announced that few civilians remain, the Iraqi insurgents will not miss an opportunity to advertise high civilian casualties, through the Arab media, especially television. But for the Americans, a victory over the Sunni insurgents, even a partial victory, would mean giving Allawi’s government breathing space. It would also allow the elections, which seem to be a way out of the Iraqi quagmire, to be held.”
"Iraq: Apocalypse Now?"
Gilles Delafon wrote in right-of-center Le Journal du Dimanche (11/7): “Planned before the U.S. elections, the attack on Fallujah is now imminent...even if it leads to major chaos.... The attack on Fallujah can poison the climate before the international conference on Iraq...or even worse...lead to a terrorist contagion throughout Iraq.... This in turn would lead to postponing the elections. Worse, it can lead to a civil war, with the Shiites taking by force what they are being denied through the ballots.... Meanwhile, Allawi is angered by France’s position and more generally with 'spectator nations'.... Indeed the malaise with France’s stance over Iraq remains. Even if its position is a logical one, it is tinged with a wait-and-see approach. To repeatedly promise to train the Iraqi police and to demand that the Iraqi debt be erased is no longer convincing. France is right when it says that the conference on Iraq should include all the interested parties, as long as they have put down their weapons. But convincing the Americans is a different matter. Paris needs to act in concert with its European partners, in order to avoid one more sterile head-on-collision with Washington.”
"Honorable Exit From Iraqi Hornet's Nest"
Thierry Oberle contended in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/4): "Will the United States succeed in stabilizing Iraq?.... The President, who is bound to honor his promises, is likely to pursue a determined policy with a strong presence on the ground.... Bush cannot afford to backtrack, or to prevaricate. He is obliged to take initiatives in order to restore a sufficient level of security to organize credible elections.... This ideal scenario comes up against the harsh reality of conditions in Iraq. In view of the climate of violence, it seems highly uncertain that the elections will be held in January. The succession of car bomb attacks and kidnappings of foreigners in Baghdad is accelerating at an increasingly frenetic pace.... In the Shiite regions, the US presence is regarded as an increasingly intolerable occupation. In the Sunni triangle, the insurgents hold the symbolic city of al- Fallujah, but also control several townships that have become minor autonomous emirates controlled by tribal warlords, religious extremists, and criminals. In order to be able to organize elections, a truce would have to be established. But who is to be chosen as an interlocutor with whom to negotiate?.... The other solution, for the US Government, is a military reconquest of the strongholds abandoned to the guerrillas. This would necessitate an outright war, with the prospect of devastating fighting in al- Fallujah, following the departure of the civilian population. The uncertain escalation option would close the way to increased help from the international community.... Paris and Berlin, two potential major contributors, do not intend to become involved in the hornet's nest to any significant extent. As for the approximately 30 members of the present multinational force in Iraq, they seem overall more in favor of a disengagement from a conflict unpopular with their public than of sending out additional troops. More than ever, Bush's U.S. will have to rely primarily on itself."
GERMANY: "Current Situation"
Center-right Maerkische Oderzeitung of Frankfurt on the Oder editorialized (11/9): "In view of the current situation in the country, the organization of democratic elections next January is mere wishful thinking. But what cannot be ruled out any more is the division of the country. In such a case, the Kurds in the North would proclaim their own state, which would result in a Turkish intervention. The U.S., but also the Europeans, who are still divided, must deal with the idea that under the given political, ethnic, and religious constellations the establishment of a moderate Islamic regime is still the best of the many bad options for Iraq."
"Fallujah As A Symbol"
Stefan Kornelius judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (11/9): "The offensive in Fallujah is full of political and military symbols and that is why the U.S. future in Iraq can be decided in this city.... Fallujah is more than a city, it is the symbol of resistance, it is the recruitment office of the insurgents, and it is the nucleus of an Iraqi form of Islamism. In the eyes of the occupied nation, the future relationship with the occupiers will be decided in this city. For the Americans, Fallujah is to become the symbol of strength and power to assert itself. Washington cannot accept terror and Islamism to get a stronghold there. A fateful conflict is taking place in Fallujah. But it is always dangerous when the problems of the country and occupation are bundling up. This does not leave a scope for a good exit. Once before half a year ago, the U.S. had to cut short an offensive. This time again, the fight for every house will not result in a clear winner. While the U.S. is fighting for houses, the insurgents are interested in symbols and resistance in its most fundamental form. If this resistance cannot be offered in Fallujah, then it will be shown somewhere else."
"Military Victory And Moral Defeat"
Martina Doering opined in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (11/9): "For both sides much is at stake in Fallujah. The Allawi government is politically responsible for the action. If the large-scale offensive fails, Allawi will be over and done with. The U.S. must defeat the city guerilla forces, since otherwise it can forget about Iraq as a whole. Despite its military supremacy it has no chance, since the rebels also know what is at stake. It will be their goal of keeping every street, every house as long as possible. They need pictures and TV reports with many killed people, destroyed mosques, and desperate residents. Thus Fallujah will turn into a synonym for martyrdom--and the alleged victory of the U.S. and Allawi will, in the long run, turn into a defeat."
"Way Out Or Trap?"
Markus Ziener said in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (11/9): "For the Iraqi but mainly for the U.S. government, there are two reasons for storming Fallujah: the city is a stronghold of terror and the operation basis for brutal kidnappers. Two and a half months before the parliamentary elections, this state could not be accepted.... Iraq needs a legitimate leadership, and its future would have been in great danger if elections took place in January and important cities were excluded. And Fallujah is not the only place of resistance...but the participation of the Sunni settlement areas in the elections is indispensable...and an election in which every fourth Sunni would be excluded, would even escalate the situation. But what comes after the storm? Despite their different motives, the rebels are well connected, and they stick together as long as the hatred of the U.S. is great enough.... The U.S. needs partners with whom lasting agreements are possible, as was the case in Najaf. Moderate Shiites gained control after al-Sadr gave up.... The storming of Fallujah seems to be possible if Iraq is not to turn into an ungovernable state. But the United States could also witness the opposite if the operation remains a purely military operation: a great failure."
"Increasing Number Of Victims"
Centrist Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger of Cologne noted (11/9): "The war returns with all its brutality, if it has ever ended at all. The number of victims is on the rise and can mainly be found among civilians. Their blood will increase rather than weaken resistance to the U.S. and its allies, but also to the Iraqi transition government. Nevertheless, giving up the attempt to fight the rebels in Fallujah is hardly less dangerous. If elections ought to take place in Iraq in January, there should be no white spots on the map to which the Iraqi government has no access. The U.S. has nothing to win in Iraq, but if the new government in Baghdad fails in its first attempt, the Americans will lose even more."
"No Easy Pacification"
Centrist Westdeutsche Zeitung of Duesseldorf argued (11/9): "Even if the Americans gained the upper hand in Fallujah, this will not make Iraq a pacified country. And irrespective or not of whether there will be elections, only one thing is sure: Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites will try to assert their own interests. The Balkanization of the country can no longer be stopped. Bush may find comfort in the brave allegation he has made the world safer with this war, but experience of the Iraqis speaks against this view."
"Greetings From Vietnam"
Karl Grobe editorialized in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (11/8): "The example of Fallujah reminds us of a cruel phrase from the Vietnam war. 'In order to free the village, we had to destroy it.' Fallujah must be freed. The air force, artillery, and the U.S. and British combat forces are busy doing this. The number of civilian casualties will quickly rise. Until now, more than 100,000 unarmed Iraqi women, men, and children have died in the war. The hope to have free elections in Iraq in a few months, allowing a fully legitimized civilian government to create prosperity and democracy, is a scheme that the planners in Washington are now likely to drop. For the Iraqis, there will be destruction by the use of force instead."
"No Other Choice"
Center-right Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung argued (11/8): "For a long time, the new rulers in Baghdad tried to end the murderous activities through negotiations. But the extremists proved day by day...that they do not want peace but want to see Iraq go down in a bloody chaos. The government in Baghdad had no other choice but to show strength. The decisive battle in Fallujah harbors the danger for an escalation of violence and the risk of many casualties among civilians and soldiers. But the alternative of doing nothing would be to make impossible reconstruction and the first democratic elections. That is why the storming of Fallujah would probably also have taken place under a U.S. President Kerry. With his clear election victory, Bush is now able to cope better with domestic policy pressure as a consequence of possible setbacks."
ITALY: "The Phantom Victims"
Guido Rampoldi concluded in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (11/9): “The way things were going in Iraq, the U.S. Command couldn’t do anything but wage a final attack on Falluja, stronghold of an increasingly ‘deadly efficient’ guerilla warfare, which is becoming ever more aggressive. However, one should agree that urban warfare, in a city with at least seventy thousand civilians, is not the best way to convince the world that George W. Bush’s second term will be different from his previous one. Nor is it the ideal encouragement for the international conference for Muslim states who are at least slightly inclined to join the Iraqi adventure, therefore challenging their internal public opinion.”
"Bush Must Pass The Test In Fallujah"
Maurizio Mastrolilli opined in centrist, influential La Stampa (11/8): “To quickly assure himself a positive start to his new administration the newly reelected Bush must take advantage of the opportunity to tear Fallujah from the hands of the guerrillas. [It is necessary] to regain control of the city where three U.S. citizens were burned and hanged, and where al-Qaida put down its roots; it is necessary for the president to pave the way for successful elections and consequently for Iraq’s stabilization, thereby creating the necessary conditions for a withdrawal of the majority of the 142,000 troops engaged in the front lines.”
RUSSIA: "The Battle Is Going to Be Long And Bloody"
Sergey Strokan wrote in business-oriented Kommersant (11/9): "Responding to the Baghdad-announced state of emergency, the insurgents have made it clear that they are not scared.... The new measures are due to the unprecedented wave of violence that swept across Iraq late last week.... Given the state of emergency, the Coalition forces have carte blanche to keep fighting terrorists until final victory. The battle of Fallujah, crucial in that it may or may not stem the tidal wave of terrorism, is going to be long and bloody."
AUSTRIA: "Storm On Falluja"
Foreign affairs Editor Gudrun Harrer stated in independent Der Standard (11/9): "We can only hope that Allawi knows what he is doing. It is understandable that he has arrived at the conclusion that it would not do to leave several cities to the rebels. However, the concrete reasoning for the offensive against Falluja, which will cost many lives, is still meager: It is possible that there is no more a man of the name of Abu Mussab al-Zarkavi to be found in Falluja than there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And the Iraqi government's way of presenting the 'foreign fighters' could mean that there are not exactly a significant number of them. Also, it is difficult to imagine that a state of emergency for 60 days, such as was declared by the government on Sunday, could lead straight to reasonable democratic elections in January. This exposes Allawi to the suspicion that, while he wants elections, he does not care much about them being 'reasonable and democratic.' This brings to mind what EU Representative for Foreign Policy Javier Solana said on Monday--that the chances for elections in January are dwindling rapidly."
BELGIUM: "Respecting The Electoral Timetable At Any Cost"
Foreign editor Gerald Papy maintained in independent La Libre Belgique (11/9): "The timing of the military intervention in Falluja is related to the date of two elections. George W. Bush’s reelection in the White House has marked the beginning of a period when the assault could be launched. Indeed, a possible high number of U.S. casualties would have been detrimental to George Bush’s campaign. But there is now no time to waste in light of the prospective Iraqi Parliamentary elections that are supposed to be held in January 2005.... But if Falluja and even accessorily Ramadi, the last two Sunni rebel strongholds, actually fall, that does not mean that all security problems will be solved, as demonstrated by recent deadly attacks in Samarra--where insurgency was officially quelled in October--and by ongoing insecurity in the Baghdad region. But, at the least, the U.S. Army and the Iraqi Government hope that, cut from their base in Falluja, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Islamic radicals--who might already have left the city--will see their nuisance capabilities reduced.”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Iraqi Government Seeks A More Active Role"
Pavel Masa noted in center-right Lidove noviny (11/9): "The summons by Iraqi PM Allawi for the attack on Fallujah has symbolic meaning.... It is a good thing that the government in Baghdad presents itself to its citizens as well as to its neighbors as taking the lead, although its real power is still limited. In this way it increases its chances of succeeding against much tougher challenges that will come after the elections early next year."
IRELAND: "The Battle For Falluja"
The center-left Irish Times declared (11/9): "The key question is whether this operation will be successful or self-defeating, whether it will be the key to bring security or order to Iraq--or will alienate its citizens even further from the occupation forces and the interim government.... A rapid victory will enable the state of emergency imposed at the weekend to be lifted so that democracy is given an opportunity to grow there next year. In pursuit of these objectives the largest U.S.-led land assault force since the Vietnam war has been assembled, prominently backed up by selected Iraqi forces, an elite British regiment and devastating air strikes. All the elemental political and military rhetoric of war is being used to motivate and support them now that the U.S. elections have given President Bush a mandate to proceed with his Iraq policy. A prolonged battle will antagonise Iraqi and international opinion, while a relatively brief one may materialise simply because the insurgents have already scattered elsewhere and will regroup to fight again. There are in fact few historical precedents for such a decisive blow against an insurgency driven and created in large part by the very occupation it resists. The pity is that such a disastrously simple-minded approach could also undermine the efforts to resolve Iraqi conflicts and instability by democratic means. The Sunni minority have held power in Iraq for hundreds of years and are now having to accept it will be passed to, or shared with, Shia groups, including radical ones, who want to participate in next year's elections. Politically they must be allowed the freedom to organise, while the Sunni population must feel they too have a stake in the outcome if they are to cease supporting the resistance. Above all, Iraqis need to feel they are closer to self-rule. The assault on Falluja does not guarantee that they do.”
"State Of Emergency"
The center-right populist Irish Independent declared (11/8): "Iraq faces two major sources of instability. The most visible is the insurgency in the Sunni area of country. The second, is the generalised lawlessness that has most of Iraq in its grip. In fact, it is this second source of instability which bothers a majority of Iraqis most, even though it receives only a fraction of the coverage of the first source. This is proven by opinion polls. The insurgency is mostly localised and affects a minority of Iraqis. Crime affects almost everyone. Perhaps one reason Allawi did not call a state of emergency before now is because he simply didn't have the manpower to enforce it. Arguably, he still lacks it. Crucial to the eventual stabilisation of Iraq is the ability of the interim government, and hopefully in time an elected government, to put in place an effective Iraqi army and police force. If it can do this, a measure of law and order will be restored along with full sovereignty as the Americans withdraw. It is precisely for this reason that the insurgents are constantly targeting army and police recruits. They know that if this venture succeeds, they are doomed. Meanwhile the attack on Fallujah continues.... This battle is extremely important. It is regrettable that it has come to this but the US sees it as necessary to quell the insurgency in Fallujah before moving onto other towns in the Sunni triangle. Even more important is the ability of the Iraqi police and army to hold the town once it is captured. If they can do this, then there is hope of peace in there. If not, then we can only guess how much longer the violence and mayhem will last.”
SPAIN: "Falluja's Siege"
Centrist La Vanguardia declared (11/1): "Letting the insurgents control Falluja has probably been one of the biggest mistakes of the Pentagon. The predicted elections for next January could be seen as distorted if the interim government can't control all the territory. If Bush is defeated, Falluja's assault will be the first decision that the sitting President will consult on with the President Elect, and few doubts exist over Kerry's possible approval of the operation."
Haluk Ulman wrote in economic-political Dunya (11/9): “The Fallujah war, in fact, is the first open battle between the US and Al-Qaeda. The US soldiers will have to engage in a direct fight with Al-Qaeda militants. The resistance groups consists of some former Saddam-era elements, yet according to American sources, the Fallujah case is about the Al-Qaida militants led by Al-Zarkawi.... The militants are fighting for ‘jihad’ against the US. So the Fallujah war can also be characterized as a battle between the holders of ‘supreme technology’ and believers in the ‘jihad’ against the west. The former will undoubtedly be the winner, but the consequences of this triumph might be costly.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "Emergency In Iraq"
The English-language pro-government Arab News maintained (11/8): "The decision by the interim Iraqi government to seek a 60-day state of emergency...may, if not handled properly, do more harm than good.... The decision to declare a state of emergency was taken with Washington’s full accord.... The proposed emergency...will cover 13 of Iraq’s provinces. This is a dramatic admission that the insurgency is more widespread than the interim government had claimed.... The emergency is expected to come into effect as Iraqi troops, backed by the US Marines, move to launch the long-expected assault on Fallujah, a rebel town west of Baghdad. It was to relieve pressure on Fallujah that the insurgents and their terrorist allies initiated a series of attacks in other cities, including Haditha, Baqubah, Ramadi and even the recently pacified Samarra. It is not clear what impact these attacks may have had in purely military terms. What is certain is that they have given Allawi the excuse he needed to propose the state of emergency.... Bearing in mind Iraq’s culture of political violence and grim memories of despotism, the proposed emergency may seem to many Iraqis like a return of the bad old days.... All insurgents try to bring down the authority that they defy to their own level of disregard for law, human rights, and simple decency.... It is important that the Iraqi interim government does not fall in that trap.... Allawi, and the entire new leadership in Iraq, should beware of winning a tactical victory at the risk of a strategic political defeat."
"The Bet On The Military Option In Fallujah"
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (11/7): "There is a bet on the ground that the military option would be the best choice to gain control over Fallujah; in fact the preparations have begun to proceed with this option. The troops have advanced toward the town, and air raids have begun... The goal is to have elections take place on time next January. To achieve this goal, using all the possible means is justifiable. But all the available peaceful options should have been exhausted first before using the military alternative.... The military mindset of the occupying force dictates that force is the only alternative. If violence continues, it is certain that the situation will become worse, and the resistance will increase as long as the opposition is capable of fighting back."
"Fallujah And The Methodology Of Force"
Abdullah Iskandar noted in London-based pan-Arab Al-Hayat (11/7): "It seems that the Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is dealing with the Fallujah problem the same way the Bush administration dealt with the problem of the former regime in Baghdad. The title of this methodology is unilateralism, the use of force, and 'those who are not with us, are against us'.... Allawi justifies the imminent campaign on Fallujah by the necessity of exterminating the terrorists it harbors; thus ending the political attempts that would have spared the completely blockaded city from suffering from an invasion.... Like the amount of civilian victims and financial losses was unconvincing during the invasion and toppling of the regime, the price, which the civilians are still paying in Fallujah, under the pretext of chasing terrorists, is similarly unconvincing.... There is an agreement on the necessity of holding the Iraqi elections on time, not only as a step that brings back sovereignty to the Iraqis, but also because it should pave the way for scheduling the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country. The imminent battle in Fallujah is meant to be the preparation step for these elections. However, using force alone in this field will not provide the elections with the required Iraqi consensus. Deepening the wound of the Iraqi Sunnis, after they felt that they were marginalized...will not facilitate their entrance into the political process.... The Iraqi cause will not win from proscribing more blood and strengthening the principle of violent treatment of problems caused by the occupation."
IRAQ: "About Emergency Law"
Hamid Abdullah stated in independent Al Mashreq (11/9): "Announcing emergency law is an official recognition by the Iraqi government that the situation has deteriorated and has become sensitive and exceptional. Under such conditions, everything gets mixed together and no one can tell the difference between a policeman and a terrorist. Emergencies must be announced for emergent conditions. Iraq's situation under the occupation was supposed to be emergent. Announcing emergency law after 19 months of the occupation means that the situation worsens day by day. The Iraqi government imagined that the security situation was under control, but in fact crime has increased incredibly and the security situation has worsened suddenly. We are just asking, what will come after emergency law? Will the government extend it for another period whether or not security is stabilized? The Iraqi government has given in to emergency law as the last resort because it has no alternative. Our problem is that our citizens cannot ask the police to protect them because the police themselves are targeted by terrorists. Therefore, I recommend that the Iraqi people ask gangsters and terrorists to protect them."
"Citizens Of Fallujah Reject Terrorism"
Independent Al Sabah declared (11/9): "Many Iraqis ask, why did the citizens of Fallujah leave their city to look for safer places? The answer is very easy. The citizens of Fallujah have nothing to do with the current war because this war is between the Iraqi government and terrorists, who want to destroy the city. This is a very difficult equation because the result of the war is that innocent people must leave their city to avoid foreign terrorists' activities in Fallujah. These terrorists have occupied Fallujah and made it a field for terrorism. Citizens of Fallujah have suffered enough from those terrorists. We know that the Fallujah people are well known for their generosity, mosques and bravery. Iyad Allawi has said that the battle is not with the citizens of Fallujah, but with terrorists. This is the point. We have to fight terrorists wherever they are. If the citizens of Fallujah were terrorists, they would not leave their city and they would fight to death. But rather, they prefer to leave their city to look for a safer place. When they return, they will find that their city is free from terrorists and they can live in safety."
"A New Fatwa For Jihad"
Ahmed Al Rub'i wrote in the Iraq edition of independent, London-based Asharq Al Awsat (11/18): "Some Saudi scholars have issued a fatwa calling for jihad in Iraq to help Fallujah. This fatwa is clearly provocation of young people, seducing them to go to kill themselves in Iraq. This fatwa shows that some clerics still urge violence under the pretexts of jihad. This fatwa says that fighting the occupiers is a duty for all competent people.... The clerics, who issued that fatwa are competent, and for this reason they should leave their homes and families to join their followers in the name of jihad. They must do that instead of just issuing fatwas that send simple young people to their deaths. Who is responsible for shedding the blood of a youth who reads that fatwa and goes to the victorious city of Fallujah? Killers there will ask him to conduct a car bombing to kill Iraqi women, children and policemen. After all that he will die, but for what? Enough crimes have been committed in the name of Islam. They must stop blowing up innocent people in the name of Islam. There is a timetable for the political process and terminating the occupation in Iraq.... Religious clerics should be responsible for calling on people to participate in the peaceful political process. They should not call for isolating the Sunni areas from elections and call for fighting in the name of jihad. We wish these scholars would take another look at their fatwa for the sake of the unity of our community."
"Slaughter Fallujah Then Hold Elections"
Fateh Abdul Salam noted in independent, lately anti-Coalition Azzaman (11/7): "What if the U.S. forces destroy Fallujah but do not find al Zarqawi? What will they say? It is better to announce the real reasons behind storming Fallujah rather than continue to say that al Zarqawi hides in Fallujah. This is a very weak pretext. It seems that nobody cares about the destruction of that city. This means that the Iraqi government has nothing to do with the decision of attacking Fallujah and this decision is purely an American decision. Even if al Zarqawi were captured, the U.S. forces would still ruin the city because it resisted the occupation and thus its people must pay the price. I congratulate our national Iraqi government for its decision to violate Fallujah. Long live with our upcoming public election and long live the violated Iraqi people."
Adil al-Rubay'i wrote in Islamic-oriented Al-Bayan (11/4): "Newspapers and satellite channels have given us several analyses regarding the transfer of the British Black Watch Battalion from Basra and the deployment of its troops in...the region that the press now calls the triangle of death.... Replacing the U.S. forces in this region with British forces means that the U.S. forces will be engaged in new military operations, in which Al-Fallujah might perhaps be the target.... Other analyses...classified it as gradually leading these forces into a region that is disproportionate in terms of security, causing them more losses and thus resulting in strong reactions in the British street toward demanding the withdrawal of these forces.... We cannot imagine that the deployment of the Black Watch Battalion will go by without any battles or losses among civilians, especially since many armed groups use these regions as their frontlines for waging attacks and blocking the road that links Baghdad to Al-Hillah. This has left behind many innocent victims and caused financial loss.... What really draws the world's attention is the news about people with veiled faces, black clothes and black flags, and their victims. And last week, the British Black Watch Battalion was added to the attention list. Wouldn't they rather mention the war, the death, and the cruelty, where innocents pay the price of the battles? And on whose account do they pay? It makes no difference!"
"The Organized Chaos"
Qassem Muhammad Al Kifa'i wrote in INC-affiliated Al Mutamer (11/1): "Our country witnessed an ugly crime a week ago when terrorists murdered about 50 Iraqi National Guards in the governorate of Diyala. The terrorist Al Zarkawi's group claimed responsibility for that crime. It is hard to believe that Al Zarkawi controls a whole city like Fallujah as if though he was controlling an emirate. We just cannot believe such rumors. But what makes us upset is that there are some Iraqis inside the government who call for chaos and violence. The killing of 50 Iraqi soldiers was a planned and organized crime. That crime was not due to chaos--there is no such chaos. That crime was well planned. For over a year the Iraqi government has been promising to stabilize security and save the city of Fallujah from terrorists. But, these promises make the situation worse. Terrorism, corruption and the increase in unemployment have caused Iraqis to lose everything. We should have continued calling for the removal of Baathists. Debaathification was the correct and successful way to end Iraq's crisis. During this difficult time, we can only hope that elections will restore Iraq. The current chaos in Iraq is an organized chaos. It is a mixture between foreign terrorists and Iraqi Baathists, who returned to their former positions in the government."
BAHRAIN: "Back To The Dark Ages"
The pro-government English-language Daily Tribune asserted (11/9): "With the inevitable assault on the beleaguered city of Fallujah, the Americans’ worst nightmare on urban warfare is all ready to come true.... When Iraq was invaded, it was widely feared that urban warfare would take a heavy toll of their soldiers. That, for some reason, did not happen. But now, possibly due to some design on the part of the ‘insurgents’, that will happen.... This could prove to be the proverbial Waterloo for the invaders.... The Americans are using the new Iraqi army, a bunch of rookies to say the least, to head the assault on Fallujah where they are sure to face one of the worst massacres the world has seen in recent times.... The Iraqis themselves must realise that they have been had.... We are not only back to square one but we have gone back into time as well. The only thing that this can lead us is the dark ages once again."
Joseph Samaha held in Arab nationalist As-Safir (11/9): “Some of the Iraqi Resistance is in Falluja. However, observers believe that the forces that reject the foreign presence in Iraq are in reality all over Iraq. These forces are not limited to one city or one military front. Most importantly, these forces cannot be characterized as mere terrorists cells from outside Iraq...This kind of identification does not acknowledge the reality.... A military solution in Falluja will...never mean the end of the rough opposition to the U.S. occupation.”
"Falluja And Turning Equilibriums Over"
Aouni Al-Kaaki said in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq (11/9): "Invading Falluja and destroying its houses over the heads of its residents...is in fact a diabolic game which will escalate...violence in every other area in Iraq.... Falluja will not give up easily...and will only lead to broadening the military front with U.S. troops to reach the city of Mosul.... This means that it will be difficult to hold elections particularly as the Sunni Ulama have already announced that they will boycott elections if Falluja is assaulted."
QATAR: "Don’t Be Deceived: This Is A Civil War"
The English-language semi-official Gulf Times averred (11/8): "The security situation in Iraq has deteriorated dramatically.... The bloodletting appears to be a response to plans for a U.S.-led assault on Fallujah, which is intended to deny insurgents a safe haven but which...may simply add fuel to the flames that threaten to destroy Iraq. In the circumstances, the declaration of a 60-day state of emergency is an understandable attempt by the interim government to impose its authority on the country. However, it puts a huge question mark over the likelihood of elections being held.... Prime Minister Iyad Allawi says the conquest of Fallujah is a prerequisite for staging elections; and, indeed, polls will be meaningless if swathes of the country are excluded from the electoral process. But how will recapturing Fallujah guarantee that elections can be held? Who will knock on doors to register voters when it is quite clear that the people who massacred the police in Haditha regard any co-operation with the authorities as collaboration with the enemy?.... Iraq is embroiled in a civil war. It is doubtful whether the security forces have sufficient control to enforce martial law.... This could simply expose over-stretched police and military units to even greater risks. In such conditions, it is ludicrous to imagine that meaningful elections can be held. The future of Iraq will be decided by the outcome of the civil war, not by an American timetable for democracy. The battle for Fallujah will be a significant event in that war but it will not be decisive."
"Showdown Looms In The West Of Iraq"
The English-language semi-official Gulf Times editorialized (11/1): "Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi remained confident that elections would be held on schedule.... But he also warned that a showdown was imminent in the western city of Fallujah. The premier said his government was still offering an olive branch to the two main Sunni cities, Fallujah and Ramadi, because his first aim was to re-establish control over the area by peaceful means. Only if that failed would he resort to military force. Allawi identified his government's enemies as Zarqawi’s people, Saddam’s people and bin Laden’s people.... Nobody doubts that there have been some foreigners involved in Iraq but there is suspicion that the Coalition and its appointees have greatly exaggerated their numbers to conceal the level of anger among ordinary Iraqis.... If foreign fighters are very active, they must be working with the support and assistance of a very large number of Iraqis.... Allawi claims his patience is wearing thin and that agreement must be reached soon or he will order an attack. But does he have the troops and the authority to do so? Of course not. Any Iraqi forces would need full-scale support from the US Army to be take on Fallujah, and the US Army is not under Iraqi command.... President George W Bush...will make the decision, the Iraqi forces and the interim government will do as he directs.... It is Allawi’s job to bring all of Iraq under government control in time for the election process but capturing Fallujah and Ramadi will be a bloody business. And, once captured, holding them may be impossible."
SYRIA: "Serving Its Own Interests"
Ahmad Hamadah said in government-owned Al-Thawra (11/3): "The U.S. occupied Iraq to control its oil and wealth and to use its strategic location to redraw the region's map in a way that serves its own interests and the interests of Israel. It destroyed Iraq's cities and villages and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis indiscriminately, claiming that its objective is to liberate the Iraqi people and export democracy to them, ignoring the fact that what it did was a real genocide against this people and their formidable capabilities and resources.... There is no indication that this policy will be changed. The ample evidence is the large-scale military attack that the American forces are launching on Al-Ramadi these days, and their preparation for an incursion into Al- Fallujah--which means the killing, wounding, and displacement of thousands of its inhabitants."
AUSTRALIA: "Bush Has Right Stuff To Finish Job In Iraq"
The conservative national Australian editorialized (11/5): "Symbolically as important as his electoral college win--from the point of view of the conduct of the war--is Mr Bush's resounding popular victory by more than 3 million votes. Coming on top of John Howard's electoral triumph on 9 October, the Bush win demonstrates that the leaders of the coalition of the willing still enjoy the broad support of their people, who will not be bowed by threats from terrorists or deterred from the task ahead by murderers and kidnappers. While John Kerry certainly undertook to prosecute the war against terror with vigour and stay the course in Iraq, there remains no doubt a Bush defeat would have been celebrated by some of the most evil and dangerous fanatics in the world.... Iraq remains an awful mess, with several cities, notably the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah, still in the grip of rebel forces. Each day brings more news of abductions, beheadings and civilian and military deaths. In asking the question--where to now?--the first point is that Mr Bush now has more freedom to pursue the goal of securing Iraq before next January's elections, simply because his own elections are out of the way.... That should be the spur for a comprehensive rethink of the reconstruction effort, and for a changeover of personnel. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has consistently shown himself part of the problem, not part of the solution, vastly underestimating the value of boots on the ground in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's fall."
CHINA: "Easy To Conquer A City But Difficult To Win People’s Heart"
Li Xuejiang commented in official People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (11/9): "Gunpowder smoke is rising right after the U.S. election...and the recent anti-U.S. rocket attacks in Iraq ruthlessly not only smashed Bush’s description of a more peaceful and beautiful world, but also pinned a huge question mark on the upcoming Iraq election next January. The battle in Fallujah clearly illustrated to people that the Iraq war is far from at the end.... First, the U.S.’ excessive force is exacting a high price from the Iraqis.... Its Iraq policy of ‘destroy first and then reconstruct' is really antithetical to its ‘humanitarianism’, which it always flaunts. Second...even if Zarqawi is a real person, he might not be the chief of the anti-U.S. forces around Iraq. The ‘Zarqawi tale’ is nothing but a smoke screen the U.S. is putting up to divert peoples’ attention in order to parry the overall anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq. Furthermore, will these sentiments vanish even if the U.S. captures Zarqawi? The capture of Saddam seems to have provided a definitively opposite answer. Nobody doubts the siege capability of more than ten-thousand American soldiers armed with high-tech weapons. Perhaps within a few days, Fallujah will be reduced to rubble.... However, it may not be a victory worth celebrating.... The facts of the Iraq War during the past year prove that the U.S. troops’ violent conquest and extermination will only trigger stronger hatred and more resistance. Therefore, the key to solving the Iraq question is not attacking the city, but winning the people’s hearts.”
TAIWAN: "Heavy Attack To Seek An End"
Kung Yan wrote in conservative, pro-unification United Daily News (11/8): “Bush sent 20,000 troops to Fallujah just after he was re-elected. This was also the largest-scale action in Iraq since April 2003. The world became nervous again. Why is Bush doing this? We need to notice two reasons. First, the anti-terror war needs an ending after it was started. Second, the fighting in Iraq must be completed as soon as possible. The best is to settle it before Christmas.... Without trying to feel and understand in depth about the belief and lifestyle of the Islamic world, this war is determined to cause high casualties. One only wants to ask, when he was making policy decisions, why Bush did not think of using religious communications and dialogue to resolve disputes and seek peace?”
JAPAN: "Concern Over Growing Anti-U.S. Sentiment"
Liberal Mainichi editorialized (11/9): "The situation in Iraq is increasingly tense following the interim government's declaration of an emergency law on Monday. The U.S. military's launch of a major offensive in Fallujah to clamp down on Iraqi rebels is also creating tension. The tough measures taken by Washington and Baghdad are seen as an effort to ensure the success of Iraq's upcoming general election. However, such a hard-line policy could cause a further breakdown of security by fueling local anti-U.S. sentiment. President Bush likely decided on concentrated operations in Fallujah in order to rectify the overall situation in Iraq. However, U.S. action could result in great civilian casualties, triggering the spread of terrorist acts to other areas of the country. Furthermore, U.S. operations could increase local distrust of the interim government."
"Aiming At Breakthrough In Iraq Chaos"
Top-circulation moderate Yomiuri said (11/9): "The interim government probably had no other choice but to declare a state of emergency because of the rapidly approaching general elections. The recent insurrections in the so-called Sunni triangle have been the major obstacle to public security in Iraq. However, Washington and Baghdad need to exercise great caution because the military operations and the declaration of emergency law could have an adverse impact on the nation's democratic process. The international community must extend further assistance because rebuilding the war-torn nation is crucial for world peace and security."
"Concern Over Civilian Casualties"
Liberal Tokyo Shimbun observed (11/9): "The large number of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military operations in Iraq have fuelled anti-American sentiment among local people. The interim government must talk with Sunnis and urge them to participate in the reconstruction process. The current confusion in Iraq cannot be resolved by force. Meanwhile, the U.S. needs to improve relations with Iran and Syria in order to promote long-term stability in the region."
"Interim Government Faces Crucial Moment"
Conservative Sankei insisted (11/9): "Despite criticism of Washington's launch of a major military operation in Fallujah and the interim government's declaration of a state of emergency, the two moves appear to been made in order to ensure the success of the January general election. Negotiations seem unlikely between the interim government and terrorists, who are attempting to block the democratization of Iraq. UN Secretary General Annan is reportedly against U.S. plans to attack Fallujah insurgents, but he appears to have offered no concrete alternatives to U.S. measures. Postponing the general elections would only please terrorists. However, it is vital that Washington and Baghdad make utmost efforts to avoid civilian casualties."
"Assassination Aimed At Warning Against Allawi"
An editorial in business-oriented Nihon Keizai read (11/2): "Monday's assassination of a deputy governor of Baghdad came in response to Prime Minister Allawi's suggestion a day earlier that the U.S. military and the Iraqi Army may soon jointly launch a massive military campaign on Fallujah. It seems anti-U.S. insurgents associated with the terrorist Al-Zarqawi are reacting strongly to the growing possibility of an attack on their hideout. The latest killing should be considered as a warning to the pro-U.S. politician."
PHILIPPINES: "The Looming Firestorm In Fallujah"
The independent Manila Times editorialized (11/8): "What could be the biggest battle since Coalition troops rolled into Iraq last year is taking shape in Fallujah and its sister city of Ramadi.... The siege of the two rebel strongholds is designed to deal a decisive blow on an insurgency that so far has mocked the world’s mightiest army.... Washington has reason to raise the military stakes in Iraq. National elections are scheduled there in January, a political exercise that the U.S. promotes fiercely as the most convincing proof that democracy can take root in Iraq.... The UN has been urging the U.S. to explore all avenues of diplomacy before taking the path to armed confrontation. To the U.S., however, the window for negotiations has all but disappeared. Indeed, the battle of Fallujah and Ramadi could be the turning point of the war.... A quick, resolute battle...will validate the U.S.’ resolve to restore order in Iraq and restore balance in the Gulf. But Fallujah and Ramadi offensive...will not be what Americans call a turkey shoot."
SOUTH KOREA: "Killings Have Begun In Iraq With Bush’s Reelection"
Nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (11/9): “Given that it has come on the heels of President Bush’s reelection, the latest U.S. offensive against Fallujah, allegedly the largest since the Vietnam War, presages an ultra hard-line U.S. policy toward Iraq. Furthermore, the offensive declares the start of an even more organized killing in this country where as few as tens of thousands and as many as 200,000 civilians are said to have already died.... In this situation, resistance forces in the Gulf country will inevitably fight to the death, and holding general elections in January as scheduled will obviously be difficult. Depending on the circumstances, the Iraqi situation might degenerate into an ‘internationalized civil war’ in which neighboring countries get indirectly involved.... The Bush Administration, which illegally invaded and occupied Iraq, no longer tries to persuade the international community. All that is left is its naked imperialistic greed that wants to win no matter what it takes. This act of playing with the lives of many innocent civilians is an unforgivable criminal act. It is even hard to estimate how many more will have to die before the U.S. achieves its goal of completely seizing Iraq and reorganizing the whole of the Middle East by force.”
VIETNAM: "The Iraq Hurdle In The Critical Moment"
Thanh Hien wrote in official, Hanoi city-run Hanoi Moi (11/3): "In recent days, the U.S. military launched a series of strikes at Falluja.... The real aim behind the attacks is to uproot 'the cause for rebellious activities' in Iraq before the general election in the U.S.... Quickly stabilizing the situation in Iraq is now the most urgent task set by the Bush administration before the election.... But the U.S. military activities have cause Iraqis to be extremely indignant. An most influential figure in the Sunni Council of Patriarchs has warned that if the U.s. troops continue to use force against Falluja, the Council will call on the people to wage a sacred war against U.S. troops and the Iraqi interim government as well as to boycott the 2005 general election in Iraq. So, the U.S. government has made another mistake. Its plan to use force to eliminate a danger did not go in the expected way. On the contrary, it has fanned the anti-American sentiment among Iraqi people."
PAKISTAN: "Emergency Upon Emergency"
An editorial in Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn read (11/9): "The Allawi administration's declaration of a state of emergency in Iraq seems like a morbid non sequitur. Has there been anything less than an emergency in occupied Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion? The logic was to consider ways to initiate a political process in the country. This is also what everyone had wished would follow Mr. George Bush's re-election. Instead, there's only the promise of more bloodshed. Fallujah is to be cleansed of resistance fighters.... The rebels will melt away and strike again. It is impossible to believe that the Americans continue to harbor the notion that the situation in Iraq can be controlled before the election on the strength of sheer force and terror. The U.S. must return to the international community and seek its help in ending the tragedy of Iraq."
The center-right national English-language Nation commented (11/9): "Contrary to the objectives outlined by Washington and its protégé government in Baghdad, Iraq is moving further away from democracy as the deadline for the January election approaches.... Unfortunately, two factors made the U.S.-led forces and the Allawi government use such firepower against Fallujah, viewed as the hotbed of resistance. First the conclusion that the callous strategy of killing indiscriminately quells resistance and enforces control, Samara being a case in point. The other was the newfound confidence by the Bush administration that the American public had endorsed its use of extreme military force in Iraq. While the second factor may be true to the extent that the Bush administration packaged its Iraq policy well to the American public, the Samara role model has been disproved by rebel claims that the US “dens” in Samara have been attacked. The Iraqi rebels with new resistance groups emerging daily have spread their activities to other cities, systematically killing Iraqi policemen and foreigners who they consider collaborators. Surely President Bush, despite being flushed with his election win, realizes that in the Iraqi quicksand it can only sink, taking the Allawi government with it."
NIGERIA: "Falluja, Arafat And Bush"
Muhammed Al-Ghazali remarked in the Abuja-based independent Daily Trust (11/9): "Recourse to conventional warfare like the one initiated by the Americans will mean certain defeat for the resistant fighters. They are certain to melt away into the mountains and sand dunes of the Iraqi desert as sure as Osama Bin Laden gave them the slip at Tora-Bora. In the end, only the bodies of defenseless civilians and perhaps a few fanatical fighters will litter the streets of Falluja. That possibility apparently is of little concern.... The Iraqis after all are expendable, which is why their fledgling new army and police trained by the Americans are made to embark on their perilous and often treacherous duties without body armour while their trainers shuttle around in fortified Humvees and armor suits."
"America Is Committing War Crimes In Falluja"
The Abuja-based independent Daily Trust observed (11/1): "It is part of the tragedy of contemporary international life that, America is systemically carrying out war crimes against the people of Falluja, while nobody that matters has come out to denounce its actions. It is therefore obvious that the acts of resistance taking place in Iraq in general and Falluja in particular, is consonant with all known acts of national liberation and resistance to a foreign occupation. Falluja's resistance of the American occupation is similar to the anti-Nazi resistance which took place in Europe during the second world war, while so-called foreign fighters can be likened to the international brigades which went to fight against the fascists in Spain during the 1930's."
CANADA: "Martial Law For Elections"
Serge Truffaut contended in liberal French-language Le Devoir (11/8): "In Baghdad and Washington there are fears that the absence of security will force the election to be postponed. The resistance of the two thousand Abu Musab al-Zarqawi supporters in Fallujah clearly annoys the duo formed by the provisional governor and coalition forces. For the obvious military reasons but also, perhaps mainly, for political reasons. It so happens that the insurgents in Fallujah and elsewhere are first and foremost Sunni. As such, they are destined, so to speak, to be the big losers of the January elections.... The Shiites are practically certain of winning the December 2005 general election.... The idea that the Sunnis, whom they consider to be renegades, will control their destiny is intolerable. So much so that it seems, as is mentioned more and more frequently, that their current action is not structured around a coming civil war. Barring a quick and generalized pacification, the Sunnis are capable of destroying the political calendar.... Coalition forces should pack their bags the day after the general election scheduled for December 15, 2005. Provided, we should note, that the January 2004 election takes place. If Allawi's government is unable to secure the Sunni triangle, and particularly Fallujah, it will be unable to avoid a postponement of the political calendar. This, obviously, is what the Sunnis are looking to obtain. The evolution of the situation is so bumpy, that we can already question the credibility of these elections."
"The Storm Before The Calm In Iraq"
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen editorialized (11/8): "The only thing surprising about yesterday's declaration of a state of emergency in much of Iraq is that the interim Iraqi government didn't do it sooner.... Even with the state of emergency, it's likely the news from Iraq will worsen in the days and weeks ahead.... When this happens, it will be easy for opponents of the Iraq war to claim the violence vindicates their view that George W. Bush should never have launched the war in the first place. But the fact is that the war was launched, Saddam Hussein has been deposed and Iraqi and coalition forces are working to prevent a power vacuum in the country that would breed even more violence. Whatever one may think about the merits of the war, Iraqis deserve a peaceful, democratic future. The sooner coalition forces can root out the insurgents in Fallujah and elsewhere, the sooner Iraqis will have that chance."
BRAZIL: "Civilians Pay A Price For The U.S. Option of Attack"
Ricardo Bonalume Neto opined in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (11/9): "The American siege in Fallujah is a good example of the 'U.S. way of doing war,' that may and is expected to produce a localized military victory, but the effects of which are not only unpredictable, but may even negate the results due to its impact on the global public opinion--as happened in the U.S. intervention in Vietnam.... It is very likely that the U.S. will win in Fallujah, but the guerrilla actions will continue, car bombs will go on exploding, and the American population will want to know where the light at the end of the tunnel is. For guerrillas or terrorists, what is important is to survive [the siege] and continue their actions. They need the support of the population to do that. This is why it is important for the occupying power, or for the current Iraqi government, to show that there will be more security if the people do not associate with the rebels. This also means doing everything to reduce so-called 'collateral damages,' the Pentagon euphemism for civilian casualties."
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