International Information Programs
August 3, 2005

August 3, 2005





**  Editorials see signs of U.S.' "impatient" desire to leave Iraq.

**  The Constitution:  Iraqis are hopeful, but detractors fear emphasis on Islam.

**  Widespread fear of "civil war" encourages speculation on Iraq's relationship with Iran.




'U.S. hopes for early exit from [its] Iraq role?'--  Various papers viewed Secretary Rumsfeld's recent Iraq visit as a sign that the "increasingly anxious" U.S. is "impatient to concretize" Iraqi institutions to find a way out of a security situation that "has been deteriorating steadily."  A few outlets focused on the "latest opinion polls" claiming that Americans "believe they will lose" the war.  So do U.S. soldiers, according to China's official Renmin Ribao.  It alleged that soldiers are becoming "increasingly dubious about the justice of the war," leading them to become "so depressed that some even committed suicide."  One European commentator agreed, claiming that "the good soldiers from America are starting to give up."  Italy's center-right Il Giornale speculated that "all signs point in the direction of a substantial reduction of the U.S. military presence," but Australia's liberal Age advised, "a troop exit strategy should not be seen as a way to cut losses and avoid other unfinished work."              


'Turbulent times' for the constitution--  Iraqi editorialists insisted the constitution should represent the "cultural and religious identity" of the Iraqi people.  "It is the best of us," anti-coalition Al-Mashriq declared, "everything we are and want to be is in that document."  Less optimistic Euro writers contended that "Shia leaders" would use the constitution to "undermine women's rights to divorce, inheritance, and civic equality."  France's communist L'Humanité assailed the document as a move towards "anti-Semitism to renew the bond between factions."  A leftist German outlet claimed the U.S. might find itself "playing midwife to an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship."  Conversely, the elite Jordan Times reasoned that "the issue is rather what interpretation of Islam would serve as the source," and Saudi Arabia's pro-government Saudi Gazette argued, "the Americans still don't understand that the concept of Islam as just a religion does not exist among Muslims....  There are democratic measures that can be applied that would be in full harmony with Shariah [religious law]."


'Iraq needs Iran' to avoid a 'creeping civil war'--  Centrist Euro papers portrayed the Iraq situation as a "volcano" and "time bomb" that "will plunge" the country into "a war without winners and losers, with all fighting all."  Italy's financial Il Sole-24 Ore suggested that "an understanding" between Iraq and Iran might be "useful" in case of "civil war between factions."  Other papers also demonstrated concern for what one called "the 'Iran light' model for Iraq."  Germany's left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau described Iraq's "upcoming cooperation with Iran" as "Washington's nightmare."  Bush and Blair "intervened" in Iraq to create a "balance of power that favors human freedom," said the left-of-center Guardian, but instead they are "in danger" of creating "a balance of power that favors Iran."  Iranian writers instead expected "the outlook for relations" between the two countries to lead to "bright days."


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,


EDITOR:  Erin Carroll


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 80 reports from 25 countries over 16 July - 2 August, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Even When We Leave Iraq, We Face Years Of Blowback"


David Clark, a former Labor government adviser, commented in the left-of-center Guardian (8/1):  "Potentially more worrying still is the emerging politics of post-Saddam Iraq....   The encroachment of Iranian-style theocratic rule has been paralleled by a growing alliance with Tehran in areas such as energy and defense.  It would be wrong to see Iraq's Shia parties simply as instruments of Iran.  But it would also be foolish to ignore the very strong gravitational pull Tehran is likely to exert, for both ideological and strategic reasons, on the fledgling Islamic state to its west.  As the SCIRI leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim said on a recent visit to Basra:  "The great Islamic republic has a very formidable government.  It can be very useful to us, and it has an honorable attitude toward Iraq."  Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab countries remain hostile to Shia rule in Iraq, so it is perhaps inevitable that they will be drawn to the protective embrace of their co-religionists.  All of this presents a grave problem for Bush and Blair.  According to the Bush doctrine they intervened in order to 'create a balance of power that favors human freedom.'  Instead they are in danger of creating a balance of power that favors Iran, a country still deemed to form part of the 'axis of evil.'  The recent victory for the hard-line candidate in Iran's presidential elections and the regime's apparent determination to acquire nuclear weapons compounds the problem.  Bogged down in Iraq and now entirely dependent on the goodwill of its Shia majority to make the place governable, America and Britain have left themselves with few credible options for containing Iran or even influencing its behavior."


War On Terror:  Policies Need To Change Along With The Language"


The independent Financial Times (8/02) editorialized:  "A struggle against violent extremism is a better way of framing the challenge.  Such a struggle is the shared duty of all civilized people.  It offers the prospect of progress short of final victory.  In short, it gets the U.S. out of a war it cannot win.  The U.S. is signaling that it does not see a military solution to every problem, and wants to work with estranged allies, notably France, to isolate extremists."


"The True, Terrible State Of Iraq And The London Link"


Patrick Cockburn commented in the center-left Independent (7/20):  "The need to produce a rosy and quite false picture of Iraq makes it difficult for the U.S.--with Britain trotting along behind--to produce effective policies.  Washington has never admitted to itself that since the summer of 2003 Sunni and Shia Iraqis have both loathed the U.S. occupation.  The much-resented presence of U.S. troops in Iraq has helped fuel the insurgency and tainted Iraqi governments as puppets of the U.S.  In the short term it should be a priority to get American soldiers out of the cities and towns in order to reduce daily friction."


"The True Measure Of The U.S. And British Failure"


The center-left Independent editorialized (7/20):  "The U.S. and British forces, rightly, count their own dead meticulously; they give them flag-draped coffins and military funerals.  Those Iraqis whose lives have been cut short, however, are simply not recognized as casualties of the war.  They are seen, in that disgraceful term, as no more than collateral damage.  Like the pictures from Abu Ghraib, the lack of authoritative figures for Iraqi deaths discredits the elevated humanitarian motives that the U.S. and Britain cited as justification for military action."


FRANCE:  "War In Iraq"


Pascal Boniface in left-of-center Libération (7/29) editorialized:  “If the war in Iraq did not create terrorism, it however developed it.  This war, led in the name of the fight against terrorism, has in fact nourished it, and this is actually what opponents to this conflict feared....  Do we need to remind George W. Bush that he often justified the Iraqi war by asserting that it was better to fight the terrorists there than to see them attack the Western world?....  The absolute priority given to a military answer only ended in more violence and attacks.  And we are going to be asked, because of the attacks, to harden the military response?  Here lies the trap....  If we want the triumph of what we are, then we need to do things that correspond with what we proclaim and we must stop with principles that change with the wind.  Essentially, we should not by our errors, facilitate our enemies’ task.”


“Political Urgency In Iraq”


Yves Pitette commented in Catholic La Croix (7/28):  "We feel that Washington is impatient to concretize the new Iraqi political institutions, to be advanced by way of the referendum in the fall, would be a real victory in the race the against the clock that the Americans and the interim government are leading against the guerilla....  In Washington, one would like to convince (the public) of the perspective of the return of the ‘boys’ when the fall 2006 elections are already looming in the background.  And in Baghdad, one hopes to give the Iraqis the feeling that the adoption of the new institutions will hasten the Americans’ departure....  Iraq is a totally disorganized country where the inhabitants first of all long for having water and electricity.  These objectives require a political consensus, even minor, without which no public service can work.  This is indeed the point that Donald Rumsfeld came to stress in Baghdad.”


"The Job”


Patrick Sabatier wrote in left-of-center Liberation (7/28):  “American forces will leave Iraq only ‘when their job is done’ swears President Bush....  the taboo word ‘withdrawal’ is on everyone’s lips.  In fact, the White House has never stopped getting ready for it....  A majority of Americans have understood that the boys will never be able to ‘win’ the war.  This is not yet a major political risk for Bush.  But he wants to get out, and quickly, of what his generals call ‘muck-up’ as long as it does not look like an American defeat.  He knows that a heavy attack against his troops, an international crisis or the uprising of civil war in Iraq could require him to call for a hasty retreat instead of a progressive and organized withdrawal.  Today, the ‘job’ is only to make this withdrawal feasible.” 


“The Debate On The withdrawal Is Stuck In The United States”


Philippe Grangereau in left-of-center Liberation (7/28) editorialized:  “The good soldiers from America are starting to give up.  A former CIA chief, John Deutch, advocates getting out of the Iraqi trap as soon as possible....  Public opinion still supports the war (at 49%) while 52% of Americans would like their army to stay in Iraq until the country is ‘stabilized’ according to a Pew poll....  If America is still not ready to withdraw from Iraq, it is essentially because this idea is considered anti-patriotic, even within the Democratic opposition.” 


“‘New Iraq’ Closes Its Doors to Jews”


Paul Falzon wrote in communist L’Humanité (7/27):  “One was not expecting miracles from the team in charge of writing the new Iraqi’s constitution considering how tensions between the various communities weaken the political and security balance of the country.  But we were not expecting them to turn on to anti-Semitism to renew the bond between factions....  The majority of delegates have decided to give back the Iraqi nationality to exiles only if they left the country after 1963.  This date is officially that of the first coup d’Etat by the Baath Party....  However it especially unable to exclude thousands and thousands of Jewish citizens who were victims of persecutions and fled Iraq when Israel was created.  Let us hope that the Parliament, which will have the last word on the constitution, will remove this arrangement.”


GERMANY:  "Record Of An Unjustified War"


Joachim Zepelin asserted in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (8/1):  "Tony Blair believes that the terrorists in London only used the occupation in Iraq as an excuse for their attacks.  The roots reach much deeper, the PM said.  With this unclear analysis, Blair dismisses his responsibility for the increasing danger of Islamist terrorism, also in Europe.  It is tedious to repeat that the West's campaign is a failure.  Concerning the rationale, the warfare and the scandals during the occupation, the war is a disaster.  Given that the mistakes from the past have effects on the present, the war coalition must ask itself what role it played in spreading terrorism.  Many experts have warned them before the first shot was fired that the war would fuel the conflict....  Given a dangerous confrontation with the rising Islamist extremism, Blair and Bush have unnecessarily fueled the conflict.  Instead of approaching this region with care and cooperation, they have turned a country that was almost untouched by Islamist terrorism into a breeding ground of radicalism."


"The Circle Is Closing"


Lothar Rühl observed in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/29):  "The Iraqi interim government and its security forces will not be able to replace the foreign troops in the predicable future.  The reasons for it are obvious, but neither the Iraqi rulers nor the Americans can change this. 138,000 American soldiers, only 13,000 fewer than during the peak of the campaign in April 2003, and another 20,000 allied troops of the international coalition are not sufficient for the task of ending the insurgency....  The American military's assessment of the Iraqi army and police's deficits, which were Washington's hope, is also an admission that the U.S. strategy has failed, because the post-war situation has changed from an urban guerrilla to large-scale terrorism....  The terror and the acts of sabotage target Iraqi authorities and the infrastructure, including water and energy plants.  This hits the people in particular and delays the economic recovery and international assistance.  It has become clear that the effect of the attacks is demoralizing, fuels the confrontation between the ethnic groups and triggers unrest.  As a result, the political situation destabilizes further, the government becomes more detached from the people, and the state's reconstruction is delayed."


"The U.S. As Obstetrician Of A New Theocracy"


Martina Doering commented in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (7/27):  "It is only the draft of a draft of the Iraqi constitution, which the government newspaper Sabah published on Tuesday....  However, some paragraphs of the draft are shocking.  Islam is the most important source for lawmakers, it says.  No law must contradict Islam....  The restriction that laws must not contradict democratic principles or basic rights was erased.  Even the Afghan Taliban could not have said this better.  Such a statement is an attack on all Iraqi democrats in general and Iraqi women in particular.  It deals a blow to the members of other religions and the secular Kurds.  The Shiite establishment wants to make clear that they are ruling Iraq.  If they succeed, the U.S. will be the gravedigger of Saddam's secular regime and playing midwife to an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship."


"Rebuilding With The Smell Of Gunpowder"


Rainer Hermann commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/22):  "Shiites and Sunnis stood united against foreign rulers, went to Mosques together and created an impressive civil society until the Baath Party seized power in 1963.  The terrorists are now aiming at destroying this unity and plunging Iraq into a civil war, which would split the country into three parts.  The Great Ayatollah Sistani, who pushed the political process in the past, might be right at the end:  He believes that Islam is the most important link between the ethnic groups in Iraq.  The constitution drafters reflect this opinion by saying that no law must contradict Islam.  This will not impress the terrorists.  It will require stamina and patience to win against them.  The insurgents do not have a uniting ideology or one leader they can follow, but they have an enormous recruiting reservoir in nearby Arab countries.  In the war on terror, it will be decisive whether it will be possible to win the people's trust for their legitimate government.  U.S. media reports that the inhabitants of Falluja are sympathizing with the insurgents again due to the treatment by American and Iraqi soldiers are worrying."




Markus Ziener editorialized in business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (7/22):  "The longer the violence lasts, the more likely will be Iraq's disintegration.  Forces in the north and south increasingly demand to split up with the Sunni triangle.  Indeed, life in the Kurdish territory and the Shiite south is rather peaceful.  Two and a half years after Saddam's end and the beginning of the occupation, violence and insecurity, the desire to establish normal living conditions has become so great that it might soon be more important than to sustain the existence of Iraq's state.   In this respect, the constitution is very important.  Only if a large majority will support the constitution, can it counter the divergent forces.  The new constitution must create an identity and not fuel disputes.  Given the gloomy reality, it should say what Iraq's goal is.   However, without the participation of the Sunnis, the constitution would not be worth anything."


"Iraq Without Sovereignty"


Karl Grobe noted in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (7/22):  "Since the illegal occupation of Iraq, the country turned into something it had never been under Saddam or the military regime.  It is a melting pot, recruiting reservoir and training ground for terrorists from around the world.  The collapse of state structures and the disconnection of the new power in the Green Zone in Baghdad is not the only reason for it.  The brutal appearance of the occupation soldiers and private services' mercenaries, arbitrary arrests, detentions without charges, and the torture not just in Abu Ghraib add up to a long list.  This does not justify terrorism against uninvolved civilians at all, but, looking for a reason for the escalation, we cannot ignore these things.  Iraq looks like a country without state structures, a land without sovereignty.  The upcoming cooperation with Iran--Washington's nightmare--is the end of it.  The intervention has created an almost anarchic situation, which could become dangerous for the world."


"At Square One Again"


Karim el-Gawhary observed in leftist Die Tageszeitung of Berlin (7/22):  "This incident shows how easy it is to derail the fragile political process in Iraq:  Two prominent Sunni members of the committee drafting the constitution were shot in Baghdad and we are back at square one.  All other Sunni members pulled out of the committee, some because they feared for their lives and others because they were angry about the bad protection they get, which led to the death of their colleagues....  The drafters of the Iraqi constitution are now facing ruins....  If they now continue their work without the Sunnis, they might meet the deadline but the constitution will not be legitimate without the Sunnis.  A referendum, which would also be hold in the Sunni part of the country, would probably fail.  But if the drafters no try to get the Sunnis on board again, precious time will be lost.  This would endanger the entire timetable for the political process.  But for many Iraqis, the elections are the last hope to break the circle of violence and to avoid a civil war."


"Iraq Constitution"


Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/21) wrote:  "The fact that Sunni members have now turned their backs to the Iraqi Constitutional Commission is not only a reaction to the most recent killings but also an expression of the stalemate in which the negotiations between Kurds and Shiites are.  Under these circumstances, it is likely that the Sunni people will not accept the constitutional draft.  That is why it is less important that all sides involved stick to the formal timeframe, which the preliminary Basic Law has imposed on the commission.   It is decisive that this process gains credibility, legitimacy and transparency.  A dead born draft constitution would hardly contribute to the hoped for containment of violence in the country. That is why the Iraqis should postpone the presentation of the constitution by six months rather than presenting a draft that will not be supported by the majority of the population."




Thomas Kielinger commented in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (7/19):  "Tony Blair must worry about his Iraq policy as much as about the destiny of the terrorized country of Iraq.  Three soldiers died this weekend due to a roadside bomb, increasing the British death toll to 92 since the beginning of the invasion.  Can you keep course unmoved and deploy troops without an exit strategy given this record?  The question focuses on a central aspect of policy-making:  the management of public psychology.  In England, this requires a flexible response to the quagmire in Iraq.  It must not look like running away in panic of terrorism....  In the interview with CNN, (British) Defense Secretary Reid only talked about a process that could begin in the next 12 months.  That is something different from the decision to pull out.  There will be no withdrawal as long as the Iraqi government is unable to guarantee the security in the country."


ITALY:  “Politics Of Smiles Is Over, Khomeini Style Is Back”


Vanna Vannuccini in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (8/1) editorialized:  “The tones have undoubtedly changed.  Not since the days of Imam Khomeini have we seen such tough positions on the part of Iran.  Khatami’s smiles had made us forget them....  In order to find out whether or not substance is going to change, we will have to wait until September, when the new Iranian president…will make his nuclear program publicly known.  The Europeans were hoping to have the negotiations last until then, so they could get an idea of [the nature of] Ahmadinejad, so far inscrutable for everybody.  But he deprived them of this possibility.  Iran feels stronger than ever.  The visit to Tehran by Iraqi Prime Minister Jafari has shown that Iranian theocrats are the real winners of the war in Iraq.  Iraq needs Iran in order to avoid sinking even further into chaos.  Ahmadinejad, however, has his own Achille’s heel:  17 million Iranians voted him because he promised to fight poverty.  In order to do that, he needs trade and major investments, and all of that can come from Europe and, in the end, from the United States.”


“The Baghdad-Tehran Axis Infuriates The U.S.”


Anna Guaita wrote in center-left daily Il Messaggero (8/1):  “The new Iraqi government is establishing diplomatic, economic, and political relations with neighboring Iran.  If officially the Americans say they are happy about this, in the halls of the White House the feelings are reportedly of profound anger.  The fact that the new Iraq is increasingly linking itself with a country that, according to the Bush Administration, is part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ is essentially a slap in the face.  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hinted at that…when he underlined that it would be 'harmful' if Iranian influence grew in Iraq....  Another element that irritates the Americans is the fact that Iranian Islamic leader, Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, invited the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs for an official visit, but has never wanted to meet with U.S. envoys.  Fortunately, Al-Sistani has already proved not to be a fundamentalist like Khomeini.  However, it is a fact that, while drafting the Constitution, the Iraqis are adopting aspects of the Islamic law with an Iranian ‘flavor,’ that diminish the rights of women and religious minorities.”


“Large Part Of U.S. Troops Out By Mid-2006”


Mario Sechi from Rome in pro-government, leading center-right daily Il Giornale (7/28) wrote:  “The Constitution by mid-August and an initial substantial withdrawal of U.S. troops by mid-2006.  These are the Pentagon’s objectives in Iraq.  Yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld made a trip to Baghdad and asked the Iraqis to approve the Constitution by August 15.  ‘A delay would be a mistake, now is the time to make progress,’ stated the Secretary of Defense, who is more than ever determined to respect the White House’s timetable…. It is still too early to talk about a turning point, but all signs point in the direction of a substantial reduction of the U.S. military presence.  In order to thwart this plan and continue to make Iraq the ‘flashpoint’ of the clash with the West, al-Qaida has shifted its attacks from the civilians.  But according to some experts, al Qaida is nearing its end.”


“Zarqawi’s Sentence - Algerian Diplomats Killed In Iraq”


Gian Micalessin wrote in pro-government, leading center-right daily Il Giornale (7/28):  “Once again Abu Moussab Zarqawi showed no mercy.  Yesterday, following a surprise visit to the Iraqi capital by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a website...announced the killing of an Algerian charge d’affaires and his deputy....  The true motive for the brutal execution is the bloody war launched by Zarqawi’s group against the diplomatic representatives of Arab and Muslim countries.  The war aims to hinder the installation of Arab ambassadors and to delay for as long as possible the official recognition of the new Iraqi government formed after last January’s elections....  Meanwhile, on the political front, the Assembly, which appears incapable of reaching an agreement on the new draft Constitution, continues its work.  Not even the surprise visit of the U.S. Defense Secretary seems to have helped much.”


“The Sunnis Return, Foreigners Flee”


An article in elite, center-left daily Il Riformista (7/27):  “The offensive against embassies that do not have the privilege of being housed within the armor of the green zone continues with success.  The inability of the Iraqi government and U.S. forces to assure safety to diplomats, whose presence is considered essential to legitimize the new Iraq, is a clear sign of impotence....  The lack of security...could slow the difficult process of reconstructing a normal network of diplomatic relations.  The situation could now get completely out of hand:  a report from the U.S. Department of Defense warns that in order to the strengthen their ranks, the Iraqi police are recruiting men without background checks.  The result, the Pentagon denounces, is that criminals and rebels are infiltrating police forces.  The Iraqi government, on its part, has accused Syria of not doing enough to stop extremists who cross the border to plan actions in Iraq.”


“Useless To Delude Ourselves, An August Of Bloodshed To Burn Gaza And The Iraqi Constitution”


Center-left daily Il Riformista (7/25) editorialized:  “It is likely that August will be filled with bloodshed....  The double deadline in August explains the ferocious upsurge of attacks in London and Egypt....  The al-Qaida and Jihad movements ‘cannot allow’ Iraq to succeed in achieving...the constitutional charter by August 15, hence the attacks against the countries who have forces in Iraq, and the...kidnappings and elimination of ambassadors from moderate Muslim countries that have recognized Al Jafaari’s that everyone understands that they must break off relations.”


"Iran And Iraq -- The Shiite Card"


Prominent foreign affairs commentator Franco Venturini commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (7/20):  "The resumption of political dialogue between Baghdad and Tehran is part of a category of high-risk bets:  it is has the capability to contribute to stability in the area, but also the ability to accentuate the instability by further complicating the fight against terrorism....  No one overlooks that Tehran’s good disposition is influenced by last month’s election of the ultra-radical Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and above all by the determination of the new president to pursue Iran's race toward nuclear [programs].  Therefore, we can sense two possible outcomes of the game that has just begun.  In the positive scenario, Iran will reach an agreement with European negotiators for the civil use of atomic energy...and will encourage Iraqi Shiite retrieval of Sunnis, reducing the ability of local terrorism to operate (facilitating the exit strategy of foreign troops).  In the negative scenario, the nuclear agreement will not be reached, the confrontation between Tehran and the Europeans and Americans will become tougher, and in Iraq it will be easy to fuel the fire of a creeping civil war that is already under way and capable of fragmenting the country."


“Iraq-Iran, Peace Breaks Out”


Alberto Negri in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (7/19) wrote:  “There is still no official peace agreement between Iran and Iraq, but Jaafari’s trip marks a historical turning point between two countries that in the 80s confronted each other in the bloodiest war of the Middle East....  The warm embrace reserved by the ayatollahs for Jaafari is not surprising: as the leader of the religious party Dawa, the premier remained in exile for ten years in Iran.  This is also one of the most predictable geopolitical consequences following the fall of Saddam who for thirty years represented the continuity of power for the Sunni minority in Iraq to the detriment of the Shiite majority and the Kurds.  The difficult balance among religious and ethnic components remains the focal point of the Iraqi national issue: the scales are tipped in favor of the Shiites and Iran is playing its cards by supporting a friendly government....  Regarding security, Tehran has placed on the table the arrest of 200 Al Qaeda members and the promise to block the infiltration of terrorists along its borders.  In exchange it is asking for the head of the Mujahedeen Khalq, the anti-Iranian formation supported by Saddam that is currently working with the Americans.  It is an understanding aimed to contain the guerrillas, but useful also in the worst case scenario: the degeneration of Iraq’s instability into a civil war between factions.”


RUSSIA:  "Rumsfeld In Iraq"


Andrey Zlobin reported in reformist Vremya Novostey (7/28):  “Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Iraq after his urgent trip to Kyrgyzstan.  The visit to Iraq was absolutely necessary, as the transitional government is dragging its feet on writing the new constitution, the draft of which is due August 15.  A delay is deadly; we have troops here; people get killed, the Defense Secretary said yesterday.  Coming from Rumsfeld, that statement sounded new.   Previously, on more than one occasion he had said he was sorry about the casualties, but never tied them to the tasks at hand.  He does now, as the Americans’ losses in Iraq grow by the day.”


"Pentagon Chief Makes Constitutional Visit to Iraq"


Maksim Makarychev reported in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (7/27):  "Rumsfeld came primarily to urge the Iraqis to adopt their constitution as soon as possible.  In the past few days clouds have begun to gather over this important document.  The constitution is being drafted by a committee which unites representatives of the three leading forces in the country:  Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds.  Early in the week 12 of its Sunni members declared a boycott of the committee session in protest at the killing of two of their colleagues.  With great difficulty they were persuaded to continue work on the drafting of the constitution.  It became known recently that there are as yet insurmountable differences between the Kurds and the Sunnis over the content of Iraq's future fundamental law....  Naturally, against this background the Pentagon chief's visit to Iraq was extremely important to the Americans.  And it is no accident that at his meeting with the Iraqi leadership the first thing the head of the US defense department did was to urge the Iraqis to complete work on the draft Iraqi constitution on time.  'We do not want any delays,' Rumsfeld said categorically, making it clear the Americans will not stand aloof from the constitution drafting process."


"Gloom Over The Horizon"


Viktor Ruchkin concluded in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (7/20):  "The escalation of violence, the growing toll of civilian lives, the kidnapping and killing of journalists, diplomats and businessmen make one wonder about the ability of the Iraqi authorities and the multinational forces to ensure law, order, and security in Iraq.  Other serious, if less visible, problems include the degradation of the country’s infrastructure and waning respect for law and traditional values....  Ethnic and confessional strife, primarily between the Kurds and Arabs, causes special concern....  As the conflict grows worse, it may split the ruling coalition.  With the central government shunning the explosive issue, extremists in the provinces feel free to 'restore historical justice,' a euphemism for ethnic cleansing.  This is a time bomb that may explode one day, especially as Iraqis are under pressure from those who engage in provocative activities, killing religious leaders and blowing up mosques and Christian shrines.  Once the bomb goes off, the country will plunge into a full-scale civil war, a war without winners and losers, with all fighting all.  A chain reaction will follow, causing the escalation of tension both in the region and beyond, spreading the 21st century’s plague, international terrorism."


“The Axis Of Evil As The Second Pole”


Andrey Kolesnikov commented in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (7/19):  “The Iran-Iraq talks are a milestone on the way to the multipolar world all countries aspire to, save the United States, which is a pole already.  To think of it, the world is better off, looking more harmonious and stable, when it has one pole.  I can easily imagine a harmonious unipolar world, even though no one likes it....  It is harder with a bipolar world because the Soviet Union is gone.  But you cannot--speaking of myself, I wouldn’t want to--visualize a multipolar world because, if you do, you will soon see Iran, Iraq and North Korea in it.  Or, could it be that we want the axis of evil as a second pole, in order to feel sure of the morrow?


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Justice For Saddam"


Zbynek Petracek stated in intellectual weekly Respekt (7/29):  "Iraqi institutions are under pressure to hasten the trial of Saddam Hussein.  Naturally, a quick court process ending with a death penalty would be welcomed by most Iraqis, especially by the Shiites and Kurds.  However, shouldn't we show the world, that even under violence and day-to-day terror it is justice and rules that are the most important for the slowly awakening country?  If somebody considers this to be a weakness let us remind them of the post-communist world fifteen years ago.  Who was tried and sentenced?  Only the small fry, the [communist] system was spared.  Iraqi judiciary wants to judge the whole system, not only demonstratively hang Saddam.  This principled approach should earn it high credit, because they seek justice not punishment.  Not a bad start to their hard earned freedom."


"Iraq, A Land Of Death"


Vladimir Kucera observed in mainstream MF Dnes (7/19):  "Recent events in Iraq clearly support the idea that the allies with the Americans in the lead were able to win the war against the Iraqi dictator, but are not able to 'win the peace.'  Furthermore, they are in a trap--their presence in Iraq legitimizes for many of the local inhabitants the 'resistance movement', but what will happen if they leave?  Will the local authorities, who, whether they like it or not, are connected with them, survive?  Or will the ravaged country finally become a base of terrorist infighting?  Events of the last few days support the second possibility.  This would be a great defeat for the Americans.  To get rid of Saddam and thereby build a base for terrorists would be a disaster from which George Bush could not extricate himself without a dramatic loss of prestige....  The terrorists are proving that they are not interested in freedom for Iraq, but rather destabilizing the equilibrium of the entire world.  And furthermore, it is hard to believe that after the departure of the American troops, they would meekly acknowledge the right of the Iraqi citizens to determine their own future....  The American departure and the resulting fall of the freely elected Iraqi government would represent a significant strengthening of all terrorist organizations." 


GREECE:  "Islamic Terrorism:  Without a Happy End."


Writing in top circulation weekly To Proto Thema (7/31) political analyst and pollster Yiannis Loulis commented:  "When the British Ambassador said in 2004 that the American president is the best recruiter for al-Qaida, he hit the heart of the problem of Islamic terrorism and its support.  Since the 1950's to September 11, 2001, mistakes of U.S. foreign policy created the conditions for the emergence of Islamic terrorism....  George Bush did not concentrate on the causes of terrorism.  Surrounded by Christian fundamentalists he transformed the 'war on terror' into a 'crusade' aimed at the Muslim world.  His neocon advisors were identified not with Israel, but Sharon's nationalistic Likud.  The strategic objective was full U.S. domination in the Middle East and the oil-rich areas.  So, the invasion in Iraq was planned based on false excuses... but the occupation of Iraq released a Pandora's box.  Instead of being contained, Islamic terrorism was revived.  The Bush argument that Muslims hate Western freedoms and democracy is naive.  What they hate is U.S. policy--the policy that violates international law, humiliates Muslims, assists Sharon, supports corrupt Muslim dictatorships--allies of the U.S., eternalizes Iraq's occupation, and 'produces' Islamic terrorists.  The only solution is the solution of the Palestinian issue and the democratization of the Middle East, which, in this phase will pass through moderate Islamic governments that will be opponents of the U.S. and Bin Laden at the same time.  As long as the Bush policy does not change, blind violence will be recycled, without the prospect of a happy end."


IRELAND:  “Iraq's Self-Rule Option”


The center-left Irish Times (7/28) editorialized:  “The project of writing a constitution for Iraq that would give legitimacy to its rulers is reaching a crescendo....  Major issues divide the negotiators. The role of Islamic law is a central question, after a leaked draft clause proclaimed that ‘Islam is the official religion of the state and the main source of legislation’.  Many fear this would be used by Shia leaders to undermine women's rights to divorce, inheritance and civic equality, reversing a positive achievement of the Saddam Hussein regime.  The emergence of such a strong Islamic component certainly cuts across all the expectations of U.S. leaders who promoted the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  The last thing on their mind was that it would end up as the Islamic Republic of Iraq.  Whether Iraq will be a federal or a unitary state is also central.  The Kurdish parties insist they must have federal autonomy for their region, including control of natural resources.  Shia parties are increasingly sympathetic to them and have now broached the prospect of a federal region in the south of Iraq.  But this has reinforced the determination of Sunni parties to resist a federation on the grounds that it would break up the country.  They are fiercely opposed--and the only way to wean them off this hostility may be to postpone....  Sunni resistance will not be overcome unless political talks on the constitution are directly linked to progress towards a genuine restoration of Iraqi self-rule.  That means withdrawing foreign troops according to a timetable.  Yesterday's remarks by US representatives that they hope to see a substantial reduction in their troop levels next year may be a step on the way to recognizing this fundamental reality.”


TURKEY:  “U.S. Priorities In Iraq”


Cengiz Candar commented in the conservative DB Tercuman (7/29):  “Peter Galbraith, the number one U.S. expert on the Kurds, believes that the Shiites’ constitutional draft contains elements that could turn Iraq into an Islamic Republic....  The Shiites’ draft is anti-Semitic, according to Galbraith, because it deprives Jews in Iraq of rights granted to other groups.  It also grants rights to Ayatollah Sistani similar to those given to Khomeini in the first decade of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Kurdistan leaders are insisting on a federal structure, in which they will be able to maintain a secular, western-oriented political regime even if other parts of Iraq fall under the control of religious parties....  Galbraith says that the Kurds see a strong, autonomous Kurdistan as the best obstacle against expanding Iranian influence in Iraq.  The Kurds want to be in a position to turn their back on a constitution that is not liberal and is too centralized.  Galbraith acknowledges, however, that the Kurds are facing intensive pressure from the Bush Administration to meet the constitutional deadline of August 15....  It is clear that the Americans’ priority in Iraq is the Shiites, not the Kurds.  This priority has a lot to do with regional jockeying between the U.S. and Iran.” 


“Iraq’s Two Options:  Division By Civil War Or Consensus By Constitution”


Cengiz Candar wrote in conservative, mass-appeal DB Tercuman (7/28):  “The terrorist acts in London and Sharm Al Sheikh have shocked the public around the world.  In fact, the death toll in these incidents would only make an average day in Iraq.  What is going on in Iraq can now be described as a low-intensity civil war.  It seems that the current situation in Iraq is turning from a Sunni-based insurgency against American occupation forces into a war between Shiite and Sunni groups....  Currently Iraqi Shiites are working intensively to establish an Iraqi Islamic Republic, over which they hope to gain full control.  Those who remain strongly opposed to the Shiite efforts are the Kurds, even though some in Turkey remain ‘allergic’ to them....  But in addition to their opposition to the ‘Iran light’ model for Iraq, the Kurds are also seeking a federal structure.  The Kurds’ interpretation of federalism is not based only on geography.  It also has a strong ethnic tone.  Turkey is watching these developments, but remains confused and indecisive.  This is because Ankara has still failed to develop a vision for the Middle East, and for Iraq in particular.”


“The Third World War”


Okay Gonensin commented in the mass appeal Vatan (7/25):  “Acts of radical Islamist terrorists do not respect concepts such as ‘innocent people’ and ‘rules of engagement.’  The possibility of killing Muslims does not even occur to the terrorrists.  They strongly believe in a fight for the cause, and they are eager to die for it.  They believe that they are going to be martyrs, and that any Muslims who die because of their bombings will go to heaven as well.  The civilized world cannot possibly find anything rational about attacks carried out with such a mentality.  Radical Islam used to work for the destruction of the Soviet Union and the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan.  The radical Islamists were trained and supported for that purpose by the Western powers, particularly by the Americans.  Political Islam was resurrected by the Americans, who believed in the ‘green belt’ theory at that time.  They never figured that what they were playing with would form the basis for today’s war.  We are currently in the Third World War.  Today's war is with radical Islam was caused by American policies.”


"The Capability Of Iraq"


Zafer Atay commented in the economic-social Dunya (7/20):  "According to U.S. General Myers, Iraq is a sovereign country, and Turkey cannot conduct a cross-border operation without Iraq’s approval.  Myers is a respectable soldier but his words about Iraq must be a joke.  Iraq has a government on paper.  Everybody knows very well that no one in Iraqi institutions, including its army and police force, can even tie his shoes without the approval of the United States....  On the other hand, the U.S. continues to experience big troubles in Iraq.  Northern Iraq is the only Iraqi area where the American army can get some relief.  American soldiers and Kurdish militia have control over this area.  The northern Iraqi administration does not obey anything that comes from the central authority.  The terrorists in this area are encouraged and armed by some Kurdish groups.  Terrorist leaders there continue to carry out attacks comfortably while Turkey’s call for their capture remains unnoticed.  Osman Ocalan, one of the terrorist leaders, was making a significant remark by calling the U.S. an ally....  Given the current situation, there are two possibilities ahead:  Turkey enters into northern Iraq and conducts a hot pursuit without any interference, or the Turkish army faces a challenge in northern Iraq by the 'peshmerge forces' of Barzani and Talabani as well as from American marines (sic).  In that case, the Turkish army advances by clashing with them.  If that happens, the fiction about 'a clash between the Turkish and American army' will come true, which will eventually destroy the strategic partnership and NATO.  I wonder if Washington still wonders about the reasons behind its not being liked in Turkey."


"Scenarios Regarding Iraq"


Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist Ortadogu (7/20):  "The future of Iraq can be summed up in three scenarios.  The first one is about the eventual division of Iraq, which seems very possible given the current situation.  The second possibility is a unified Iraq that manages to absorb demands from the north.  The last possibility is about reshaping the whole region.  In any case, the expansion of Kurdish influence and the growing Kurdish autonomy constitute a major concern for Turkey and for its neighbors.  However, Turkey should not rely on a firm reaction from its neighbors about a Kurdish state in the long run.  As for the future of Turkish-American relations, it heavily depends on Ankara's possible actions regarding northern Iraq as well as Washington's policy for the area.  The developments in this area will shape future ties between Ankara and Washington that could either bring the sides even closer or create breaks."


“The Importance Of Northern Iraq”


Erdal Guven commented in the conservative “DB Tercuman” (7/19):  “The evasive statements by the Iraqi Interior Minister indicate the difficulty for Turkey in trying to get permission for a cross-border operation against the PKK.  But it is impossible for Turkey to eliminate terrorism without wiping out the terrorist camps in northern Iraq.  Turkey used to take counter-measures in advance when the Turkish army controlled 70 kilometers along the Iraqi border.  But this situation no longer exists.  Iraq is doing nothing to stop PKK terrorism.  Instead, the PKK is being given shelter and encouragement from the Barzani administration.  Given the current situation, Turkey must start an operation in northern Iraq immediately.  The Turkish military should position itself in northern Iraq so that the PKK’s growing terrorism can be countered in a timely fashion.”


"The Alliance of Civilizations”


Mim Kemal Oke wrote in the conservative HO Tercuman (7/18): “The current period in world affairs offers a clear dilemma.  On the one hand, the U.S. seeks to establish full control over the international system.  But the sole superpower has failed to bring stability to Iraq, and continues to be criticized all around the world.  On the other hand, the US effort to shape the world is facing both global terror and a global social opposition.  But this social opposition remains weak and inefficient next to the growing force of terrorism.  Given the current circumstances, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s initiative for the ‘alliance of civilizations’ is an important development.  Annan’s project is different from the US effort to transform a conflict of civilizations to peace between civilizations.  The term ‘alliance’ emphasizes that the initiative falls outside of the U.S. purview.  Turkey and Spain will be the hosts of this very important project.  Its success will provide a philosophical basis for Turkish diplomacy.




ISRAEL:  "Terrorists For Occupation"


The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in International Affairs Center, columnist Barry Rubin, wrote in conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (7/26):  "We have become used to much of the world's willingness to accept, excuse and even sympathize with Arab nationalist and radical Islamist terrorism against Israel.  In this case, the situation is distorted so that the victims become the accused.  But when the same thing happens regarding the mass murder of Arab Muslims, it gets really scary....  Israel has been remarkably restrained given the ordeal it has faced, notwithstanding the misinformed perceptions of much of the world.  Iraqi Shiites may act differently when they are eventually unleashed on their foes as the Americans start to leave....  Iraqis should not be surprised at Arab indifference to their suffering, since the same  quarters celebrated former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as a great Arab hero while he was torturing and murdering millions of his countrymen.... Who are the new murderers being glorified as Arab and Islamic heroes?  They are a combination of Saddam loyalists, Sunni communal nationalists who view killing Shiites as their highest duty, and radical Islamists who want to plunge Iraq into still another hell.  Then there are the many young men being lured to their deaths by inebriation on a steady diet of propaganda from those who make a good living from such deception.  What hope can there be for progress in the Arab world, or peace in the region, when such things are happening at an increased pace and the voices of sanity are so few and far between?"


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Democracy Or Shoura?  Middle East Wrestles With Whether American Principles Are Compatible"


Suzan Zawawi commented in Jedda's English-language Saudi Gazette (7/25):  "As the Iraqi government continues to hammer out a constitution that resembles less than what American authorities had in mind and closer to the tenets of Shaira law, many Middle East countries ponder what a Western-style democracy would mean to them.  And the consensus among Arabs, especially Saudis, could very well disappoint U.S. President George Bush, whose Middle East agenda starting with the invasion of Iraq is to offer democracy to Islamic nations....  The draft of the new constitution guarantees equal rights for women as long as those rights do not violate Shariah....  The Americans still don't understand that the concept of Islam as just a religion does not exist among Muslims.  Islam is a way of life making it a vital source for their laws and legislations, said Dr. Abdullah Al-Heedan, a political analyst and political science professor at King Saud University....  Many Saudis on the streets agree.....  Western-style democracy and equality was not accepted by many Saudis, not even Saudi females.  'Yes, I want to drive, have my own business and career but I want all that under Shariah law and it is possible to achieve that,' said Fadaak, a Saudi women.  There are democratic measures that can be applied that would be in full harmony with Shariah and which would be acceptable to the majority of Saudis such as fair and equal demographic representation at the Shoura Council, for the Shoura Council to legislate, not just advise and steps in this direction have already been taken by the Saudi government. 


"Unfair Treatment Of Kidnapped Diplomats"


Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (7/23):  "The scenario of kidnapping diplomats in Iraq renewed discussion of the use of sending envoys to a city that has taken murder as a slogan and bombing as a daily meal.  Kidnapping diplomats and other innocent people remains a black spot in the record of those who raise the slogans of resistance....  All parties have treated ambassadors badly when they deserted without sufficient security.


"The War Of Diplomacy"


The conservative Al-Madina (7/23) editorialized:  "Assassinating the envoys is like assassinating peaceful diplomacy.  The same voices that condemned the kidnapping and killing the Egyptian envoy are now condemning and deploring the kidnapping of Algerian charge d'affaires.  Both acts could not be a coincidence.  They seem to be a planned war against diplomats.  If it is meant to frighten diplomats and countries, it is also depriving Iraq of the world.  With whom is Iraq going to communicate tomorrow and who is going to support Iraq?


"No Substitute For Collective Work To Combat Terrorism"


Jeddah's moderate Okaz (7/19) editorialized:  Stability and security are not only an Iraqi concern.  They are regional concerns related directly to the security of neighboring countries.  Strict border controls should be carried out to prevent infiltration of insurgents into and out of that war-torn country.  Closer cooperation among neighboring countries is needed to be siege and wipeout terrorism for the safety and security of the whole world."


"Iraq And The Neighboring Countries"


Jeddah's conservative Al Nadwa (7/19) editorialized:  "The situation in Iraq is of great concern to her neighboring countries.  Saudi Arabia was the first country to ensure the safety of its borders against the infiltration of the terrorists.  Great things are expected out of the meeting of interior ministers of the Iraq’s neighboring counties in Istanbul.  A regional plan is needed to prevent terrorism and control borders."


"Is There Any Stance?"


Jeddah's Conservative Al Madina (7/19) editorialized:  "The U.S. forces are claiming and promising to protect civilians and help Iraqis.  If the Iraqi forces lack experience and are incapable of stopping the bloodshed, then where are the invaders who overthrow Saddam and his regime?


ALGERIA:  “U.S. Poll Indicates Most Americans Skeptical about Winning the War in Iraq


Independent French-language El Watan (7/31) commented:  “We thought they were on vacation and therefore absent from politics, if just for a while, but Americans, who already surprised (us) in June, are still surprising us.  After having badly, and even very badly, graded their country's Administration with their view that launching a war against Iraq had been a mistake, here they are expressing a frankly disconcerting pessimism compared to what they had thought just several months ago.  Indeed, the majority of Americans believe that their country will not win the war in Iraq and will not be able to establish a democratic government in that country.  That was revealed yesterday by a poll conducted by ‘USA Today-CNN-Gallup.’  There is no need for analysis or speeches, only facts count.  Until now--that is, since March 2003--this war has not been a walk in the park, and the risk is much greater than what has been described."


”What Is Behind Arabization Of The War In Iraq?”  


Echourouk El Youmi (7/31), an Arabic-language newspaper with a medium circulation, commented:  "Al-Zarqaoui preaches the killing of Americans and the British, together with Iraqi and Arabs, because they are either infidels, immoral, or colonizers deserving to be killed, or supporters or collaborators of the colonizer deserving to be killed....  This is called a (jihad) for one's country!  Arab leaders whose countries are bombed and whose people are killed because they either support the colonizer or keep silent...are gathering in Charm El Cheikh and making a (fatwa) for Bush, Sharon, and Blair in which they say:  the one who kills innocent people in Baghdad, London, and Charm El Cheikh is considered a terrorist even if he fights colonizing forces in Kabul and Baghdad.  It seems that Americanized Arabs are looking for a cover to send Arab forces to Iraq as a substitute for American troops, which equates to an Arabization of the War in Iraq."


"Algerian Diplomats Targeted"


The principal Arabic-language independent El Khabar (7/23) commented:  “No one expected that Algerian diplomats or citizens in Iraq would be targeted from any side.  The (Algerian) diplomat (before the kidnapping) spontaneously commented on the reason for this when he said to several of his relatives that there was no need to carry weapons despite the deteriorating security situation in Baghdad because he believed that no one, including resistance groups, would target him.  The reality, in addition to Algeria's remoteness from the theater of events in Iraq, is that Algeria’s official and popular position towards the distress that this country has experienced has not changed.  (It has remained the same) from the day when Algeria rejected the Iraqi invasion in March 2003 (everyone recalls that Algerians called upon French President Chirac during his visit to Algeria a few days before the invasion to use the right of 'veto’ in the Security Council to stop the U.S. decision to wage war against Iraq) to the present day when Algeria continues to refuse to participate in what is referred to as a 'coalition.'  (Algeria has also continued) to call for respect of Iraqi sovereignty and to work for strengthening the sovereignty and stability of the Iraqi people....  The failure of both the Iraqi government and the Coalition Forces to achieve a minimum degree of security even for diplomats confirms the existence of an effective party in the Iraqi equation that wishes to pressure Algeria, which plays a significant role on the Arab scene and which has assumed the rotating Arab League presidency, to adopt another position regarding the situation in Iraq, or worse yet to support a specific party.”


"War Against Terrorism"


Independent, economic La Tribune (7/23) commented:  “Algeria has openly declared war against terrorism and against all those who practice it, finance it, and support it in one way or another.  Al-Qaida has attempted to make Algeria one of its bases but in vain.  Algeria has declared its opposition to murders and kidnappings of civilians in Iraq, whatever their nationality, confession, or function.  Today, Algeria is hurt to its flesh with the kidnapping of two of its sons in Baghdad.  It will not spare any official or unofficial effort to guarantee their security and liberate them.  This is another national test that must confirm the cohesiveness of Algerians, who are being called upon to transcend divisions in order to unite against all attacks coming from abroad, as they did against terrorism.”  


"Iraq Has Changed"


The principal French-language Le Quotidien d’Oran (7/23):  “Do we have to send Algerian diplomats to Iraq?  Considered for years as a friend and non-hostile country for Algerians, Iraq has changed.  If the ambiguous position towards the Iraqi government of Iyad Allaoui has not affected the relationship of Algiers with the Americans, the kidnapping of the two diplomats has revealed a trail of connections between Zarqaoui and the GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat)....  The allegiance of the Algerian GSPC of Emir Abdelouadoud, a.k.a. Abdelmalek Droukdel, to the group of Abou Mossab Al-Zarqaoui, was confirmed in a piece of correspondence from May 18th in which the GSPC paid tribute to operations being carried out by units of Zarkaoui.  ‘Since the American invasion, the GSPC has exploited the sending of Algerian volunteers to Iraq via Syria to infiltrate Salafist units who went to support al-Qaida networks or to perfect their training before returning to Algeria,’ explained a security source, who says that 200 Algerian 'jihadists’ have transited Damascus according to consular estimates....  The targeting of Algerian diplomats has also set people talking in diplomatic circles.  At the Algerian Foreign Ministry, the issue of sending diplomats to Iraq was not a priority from the moment when the Algerian diplomatic mission in Jordan became responsible for assuring Algeria’s weak interests in Iraq.  Some observers have attributed Algeria's diplomatic presence (in Iraq) to strong U.S. pressures on Algeria and other Arab capitals to maintain diplomatic representations in order to give credibility to the new Iraqi institutions that are subservient to Washington.”


"No Explanation"


Independent and influential Liberte (7/23) editorialized:  “Algeria has always worried about the sovereignty and the integrity of Iraq, as Minister of State Abdelaziz Belkhadem pointed out.  We have not found any explanation to explain this kidnapping, especially since we have links of brotherhood with the Iraqi people....  'We have always supported the integrity of Iraq, with which we have always maintained exemplary relations, ’the Minister declared.  ‘It is an astonishment coupled with a severe condemnation,’ he added.  But do we really have to be stunned by this sad event?  Actually, Belkhadem's analysis does not take into account the connections between one faction of the Iraqi rebellion and armed Algerian groups.  Do we have to point out that the GSPC was created in 1998 at the initiative of Ben Laden, who exerts his influence on the anti-American resistance in Iraq?  It is impossible to dissociate the fate of the two Algerian diplomats from this relationship.  What is astonishing is to have underestimated this factor and to have allowed the diplomats to remain without security within the diplomatic representation, even though they had been reduced to just a symbolic rank since the Algerian ambassador had been removed to Amman.”


"Algerian Diplomats"


Pro-moderate Islam Le Jeune Independent (7/23) commented:  “A swanky district under the regime of Saddam Hussein and now a residential and diplomatic neighborhood, El Mansour, constitutes, together with the Green Zone where the U.S. Embassy is located, the most secure place in the Iraqi capital.  According to our source, U.S. and Iraqi forces constantly patrol there, while fixed police roadblocks are set up at sensitive intersections.  It is almost impossible to perpetrate an attack or a kidnapping there without risking a clash with these forces, whose number has been increased these past weeks after the upsurge of attacks against diplomatic representations.  Our source categorically affirmed that the kidnappers had especially targeted the Algerian Charge d’Affaires.  The kidnappers, according to all likelihood, benefited from a conspiracy because the operation seems to have been carefully prepared and meticulously executed by well-trained people.  ‘Considering the way they acted, the rapidity of the act, and how they carted off the two diplomats, the kidnappers seemed to know with police precision how to proceed,’ our source stressed.....  Moreover, this kidnapping took place two days after a high Iraqi defense official revealed that Israel had organized attacks and kidnappings in Iraq under the cover of several Islamic Wahabi and Salafist groups.  Agents from Mossad have reportedly perpetrated bomb attacks in this way against civilian targets and embassies, including the recent assassination of the Egyptian ambassador.  ‘Agents from Mossad infiltrated the country during the government of Ilyad Allaoui by using the former Minister of Defense, Hazem Shaalan, and the former Minister of Interior, Fallah Nagib,’ he (the senior Iraqi defense official) indicated and whose statements were published by several international media.  ‘They have also placed Baathists in Iraqi intelligence agencies, security, and financial posts,’ he added.”


"Incapable Of Containing The Devil"  


The principal French-language Le Quotidien d’Oran (7/23) commented:  "In this dirty war, in all senses of the term, the Americans have not only awakened the devil but are incapable of containing him.  Iraq and the entire world will henceforth have to mop up the damages caused by this terrible American error.  Occupation armies that give no quarter, national resistance groups, jihadist movements, violent ethnic and religious tensions....  Iraq is today a volcano.  The American presence in Iraq is the problem; it is not the solution.  On the contrary, it inexorably places Iraq on a road to civil war and partition."


IRAQ:  "Strong Security Foundation Required In Iraq"


As-Sabah Al-Jadeed (7/31) (Independent Editor-in-Chief: Ismaeel Zayeer) published a first page editorial by Ismael Zaer:  "The quick arrest of members of the terrorist group that  planned and executed the second London train bombing should  be a sign to Iraq.  We need to develop a security system  that will help us find and defeat the terrorists that are  destroying our country....  The terrorists  won't like it.  They don't want us to be strong enough for  the occupation to end.  If we can find these terrorists, we  can end their operations, and then the Americans will begin  to leave....   How can our security forces possibly accomplish their mission without this kind of help?  We lack equipment and friends.  No only do our neighbors not help us find terrorists, they send them to us.  Why do our neighbors not help us like Britain's neighbors help them?"


"The Fuel Crisis In The Hell Of Summer Again"


Al-Taakhi (7/31) (affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party, led by Masud Barazani) published a fifth-page editorial by Najim Bahri:  "Iraq is again suffering from a fuel crisis as the summer is upon us....  When the fuel stations were closed due to sanctions, due to the war, due to Sadaam's whim, the people developed a strong attachment to employees at fuel stations.  Their word became very important in the lives of the average Iraqi.  Because of the necessity of fuel, owners of fuel stations became decision makers.  They gained the same status as decision makers of the Security Council and the board of the non-Allied organizations.  Their statements became reality.  Today we see the same situation occurring.  Authorities remain silent on the issue.  It is like watching a father carry his blanket and cup of tea to sleep away from his family and children during a cold night....  No one has really put forth any plan to realistically deal with the problem.  Several months ago, I wondered why all the work toward reconstruction is shown as being carried out in such a disorganized fashion.  Why not create a plan to solve our problems with a clear and effective vision, like other countries have done?  Why are the Iraqi people always the victims of these crises?  Who is to blame?....  Will the government ever become aware of our problems and do something to address them?  In this hot season, where are the officials--the one who are really to blame for these types of crises?   They are probably still daydreaming."


"They Are killing The Iraqi Children"


Al-Mutammar (7/31) (Affliated with the National Congress Party led by Ahmed Chalabi) published a six-page editorial by Ali Al-Shalaah:  "The Iraqi-Arabic relationship has become even more complicated.  Our disagreements exist for many reasons and not just because of Saddam Hussein.  Any observer of the Arabic scene will easily notice the absence of the 'Iraqi' issue.  Those in the Arab world think nothing of cheering the smallest injury to a U.S. soldier, even if many Iraqis are killed at the same time.  Why is the Arab world silent about the mass crimes being committed against Iraqi children?  Why do they not cry over the victims of genocide?  Do they still consider the life of a tyrant more important than the life of an Iraqi child?  I believe they still do.  They ignore these savage days when Iraqi children are suffering....  We see that Arab countries condemn Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.  But they are too ready to forget the daily crimes committed against our Iraqi children.  In truth, we do not really need harsh words of condemnation from our Arab brothers.  But do some among them actually approve of these crimes?"


"For A Constitution That Ensures Rights For All"


Rasim Qasim commented in Al-Da'awa (7/28) (affiliated with Islamic Da'awa Party led by Hassan Al Sie'ed):  "Recently I saw a survey that asked questions about the constitution.   There was one item of particular interest.  It asked the rhetorical question, 'Who owns the natural resources of Iraq?'  The answer, which was written in the paper, is of course the people of Iraq....  However, in our current state we cannot reap the benefits of our nation's bounty.  Most people suffer from anemia and malnutrition and are targeted by terrorists.  A long decade ago, before the first war, when Iraqi oil was flowing freely to countries like the United States and Japan, we knew that our oil was helping to raise the standard of living for those  people and we envied them because our oil was doing nothing for us....  Now we are trying to build a new life in Iraq, but this is a new experience for us.  It is difficult.  No matter how hard we try nothing seems to work.....  We hope that our leaders will serve Iraq and not their own selfish interests.  We need to rebuild our infrastructure, our economy and our nation.  This is the job of the government.  However, we must remember that the government is made up of Iraqis.  We must all work together if we are to rebuild our beloved country."


"Constitution And The Iraqi Street"


Independent, anti-coalition Al-Mashriq (7/26) published:  "The people are asking to have the contents of the constitution explained to them.  We ask our politicians.  We ask experts on constitutional law.  We want to know how we will be represented by this document.  What source book will the constitutional drafting committee use to write its masterpiece?  All of these questions are unnecessary; we already know what is in the constitution. It is the best of us.  The constitution represents the Iraqi identity.  Everything that we are and want to be is in that document.  We have high expectations of what the new Iraq will look like and high standards for ourselves and for the constitution.  These standards call for equality, social justice, the right of citizenship, the right of voting and nomination, freedom of speech and freedom of the media.  Indeed, today's Iraq requires a constitution that must enforce a strict law to maintain the government's facilities and protect citizens' lives.  It is important to hold positive and effective talks with all of Iraqi society before ratifying any constitution.  For this reason, the constitutional committee must listen to all viewpoints.  This will instill hope in the people of Iraq as they look forward to rebuilding a new democratic government to replace the previous dictatorial regime.  To support this idea, we have to guarantee freedom of movement and security for all Iraqis as we prepare for the upcoming public elections.  We have to call for the freedom to establish political parties, freedom of possession, freedom to demonstrate and hold political forums.  This will serve to build a positive environment for building a new democracy.  However, the best option to achieve coexistence among all nationalities and political groups is for the Iraqi people to call for unity and reject discord.   We want to build a new Iraq without any interference from avaricious foreign groups."


"Friday Imam At Al-Najaf"


Interview with SCIRI member Sadr-al-Din al-Qabbanji  by Mahdi al-Fahhm in Al-Adalah (7/16) (Daily issued by the Justice House of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq):  "[Al-Qabbanji] As is the case with any constitution in the world, in order for the Iraqi Constitution to be successful, it should concur and be in harmony with the components and the identity of the people.  In other words, it should reflect the reality and should not be imported from abroad.  It should accommodate for all the national and sectarian ingredients of the people and represent their cultural and religious identity.  The Constitution should be in harmony with the people's economic and social realities.  Only then it could be considered a successful constitution....   Also, the new Constitution should deal with the issue of the majority and the minority.  It should deal with the issue of the sectarian majority and sectarian minority.  This issue must be included in the Constitution after stipulating that Islam is the official religion of the state.  The Constitution should stipulate that the majority of the Iraqis are Shiite and they should enjoy the privileges enjoyed by any majority....  The religious institution and the political institution should complement each other....  There is a kind of real friendship between religion and politics, which we may consider the true reality of the political life in Iraq....  The Religious Authority believe that this crisis (in Kirkuk) should be settled in a special way.  Neither the coercive annexation to the Kurdistan Region is correct, nor is the idea of devoiding Kirkuk of its Kurdish population and Arabizing it, as did the former regime.  Equally it is not correct to ignore the Turokmen and Shiite population in Kirkuk.  All these components should be accepted, and the political affiliation of this city should be decided through free elections, in which the situation can be weighed according to the will of the majority."


JORDAN:  "The Latest Victims"


The elite English-language daily Jordan Times (7/29) commented:  "Among the latest victims, allegedly of the malevolent Zarqawi group, were two Algerian diplomats, who were slain, the group claimed, after their kidnapping last week in Baghdad.  The hateful and contemptuous words posted on the Internet by the group are themselves a sacrilege, let alone the deeds these misguided people perpetrate against other human beings....  There is, and has been, a pressing need for a way out of this nightmare of massacres in Iraq by starting a new process that may lead to the salvation of the innocent Iraqi people as well as foreigners living or working in Iraq in the service of that nation.  The way out could be around the corner.  Iraqi and U.S. officials have begun to change their tone on the deployment of foreign troops.  In a press conference held during the surprise visit to Iraq on Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said he would like to see the U.S. begin pulling out its soldiers from Iraqi soil as soon as possible.  Rumsfeld also struck a similar note when he suggested that the U.S. might indeed start withdrawing from Iraq by next spring.  This change of stance offers new opportunities for ending the Iraqi conflict.  Withdrawing foreign troops could be the one opportunity to create new conditions that may set the stage for a more peaceful and secure Iraq.  The implementation of this new stance requires certain improvements in the ability of the Iraqi army and security personnel to assume control of their own security and that of citizens....  But in due course these problems should be addressed and the Iraqi forces should be in a position to assume full control of the security of their country.  Ending foreign occupation of Iraq would deny insurgents the continued excuse to strike at Iraqis and non-Iraqis."


"Difficult Issues"


The elite English-language daily Jordan Times (7/28) editorialized:  "The constitution drafting process in Iraq is passing through turbulent times not only because of the periodic boycott of the meeting of the Constitutional Committee by its Sunni members but also over the salient features of what is to be the organic law of the country. The Sunni members of the committee have been on and off in their involvement in the drafting process because of threats to their lives and the recent slaying of two of their colleagues.  It is hard to imagine how the drafting of the constitution can be finalized by the mid-August deadline in the absence of a minimum-security environment.  Still, the hurdles facing this process go beyond the security deficit.  Atop the host of difficult issues is the role of Islam in the new constitution:  Will Islam be 'a' source for the constitution as was initially proposed or 'the' source, as now seems more probable?  It appears that the consensus now emerging within the drafters of the constitution is to make Islam 'the' source....  In retrospect, there is no real problem with making Islam the principal source of the constitution.  The issue is rather what interpretation of Islam would serve as the source for Iraqi legislation.  After all, on one hand there is a liberal interpretation of Islam and the verses of the Holy Koran, and on the other there is a conservative reading.  Of special concern are issues of gender equality and the rights of women, which stand at the center of the enduring controversy between Muslim countries and international human rights norms.  Given the fact that there are several Muslim sects existing in Iraq, each holding to its own interpretation of Islam, one wonders how this side of the equation would be resolved in the end.  Another major hurdle facing the drafters is over the form of country that will emerge from the present chaos.  Will Iraq be a federal state or a unitary state?  The Shiites and Kurds of Iraq would prefer a federated Iraqi state for obvious reasons while the Sunnis opt for a unitary country for fear that federalism may indeed lead to the division of the country....  As long as the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds of Iraq are on talking terms with each other, the meeting of the minds between them on the various provisions of the constitution remains possible.


QATAR:  "U.S. Hopes For Early Exit From Iraq Role?"


Semi-official English-language Gulf Times (7/28)  editorialized:  "The U.S.'s concern over the completion of the constitution comes amid suggestions in various quarters that the outstanding issues will not be resolved in time and the committee will need an additional six months in which to complete its work....  However, putting back the deadline would have a number of consequences.  It would give the insurgents an additional six months to try to destroy the political process, pushing back the date for elections to a permanent parliament well into next year.  That might also push back the timetable for a hoped-for reduction in U.S. troop strength.  There are now signs that Washington is no less keen to get out of Iraq than the Iraqi government is to see it go.  Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari was not just playing to the media when he called yesterday for a 'speedy' U.S. pullout.  But that was tempered by insistence that Iraqi forces should be trained to the necessary level to take over....   With reports from all sides suggesting that the security situation has been deteriorating steadily, especially over the last year, there is little reason to suspect Gen. Casey's conditions for pulling troops out will be met.   However, the loss of confidence in the outcome of the war at home--latest opinion polls show 51% of American believe they will lose--and a steadily rising toll of American dead and injured, seems to be making the U.S. administration increasingly anxious to find a way out.  That may explain why Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad yesterday with his urgent message about the constitution."


"Algerian Diplomats"  


Hamida ‘Ayyashi, editor-in-chief of Djazair News in Algiers and expert in affairs of Islamic groups, was interviewed on Al Jazeera (7/26):    “[This sad end] may [harm] the image of the Iraqi resistance…especially since Algerians…are very sympathetic to the Iraqi resistance against the U.S. occupation....  Al-Jama’a Al-Salafiya li Da’wa wa Al-Qital (Salafi Group for the Call and the Fight) congratulated [al-Qaida] for the kidnapping....  This is considered a strategic mistake by the Iraqi resistance against the U.S. occupation....  Algeria…relies on [religious scholars] and those who sympathize with these diplomats, especially since they are known for their religious [faith] and their sympathy for the Iraqi resistance against the Anglo-American occupation….  Algeria has tried to [resolve] the hostage [situation] far from the clamor of the media in order not to cause danger or harm [to the reputation of] the resistance.”


"The Constitution"


Walid Khaled, an Iraqi journalist commented for Al Jazeera (7/21):  "This [situation] will not be easy to resolve, because [Dr. Al-Mutlaq] said that the Iraqi Government is not serious about protecting members of the constitution-drafting committee and members of the National Assembly.  There continue to be threats.  [Therefore, the Sunnis] will not be able to continue [participating] in the process.  We do not know how the Iraqi Government will react tomorrow.  Iraq will be heading toward a new political [situation] similar to when Sunni Arab [groups] boycotted the elections.  Perhaps [they] will object to the drafting of the constitution and the upcoming elections.”


SYRIA:  "Iraq At The UN Security Council Anew"  


Ali Nasrallah, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra (7/29), said:  "The United States is talking much about the political process in Iraq these days because it is hoping to minimize its growing human losses, but without weakening its position and presence in Iraq, and because it wants to suggest to the Iraqi people and the world that it is interested in Iraq's democracy and political future....  Donald Rumsfeld's surprise visit to Baghdad cannot be seen in a political context.  The visit came at a time when there are conflicting American assessments of the situation in Iraq and followed the leak of a British secret document on a possible substantial reduction of American and British troops in Iraq....  Washington refuses to set a timetable for the withdrawal of its forces from Iraq, but at the same time it stresses the need to speed up the training of Iraqi forces so that they will replace the American troops inside cities....  This reflects a state of loss in the U.S. position....  Rumsfeld's statements about his country's intention to set a new legal basis for the role of the foreign troops in Iraq reflect an attempt to neutralize these troops and keep them as an occupation force....  To set this new legal basis, a new UN Security Council resolution might be passed to legitimize and perpetuate the occupation, and, consequently, maintain the state of tension and instability, not only in Iraq but also in the entire region."




AUSTRALIA:  “Iraq’s Security Calls For A Fine Balancing Act”


In the liberal Age (7/27) the editorial read:  The Age disapproves of the deceptions that drew Australia and its coalition partners into war, as well as the perverse retrospective reasoning that because Iraq has been turned into a terrorist training ground, the war was justified.  Nonetheless...current decisions and future timetables must take account of the contemporary facts of Iraq.  The actions taken must be those most likely to restore security....  Any withdrawal must be tied to political and social progress in Iraq, which would underpin local forces’ ability to maintain security....  A government that can represent all Iraqi factions is a prerequisite for progress....  As experience in Afghanistan has shown, a troop exit strategy should not be seen as a way to cut losses and avoid other unfinished work.”


CHINA:  "A Group Of Bloodstained Figures"


Official Renmin Ribao commented (7/29):  "Recently the Iraq Body Count and Oxford Research Group jointly released a set of numbers:  From the breakout of the Iraq war in March 2003 to March 2005, 24,860 Iraqi civilians had been killed in the war and 42,500 injured.....  Those Iraqis hurt by the war are far more than the dead and the injured.  The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in his report submitted to the UN Security Council recently that the U.S. forces have detained as many as 6,000 people with no deadline and no legal procedures....  Iraq has suffered destructions in its economy, culture and environment.  It is reported that not long after the war began in 2003, the U.S. forces dropped over 2,600 depleted uranium bombs on the areas surrounding Baghdad, which seriously contaminated the air, water, soil and plants there and incurred the local ecology and environment long-lasting and far-reaching damages.  The immediate aftermath is in the sharply increasing number of cancer patients in Iraq now.  As we see it now, the Iraq war is an unjustified one, because the original reason for launching the war--that 'Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction (WMD)'--has been totally crushed by facts....   In addition, with the pollution brought by the war, U.S. troops in the frontline have seen more and more 'strange diseases' such as blood bacteria infection and skin ulcer.  And many of them have shown insanity due to psychological stress....  More and more people have clearly recognized the nature of the war and the serious disasters it has caused.  Cries against war are growing louder in the United States.  As many as 59 percent Americans do not support the Iraq war, for they are unwilling to see themselves or their relatives bleed or even die for the war."


"Why Are American Troops In Iraq Depressed?"


Official Renmin Ribao opined (7/28):  "More than half of American troops in Iraq are rated low or very low in morale, according to a report released by an American psychological consulting agency on July 20.  It says 41 percent of the American officers and soldiers fear they will not be able to go home as scheduled; 52 percent are concerned or very concerned about possible clashes with local insurgents.  The report said suicide rate is increasing among the U.S. troops in Iraq.  The rate not only tops armies in the world, but also is unusually high in the history of the American army....   Why are the U.S. officers and soldiers so depressed that some even committed suicide?  The report said the principal reason is frequent attacks from anti-U.S. insurgents.  It is not necessarily so however.  This year, the 60th anniversary of victory of the war against Fascism, is of special significance to world people and the allied forces during the war, including the American.  In the Second World War, the American soldiers fought to bring the brutal slaughters and aggressions of German, Italian and Japanese Fascist troops to an end.  But nowadays in Iraq they face barehanded civilians on most occasions.  The 'reasons' for waging the Iraq war, especially Iraq's alleged 'possession of weapons of mass destruction' have been proved nonexistent.  The American soldiers therefore grow increasingly dubious about the justice of the war, although the officers stressed once and again it is an anti-terrorism war.  'Who on earth are our enemies?'  'Why are we hated so?'  Haunted by these questions all day long, no wonder the American soldiers are so depressed."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Iraqi Constitution Must Be A Model For The Mideast"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post (8/1) editorialized:  "Democracy is a relatively new concept to Arab and Muslim societies, long used to rule by monarchs and autocratic leaders.  Under such circumstances, the basic rights of people, especially women, have been ignored.  This is especially true of most of Iraq's neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia and Syria, whose leaders refuse to relinquish control and allow democratic rule.  Kuwait gave women the right to vote only this year and Iran's fundamentalist religious rulers continue to deny their people the freedoms of political choice and expression.  Iraq's draft constitution, which must be put to a referendum at the end of the year, is therefore an opportunity for the country to show the rest of the region what democracy can provide.  For the sake of harmony and building a properly democratic society, lawmakers must overcome differences by allowing proper representation of all sectors of society in future governments.  The rights given to one community must be extended to all others.  Women must be treated as equal to men.  This way, Iraq will be a model for others to follow and its people will gain the rights they have been denied for so long."




INDIA:  “Power Shift”


The centrist Times of India (7/25) editorialized:  “The holding of elections in Iraq has led to political churning which is changing the balance of power in the region.  Through much of the eighties, Iran and Iraq slugged it out in a devastating war estimated to have cost a million dead.  All that, however, became history when Iraq's newly elected premier, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, took to Teheran a high-powered delegation for a very amicable visit.  Al-Jaafari, who had been a political refugee in Iran for more than a decade during President Saddam Hussein's rule, has long-standing ties with the Iranian leadership....  But American claims that Iran is sheltering al-Qaida elements are exaggerated.  Al-Qaida sees Shias as heretics and is unlikely to have much truck with Teheran.  Washington is not making much headway in defeating Iraq's Sunni-led insurgency, but both President Mohammad Khatami and Supreme Jurisprudent Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have expressed a desire in seeing a united and stable Iraq.  Washington and Teheran are the two closest allies of the current Iraqi government.  Baghdad could thus act as a bridge between Teheran and Washington, much as Islamabad once acted as go-between in a historic rapprochement between Beijing and Washington.  Iran's clerical regime has some democratic elements and is popularly rooted; the current American policy of containment is likely to entrench it further.  Washington should take a leaf out of New Delhi's book by engaging Teheran, which would strengthen moderates and reformists and ultimately fulfill American objectives.  It would also help in defeating Iraq's insurgency, currently a high priority with the Bush administration.”


PAKISTAN:  "U.S. Labor Federation Calls For Return Of Troops From Iraq"


Center-right national English daily The Nation (7/29) commented:  "The largest U.S. labor federation has called for the rapid return of U.S. troops from Iraq.  It was the first time in the federation's 50-year history that the AFL-CIO has taken a position squarely opposing U.S. foreign policy or military action.  'An unending military presence will waste lives and resources, undermine our nation's security and weaken our military,' the AFL-CIO stated in a resolution adopted at the federation's convention in Chicago on Thursday.  The resolution called for proper equipment to protect the troops, an expansion of veterans' benefits and 'a commitment to bring them home rapidly.'  The Federation, which has nearly 11 million members, also blasted President George Bush for misleading the public.  'The American people were misinformed before the war began and have not been informed about the reality on the ground and the very difficult challenges that lie ahead,' it said.  'It is long past time for the Bush administration to level with the American people and for Congress to fulfill its constitutionally mandated oversight responsibility.'" 


IRAN:  "A New Opening In Relations Between Iran And Iraq"


Conservative Tehran Shoma (7/23), published by the Islamic Coalition Society, commented:  "It seems that the pace of developments in the relations between Iran and Iraq is such that many believe that, if the relations between these two influential elements in Middle East--especially in the domain of the Islamic countries--are improved and elevated, Tehran and Baghdad can be considered as new axes for settling a new spectrum of the Muslim countries' measures in this geographic domain.  The thing that drew the attention during this trip was that the two old neighbors--which were kept away from each other for years because of the former dictator of Baghdad and which are now reconstructing their past relations in the new political atmosphere--are very close in every aspect.  Everybody believes that this measure can be considered a new horizon for regional cooperation, because the two countries have cultural and religious things in common and have common political interests, along with various grounds for cooperation in the economic, cultural, and even security fields.  Following this historic and efficient trip, different reactions were shown by various circles in the world.  The Western media used a range of titles, from the union of the Shiite world and the establishment of Shiite geopolitics to the meeting of old enemies.  However, the indisputable thing is that, with the efficient role of the Muslims in Iraq's new state, the outlook for relations between the two countries can lead to bright days.  During the last few days, by magnifying the problems left over from the past, many countries in the region and those outside the region that did not want Iran and Iraq to be close to each other and did not find their interest in cooperation between these two countries tried to label this visit as inefficient.  By talking about issues, such as the problems of the imposed war era, the loss of the war, and some problems that remain unsolved, like the border matters or the presence of the monafeqin [hypocrites; reference to Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization] group in Iraq, they tried to add fuel to the problems of both sides.  But despite all these problems, one can say that with regard to the approach of Iraq's new government and the policy of its leaders and governing board, as well as the information we have from the Iraqi authorities' past, the procedure of the measures taken by both sides is leading toward real cooperation and solving the regional problems."


"Security Is Lost In Iraq"


Reza Aryan wrote in pro-Khatami Mardom Salari (7/20):  "Security is lost in Iraq, and this is an issue that cannot be missed by any observer, including the ordinary people or the diplomats of different countries that are following the developments in Iraq from near or far....  The most important expectation of the people from their rulers all over the world is the establishment of security.  When there is no security in society, people have nothing to be happy about because they see no clear future before them to plan for it.  Therefore, disappointment will prevail over the society, and people will look for an outlet to save themselves.  Thus, the most important priority of the government of Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, the Iraqi prime minister who started his activity with the support of President Jalal Talabani, is actually the establishment of security in Iraq.  It is possible to establish security in different ways. One of these ways is maintaining the balance among ethnic groups and different religions in the government and the decisions made by them. In other words, all of the ethnic groups in Iraq should have a role in decision making so that they feel their right in the administration of the country's affairs....   On the other hand, America should find a solution to the continuation of its presence in Iraq.  What is obvious is that America has not been successful in establishing stability and security in Iraq, and it seems that if the American forces leave Iraq, Iraq would plunge into even more insecurity.  Especially in view of the establishment of the elected government in Iraq, the presence of the U.S. in Iraq seems even more unnecessary than in the past, and it can be a cause for increasing insecurity....  Therefore, the Government of Iraq and the Americans, who apparently do not yet intend to get out of Iraq, are going to have hard days ahead of them because they should both restore security in Iraq and clear the accusations against them and prove that democracy in Iraq is not a defeated method."




TANZANIA:  "London Blasts Should Not Be Haphazardly Condemned"


Islamic weekly Al-Huda (7/29) in Swahili editorialized:  "Unfortunately, condemnation has been turned into a political instrument by the abusive governments and it is no longer a way to show sympathy and rebuke evil with the aim of curtailing it.  Taking the experience of what happened following the 11 September attacks in the U.S., it is evident that the Bush administration gathered the sympathies of the citizens, foreign governments, politicians, civil society groups and the media and then used the same sympathies to wage a war on what is referred to as terrorism.  President Bush has used sympathies of people from various countries for those injured in the 11 September attacks to detain those countries' people in his evil agenda.....  The fundamental plea I would like to make here is that as Muslims, we should not let our human feelings and good teachings on condemnation of evil be turned into a ticket for Tony Blair and his other allies to divide Muslims, to redesign our religion, to attack our fellow Muslim countries or to pass abusive legislation against Muslims.  Muslims ought to be very careful in issuing statements condemning terrorist attacks in Western countries; as the same countries carry out terrorist attacks against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan."




CANADA:  "Why The West Has Lost Goodwill Of Muslims"


Javed Akbar commented in the Toronto Star (7/29):  "These are treacherous times.  Peace seems to have become ever more elusive and we are all traumatized, as if an impending danger is lurking over our heads.  The victims, who are falling to acts of either individual or state-sponsored terrorism, have mainly been innocent civilians.  This vicious cycle of tit-for-tat madness must stop.  Every innocent life lost is too precious, too great....   Instead of getting carried away with passions stirred by the media, we in the West need to summon the moral courage to examine, and reflect on, the root causes of this horrendous reality and take swift action to address the concerns of the Muslim world.  This does not mean giving in to the demands of Usama Bin Ladin and his ilk, but rather a master-stroke of statesmanship for winning an enduring world peace.  Such a move requires courageous leadership.  But who among world leaders can rise to the occasion and seize this opportunity to help stem the tide of individual and state-sponsored terrorism once and for all?....   The occupation of the Muslim lands must end.  It is illegal and morally reprehensible.  For their part, what can Muslims do to get beyond the current impasse?  They must stop waiting for the messiah to come and deliver them on a silver platter....  Author Karen Armstrong makes a telling comment on this present state of affairs:  'At the beginning of the 20th century,' she says, 'nearly every single Muslim intellectual was in love with the West, admired its modern society, and campaigned for democracy and constitutional government in their own countries.  Instead of seeing the West as their enemy, they recognized it as compatible with their own traditions.  We should ask ourselves why we have lost this goodwill.'


CHILE:  “Does Containment Work?”


Conservative, independent La Tercera (7/27) carried a column by staff writer with the acronym IHL:  "After 9-11, George W. Bush presented the world with the ‘axis of evil’...formed by sui generis countries such as Iraq, North Korea, and Iran.  But although Saddam was defeated, the two remaining nations still have nuclear programs....  The easiest solution is to remove these ‘hateful regimes,' but influential U.S. analyst Richard Haass...proposes applying the lessons of the Cold War:  Initially, Washington confronted the USSR militarily, but soon realized diplomacy and other means were key to influencing the Soviet regime and introduced a ‘containment’ policy.  It’s true that accomplishing the objective took four decades, but as Haass recalls, the results are visible:  the fall of the USSR, a victory for the United States and, most importantly, a peaceful victory.


VENEZUELA:  “Terrorism And Resistance” 


Foreign affairs expert Sadio Garavini Di Turno commented in conservative daily El Universal (7/26):  “For an act violence to be defined as terrorist it must the result of an indiscriminate plan.  There’s terrorism when the evident objective of violence is the death of innocent civilians.  There’s no terrorism when, for example, in a guerrilla attack against a barrack casualties that were not planned result as a consequence, which is militarily known as ‘collateral damage.’  The al-Qaida attacks on New York, Madrid and London as well as the FARC attack on El Nogal Club were evident terrorist acts.  The Venezuelan government has described the so-called Iraqi insurgency as a legitimate resistance.  However, most of the objectives of the ‘human bombs’ in Iraq are not the foreign military and not even the security forces of the newly and democratically elected government but concentrations of Shiite and Kurd civilians (which account for 75% of the population) at a mosque, at a restaurant and in a party.  They are clear acts of terrorism that have the evident goal of fomenting a reaction from Shiites and Kurds against the Sunnite minority (which had a privileged position during Saddam Hussein’s tyranny) and in that way to trigger a civil war which would result in the balkanization of Iraq.  Terrorism dehumanizes the adversary and also the innocent victims.”


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