International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

September 10, 2002

September 10, 2002




*** Many editorials from around the globe regard a U.S. war with Iraq as 'inevitable.'

*** Newspapers representing European allies are clearly split over military action in Iraq.

*** Most writers saw greater risk in attempting regime change than in leaving Saddam in power.

*** Potential supporters of military action desire more dialogue on a 'post-war' Iraq, clearer evidence of WMD in Iraq, and a more multilateral approach to Mideast policy.



Conflict 'inevitable'  European, Asian, South American and Middle Eastern editorials treated a war with Iraq as a foregone conclusion.  Many Arab writers denounced an Iraq attack as part of an American "expansionist policy" to secure control of oil fields and placate Israeli interests.


British writers pledge steadfast support to U.S., other Euros more cautious  A majority of British editorials expressed clear support for U.S. action in Iraq, and disdain for "cowards" in the UN, namely China, France and Russia.  The conservative Sunday Times argued the U.S. does not need a new UN mandate, and dismissed this as a "veiled excuse for inaction."  The administration's British supporters, while stressing the need for the U.S. to make a "clear and reasoned public case" for an attack, generally seconded PM Blair's unequivocal support for the U.S.  French and German media were markedly less enthusiastic about the prospect of war.  France's right-of-center Le Figaro criticized a "double standard" in U.S Mideast policy, urging that intervention in Iraq should be part of a scheme to "settle the region's situation once and for all."  German writers were greatly concerned over the fate of U.S.-German relations after Chancellor Shroeder's high-profile opposition to a U.S. invasion.  Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine saw the Iraq crisis exacerbating a "growing rift in transatlantic relations."


Risk of war versus risk of doing nothing  Several papers came down strongly in favor of regime change.  Spanish independent El Mundo declared, "The risk of regional not reason enough to leave [Saddam] to govern eternally," and the Australian tabloid Sun Herald asserted that supporting the U.S. "makes us responsible global citizens."  The independent Jerusalem Post noted the harm inaction would have on U.S. credibility.  Many more editorials, however, expressed either outright condemnation of U.S. military action, or cautious reservation.  Turkish, Saudi, Chinese and German writers all argued that articultion of a post-war reconstruction plan is a prerequisite for the U.S.'s gaining global approval.  Other editorials wanted convincing evidence that Iraq is pursuing WMD.  Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Nadwa pressed both the U.S. and Britain to present their evidence of Iraqi WMD to the UN.  In addition, many writers expressed anxiety over the effect a war with Iraq would have on the coalition against terrorism.  Qatar's semi-independent Al-Watan argued that U.S. policy on Iraq is threatening to destroy the anti-terror partnership it built after 9/11.


EDITOR:  James Iovino


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 57 reports from 29 countries, September 1- September 10.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Words And Deeds"


An editorial in the conservative Times argued (9/9): “The outcome of the meeting between Bush and Blair offers the UN an opportunity and a challenge.  It can choose to demand that Iraq finally and completely complies with the various UN resolutions it has ignored for a decade or it can again shirk that responsibility.  Its decision on whether or not to act against Saddam will not just send a signal to Baghdad.  It will send a broader signal to the world on what the organization thinks of the development of weapons of mass destruction and, at the same time, what it believes about itself....  The U.S. will not abandon its determination to deal with the Iraq if the UN prevaricates....  [China, France and Russia] should now put aside political theatre and personal gain and support the U.S. push, or at the very least abstain without all the usual angst....  The UN should not wish to place the U.S. in a position where it almost alone is left to curtail Saddam’s ambitions....  If the UN does not lay down the law this time, then it will have come close to endorsing international lawlessness....  The UN has acted for months as if it were more concerned about what  Bush might do about Iraq than what Saddam has done in absolute contradiction of UN resolutions.  The challenge for the UN is not to restrain the U.S., but to reform Iraq.”


"Cowardice At The UN"


An editorial in the mass-circulation tabloid Sun asserted (9/9):  “Saddam is in breach on 16 UN resolutions....  [China, Russia and France] can bury their heads in the sand and oppose action in which case the UN as an institution is forever damaged.  Or they can come on board--or abstain from voting....  What the UN decides DOES matter--but only to those who valued the future of the UN....  It does not, in the final analysis, matter to an America readying for war....  Nor should it....  A year later [the UN] has become cowardly and weak....  And if the UN fails--as an entity--to swing behind America’s principled action it will retreat into history....  This is not a time for cowards....  Sadly, the UN is packed with them”.


"Blair, The First Ally"


The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (9/5):  “For Blair, it is hard to overestimate the significance of the presidential invitation [to Camp David].  Blair should waste no time in publishing [the promised dossier]....  Blair should now receive his clearest outline so far, both of the military strategy to defeat Saddam’s forces, and of the political strategy to replace Saddam’s regime.  Armed with this information, he will be uniquely equipped to engage in public and private diplomacy....  This time, though, the task of building a coalition in support of Bush will be harder.  There is no casus belli....  [German Chancellor Schroeder has strained relations between Germany, the U.S. and Britain with his recent comments].  In Washington and London, the hope must be that the challenger, Edmund Stoiber, would make a more Atlanticist chancellor.  If  Mr. Schroeder wins, Bush will just have to call his bluff.  He could point out that the Americans and British are, by proposing to replace an evil dictatorship with democracy, only doing for the Iraqi people what they once did for the Germans.”


"Speak Up For Europe And Ask For Some Restraint"


The centrist Independent stated (9/5):  "The announcement yesterday that Blair is to visit Bush at Camp David this Saturday ends days of frenzied speculation on both sides of the Atlantic....  It is significant that Bush and Blair have decided on a face-to-face meeting rather than extended telephone calls.  It says much about the panicky mood in both capitals....  Blair must hope to take from the meeting a clear idea of U.S. intentions.  British diplomats have complained for months about the mixed signals emanating from Washington over its 'war on terror'.  Mr. Blair badly needs to know where Mr. Bush stands.  If anything, Mr. Bush needs the Camp David meeting even more. He needs to show America that he does not stand alone.  As the ally of last resort, Mr. Blair has a rare opportunity not just to present the British and European perspective, but to ask for something in return for his loyalty.  Restraint would be a start, and a second chance for diplomacy.”


"Bridging The Atlantic"


The independent Financial Times editorialized (9/3):  “Evolving attitudes to Iraq on both sides of the Atlantic suggest a dawning awareness of hitherto unrecognized constraints--but also of opportunities.  The biggest constraint on the U.S. is the risk inherent in a unilateral strike against Iraq.  But for Europe dogmatically to oppose U.S. action could condemn it to marginalisation and the unenviable task of trying to pick up the pieces afterwards.  The immediate aim must be to press Washington to make a clear and reasoned public case for an eventual attack on Iraq, while pursuing every other option energetically in the UN Security Council.  It is in the U.S. interest, domestically and internationally, for Bush’s administration to respond positively.  But it will be likely to do so only if the EU speaks with one voice."


"Calling Saddam’s Bluff"


The conservative Sunday Times declared (9/1):  "The threat from Iraq is real....  The argument for action is as strong as it has ever been. right to try to steer the Bush administration away from a go-it-alone stance.  But...action against Iraq does not require a new UN mandate, which is a scarcely veiled excuse for inaction....  It would be a shrewd move to give a deadline by which weapons inspectors must be readmitted.  No potential sites should be out of bounds to the inspectors....  That deadline should not be long...and when, as is likely, Saddam fails to comply, even vocal opponents of action will surely accept that he has something lethal to hide, and that the time for prevarication is over.”


FRANCE:  "Chirac, Bush And Saddam"


Bernard Guetta on government-run France Inter Radio (9/9):  “If Saddam Hussein does not give in to the UN, this would mean, as the U.S. and the British contend, that Saddam has something to hide.  At that point President Chirac’s responsibility would be tremendous, all the more so because while Saddam’s ousting is militarily feasible, the aftermath of such an intervention is totally unpredictable.”


"The Iraqi Paradox"


Michel Schifres commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/6):  “There is no mistake: the Iraqi war has started.  Not the military operation, but there is no doubt that President Bush will launch an operation against Saddam Hussein.  He needs to convince Congress and the UN, but the task is not insurmountable.  Not only because Saddam Hussein’s sinister regime is in no way justifiable, but because ever since the tragedy that hit New York no one can refuse anything to the imperial and imperious America.  Bush will only have to wait a little.… and invest in some diplomatic posturing, particularly with regard to Arab nations.  This posturing cannot obfuscate a recurring question:  how could the world’s compassion before the ruins of the World Trade Center turn so fast into mistrust towards the U.S.?  The answer is simple:  President Bush’s clumsiness and assertions explain America’s tarnished image.  But America alone does not carry all the responsibility:  the alliance of America’s arrogance with a stupid and recurrent anti-Americanism could only lead to this unusual outcome.  Nevertheless it is surprising to find British public opinion largely against an intervention in Iraq and even more astonishing to see Germany turn its back on the U.S.  When the time comes, everything will probably revert to normal.  But this dissidence will leave its mark.  And it is a good thing.  As is the fact that France is no longer alone.… The EU, in spite of its differences, has managed a certain unity over the Iraqi crisis.… In short, it is clear that there are surprising paradoxes:  the more America plays a dominant role, the more Europe has a role to play.”


"Double Standards"


Renaud Girard opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/6):  “The Bush administration is clearly getting ready to go to war against Iraq.… The U.S. President will first have to convince Congress and the UN.… After some serious bartering the Russians and the Chinese will probably agree not to use their veto power.… But what will happen afterwards?  Will the Bush administration manage to set up a stable regime in Baghdad?  And what will be the extent of the collateral damage, both political and social across the Middle East?  One hopes that these questions have seriously and carefully been analyzed in Washington.… Before dealing with Saddam Hussein, the Americans should have been advised to deal with the Israeli democracy and force it to comply with international law.… The Pentagon’s hawks rightly believe that no serious foreign policy can exist without a credible military force to back it up.  But they forget that the long-lasting effect of any diplomacy relies on a minimum amount of fairness.  The new world order, promoted by President Bush’s father, will not survive eternally the systematic practice of a policy based on double standards.”


"Bush Beating His Drum About Iraq"


Jean-Jacques Mevel commented In right-of-center Le Figaro (9/5):  “Iraq is apparently at the top of the administration’s agenda before the mid-term elections.  George Bush is seeking to take control, rally support and rush the calendar.  This means that the international community also has to hurry it along....  But for the first time Washington is giving the impression that its partners at the UN Security Council will be entitled to have their say. The impression, though, is double-edged; the French, British, Russians and Chinese will have to see eye to eye with the U.S. or face the implicit threat of George W. Bush’s acting alone.”


"Powell Gives The UN One Last Chance"


Jean-Jacques Mevel wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/3):  “By putting the UN on the front lines, Powell is trying to gain time while setting himself apart from the rest of the Bush team… But Powell will probably not have the last word....  President Bush is expected to speak on September 12.  The conciliatory tone of the Secretary of State should not fool either the Iraqis or the Europeans: the UN is merely a necessary step, not an end in itself. No one in the Bush team doubts for a second the need to get rid of Saddam Hussein… Powell is a true blue Republican, loyal to a fault....  He is applying to Iraq the theory he used for former Yugoslavia: public opinion must back any military operation, the nation’s vital interests must be threatened, the mission must be well-defined and limited, and America’s might must be staggering....  In the meantime embassies around the world can breath a sigh of relief: Powell is the first member of the Bush administration to call for the UN to play a role...thus answering directly both France and Great Britain....  The lack of an alternative scenario, the UN’s hesitations and its internal divisions could play into the hands of Bush’s hawks.  It would be the unhoped-for proof that nothing can come from the UN and that Washington can go ahead.  For Colin Powell it could also be the last straw.”


"Bush, Saddam And the Complicated Orient"


Francois Gere, of the Institute for Diplomacy and Defense, argued in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/3): “No one cares for Saddam Hussein....  Then why this strange diplomatic move to keep the U.S. from putting an end to the dictator’s reign?  The world’s anxiety stems from vertigo before the unknown....  An intervention in Iraq makes sense only if it serves as a preamble to settling the region’s situation once and for all.  But this presupposes opening another front, probably the most important one: the Arab Peninsula....  Sept.11 has proven that the Riyadh regime is a major stumbling block to settling the situation in the Middle East.”


GERMANY:  "War Of Beliefs"


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine observed (9/5):  “The least disputable fact about Iraq is the growing rift the country is causing in transatlantic relations....  The alienation between Washington and Berlin cannot be denied any longer--Ambassador Coats statements speak a clear language.  However, Chancellor Schroeder was the first to resort to such clear language.  The German election campaign does not suffice to explain Chancellor Schroeder’s refusal to use quiet and effective diplomatic channels to convey Germany’s position to the United States.  When it became obvious that the type and manner of criticism Berlin directed at the United States decreased rather than increased Berlin’s influence in Washington, Schroeder should have changed his rhetoric.  Instead, he kept raising the stakes, as if his opponent were not the United States, but little Austria....  Schroeder is right to claim that friendship has nothing to do with ‘submission.’  In Berlin, friendship is turning into distrust.”


"More Dialogue"


Werner Sonne commented on ARD-TV's (national channel one) late evening newscast Tagesthemen (9/4):  “Are we out of our minds?  U.S.-German relations are in the process of falling apart, and nobody is trying to do anything about it.  On the contrary--the war of words is escalating.  The U.S. Ambassador uttered harsh criticism in the midst of an election campaign, an event without precedent....  Of course, there are only 18 days left until the election, and polls indicate that a majority of voters does not want an Iraq war.  Schroeder, Stoiber, Fischer--not one of them is currently interested in damage control....  Difficult problems in U.S.-German relations are nothing new, but never before has anyone been this willing to risk so much.  If push comes to shove, Germany will remain dependent on the United States.  That is a fact.  And the United States, too, must realize that it cannot get by without allies....  What to do?  The obvious: Talk more with each other, and not in public, at least no like this.  It is apparent that there is too much heated campaign rhetoric and, simultaneously, an irresponsible lack of communication via diplomatic channels.” 


"Praise From Baghdad"


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine observed (9/2):  "The skepticism of many in the Bush administration concerning Saddam’s willingness to follow international rules is well-founded.  However, it is wrong not even to make the attempt to get Iraq to cooperate with the UN.  Germany’s unconditional opposition to military action is equally wrong.  It is true that a war against Iraq would involve incalculable risks.  But that is true of all armed conflicts....  It is important to discuss the risks and then make a decision, a process taking place in the United States right now.  Colin Powell just joined the debate, and his enthusiasm for a military campaign is very limited.  Obviously, it is worthwhile to talk with Washington.”


"Ultimatum For Baghdad"


The Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg pointed out (9/2):  “Only a military threat could force Iraq to accept UN resolutions.  Demanding the return of the weapons inspectors without such a threat is not serious policy, just diplomatic shadow boxing....  The United States needs to clarify what a post-war Iraq would look like.  It is a scandal that Washington keep pushing the debate over a war against Baghdad without saying what kind of role it plans to play in the region afterwards.  The Bush administration gives the impression of being indifferent to world opinion and the solidarity of allies.  It should listen to Colin Powell and seek genuine international cooperation.”


ITALY:  "Bush Agrees With Cheney But Lets Out Other Rumors For The Time Being"


A front-page article from New York in elite, classical liberal Il Foglio observed (9/3):  “The U.S. Administration appears divided once again, and the allies do not appear enthusiastic.  In fact, many of them openly disagree with the hypothesis of a final attack on Iraq.  That is probably why Baghdad is launching its diplomatic offensive again, made up, as usual, of visits to Moscow, meetings of Arab parliaments, meetings with Kofi Annan, claims of innocence, and some vague openings on the hypothesis of letting U.N. inspectors return to Baghdad....  Paradoxically, the same theory is supported by U.S. Secretary of State Powell, who, in an interview with the BBC, referred again to the inspectors as the ‘first step’ towards putting an end to the violations of U.N. resolutions....  Powell thus officially contradicted an interview, also by the BBC, with U.S. National Security Advisor Rice and two previous speeches by Vice President Cheney....  And what’s President Bush’s position?  The White House spokesman yesterday skillfully avoided providing a real answer”


RUSSIA:  "U.S. Offers UN Chance To Avert War"


Yevgeniy Bai said in reformist Izvestiya (9/9):  "There is no doubt in anybody's mind at the White House that the time for inspections in Iraq is long gone.  But the United States has ostensibly referred the matter to the UN (knowing a priori that this organization can't handle Saddam) to gain more support from its allies, come hour of reckoning.   America has offered the UN a chance to put Saddam on his knees and avert a war against Iraq."


"Final Decision May Not Be Forthcoming"


Yulia Petrovskaya held in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (9/5):  "(Prime Minister) Blair should not flaunt boring (government) reports (on Iraqi WMD), with readers and TV-viewers across the world still waiting to see hard evidence that al-Qaida and Taliban were behind the 9/11 attacks on the United States."


"Russia Won't Risk Marring Relations With U.S."


Boris Volkhonskiy stated in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant (9/3): "Baghdad can't but realize that Russia won't risk straining relations with the United States in the name of would-be benefits of cooperation with Iraq. Under the circumstances, Moscow would do well not to commit itself in any way, and verbally object to possible U.S. armed action."


"The Kremlin's Double Game"


Nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (9/3) charged in a comment by Vasiliy Safronchuk:  "While resistance to the United States' plans to attack Iraq is growing round the world, the Kremlin is acting ambiguously, to say the least.  Mounting opposition from even America's close allies makes the Kremlin's double game look particularly unseemly.  EU foreign ministers, meeting at Helsingor in Denmark on August 31, demanded that there be no military strike against Iraq without approval from the UN Security Council."


BELGIUM:  "Beware Of Double Standards"


Foreign editor Philippe Berkenbaum commented in left-of-center Le Soir (9/9): “Of course, no one denies that the Iraqi regime is hateful, that it supports terrorist groups, including Palestinian ones, and that it has bellicose and hegemonic regional ambitions.  But it would be hard to accept a policy of ‘double standards’--focusing on Iraq while at the same time ignoring the abuses of other countries--which are allies of the United States.  Everybody knows, for instance, that the Saudi and Syrian dictatorships also support terrorist groups--not to mention what the civilian population in these countries is exposed to.  And as far as the non-respect of UN Resolutions is concerned, does one need to point out Israel’s attitude in this field?...  The populations in the region would not understand (such a double standards policy).  Any unilateral action against Iraq--and first and foremost without the UNSC green light--is vowed not only to destabilize the entire region, but also to throw into the arms of anti-Western Muslim fundamentalists all those who do not have any other means of fighting the unfairness of international law.”


IRELAND:  "Clear Evidence Needed On Iraq"


The liberal Irish Times opined (9/7):  "The Iraqi crisis has deepened and broadened this week, following President George Bush's return to Washington from holidays.  He has not abandoned his expressed objective of changing the Iraqi regime by removing President Saddam Hussein from power....  Over coming weeks and months a major political and diplomatic effort will be made by the U.S. to convince a sceptical world that the Iraqi regime poses a sufficient threat to global and regional security to justify preventive or pre-emptive military action against it.  His readiness to make this effort is welcome, a well-advised policy clarification after weeks of speculation about unilateral action, based on open argument between different factions of his administration.  The threat of military action has not been justified by unambiguous evidence of Iraq's direct involvement with those responsible for the murderous attacks on New York and Washington last September 11th.  All eyes will be on Mr Bush when he makes his speech to the United Nations General Assembly next week for convincing arguments that Iraq is so involved."


NORWAY:  USA’s Unilateralism"


Newspaper of record Aftenposten held in an editorial (9/9):  “There is now being placed more weight on the fact that a policy that aims at a regime change in Baghdad should have support in places other than Washington, and that the UN therefore is the place to begin.  It is there that the U.S. President will speak on Thursday.  He will presumably give a signal that the Americans either have thought to continue their unilateralism, or that they are turning back to the successful alliance-building that they undertook immediately following the terrorist acts one year ago.… But at least two demands President Bush and his colleagues can hardly avoid:  Better, and preferably incontrovertible documentation of what is the direct threat Saddam Hussein presents, and a decision, or in any case some thoughts, on what is seen as a replacement for the Iraqi dictator’s leadership following the regime change that is the main goal.”   


PORTUGAL:   "Attack Saddam: Now, Later or Never?"


In an op-ed in respected center-left daily Diário de Notícias, former Defense Minister and Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. (ret.) Loureiro dos Santos observed (9/6):  "In order 'never' to be attacked, Saddam will call up dissuasive mechanisms, including weapons of mass destruction (WMD)....  'Never' is also the opinion of those who choose anti-Americanism as their objective....  For an outside observer, everything is unsure.  There is no access to reports from intelligence services that the American administration certainly has. It is sensible to not take a definitive position before getting access to more data....  One can foresee two extreme scenarios, whose realization depends upon what the true goals are in the game.  If it is solely to avoid Saddam's use of WMD, everything could be resolved within the context of the UN, as long as an unconditional return of the inspectors (via an ultimatum?) is accepted and everything demanded is complied with.  If not, an invasion would be justified, and it would have solid international support.  If the objective is Saddam, there will sooner or later be an attack, as soon as the U.S. reaches the point of such public threatening that it cannot back down, lest it lose credibility....  Putting an end to the anguish of those for whom, through weakness, only shame has stopped from supporting a preventive attack--an attack without an immediately visible motive."


SPAIN:  "Getting Rid Of Saddam"


Independent El Mundo commented (9/1):  "An Iraqi government in exile that assembled the main forces of the opposition and was supported by Arabs would make the overthrow of Saddam easier.  First of all, the United States should prove that the 'cage' based on embargo, sanctions and air surveillance north of thirty-sixth parallel and south of thirty-third parallel is no longer working.  The replacement of Saddam, if unacceptable civilian causalities are avoided and a representative government is placed instead, would change the whole political, economic and security structure of the Middle East, would weaken the most radical forces, would facilitate...a new peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, would allow the West to cut its devilish relation to the Saudi royal house, would put back onto the market one to two million barrels of oil and would boost democratic reforms in the whole region.  It is understandable that Iraq's neighbors, the main beneficiaries of Baghdad's isolation, prefer the 'status quo.'  The risk of regional destabilization, the reason that Bush Senior left Saddam in power in 1991, is not reason enough to leave him to govern eternally, and even less so when, in order to defend himself, he threatens to attack Israel with weapons of mass destruction."


TURKEY:  "There Are Signs About An Iraq Operation"


Ergin Yildizoglu wrote in social democrat-intellectual Cumhuriyet (9/9): "It is possible to draw two conclusions from the current picture.  The Bush administration is planing to start an operation against Iraq as soon as possible and it believes that there will be no other way to deal with the issue other than the military option.  Or is President Bush deliberately focussing on the Iraq issue to attract nationalistic voters and plans to think about the strike-planing after the U.S. elections?...  If you pay attention to what the former Irish minister Mowiam (sic) recently said, the U.S. is not in hurry to attack.  This is because the ultimate goal is not Saddam but the ability to pursue an expansionist policy which might even go to taking control of the Saudi oil fields.  In any case, sooner or later, the war seems inevitable."


"The Lonely Cowboy Of The Wild West"


Haluk Ulman opined in economic-political Dunya (9/6):  "Those who stand against the U.S. operation in Iraq have something else in common:  They all accept the fact that Saddam Hussein constitutes a threat to international peace.  Yet they all have different reasons to stand against the U.S. strike to topple Saddam....  When the situation calls for the operation, the US should go through the United Nations Security Council.  The fact of the matter is that when that happens, Russia and China and even France might use their veto....  If the whole thing is not a part of domestic political rhetoric for the upcoming Congressional elections, the Washington administration is determined to conduct a military operation to topple Saddam.  President Bush seems like waiting for the best possible time to start it....  Let's think about what is next if and when the US operation happens to be a successful one.  Does the U.S. president really know what to do when Saddam is finished?  I am afraid he doesn't."




ISRAEL:  "Making The Case For War"


The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (9/9): "On Thursday, U.S. President George W. Bush will make the much anticipated case against Iraq before the United Nations, one day after America commemorates the events of September 11.  This is fitting.  For months, critics of the administration have argued that Bush must persuade a skeptical world that disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction is central to the success of a war on terror....  Every political action entails risks.  If America is to make war on Iraq, it must do so properly prepared for every contingency.  But if it fails to make war, it must be prepared for the contingencies that entails as well:  the loss of international credibility and a deadly slowdown in its war against terror.  In the wake of September 11, the latter set of risks seems to us greater by far."


EGYPT:  "The World Wins The Bet"


Mahmoud Abdul Monaim Murad wrote in opposition Al Wafd (9/5):  “The country which most wants a U.S. attack on Iraq is Israel.  It sees that this war is in its interest.  But this war by all measures would not be in the interest of the U.S.  America does not want only the oil of the Gulf countries but wants all the oil fields in the Arab and Islamic countries and their neighboring countries.  No one is standing with the U.S. in this war against Iraq.  The U.S. says that it wants to attack Iraq because Iraq has nuclear weapons.  But why does not the U.S. attack all the countries that have nuclear weapons. We know that Israel has also nuclear weapons and Israel threatened to use them against Iraq.  Most countries object to this war against Iraq, even Britain rejected the participation in the American strike against Iraq.  The world could...force the U.S. not to attack Iraq.”


QATAR:  "Consequences Of The Big Earthquake"


Mazen Hamad opined in semi-independent Al-Watan (9/10):  "Did President Bush ask himself about the secret behind the international rejection consensus on striking Iraq....  I think Mr. Bush has already cornered the United States by his unjust and irrational policy of 'You are either with us or against us.'  The Europeans said no and Russia would use its right to veto if Washington would refer the issue to the UNSC.  The Americans are destroying the coalition, which they have built to fight terror by themselves."


SAUDI ARABIA:   "War Summit At Camp David"


Makkah's conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (9/7):  "If Blair and Bush actually possess evidences they should present them to the UNSC but on framework of fighting weapons of mass destruction in the whole region.  To maintain silence on a real visible weapons of destruction possessed by Israel and enthusiasm to eliminate an invisible power possessed by Iraq raises lot of doubts about the objectives of the U.S. and Briton."


"Love for War"


Jeddah’s moderate Saudi Gazette declared (9/2):  “Those who propose an invasion of Iraq should study the example of Afghanistan which is a country in a state of utter collapse with its economic infrastructure in a state of complete disarray despite promises from the international community that it would not be left to its own devices....  Afghanistan is in its present condition because the West used it as a battle zone to fight a proxy war against the Soviets. Iraq is arguably in its present state for much the same reason.  It was used to fight a proxy war against Iran.  Promises about Iraq’s future need to be considered against the reality of events in Afghanistan. In the depressing words of a UN veteran of numerous international aid projects: 'It is not a question of whether or when we abandon Afghanistan.  In a way you could say we’ve abandoned it already.'”


SYRIA:  "About Bush-Blair Summit"


Shawkat Abu-Fakhr, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th declared (9/9):  "The U.S. Administration's insistence on attacking Iraq despite that fact that this violates international norms, and the U.S.'s effort to mobilize domestic and international support for this stand, will increase Washington's isolation.  This was obvious in recent international objections to any military action against Iraq, and reinforced by calls to deal with the issue peacefully through the U.N. and through the return of the UNSCOM inspectors."


"The Wrong Calculations And Bets"


Government-owned Al-Ba'th editorialized (9/3):  "No doubt the US Administration will be committing a grave mistake by going ahead with implementing this plan [to invade Iraq]....  The Administration should use the language of calmness, understanding and should resort to the U.N. principles and resolutions and to avoid as much as possible the language of force, blackmail and threats which will only lead to more disasters and tragedies in the region....  The war against Iraq will also lead, according to Israeli bets, to an absolute American control of the Middle East that will mean paving the road before Israel to generalize its surrender/peace on Arabs....  The problem with Israel is that it forgets that its calculation never corresponds with reality....  This is what President Bush Administration must not forget before it is involved in any adventure in the region."


TUNISIA:  "The Arab World Is At Stake"


Director M'hamed ben Youssef opined in independent French-weekly Tunis-Hebdo (9/9):  "After September 11, America has conquered Kabul and has established a pro-American regime that facilitates access to Asia and puts Iran under surveillance from the Afghan borders.  The second victim is the Palestinian Authority, given as an offertory to Sharon....  The next victim of the axis Washington-London-Tel-Aviv will be Iraq, whatever the concessions of Saddam may be...unless Iraq gives up the diverse immense petrol wealth to the ogre of the world (America).  Whose turn is it after Iraq?  Is it Iran or Saudi Arabia?...  Cutting up and reshaping geographically the Middle East in accordance with the White House and Israel's interests is a secret plan that we are witnessing the beginning of.  But who worries about the massacres that could result from this plan?  No one will worry as long as Arab blood is put at stake by the western politicians in search of black gold."


UAE:  "Iran Wants Iraq Regime Change"


Moderate intellectual Anwar Gargash wrote in his weekly column in Abu Dhabi-based, semi-official Al-Ittihad (9/2):  "Is it possible that Iran will stand in the same fold with Iraq against the American threats?  And does Iran know that its turn will come once Washington has settled its accounts with Baghdad?...  In short, the possibility of Iran's being the second target in Bush's plans seems too farfetched at this point....  Iran will not take Saddam's part and will never bet on a sinking ship.  Iran has suffered greatly from the adventures of Iraq's dictator.  Besides, its foreign policy is realistic enough to avoid such a position.  Iran does not want a comprehensive military assault against Iraq but rather a change of regime, and will endeavor to have a say in the coming arrangements."




AUSTRALIA:  "Iraqi Invasion Is Our Business"

The Sydney Sunday tabloid Sun-Herald asserted (9/8):  "As an attack on Iraq looms closer, no-one should be surprised.  But it is right that [George Bush] and other world leaders, including Howard, brief the people....  So as Bush outlines the case against Saddam on Thursday, Australians would do well to listen carefully....  But is it any of Australia’s business?  Surely, the answer must be yes.  Our military presence is likely to be minimal.  But our political backing will demonstrate we do not expect Europe and the U.S. alone to bear responsibility for being the world’s policemen.  Supporting action against Saddam will not make us America’s lapdog.  It makes us responsible global citizens.”

"Phony War Gathers Momentum"

Peter Coster asserts in an op-ed in the conservative Melbourne tabloid Herald-Sun (9/2):  “Part of the phony war strategy seems to be a debate over when and how, rather than if....  No one has spelled out the consequences [of an attack on Saddam Hussein] and no one has told us exactly why we have to risk them....  The public deserves a much better explanation for the invasion of another country than the mantra of weapons of mass destruction put forward to cover everything from germ warfare to the clapped out scud missiles which deliver it....  Before we are coerced to kill, let us be sure we know the real reasons.”


CHINA:  "Guns And Bombs Not The Answer To Iraq Issue"


Chong Zi commented in the official English-language China Daily (9/9):  “If the unprecedented broad right wing within the Bush administration goes ahead with pre-emptive military action the risk would be to produce dangerous uncertainties, instead of a safer world.  Furthermore, it is likely to encourage other states to assert their own particular perception of order in a similar way....  In order to resolve the Iraq issue, it is essential that diplomacy be used to compel Iraq to allow the UN weapon inspectors to return.  The destructive capacity of guns and bombs is unquestionable, but they are not always the right and just answer.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Bush Smashes His Father's Peaceful Dream"


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times noted (9/9):  "Over the weekend, U.S. President Bush met with British Prime Minister Blair to discuss plans to attack Iraq.  Outsiders expect Bush to announce his determination to attack Iraq during Thursday's address to the UN.  International opinion is generally opposed to an attack on Iraq.  Even Bush's father, former President Bush, is against such a plan without international approval.  It is believed that Bush Sr.'s opposition is not due to worry that his son might lose the battle.  He is worried that Bush Jr. may smash his plan of global peace....  Bush Sr. had acted wisely in trying to establish a mechanism for global peace in a world left chaotic by the end of the Cold War.  Secondly, to protect long-term U.S. interests, Bush Sr. sacrificed the power he could have otherwise secured for the U.S. as he knew his country could not long remain the world's only super power.  The U.S. could have then later become a target.  Only by using the international community to set up a cooperative mechanism can U.S. long-term interests be protected."


"Senseless Words Of War"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post maintained (9/8):  "Military action against Iraq to topple President Saddam Hussein seems inevitable.  U.S. President George W. Bush has disregarded world opinion and set a course from which turning back from war will be difficult.  Mr. Bush and his administration have long indicated their intention.  They have been pressuring presidents and prime ministers for military support, rather than seeking their opinions....  These are not matters of concern to the U.S., the world's wealthiest and most powerful nation.  Since the attacks of September 11, Mr. Bush has put American interests above all others.  For this reason, Arab nations in particular are wary.  They believe that U.S. claims that Saddam's regime is expanding its cache of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is really a foil to Washington's goal of gaining access to Iraq's extensive oil and gas reserves."


JAPAN:  "Will the U.S. Become A Tolerant Society?"


An editorial in the liberal Asahi observed (9/8):  "The Bush administration is concerned about Iraq's passing of WMD to terrorists. If the administration launches military strikes against Iraq, the world community will react strongly to it."


"World Putting Up With Long, Invisible Antiterrorism War"


The business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (9/8):  "The world community continues to maintain solidarity and cooperation in fighting terrorism.  The question is that the international community has become at odds over the U.S.'s possible use of force against Iraq.  Those opposed to the U.S. use of force against Baghdad are not supporters of the Saddam Hussein regime.  They are also concerned about Iraq's WMD development and transfer of such weapons to terrorists."   


PHILIPPINES:  "Why Bush Hesitates"


Former press secretary Teodoro Benigno argued in the independent Philippine Star (9/6):  "Soon he will make the fateful decision whether or not to invade Iraq....  It is a war he and the U.S. will certainly win....  Why then does George W. Bush hesitate?  He hesitates because there is a terrible price to pay...the possible hatred of the world.  There is no doubt the entire Muslim world will rise in outrage.  There is also no doubt even America's traditional European allies, except possibly Britain, will recoil....  Maybe if...Bush can subdue Iraq in a week or ten days' time, he could still pull it off....  Minimize collateral damage and throw back still nascent, still thin Arab and Muslim outrage."


"A Background On Iraq"


Horacio "Ducky" Paredes, assistant press secretary during the Aquino administration, wrote in the anti-administration Malaya (9/5):  "Now, it looks almost a certainty that Iraq will soon be invaded.  America seems on the side of good.  Iraq is arguably a terrorist state; it has weapons of mass destruction and its people have no freedoms and are hungry, poor and oppressed.  America will also probably eventually win a military confrontation with its sometime ally.  But, the going will not be easy.  And, as we know from actual experience, things are never as simple as the Americans tell us things are."


THAILAND:   "One Year On, Sympathy Fades Towards The U.S."


Kavi Chongkittavorn commented in the independent, English language Nation (9/9):  "Doubtless, when it comes to the rallying of support to invade Iraq...the  U.S. is struck with a lack of sufficient support from its friends....  After September 11, the U.S. had a unique chance to be part of the international community, which had been grieving along with the American people.  But the mixed signals that Washington has sent out since on such crucial issues as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, protection of the environment and sustainable development, and the procedures of international justice deepens the global impression that the U.S. is willing to go solo in whatever undertaking it chooses.  If that is the case, the U.S. will be further isolated.  After all, it takes two to tango, even though the other partner is shorter and smaller in stature.”




INDIA:  "India And The U.S. War On Iraq"


C. Raja Mohan opined in the centrist Hindu (9/9):  "It is now a question of when and how, not whether, the Bush administration launches military operations to oust the Saddam Hussein regime.  It is also evident that the international criticism of Washington's approach to Iraq is unlikely to deter the United States from pursuing its objectives in the Persian Gulf.  It is a matter of time before other Europeans fall in line, if only kicking and screaming."


"U.S. Better Not Attack Iraq"


Pro-BJP Amar Ujala asserted (9/9):  "The U.S. does not really have a strong case against Iraq.  This is plain arrogance and arbitrariness on the part of President Bush....  In today's unipolar world, no one has the guts to stand up against America.  But powerful and influential nations like Russia, France and China, with the backing of the UN, can atleast try.  If they are able to prevail upon the U.S., it will be a victory for the international community."


PAKISTAN:  "What is America's Justification For Attacking Iraq Now?"


Karachi-based, pro-Taliban Islam argued (9/5):  "Iraq has opened its controversial chemical fertilizer factory for  inspection, which the U.S. had apprehensions of making chemical weapons.   Although this factory was destroyed in the Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. kept  accusing Iraq of producing lethal chemical weapons.  Now that this plant has been opened for international media, Iraq has nullified all U.S. accusations.  The Western journalists have also testified there was no uranium plant at this site.  Therefore, the U.S. has been deprived of even its flimsiest excuse to attack Iraq.  Now it is not possible for the United  States to satisfy the world at large about its ambitions toward Iraq."




TANZANIA:  "The United States Should Reconsider Its Middle East Policy"


Governing-party owned Swahili-language Uhuru editorialized (9/6):  “In our opinion, it is not right for America to attack Iraq, if reasons for attacking Iraq are that President Saddam Hussein’s administration has been involved with the manufacturing of chemical and biological weapons that could affect a great number of people, including Israel, which is America’s biggest ally....  And if the purpose is to continue with the trend of fighting the terrorist network on assumptions that there could be some terrorists sheltered in Iraq, we do not think the best way is to use force by attacking the country, especially after the world has been side by side with the U.S. in fighting terrorism, since the terrorist attacks in America occurred one year ago....  In general, attacking Iraq will be an act of force, which will affect not only the lives of innocent Iraqi people, but also the security of America itself, the Middle East and the world at large....  Our expectations are that American leaders will use a wiser diplomatic way of dealing with this Iraqi issue.  Even if the aim is to make sure that President Saddam Hussein is removed, we do not think using force is the better answer."




MEXICO:  "Is Bush The Lone Ranger?"


Juan Maria Alponte writes in nationalist Universal (9/6):  "The U.S. war cabinet seems to be divided and Secretary of State Colin Powell has maintained notable reserve toward a preemptive strike against Iraq if ample support (which is non-existent among NATO allies and Arabs) is not provided by the United Nations Security Council.  Could the Lone Ranger pressure the UNSC to the extreme point where it supports a preemptive strike against Iraqi terrorists?  Is there enough proof?  Is Bush prepared to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime and take on the responsibility of redrawing the political map of Iraq, taking into consideration the problem of the Shiites and the Kurds, as well as the new political geography of the Middle East?  The United States is vacillating about decisions that, without a doubt, it could take on by itself.  But at what price?"


BRAZIL:  "The War In Iraq"


Political columnist Boris Fausto commented in liberal Folha de S.Paulo (9/9):  "There are enormous problems with a possible U.S. action in Iraq.  From the military point of view, a quick surgical operation is impossible. Everything indicates that Saddam Hussein's overthrow would require a land invasion....  Another problem is that of legitimacy....  The USG only has Tony Blair's support....  The U.S. could start an action against Iraq on its own, but unilateralism has its price. There is also the problem of installing a reasonably stable government in Iraq following Saddam's defeat--a factor that made Colin Powell interrupt his attack against the dictator during the Gulf War....  On the other hand, it is opportune to point out that the many risks of a war does not mean ignoring another risk--that of Saddam's permanence in power, with the possibility that he might develop a nuclear weapon within a few years....  A war in Iraq would be a serious complicating factor in a world in economic recession."


"Bush First Decides Then Discusses"


Lead editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo remarked (9/8):  "If it really happens, the invasion of Iraq as conceived by Washington's hard liners will inaugurate the 'preventive self-defense' strategy with extremely serious implications for international stability.  The new doctrine replaces the principle of contention consecrated over four decades of cold war with the USSR that prevented a nuclear holocaust....  The White House's first problem is to have failed both in demonstrating that Saddam Hussein helped Osama bin Laden to carry out the Sep. 11 terrorist attack and that Iraq is ready to produce a nuclear weapon as VP Cheney says."


"War By A Thread"


Conservative O Globo stated (9/4):  "In less than 24 hours Iraqi Prime-Minister, Tarek Aziz radically changed his position in the (still oral) conflict between his country and the U.S.  Last Sunday he asserted Baghdad didn't agree with the return of U.N. inspectors.  Monday, in a 180-degree turn he admitted that Iraq might agree with the beginning of inspections....  This see-saw game prolongs and brings the conflict to the point of exasperation.  Eleven years ago in the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein acted exactly like that, loosening the rope whenever he felt it tight and even erred so that he was forced to abandon Kuwait under one of the greatest bombings of modern History....  When the war machine starts to move, it's very unlikely that firemen of diplomacy will be able to interfere, regardless the current White House internal conflicts on the timing to attack Saddam Hussein....  With or without international support, Bush would without a doubt be the greatest beneficiary domestically of a war victory.  Saddam Hussein should think twice about that." 


GUATEMALA:  "Irrational"


Marco Antonio Flores opined in conservative, business-oriented Siglo Veintiuno (9/8):  “Bush is the greatest irrational criminal of U.S. history...facing a profound economic recession, the only way he found was a pillaging war against countries that are weaker, but independent of U.S. interventionism.  Thus, he began his threats by inventing an evil axis that exists only in his irrational mind.  He threatened to militarily invade several countries that although poor, have great natural wealth.  This means he will justify his crazy interventionist wars by anything...and is threatening the world with a war.  Something that is irrational and criminal.”


"An Announced War"


Jorge Palmieri asserted in influential El Periodico (9/7):  “Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, will not be able to complain that the world’s superpower has not warned him repeatedly that it will attack at any moment to overthrow him.  Anyway, this is not the first time the United States has used its military power to overthrow a leader it had previously helped to consolidate in power....  Washington supported Saddam Hussein with money and arms in his war against the Ayatollah in Iran, but a decade ago, when  the ambitious dictator invaded Kuwait to recover the enormous oil wealth of that land, George Bush senior organized a war and expelled Iraq’s troops from Kuwait, but he didn’t reach Baghdad to kill Hussein....  Now his son seems to be firmly resolved to finish what his father left undone.  In addition, since he has been involved in the oil business for so long, his main objectives are to control Iraq’s immense oil wealth, as Hussein denounced recently.  Washington wants to wage a war and some fear than more than wanting it, it needs it…to stimulate the U.S. economy."



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