June 24, 2005
IRAQ: DESPITE TALK OF 'EXIT STRATEGY,' MOST WANT U.S. TO 'HANG ON'
** Diminishing U.S. public support for war seen as "major setback" for Bush.
** Most dailies tell U.S. to "hang on in Iraq;" while minority opinion urges troop withdrawal.
** Reconstruction of Iraq needs "robust, unanimous" international support.
** Iraqi papers call on political groups to "unite" and "stop the bloodshed."
'Bush taking a beating'-- Dailies argued the current "tidal wave of violence shook American public opinion" and Americans are "losing patience" with the war. They noted that, after a Gallup poll revealed that for the first time a majority of Americans want a partial or complete withdrawal of troops, "even... Republican Senators and Congressmen" have been "denouncing the White House." Austria's independent Der Standard termed this a "warning signal" for the Bush administration.
'U.S. cannot quit in Iraq'-- While Malaysia's Chinese-language International Times reflected a minority editorial opinion that "Bush should face the reality and withdraw all the U.S. troops from Iraq" and let "the Iraqis alone to resolve their own internal conflicts," most media continued to argue the U.S. has an obligation to "win the peace" in Iraq. Japan's liberal Mainichi, for example, warned that the U.S. "would be blamed for being irresponsible if it pulls its troops out of Iraq before reestablishing security."
'No responsible nation can ignore Baghdad's latest appeal'-- Editorialists worldwide argued "the risks that the wider world is being asked to take on Iraq's behalf pale beside those already being taken daily by Iraqis themselves," and urged international assistance for Iraq's reconstruction. Britain's conservative Times said Iraq's "bleak security situation" was no excuse for international donors to overlook Iraq's "acute" need for help. A German daily agreed "the development of Iraq is too important for Europe to simply ignore." A UAE analyst asked, "How long will [Arab and Muslim] neighbors watch in silence as Iraq burns and cries for help?" Iraq's PUK-affiliated Al-Ittihad sought "tangible deeds" from the international community, not "statements and speeches."
'Enemies of Operation Lightning'-- Meanwhile, Iraqi papers chastised insurgents who attacked Iraqi civilians, asking, "How can we refer to these terrorists as 'resistance' after they conduct such dreadful deeds?" Non-Iraqi outlets also blamed the "resistance" for condoning "unmitigated violence directed at the most vulnerable in society." Saudi Arabia's pro-government Arab News noted that the "possibility of sudden, violent death" remains the "overriding fact of life in Iraq today." Commentators called on Iraqi political groups to stop "accusing" each other of violence, and instead "unite" and end the "terrible phenomenon" of terrorism in order to "return stability and security" to their country. Iraqi dailies such as Dawa-party affiliated Al-Bayyan pushed Iraqis to "heal their own wounds," by "striking at the terrorists so we can erase them from our land."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: Louis S. Dennig IV
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 78 reports from 31 countries June 5-21, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Iraq And The World: No Responsible Nation Can Ignore Baghdad's Latest Appeal"
The conservative Times editorialized (6/21): "When world leaders last gathered, in Madrid 20 months ago, to demonstrate their commitment to the reconstruction of Iraq, the country's Prime Minister at the time vowed that their success would be "a success for humanity" which would further the cause of "peace and security in the world". State loans and grants worth 7 billion pounds were pledged over the next few days, in addition to 13 billion pounds already promised by the US. Since then less than a third of that money has been spent and much of the European funding has not even been delivered to holding accounts set up by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. But Iraq's reliance on outside help, if it is to bring peace and security to its people, remains acute.... The most obvious reason for governments' failure to deliver on pledges made at the Madrid conference is Iraq's bleak security situation. Clearly, aid agencies and contractors cannot be expected to deploy civilian personnel where their safety cannot be guaranteed. But there is a difference between reasonable caution and willful neglect. The decisions by France, Germany and Russia to ignore Iraq's pleas out of political pique were indefensible in Madrid and would be unforgivable if repeated in Brussels. Those decisions will undoubtedly have emboldened the terrorists who have since delayed urgently needed reconstruction across much of Iraq. By the same token, robust, unanimous agreement on Europe's need to back Baghdad's interim Government in every way possible will go some way to re-assuring those in the front line of Iraq's struggle that they are not alone. The risks that the wider world is being asked to take on Iraq's behalf pale beside those already being taken daily by Iraqis themselves -- and in particular by those queueing up to train and work in the country's new police force. Twenty traffic policemen were killed and more than 100 wounded yesterday by a suicide bomber in Arbil. The victims knew that the simple act of signing up was tantamount to inviting tragedy into their homes. Their heroism is an even more potent sign of the new Iraq's determination to survive than was the turnout in January's election. It has been painfully clear since the autumn of 2003 that defeating the insurgency is Iraq's overwhelming priority. This being so, for NATO to have taken until this month to establish its first officer training centre inside Iraq for the new Iraqi security forces is lamentable. The new centre is welcome nonetheless, and more must be set up urgently if Iraq is to stem the flow of opportunist murderers across its porous borders, especially its frontier with Syria. Then talk of debt relief and diplomatic relations of the kind expected in Brussels will begin to take on real meaning, and reconstruction can begin in earnest.
"Ms. Condoleezza's Admissions"
Chief Editor Abd-al-Bari Atwan in Al-Quds al-Arabi opined (6/21): "The Arab peoples are in fact aspiring for democracy, but the real democracy, or rather the US, European, and Indian version of it, and not the false and nominal democracy. These peoples hate the United States because it wants it to be either a democracy imposed by B52 bombers and Cruise missiles, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the democracy that remains silent and impotent against the Israeli massacres and rushes toward normalization before peace is established and the occupation ended. In other words, we say that the Arab peoples will not accept nominal democracies that the White House manipulates by remote control from Washington but a national democracy that deals with the West, including the United States, from a position of equality and respect and on the basis of common interests and not subservience and toadyism."
"Arab Helplessness And American Dynamics"
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (6/21): “A comprehensive Arab vision, though it exists, is limited to the Arab diplomatic strategy, which in turn is constrained by American diplomacy toward various Arab issues. This American [policy] is not founded on Arab national or regional interests; rather it is dictated by U.S. interests, especially as related to the ongoing war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Conservative tabloid Daily Mail editorialized (6/14): "Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair were foolish to claim a premature victory. But isn't the real reason for their failure the decision to invade Iraq before Afghanistan had been pacified? "This diverted energy and resources and so destabilised Iraq, one of the few Middle East states to deal with Al Qaeda, that real power is shifting to fundamentalists."
GERMANY: "Shadow Of The Iraq War"
Clemens Wergin asserted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/21): "Looking for reasons for the current EU crisis, we should not recall Waterloo. What Europe is going through at the moment is a result of the Iraq war and the subsequent division of Europe. The German-French axis versus Britain and the new Europeans. This constellation has been paralyzing Europe for two years. And it is pretty absurd that Blair now uses the same argument in his fight against agricultural subsidies like Schröder in the past, while the chancellor changed sides. At the Copenhagen summit in October 2002, the chancellor forged a pact with France, which did not harm French farmers. Chirac supported Schröder's anti-Iraq war stance, which rescued Germany from an international isolation and turned both countries into the center of the anti-war movement. Since then, both sides are faithful to each other - which prevents Germany from playing a role of a broker in the EU crisis…. To change that, a new generation of politicians is necessary. The old ones are carrying to much poison from the Iraq war."
"Iraq To Present 'Plans For The Future'"
Right-of-center Münchener Merkur of Munich (6/21) argued: "This will be a conference of superlatives: as of Wednesday, 70 foreign ministers will discuss the future of Iraq in Brussels. But we have our doubts that more will come out of it than during the Afghanistan conference that was organized by Germany near Bonn a few years ago. But we should never give up our hope. The Iraqi government should get the opportunity to present its 'plans for the future' for the first time, said an EU diplomat. Optimism is a good cause but it should have a real basis. The EU diplomat is overestimating the political potency and the acceptance of the governing politicians in Baghdad among the Iraqis. In addition, it is not very likely that the Americans even think about giving up control over this trouble spot that is so important for them."
Wolfgang Günter Lerch opined in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (6/16): "The changes in Iraq will not remain without effects on the Kurds in neighboring countries. In Baghdad, Kurdish leader Talabani is acting as the president of the overall Iraqi state, and in northern Iraq, in the autonomous area of the Kurds, his rival Barzani took his oath as president. The Kurds, who have been persecuted within living memory, have not had such political successes. Saddam's ouster made this possible. And it is no surprise that Iranian Kurds have taken to the streets in the Iranian city of Mahabad. Shortly after WWII, the 'Kurdish Republic of Mahabad' existed in this city...but it found a sudden and bloody end because it did not get international support. The millions of Iranian Kurds now feel encouraged to speak out for their interests. Mahabad has the right symbolic value for this."
"Rumsfeld On Iraq"
The right-of-center Braunschweiger Zeitung (6/16) argued: "It does not make us confident that the U.S. defense secretary is citing from statistical data, instead of conceding mistakes and learn lessons from it. As far as statistical data is concerned, the desecration of the Koran at the prisoners' camp in Guantánamo or at camps in Afghanistan are probably not significant. It were not dozens of soldiers who placed the Koran at toilets or allowed dogs to retrieve it. It were only a few who let their perverse lust for humiliation run wild. But the damage, which this scandal has caused, is enormous. It confirmed the enemy image of the United States--and this for decades."
"Are The G-8 Nations Good Neighbor's Or Just Good At PR?"
Hamburg Spiegler opined (6/13): "Berliner Zeitung steps up on its soapbox for the day and asks ironically, "Can the poorest people in the world breathe a sigh of relief now?" Naturally, it's answer -- "with all due respect to the London agreement" -- is no. "The G8 promise offers the poorest countries some breathing space and a chance to improve things a little -- and thus to raise living standards.... But ... it will not solve the plight of the poorest countries." The biggest problem, it says, is that the "money that goes to the poorest lands usually flows straight into the bank accounts of government and business elites. The people, however, end up empty-handed and continue to battle hunger. Switching subjects, Financial Times Deutschland offers a lengthy -- and fascinating -- editorial headlined, "What's actually happening in Iraq?" At heart is the question, Is Iraq -- two years after the war -- an emerging success story or an endless quagmire comparable to Vietnam? Part of the problem, admits the paper's head commentator Christian Schuette, is that "given the disastrous security situation, it is terribly difficult to get an accurate picture of the actual development that has taken place." Still, he says, after looking carefully at all the details and talking to his correspondents, his opinion is that although the "actual situation in Iraq is catastrophic, it is not hopeless." Not terrifically reassuring. Here are some the statistics he has culled: Oil and electricity production are still below pre-war levels, unemployment is at about 40 percent and the number of attacks on civilians and security forces continues to rise. Still, he says, there is another side of the picture. As of June 2005, the number of Iraqis owning a telephone is four times as high as it was in pre-war times. The number of Internet connections has risen from below 5,000 to 160,000, there are 23 private television stations, 80 private radio stations, 170 independent newspapers and 351 trained independent judges. "The pre-war numbers for all of these? Zero." He continues to say that 75 percent of Iraqis support the current democratically-elected government, while two-thirds believe their nation is on "the right path." Of course, the problem with this sort of information is that it is much more difficult to get -- both for the press and for the reader -- than reports on violence and destruction. Still, he insists, Europe must try to get the whole picture as "the development of Iraq is too important for Europe to simply ignore. Anyone who thinks that they know everything about Iraq," he says, "is taking a big risk."
ITALY: "Condoleeza To Mubarak: More Democracy"
Lucia Annunziata in centrist, influential La Stampa wrote (6/21): “Her speech yesterday at the American University of Cairo lasted only 20 minutes and was heard only by a small group of guests, but it’s probable that it will be remembered. It seems in fact very nearly the announcement of a strategic turn, the first indication of a broader reflection that the United States is making on its foreign policy. It contains the knocking down of a wall: the one that maintains that democracy always comes after one’s own political needs -- a position that many critics of the US consider the shortcoming - and the hypocritical unveiling - of US foreign policy. Yesterday in Cairo Rice delineated instead new priorities for the US, starting with a severe warning to two of Washington’s best allies, Egypt and Saudia Arabia, in the name of a ‘Universal’ democracy. A change that, as an extreme consequence, could one day bring the re-inclusion in the political arena Islamic extremist groups for whom up to now Washington has always preferred military options….Liberty for ‘everyone’ today in the Middle East could also mean that the US is ready to risk having radical groups re-enter the democratic game that up to now were always and only treated as a danger - as was in the case Iraq, and as could be necessary elsewhere in the world.”
"Suicide Bomber Causes Massacre"
Toni Fontana observed in pro-democratic Left Party (DS) daily L’Unità (6/16): "Donald Rumsfeld finally told a half truth after many lies. Yesterday, in fact, the Pentagon chief and architect of the 'pre-emptive war' gave an interview to BBC and admitted what already seems clear to everyone: 'Iraq...is not any more secure today than it was two years ago when the war broke out.'... Since the installment of Ibrahim Jaafari’s government...at least 900 people have died in attacks and clashes. Rumsfeld, however, has not completely 'repented' and cited these figures for the BBC in order to back up the surprising thesis that we must acknowledge that 'the insurgents are about to be defeated not by the international coalition, but rather by the Iraqi people and the security forces.' In between the lines, Rumsfeld was re-proposing the well-known theory which states that once the war is 'won,' the Americans will be able to withdraw from Iraq, perhaps in a few more years from now, once they hand over military operations to government forces. Reports from Iraq yesterday do not encourage optimism on the possibility that Iraqi military forces will be able resist the guerrillas and terrorism."
"Dollars And Democracy"
Marizio Molinari in influential, centrist La Stampa editorialized (6/14): “If we consider that Uganda remains one of the leading military partners, Bush’s map for commitment begins to resemble a regional strategy that recalls what former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote in the New York Times before the attack against Iraq, suggesting that the fight against poverty should be placed along side the war on terrorism so that Al Qaeda would no longer have a reason to recruit and anti-American hatred would no longer proliferate.”
"Saddam Before the Judge And America Fails Bush For the ‘Infinite War’"
In conservative, top-circulation syndicate Il Resto Del Carlino/La Nazione/Il Giorno Giampaolo Piolo commented (6/14): “President Bush’s worries stem more from the polls than from the Iraqi front. America is losing its patience as well as many jobs…. Those in the U.S. who were hoping to use ‘Saddam’s trial’ as a lethal weapon against the dictator will have to think again because outside of the ‘green zone’ controlled by the Americans, vast portions of the population no longer tolerate the invasion and are still under the influence of the insurgents.”
RUSSIA: "U.S. Iraq Policy In A Deadlock"
Oleg Komotskiy, writing about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s interview with the BBC, pointed out in reformist Novyye Izvestiya (6/16): "Contacts between the U.S. military and militants are quite probable, indeed, but the fact that the George Bush administration finds them acceptable shows that its Iraq policy is at an impasse. The Middle East operation loses supporters inside the United States every day."
Foreign affairs editor for independent Der Standard Gudrun Harrer commented (6/20): “Once again, it was a bad week for Iraq and for the first time, the debate whether the American’s situation can still be saved by the Americans is being conducted in the US political mainstream and not just by ‘leftist defeatists’. The fact that Republican and Democratic representatives have joined forces in their demand for at least a long-term plan for the removal of troops must be regarded as a warning signal for the war leaders in Washington. (…) Some observers are of the opinion that the US promoted Iraqi elections in January for the purpose of beginning to prepare for getting out of Iraq. Actually, it is not impossible that, in the case of growing domestic pressure, they will use a period of relative stabilization to make a devil-may-care decision. However, this would have negative repercussions for everyone: Iraq would become the proliferation point of victorious Jihad members, as Afghanistan was after the Soviets’ withdrawal. Thus, the assessment that, no matter how critically one views the US’ Iraq war, one must still hope that the Americans will prevail after all, is valid more than ever.”
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVENIA: "An Incoherent Policy"
The Neu-Isenburg Ozgur Politika editorialized (6/11): "Following a variety of comments, praises, criticisms arising from the fact that it was ranked first in terms of anti-Americanism according to the opinion polls conducted in the past couple of months, Turkey has now given rise to questions as to whether it intends to take the lead in championing Americanism. Could the last visit paid by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the United States produce such a result? Although there is no clear indication, one may come to the conclusion that the government will make efforts in that direction. Whether the existing conditions are suitable for the government to fulfill the promises given by the Prime Minister is, however, open to debate. The Justice and Development Party's inability to pursue a principled policy causes serious damage to its reputation both among its grass roots and on the international stage. There is a contradiction between its underlying mentality and traditions and the pragmatist policy it is trying to follow. In that sense, Americanism and anti-Americanism are shaped by contradicting approaches and policies, which negate each other. On the one hand, it surprisingly levels criticisms and even accusations, which are stronger than those expressed by the United States, against some regimes in the Middle East, but on the other, it takes a stance, which could thwart US policies in another area. This attitude deepens questions as to the extent to which the promises given both at home and abroad could be kept. The rejection of the government's motion by the Turkish National Assembly ahead of the military intervention in Iraq led to an unavoidable deterioration of US-Turkish relations. The new situation in Iraq, which emerged as a result of the US intervention and could not be influenced by the Turkish State, and the political gains made by the Kurds created an anti-American tide spearheaded by the State and the government in Turkey. The anti-American stance was supported by certain groups, which shared a common tradition and political opinions, during the period when there were strategic ties between the two countries. The new Anti-American tide, which emerged later, was directly connected with the political developments witnessed after 2003. The level of relations they established with some countries in the Middle East and the anti-American wave they created at home based on that approach, gradually caused the Turkish State and the government to lose favor with the United States.
BULGARIA: "The Sad Signals From Iraq"
Leftist stridently anti-U.S. Monitor commented (6/16): "Two more Bulgarian soldiers have died in Iraq. Privates Tsvetan Kamov and Paun Georgiev, who were posthumously promoted to officer candidates, drowned after their BRDM armored vehicle rolled over into an irrigation canal when returning from a mission. Thus the number of Bulgarian soldiers who have died in Iraq since the beginning of our mission there has risen to 12. "Just a turn of events," was the explanation by the Chief of General Staff General Nikola Kolev. It was accompanied by a detailed explanation about the crumbling roads in this distant country. By the way, such "turns of events" have already killed others, too -- two people died in a car crash in May; "friendly fire" killed Private Gurdi Gurdev in March. Nothing you can you do about it -- this is fate! Besides, those who died had known they were going to a war. This is indeed the case -- soldiers die in wars. But there are many sad signals surrounding our participation in Iraq, and they are getting more numerous. The deaths of the first six soldiers, who were blown up when a suicide bomber drove a truck into the India Base, brought to the surface a series of questions about the security of Bulgarian bases there. Many questions were also asked after the death of Gurdev -- about the coordination in the interactions with the allies, and about the quality and the capacity of the soldiers' flak jackets to stop bullets -- whether friendly or otherwise. The current tragedy will surely provoke questions about the age and qualities of the BRDM armored vehicles used by the Bulgarian battalion, and about the crumbling Iraqi dykes. When the harm is done, one usually gets some answers; they are usually soothing answers keeping in mind the future perspectives. Yet the most important single question remains -- what are we doing in Iraq? And how long will we stay there?
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Bush Pays For Iraq- Republicans Are Nervous Over White House Mistakes"
Center-right Lidove Noviny observed (6/14): "George W. Bush is going through bad times. More and more Americans criticize his administration… and to make things worse he is at odds even with his own party. Republican Senators and Congressmen have gotten into the habit of publicly denouncing the White House…. Even former supporters of the war against Iraq accuse the Neo-Conservatives of bad leadership and demand a fixed date for the U.S. Army’s withdrawal from Iraq. The White House yesterday strictly rejected any change in its policy. If, however, the general public is not pacified by, for example, the return of gas prices to normal cost, President Bush will have grave problems over Iraq. For the Republicans, loyalty to his "leadership" ceases to be a guarantee of re-election. They feel that they may gain more if they distance themselves from the president's team. The Senate and the House of Representatives may even become something like a shadow government to Bush's administration, instead of being its extension, something that was inconceivable before. The moment when even the Neo-Conservatives split would then be only a matter of time."
"Arab States Quietly Boycott Baghdad - The Vacuum Is Getting Filled With The Agile Activities Of Teheran"
Bretislav Turecek commented in center-right Lidove noviny (6/11): "Although in Baghdad, in the last few months, there has been lots of comings and goings of leading American and European politicians, the fact remains, in the shadow of these activities, that since the fall of Saddam Hussein not one leading representative of the Arab world has come to Iraq. The new Iraqi government of President Talabani and Prime Minister al-Jaafari is suffering this quiet boycott because if was indirectly brought to power through the American led invasion. The Iraqi Foreign Minister Zibari complained that the Arab states are not helping his country at all…of the 50 foreign ambassadors in Baghdad, not one is from an Arab state, and Arab ministers are not visiting either. A certain Western analyst pointed out that the Arab states for along time justified their hesitation by saying that they were waiting for the creation of a legitimate Iraqi government. The irony is that they were waiting for a democratic regime in Baghdad, although they are for the most part undemocratic themselves. While the efforts of Baghdad and Washington to place the “new” Iraq on the map of the Arab world is faltering, the Iranians are establishing themselves more and more in the country. As the American Persian language Radio Farda from Prague noted, the outgoing Iranian President Chatami invited Talabani to Teheran…al-Jaafari is invited for unspecified date this month…the Iranian Oil Minister is coming to Iraq to sign a wide ranging oil cooperation agreement that would hook the Iranians into the reconstruction of the Iraqi infrastructure. The Iranian Foreign Minister was already in Baghdad in the middle of May, and the Iranian media gloatingly noted that his visit was medially and politically much more successful than the Iraqi mission of the American Secretary of State Rice, two days earlier."
"Americans, Hang On In Iraq"
Petr Suchy commented in the center right Lidove noviny (6/9): "In the last few months there have been discussions of the possible withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and speculation about the possible dates for the beginning of such a move…As far as the eventual permanent success of the Iraq Freedom operation is concerned, key will be the Iraqi rather than the American society (unlike in the case of the Vietnam War). It will not be enough simply to achieve victory on the battlefield. It is precisely the inhabitants of the defeated enemy country that have to accept the situation, make peace with it, and realize that it is irreversible. It is also important what kind of a relationship will exist between the government and the people, whether they will be loyal and support it in its effort to stabilize the country. The U.S., its allies, and the Iraqi government in this regard are not doing badly, but not well either. They were able to organize democratic elections with relatively high voter participation. The training of Iraqi military forces is ongoing. Although a modest amount of optimism is justified, the game is not won yet. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the Iraqis are interested in living in a stable and prosperous country. In such a country, human bombs will become a scarce commodity."
DENMARK: "Sunni-Shiite Civil War Could Stop U.S. Iraq Withdrawal Plans"
"The war in Iraq seems to be taking an unfortunate turn for the worse and if these developments continue, they could scupper American plans to reduce troop presence next year. Quite apart from the insurgency, it appears that a civil war could be brewing between the Sunni and the Shiites…. If this religious confrontation should break out fully, the U.S. could be thrust into a dilemma as it will be caught between its alliance with the Shiites and its political interests in Sunni Muslims countries in other areas of the Middle East."
TURKEY: "Don’t Let The Dialogue Be A Fruitless One"
Sami Kohen in mainstream Milliyet opined (6/7): “I can already hear the contradictory reports circulating in Turkey following the Bush-Erdogan meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Some will report the meeting as a ‘fiasco,’ while others will present it as a ‘huge success.’ But first, both sides should be aware of each other’s expectations. Unrealistically high expectations will inevitably lead to disappointment when the achievements are modest. Within this framework, one should not expect all the problems in the US-Turkish relationship to be resolved in this meeting.... The main issue for Turkey is the PKK presence in Northern Iraq. Turkey expects the US to eliminate the PKK in Iraq. This issue has been discussed many times between the two countries. Each time the US has stressed that it understands Turkey’s concerns, and has given guarantees that it will deal with the PKK. But the Americans have also explained that the US couldn’t act immediately because of the the security situation in Iraq. But the US also expects cooperaion from Turkey in the region as a strategic partner. If the parties leave the table without any concrete plan of operation, then the meeting will have been fruitless. For the dialogue in Washington to be productive, certain concrete steps should be taken to resolve the problems that have cast a shadow over the relationship.”
"Is The U.S. Taking Action Against The PKK?"
Mehmet Ali Birand in English-language Turkish Daily News editorialized (6/14): "During last week's meetings in Washington, Turkey concentrated on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) presence in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq. Despite repeated promises, U.S. forces in Iraq do not seem to be willing to eliminate the PKK from the region. CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) is in charge of military planning in Iraq. When I was in Washington I had long talks with Pentagon officials on the subject. When I asked about their failure to keep the promises they had made, I received the following answers. The use of military force against the PKK in the Kandil Mountains is currently very difficult. Serious fighting is taking place in various regions of Iraq against the insurgents. We already face serious obstacles, and if we deployed some forces against the PKK, we would suffer in other regions. The bombing of the Kandil Mountains with a great amount of firepower will create instability in northern Iraq. Moreover, the Kurds in northern Iraq don't want to face the PKK problem. U.S. generals (especially at CENTCOM) still haven't gotten over the bad blood that resulted from tension in Turkish-U.S. relations, which started when the Turkish Parliament vetoed the deployment of U.S. troops in the country. Even though relations between the Pentagon and the Turkish Office of the Chief of General Staff seem to have improved considerably, CENTCOM still appears to be upset and maintains its reluctance to take up arms against the PKK.... CENTCOM sent the list of PKK leaders, presented to them by Turkey, to all its units and ordered their arrest. How should we interpret this step? We see the determination of the Pentagon to acquiesce to a part of the demands made by the Turkish Armed Services.... If U.S. troops raid the Kandil Mountains and search for the wanted PKK leaders, arresting and extraditing some of them would change everything. It would be a strong message to the PKK. The shadow the PKK casts over Turkish-U.S. relations would lessen somewhat, and Ankara would be more patient. If not, the impression that the United States wants to hold the PKK as a trump card against Turkey would intensify...."
"Time For Americans, Iraqis And The Turks To Finish Off The PKK In A Viable Manner"
English-language The New Anatolian opined (6/5): "It's interesting that there's a growing awareness among the Iraqi Kurdish leaders that the time has come to deal with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) issue in earnest. We are privy to information that the Iraqi Kurdish leaders are growingly concerned that the PKK is using the safety provided for them on Iraqi territory, and especially the northern mountains, not to avoid capture and stay away from trouble but to sneak back into Turkey and cause trouble. They are also aware that the PKK leaders see they can't control their militants and thus they're resorting to violence. Kurdish intelligence has learnt that the PKK officials are coming down from the mountains and are threatening the dwellers of the Makhmur Camp where 12,000 refugees from Turkey are living. We're told the PKK officials are forcing the refugees to either cooperate with them or face execution. They're also demanding that children above the age of 14 be given to them to be trained as terrorists. We feel the time has come for Turkey to send some envoys to this camp or even a Turkish parliamentary delegation to see the plight of these refugees and take steps to bring them back to their homes in our country. The conduct of the PKK at Makhmur has angered the Kurdish leaders and has trained as terrorists. We feel the time has come for Turkey to send some envoys to this camp or even a Turkish parliamentary delegation to see the plight of these refugees and take steps to bring them back to their homes in our country. The conduct of the PKK at Makhmur has angered the Kurdish leaders and has increased their resolve to deal with the terrorist group. Besides this, U.S. pressure has mounted in recent months urging the Kurds to finish off the PKK. Besides all this we've learnt that there are some splinter groups in the PKK (about 50 militants) who've left the main group in the northern Iraqi mountains and have joined up with some Iranian Kurds to set up their own gangs. These were the groups that the Iranians confronted in recent weeks. The more the PKK is left unattended the more they create problems of all kinds. So what can be done? The Iraqi Kurds shouldn't expect Turkey to issue a general amnesty for the PKK. The Turkish public is in no mood for such a move. Turkey should not expect the Iraqi Kurds to catch the PKK militants and give them to Turkish authorities. A Kurd shouldn't be expected to capture another Kurd and then hand him over to a Turk. So that leaves the option for the Iraqi Kurds to issue an amnesty to at least the Iraqi citizens that were with the PKK in the mountains. Apparently there are Iraqi Kurds who are with the PKK that can be brought down from the mountains with such an amnesty. Then, of course, the Iraqis can give some incentives to all the PKK people to renounce terrorism and live in peace provided they an [are] interned for a while. We feel the terrorist leaders won't let them go. So the last option, and the most meaningful, may well be the use of force and this should be discussed between Turkey, Iraq, and the U.S. The Iraqi government, using the Peshmerga forces, can do this and could really be effective. This would win the hearts of many Turks towards the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Kurdish leadership.
"Turkey Obliged To Monitor Developments In Iraq With Greater Attention"
Ilnur Cevik in The New Anatolian wrote (6/10): "On Wednesday we heard the good news that at last the U.S., Turkey and Iraq will sit down together to discuss issues of mutual interest, and hopefully hammer out some solutions on outstanding issues. The agreement came during Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's meeting on Monday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington. In our past editorials, we have always supported the idea of a trilateral meeting between these countries to discuss the PKK, and to collaborate against terrorists who are bent on destabilizing Iraq. We feel that instead of hosting a meaningless gathering like the conference of " Iraq 's neighbors," it's good for Ankara to discuss the real issues with the real players in the game. It's clear that the Iraqis, and especially the Kurds, want to put an end to the presence of the PKK in Iraq's northern mountains, and a gathering with Ankara and the U.S. could realistically work to facilitate this. Despite reports to the contrary in Turkey , we know well that the Americans have been pressuring the Iraqis "to do something" about the PKK, and the Kurds have agreed to take appropriate action subject to discussions. All these are fine but we feel it's time Turkey started paying more attention to developments and potential problems in Iraq . Our visit to Erbil has shown us that the Kurds and the Shiite Arabs do not see eye to eye on several issues, and this could possibly lead to the downfall of the current coalition government in Baghdad. The Arab Shiites do not seem to be paying much attention to the Kurdish sensitivities about the federative structure of Iraq , the Kurdish regional government or its Parliament. They also do not seem too much interested in implementing Article 58 of the interim Constitution that requires Arabs brought into Kirkuk by Saddam Hussein to be sent back to their homes, and to allow the displaced Kurds and Turkmens to come back to the city. The issue will become even more problematic as time goes by and the Iraqi Parliament sits down to draft the new constitution. It's clear that there will be much contention over federalism and Kirkuk , which could further complicate the political process not to mention exacerbate the strife between the Arab Shiites and the Sunnis. Turkey has the means and the advantage of establishing warm ties with the Kurds and also influencing future developments in Iraq . But for this we have to pay more attention to the region like we do to Cyprus and the European Union.
ISRAEL: "What To Do With Iraq?"
Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor observed in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/16): "The proud Sunnis won't allow stability in Iraq as long as they don't rule it, but, according to the type of democracy President George W. Bush has put in place there, this won't happen soon.... Given the fact that there have been increasing calls in the U.S. to set a schedule for the American military presence in Iraq, and in order to avoid the latter's total collapse following a possible pullout, the United States ought to change its policy there. The U.S. must abandon the idea of a unified Iraq--Iraq is so vast that it cannot be ruled in its entirety. If tiny Israel can be divided, this is even truer for Iraq. Thus, better governance can be created for the states that would be established, and a reward and punishment policy could be introduced for the first time. A confederative model among the independent states could definitely be set up, should they want to do so. The first step would be the establishment of a democratic, independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq. The Kurds are interested in this. Furthermore, Iraq's huge oil reserves are located there. A rich, pro-Western Kurdish state could definitely change the Iraqi atmosphere and become a role model for the other communities."
EGYPT: "Dialogue Is A Step In The Right DIrection In Iraq"
Agressive pro-government Al-Akhbar editorialized (6/14): "The reports about a dialogue between prominent Iraqi figures and representatives of the armed resistance groups in Iraq have inspired hope among the Iraqi people who have been experiencing the worst forms of suffering since the American invasion of their country. The Iraqi Government has been following up the negotiations taking place between tribal leaders from various Iraqi nationalities, religions, and sects and representatives of the resistance groups to end the bloodbaths and the acts of sabotage, destruction, and murder whose price the Iraqi people are paying. According to these reports, the dialogue has been going on for some time and the United Nations, represented by Lakhdar Ibrahimi, has been following up this dialogue to find a political solution and achieve national reconciliation that will restore stability and protect Iraq against all evil designs. Perhaps, the United States is also participating in this dialogue after everyone had become convinced that military force was not the solution and that negotiations with the Iraqi national resistance could open the door not only to ending the violence, but also to the possibility of achieving national reconciliation that would spare the country the calamities of civil war. The official spokesman of the Iraqi Government has said that Iraqi groups can participate in these negotiations, which have already achieved some positive results. At the same time, UN Envoy Lakhdar Ibrahimi will reportedly arrive in Baghdad shortly to promote this dialogue, which is dealing with all the important and sensitive issues, including the withdrawal of the American forces according to a timetable, beginning with withdrawal from the major cities to specific bases. The participants in this dialogue are also discussing returning all dismissed army and police elements, except those involved in killing Iraqis, and disbanding the armed militias and groups. There is no doubt that such dialogue represents a step in the right direction toward ending the Iraqi crisis. This step should enjoy the support of all Iraqi national forces as well as the regional and international forces interested in the future of Iraq and in its sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, the fear is that forces seeking to harm Iraq would deal with this dialogue as a maneuver to gain time and expose the Iraqi resistance groups so they could destroy them by military force. Still, the national forces in Iraq can turn this dialogue into a positive process to achieve the aspirations of the Iraqi people who have suffered a great deal and the time has come for them to live in stability and move toward the bright future they deserve and want.
SAUDI ARABIA: "Grounds For Hope"
English-language Jedda Arab News editorialized (6/19): "Hardly a day goes by in Iraq without some new atrocity to further drain confidence in stability being established there in the foreseeable future. The only comfort to be drawn from yesterday's car bomb outside a Baghdad mosque was that no one was killed. The possibility of sudden, violent death is the overriding fact of life in Iraq today, one that everyone -- civilians, Iraqi soldiers and policemen, and occupying forces as well -- has to contend with. The killing spree appears unstoppable, the insurgency inexorable and the insurgents' lust for blood insatiable. Even US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has had to admit that Iraq is now as dangerous as it was immediately after the war. Around 1,000 people have died, mostly Iraqis, since the Iraqi government was sworn in, less than two months ago."
"A Turn For The Better?"
The pro-government, English-language Arab News editorialized (6/16): "It may seem hard to believe when the death toll from insurgent violence since the new government's inauguration a month and a half ago is already approaching 1,000, but there is mounting evidence that the authorities are strengthening their position against the insurgents. The discovery of bunker compounds in the west of the country and the campaign to interdict the movement of men and materiel across the Syrian border have disrupted the flow of supplies. Meanwhile with better intelligence...the insurgents are finding it more and more difficult to move freely. In addition ordinary Iraqis, even those who may sympathize to some extent with the opposition of the insurgents to the presence of foreign troops, are becoming sickened by the terrible price that is being paid in Iraqi blood. Clearly more and more people are feeling comfortable in providing information to the authorities. That Iraqis, be they policemen, soldiers or civilians are grimly enduring this onslaught, should be sending the men of violence an important message which is that if the insurgents are prepared to shed so much Iraqi blood now in their campaign against the U.S.-led occupation, how much more would they be happy to shed to crush any and all opposition, should they ever manage to seize power? Iraqis have escaped from one brutal and arbitrary dictatorship. They do not look forward to accepting another. The irony of course is that the longer the insurgency continues, the more it perpetuates the occupation because it gives Washington and its allies the grounds for staying on to support the elected interim government. On the face of it, the insurgents are defeating their own objectives. This is however to discount the bloody hand of al-Qaida which is behind so much of the violence. Its leaders see Iraq simply as another battleground on which to confront the hated Americans. American miscalculations made this so but it is the willing cooperation of hard-line Baathists that continues to make it possible."
"The Bloodshed In Iraq"
Conservative Al-Nadwah editorialized (6/8): "Everyday in Iraq there are suicide bombings and more people get killed... Yes, there are achievements that have been accomplished in turning over the leadership to Iraqis. The National Committee has been established by free elections. The Interim Government was formed with the agreement of all Iraqi sects. These are important steps towards stability. However, this is no reflection on the deteriorated security situation... A political solution to this situation is possible. This is the responsibility of all Iraqis. They should unite to rescue their country and get it back on its feet."
"What Is Required In Iraq"
Conservative Al-Madina wrote (06/08): "The joint security campaigns, which were organized by U.S. and Iraqi forces against insurgents, are justified because their aim is put an end to bombing operations in Iraq... But those campaigns must avoid random killings, arrests and destruction, which might produce negative results. Observers agree that such campaigns alone will not realize security, stability, and reconstruction in Iraq."
JORDAN: "Inspector Condoleezza"
Daily columnist Sultan Hattab on the op-ed page of semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Rai opined (6/21): “When Rice links the American desired reform with the American efforts in Iraq towards a free Iraq and with the American efforts in Palestine towards a two-state solution, then Rice’s words about reform would require tangible credibility, because the reform of this region cannot happen unless there is a just solution for the Palestinian-Israeli struggle. In Palestine, Rice spoke about the roadmap. Sharon, however, is on a different sheet of music as he talks about a different way of redeployment from Gaza, about a different viewpoint of settlements, and as he hinders all components for a possible and practical solution…. In Egypt, Rice discussed the Egyptian elections and spoke in detail about electioneering, maps, candidates and methods, as if she were setting an Egyptian elections law…. In Jordan, her evaluation for Jordan’s achievements was very positive…. Rice’s ‘certifications’ are the important thing now. Those she cited have won, and those she did not cite are waiting to pay a huge cost. The regimes in the region are no longer able to run to the people, since the cost they must now pay is the very consequence of the way they have dealt with their people…. Rice knows Arab courteousness. What she said in [Arab] capitals she visited was not marked by the same bluntness that she used in Moscow and China as she sought to speak to the people of these two countries through their regimes. In the Arab capitals, she wanted to make her hosts listen, because she knows that the Arab people’s stand is marked by hatred for the American policy; hatred caused by that policy’s bias in favor of Israel and a policy that drove the people of this region away from their regimes. So she opted to ease her criticism of the Arab internal policies … because when she goes back home, she will use American media to cast stones at the Arab regimes’ glass. Rice’s words against the Arab regimes seems to be the harshest because she is finding that the dough of Arab regimes is beginning to form under American pressure, even if Iraq does not become free and Palestine does not become a viable state!”
IRAQ: "Restaurants and explosions"
Salim Rasool in Islamic Ad-Dawa Party affiliated Al-Bayyan noted (6/21): "Not long ago, terrorists began targeting barbers who cut people's hair according to western styles. Once these barbers stopped such practices, the terrorists stopped targeting them. So now that these barbers have found a way to prevent themselves from being targeted by the terrorists, we must ask what will the owners of restaurants do to prevent themselves from becoming targets?... I do not think that they will hang a banner over their restaurant that prohibits all policemen, army soldiers, and collaborators from entering. The terrorists would not be convinced with the banner anyways because they would likely argue that the civilians inside the restaurant are simply policemen who changed out of their official uniforms before entering. If this above-mentioned hypothesis of the terrorists materializes, then it will become clear that their goal is to kill the largest number of Iraqis as possible. These terrorists are killing innocent Iraqis to expedite their journey to heaven so that they can have lunch with the Prophet Mohammed. It is for this reason and for the sake of making Iraqis free of the occupation that terrorists are killing innocent people. These ignorant reasons provide the terrorists with justification to shed our blood, destroy our country, destabilize our security, and prevent our reconstruction. How can we refer to these terrorists as "resistance" after they conduct such dreadful deeds? Does resistance mean targeting Iraq and its people? What kind of resistance is obsessed with such criminal thoughts? Therefore, we call on the Iraqi people to work with the security forces to save the country from the evils of terrorism. Defeating terrorism is a joint responsibility that everyone must be aware of. Terrorism targets all of us. For this reason, the Iraqi people must unite and strike at the terrorists so we can erase them from our land."
"Centers Of Power"
In independent Al-Sabah Muhammad Abdul Jabbar opined (6/21): "Today in Iraq, we have many centers of power and decision making. Some of these centers were formed according to the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) during the transitional period and enjoy constitutional legitimacy. Others were founded according to the political, social, and religious realities in the country and have some degree of legitimacy.... However, we still do not have a clear parliamentary opposition or a shadow government. Once both of these powers materialize, they will enjoy legitimacy because the constitution guarantees the right of the opposition. When discussing the social centers in Iraq, we are mainly referring to the religious authorities. These authorities have a powerful influence in the community as everyone places great importance on their public statements.... The political stability of any society requires a strong relationship between decision makers and power centers in the community. These relations must be based on cooperation, understanding, and coordination. History has proven that as these relations become stronger, societies advance and develop. On the other hand, if these relations are weak, political and social tension will occur and negatively affect the entire political process. The democratic formula of political life helps to establish a proper relationship between the government and the powerful centers in society. This relationship must be based on transparency, frankness, clarity, and resorting to public opinion during times of disagreements. Democracy prevents authoritarianism from pervading society and provides a disciplined system that prevents any deviance from occurring."
"Is The National Assembly In Hibernation Or Just Asleep?"
Hatem Hassan in independent Al-Mashriq wrote (6/20): "A dictator's goal is to continue governing while the patriot's goal is to serve his or her country. Many patriotic ministers throughout the world have committed suicide because they were unable to achieve their patriotic goals and projects. Alternatively, dictators do not commit suicide because such an action would result in them losing their grip on power. I recently found myself wondering what are the goals of the National Assembly members? Do they want notability, privileges, and power or do they want to work for the sake of their country? Have they forgotten their promises and slogans made before the elections? Have they become too busy focusing on their own personal benefits?There are dozens of important issues that must be discussed by the National Assembly. Instances of corruption and embezzlement have forced donor countries to stop supporting Iraq, which has become plagued by destruction and chaos. It is the responsibility of the National Assembly to make the Iraqi people feel that the Assembly members are present and working effectively to monitor and question the government."
"Failure Is Not An Option In Iraq"
London-based wide circulation independent Asharq Al-Awsat editorialized (6/19): "American Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a man of Afghan origin who was moved from Kabul to Baghdad, has recently stated that failure in Iraq is not an option. However, neither he nor his superiors in Washington have explained the meaning of failure. Because of the continued loss of human lives, there have been some doubts about whether the U.S. forces will continue to remain in Iraq. The continued deterioration of the security situation has led some U.S. congressional members to demand a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. Not only is failure in Iraq possible, it is imminent. The question that remains is what will be the magnitude of the American loss? Will it be the loss of 2,000 soldiers in just two years? What will happen if this number reaches ten or even thirty thousand? What will happen if the number of attacks increases and new groups join the insurgency?... If the U.S. departs Iraq defeated, it will likely lose its dominance in the world and perhaps lose its presence in other countries. The U.S. will become just like any other small country that can be defeated easily. Indeed, the American position in the world will be weak and Washington will lose the trust of its friends. The new American Ambassador stated that failure in Iraq is not an option. Yet, we must declare that achieving success is not so easy. During the Vietnam War, Washington repeated that it would not leave the country until South Vietnam won the war.... the cost of failure in Iraq is higher than in Vietnam because Iraq's oil is much more important than Vietnam's rice. The U.S. defeat in Iraq will be the end of an empire. Most Iraqi politicians, except for those of the Muslim Scholars Association, realize that the early withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will threaten the internal situation and may push the country into civil war. This war will be terrible and similar to the Serbian war on Bosnia and Kosovo. A decade ago in the Balkans, the world asked for American intervention to stop the ugly massacres that were occurring. From that time until now, the situation in the Balkans has been under control. The Iraqi people deserve a chance to enjoy stability and they deserve to run their own internal affairs, without the need for American troops. This must be an Iraqi decision, not one made by the Arabs who are living away from the fire."
"Human Rights Are An Important Theme In Drafting The Constitution"
Jalal Talabani led PUK affiliated paper Al-Ittihad opined (6/19): "On April 9th, 2003, many voices appeared from the cracks that began calling for human rights. In the past, it was forbidden to speak about this issue because it did not conform with the policies of the former regime. Thus, any discussion on human rights was artificial and far from its real meaning. For decades, human rights were violated in all Iraqi cities.... The constitutional committee has recently begun to draft the permanent constitution. Undoubtedly, human rights will be an important theme for the constitution drafting process because it is now time to correct the violations that have plagued the past. The constitution is the primary law of the country and it must guarantee all rights. We must disseminate the culture of human rights in order to understand its concepts. This can be accomplished by providing specialized staffs in human rights to teach the subject in universities and other academic arenas. We should take the subject of human rights and turn it into an academic curriculum. In addition, we must hold human rights forums for governmental employees in all provinces. We must encourage civil society organizations to participate in these forums and conduct media campaigns to educate the Iraqi people about human rights because they must be accompanied by commitments."
"If You Are Stronger Than America, Then You Can Refuse Dialogue!"
Hamid Abdullah commented in independent, non-biased Al-Mashriq (6/16): "The United States...has admitted that a dialogue with insurgents is necessary to make Iraq stable and secure. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the owner of the 'frog-jumping strategy' that was applied during the war, admitted recently that the U.S. administration is currently involved in a dialogue with the gunmen. Secretary Rumsfeld went further by calling for enlarging these dialogues to include all sensible parties that have clear goals and strategies that serve the interests of Iraq. Therefore, we know that the U.S.--the greatest and most powerful country in the world--has accepted dialogue with the gunmen. This development was inevitable after facing urban, guerrilla, and desert warfare. However, on the other hand, Iraqi politicians are appearing on Arab satellite networks screaming and shouting and posing the question, 'with whom are we supposed to negotiate and reconcile?' These appearances and statements represent a type of pomposity that will only lead to disaster. Apparently, we are still paying for the results of the former regime's arrogance and stupidity. While it is not important to agree with your enemy in his thinking and orientation, it is important to achieve a political triumph that saves the country from endless deterioration and disaster. The rifle alone cannot achieve victory. Real triumphs are achieved by wisdom and judiciousness. If you are stronger than the U.S., then you can refuse dialogue, reconciliation, and negotiation with the gunmen. These officials can then continue with their arrogance until they discover for themselves the correct path for Iraq. Or they choose to negotiate and seek reconciliation because there is no other option but dialogue."
Shakir Al-Jabouri opined in an editorial in independent, anti-coalition Al-Fourat (6/16): "Some people have accused us of being aggressive when we speak frankly about problems that violate Iraqi constitutional standards. However, everyone knows that expressing one's opinion is neither a charge nor a crime.... Specifically, we are wondering why President Talabani and his two deputies attended a ceremony that prohibited the raising of the Iraqi flag? This situation occurred during Masoud Barzani's swearing-in ceremony as president of the Kurdistan territory. When speaking about the democratic experiment in Iraq, how can we accept the appointment of two presidents?... There are currently many constitutional problems that the Iraqi citizens are unaware of.... there has been some criticism over the performance of certain ministries. More importantly, there has been a lack of response to such criticism. If any government official decides to address this criticism, his statements will not likely occur for two or three months from now. After this period has elapsed, the Iraqi people are likely to have forgotten about the whole issue. This scenario indicates that either the government is slow-working or nobody cares or respects the law. If nobody respects the law, then this country will become entrenched in permanent chaos. As a result, the Iraqi citizens will suffer more and more and the basic services will deteriorate to the point where Baghdad loses its brightness and simply becomes a concrete sprawl that brings depression to its people."
Mohammed Abdul-Jabbar in Al-Sabah editorialized (6/14): "The government started a campaign against corruption in addition to its campaign against terrorism. Together these issues represent the greatest dangers facing the political process and reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Corruption has affected government structures, and although it was inherited from the former Ba'ath regime, the cruel fact is that corruption has increased. So it has been necessary to investigate corruption since April 9,2003 for the sake of cleansing Iraq's administrative system. In order to enhance the fortunes of all and to encourage citizens to walk on the path of honesty, even the highest levels of government must be investigated. For that reason the Commission on Public Integrity was founded, but who will guarantee that those who fight corruption will not deviate? Who will guarantee that the new ministers and leaders will not be attracted by money and power and not misuse them? It is not a matter of personal intentions and political slogans. The truth is that without some procedures and regulations from strong institutions capable of controlling, monitoring, and calling the corrupt to account, there are no guarantees for any official. Some of these procedures are:
-The officials should reveal their personal and family fortunes before getting an official post; and their incomes should be periodically reviewed. -Government contracts should obey the principle of transparency and be publicly published by the media. -Enhance and develop the Commission on Public Integrity's role and maintain its independence. -Enhance media freedom in order to monitor the government and reveal corruption to the citizens."
"The Shadows Will Disappear"
Independent Azzaman opined (6/14): "These days in Iraq there are political and personal shadows. Which means there are people here who are controlled by forces other than themselves. These forces are the Americans. Since the people believe that the Americans control the government they will believe that the government will do illegal things and that the ministers in this government will also do illegal things. Behind every Iraqi soldier or policeman there is the shadow of a US or MNF-I battalion. While there are some politicians who were in the shadows not cooperating with the occupation and suddenly they decided that the occupation was all right after all. These politicians have emerged from the shadows. There are two kinds of shadows. One is transparent while the other is dark. Everyone can see what the transparent shadow is doing. He can be stealing or hitting someone and we can see his movements, even if he is hiding in that shadow. The other shadow is doing its business behind closed doors. So we cannot see it and we don't know what it is doing. The Iraqi people have known about these shadows for a long time. They understand that shadows cannot be trusted. The logic of life, history, and science says that all shadows will eventually disappear. No single shadow can last forever because the earth moves and the shadows change. People also change. Their lives change and because of this they will change their position on issues over time. If even the people who rely on reality have been changed, what will happen to those who rely on shadows? With no doubt they will fill their hands with the wind."
"In Order To Root Out Terrorism"
The paper affiliated with the Al-Jafari led Dawa Party Al-Bayyan commented (6/12): "The terrible crime that occurred last Friday night in As- Shua'la was not the first of its kind. There have been many other similar crimes not only in this area but also in other areas throughout Iraq. The goal of these criminals –- to create sectarian sedition that will ultimately spark a civil war -- has become clear to the Iraqi people. However, these criminals have begun to realize that their crimes will not achieve their objective and that it will be impossible for them to create a civil war that will fulfill the wishes of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. It is clear that the Lighting operation has had a successful impact, despite the continuance of attacks like that which recently occurred in As-Shua'la. Attacks such as this serve to indicate that the terrorists have reached their end in Iraq. Nonetheless, it is important for all Iraqi citizens to support the ongoing operations that are cleansing Iraq from the terrorists. Expressing condemnation is not enough. Everyone must make an active contribution in this important operation. The crime that occurred in As-Shua'la did not differentiate between any particular nationality or denomination. Instead, this crime was inflicted against all Iraqis and therefore demonstrates that no one is safe from being targeted by the terrorists as they continue the road of their demise. All Iraqis must contribute to this final stage of eradicating terrorism from our society. Serious and determined efforts are required by everyone so that we can end this terrible phenomenon in our society and return stability and security to Iraq."
"Shall We Have An Iraqi Conference To Stop Violence?"
Al-Ittihad, affiliated with PUK led by Jalal Talabani, wrote (6/7): "It seems that the Iraqi people are becoming more concerned about the security situation because of the number of people that the terrorists are killing. Iraqi blood is being shed daily and there seems to be no hope of this stopping in the near future. Every Iraqi killed is a loss to this country. We do not want to discuss who is behind these operations. We just want to put an end to them and stop the bloodshed. All Iraqi political parties must discard their disagreements and solve this security issue. It paralyzes Iraqi society. Those who accuse each other of being responsible for the violence in Iraq must unite in order to stop the daily Iraqi bloodshed. We notice that all the patriotic groups announce condemnations after each terrorist operation that targets Iraqi citizens. However, we don't need more condemnations; we need a surgery to heal the Iraqi wound. But who will perform this surgery? In fact, it is wrong to be waiting for a solution from abroad because only Iraqi people can heal these wounds. Some neighboring countries announce that they will support Iraq. They don't want to stop the bloodshed in Iraq--they want the benefits. After the violence increased, we heard the neighboring countries and other countries announce that they will support the Iraqi government and help develop the Iraqi security forces. But we want tangible deeds and do not want statements and speeches. Therefore, Iraqi people must be responsible for healing their own wounds. The Iraqi citizens want to know whether or not the Ministries of Interior and Defense are able to end this violence. We hear many calls for holding conferences under different names. But we did not hear any call to gather Iraqi political groups to discuss how to end violence."
"Credibility Of The Constitutional Process"
Independent As-Sabah editoralized (6/7): "Some groups try to cast doubt upon the constitutional process by saying that the constitution is already drafted. They also call for postponing the whole project. These groups allege that the final draft of the constitution was imported from abroad. They claim that the constitutional committee is only responsible for translating it from English to Arabic. On the other hand, the constitutional committee members confirm that they are studying how to expand the representation in the committee. This shows that the government, the National Assembly and the constitutional committee understand that drafting the constitution is an important process that must be accomplished by a unanimous national decision. At the present time, we must fully understand the concepts of law, democracy and faith so that we can be sure that the Iraqi citizens are free from all restraints of dictatorship and political illiteracy."
"Enemies Of Lightning"
Al-Furat opined (6/11): "The enemies of Operation Lightning are regrouping and are uniting their efforts to confront an all out offensive that took them by surprise due to the short period of time between the initial efforts to form the Iraqi Army and National Police, and the completion of large numbers of highly trained cadres that succeeded in scoring large and swift security achievements that stand to break terrorism's back. The enemies of the Lightning are the armed terrorists who roam the county in booby-trapped cars in search of large gatherings of Iraqis, on whom they can inflict major losses. They are the terrorists who plant explosives in Palestine and Al-Mansur Streets and in Baghdad al-Jadidah [New Baghdad], and detonate them by remote control against alleged targets that are usually groups of citizens that include women and children. They are the terrorists who direct their gunfire at bakers, barbers, merchants, or high-ranking government officials. They are the journalists who claim to be patriots, pan-Arabs, and socialists, but who damn anything that has to do with the new Iraqi Army and National Police out of their belief that the only loyal army was Saddam's army, that the only loyal militia was Saddam Fida'i troops, and that the only loyal police force was the police force of Wathban [Saddam's half-brother]. They are journalists who pretend day and night to cry over violated privacies, lost lives, stormed mosques, desecrated sanctities, broken laws, confiscated liberties, and abandoned ethics. They are deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid, for the democracy that allowed them to scream at the top of their lungs was not enough to hush them up and make them contemplate their surroundings; the freedom they were given to speak their minds made them cocky, and the journalism law's failure to hold them accountable for their misconduct and their blaspheme of national principles has gone to their heads. They view the Iraqi Army as a group that has betrayed its principles by hunting down the "innocent" criminal terrorist "strugglers," storming their dens, killing them, or arresting them. They view the Iraqi National Police as a group of outlaws and collaborators with the occupation who must be killed and liquidated for their betrayal of the nation and the honor and principles of the [Ba'th] "Party," and for their alliance with the "traitor" people as described by the ousted president's daughter [Raghad Saddam Husayn]. The Lightning's enemies are political leaders, party ideologists, clerics, mosque imams, and heads of organizations, who spend their days and nights instigating violence, sedition, and combating democratic change in today's Iraq, which is in desperate need of someone to tend to its wounds and not rub salt into them. The Lightning's enemies do not understand what it means when the Iraqi forces discover large underground stashes of weapons and personnel in Al-Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, and in Al-Fallujah's Al-Karmah area, uncover hideouts in Mosul and Kirkuk, dismantle 50 terrorist cells, storm 250 booby-trapping dens, locate 80 booby-trapped cars, and capture large numbers of insurgents, who confessed to serious crimes in a number of Iraqi areas. Security sources said that Operation Lightning, which was launched on 22 April and is still underway, led to the arrest of 1116 gunmen, the death of a large number of others, the hunting down of their remnants, and the tracking of their movements in a bid to end their activity and arrest them. Are such acts shameful?
SYRIA: "Signs Of Weakness"
The English-language Syria Times opined (6/20): "[There are] signs of weakness in the US Administration's response to the growing opposition to the Iraq war among the American public. In a 400-word article by M. Agha, the paper concludes by saying: "The White House should have the moral courage to admit the enormous mistakes that have been in the domain of US foreign policy. This would be the first step towards setting things moving in the right direction, regardless if this applies to anywhere else in the world. Intransigence and procrastination are no longer a solution to the pending issues in the Mideast and elsewhere. The Bush Administration should have learnt hard and telling lessons from the Iraq war, foremost of which should be that the US can never impose American-style democracy on other nations!"
"Criticisms Of War And A Tough Mission"
Mohamed Khair al-Jamali in government-owned Al-Thawra commented (6/20): "In his response to the growing US demand on setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq..., President Bush reiterated his rejecting for setting such a timetable considering that the mission of his force in Iraq is a tough one that cannot be achieved overnight and justifying this war as being resulted by the 9/11 attacks. It is in the interest of President Bush and neo-conservatives to persist in this defensive stand in light of the growing criticisms of war, its decision, its dangerous repercussions on stability in the region and world peace, and America's relations with the Arab and Moslem worlds. In case President Bush and his neo-conservative team respond to setting a timetable, this means a direct acknowledgement that the decision on war was a mistake. This will make the US Administration responsible for all consequences of the war...."
Ahmad Dawwa in government-owned Al-Thawra noted (6/17): "The US Administration must respond to the demand by 59 percent of Americans to set a timetable for an early withdrawal from Iraq.... This would improve the security situation and pave the way for real breakthroughs in Iraq...."It is no longer acceptable for the US Administration to admit from time to time that the security situation in Iraq is bad without offering proposals or plans to curb the exacerbation of this problem.... Washington cannot keep on talking about the mission of its troops in Iraq without clearly defining the mission so that the Iraqi people can deal with it in a way that serves their interests and aspirations. "The American approach toward the growing security challenges has been confined to military measures, and this has produced negative and adverse results. The US Administration needs to reconsider its entire approach in Iraq if it really wants security and stability in the country.... Searching for new approaches and accepting the principle of dialogue with all parties, including the anti-occupation forces, will constitute a step in the right direction, but it has not happened yet because of the occupation authority's intransigence and insistence on a policy that has proved a failure.... It is regrettable that some American officials are still evading their responsibilities and directing accusations at neighboring states, which have done all they can to maintain security and stability in Iraq. This creates doubts about the desire to bring stability to Iraq."
"From Democracy To Cholera"
Khalid al-Ashhab penned an editorial in government-owned Al-Thawra (6/16): "Americans freed Iraq from despotism but brought to it daily violence and bloodshed.... There are reports about the discovery of 200 cholera cases in Kabul. Americans, who went to Afghanistan to save the country from backwardness and terrorism, removed the Taliban regime and brought cholera to its people. It is true that despotism in Iraq was painful and unacceptable, but occupation, violence, and blood are not a positive substitute.... It is true that Afghanistan was suffering under the yoke of backwardness and terrorism, but cholera is not the alternative that the Americans can applaud."
"Would A Change Rationalize U.S. Policy?"
Muhammad Ali Buza in government-owned Al-Thawra editorialized (6/13): "The UN Secretary General's report disclosing that thousands of people are being held illegitimately in Iraq in flagrant violation of international law shows that the US and the adventurous political and military plan of the neo-conservatives in the region are in crisis.... "The report came only two days after opinion polls showed a drop in President Bush's popularity rating over the Iraq war.... This transformation is a bad omen and a major setback and a warning for the Bush administration. It is a very serious crisis in which the Americans find themselves.... The insurgency in Iraq is growing and exhausting America's human, financial, and military resources.... We hope that Washington will learn the lesson and revise its policy in a way that secures an honorable exit, respect for the inclinations of the majority of Americans, noninterference in the affairs of the region and the world, and a just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on UN resolutions...."
UAE: "While Iraq Burns..."
The expatriate-oriented, English-language Khaleej Times held (Internet version, 6/16): "In a rare acknowledgment, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has agreed that the security situation in Iraq is no better than it was at the time of Saddam Hussein’s fall.... Rumsfeld...has expressed concern that security situation in the country has not improved 'statistically' since the U.S. forces put an end to Iraqi dictator’s two-decade long tyranny. We couldn’t agree more with the U.S. official’s analysis. Iraq, long after the formal end of the war, continues to fight daily battles for survival across its cities and villages.... Scores of Iraqi people--innocent bystanders who are neither on the side of Americans nor with the insurgents--are getting killed every day.... In the last one-month alone, more than 900 people have died in insurgent attacks--since the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari took office. When and where all this is going to end? Of course, the U.S.-led coalition, having invaded the country, still continues to be responsible for Iraq’s security and law and order situation. However, do Iraq’s Arab and Muslim neighbors have no responsibility at all to help the war-ravaged country in the most difficult period in its history? How long will the neighbors watch in silence as Iraq burns and cries for help? It’s hardly a secret that Iraqi insurgents are getting the much-needed help from across the borders. Syria has been repeatedly accused by the Americans and Iraqi leaders of adding fuel to insurgency fire by giving shelter to foreign and Iraqi fighters. This week, Syria’s governing Baath party expressed its desire to 'clean up' the relations with Iraq and cooperate with the new government in Baghdad. The best proof of Syria’s sincerity and seriousness in improving the ties with Iraq lies in how fast Damascus switches off all help to Iraqi insurgents. It must crack down on all those using Syrian soil to launch deadly attacks on defenseless Iraqi civilians. In fact, all neighbors of Iraq need to offer all possible help and support to the government and people of Iraq who are doing their best to make a new beginning. They deserve all the support and help they can get."
"Never A Truer Word Spoken"
The expatriate-oriented, English-language Gulf News commented (Internet version, 6/15): "Rumsfeld’s ability to reveal rather than conceal should not be dismissed. The U.S. Secretary of Defense...is popular with the American media for allegedly 'telling it like it is.' Indeed, at the instigation of the invasion of Iraq, it will be recalled that he admitted it would be a long and bloody war, and the American public must get used to seeing full body bags returning from the frontline. Since those early days, Rumsfeld has gained a reputation as being eminently quotable; perhaps his most memorable being the tortuous 'known knowns and unknown knowns' which many people ridiculed, except those who took the time to work it out and realize what he said made sense. Further proof of Rumsfeld's ability to reveal rather than conceal is his latest admission that the situation in Iraq is no better than it was in 2003, when the United States and allies first entered the country. It takes a brave Secretary of Defense to acknowledge the error of the much-hyped claim stating the American troops will be met with garlands when entering Baghdad. But, having said that, Rumsfeld has to rectify the situation with more than words and implement a proper policy to restore law and order to Iraq for the promised peace has yet to arrive."
AUSTRALIA: "Musharraf Knows What He Must Do"
Business-oriented Australian Financial Review editorialized (6/18): “President Musharraf is right to argue that ultimate success depends on eliminating the conditions in which extremism flourishes. Only the long-term stabilization of countries like Afghanistan and Iraq can prevent the resurgence of militant organizations inspired by al-Qaeda. So there's a continuing need for foreign experts like Mr [Douglas] Wood - and for Australian forces - to contribute to the effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq…. If moral confusion still hangs over the decision to invade Iraq, there's no doubt as to the way ahead now: to support the international effort to bring the situation in Iraq to a point where foreign forces can leave. But if the recipe of physical reconstruction coupled with the establishment of democratic political institutions seems to be succeeding in Iraq, then the visit of President Musharraf was a reminder that in its initial theatre, in and around Pakistan, the war on terrorism is far from
over…. The agreements signed in Canberra this week on co-operation in counter-terrorism…reflect… the new standing that Pakistan, deftly led by President Musharraf, has garnered from its role in the war on terrorism…. President Musharraf represents something of a dilemma. On the one hand, he presides over the kind of authoritarian regime that actually breeds extremism by stifling legitimate dissent. On the other hand, Washington - and Canberra - have vital interests in and around Pakistan, and he may be the best custodian of those interests for now. While the West urges President Musharraf to eschew authoritarian rule - a goal he says he shares - and give Pakistan's discredited civilian politicians another chance to show they can make democracy work, in fact it heaves a sigh of relief every time he survives an assassination attempt.”
"Fate Favors A Hostage, But What Of Iraq?"
Liberal Melbourne Age observed (6/17): “Douglas Wood's rescue is cause for joy, but also brings home the terrible uncertainty about Iraq's future…. Whether rescued by accident or design, he appears to have been lucky, one of the fortunate few among scores of hostages taken in Iraq. US and Iraqi officials pointed to his rescue during a routine military search as vindication of the training of Iraqi forces. The Australians spoke of an intelligence tip-off. A spokesman for Sheikh Hilali said Mr Wood had been found in a safe house, where his captors were preparing to release him. This story is something of a metaphor for the chaotic course of events in Iraq, where coalition members unite in explaining and claiming credit for successes (often disproportionate to their contribution) and discount the failures. The measures of success keep shifting…. This week even US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld conceded that "statistically" Iraq had not become safer since Saddam Hussein was toppled in April 2003, despite the sacrifice of 1700 US soldiers' lives…. Australians should not now seek to wash their hands of what has turned into a dirty, daily battle for Iraq's future. While Australians celebrate with Mr Wood, this country and its allies must work even harder to stabilize Iraq so the day comes when Iraqis themselves have cause to celebrate.”
"Douglas Wood Tells It Straight"
National conservative The Australian noted (6/21): "So it is time to ignore the bad news bears and celebrate the positives out of the Wood affair. High among them is the unity of resolve that was apparent throughout the community. That unity was symbolized by the positive role played by the federal Labor opposition, and by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, who on behalf of the Australian Islamic community bent his best efforts towards securing Mr Wood's release. While it is far, far too early to declare that the corner has been turned in Iraq, the accelerating round-up of insurgents and Islamists and the exhilarating spectacle of an emerging Iraqi democracy are ample evidence for Mr Wood's claim that what we are doing in Iraq is 'the right policy'."
CHINA: "Stability Hinged On Power Sharing-- The Establishment Of A Transitional Government Has Not Brought Peace To Iraq"
Li Guofu, Director of South Asian, Middle East and African Studies at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing Review opined (6/10): "Iraq held its first multi-party elections in history four months ago. Iraqis voted for their new legislature under great risk of bomb blasts. The international community had hoped the elections would gradually quell the ongoing violence and provide an opportunity for the smooth launch of political and economic reconstruction in the country. Unfortunately, the security situation continues deteriorating instead of improving after the January polls.... What is the reason for this dramatic rise in violence in Iraq? Will sectarian and ethnic conflicts plunge the country into civil war? The international community is watching the situation in the war-torn country very closely. The elections held in January were seen as an important landmark in the process of political reconstruction in Iraq. However, it did not of itself change fundamentally the negative impact on Iraqi society and the life of its people brought on by the U.S.-led military invasion two years ago. The U.S. military occupation and control of the country remain unchanged. According to the Arab Human Development Report 2004 released by the United Nations Development Program, the average living standards of the Iraqis have deteriorated greatly after the U.S.-led invasion. Supplies of power, drinking water and daily consumables have dropped greatly compared with before the Iraqi war. Washington has announced an aid package of $18.4 billion to help with economic reconstruction in Iraq, of which only 7 percent, or $1.3 billion, was put into use by the end of 2004. The U.S. occupation has failed to stabilize Iraq's security situation. Frequent violence and the U.S. army's retaliatory operations have claimed more than 100,000 Iraqi lives since the war and most of the victims have been civilians. The Bush administration has argued that the insurgents in Iraq are only a small group of foreign terrorists and diehard followers of the Saddam Hussein regime. However, increasing evidences that have surfaced in the two years of the U.S. occupation show otherwise. Anti-U.S. insurgents in Iraq are a complex lot, with complicated components. Worse still, killings of innocent Iraqis by U.S. soldiers and the maltreatment of Iraqi prisoners have given rise to anti-American sentiment among the Iraqis, leading to considerable support for the insurgents from the locals.... A consensus in the international community claims that the U.S. military occupation is actually a major cause of instability in Iraq. As long as the United States does not end its military presence in Iraq and does not work out a clear withdrawal timetable, observers believe the security situation in the country is unlikely to see improvement.
JAPAN: "U.S. Public Calling For Troop Withdrawal From Iraq"
Liberal Mainichi editorialized (6/16): "A recent Gallup survey showed that 59 percent of the Americans want either a complete or partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. A Washington Post-ABC poll also indicated public concern over the 'Vietnamization' of Iraq. It is natural that the American public is becoming increasingly negative about the U.S. involvement in Iraq because the death toll there continues to go up and local public safety has not yet been restored. We would like to tell Americans that a large number of Iraqi citizens have died during this war started by the U.S. The U.S. would be blamed for being irresponsible if it pulls its troops out of Iraq before reestablishing security. Nations participating in the multinational restoration efforts will be disturbed if the American public increases its call for troop withdrawal. The Gallup survey showed that a majority of the American public thinks the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. The Bush administration needs to understand that the American people are increasingly frustrated with the administration due in part to their concern over the legitimacy of the war. Washington needs to make additional efforts to restore public security in the war-torn nation."
KAZAKHSTAN: "Political Games Around Kazbat"
Pro-government magazing Kontinent said (6/10): “In some respect one can characterize the statement by Minister of Defense Altynbayev at the May 17 briefing in Astana as sensational. At this event the head of Kazakhstan's defense ministry stated, 'it is time to seriously pose the question of withdrawing our soldiers from the hot spot and not sending them there any more. The Kazbat in Iraq gained quite a lot of experience, and we now need to think about discontinuing operations by our forces in Iraq…' First of all, one has to consider the serious changes in the geopolitical picture in the post-Soviet zone as a result of 'color revolutions' in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. As everyone knows, one of the primary organizers and sponsors of these events, analysts believe, was the United States of America, which proclaimed itself the leader of the crusade for democracy… From this point of view, the statement by Altynbayev on the possible withdrawal of military forces from Iraq is a warning to Washington on the necessity of following the covert principle of bilateral relations - 'support in exchange of loyalty.'"
MALAYSIA: "No Easy Solution for Washington To End Iraq War"
Tan Chung in leading government-influenced Chinese-language Nanyang Siang Pau comented (6/20): "The Gallup poll released in June has shown that 60 percent of Americans favor the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Other opinion polls also indicated similar findings. Yet in Bush's weekly address on 18 June, the President continued to defend his Iraqi policy. Bush claimed that the goal of the terrorists is to get the US troops to leave so that the elected Iraqi Government will not survive. But after two years in Iraq it is obvious that the reconstruction or the democratization process of Iraq is getting nowhere. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq still lacks a national leader who can hold its people together. When the Iraqi soldiers cannot even maintain peace and security in their own country, there is no way they can prevent the anti-US Jihad groups from staging terrorist activities. It is obvious that the longer the US troops remain in Iraq, more casualties would be added to the already alarming figure. On the other hand, should President Bush withdraw troops from Iraq now; it would mean a victory for the terrorists and a failure of his democratic dream for the Middle East. This is the dilemma facing US troops in Iraq now. We do not see an easy solution for the United States to end the real Iraq war. It might end up like the Vietnam War experience for the United States."
"Commentary Urges US To Withdraw Troops from Iraq"
Chinese-language International Times editorialized (6/20): "Until today, the situation in Iraq is still chaotic and dangerous. In recent days, bomb blasts have increased, causing more in casualties to Iraqi and US soldiers. It is ridiculous for President Bush to keep changing his excuse for launching the Iraq war. From accusing Iraq of processing weapons of mass destruction, which the country does not have, to giving the Iraqis a 'free democracy', that has led to nowhere, Bush has again, in his weekly address to the nation, said that the Iraq war was essential after the 9/11 terrorist attack to provide the necessary security to the nation. Yet under Saddam' rule, we heard no report about the existence of any active terrorist group. But in the present day when Saddam was finally removed, Iraq has become a paradise for terrorists. While Bush can give all kind of excuses to justify the Iraq war, the bottom line is that the Bush administration is still eyeing on the rich oil resources of Iraq. They are keen to establish a pro-US Iraqi government in order to protect their oil benefits. Bush wants to begin his great 'Middle East Democracy' design from Iraq. But the Iraq War has instead resulted in a united anti-US terrorist front there. By now, Bush should face the reality and withdraw all the US troops from Iraq. We should leave the Iraqis alone to resolve their own internal conflicts."
INDIA: "Clinch Time"
Manoj Joshi in nationalist The Hinustan Times editorialized (6/21): "A second Indian input must be on Iraq. India has rightly refused to get involved there and the current ground situation does not bode well for a change. But there is no reason why large numbers of Iraqis cannot be provided training, for military, police or other duties, here in India. A firm offer along with its quick implementation would go a long way in giving a `deliverable' to Washington without compromising on the substance of India's policy in any way ... Choices made now will show results a decade later and can well take India to an even higher plane of economic growth and global influence. It goes without saying that the choices must be exercised with due deliberation, as indeed any decision not to make a choice. Unfortunately, the official Indian response so far has been the sum of all the fears -paranoia about how the US could rob us of Kashmir, choke access to oil, fatally pollute our `self-reliant' atomic energy, defense industry and research establishments, and so on. This is all the more strange because of the many periods when India and the US have sought to enhance their ties, this is the first where India is actually negotiating from a position of unprecedented self-confidence and strength.”
"Bush On The Beating"
Mumbai Inqilab editorialized (6/20): "During an interaction with a Senate delegation immediately after 11th September 2001 incident, George Bush said, "My war will be a decisive one." Just in accordance with his determination Bush tried to fight a decisive war in Afghanistan followed by Iraq but it could not yield the desired success in both countries, despite dislodging the Taliban in Afghanistan and ending the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. In Afghanistan, the reason responsible for the failure of the United States is that in Kabul its main target was Mullah Umar and Osama Bin Laden, both of whom remained elusive despite the retreat of the Taliban.... The latest reports bear testimony to the fact that the valiant Afghan Mujahideen, who probably made a tactical retreat, have again swung into operation. They humiliated the coalition forces and the United States by capturing a district. As far as Iraq is concerned, the resistance fighters scattered across the country are shattering US claims and putting the stamps of their decisions on the "decisive war" of George Bush by inflicting casualties and collateral damages every day. It won't be wrong to say that the United States is at the receiving end in the war against terror. This is the opinion of some of its national observers and of honest observers, internationally. As far as the whopping amount incurred on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of the coalition soldiers are concerned, Washington is suffering irreparable losses on both these counts. The greater damage is the one that cannot be corroborated by statistics, but can only be felt. That is the growing hatred against the United States. The sympathy created in European and non-Muslim countries for the United States following 11th September 2001 attack is slowly turning into a sentiment of hatred. A CIA analyst has also confessed to it. A bi-weekly newspaper has kept an analyst anonymous who puts in his book "Imperial heirs", that the hatred against the United States is ever increasing around the world. It has not specially mentioned Muslim nations but declare s it a prevailing global trend. This is a fact, though this has different shapes in Islamic and non-Islamic countries. Muslims see the condemnable acts of Bush in reference to the anti-Islamic crimes. They are justified in it. Other nations have come to criticize Bush on his methods and violation of human rights. George Bush is at the receiving end also because he failed in his politics of vengeance to target Islamic countries with wars, though the wars have plunged those countries into immense difficulties. Instead, his action has seen a surprise growth in popularity of the Holy Koran and spread of the clear religion. Readers are aware that the Holy Koran is listed among the best sellers. George Bush had targeted the Islamic countries and Islam making a reference to the crusaders. This is proved by the abuses in the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons. But, Almighty Allah has created an aspect of virtue in the worst designs of George Bush. Those who were fed up with Islamic injunction are fast turning to them.
PAKISTAN: "Iraq's Latest Day Of Hell"
The centrist national English-language The News (6/21): "Like the many predictions the United States has been making about Iraq, such as President Bush's famous promise of a "bright future" for the unfortunate country his military had invaded, the anti-insurgent drive with the highfalutin name of "Operation Lightening" appears to have fizzled out just four weeks after it was launched.... Perhaps the most unfortunate element about the Iraqi situation is that there are not even any predictions on when the Americans are going to leave for the carnage to come to an end. One aspect of this is that it is in their interest to keep their exit open-ended. The other is: do they really know when they can leave?"
"Bloodletting In Afghanistan, Iraq"
Leading mass circulation Jang (6/21): "Despite the terming of the freedom struggles of the Muslims of Palestine and Kashmir as terrorism by the U.S. and the European Union, this impression is gaining currency among the international community that now its has become imperative to differentiate between terrorism/violence and struggle for securing legitimate and legal rights. The U.S. has embarked upon a program to bring democratic order all over the world. This is appreciative but its beginnings in Iraq and Afghanistan, where a game of blood and fire is going on, are not very pleasing. Elections were held in Afghanistan and Iraq but the world has now come to know that they were aimed at bringing the U.S. stooges to the power. Despite the presence of thousands of allied forces in these two Islamic countries and the use of most sophisticated and deadly weapons against the unarmed Muslims, the U.S. has failed to see vast support for itself in these two countries."
"U.S. Not Close To Achieving Its Goals In Afghanistan, Iraq"
Pro-Taliban/Jihad Islam opined (6/21): "At the time of launching its attack on Afghanistan on 12 October 2001, the United States had claimed that it would conquer Afghanistan within 72 hours but now three years and eight months have passed after that, the U.S. has yet to establish a firm grip over the situation there. If the elimination of Taliban could be termed as American victory then the continued resistance against the occupation forces is enough to deny this claim. It is the biggest letdown of the U.S. that it has failed to create divisions among the ranks of Taliban."
Urdu Ummat wrote (6/17): "Donald Rumsfeld, who is one of the important characters of the quartet, which imposed wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and spread terrorism around the world, has admitted that America’s credibility is badly damaged and the U.S. is not viewed favorably in several countries. Instead of saying that the cause of this loss of credibility is the barbarism of the U.S. government and its troops, Rumsfeld has said that whenever a country gains power, other countries try to weaken it.... If President Bush and his cronies take a look at the history, they will realize that powers even greater than the U.S. were destroyed in the past. If the U.S. really wants to restore its credibility, it should give up traits like hatred, malice and revenge, and take the path of humanity and nobility."
"The Price Of Occupation"
Karachi-based center-left independent national English daily, "Dawn" editorialized (6/18): "Six more American soldiers were killed in Iraq on Wednesday. Even though this is not the single biggest casualty toll for a day, the deaths have taken the figure for the American dead to over 1,700. And this is not the end of the story, for there is no sign yet of the anarchy in Iraq coming to an end.... One reason that sustains resistance and fuels anger is America’s failure to announce a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops. Earlier this week, a White House spokesman repeated that it was not possible for America to give a withdrawal date.... If America does not want to get bogged down in Iraq, it has no choice but to announce a withdrawal date. Of course, the US cannot quit Iraq in a hurry. An abrupt withdrawal could lead to an explosion of full-blown anarchy, followed, possibly, by a terrible civil war, which could suck in some of Iraq’s neighbors. The safe course for America would be to work for the induction of a UN peacekeeping force to synchronize with the withdrawal of occupation forces. Once the UN force is in place it could organize an election. An electoral exercise held under UN auspices will be considered more credible by the people of Iraq and the world. A continuation of the present situation - which makes the occupation look open-ended - will mean more U.S. casualties, besides agony for Iraq."
"Bush Should Be Prosecuted, Not Saddam"
Karachi based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat declared (6/15): "According to a new Gallup poll, the majority of the American people wants their government to pull the U.S. troops out of Iraq. But President Bush has rejected the opinion of his own people.... Saddam Hussein is being prosecuted in Iraq. Saddam might have committed atrocities but the number of people killed during Saddam regime is much lower than the number of people killed in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the Vietnam war. If Saddam is a criminal, then the U.S. rulers are even bigger criminals. The culprits of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Vietnam are no longer among us but those involved in the crimes against Iraqis are in front of us and they should be put on trial before Saddam is prosecuted. Bush, Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Blair should be standing in the dock because they are the biggest culprits of the mankind today."
"The Old Song Of Zalmay Khalilzad"
Pro Taliban/Jihad daily Islam opined (6/10): "New U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has once again accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists’ camps. He was formerly posted to Afghanistan where too he expressed his hatred and malice against Pakistan on several occasions. Earlier too, Pakistan has protested over the accusations leveled by the Ambassador but the U.S. did not pay any heed to it which proved that all this mudslinging has the tacit support of the U.S. This shows that the U.S. has adopted a carrot and stick policy for Pakistan. On the one hand the officials of U.S. administration praise Pakistan for its role in war on terror and on the other people like Khalilzad do not desist from labeling terror allegations on Pakistan."
"Hatred For The U.S."
Populist Khabrain noted (6/14): "Americans ask, ”Why does the world hate America?” Even George Bush asks this question innocently, but then without waiting to hear the answer or ignoring the answer, America spent about $1.3 billion to end hatred for the U.S. in the Muslim world. TV channels and radio stations were started in Arabic and other languages, movies were made, and famous film stars were sent as representatives of humanitarian programs, books, journals and reports were published. Drums were beaten about the end of Saddam’s regime and the historic ‘elections’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. American Ambassadors visited schools in Muslim countries, distributed chocolates and books among the children, schools were painted and photographs were taken at various social events. All this was done, but the world’s hatred for the U.S. did not lessen, it only continues to increase.... The need is for the learned circles in the U.S. to make their government and the nation -misled by the U.S. media - realize that the only thing the U.S. needs to do to gain popularity in the Muslim world is to use its influence to end atrocities in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir; to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, to stop supporting dictators and to treat Muslims in its own country with dignity."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Bush Needs To 'Pacify' American Public About Iraq"
Afrikaans-language conservative Rapport wrote (6/20): "President George W. Bush will this week start to try reassuring an increasingly restless American public about the course of the war in Iraq," reports Rapport. The current "tidal wave of violence" shook American public opinion. A prominent supporter of the war, Prof. Niall Ferguson, has just warned that "a civil war is already raging in Iraq," and that "the Bush policy in Iraq could still fail". A tug-of-war between the Shiite majority and the Sunnite minority about the constitution-writing process" now further "threatens the difficult road to peace." If these two groups do not reach an agreement, the constitution might not be completed by 15 August as planned, the paper comments. "The current infighting also bodes ill for the referendum on the constitution that is planned for 15 October."
THE GAMBIA: "The Bloodshed In Iraq"
Privaely owned pro-government English-language Banjul Daily Observer editorialized (6/16): "It is hard to understand the rational behind the bloody attacks against Iraqi civilians except to say they are driven by a wild lust for deaths and destruction. It is morally wrong to call the suicide bombings ‘resistance;’ it is unmitigated violence directed at the most vulnerable in society…sadly, neither the American occupiers nor the new regime in Baghdad seems capable of stopping the killings…the international community should come together and put moral pressure on the killers to put an end to the violence."
CANADA: "Don't Tell Them When You're Leaving"
The conservative National Post opined (6/21): "Two Democrat and two Republican congressmen are behind a resolution that would require U.S. troops to begin a staged withdrawal from Iraq next October. Appealing as the proposition may be to a nation emotionally exhausted by its losses in a distant country, the idea makes for terrible military strategy. To broadcast a fixed date of exit would provide the terrorist insurgents who plague the country with a guarantee: So long as they maintain their campaign till the specified date, they will outlast the occupying force tasked with suppressing them.... The best that can be said of the legislators' proposal is that it is an ineffectual sop to constituents who imagine that America can turn its back on the war it started two years ago. Thankfully, the U.S. President, George W. Bush, is a stubborn man who has repeatedly shown his willingness to stand on principle in the face of public skepticism. The administration is therefore unlikely to permit the measure from ever becoming law. None of this is to say that the American military planners should not be privately calculating how and when they might start gradually reducing their military presence in Iraq. But sensible forward planning measures are not the same thing as irresponsible announcements designed to placate an impatient domestic public. Despite its war weariness, the U.S. must continue its campaign in Iraq without fixing any departure date. Only as it becomes clear that Iraq's security apparatus has gained the upper hand should the pullout begin, and even then it must be done in a manner that does not embolden the enemy."
"Rescue In Iraq"
The conservative National Post observed (6/17): "A successful Iraqi-led military operation on Wednesday rescued Australian hostage Douglas Wood from his radical Islamist captors. If nothing else, the fact that Mr. Wood was recovered, alive and without the payment of a ransom, would be cause enough for celebration. What is more significant, however, in the grander scheme of Iraq's transition to a self-ruling democracy, is that he was freed by the Iraqis themselves, with U.S. forces apparently playing only a supporting role and Australian emergency responders merely standing by. If these are the facts, then it represents a turning point for the Iraqi military, which has struggled in the face of the endemic chaos of post-war Iraq.... It is often said that the U.S. is losing the peace in Iraq, and certainly the daily death toll is worrying. Yet, with each passing day, Iraqis are taking more and more responsibility over their own affairs. There are now approximately 169,000 Iraqis serving as soldiers and paramilitary policemen, and approximately 100,000 more are expected to be trained by next summer. The question of whether the U.S. is winning or losing in Iraq is on its way to becoming an obsolete debate. The military victories and defeats there are increasingly Iraqi victories and defeats. The rescue of Douglas Wood qualifies as one of those victories."
BRAZIL: "Empire Of Terror"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo asserted (6/15): "There is practically no day in Iraq without the explosion of an artifact that kills many innocents.... It is hard to ascertain how many civilian Iraqis have died since the beginning of the U.S. intervention.... According to the NGO Iraq Body Count, the total fatal casualties since then would be between 22,000 and 25,000. Such a figure contrasts with what was published by the prestigious British magazine 'The Lancet,' which considers 100,000 deaths a conservative estimate.... There is no doubt that it was the U.S. intervention that launched Iraq into such chaos. One should also observe that the bombs launched by the U.S. are responsible for a significant number of casualties. But those who kill more in Iraq today are the terrorists operating in that nation.... Most deplorable is that there is no prospect of a solution. So far, the emergence of an elected government has not been sufficient to end the violence."
MEXICO: "United States: The Twilight Of The Hawks"
Left-of-center La Jornada editorialized (6/17): "In a way that is sustained although much slower than would be desirable, US political and public opinion sectors are joining together to question the point, intentions, and origins of the criminal, unjust war that the George Bush administration has been waging against Iraq for over two years. As La Jornada reported in yesterday's edition, members of the military in the neighboring country are beginning to realize that the fight against national Iraqi resistance will not be winnable because, among other things, as Colonel Frederick Wellman said in reference to the combatants in the Arab nation: 'When I kill one, I create three.' Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld himself confessed in an interview with the BBC that "security in Iraq has not improved since the fall of (Saddam) Husayn," in April 2003, and that, on the other hand, the image of the US Government has deteriorated throughout the world since then. We should recall that President Bush's conquest venture was repudiated before it began by broad sectors of US society, which led mass demonstrations to try to stop the barbarism in which their country became involved. Today those sectors are spearheaded by relatives of soldiers who died in the Arab nation, not to defend US territory or spread democracy and freedom, as the increasingly implausible official rhetoric proclaims, but rather to maintain a geopolitical oil business that is foreign to the population. Some groups in the political class have joined the opposition to the war. Several Democratic representatives have demanded a thorough investigation of the lies told by Bush and his team to lead their country to war. The legislators have focused on the document known as the Downing Street Memo, written before the invasion, in which British Prime Minister Tony Blair's national security team pointed out that the White House was determined to manipulate the intelligence documents on weapons of mass destruction to justify military intervention. With the growing certainty that Bush wheedled the Congress and the public with lies to create a state of panic that would justify the incursion into Iraq and the defeat of Saddam, the legislators expressed the relevance of beginning impeachment proceedings against the current occupant of the White House. It is appropriate to remember that Richard Nixon, another consummate liar, resigned the presidency to avoid similar legislative proceedings, in the context of Watergate, and that Bill Clinton was close to being removed from office that way because of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. It certainly seems improbable that the Republican majority in both houses would allow Bush to be impeached, but bringing it up at the Capitol is, in itself, a revealing sign of the political deterioration that the US Government is experiencing because of the bloody mess in which Bush involved the country, a mess from which there are no quick or easy exits. It is possible that, as society's discontent grows, the conclusion might spread in the political class in Washington that they should put a stop to the ignorance, arrogance, and immorality that prevail in the White House and have done so much damage to the United States, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Apart from the fairy tales written at the White House to explain the impossibility of stopping the violence in Iraq (like attributing an evil, boundless, and even metaphysical power to the phantasmagoric Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi), it is clear that what is behind the renewed attacks against the occupiers and local puppets is a national desire to resist the invader. That is why the United States and England are never going to win that war and, sooner or later, will have to suffer the humiliation of sitting down to negotiate peace with the insurgents. In the best of all possible worlds, in one in which ethics and international justice go hand in hand, Bush, Blair, and their accomplices, like Jose Maria Aznar and Silvio Berlusconi, would have to be taken to court for crimes against humanity, perpetrated with the occupation of Iraq. Of course, in the real world that will not happen. Nevertheless, we should not rule out the possibility that the US President might be tried and punished in his country for the tricks and lies that he concocted and spread to justify the war.
VENEZUELA: "Bush, Iraq And The Left"
Political analyst Aníbal Romero wrote in leading liberal daily El Nacional (6/15): "How can we explain such senselessness and irrational hatred towards Bush and the United States in general? A significant change has taken place on the international stage. The left, which fought against dictatorships in the past, today prefers Saddam Hussein to Bush. A few American soldiers, disobeying explicit orders, commit acts that go against human rights in an Iraqi jail, and because of that, Amnesty International, contaminated by the left and driven by hatred towards Bush, states that those situations are similar to the Soviet Gulag, where between 20 and 30 million people were killed systematically by socialism. The United States, which was censured for endorsing authoritarianism, now defends freedom and democracy, and the left aligns itself with Islamic fundamentalism. There’s no doubt: the world is changing."
Quezon City Bulgar in Tagalog opined (6/5): Editor's Note: passages within slantlines in English. "/United States authorities/ have denied that its soldiers at /Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp/ have /flushed/ the Koran down the /toilet bowl/ as part of the torture of jailed /Islam believers/. But they have admitted and confirmed that the holy book of the Muslims was sprinkled with URINE [preceding word all caps as published] inside the said /military jail/. This is a very sensitive issue because it could incite a /jihad/ which could involve the entire membership of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OICE) in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan against the United States and Britain. This is even more dangerous because the Unite State is seriously taunting North Korea, Iran and Syria to expand the scope of conflict towards a /full-blown World War III/. In truth, the US-British alliance wants to have a global war to undermine the strength of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) so that they can wrest control of world oil production from this organization. Only a /world war/ can be used by the United States and Britain as an instrument to prevent their countries from going bankrupt. As of now, the United States and Britain control all /oil exports/ from Iraq -- which was the /justification/ used by US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the ongoing war in Baghdad. In the event that the /Coalition Forces/ decide to invade Iran and Syria -- their control over the /oil industry/ would further strengthen. This is also the reason why the United States is supporting Japan's bid to become a /permanent member/ of the United Nations. It will enable them to use the Japanese to invade North Korea which could lead to the feared /World War III/. Let us pray that this scenario will never happen. The Philippines will be in a pitiable condition -- she will again be used by foreign forces.
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