International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

December 9, 2002

December 9, 2002




**Euro media expressed skepticism about the veracity of Baghdad's "full disclosure" on WMD.

**Many writers questioned Washington's intention to "play by the book" on Iraq.

**Observers insisted that the U.S. or UN produce WMD evidence before any attack on Iraq.

**Saddam's "backhanded" apology to Kuwait was panned by some in the Arab media.  



EUROPE:   Writers expressed skepticism about Baghdad's "full disclosure" on WMD and Washington's intention to "play by the book" on Iraq.  Most throughout the continent contended that, despite doubts about Iraq's "innocence," the international community must fulfill its obligations by "ploughing through" Baghdad's WMD report.  Dailies left, right and center anguished over "worrying signals" that Washington will "pursue its (war) agenda no matter what happens with the inspectors."  Broad support for any military action, they said, would be contingent upon the "irrefutable proof" of Iraqi WMD violations yet to be provided by U.S. intelligence services.  Several insisted that the UN "have the last word."  The U.S. "would doubtless win a solitary war against Iraq" but at the "great expense" of igniting a radical Islamic backlash and "anti-Americanism, even in Europe," Madrid's conservative ABC stated.


ASIA, LATAM, AFRICA:  Editorialists insisted that the U.S. or UNMOVIC produce WMD evidence before any attack on Iraq.  Many adopted a "so far so good" attitude on the inspections.  Writers withheld judgment on the veracity of Iraq's WMD report to UN inspectors.  The consensus was that it is the inspectors' word that counts, not Washington's or Baghdad's.  Observers cited U.S. statements as proof that the U.S. was bent on an attack regardless of UNMOVIC's verdict.  Echoing Europe, they warned that the world will never agree to a military attack "without having the proof for Iraq's possession of WMD."


ARABS/MUSLIMS:  Saddam's 'backhanded apology' to Kuwait shows he's 'learned nothing.'   Saddam's regime got some credit because "Iraq is being fully cooperative this time."  But the Iraqi dictator's apology for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait only reminded regional observers that "Baghdad still has yet to realize either the extent of the danger it faces or the accelerating effect of its own counterproductive 'diplomacy.'"     

EDITORS:  Steve Thibeault, Gail Hamer Burke


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 63 reports from 45 countries over 1 - 9 December.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.





BRITAIN:  "Bush Has Little Intention Of Playing By The Book"


Richard Norton-Taylor, wrote in the liberal Guardian (12/9):  "Saddam has won the opening round in his final attempt to stave off military action by the United States....  And whatever the frustration of the hawks, however deep the skepticism of the doves, American and UN experts have no choice but to plough through Iraq’s 12,000-page declaration of innocence....  The United States and Britain insist they have solid evidence that Iraq has restocked its pile of chemical and biological weapons....  But if this intelligence is so certain and specific, why are they so desperate to get the UN inspectors to whisk Iraqi scientists out of the country for questioning....  Ultimately the logic of the United States argument is that, whatever is in the Iraqi declaration, and regardless of whether the UN inspectors find nothing and feel the Iraqis have cooperated, there will still be a case for war....  This could drive a wedge between the United States and the rest of the Security Council....  It may be argues Iraq would not have got this far without the threat of force.  But the onus is now on those who want to use force to provide evidence for such a course of action.”


"Iraq Insults Our Intelligence"


The conservative Daily Telegraph stated (12/9): “Nothing would please us more than to be able to believe that Saddam is a reformed character....  But Saddam’s claim for the dossier simply cannot be believed....  His claim to have got rid of the whole lot is an insult to the meanest intelligence....  Saddam’s claim that he has suddenly disposed of all weapons stretches credulity too far.  His dossier is yet another of his games, played to weaken the resolve of the Western democracies and to retain his grip on power....  President Bush will deserve the support of the UN’s Security Council.  But even without that support, the United States is likely to press ahead with its plans to attack Iraq, with any allies who offer their backing.  An honest, warts-and-all dossier from Saddam would have made war less likely.  This one, drawn up to cock a snook at the United States, makes it more so."


"A Welcome Shift:  No Evidence, No War"


The centrist Independent opined (12/9):  “Very few people would trust Saddam to make a full disclosure....  But it is important that he is given the chance to do so. International justice must both be done and be seen to be done.  Already, the Americans seem to be engaged in the traditional diplomatic sport of goalpost-moving....  Have they learnt nothing from the expulsion of the last team of UN inspectors four years ago?  However, there are welcome signs that Britain is not slavishly following the U.S. line....  Bush, having been persuaded by domestic opinion to go to the UN to seek its authority for war, cannot change the rules of the game simply because the outcome does not suit his prejudices.  No evidence, no war.  The world should make that clear now, before the Americans try to create any more wriggle room.”


FRANCE:  "U.S.-Iraq:  Power Rather Than The Law"


Renaud Girard wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (12/7): “Is international law still alive? Are the UN resolutions meant to apply to weak nations and ignored at will by the powerful?  We may honestly ask that question today in connection with the U.S.-Iraq conflict.  To date the Iraqis have complied with the UN resolution to the letter.  The inspectors have been treated with courtesy.  The list furnished by Iraq to the UN is a long one:  It claims that Iraq has no WMD.  The inspectors’ job is to verify that none of the Iraqi plants can be used for devious ends....  One might have expected that such cooperation from Iraq would have lessened the tension in the region. Curiously, this is not the case.  Nothing seems to be able to stop the American political-military and media machine.  Western opinions are being prepped, proving to them that war is unavoidable.  Four days ago President Bush said that the signs coming from Iraq were not ‘encouraging.’  He was forgetting that Iraq was applying Resolution 1441 and that there is no resolution allowing British and U.S. planes to fly over Iraqi territory.  If the Bush administration wants to engage in a colonial-type campaign against Iraq in order to change its regime, it should say so clearly.  Is the United States afraid that maybe its European allies do not trust its ability to properly manage the post-war era?”


"A Game Of Poker Between Washington And Iraq"


Dominique Bormberger on government-run France Inter radio said (12/9): “Iraq and the United States are playing a dangerous game… Iraq is lying and Baghdad has made things worse by challenging the United States to prove Iraq has WMD.  The White House is in an embarrassing position, because any proof it can bring cannot be as clear-cut as the proof brought in the Cuba missile crisis....  There are voices in Washington saying that if the United States could bring proof of Iraq’s lying, it would give the United States the right to use force....  Every step of the procedure defined by the Security Council seems to have built-in its own dose of danger.”


GERMANY:  "Cat And Mouse"


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/9) noted in a front-page editorial:  “Even if Baghdad has listed all of its weapons programs, some things will remain open to interpretation.  The Washington hawks accusing Iraq of continued secrecy...will not give up their position easily.  Saddam is playing for time....  Some of the more moderate American voices, like Secretary of State Powell, probably do not mind this right now.  After all, it still remains unclear whether a military campaign is inevitable....  Washington will have to give the UN all the evidence supposedly proving Baghdad’s cat and mouse game.  Meanwhile, time pressure is increasing....  As soon as the warm season begins, a war would be unbearable for the soldiers and their equipment....   A decision over war or peace will have to be made over the next few weeks.”


"Saddam’s Advent Package"


Dietrich Alexander stated in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (12/9): “Saddam’s report will be scrutinized meticulously.  It is difficult to imagine that Washington will be content with any result that does not lead to a militarily enforced change of regime.  The Bush administration, however, is now facing the pressure to put its evidence on the table in an effort to reveal Saddam’s falsehoods.  Moreover, Baghdad’s report might also contain a few embarrassments--incriminating exports by U.S. and European companies to Iraq, for example.”


"Washington And London Must Make Their Intelligence Reports Available"


Siegfried Buschschlueter commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (12/6): “There are, of course, good reasons for not trusting the Iraqi regime….  Anyone who believes that Saddam stopped working on weapons of mass destructions when the UN inspectors left the country in 1998 is out of touch with reality.  Nevertheless, now that the United States has agreed to the return of the inspectors, it must allow them to do their work....  If Washington and London have intelligence reports, they must make them available to the inspectors.  It is not enough to maintain: ‘We know better, Saddam is lying.’”


ITALY:  "Final Verdict Against Saddam"


Washington correspondent Vittorio Zucconi wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (12/9): “If the United States asked for a UN dossier--even if it has said since the very beginning that it would not believe a single line of it--it is because Washington wants a formal document, the evidence of a lie for which it can hang the Iraqi dictator while still respecting procedures....  The arrogance of the (U.S.) hyper-power always seeks a legal justification, since it must look impeccable from a procedural point of view....  Such formal approach contains the ultimate, and very frail, possibility that the rope to hang Iraq may be cut at the last minute, and this is creating some anxiety among the administration’s ‘hawks’....   They are angry about the victory of ‘formalists’ like Secretary Powell.  They would have certainly preferred a clearly unilateral action, decided in Washington and possibly joined by ‘those who want to go along’--without so much diplomatic and political pantomime....  Bush’s America will do what it has already decided to do.  But since a 12,000-page document inevitably contains omissions, mistakes, or ambiguities, the ‘puritan’ will be satisfied to discover that the accused is guilty of something.  And the United Nations, the Arab nations and the European governments will have an excuse to give their final O.K. to George Bush.”


"Useless Pages"


An analysis by New York correspondent Ennio Caretto in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera said (12/7): “The U.S. president says that he has never worried about opinion polls, and that he has a historic mission: to lead the forces of good to victory over the forces of evil.  This is a theological concept of the new international order that promotes America to ‘world judge.’  It is undeniable that the Iraqi dictator must disarm himself, but this is not only an American issue, and the United Nations should have the last word about when and how Iraq must disarm.”


RUSSIA:  "U.S. Unimpressed"


Maksim Yusin said in reformist Izvestiya (12/9): "The United States, would-be adversary Number one, has been unimpressed by the volume of the report.   Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has noted dryly that what counts is the contents, not the number of pages.   Unless the UN inspectors discover nuclear, chemical or bacteriological weapons in Iraq, the United States will go public with its own intelligence to expose Saddam's regime. This means that there is no alternative to war anyway....   The main thing is to have what would sound like a convincing rationale, be it the UN inspectors' conclusions or U.S.-provided ideological reasoning.   Donald Rumsfeld and other hawks in Washington are sure to take care of that."


"Hard Evidence Needed"


Yevgeniy Verlin remarked in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (12/9): "To give the lie to the Iraqis effectively, the CIA and other U.S. structures may have to produce specific proof."


AUSTRIA:  "No Change Of Course"


Foreign affairs writer Walter Friedl opined in mass-circulation Kurier (12/9): "It is highly unlikely that Bush will still call a stop to the U.S. war machinery.  However, if he fails to come up with really good arguments that convince his allies of the necessity of a preemptive strike, America will continue to lose international support.  At the hour of victory, the 'lonesome cowboy' could find himself all alone."


BELGIUM:  "War Is A Certainty"


Foreign affairs writer Lieve Dierckx in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (12/7), "The Bush administration is unilaterally saddling the world with a war against Iraq.  In Europe, only Germany continues to be an obstacle.  Of course, that is embarrassing, but Chancellor Schroeder now has too many domestic problems to continue to be against a war.  With some arms supplies to Israel and free access to German airspace for American bombers, Berlin is choosing the camp of the American president--albeit not whole-heartedly.  The war against Iraq is a certainty for the United States--with 112 billion barrels of oil as the ante.  Bush is determined not to let those barrels escape.”         


BULGARIA:  "The Plot Doesn't Thicken"


Socialist affiliated Duma maintained (12/5), "Whatever happens, there will be a war.  And this has nothing to do with Iraq's weapons. It is a matter of geo-politics.  The plot may thicken only if Baghdad's expected declaration about its arms arsenal reveals something. Despite conflicting reports for the Iraqi capital, however, it is clear that the declaration will not change Bush's intentions.  Admission or no admission, Saddam will get what the United States promised he would get."


CROATIA:  "Intervention In Iraq In A Month Or Two?"


Zagreb-based Government-owned daily Vjesnik carried a commentary by Foreign Affairs Editor, Jurica Korbler (12/6):  “'Dangerous weapons haven't been found up to now, but it is very likely that war will occur anyway!'  This is more or less the summary of the first week of the inspectors’ search for Iraq’s weapons, which has started with rarely seen harmony, only to become cooler and tenser on the fourth day....  The latest tragic slaughter in Africa has sobered up even those who do not see the global danger in terrorism.  Fanaticism has obviously spread throughout the world, and literally threatens everyone at every moment.  That’s why even those who until yesterday shrieked at the very thought of ‘intervention without foundation’ against Iraq (France, Russia, China, and Germany), no longer protest too loudly....  Power against power isn’t a popular solution, but sometimes it gives results.  Let’s just remember aggressive Milosevic’s Serbia when all stood by their leader, but things changed fast when he fell.  The most loyal ones turned against him the very night he was arrested in his Dedinje villa. That’s what will happen with Saddam as well.  Stories about whether inspectors will find this or that weapon will no longer interest anyone at that point.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Iraq, Only Talks"


Petr Pravda commented in centrist MF Dnes (12/6): "It looks like a dramatic exchange of arguments, which is decisive in whether there will be a war in Iraq tomorrow or not.  However, the main thing is what Iraqis have written in the report on the state of their weapons of mass destruction, which will be published this Saturday. This is the key to what will follow in the upcoming days, weeks, and months. There are three options for Iraq:   (1) confess to developing and storing the weapons, enable access for UN inspectors to them, and finally destroy the weapons under the inspector's supervision, (2) continue to lie and lose everything, or (3) eventually defend its statement that it doesn't have the weapons any more and support this statement with evidence.  It would be hard within the atmosphere of deep mistrust toward Iraq, but it isn't out of the question."


HUNGARY:  "A Vast Work Awaits The Weapons Inspectors In Iraq"


Left-wing  Nepszava carried a one-page report about the UN inspectors’ current work in Iraq (12/5):  "Outgoing Senate member Joseph Biden is quoted as saying that 'It’s a waste of time to turn to the UN (or its inspectors) to decide whether Saddam Hussein has circumvented or not the UN resolutions.'  Why?  Because it will be the President of the United States who decides.”


IRELAND:  "Relying On The United Nations"


Dublin's leading, centrist Irish Times observed (12/9):  "The vast bulk of the information provided and the need to assess it carefully mean it could be weeks before much is known about its quality.   More time will then be required to intensify the inspection process.   It is vital that Iraq maintain its co-operative attitude and that the UN Security Council retains full control of the inspections procedure in coming weeks and months....  Now that this stage has been reached there is evidence of mounting frustration in Washington over potential delays with inspections and how they are conducted.   Those who want an attack on Iraq are seeking to find a plausible casus belli.   But only the Security Council can decide whether Iraq has fully complied with the resolutions on reporting and destroying weapons of mass destruction and what to do if it has not.   The United States government insists Saddam Husayn possesses such weapons and in support is likely to offer evidence from its intelligence services; but that must be verified through the UN arms inspectors, not by increasingly belligerent assertions from those who are intent on forcing a regime change to replace the Iraqi ruler."


LATVIA: "UN Managed One Resolution On Iraq, Maybe It Can Adopt Another" 


Columnist Pauls Raudseps wrote in largest daily Diena (12/9): "The Iraqi disarmament issue was put on the agenda by the United States. Therefore the solution of the Iraqi problem could for a long period determine what the world order of the 21st century will be, in particular, what will be the relations between the only remaining superpower and the rest of the world in the new century....  The new world order will be largely determined by how the United States will use its military and economic dominance as well as how the rest of the world will be able to cope with it.  At the beginning of the Bush administration, many were afraid that the concerns about a unilateral United States might become true....  However, Washington's action during the past half year during its soliciting support for Iraqi disarmament clearly has been multilateral.   But Saddam [is trying to hide] behind the submitted report as behind the 12,000 veils and tries to dance away from 'the serious consequences.'  If anyone still had any doubts, now it is clear that Hussein will not disarm of his own free will....  The UN Security Council managed to adopt one resolution about Iraq.  We should hope that if it is needed, it will manage to adopt another one as well." 




Centrist Algemeen Dagblad editorialized (12/4):  "The Dutch Cabinet said it would consider support to the US in case of a war against Iraq...the US is currently sounding out its allies and other countries on how prepared they are to participate in a possible attack on Iraq....  But an answer cannot be provided if it is not clear what the requested support would consist of. As long as it is unclear what contribution Washington would expect from the Netherlands and under which circumstances, no answer can be provided....  We can always talk to the Americans but the situation -both nationally and internationally- does not provide room for any kind of agreement at this point."


NORWAY:  "A Welcome Pause For Thought"


The independent Dagbladet commented (12/9), "We notice that also the U.S. President George W. Bush emphasizes that the report should be investigated closely before the United States should do anything.  And from the British Isles we hear that the USA’s leading armor bearer, Prime Minister Tony Blair, is explaining that world society does not have the right to go to war to topple President Saddam Hussein without any reason. Blair refers to International Law.  This toned-down war rhetoric does not mean that the campaign against Iraq is cancelled.  But we hope that Bush and Blair have understood how strong the resistance against a war is in almost all parts of the world. We still believe that a war in Iraq should be avoided, irrespective of the contents of the report, and hope that the Iraq question will stay where it belongs, in the UN.”


"Iraq Investigators Must Use The Time"


Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (12/9),  "Iraq’s massive resistance to open up for inspections in the country’s weapon programs and experiences from the last time that the UN inspectors were in the country, might indicate that the report will not be fully correct… The question about war or peace is too serious to have an impatient United States, that for tactical reasons would like to see a war by February, apply pressure through a conclusion about the material too early.”  


POLAND:  "The Countdown Has Begun"


Anatol Arciuch wrote in rightist monthly Nowe Panstwo (12/6):  “Everything indicates that the countdown has begun for a U.S. intervention in Iraq....   The return of UN weapons inspectors will surely not weaken America’s determination, since no one doubts that their mission will only confirm what the Iraqi sources claim--that Baghdad does not violate UN Security Council resolutions, and that it neither produces nor accumulates weapons of mass destruction.  The point is that the Iraqis have had almost four years--since the last team of inspectors left Iraq in 1998--to successfully hide laboratories, factories, and stockpiles of such weapons.  Should that not suffice, they could always expect that their sympathizers and agents in the UN itself will tip them off to every movement of the inspectors.”



PORTUGAL:  "Objective:  Riyadh"


Influential moderate-left Público Editor-in-Chief José Manuel Fernandes noted (12/8): "Will there be war in Iraq?  I'm am convinced of it.  First, because Saddam Hussein's regime, even if tightly watched by the United Nations, constitutes a mortal danger, especialy for Israel.  Then, because without resolving the Iraqi problem there is no way to redesign the map of the Middle East--and that is the ever-clearer objective of the United States....  For decades,... the strategy of Great Britain first, and then the United States, was based on a calculated and hypocritical alliance with Saudi Arabia....  But its stability ignored the bonfire that burned, and burns, underneath the Saudi regime:  Wahhabite radicalism....  Al-Qaida is the daughter of Wahhabism."


SLOVENIA:  "Convincing The Convinced [While] The Volcano Is About To Erupt"


Left-of-center Delo said (12/9) in a front-page editorial by Barbara Surk: “Saddam Hussein’s apology to the Kuwaiti people…can be understood as an act of a statesman who became aware of his vulnerability and mortality just a couple of minutes before America’s attack. However, the contents of the declaration, which--together with an admission that Iraq possesses some prohibited weapons which will be shown to the UN inspectors--might complicate America’s imperialist plans in the Middle East, is the opposite. So is also the apology to Kuwait.  In reality, it is an appeal to the Arab people to resist the regimes which support America’s war against [Saddam’s] regime....  In reality, this was yet another attempt to raise Iraq to the position of the pan-Arabic leader of humiliated and insulted people prior to America’s unavoidable invasion. But Saddam Hussein had lost contact with these people;…he has failed to persuade the majority of those Arabs who know why they have been paying dearly for past wars in the region and for post- 9/11 political repression....  He offered to Washington what it has been searching for…;  a link between Iraq and international terrorism.  He opened the door for Bush’s rearrangement of the Middle East according to America’s geo-political interests in the moment when--according to an Egyptian newspaper--the region is a volcano about to erupt." 


SPAIN:  "Saddam's Report In A Pre-war Atmosphere"


Conservative ABC wrote (12/9):  The United States is emitting worrying signals.  One has the impression that Bush will maintain his agenda no matter what happens with the inspectors.  Washington maintains the unalterable conclusion that Iraq is hiding and producing prohibited weapons.  Military intimidation is becoming preparation of a total war...  Saddam takes a serious risk if he has lied in the report, but Bush should allow the inspector to continue their work until they've checked all the information. Unfortunately, all signs indicates that Bush has already made his own decision.  And if that's so and Bush couldn't publicly and convincingly give credibility to the 'irrefutable proofs' that his intelligence services say they have, the president is taking serious political risk with a war which he will have to fight almost alone, and that will give fuel to Islamic radicalism and feed anti-Americanism, even in Europe."


SWEDEN:  "Saddam's Christmas Message"


Social Democratic Stockholm tabloid Aftonbladet editorialized (12/9), "Only an unconcerned naive imagines that Iraq will provide all facts about its access to, or possibility to produce weapons of mass destruction. The documents that have been forwarded will no doubt be negotiable. The main question now is whether deficiencies and non-declared information would be serious enough to violate UN Resolution 1441....  On 26 January 2003, UNMOVIC will forward its report. Until then, the numbers of inspectors will increase and their technological aids become refined.  But it is uncertain whether the United States will assist Hans Blix and his group. The risk might be that the work of UNMOVIC would eliminate the arguments for war that exist in the difficult to interpret UN resolution.  President Bush, who thinks that he has been given an assignment by God, wants to strike no later than the end of January." 


SWITZERLAND:  "Saddam's Long Shadow"


Deputy Editor-in-Chief Hansrudolf Kamer wrote in center-right Neue Zürcher Zeitung (12/7), "It is not very likely that the Iraqi document will satisfy the Americans.  Washington has already declared several times that Saddam does possess weapons of mass destruction.  In Washington's view, the 'last chance' which the Security Council has given the Baghdad dictator consists of allowing him an opportunity to confirm as much. Other members of the Security Council may have read the text differently, but according to the Americans the idea is not to have UN inspectors searching up, down and across Iraq for traces of these weapons, in order either to certify Iraq's innocence or to nail it for deception. That could take months, if not years. And Bush is not likely to wait that long. A whitewashed Saddam, freed of UN sanctions, would be a nightmare for the region. It may be assumed that Washington still hopes to reach its goal--regime change in Baghdad--without a major passage at arms. To achieve that, it may perhaps be willing to give UN inspectors more time, along with demands for tighter inspections and a release of selected intelligence information. At the same time, the military and political buildup is proceeding, not very rapidly, but steadily and methodically....  A coalition of 'willing' allies is being assembled. This support is necessary for the Americans.  They are the world's leading power, but still not the only ranger in the global park.  They could, of course, conduct a solitary war against Iraq and doubtless win it, but at great expense, with great stress to their not-inexhaustible military resources, and at an unnecessary political cost. Harmonization with their allies and a tacit understanding with Russia and others is important for their future position in the concert of powers."


TURKEY:  "The Cards Are Being Turned Face Up On The Subject of Iraq"


Oktay Eksi wrote in center-right, mass-appeal Hurriyet (12/3):  "Evidently, the United States wants 'to use our air space and make use of the Turkish use the Turkish ports' and wants us 'to give our soldiers in case they want them', that is, they want us to send our soldiers to the front.  No doubt, the United States wants all of these as required by its own long and short-term interests and objectives....  But just as the United States, no doubt Turkey also has--at least it should have- long and short-term interests and objectives.  For that reason, the responses that Turkey will give to these requests must coincide (or at least not damage) the subject interests and objectives.  For example, the United States has actually given all kinds of support up until now for the formation of a Kurdish state to the south of Turkey.  To what extent is it possible for the United States now to commit (if it would) itself to a completely contrary policy on the same subject or for it to be a reliable commitment?...


"The Turkomans in northern Iraq could mean nothing for the United States, but for Turkey they are important both due to their influence in Karkuk and the region and also due to our similar lineage.  Does the United States have a commitment on this subject?  Even if the United States undertakes the Iraqi operation and reaches its goal and leaves there in the future, Turkey will always remain a neighbor with Iraq.  Despite this, would it be possible to forget that Turkey, which does not have any hostile relations against Iraq, would send its own soldiers to the front and fight against the Iraqis?...


"No one is hiding the fact that at the core of the present Saddam crisis lies the fact that the U.S. companies control the Iraqi oil....  The only problem is to satisfy Russia, China and France, which are uneasy about the oil resources of Iraq passing into the sovereignty of the United States.  But on the one hand, while a solution is being sought, on the other hand, it is targeted to establish three large oil companies and leave the management of the oil in the Shiite, Sunnite and Kurdish regions of Iraq to these companies."


YUGOSLAVIA:  "Washington's Skepticism"


Belgrade's influential Politika commented (12/9):  “UN inspectors have a very hard task because chemical and biological weapons can be produced with new technologies in extremely small premises therefore control of it is virtually impossible.  In the past, whole factories were needed for production of such weaponry and their identification was easy because they emitted a lot of gases but new technologies eliminated this....  An ordinary detergent or soap factory can be transformed in 12 hours into facilities for the production of biological or chemical arms.  And vice versa, of course.  Genetic engineering contributed also and now poisons can change very quickly. Therefore all protection devices are useless… Former assistant to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Douglas Seith, who was in charge of negotiations on biological weapons, said in 1986 that ‘the problem of biological and chemical weapons cannot be solved through arms control.'  However, UN inspectors in Baghdad now try to do that. Therefore, the war is almost inevitable.”


"Oil As A Weapon"


Belgrade Politika’s military commentator analyzed whether the U.S.’ ‘non-American-casualties’ military doctrine is applicable in the Iraq case as well as Iraq’s possible defense tactics (12/7): “One strategy can be for Iraq to light its oil fields and installations and to create a huge smoke cloud that can cause problems for American anti-radar systems and laser-driven missiles.  If Iraq decides to use such a defense, a grand ecological catastrophe would be a problem for American and British soldiers in this region after the eventual topple of Saddam Hussein’s regime; and ‘the Gulf syndrome’ still shakes the American media scene… Iraq’s defense probably will be located in layers, and the northern part of the country will be mined while strong forces of regular army and Republican guard could be expected in a radius of 200km round Baghdad, a capital which will be strongly defended.  Street fights are always hard for attackers, and if Iraqis decide to defend aggressively, the invasion forces could experience big losses....  A political alternative to an American raid of Baghdad is to invade Basra, to install an opposition regime to Saddam Hussein, to declare Kurdish autonomy in the north and to wait for internal mutiny to change a regime.  American military doctrine in the past few years had an imperative of ‘zero of its casualties.’  If this can be applied to Iraq, depends only on Iraqis.”    




ISRAEL:   "Deadline Beater"


Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote on page one of independent Ha'aretz (12/8):  "The lists provided by Saddam are at best a symbolic act: had anyone believed their authenticity in the first place, there would have been no need to send the UN weapons inspectors to Iraq.  As the expected American and British response to the report is that the delaration is no more than a bluff coming on top of eight previous false reports submitted by Saddam to the international community since 1990, one can assume that the whole purpose of requiring Saddam to submit the report is to put him in his place, or rather to humiliate him and perhaps provide the U.S with justification, or a further pretext to launch a war.  Theoretically, even if the listings in the report are true and contain new information, the U.S. Administration will not be able to use them as a casus belli, because if Saddam is relaying accurate information and they do contain evidence of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, then he will only be complying with the Security Council resolution.  If it transpires that Saddam has been lying, based on findings on the ground, then even a lie isn't a casus belli; rather, the weapons and materials of mass destruction will be destroyed.  That, after all, is the mission of the inspectors.  The more important report is to be submitted on January 28 by the weapons inspectors.... In the meantime, the weapons inspectors are, in the words of one American diplomat, 'a human shield for Saddam under the auspices of the UN,' because as long as their mission continues, the U.S. will find it difficult to launch a war."


"Bush Won't Let Saddam's Compliance Disturb Him"


Washington correspondent Orly Azolai-Katz wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (12/8): "Every preparation made by President Bush towards an offensive against Iraq were based on one single working assumption: Saddam Hussein would spurn the UN demands and provide a pretext for the outbreak of a war... Bush assumed that Saddam would continue his lying game in the meantime, but he has found out that the Iraqi president also knows how to comply when such an attitude pays off....  As a result, at least for now, Saddam is determining the moves of the game.  But Bush is resolute in not letting him spoil his plans.  Bush has already decided to go to war, marked his target and moved his pawns....  If in the coming days Bush doesn't manage to convince that he is embarking upon a just war, he will lose world sympathy, and, what is worse for him, the support of the American public, which, following the failure to capture bin Laden in Afghanistan, will not rush into supporting another unnecessary war."


EGYPT:  "Inspection Battle In Iraq"


Cairo's leading, pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (12/8):  "This process is proceeding without obstacles and in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1441, which Iraq has accepted unconditionally.   However...the inspection process involves seemingly contradictory assessments....  Officials from the UNMOVIC and the IAEA emphasize that the inspection teams have not run into any obstacles and that Iraq is being fully cooperative this time....  The inspectors are following a strict routine, but their comments are positive, while the U.S. administration continues to send mixed signals about the entire inspection process.   On the other hand, Iraq criticizes the behavior of inspectors without impeding their work.   All this indicates that the inspection process will probably move forward and the current state of trepidation will eventually end.  This is a positive development that all parties concerned must build on, if the Iraqi crisis is really about weapons of mass destruction."


KUWAIT:  "Saddam's Speech Was Not An Apology"


Yousef Al-Yaqout asserted via Kuwait's official news agency (12/8):  "The speech of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein yesterday was the last episode of a multi-chain episodes and foiled Iraqi attempts to disunite Kuwaitis and cause turmoil between the people and their leadership.  The Iraqi President knows well how strong is the Kuwaiti people's adherence to its leadership, which shocked him and the world when Saddam did not find, during Iraq's invasion of the country, anyone that collaborated with him, thus, his last chance is part of his foiled bids on an issue which he personally has been shocked of....  Instead of apologizing for the Kuwaiti government and people, Saddam Hussein called on the Kuwaiti people to live free, forgetting that the Kuwaiti have always been free since the country was established and until this moment and that they have never felt oppressed until the Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait and declared that human beings' freedoms were killed and then the Kuwaiti person had felt his freedom has been buried alive similar to the freedom of the Iraqi person a long time ago....  The official Iraqi speech was supposed to have tackled Iraq's willingness to implement the U.N. resolutions as well as those adopted during the recent Beirut summit concerning the release of POWs and return of looted Kuwaiti properties, it included expressions that deserve no reply.  The Iraqi President also spoke a lot about the presence of foreign troops in the area and forgot that these troops did not come to the area until his troops invaded Kuwait in 1990....  Saddam's speech was not an apology, as he has not fulfilled conditions of such an apology."


LEBANON:  "Washington And Baghdad Steer Course For War"


Beirut's independent, English language Daily Star (12/9):  "The crisis is being driven by two forces which appear to have no limits.  One of them is Washington's determination to impose its usual double standards on the Middle East--and to do so in a manner that sharply reduces the number of avenues via which hostilities might be avoided.  The other is Baghdad's obduracy in presuming that it alone has the ability and the right to decide what is best for other Arab countries.  The knee-jerk skepticism with which the White House has greeted the revival of international weapons inspections in Iraq speaks volumes about the Bush administration's goals.  The American people have been told that their government sees war as a last resort, but their leaders are leaving little room for anything else.  But Washington has had a willing partner in this dance of death because Baghdad still has yet to realize either the extent of the danger it faces or the accelerating effect of its own counterproductive 'diplomacy.' The latest evidence of this came on Sunday, when Saddam Hussein had his information minister read out a statement on television in which he issued a backhanded apology for having invaded Kuwait in 1990.  In actuality, the statement showed only that even after leading his people to ruin, Iraq's president has learned nothing."


MOROCCO:   "Iraq--The UN:  First Controversial Issues"


The independent French-language Le Maroc Aujourd'hui editorialized (12/3):  "The Pentagon is taking care of the final touches of the military plan of action.   Four people were killed after the British-U.S. strike. The Security Council will have a week to resume the 'oil for food' program.  Iraq must submit, on Sunday at the latest, the updated list of its weapons of mass destruction."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Between One Report And Another"


London's Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat (12/8):  "Until this very moment, the international inspection team that has begun its work inside Iraqi territory has not said anything that may be construed as obstruction attempts by the authorities in Baghdad.  In fact, the opposite is true....   Furthermore, the past few years have concretely demonstrated that it is easy to contain and deter the recalcitrance of the Iraqi leadership.  In fact, the two strategies of domination of Iraqi air space and the 'oil for food' program have accomplished and continue to accomplish exactly that.  Even if the continued presence of the Iraqi regime is undesirable, there are regional and international priorities that should take precedence over what a large part of the international community thinks is a spiteful targeting that is exploiting the climate of the war on terrorism....  The Iraqi authorities are required to demonstrate total candor and to show complete transparency.  They have no other choice in this regard.  However, the international community is also required to take the correct political and ethical decision if the specialized experts conclude that Baghdad has done what it was supposed to do.  If some choose to ignore the evidence and deny the facts merely because they have a plan that they insist on implementing under all circumstances, the principal loser will not necessarily be Baghdad alone as the weaker side in the forthcoming confrontation.  The principal loser will be international legitimacy and all the principles, concepts, and institutions of international legitimacy."


SYRIA:  "Pre-Judgments And Hidden Intentions"


Government-owned Tishreen editorialized (12/8):  "As soon as Iraq announced that it will present its report on arms programs to the UN, U.S. officials hastened to say that if the report does not contain WMD, then it will be incorrect....  U.S. officials made their judgment in record speed....  They do not give any consideration to the Iraqi government's assertion nor to the international inspectors' mission, which is proceeding smoothly due to Iraq's cooperation....  The U.S. administration's alleged insistence on Iraq's WMD raises many questions and contradictions especially that the U.S. has not provided a single piece of evidence on the truthfulness of its claims....  As the United States doesn't own the evidence and insist on it, this means that it is contemplating aggression and pays no heed to a peaceful solution."


TUNISIA:  "Too Much Injustice!"


Editor-in-Chief M'Hamed Ben Youssef wrote in independent French-language weekly Tunis-Hebdo (12/9), "Saddam Hussein continues to show his good intention and seriousness by complying with all the exigencies of UNSCR 1441 and even by presenting his excuses to the Kuwaiti people....  Hence, after 12 long years, the master of Baghdad has acknowledged his faults.  He should have done the same thing for Iran, which he dragged into an eight-year war...  Saddam Hussein, who for a while regarded himself as the Napoleon of the Middle East, and his hegemonic policy have not only ruined Iraq for several decades, but have plunged all the Middle East in an infernal cycle of diplomatic submission to Uncle Sam....  Absent the Kuwaiti invasion, which provoked a war in the Gulf region, the United States would not have brought such an armada into the Gulf countries, in particular in Saudi Arabia, to be established for ever....  And without this offending presence to Islam and morals of so many Marines in the holy place, there would not have been such an untimely reaction against the U.S. interests by an Arab-Muslim youth that is fed up with the American 'offensive' domination. ...The ball is now in Saddam's court. He has the ability to play tricks on President Bush.  He has only to give power to his son....  It would at least delay the deadlines...and muddle up the cards."


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:  "Justification For War"


Commenting on Washington's request  to question Iraqi scientist abroad, Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab editorialized (12/8):  "This request underlines that Washington will request WMD inspectors to provide the United States any information to start the war for which it moblizes....  If the United States. is sincere in its efforts to achieve peace by wiping out WMD, it must not attempt to create a justification for war."


"Beyond The Iraqi Report" 


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej opined (12/8):  "The Bush's administration is reaching the point of no-return for a war on Iraq....  A historical decision by the leaders of the (Arab) nation is required as the whole region is threatened....  Otherwise, Arab countries will suffer a defeat and failure, especially as more time passes and the drums of war become louder."


"Both U.S. And Iraqi Pressure On Inspectors"


Commenting on what it called the psychological pressure imposed on WMD inspectors by both the United States and Iraq, Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Al Ittihad editorialized (12/6):  "Both sides must not precipitate events.  More time and patience are required to resolve the issue....  There is a great hope that international diplomacy will be reactivated, and the SC will regain its rule in defusing the crisis, which threatens world peace and security."


"Too Early To Judge"


Characterizing as Iraq's cooperation with WMD inspectors as good, Abu Dhabi-based semi-official Al Ittihad said (12/4): "It is too early to judge the success of the inspections before making sure Iraq has no WMD.  However, Baghdad must continue this flexible and wise way of dealing with WMD inspectors, and never deviate from this way by all means.  This is the only way for Iraq to rejoin the international community and lift the tough sanctions on the Iraqi people." 


"Both Iraq And U.S. Credibility At Stake" 


Dubai-based pan-Gulf Gulf News editorialized (12/7):  "Iraq has an obligation to prove to the world that it does not have any WMD....  The United Nations knows it cannot afford to be lenient or lose its neutrality on the issue....  The United States will need a very high level of comfort if its allegations of the presence of weapons in Iraq are to be refuted.  All this requires the inspectors to continue their work at the highest levels, despite any criticisms."




IRAN:  "International Community Wants Proof Of Iraq's WMD Program"


Commentator Mr Kheradmand declared on Tehran's official Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 (12/8):  "Although American and British officials have said that the report presented by Iraq to UN Security Council lacks credibility and honesty and although they still accuse Iraq of possessing mass destruction weapons, I should point out this important fact that Americans need precise documents in order to accuse Iraq of violating UN Security Council resolutions and possessing WMD and they should present such documents to the inspectors.  The inspectors should prove the accusations made by America in the course of their inspection of the field.  It is only then that the Security Council and the world community will agree to the belligerent disarming of Iraq.  Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that America which has been preparing for a probable attack on Iraq within two months from now in February, could get the Security Council's authorization for attacking Iraq; although America has been saying repeatedly that it has intelligence reports indicating that Iraq possesses WMD but has not said that in its report [to the UN].  Whereas almost all of the members of the international community and most of the members of Security Council support the idea of peaceful disarming of Iraq, they will never agree to a military attack on Iraq without having the proof  for Iraq's possession of WMD."


INDIA:  "Bush The Bully"


Noted columnist Prem Shankar Jha declared in the nationalist Hindustan Times (12/7):  "At the end of 1998, when UNSCOM finally withdrew its inspectors on the eve of the American air attack on Iraq, Saddam Hussein had virtually no WMD left and, more important, no factories for fabricating them.  What is equally certain is that Iraq has not been able to make any new chemical and biological weapons since then....  Ritter debunks the current Anglo-American attempt to convince the world that Iraq has become a threat to its neighbors and even to the rest of the western world by pointing out that it is impossible to keep a nuclear enrichment or chemical weapons program secret....  Ritter's disclosures explain the chasm that is opening between the U.S. and UK, and the UN Secretary General and other permanent members of the Security Council....  The gap is seemingly unbridgedable.  The UN may not in the end be able to prevent a US-UK invasion of Iraq, but it must ensure that they are given no opportunity to claim the mantel of international legitimacy."


PAKISTAN:  "Iraq's 11,807-Page Weapons Declaration And..."


Leading, mass circulation Jang observed (12/9):  "President Bush and his subsequent premature rejection of Iraq's weapons' declaration has yet again brought to the fore more openly the U.S. eagerness to implement its aggression against Iraq.  In complete disregard of the ground realities and without even waiting for the final report of the weapons' inspections, the U.S. has decided to use its military might against Iraq within the next few weeks....  The decision of any action against Iraq should be taken by the UN Security Council and not by any individual powerful country.  The question is whether the international community will allow the United States to destroy world peace as well?" 


"New Scenario Of Iraq-U.S. Confrontation"


Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic Jasarat opined (12/9):  "The latest posture adopted by the United States and Britain is even more ridiculous than their previous ones and does not mean anything else other than the U.S. wish to thrust war upon Iraq.  There is no other option left in the Muslim world than to forget their experiences of the past and collectively fight against U.S. aggression."





AUSTRALIA:  "Polls Make Howard Edgy"


Political commentator Brian Toohey observed in his tabloid Sun-Herald (12/8) column: "Unlike George Bush, John Howard does not have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to first strike on Iraq. The reason is straightforward: too many things could go wrong in Iraq for an Australian politician whose popularity depends largely on national security issues going the right way... Most Australians seem willing to accept the potential repercussions of taking a hard stand against bin Laden.  But it could be a different matter if Australians are killed as a direct result of support for a contentious U.S. policy of 'regime change' in a country such as Iraq which does not appear to pose a plausible threat.....  The idea of poking Saddam with a stick is electorally risky, especially after Howard stirred up a hornet's nest last week with his comments on supporting a pre-emptive strike on a terrorist cell in a neighboring country."


CHINA:  "The U.S. Does Not Believe In The Iraqi Report"


Wang Junru reported in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 12/9):  "Analysts think that it is not clear yet which party, Bush or Saddam, is more patient? At present, since the U.S. military is fully armed, it does not have any other choice.  Sooner or later, Bush will seize an opportunity to launch the war against Iraq.”


CHINA:  (HONG KONG & MACAU SARs):  "Bush's Dangerous Game"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post opined (12/8):  "The U.S. may consider the WMD it claims Iraq possesses a powderkeg of regional insecurity, but it should also consider the implications of its own strategy....  President Bush was reiterating that no matter what Baghdad said, there was already conclusive evidence of its WMD....  But the U.S. and its allies must also remember that the more they push Mr. Hussein's regime, the more they are being perceived by Arabs and Muslims as anti-Islam.  Although Mr. Hussein may not be well liked in the Muslim world, there is a danger of his being elevated to martyr status.  As increasing numbers of young Muslims turn to extremist, anti-American groups, it is clear Mr. Bush is playing a dangerous game.  He and his advisers would be wise to tone down their rhetoric and let Mr. Hussein be judged fairly, rather than force him into a war with uncertain implications."


"UN Busy With Inspection; U.S. Busy Preparing For War"


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (12/9):  "Iraq has shown a cooperative attitude in the process of nuclear weapons inspection, which has 'astonished' the inspection team.  UN Secretary-General Annan is satisfied with the very good beginning of the inspection work, and he believes the inspection is effective.  This situation gives kind-hearted people some hope.  They wish that Iraq can continue to be cooperative and let the inspection prove that the Saddam regime did not make any violations.  Then the Iraq issue could be settled through political means, and war can be prevented....  The Bush Administration is dealing with Iraqi issue in the same way as counter-terrorism.  At present, it is making deployments to launch possible attacks against Iraq.  All traces show that the U.S. is resolved to use force against Iraq.  Nuclear weapons inspection is not the decisive factor that will influence the U.S. consideration of whether to wage war or not."


VIETNAM:  "Iraq, Between War And Peace"


Van Khanh wrote in Ha Noi Moi, the daily run by Hanoi capital city's government, (12/6):  "People recognize that when more positive signals are sent out by the UNMOVIC, it is also the time Washington is working more busily to seek support and figure out new conspiracies that serves the goal of ousting the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein....  Washington's recent moves make people think that Mr. Bush is playing the Iraq card to sustain his presidency and the position of the Republican Party in American politics."




GHANA:  "Bully U.S. Throwing Its Weight Around"


A letter to the editor in the independent, regional Ghanaian Chronicle said (12/2): "The world has spoken out against America's or is it Pentagon's top brass's intent to go to war against Iraq, but to no avail....   After Desert Storm in which the White House failed under Bush No.1's administration to flush out Saddam Hussein, new terrible weapons of destruction have been built, tested and assembled to teach Iraq a bitter lesson for its insolence at taunting the United States' nose....  To go to war to add to the suffering and perishing millions would be the unkindest cut, civilized Christian America can give to God....The people of Iraq have a right to live in peace, which they have despite ten years of strangulating sanctions. To continue to preach that Iraq had been producing weapons of mass destructions is just a shade too pink as per Bush's British collaborator's dossier did not present any new evidence, neither has the Bush/Powell/Blair triumvirate.... It is quite on the cards the West want to lay its powerful grip on the oil reserves of the region to boost its developmental growth, while its allies in Israel continue with the cruel approach to the Palestinian people....  Might may not win and if it should, it will only be pyrrhic this time and it will usher in the era of the big bullying nations who will be tempted to throw their weight about a David arising to stem their mayhem."


UGANDA:  "Can 12,000 'Truth' Pages Save Iraq?"


The Monitor stated (12/9):  "The Iraq cat and mouse game with America has entered another high-tension phase....  Handing over the declaration...a senior Iraqi official said about the truthfulness of the declaration: 'Iraqis have learnt telling the truth and honesty from our leader, Saddam Hussein.  When we say we have no banned weapons, we are telling the truth.'...  However, the declaration reiterates claims that Iraq has no WMD.  President Bush’s administration has in the past scoffed at such claims as an act of intransigence and provocation.  Bush officials have already said they consider such a claim to be tantamount to a 'material breach' of the recently passed UN Security Council resolution that orders Iraq to disarm and threatens 'serious consequences' if it fails to comply.  The question now is; will America accept the Iraqi truth?  The world waits with apprehension." 


ZAMBIA:  "Let Inspectors Do Their Job"


The independent Post commented (12/9):  "We doubt if the United States will accept a United Nations' weapons inspection report which clears Iraq of being in possession of WMD.  It would appear the United States is not satisfied with the work being done by the United Nations inspectors.  There is so much noise coming from Washington about Iraq not being honest and hiding such weapons.  But we are not hearing anything that is helpful to this inspection.  If the United States knows where these weapons are, why not hand over such information to the inspectors and let them do their work?  The truth is the United States, the main complainant over Iraq's alleged possession of WMD, does not have any information beyond that which is already in the hands of the inspectors to support its claims.  It seems to us that the United States is not satisfied with only being a complainant, it wants to also be a prosecutor and the judge into its own complaint."



CANADA:  "Saddam's Testing Time"

The liberal Toronto Star opined (12/6): "hile most of Iraq's arsenal was destroyed after the Gulf War in 1991, some missiles remain unaccounted for. So do stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and chemicals needed to develop them. Iraq's nuclear ambitions remain murky....  It will take weeks if not months to pore through Saddam's declaration, to match it against American and British intelligence, and have the UN carry out aggressive inspections to verify Iraq's claims. Only then will the Security Council be in a position to decide what comes next.  But this is the moment of truth. Saddam must come clean, and pass the sniff test. The world will not tolerate anything less."


ARGENTINA:  "Reasons Why There Won't Be War"


International analyst Claudio Uriarte opined in leftist Pagina 12 (12/8).  "War against Iraq won't take place for the simple reason that George W. Bush is not interested in it.  And he keeps proving this....  Yesterday, the U.S. president added new evidence of his bluffing when he said 'We will judge the honesty and thoroughness of Iraq's declaration once we have examined it carefully..'...  This is a surprisingly calm declaration coming from the unilateral 'hawk' that repeatedly says no declaration from Saddam is worthy of trust.  The imaginary war against Iraq already served his purpose--muffling the Democratic Party's opposition on economic issues and guaranteeing the recovery of the Republican majority in Congress in the November 5 elections....  A successful invasion on Iraq needs at least 250,000 men but, since the drums of war began in September, the Pentagon hasn't made a single addition to the 60,000 soldiers deployed in the region....  Nor have we witnessed the deployment of tanks....  If Bush, the famous unilateralist, had wanted to launch a real war against Iraq, the last thing he would have done is go to the UN--the natural enemy of any unilateral action....  Rumsfeld firmly excluded NATO from Afghanistan....  Because this time war won't take place, Bush has candidly requested NATO countries a list of possible favors in case of an eventual war against Iraq....  The last 'war plan' that was disclosed fully unveils the farce: After occupying the country, Saddam wouldn't be attacked in the cities, but would be left to collapse on its own.  And what if he doesn't fall?  Nobody asked this question and nobody answered it.  It was also disclosed that the U.S. would annex the oil fields and then name a military governor like McArthur, but this is really very hard to believe."


BRAZIL:  "The Non-Existent Iraqi Opposition"


Ambassador Antonio Amaral De Sampaio commented in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (12/5): "Eager to remove genocidal Saddam Hussein from power, the USG is trying to reactivate and coordinate the Iraqi domestic opposition. This initiative seems to me a mere exercise in futility because, in a nation without [free expression of] public opinion, a free press and a parliament that honors its name, the dictator has eliminated every movement capable of opposing his personal power....  If it wants to recruit domestic opponents to Saddam Hussein, the U.S. must search for them in Baghdad's cemeteries."


MEXICO:  "Inspectors Under Pressure"


Far-left La Jornada editorialized (12/5):  "If the U.N. inspectors conclude that there aren’t any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, then the White House will be forced to discredit the team’s work in order to resurrect its main pretext for waging war against Iraq.  The a priori discrediting of UN arms inspectors only serves to contribute to a new conflict in the Persian Gulf.  The European Union, Russia, and China should demand that Bush and Saddam--so similar at times, in their war-like passions--give the inspectors the chance to finish their work without pressure, because this is the only way to prevent war."


 "A Sinister Fable"


Far-left La Jornada said (12/1):  "A British official of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said that it was possible for Iraqi citizens to hide mass destruction weapons in their own homes....  Her reason for this reasoning is that everything is possible in Iraq.  This is another replay of Tony Blair's campaign in the British media in full support of Washington's plans.  Anybody with a brain would realize immediately how false her statement is....  The war is not against Hussein but against the Iraqi people who would be deprived of their oil and their sovereignty.  Were there not mass destruction weapons in Iraqi factories or barracks, there would always be the possibility of the Iraqis hiding them in their homes or where they keep their chickens.  However, even if weapons are not found there, the offense of the Iraqi people is what needs to be addressed--the offense of having nationalized the oil from British hands 50 years ago."



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