September 10, 2002
DEBATE CONTINUES OVER GOING TO WAR
*** 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 destabilization...is 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
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
"Speak Up For Europe And Ask For Some
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
"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. Blair...is
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
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.”
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
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
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
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
"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.”
"Bush Agrees With Cheney But Lets Out Other Rumors For The Time
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”
"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
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
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."
"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.”
"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."
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.”
"Attack Saddam: Now, Later or
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."
"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."
"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
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
EGYPT: "The World Wins
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.”
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
"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.
"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
"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."
"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
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."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
Invasion Is Our Business"
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.”
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
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
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
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."
"One Year On, Sympathy Fades Towards
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
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
"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
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."
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
"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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