International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 8, 2002

August 8, 2002





**  Observers concluded that Washington has yet to make a convincing case that an assault on Iraq is worth the risk of regional destabilization.

**  Many saw European publics and Arab governments blocking the recreation of a Gulf War coalition.

**  Arab media contended that Washington is using its anti-terror campaign as a pretext to change recalcitrant regimes throughout the Arab world, beginning with Iraq and Palestine.




There may be a case for striking Iraq, despite the regional peril, but the U.S. has not made it.  Anti-strike editorials made financial, practical and moral arguments for not following the U.S. into Iraq.  Several rejected the logic that removing Saddam would significantly reduce the threat of terrorism to the U.S. or its allies.  They feared, rather, that post-Saddam Iraq could become "even more unpredictable," offering "a new breeding ground to spawn terrorists."  Dailies in Britain, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia warned that any U.S. unilateral action would wreak havoc on regional stability and incite an anti-U.S. backlash in the Arab/Muslim world.  A number noted that Afghanistan proves that a quick military victory is not always followed by long-term stability.  Suspicions abounded that the president was targeting Iraq to gain electoral advantage and to overshadow U.S. domestic problems.  Nevertheless, some in Israeli and Australia were stalwart in backing Washington's "pre-emptive defense" approach.


European publics, Arab governments block recreation of a Gulf War coalition.  European and Arab writers warned that if the U.S. step outside international law and norms in attacking Iraq would set a dangerous precedent.  European dailies, noting German Chancellor Schroeder's remarks on the campaign trail and a high-profile British petition against military action, highlighted transatlantic dissonance on yet another issue.  Arab dailies bracing for a confrontation with the U.S. charged that by targeting Iraq instead of Israel, Washington was seeking the reverse of Arab aspirations. 


Arabs complain that Washington has instituted a 'regime change' requirement for recalcitrant Arab leaders, while showing a preference for diplomacy for others.  Some noted that although Iraq and North Korea were on the same "axis of evil," the U.S. was forging ahead with military plans against Iraq while pursuing a "careful realpolitik" with the North Koreans.  A Saudi writer contended that the U.S.-DPRK talks "underscored the fact that Washington and the 'axis of evil' can indeed engage in dialogue."  A Jordanian paper charged that in pressing for regime changes the U.S. was merely seeking the "subjugation" of Arab governments, not democracy and great freedom for their peoples.

EDITORS:  Gail Hamer Burke and Christina Sgroi



EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 53 reports from 49 countries.  July 14-August 8.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Hawkish Signals On Middle East"


The independent Financial Times stated (8/8):  "The signals from Washington about its intentions towards Iraq and the Middle East have been getting steadily more confusing.   Now they are beginning to get alarming--arguably more so for America's friends than its foes....  If we are to take Mr. Rumsfeld at his word, he is overturning decades of international law, under which all the land captured by Israel in the 1967 six-day war, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as all of east Jerusalem, is occupied territory.  The political reality, moreover, is that there is no peace settlement conceivable without a negotiated end to that occupation--which it is part of Washington's responsibility to sponsor....  There may be a case to be made, detailing why an assault on Mr. Hussein's Iraq is the least bad option, despite the enormous risks of regional destabilization.  Washington has not yet made it."


FRANCE:  "The Temptation Of George W. Bush" 


Weekly left-of-center news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur Jean Daniel editorialized (8/8-14):  "Why does President Bush want to personally intervene in Iraq? First off, because the elections are drawing near and in the wake of the financial scandals that have touched his administration he cannot present himself before the voters with only his 'crusade' to show for his time in office.  A crusade that that did not even result in the capture of Ossama Ben Laden, despite an extremely costly operation in Afghanistan. It is time to find new impetus for the crusade against the 'axis of evil' which includes Iraq." 


GERMANY: "War On Saddam? -- Not Without Better Reasons" 


Matthias Nass opined in a front-page editorial in center-left, weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (8/8):  "In the case of Iraq, the German government could expect a 'friendly' invitation from Washington to take part in a war.  But what are the European interests (Gerhard Schroeder should quickly delete the term 'German way' from his vocabulary)?  First, the possibilities of diplomacy have by no means been exhausted.  If Saddam really played his obvious games and allowed the weapons inspectors back to Iraq, then they must return but on UN conditions: unlimited access to any place at any time.  Second, the Bush doctrine of a 'preventive war' violates international law, since self-defense based on a mere suspicion does not exist.  If the United Nations allowed the use of force because Iraq continuously disregards UN Security Council resolutions, then the question of German participation will be raised.  Third, the Mideast is now burning.  A war on Saddam would mean even more terror , even more killed people.  Unbridled hatred of the United States and Israel would make the peace process illusory.  This is another reason why Jordan's King Abdullah warned that an attack would be a 'horrible mistake.' Bombs on Baghdad -- they could hit Saddam but, nevertheless, miss their target.  The coalition against terror would lay in ruins.  That is why a controversial debate over Bush's plans is necessary, even in a [German election] campaign.  And over the answer:  the European way." 


"Arguments For The War" 


Business Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg stated (8/8):  "Chancellor Schroeder's appeasement may work as a tactical move in the election campaign, but it is useless as a foreign and security policy concept.  It must be the common strategic goal to ward off the danger emanating from Saddam.  Under the current circumstances, only a dual strategy promises to be successful.  The United States and Europe must insist on the unconditional resumption of weapons inspections in Iraq.  As a parallel strategy, they must built up a credible military threat against Saddam.  Credible means that a strike will really take place. Bluffing will not suffice.  A war on Iraq will require the powers that wage this war to pay a high political price.  Those who oust the despot will, on the short-term, risk instability in the Middle and Near East....  The behavior of the United States following September 11 and in the Afghanistan war indicated that it will also act in a responsible way in case of a war against Iraq.  It will be no great problem for President Bush to get the support of the political class and the American people, but he would be well-advised to gain the support of the Europeans and Islamic nations.  The United States could topple Saddam on its own but without allies, it will be difficult to reach and safeguard the strategic goal of security policy stability in the Near and Middle East....  If Saddam does not give in and opens a door to a diplomatic solutions, a U.S. attack on Iraq will be inevitable, probably after the Congressional elections.  In any case, this war would be politically justified." 


ITALY: "Our Country (Italy) And The Iraq Affair "


Franco Venturini's lead, front-page editorial in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera held (8/8):  "Italians are preparing to counter the announced war against Saddam Hussein with strong dogmatism and the slightest reflection....  Those who oppose (President) Bush's plans revive their old anti-American feelings without considering the nature of the Iraqi regime; and those who support action against Baghdad consider mandatory (Italy's) alignment with the United States, as if the Berlin Wall hadn't ever fallen, or the transatlantic alliance wasn't an alliance among free democracies....  Is it possible to find a solution?  The answer lays in having a vision of priorities....  Everyone should consider an attack irrational if the successor to Baghdad's leadership hadn't been previously identified, and pre-emptive accords related to a military presence that would guarantee stability in Iraq hadn't been taken.  Everyone should deem a new UN resolution is necessary before beginning any action.  (Despite) George Bush saying that nothing has yet been decided, promising that he wont' proceed hurriedly, only few people believe him." 


"A War Europe Doesn't Understand"


Boris Biancheri front-page editorial in centrist, influential La Stampa reported (8/8):  "As rumors about U.S. preparatory moves related to a possible upcoming military campaign in Iraq increasingly leak, the rifts between Europe and the United States is getting wider....  Whether rightist or leftist, Europe is convinced that Saddam is a dangerous criminal, but it is also sure that an attack on Iraq...would be even more politically dangerous.  The positions undertaken by moderate Arab leaders...including Jordan's Abdallah and Egypt's Mubarak, even stress this (European) belief....  Great Britain is the only European country that has shown, until now, its understanding of U.S. unilateral option....  Great Britain loves to hold the balance between Europe and the United States...but this time its task isn't at all easy: should war occur having Great Britain stand with America, European foreign policy could be considered dead for a long time; or, should Great Britain stand with the other European counties, Europe would strengthen its influence, but it could be the end of the current Anglo-American 'special relationship.'  The only hope that remains is that there will be no war.  The truth is that if we want to understand Washington's...real intentions, the use of reason is not enough, but a prophet of doom is certainly necessary." 


"Bush:  I'll Be Patient About Iraq"


Mario Platero noted from Washington in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (8/8):  "The United States prefers a multilateral action against Iraq, and is convinced that Europe would follow its decisions...after Washington has produced a factual picture that would justify a military intervention.  That was told to this newspaper, Il Sole-24 Ore, by a high-ranking officer of the (U.S.) administration during an interview, granted off-the-record.  It's a political turning point in Washington...that confirms no final decisions have been taken, also due to in part to several different positions taken within the Republican party."


RUSSIA:  "A Sovereign State Is Free To Have The Weapon It Wants"


Official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta published this by Nikolai Paklin (8/7):  "So far, nobody has produced convincing evidence that Baghdad is planning to have nuclear weapons of its own.  Let's assume, however hypothetical it may seem, that Iraq succeeds in creating a small nuclear arsenal.  How much less secure would then the nuclear superpower feel?  Has it felt less secure since India and Pakistan got hold of nuclear weapons and rockets?  After all, it is up to a sovereign state to have or not to have armament it thinks is necessary to ensure its own security.  Did the United States ask for anyone's permission to develop nuclear weapons?  Why punish Iraq?  Do the Americans fear that they may be threatened at some point in the future?  If yes, they will have to fight many countries....  The Europeans believe that those fears are exaggerated.  In their opinion, thrashing Iraq and humiliating the Arabs would send reverberations through all of the Middle East, posing a threat to Israel's security.  That would also harm the antiterrorist coalition.  It won't bring about a political settlement in Iraq, either.  To install 'our man' in Baghdad won't solve the problem of power in that country.  Afghanistan is graphic proof....  The Europeans prefer carrot to stick.  Europe believes in international law, talks, and economic ties.  Herein lies the chief difference between the New World and the Old World as far as their approaches to international problems are concerned."


AUSTRIA: "Kabul And Baghdad"


Foreign affairs writer Gerhard Bitzan commented in centrist Die Presse (8/8):  "All those overenthusiastic about a war against Iraq should take a good look at the current situation in Afghanistan (...), where innumerable problems remain unsolved. At the moment, even optimists don't dare to bet on that country's stable and peaceful future. The simple truth is that a speedy military success is relatively easy to achieve, while the real obstacles only emerge with the strategies aimed at long term stabilization."


BELGIUM:  "Iraq"


Foreign affairs writer Ludwig De Vocht editorialized in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (8/6):  "One thing is certain: twelve years after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, U.S. President George W. Bush wants to remove Saddam Hussein definitively from the world scene….  At this moment, however, it is clear that the United States cannot build a large international coalition to carry out that task.  An invasion of Iraq would trigger a storm of indignation in the Middle East--which would certainly not advance America’s interests in that region.  In Europe, nobody is very enthusiastic about such a war either.  Russia and China are totally against it....  The main question is:  what after Saddam Hussein?  In any case, the replacement of Saddam would have to be carried out rapidly because a destabilization of Iraq would have serious consequences for the entire region.  Neighboring Turkey fears that an independent Kurdistan in Northern Iraq would fuel the separatist aspirations of its own Kurdish minority....  In the meantime, the Iraqi leader continues to do the thing in which he excelled twelve years ago: he causes division in the international ranks.  His most recent bright idea was his invitation to a U.S. Congressional delegation that they start an investigation of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  With this (proposal) the Iraqi leader simply wants to gain time.  Saddam hopes that, after having survived Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, he will also manage to survive Bush Jr. politically and, as long as the latter does not have an acceptable alternative for Saddam, his plan to replace the regime in Baghdad will only be wishful thinking.” 


BULGARIA:  "The U.S. Still Has No Strategy For Ousting Saddam"


Influential weekly Kapital held (8/3):  "It's very difficult to guess what Washington aims to achieve with this latest escalation of tensions.  Having in mind that Bush is resolved to put an end to Saddam, the strategy looks more or less clear.  It would be something like a gangster movie--two frowning criminals slinging insults at each other until one of them breaks and reaches for the gun.  Then the other one shoots him with a clear conscience, in self-defense.  If nothing else, it seems that the United States is prepared for this sort of scenario."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Get into Iraq? And How To Get Out?"


Frantisek Sulc Weiss wrote in center-right Lidove noviny (7/31):  "A conference of Iraqi opposition representatives took place in May at American University in Washington.  They agreed about many things - that Saddam Hussein must be removed, that Iraq must be democratic, that all the groups must have equal rights.  When a concrete proposal was made to form a government in exile, however, the answer was a nearly unanimous no... It was a forewarning to the allies of what  they should expect after deposing the present Baghdad regime.  If the operation to remove the dangerous Iraqi government is so carefully planned, the "escape strategy“ should be worked up  even more meticulously. Iraq should not be weakened, or both U. S. and European interests in the region will suffer. It is important to prevent the outbreak of a civil war between Kurds, shi’ites, and sunnites, avoid long-term massive deployment of allied forces to keep the power-hungry groups at bay....  Questions must be answered before the first shot has

been fired, all the ethnic,  religious, and political groups must set the rules of future government of their country. So far as the West lacks political will to overcome  the fear of a breakup of Iraq and lay down rules beforehand, we are in for another long-term engagement.  Or the American-European train may again carry someone to power who will then pull another nasty surprise on us."


DENMARK: "Too Early To Criticize U.S. Policy On Iraq"


Center-right Berlingske Tidende commented (8/8):  The former Danish foreign minister's call to oppose any future U.S. military action in Iraq] so far ahead of any indication that an attack will take place is, in reality, helping Saddam Hussein to achieve his goal of splitting the international community.  Saddam's letter of invitation to the U.N. ought to be seen in this light....  The U.S. has, so far, only expressed that it aims to remove Saddam from power.  It is too early to say if this will involve military action."


IRELAND:  "Schröder Justifies His Line On Iraq"


Berlin correspondent Derek Scally wrote in the liberal Irish Times (8/7):  "Germany will not participate in a strike on Iraq even if the action has a UN mandate, he (Schröder ) said.  Neither was Germany interested in war games for their own sake, particularly in the absence of any plan for Iraq if Saddam Hussein was toppled.  As the Schröder government's term runs out, Mr Schröder's decision not to send German troops to Iraq has thrown into focus how far Germany has come in the last four years."


HUNGARY:  "The Cost Of Polishing The Halo" 


Respected senior columnist  Endre Gomori assessed intleading Nepszabadsag (8/3):  "There has  been a bright shining halo over President Bush's head after the brutal terrorist attack against New York and Washington.  This halo is losing its shine. The problem is that President Bush has placed  the fight against terror into the epicenter of both the foreign and domestic policy of the United States.  The policy has permeated the entire American society and it could lead to distortions in the world's strongest and currently most free country of the world. A military attack against Iraq would be the biggest and the riskiest American military undertaking since the Vietnam War."


KOSOVO: "Washington Is Not Interested In Weapons Control But To Oust Saddam"


Isuf Hajrizi, Washington correspondent of independent  Zeri, wrote (8/7):  "This time it's interesting that the democrats are those who speak more convincing about ousting the Baghdad's dictator. In the first war America waged against Iraq, in 1991, the democrats opposed the idea of the first Bush for entering a war with Iraq, allegedly to help Kuwait. Such a decision has cost them politically, therefore this time they are much more aggressive around this idea....  So far the U.S.A. has not found an ally that would support the attack against Iraq. Reservations over the attack will particularly grow when Iraqi officials send a (4-page) letter to the American Congress, inviting them to send a delegation to unconditionally verify the reports about the Iraqi nuclear weapons."


THE NETHERLANDS:  "Europe And Iraq"


Influential independent NRC Handelsblad had this editorial (8/6):  "Saddam Hussein cannot be trusted.  An old Dutch saying, 'if he breathes, he lies' would apply to him.  His invitation to the United Nations to come to Baghdad to discuss the resumption of  weapon inspections has a hidden agenda. Saddam does not want inspectors in Iraq.  His invitation to the UN is mainly intended to play the UNSC permanent members out against one another. Particularly at a time when the United States is preparing for a possible military intervention....   The U.S. government has not yet reached agreement on what would be the best strategy.... But whatever scenario it would be important for the U.S. if it were not openly rejected by the allies. British PM Tony Blair is trying to keep the troops togethe...but other members of the UNSC don't... Russia, for example, is doing everything to obstruct the U.S. policy...critical remarks also came from Germany.... Germany is not a military super is food for thought that Chancellor Schroeder made the gap between the U.S. and Europe an issue in his election campaign.  There are reasons to criticize the American policy toward Iraq.  But as long as Europe will continue speaking with different voices, Washington will not take that criticism seriously."


NORWAY:  "To Attack Or Not To Attack"  


In the newspaper-of-record Aftenposten, Washington correspondent Morten Fyhn commented (8/1):  "We know that President Bush wishes to topple Iraq's dictator, but he has not convinced the American people and the rest of the world that it is necessary to go to war against Saddam Hussein....   While the United States busies itself with war planning, most other countries are content with demanding that Iraq give access to the UN's weapons inspectors."


PORTUGAL: "Bush Has Already Decided To Attack Iraq"


In his weekly column in leading financial Diário Económico (synthesizing commentary broadcast Tuesday evening on top-audience private television channel TVI), influential pundit Miguel Sousa Tavares asserted (8/8):  "He already knows the date he will probably do it, and he doesn't have the strategic plan only because the Pentagon hasn't given it to him yet.  Does he have the conditions to do it alone?  I think he does.... He will never get the political conditions his father had,....[not] even the support of his other NATO or European partners.  It's very tough, those conditions can't be repeated, especially since Europe has the greatest fear that a Gulf war could lead to an oil crisis and leave Europe drowning in chaos.  While the United States has a strategic reserve at its highest.  The truth is that George W. Bush is finishing a job his father should have taken to the end....  And although there's no proof, I believe that [Saddam] has weapons of mass destruction.  The truth is that, if he doesn't have them, he could get them.  It's not that he doesn't want them. If Bush [Senior] had finished the job in the Gulf War--and he didn't because there was a huge pacifist movement in Europe and the United States--the problem would be solved, but right now the problem is much worse to resolve.  Even if Bush takes a war to the end, he doesn't have anyone to replace Saddam Hussein in power afterwards."


ROMANIA:  "Iraq"


Political analyst Gabriela Anghel commented in opposition, Romania Libera (7/18):  “If the United States seems determined to solve the situation in Iraq – one of the three countries included in the ‘axis of evil’ – after having tried in vain to support internal insurrections, (America) now also wants to make preparations for the period after Saddam leaves power.  In the case of the Iraqi dictator’s fall, American strategists seem inclined to re-create in Iraq the formula of a temporary government, according to the  model led by Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan.  Symbolically, the London summit took place on the anniversary date of the revolution that removed the Iraqi wing of the Hashemite monarchy, on July 14, 1958.  Is a royal comeback possible?  The question lingers on, although during the meeting, the monarchists proclaimed themselves in favor of a centralized state, and the Kurd groups defended the concept of a strongly de-centralized federation.  The discussions are still open…”


SLOVENIA:  "Iraq Could Attack U.S. But Many Uneasy With U.S. 'Militarist' Policy"


U.S. correspondent Ervin Hladnik Milharcic reported in left-of-center Delo (8/1):  "Iraq will get an ultimatum which it will not be able to comply with, and another Gulf War will follow. This formula worked very well for George Bush Sr. ... George Bush Jr. will use this formula.... Even [permission for UN] inspections would not suffice. Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that 'regime change' had been a core demand of two American administrations....  Washington no longer thinks in the framework of the existing coalition and its goals....  Rather will it set a goal and create a coalition around it.  A war would be in the interest of Israel and Turkey; this is enough to create a powerful axis of three strong countries.  Bahrain, Oman, and some small countries would yield to America's pressure.  Thus, a war can easily be carried out without explicit support of Egypt and Saudi Arabia....  Americans find a military resolution of the Iraqi problem obvious and support it.  Iraq has not attacked America, but it could; therefore, a war is in self-defense and urgent. Yet, Americans are surprised at the uneasiness caused in the world by the United States' militarist foreign policy." 


TURKEY: "The Bad War"


Izzet Sedes wrote in mass appeal Aksam (8/8):  "One thing is very certain: President Bush wants to work with a friendly regime in Iraq and he is determined to see that Saddam is toppled.  However, how this goal is to be achieved is uncertain.  Both the politicians as well as the military are working on detailed planning in a rather tense atmosphere.  If you ask the Pentagon, the American army is capable of finishing the Iraq job in a few days.  However, questions coming both from America and from the international community prevent a national consensus being formed on the Iraq issue....  Recent debates in the Senate show that members of Congress are pressuring the administration to give a full justification of an operation....  Despite all its efforts, the Bush administration has failed to persuade either the American people or Congress, and certainly not the international community on the need for a war with Iraq.  Now the Europeans have an especially hard task, i.e. to persuade the super-power why the war is bad."




ISRAEL:  "Qusai Has The Key"


Columnist Uria Shavit opined in popular, pluralist Maariv (8/6):  "Can the American plan to invade Iraq, topple Saddam Hussein and replace him with an alternative, pro-American leadership in a swift operation, succeed?  There are several reasons why not.  First, because there is no alternative, pro-American leadership....  Second, because important forces are opposed to the American plan....  Third, because the cost of a military operation in Iraq would be very high....  The only person on the scene who could continue the 'Saddam state' without Saddam himself is his younger son Qusai.  In the past few years Saddam has nurtured him as his heir.  Qusai is not more moderate than his father.  But he is no war criminal and he is not a red rag to the Americans.  Everyone will be satisfied by a sudden resignation of Saddam and his replacement by Qusai....  The Iraqis will be spared a crushing offensive.  The United States will not shed blood.  Regional stability will be maintained and Israel's citizens will be able to leave their gas masks in the closet.  Saddam's replacement with Qusai is a very reasonable way out of the bloody entanglement an American offensive in Iraq could produce.  On the one hand, that plan is too reasonable for the Middle East.  On the other hand, one should not be surprised to find out that heated contacts are already taking place behind the scene."


WEST BANK:  "Iraq Comes Clean"


Riyad Al-Haj commented in independent Al-Quds (8/7):  "By accepting the return of UN weapons inspectors, Baghdad has scored a point in its diplomatic war against the United States, especially after Washington unequivocally rejected the Iraqi offer.  Of course, this development is not decisive and will probably not change Washington's determination to topple the Iraqi regime. What is important to note, however, is that the Iraqi government has gotten rid of a heavy burden placed on it by many countries for its previous extreme position refusing the return of the inspectors. Now it should be clear to everyone who holds the extreme position and who is interested in peace....  The Arab countries, Russia, China and the European Union must now assert what they want to do: Either they reject America's war loud and clear, or they keep quiet and leave Iraq to face its destiny by itself."


BAHRAIN:  "Iraq"


Semi-independent Arabic Akhbar Al-Khalij stated (7/16):  "All indeications show that the American strike on Iraq is inevitable and that it is just a matter of time.  We all know that this is true and we know that the Gulf countries have no control over the siutation.   In fact, they will have no other alternative but to provide all the facilities for the American attack on Iraq.  Therefore, I suggest that GCC States, with the minimal information they know about the attack, should start preparing scenarios for a "post-Saddam" Iraq.  The Worst scenario that the GCC may face would be the division of Iraq into three entities.  While Gulf Arabs watch helplessly, part of Iraq qould fall under America's control and Iran would take the rest.  This would certainly threaten the unity of the GCC states."


EGYPT:  "Changing Arab Regimes"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama and English-language Al Ahram Weekly (8/8):  "The world is witnessing a heated race between foolishness and wisdom, between America and Britain on the one hand and the rest of the rest of the world countries that oppose a war against Iraq, on the other....  The increasing belligerence coming from the White House; Bush's insistence that war is the only choice and his claim that in waging war on Iraq Washington is upholding the principles of civilization and protecting the world against evil, suggests that what we are seeing is the emergence of a new bin Laden, an American one driven by the same (religious) zeal and reserving for himself the right to reform the world and eliminated anything he perceives of evil only he perceives."


JORDAN:  “America Is Isolating Itself”


Center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour held (8/7):  “The United States continues its blatant threats of a military blow against Iraq, in a manner that seems to be out of swing from the growing international consensus against such an American action, that completely lacks international legitimacy.…  We realize that America’s intentions of dealing an aggressive blow to Iraq are very serious indeed, but we also understand that the U.S. administration’s lack of international consensus and Arab agreement for such a blow is going to disarm Washington of one of the most important weapons, namely the moral and legal basis for using unjustifiable force against a small and besieged country to oust its ruling regime.”


KUWAIT:  "No Option For Kuwait Except To Participate"


Ayed Al-Mana' stated in independent Al-Watan (7/24):  "Kuwait's Defense Minister Shaikh Jaber Al-Mubarak stated July 23 that a "new military camp in Southern Kuwait will be ready to receive American soldiers."  We as a people and as a government do not support the strike against Iraq, due to the negative social and economic impacts it could have on us.  Yet Kuwait would be disloyal to the Iraqi people if it does not allow the United States and its allies to use Kuwaiti territories and regional waters against the Iraqi government.  Also, is it logical for Kuwait to reject American or British requests that could help in freeing the Iraqis from their suffering?  We do not support any war against Iraq, but the war is coming, unless something unexpected happens.  Therefore, Kuwait has no option but to be an effective and powerful actor in this war."


LEBANON:  "Will History Repeat Itself?" 


An editorial by Samer Al-Husseini in pro-Syria Al-Kifah Al-Arabi noted (7/31):  "The U.S. scene today is not different from what it was a decade ago: U.S. elections on the doors, military preparations to strike Iraq, and a choking economic crisis.  So will the defeat of George Bush, the father be repeated during the term of George Bush, the son?  The military victories that Bush the father scored abroad did not prevent his defeat in the presidential elections due to the deterioration of the U.S. economy....  Bush's bet on removing Saddam Hussain's regime and on improving the US economy might give him a sweeping victory in the 2004 presidential elections.  But such a bet faces difficulties and many obstacles....  Removing Saddam is directly linked to putting the train of peace back on its old track and, if we look at the Bush Administration's approach to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, we realize that it did not achieve a single breakthrough in the cycle of violence." 


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Britain And Iraq"


Jeddah's moderate, English-language Arab News editorialized (8/7):  "Most British commentators express concern that an American foray against Iraq at a time when the Palestinian-Israeli crisis remains unresolved is essentially a recipe for disaster. They argue that whatever sentiments exist in the Arab world against Baghdad these pale into insignificance at the continuing violence in Palestine. Blair may have the political majority in parliament to sanction military action but the British public remains unconvinced such action is necessary."


SYRIA:  "Dangerous And Unknown Territory"


Fouad Mardoud, chief editor of government-owned Syria Times, editorialized (8/8):  "One of the main charges of anti-American criticism is that this arrogant superpower ignores multilateral laws and goes for war alone in its own way--unilaterally and without any sense of guilt....  The announced objective for attacking Iraq is to change the Iraqi regime and force Iraq to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 787 that requires Iraq to disclose and destroy its weapons of mass destruction.  But the hidden aim is to divide the country and destroy all its potential and natural resources....  The American option of attacking Iraq is terrible and dangerous. The U.S. will not succeed in convincing other states it is a good idea, despite what the hawks in Washington tend to say.  A U.S. commentator wrote in the International Herald Tribune last week asking his administration: If you are going to war, for God's sake please tell us why."


TUNISIA:  "Iraq"


An analysis by Manoubi Akrout, Political journalist, in independent French-language Le Quotidien editorialized (8/6):  "The American-British intervention in order to influence the future of Sudan is transparent. It represents another step toward a policy of containment and an attempt to subjugate the Arab world.  The objective is to divide Sudan into at least two parts to get hold of its oil resources, control the water sources flowing to Egypt and oblige it to take a neutral stance vis-à-vis the U.S. crusade against Africa and the Middle East....  For the Americans, Sudan is nothing more than a milestone among many others in their quest for subjugation of the Arab world. Americans will divide, again and again, in order to reign in the region.  Bush--applying the law of the jungle--mentioned a few days ago in front of a television audience that he will attack Iraq no matter what the UN evaluations are..."




AUSTRALIA:  "Attack Iraq And Save The world? Bush Is Dreaming"


Hugh White, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute gave this op-ed view in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald (8/8):  "After September 11 the most obvious reason to remove Saddam is to reduce the threat of al-Qaida terrorist attacks on America and its allies. But it is hard to argue that an invasion of Iraq makes sense for that reason....  I have not met a serious analyst who believes that removing Saddam would significantly reduce the threat of terrorism to the United States or its allies over the next few years.  Saddam is a danger, but he is not the most imminent or probable source of the next major terrorist attack.  Why all the focus on Iraq, then?...  It seems that those in the United States who are pushing hardest to go ahead with the invasion...see the invasion of Iraq as the start of a long campaign to remake the Middle East....  It is a beguiling vision.  It suits the ambitions of post-Cold War America, and of the generation who won the Cold War.  It might make the world a better place. If it works....  I'd still guess that Bush will not risk his presidency on such a bold but uncertain vision."


CHINA:  "U.S. Plans on Attacking Iraq"


The official intellectual publication Guangming Daily Guangming Ribao commented (7/19):  “The U.S. has determined to attack Iraq and has started its war apparatus.  Turkey is an important ally that U.S. needs to depend on for its attack on Iraq.  However, Turkey is rather worried about the U.S. war against Iraq.  First, Turkey fears that the war against Saddam’s regime may cause conflict between different races and religious groups in Iraq, which will lead to disruption of the country and  Kurdish independence.  This situation will produce serious negative effects in Syria, Turkey and other Arab countries where there are Kurds.  Third, Turkey is afraid that the U.S. attack on Iraq will make it even more difficult for the recovery of Turkey’s economy.  The U.S. has determined a timetable for the attack.  It may take at least 6 months for the U.S. to prepare for the war and win fundamental support or recognition from the international community.  Though the U.S. declaration of war against Iraq may not be supported widely in the international community, it will attempt to have the international community acquiesce in the war or at least not take strong measures against the U.S.  Moreover, the international media have pounced on indications that the U.S. has worked out the fighting plan against Iraq.” 


INDONESIA:  "Another Human Tragedy Recurs Should Iraq Be Attacked" 


Leading independent daily Kompas noted (7/17):  “Despite their common objective of toppling Saddam, the London-based Iraqi dissent officers insist that the U.S. should not replace Saddam with another strong man for fear that U.S. interference in the establishment of a new government in Iraq would only result in a puppet government of Washington in Iraq….  The U.S. seems to be frustrated by Saddam’s toughness.  Even if Iraq is attacked again, Saddam might not fall.  On the other hand, the Iraqi people would suffer even further after economic sanctions by the UN.  It, therefore, makes sense that many countries oppose the U.S. plan to strike Iraq again.  The strikes would result in a more dire human disaster in Iraq.”


SINGAPORE:  "America Versus Iraq"


The pro-government Straits Times held (8/8):  "The signs point to serious preparations in Washington for war against Iraq.  President George W. Bush is gunning for 'regime change'.... This is a dangerous policy at a time when the murderous war between Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Palestinians gets worse by the day....  Not just Americans, much of the world is unconvinced of his case for war against Iraq. There is also no compelling evidence that the Iraqi regime is connected to the Sept. 11 attacks, even though it may have links with terrorist groups.  Sure, Mr. Bush can go it alone with unquestioning help from Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, but that is about all he will get.  True, Mr. Saddam's weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to the world....  Mr. Bush ought to have a rethink, now that Baghdad seems prepared to comply with the UN Security Council's demands....  A war against Iraq is easy to start, but how will it end to America's advantage? No one can be certain about this....  In the best-case scenario, it may be a short campaign but, for sure, the consequences of Mr. Saddam's defeat will not end there. Post-Saddam Iraq could become unstable and thus even more unpredictable, given its fractious politics.  It could become a new breeding ground to spawn terrorists. Let it not be the hubris of the world's sole superpower that sets America on the warpath with Iraq. Removing Mr. Saddam's repressive regime may make the world a safer place, but Mr. Bush will have to make a stronger case for it. Otherwise, the political fall-out could be even more unsettling."


SOUTH KOREA:  “Negotiations Should Come First”


The conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized (8/8):  “Following President Bush’s remarks about overthrowing the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, plans for a U.S. strike against Iraq are taking shape....  However, the international community is voicing objections to the American move, with the UN urging the U.S. to resolve Iraqi issues through negotiations and German Chancellor Schroeder declaring that his country will not join the planned American campaign against Iraq.  It is hardly understandable for the U.S. to rebuff a recent Iraqi proposal for weapons inspections by a U.S. Congressional investigative team and to push ahead with its plans to strike. This is even more so given that the United States has cited threats from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as its justification for military action. There is even suspicion that President Bush, faced with a crisis caused by the sluggish U.S. economy and accounting scandals, is trying to use the planned strike against Iraq as an opportunity to turn the situation around. The United States should note that its campaign against Iraq will get nowhere without support from the international community.”


"U.S. Willingness to Use Force”


Pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun reported (8/7):  “The U.S. is stepping up its efforts to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through military means....  Many say that it is only a matter of time before the U.S. makes the final decision on when to strike Iraq. In particular, there is mounting suspicion that the Bush Administration, hit hard by the sluggish U.S. economy and accounting scandals, might be trying to use the planned strike against Iraq as an opportunity to turn the situation around….  The U.S. should pay heed to the international community’s criticism that its military unilateralism in resolving problems solely by force poses great threats to world peace....  No matter how problematic the Iraqi regime is, the U.S. cannot be justified in overthrowing it by force.  In addition, issues concerning inspections of Iraqi weapons should be resolved under the UN’s leadership.  If the U.S. continues to push ahead with its scheme in defiance of strong opposition from the UN Secretary-General, it will end up being stigmatized as a ‘war maniac.’”


THAILAND:  "Will Bush Really Crush Saddam?  The Waters Are Still Being Tested" 


Caf Dam commented in elite, business-oriented Krungthep Turakij (8/1):  "If you ask me whether the United States is going to raid Iraq as news have leaked, my answer is a definite no.  Why the leakage then?  The answer is, it may be part of the U.S. operational strategy to test the waters and see whether other countries will jump on the bandwagon....  If no one does, the United States can either step back or say that the plan is merely a proposal for planning purposes, and no policy decision has been made in this regard....  Today, the United States has started a political war against Iraq without wasting a cent to bomb the country."


VIETNAM:  "The General Public Do Not Agree With Calculations To Use Force"


Xuan Hieu wrote in Vietnam Communist Party daily Nhan Dan (8/8):  "Recent developments have clearly revealed U.S ruling circles' calculations to use force to intervene and overthrow the legitimate government in Iraq.  However, the plan of a military attack do not receive support from many circles in the United States.... Those who do not support Bush's adventurous plan say that the United States does not have enough reasons and conditions to launch an attack to overthrow President Hussein.  Germany and France do not support the plan to attack Iraq.  U.S. allies in the Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others, also announced they would not let the United States use their territories as staging areas to launch an attack on Iraq....  UN General Secretary K. Annan warned that a military attack on Iraq at this time was 'unwise'....  Calculations to use force to overthrow a legitimate government in another country cannot be justified by the pretext of 'combating terrorism,' moreover, those calculations do not fit in the international code of conduct of today's world."




BANGLADESH:  "Preparations For U.S. Aggression Against Iraq"


Independent Bangla-language Jugantor ran this by a leftist columnist Badruddin Umar (8/7):  "The U.S. from across the sea has taken all preparations to oust Saddam Hussein in the name of its responsibility to history and civilization.  Its preparations are not isolated from its other criminal activities around the world.  Not only democratic circles in the world, but also its European and Middle Eastern allies are warning against such aggression.  However, President Bush and his administration are not in a position to realize the significance of this warning.  By dint of military might, it may think itself indomitable, in reality its position is going down.  Theft and corruption within the country have disrupted its social structure, economy and administration.  Clearly, a disastrous situation exists in that country.  In that situation, launching an attack against Iraq will push the country into an unprecedented crisis. Therefore, President Bush's Iraq war to control Iraqi oil, not for the preservation of history and civilization, will only pave the way for its own destruction as an imperialist power."


INDIA:  "Hegemonistic Tantrums"   


Chennai-based evening leftist English New Today editorialized (8/1):  "The U.S. is once again trying to assemble a coalition, as before, to fight and dethrone Saddam (Hussein).  Some of the U.S.' earlier allies are backing away now....  Apart from this, Bush's main problem is that the Congress wants of him solid proof that the U.S. interests are really threatened by Iraq before it can ratify Bush's plan. Saddam may or may not have all the dangerous weapons...he is alleged to be having.  Possessing such weapons can be no crime unless they are used. Most countries--some of them--have armed themselves to the teeth and so possession cannot be the cause of discriminatory treatment towards them. That is why the U.S. is keen to get Saddam killed....  Washington is not prepared to recognize that its over-reaction to the alleged sins of omission and commission of Saddam has helped and not harmed him"


PAKISTAN:  "U.S. High-Handedness,"


Islamabad's rightist English, Pakistan Observer observed (8/7):  "The United States is foreclosing all possibilities of peaceful resolution of its unnecessary and unjustified row with Iraq over the question of so-called weapons inspections....  It is regrettable that the United States is openly following the policy of might is right and has no regard for the international law or the norms that govern interstate relations....  The second proposal by the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, who invited U.S. lawmakers to visit the country along with arms experts of their 'choice' to verify the factual position, was more comprehensive and deserved serious consideration. This, in fact, was a major deviation from the previous Iraqi stand on the issue that it will not allow return of inspectors as they were acting as U.S. spies....  It is shameful that when the time approached for lifting of crippling sanctions against Iraq, the United States is trying to ignite another crisis on baseless claims of Iraq's involvement in the development of weapons of mass destruction - a capability that has effectively been crushed first by Israel and then by the United States in the wake of Gulf War.  The United States is apparently going ahead with its plans to invade Iraq despite worldwide opposition....  We urge major players of the international scene to intervene in time to avert another wave of bloodshed of innocent Iraqi people in the name of replacing President Saddam Hussein."




DIJIBOUTI:  "The United States Threatens Iraq"


Government sponsored La Nation front page article stated (8/5):  "The American Congress was bent last week on the opportunity for a military operation to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Houssein....  The Europeans, with France in the lead, remain openly hesitant to any attack on Iraq....  Arab countries judge American military intervention as a grand error aimed at further stirring up the Near-East crisis....  A new war against Iraq marks further the humiliation of Arab-Muslims. This is truly unnecessary at a moment when the United States is recapturing its prestige, at a moment when they are attempting to raise their image in the world."


NIGERIA:  "A Tactical Error"


Lagos-based independent daily Post Express commented (8/8):  "President George W. Bush's resolve to topple the government of Saddam Hussein of Iraq cannot but worry those who think that the respect of the sovereignty of nations should be sacrosanct.  The Iraqi leader may not be the best of a leader, but for an external force to remove him from office would amount to a rape of the sovereignty of Iraq and indeed, interference in the internal affairs of the country.  For America to come out openly to declare its plot to unseat the Iraqi leader is, in itself, an insult on the collective integrity of the Iraqi people, who are capable of determining their destiny.  It is a tactical error."


SOUTH AFRICA:   "A Disturbing  Analysis"


Afrikaans-language, centrist Die Burger held (8/7):  "The British newspaper The Observer this week released a disturbing analysis which should give the advisors of President...Bush...pause for thought in their plans to attack Iraq.  The paper wrote that the royal house of Al-Saoud of Saudi facing collapse.  In this extremely fundamentalist country--which is however, pro Western--any news on this issue is repressed....  Should the ruling house collapse a pro-Western and moderate government will not be the natural choice. It would be a regime that will be well disposed towards the al-Qaeda movement.  This will have serious repercussions for the Middle East.  A militant Saudi Arabia that is at the forefront of a revolution involving the entire region, would destabilize the region, similar to what happened in Iran in 1979...  An American attack on Iraq will be seen as an onslaught on the entire Arab world,  which could just be the slight touch needed to send the Saudi royal house  toppling.   And this can open the way for a terror campaign that would make the present [one] look like a picnic."


UGANDA:  "A War Against Iraq Is Indefensible"


The government-owned New Vision carried this commentary by a regular columnist (8/8):  "Leaders hand-picked by Washington and London are never going to be credible to ordinary Iraqis. Even Saddam himself was a darling of Washington; yet look where it has led them. Why should they trust another import from the Yankees?....  If indeed Saddam has this [WMD] capability, why has he not used them since? The answer is that either he does not have them or he is much more rational than his demonisation suggests. Why should the weapons be more dangerous in his hands than they are in the hands of Sharon or Musharraf?  Indeed, why should we trust these weapons to be solely in the hands of the West? When they acquire them, it is defence; when others like India, Pakistan do, it is proliferation that has to be controlled!... How can the United States that defies global morality, international consensus and multilateral agreements and actively subverts the UN when it suits its purposes be willing to go to war for the sake of UN resolutions? The United States is a rogue state and cannot be the guarantor of international morality and legality. And try as hard as U.S. intelligence, diplomats and other snoopers have tried since September 11, they have not been able to link Saddam to the al-Qaida network; yet Bush continues to accuse it of terrorism....  This war is not only immoral or illegal; it is patently unjust. If the US and Britain are allowed to get away with it again, it will be an act of appeasement and capitulation to the militarist dictum that 'might is right.'"




CANADA:  "Iraq's Kurds Are Uneasy"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (7/30):  "Leaders of the main Iraqi opposition groups will gather in Washington next month at President George W. Bush's invitation to weigh the options for overthrowing and replacing dictator Saddam Hussein.  If the past is any guide, disarray and backbiting will set the tone. All the same, it might be thought that at least one of the groups expected to attend the meeting, Iraq's Kurds, would welcome a U.S.--led attack on a regime that has inflicted so much suffering on its non-Arab Kurdish minority....  Iraq's Kurds are keenly aware that neither Washington nor any country in the region supports the notion of an independent Kurdish state. So, instead, the Kurds want U.S. assurances that any attack on Iraq would be accompanied by guarantees of Kurdish security and a pledge that any new Iraqi regime would encompass substantial autonomy for the Kurds. Thus far there has been no such commitment. Nor is there likely to be one, given the long-time apprehension of Washington's key ally, Turkey, that Kurdish nationalism might secure a permanent foothold on its borders. Yet again, the Kurds fear they will be used as pawns in a larger struggle. Yet again, they may be right."


MEXICO:  "Iran To Iraq?"


Carlos Fuentes wrote in independent Reforma (8/7):  "Victoriano Huerta, Saddam Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden...there is no doubt that these are bloody tyrants and criminal terrorists.  What is in doubt is the diplomatic rationality of the United States...its crossed cables among its sources of power-political, military, and economic-and as a result of this, the trustworthiness of Washington's actions is in doubt, especially due to the blindness of a nation that knows it is the only superpower.  A U.S. invasion of Iraq could unleash revolutionary movements in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt...Even if the USG achieved a rapid victory over Saddam, has it thought seriously about who would govern in Iraq, who would carry out peacekeeping missions, and who would ensure its integrity?  Rational voices should work though negotiation channels, accept Iraq's offer to send arms inspectors to Baghdad, and put Saddam's words to the test.  He is an undesirable despot.  But so is President Bush's arrogance and unilateral stance.  I hope that the international intellectual community finds a way to subject the White House to reasonable multilateral policies and the will of the Iraqi people in order to overthrow Saddam."


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:  "Shadows Nothing More"


Independent, conservative and third ranked El Caribe stated (8/4):  "A military occupation and attack against Iraq will certainly affect the flow of oil to Europe and Japan and destabilize the internal politics in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf and Middle Eastern countries....  The control of oil in the Persian Gulf is indispensible for the U.S. position in the world, even when the quantity of oil is minimum that it purchases from the Middle Eastern countries compared to those of Japan and Europe.  In other words:  the U.S. wants to ensure it can defend that state of Israel better, and above all, obtain oil at a reasonable price (US$6/barrel) even when this operation implies the opportune disappearance of OPEC."


CHILE:  "Scandal in the White House II."


Leading-circulation, popular Santiago daily La Tercera wrote (7/29):  "... Eleven months after the attack on the Twin Towers, President Bush is still focusing on the fight against terrorism....  It looks like the President is trying to take attention away from the paltry economic figures, a series of financial scandals, and a slippery (path to) economic revival....  The President and his advisors should learn from the experience of George Bush, Sr.  Not even the feeling of victory and 90 percent approval at the end of the end of the war with Iraq in 1991 could hide the economic stagnation that cost him reelection....  Bush Sr. learned that those tactics are not merely ineffective, they also have a high cost in human lives."


BRAZIL:  "Political Myopia"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (7/31):  "The White House continues to send signs that it may launch a military campaign against Iraq to overthrow President Saddam Hussein. It is a reckless venture that the world must reject. No one doubts that Saddam Hussein is one of the world's worst tyrants....  [But] the Gulf War ended 11 years ago...and nothing serious has emerged to justify a resumption of the war....  An attack against Iraq now would only have disastrous effects. The main victim would be the Iraqi people....  The war would also provoke Muslim nations' wrath against the U.S. The governments of moderate Arab nations supporting Bush might face problems....  A war against Iraq is the last thing that the world, already in recession, needs....  Only political myopia could explain a move against Iraq now."


PERU:   “Iraq-U.S.: Respect For One Another.” 


Flagship, conservative daily El Comercio headlined (7/14):  "The foreign policy of any country, even if it is the world’s superpower, should not permit it to take arbitrary decisions which may affect another country, no matter how inappropriate the actions of the latter’s leaders are.  This is a principle of international coexistence that has been questioned by U.S. president George Bush when he said that the U.S. 'will use every possible means to…overthrow Saddam Hussein.'  We agree in the substance, but not in the form....  This...not only makes the U.S. lose prestige, but also...encourages people…to…take Hussein's side....  The U.S...must explain its claims to the international community...through the UN and its Security Council… This is where legitimate and concerted decisions should be taken to stop the threat…posed by Hussein…  We can neither accept Hussein's…rejection of…the UN arms inspectors nor the U.S. decision to oust him on its own....  This would be an extremely dangerous attitude to take, which would establish a negative precedent for international coexistence.”


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