International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 24, 2003

January 24, 2003





**  Riveted by the U.S.-EU "rift" over Iraq, most overseas observers expect the U.S. will "press ahead" on its own irrespective of UN approval and opposition from allies.

**  Europeans split on the French-German "axis:" some praised the Paris-Berlin "joint determination," others derided Schroeder's move as an unnecessary "provocation."

**  Arab writers urged their regional leaders to "intensify efforts to contain the crisis." 

**  Writers worldwide continued to question the justification for military action.




Lack of consensus won't keep U.S. from 'acting alone':  Along with mounting criticism of the U.S., European writers expressed a growing frustration with the EU's inability to make an impression on Washington.  Some were upset over the "fundamental" [transatlantic] philosophical divide" and the lack of a "coherent" Western strategy on the threat of proliferation.  Madrid's conservative ABC, for one, criticized Europe for "wasting another opportunity to speak with a common voice."  A number treated European dissent as meaningless and "irrelevant," and concluded that the opinions of the Security Council members will have little bearing on Washington's plans.  Rome's left-leaning, influential La Repubblica pointed out that, "nobody in Washington is taking seriously the non-existent European politics," adding that "U.S. preparations...continue, methodical and indifferent to the public disagreement expressed by other governments." A Portuguese center-right Member of the European Parliament was one of the few writers focused on the danger from Iraq, defending the U.S. as the only "democratic power capable of confronting a threat the tip of an apocalyptic iceberg."


Paris-Berlin 'axis' forcing allies to take sides:  At first, European writers praised the Chirac-Shroeder effort to influence U.S. war plans as "brilliant," recognizing the close partnership was based on a "joint fear of a superpower policy that has got out of control."  Upon further reflection, however, commentators registered their disapproval. They complained that France and Germany, by provoking "cheap disputes," had poisoned the opportunity for "serious debate" on Iraq.  A former Italian diplomat suggested in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera that the pair's "anachronistic hegemonic ambitions" would invite the "superpower" to "exploit the resentment" of the EU's small and medium powers.  Capturing the sense of irritation, Moscow's business-oriented Kommersant concluded: "By trying to spoil the Americans' game, France and Germany make war inevitable."


Arab writers want more from regional leaders, pin hopes on Ankara:  Writers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the UAE called upon regional leaders meeting in Ankara to find a peaceful solution, a number advocating Saddam's departure.  Syria's government-owned Tishreen proclaimed it is "the duty of Arab and Muslim do their utmost to avoid a war against Iraq.  Several hinted that Arab leaders were not taking into account the dangers of a "post-Saddam" era, and stressed the option of "convincing" the Iraqi leader to step down voluntarily.  Underscoring the dangers inherent in a "power vacuum" in Baghdad, a Cairo daily insisted that the U.S. would have "no choice" but to impose "direct rule in Iraq," effectively turning the country into America's "51st state."  And taking note of Ankara's "difficult position," conservative, mass-appeal Turkiye explained that Turkey is trying to support its strategic allies while as the same time tempering their war-mongering tactics."


Most still not persuaded the case has been made:  Onlookers in East and South Asia, Latin America and Africa were united in their objection to "an invented war that has an imperialist rubric to it."  Many agreed with a Chinese daily's argument that "without credible evidence, military action against Iraq is not just a foolish diversion from fighting terrorism, it is a sure-fire way to fuel it.”  Taking a common shot at the U.S.' "quest to take over the world," Quito's leading centrist El Comercio implored "we have to trust that common sense will prevail over imperialist madness."


EDITOR: Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 126  reports from 58 countres, Jan. 17-24.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Force Without Legitimacy Will Not Stop Nuclear Proliferation"


Philip Stephens, senior editor with the independent Financial Times opined (1/24):  "Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction...represents the biggest threat to world security in coming decades...[but] the West lacks anything resembling a coherent strategy to deal with proliferation....  More a fundamental philosophical divide.  Put briefly, this sees the U.S. administration asserting that it can make the world the selective use of overwhelming force....  But force without legitimacy is doomed.  For their part, many Europeans fail to see the weaknesses of an approach that relies on the rationality of potential adversaries....  What is needed now is a fusion of the American and European approaches:  an international system of rules and restraints backed by the credible threat of force:  a Pax Americana whose longevity would be guaranteed by the breadth of international acceptance."


"Berlin Blinkered" 


The lead editorial in the conservative Times held (1/23): "The German chancellor's declaration that Berlin would vote against any UN resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq is not simply unhelpful;  it is a contemptuous spurning of those who have protected German security for two generations, a self-serving attempt to revive his flagging political fortunes and a crass signal of Western division to Baghdad.  To announce that it will scupper U.S. and British attempts to enforce the Security Council's own resolutions is not only a provocative rebuff to its allies;  it also undercuts Germany's own declared goal of averting war. By encouraging Saddam Hussein to think that the West is split, Herr Schroeder has considerably reduced the political and psychological pressure on Iraq, making it more likely that Saddam will continue to flout UN obligations and thus invite an American attack." 


"Allez, France" 


The liberal Guardian offered this perspective (1/23):  "Deft French diplomatic footwork to head off an attack on Iraq presents a sharp contrast with our own goverment's unpopular, slump-shouldered trudge towards war.   Last autumn, as the United Nations debated sending inspectors back to Iraq, France led the opposition to over-rigorous U.S. terms.  As a safeguard, it proposed that a second UN vote precede any future military action. Britain and the U.S. initially opposed this idea.  But as public opposition to war grew steadily, both came to embrace it as a way of boosting their cause.  The French stand will not by itself prevent war and may well prove temporary.  Unlike Britain, France has carefully kept open its room for maneuver and could eventually fall in behind the U.S.  But diplomacy is all about perceptions....  Mr. Chirac is again exhibiting enviable Elysee elan, seems to be running rings around our flat-footed, blindsided ministers.  On Iraq, at least, he should be encouraged to do so." 


"Wary Berlin Takes Tough LIne Against Waging War"


Hugh Williamson commented in the independent Financial Times (1/23): "Gerhard Schroder's decision to rule out a German 'yes' vote on a UNSC resolution authorizing military action against Iraq reflects a potent mix of domestic political opportunism and deep-seated concern over the possible consequences of a strike against Baghdad.   But the German chancellor's stance also taps into the strong vein of public opposition in many Europan countries to an Iraq war, with many opinion polls suggesting that msot Europeans are against a decision by the U.S. to mount a miliatary assault on Iraq-- especially without explicit backing from the UN....  Ultimately Mr. Schroder is unlikely to have exposed Berlin to renewed criticism from Washington without a sense that he was in tune with--or indeed leading--the growing resistance in Europe to the U.S. position on Iraq."


“Blair’s Passion Fails To Persuade Public Of Need For War With Iraq”


Peter Riddell wrote in the conservative Times (1/22): "“The British public does not yet feel threatened by Saddam.  During questioning yesterday Blair...and Straw...made a strong case for action over Iraq’s WMD.  But they still face a big task persuading the public, as new polls...yesterday showed....  According to MORI, support for British involvement in any U.S.-led action is 61 percent if there is UN approval...but falls to just 15 percent if action is taken without UN approval....  ICM also showed that the public is not yet very worried about terrorist attacks here....  Blair’s nightmare is that U.S. impatience with delay will encourage Bush to press ahead without UN approval....  Approval by the UN obviously matters for many people, particularly in the Labour Party, but the key is demonstrating that Saddam is an immediate, rather than a theoretical, threat.  Again, the public is not yet persuaded.  No one can doubt Blair’s passionate conviction of the rightness of the cause. But, for once, that is not enough.


"There Is No Evidence, No Cause For War”


The centrist Independent opined (1/19):  “What the original UN resolution fails to address is whether Saddam plans to use his weapons in an act of aggression, even if he fails to co-operate with the inspectors....  The central question should not be the essentially tactical one of whether the U.S. and the UK can persuade the likes of China and Russia to back a new UN resolution.   It should be this: what is the evidence that Saddam is planning to use any of his apparently lethal weapons?  We remain unconvinced that the documents found in Baghdad are sufficient to demonstrate that he’s developing such an armory, let alone that he intends to use it....  If international law is being rewritten to justify pre-emptive strikes, the burden of proof for the U.S., Britain and the UN as a whole must be a wider that mere possession of weapons. "


FRANCE:  "The Insult To Europe"


Michel Schifres commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (1/24):  “So, for Donald Rumsfeld...France and Germany are part of the ‘old Europe.’  He is probably right if he is referring to their economy and their past glory days....  But he is wrong if he thinks that youthfulness in a nation is a guarantee for clear thinking, determination and the ability to imagine the future....  In matters of political decisiveness, France and Germany do not need lessons from anyone....  Therefore the remarks by Donald Rumsfeld must be interpreted as what they are: a reckless insult as well as the illustration of diplomatic posturing that is becoming more severe as the eventuality of a war against Iraq becomes more complicated....  Rumsfeld’s remarks illustrate the extraordinary nervousness of President Bush’s diplomacy....  But what is paradoxical is that America’s spasms are reinforcing France and Germany’s unity and determination....  In short, what were differences at the beginning have turned into divergence and could become a transatlantic crisis.  We haven’t gotten to that point....  Whenever things have become difficult, France has never let the U.S. down.  But these quarrels leave their mark, especially when unnecessarily hurtful words are used.”


"The Pentagon Gets Antsy"


Bruno Frappat opined in Catholic La Croix (1/24):  “America is getting irritated.  Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘attack’ and his contempt for the ‘Old Europe’ has the merit, if any, of illustrating the level of impatience shared by Washington’s hawks....  Another more optimistic interpretation may be that if Washington is reverting to these quasi-insults against its traditional allies it is because the White House is getting the feeling that the battle for public opinion has not been won....  Donald Rumsfeld’s sortie will be remembered as an example of unprecedented crassness, of the type that feeds anti-Americanism....  Whatever the outcome of these differences, and once peace is restored, the U.S. will have to choose between partnership and domination....  To juxtapose, as Rumsfeld is clearly doing, a good Europe (pro-American) and a bad Europe, (the ‘old’ one) is to set the stage for rivalries and competition between master and serf, instead of establishing a relationship between equals.”


"The Old And The New Europe According To Donald Rumsfeld"


Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (1/24):  “This exchange of petty insults on both sides of the Atlantic is nothing more than a war of words that will hardly influence the outcome of the Iraqi crisis....  What is more serious is the fact that Washington is putting France and Germany’s backs against the wall....  There are ways out of this bind.  Positions can change...or France can use its right of veto.  And public opinion in America is changing....  Could it be that ‘Old Europe’s’ vision may be crossing the Atlantic?....  But behind these skirmishes there is a more serious issue: defining the respective roles of the world’s sole superpower and of the EU.”


 "United Against War"


In a front-page article right-of-center Le Figaro reported (1/23):  “The ceremonies surrounding the anniversary of the Elysee Treaty served to illustrate a Franco-German convergence of views on Iraq. While President Bush seems to be moving towards an armed conflict with Baghdad, Paris and Berlin showed their joint determination to do everything possible in order to disarm Iraq and to save peace.”


"Iraq And The Franco-German Wager"


Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (1/23):  “France and Germany celebrated more than a forty-year treaty:  They proclaimed their united stand on Iraq, war and peace.… The message from the Elysee, in short, is that France and Germany consider that using force against Iraq ‘is a decision to be taken by the UN…’ and that ‘everything must be done to save peace.’   There is nothing here very original.  But the skeptics will agree that one’s message will be heard better if it is reiterated by more than one person.… This is the whole point of the EU, even if, regarding Iraq, Europe is far from united.…  Germany has made clear its opposition to a war ever since the German elections.  This position hasn’t changed, in spite of Washington’s ostracism.  For France, war can only be a last recourse.  While the two countries’ positions are not exactly similar, the fact that both men chose to send a joint message is important:  It means that France and Germany are not afraid to oppose the United States when it becomes critical....  President Bush...knows that without significant proof, he will not get the UN’s green light.  This is why it is important for France and Germany to advertise their shared opposition.”


"Iraq Weighs In On the Franco-German Couple"


Claude Imbert in right-of-center weekly Le Point (1/23):  "President Bush's determination is annoying France and Paris is making this known loud and clear. This position has earned France a clear pat on the back from Arab nations.  But we can be certain that these same Arab nations continue to negotiate with the American Caesar.  Because for them, survival lies in the post-Saddam era.…  France must also think about the aftermath.  While France is playing its proper role in expressing the world’s criticism about an ill-targeted expedition....  Paris will need great diplomatic talent so that its admonitions to a clumsy ally do not boomerang.  France’s convoluted efforts at the UN could well push it towards a veto at the Security Council.  Among allies there are certain words that must be avoided at all costs.” 


"Gap Between Paris And Washington Growing"


In right-of-center Le Figaro, Alexandrine Bouilhet (1/21) commented:  “With his courageous intervention de Villepin did not look to reverse the order of priorities but rather to convince the UNSC members of the need for ‘a global approach’ to today’s threats.…  His view is that, in an interdependent world, concentrating on Iraq would only increase tension with the Arab world and trigger a campaign of terrorist attacks....  The gap between Paris and Washington is growing; the U.S. does not trust France’s support for the inspectors’ logic....  France believes that a war against Iraq would be neither ‘legitimate nor effective.’”


GERMANY:  "The Big Divide"


Stefan Ulrich editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/24):  "While the French president is playing in the champions league of global politics, the chancellor often acts like a soccer player on a children’s soccer area.  Such kind of policy is provoking the United States more than would be necessary.  This can create a precarious situation for the FRG....  Chirac does not want a war...but he also does not want any breach with the United States.  In the end, Paris could use its weapons in a war.  And then the situation would become very difficult for Germany.  This does not mean that Germany should bend in an opportunistic way to Donald Rumsfeld....  But the opportunity must be used in a wise manner to lay the foundation stone together with France for a new European foreign policy....  Germany and France could offer strong arguments for an extension of the mandate for the UN inspectors and insist on a second UN resolution.  Rumsfeld’s nervous attack shows how successful this strategy can be."


"George W. Bush’s Counter Question"


Thorsten Krauel judged on the front page of right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (1/24):  “The chancellor has taken on a clear position against Washington and he thinks he has found a partner with France.  But his inexperience in U.S. matters and his election campaign nervousness make him walk into a trap. The justified annoyance at Donald Rumsfeld’s impolite remark…is hiding this....  George W. Bush is determined to oust Saddam Hussein, because this is the only way to disarm him....  George W. Bush will ask Schroeder and Chirac whether Baghdad has complied with Resolution 1441.  Yes or no?  And if not, why don’t you do anything?  All of a sudden, Paris will demonstrate its flexibility.  But Berlin’s answer will be silence.  Then the logic of the German position will end and if the Schroeder cabinet does not change its mind in the meantime, German-American relations, together with Saddam’s career, will be ruined.”




Thorsten Riecke commented in business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (1/24):  “In this conflict between friends, America and Europe can only lose.  The United States is running the risk of entering into a war without broad international support.  The consequences of this war exceed the imagination of the political leadership in the United States.  France, and even more Germany, have maneuvered themselves with their unwise anti-war policy into a political dead-end street which they can leave only with U.S. support....  Both sides must be blamed for this dead-end situation.  Despite its public barrage, the Bush administration has thus far not been able to present sufficient evidence of why Saddam must be considered a real threat for the security of the West....  But the Europeans, Germans in particular, have no reason to be self-satisfied....  Without U.S. pressure, there would be no UN inspectors in Iraq.  Europe, with the exception of the British, has only reacted to this threat with wishful thinking and helplessness.”




Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger had this to say in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/23):  "There is no beating around the bush:  America and some of its Western partners are heading for a confrontation that has never existed before in the past.  This would then be a bitter culmination in a series of equally bitter disputes which…have increased since President Bush took office....  The president said that he no longer wants Saddam to dupe him, and his threat to resolve the matter in a unilateral move…must be taken at face value....  The German Red-Green coalition will reject a resolution that would authorize military action against the Iraqi regime…while France has taken over the lead in the group of skeptics....  Even though it seems that the governments in Berlin and Paris are currently very close, this closeness could turn out to be a fallacy if Bush forced the French president to make a decision, and this could be very soon.  If Bush pushes aside objections and rejections of his allies, this will not contribute to acquiescing irritation.  On the contrary, the anti-American mood will really be stirred up.  But Germany and the other Europeans...should be aware of the political costs which a U.S.-British enterprise [against Iraq] would have:  Berlin’s influence in Washington would arc to zero, we would have to write an obituary for the Atlantic Alliance, and the common European security policy would have been demasked as a farce.  But this is something nobody could want!”


"Partnership Of Convenience"


Tina Hassel commented on ARD-TV's late evening newscast "Tagesthemen" (1/22):  “What is still lacking in Franco-German relations is a lack of vision, since there have been no fresh ideas following the introduction of the euro.  The fact that this should now change is something we owe to the Americans.  Today’s close cooperation between Germany and France is mainly based on the joint fear of a superpower policy that has got out of control.  If Paris and Berlin are able to prevent a war against Iraq in the UN Security Council, this would be the nicest birthday present that goes far beyond today’s celebrations.”


"A Clear Maybe"


Christoph von Marschall said in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/23): “The chancellor pretends that everything is clear now....  But does that mean the Berlin government will vote ‘no’ in the UN Security Council?  Schroeder did not say this, since this would be detrimental to his announcement that Germany and France want to take a clear position. Jacques Chirac, however, left all options open.  One thing is certain: A French ‘no’ will not come.  Paris has a right to veto, and a resolution that will not be adopted, will not be submitted.  There will be a second resolution only if France approves it, or abstains from voting.... The Europeans are blocking each other--except there will be a war resolution in the end.  Is that the  clarity Schroeder wanted?”


"Diplomatic Pliers"


Stefan Kornelius editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/22):  “France achieved a diplomatic coup.... Following Villepin’s move, it has become more obvious than ever before that a political struggle will take place in the coming days that will focus on nothing else but U.S. credibility....  The political showdown has begun, and France has good chances of succeeding with its policy.  There are two reasons for this and both have less to do with Paris but with U.S. domestic policy.  First, France is as outraged as the U.S. but demands only a moderate agreement:  two more months for the UN weapons inspectors....  Second, France is threatening a veto in the UNSC if the U.S. does not accept French wishes.   A veto would turn the United States into a maverick, and this is something the Americans do not like at all....  Bush needs public support because...‘regime change’ is risky and can be decisive for his re-election.  France is using the only lever which has an influence on U.S. foreign policy: U.S. domestic policy.... Bush must now make a choice between bellicists and diplomats in his government.  But it will not be France, but the U.S. voter who will guide him.”


ITALY:  "Europe And NATO At Risk"


A front-page commentary by Aldo Rizzo in centrist, influential La Stampa (1/24): "The clash (between the United States and some European nations) has very strong implications that may have historic significance.  If Europe unites around the French-German positions, harshly criticized by Washington, this would practically mean the end of NATO.  But if it simply splits between pro and anti-Americans, that would be 'its own' end.  The solution that the Berlusconi government is seeking, and more than rightly so, is to avoid both risks, continuing and strengthening the work to coordinate the positions of the two sides.  But will that be enough to avoid an impasse or being carried away by the flood?  The hope is that, when the crucial time comes, the two sides will slow down, and both may decide to go in the direction of a common, or at least less distant, position.  This is not impossible.  Otherwise, Italy - but, at that point, not only the government, but the opposition as well - will have to make a choice that will have serious repercussions for a long time, both on domestic and international relations."


"When Union Does Not Mean Strength"


Centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/24) features the following front-page analysis by former Ambassador to Moscow Sergio Romano: "The new French-German marriage in Versailles has begun on the wrong foot.  Rather than becoming the strong nucleus of a more respected and authoritative Europe, the Paris-Berlin axis is producing from the very beginning a two-fold split: it is widening the gap between the two sides of the Atlantic and it is creating disagreements within the EU....   President Bush and Secretary Powell will exploit the resentment of small and medium powers, will use their weaknesses, will say that only America can guarantee the security of the European continent vis-à-vis common threats.  And many Europeans will end up believing - albeit not saying so openly - that the leadership of a superpower on the other side of the Atlantic is preferable to that of two European nations that are too close and too ambitious....  As long as it is divided and dominated by the anachronistic hegemonic ambitions of some of its members, the EU will be liable to be blackmailed and, in the ultimate analysis, powerless.  In order to overcome the impasse, Europe must take the good of the French-German pact in Versailles (a common foreign and defense policy, the importance of the United Nations in international relations), but discard what is superseded at this point, i.e. the idea of a Paris-Berlin directorate."


"War And Slogans"


Prominent strategic/defense commentator Stefano Silvestri comments in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (1/24): "The problem at this point is to understand whether there is room, indeed, for a serious debate on possible alternatives to the war, or whether the poisoning of interpersonal relations caused by the abuse of political declarations for a domestic purpose has not ended up tieing the hands of diplomacy.  In other words, perhaps there is still a possibility to ascertain whether there is really a serious desire for change in Baghdad or whether the regime prefers to defy the world, something that seems to have the meaning of a sensational suicide.  But if we really intend to explore this possibility, then it will be necessary to make rhetoric take one step back.  This would be all the more appropriate given the fact that to continue for a long time along the road of cheap disputes would not lead to anything good.  Most likely, that would not prevent a war, but would dramatically increase its costs and would result in the serious weakening of the entire system of alliances and solidarity that is at the basis of our international system and constitutes the political foundation of the war against terrorism."


"Hazardous To Speak Of American Isolation"


Prominent commentator Franco Venturini judged in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/23):  “The anti-war position of [Chirac and Schroeder at] Versailles is now producing a mutual strengthening of both [French and German] approaches, and it would directly clash  with Bush’s increasing impatience.  It would be hazardous to speak of America’s isolation, in reference to U.S. intentions of disarming Saddam.  British Blair, who was also put in a difficult spot by the French-German agreement, will remain side by side with the U.S.  Diversified tones are surfacing throughout European countries.  Russia and China are against the war, but don’t want to break with Washington.  Ultimately, the superpower will maintain its decision-making independence, which no one would be able to take away... either with or without the UN."


“’It Is Clear By Now That Saddam Is Lying’”


Washington correspondent Vittorio Zucconi opined in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (1/22): “This is no longer the time to be ‘patient’ for George Bush the impatient....  Nobody in Washington is taking seriously the non-existent European politics.  And the disagreement between the U.S. and the countries that count within the UNSC could not be more obvious and, at the same time, more irrelevant, five days before the decisive report by U.N. weapon inspectors....  U.S. preparations thus continue, methodical and indifferent to the public disagreement expressed by other governments, in view of a date that we will know when Bush tells us--(this being) the perfect equation of the unilateralism of this White House.  Bush is telling us that, at this point, everything is already clear for him and, therefore, there are no more doubts.”


RUSSIA: "Old Europe Refuses To Fight"


Reformist Vremya Novostey held (1/24):  "It looks as if Washington, when it launches a punitive operation in Iraq, will have few allies and no mandate from the UN Security Council to back it up.  With Chirac and Schroeder having ostentatiously refused to support Bush, who can't wait to strike Saddam, transatlantic solidarity is bursting at the seams."


"Rhetoric Meant For Public"


Boris Volkhonskiy surmised in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (1/24):  "Differences within NATO over ways to resolve the Iraq crisis peaked yesterday.   It seemed that Germany and France were about to question the very existence of the antiterrorist coalition.   But a careful analysis shows that those countries aren't really going to counter the U.S. plans and their rhetoric, as well as that of U.S. leaders, is meant for the public."


"France, Germany Make War Inevitable"


Leonid Gankin opined in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (1/24):  "War is not what the Americans are after.  Their primary aim is regime change. They would only be too happy to achieve it without bloodshed.  The U.S. military presence serves merely to impel Saddam, or his generals, to make up their minds soon.   This is a kind of gunboat diplomacy....  Chirac and Schroeder have resolved to fight their case in the UN Security Council....  Obviously, France and Germany don't want the United States to secure a foothold in Iraq and gain control over oil resources in the Middle East.   Based on new discussions in the UN Security Council, Saddam might think he still has leeway.  As a matter of fact, he doesn't.   The Americans can't keep their armada in the Gulf forever.   Seeing that a bloodless scenario won't work, they may go straight for the gun and pull the trigger.  By trying to spoil the Americans' game, France and Germany make war inevitable."


"Bush To Declare War Tuesday"


Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta ran this commentary by Yevgeniy Verlin (1/23):  "The Bush administration has yet to convince the world, its allies included, that Iraq has or is developing WMD....   This may prove impossible, as the United States must secure support from 9 out of 15 Security Council member-countries....   Even though Bush may decide to act on his own, he would much rather see the international community approve his action.  This makes changes on the 'Russian front,' which has been pretty quiet of late, particularly welcome to Washington.   The fact that Moscow, with its clear 'oil' interests, is no longer among the most intractable opponents of an Anglo-American armed action in Iraq, evidently, has prompted U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow in Russia to say that Washington, in the event of a military operation against Iraq, will count on political support 'or understanding' from Moscow."


"France Out To Knock Together Antiwar Coalition"


Yuri Kovalenko in Paris wrote this for reformist Noviye Izvestiya (1/23):  "Paris' vigorous pacifism is due to external factors--a desire to demonstrate its being unlike others, to resist the United States' diktat, and to enhance its influence in the Arab world--as well as strictly internal ones--three quarters of the French population are opposed to armed intervention, and its Muslim population numbers five to six million.  France has won laurels as a champion in anti-Americanism, and Chirac, eager to stay on top of the popularity ratings, calls himself a spiritual heir of General de Gaulle.   French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says that France may veto the use of force against Iraq.   But, according to most analysts, Paris will hardly have the heart to challenge Uncle Sam at the UN publicly by spiking his plans.  Be that as it may, France can't really sway Washington's decision to bomb Baghdad which must have been made already."


"UNSC Divided on Iraq"


Reporting on the UNSC meeting last Monday, Yevgeniy Verlin of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta  (1/22): "Powell did not even try to link the global war on terrorism to the confrontation between the United States and Saddam's regime....   Now much hangs on whether or not the UN inspectors will detect WMD in Iraq and how the international community will assess their efforts.   So far, they have found no real evidence of Iraq possessing or developing WMD. More than that, as things go, Baghdad has given little cause for anyone to blame it for not cooperating."


"U.S. Cares Little About Partners' Opinions"


Artur Blinov said in reformist Vremya MN (1/22): "It looks as if the opinions of the partners in the Security Council will have less bearing on Washington's plans than the carrying capacity of its naval fleet--experts estimate that 95% of the supplies necessary for a war against Iraq are to arrive by sea."


ARMENIA: "Iraq Before The War"


Oppositionist Iravunk weekly commented in an article (1/21): “Judging from statements by U.S. President Bush, the war against Iraq seems inevitable, though the war against Iraq started a long time ago, even before the actual military actions.  According to experts, the sudden activation of Washington in the Near East is based on the desire to control world energy resources.  In particular, Russian sources assume that it is no accident that the United States qualifies as “the axis of evil” and defines as targets for its anti-terrorist struggle especially those countries with huge oil and gas supplies.  The part of Iraq rich with gas and oil is now controlled by US-British air forces....  From the geopolitical point of view, the weakness of Iraq and especially of Iran, which will result in a political monopoly by the United States in the Near East and most probably in the South Caucasus, will not be beneficial for Russia.  In the course of such developments, Russia would eventually have to retreat from its hopes of strengthening its position in these regions.  The situation becomes even more difficult because the oil and gas companies of Russia have major interests in the Near East.  The implosion of Saddam Hussein’s regime will result in an increase in the export of Iraqi oil, which in turn will result in price reduction of Russian oil in the international market.  Adding that the core of the Russian economy is based on income from oil sales, it becomes clear that the planned attack against Iraq is threatening Russia’s interests first of all.”


AUSTRIA:  "The War And Europe"


Chief editor Andreas Unterberger opined in centrist  Die Presse (1/24):  “The dispute over the possible outcome of an Iraq war has caused the deepest rift between the U.S. and Europe since time immemorial....  While anti-war appeasement policies are understandable, Germany and France announcing they will veto an attack on Iraq in the UNSC only serves to dramatically decrease international pressure on Saddam Hussein....  Paris and Berlin should not claim they represent all of Europe.”


"Red Alert"


Foreign affairs writer Christoph Winder commented in liberal daily Der Standard (1/24):  “Even without counting recent hot-tempered remarks on either side of the Atlantic, the latest hoo-ha is reason for deep concern.  Should the parties in question still value the trans-Atlantic partnership--and in spite of all differences we can assume they do--a modification of their tones is definitely called for.”


"Costly Adventures"  


Economic affairs writer Michael Prüller opined in centrist Die Presse (1/23):  “The U.S. government knows that a war is an expensive affair....  So, we might assume that George Bush has somehow come to the conclusion that in the long run inactivity will turn out to be even more expensive. However, if that is the case, how come the world has still not been presented with the allegedly convincing evidence that makes the Americans and the British believe a war is the least costly alternative?”


"European Cacophony"


Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert observed in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (1/24):  "Europe criticizes President George W. Bush.  And, that is it.  For the rest, it does not have the slightest plan for a valid alternative for Iraq....  At this moment, the four largest EU countries are members of the UNSC....  But, is there a European voice in the UNSC?  No, there is only a cacophony.  Even France and Germany...can barely conceal their disagreements....  In its obsession against Bush [Europe] produces tons of criticism, but it has no proper answer to poignant questions....  Criticism of America’s policy is more than necessary.  But, that is not the peace policy of which 'Europe' likes to be proud.  Being in the UNSC with four (European members) and having nothing coherent to say: it is a sad spectacle.”


"Germany Contradicts Policy To Restored Damaged Relationship With U.S."


 Berlin correspondent Sigrid De Vries remarked in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (1/22): "The recent German statements are in contradiction to the policy of recent months which seemed to be aimed at restoring the damaged relationship with the United States.... (Foreign Minister) Fischer's turnabout has to do with the French position....  France appreciates the fact that, with Germany, it has a partner who is opposed against the alleged American hegemony in the world. The French-German strategy now tries to make the EU start a joint offensive against the war.  First, France and Germany want to give more time to the UN inspectors in Iraq - counting on support from British Prime Minister Blair who also pleaded for respite.  Chirac and Schroeder subtly signaled to America's most loyal ally Blair that he is under fire at home because of his domestic problems and that his Labour Party is opposed to war.  The views of the small, traditionally pro-American EU member states is barely important in the eyes of the French-German tandem."


"UN Support Or Unilateral American Action"


Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn editorialized in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (1/22):  "When (Defense Secretary) Rumsfeld says that all means have been exhausted, (the situation) is very clear.  Furthermore, the ongoing American (and British) military buildup in the Gulf makes it practically impossible for Bush not to act.... The deployment of so many troops and to do nothing would be serious loss of face for Bush.  In that case, Saddam would really triumph - which Bush can never afford to let happen. Of course, Bush could delay the operation.  In the meantime, the UN inspectors could continue to do their work.  All America's allies want that, but Bush cannot keep such a coalition united for such a long time.  It would make him vulnerable at home.... That leaves one question: will the operation be supported by the UN or will it be a unilateral American action?  The British prefer a second UN resolution.  American public opinion, too, prefers to see an action that is covered by the UN.  But that is what the Bush administration wants to avoid. A new resolution implies more debates, more waste of time, and the risk of a French, Chinese or Russian veto.  Washington cannot let that happen.   That means that the Americans will act alone.  Bush will get what he wants. He will be able to settle his account with Saddam.  His father's work will be finished - given the fact that Saddam's army is no match for the Americans.  However, what will happen afterwards?  That is the most important question of all.  Bush and his advisers have to answer that question.  They and the whole world will be confronted with it very soon."


BULGARIA:  "Bush Deaf To Allies And To Warnings Of An Islamic Extremist Backlash"


Socialist-affiliated Duma opined (1/22):  "Unfortunately the arms inspectors cannot find anything, let alone destroy Saddam's purported dangerous hidden weapons.  Mankind is gripped by fear.  And Bush continues to stoke the fire.  All hope that war can be avoided is fading....  Bush doesn't want to see the clear sign of the world's sentiment, which is evident in the numerous peace demonstrations.  He doesn't want to listen to his European allies.  He remains deaf to the warnings that a possible war could provoke Islamic terrorists even more and that the planet will be an even less safe place to live afterwards."


FINLAND:  "Bush's Time Is Running Out"


Liberal Swedish-language independent Hufvudstadsbladet took this view (1/24):  "The leaders of both Germany and France have over the recent past said that they would not accept that a war against Iraq would be inevitable....  U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald  Rumsfeld has claimed that Germany and France do not represent European opinion.  From an American viewpoint it might seem that way, but it does not mean that the United States can ignore the Franco-German statements completely.  It is also clear that the above does not only apply within the UN, but  also in NATO....  One can understand the American irritation with calls for more time for the arms inspectors....  Next fall, it is time for a 'kick-off' in the presidential elections campaign, and George W plans to be re-elected in November 2004.  A drawn-out and expensive war with American soldiers returning home in zinc coffins combined with the so far unknown Democratic challenger are hardly what W is looking forward to."


THE NETHERLANDS:  "French-German Efforts Risky For EU-U.S. Relations"


Financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad commented (1/24):  "France and Germany are making major efforts to create a European coalition to keep America from fighting a war against Iraq.  In Germany this coalition is called the 'axis of the good' as opposed to the American identified 'axis of evil.'...  However, viewing the European coalition as an 'axis of the good' illustrates the naivety with which the majority of the German population views the increased tensions with the United States....  Germany and France are also dividing Europe.  It is an illusion to think that under French/German leadership Europe could create a common foreign policy.  It is not unlikely that the United States will start leaving Europe to its own....  Europe will be left by itself to take care of its own stability....   France and Germany are not contributing to finding peace in the Middle East and the EU does not have a proper alternative for the U.S. policy in the region.... The French-German coalition is purely based on the own interests of those two countries.  The French see an opportunity to resist American dominance...and the German Chancellor is facing local elections....   U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was right when he called France and Germany 'old European politics'." 


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Europe Is More Afraid of America Than of Saddam"


Tomas Klvana wrote in political weekly Reflex (1/23):  "U.N. inspectors found missile warheads in Iraq, which - after being filled with chemical agents - could become weapons of mass destruction. They also discovered an extensive file about plutonium enrichment process necessary for making a nuclear bomb in an apartment of an Iraqi expert. None of these and other findings were mentioned in the Iraqi report to the U.N. However, this and other information have not convinced key Western powers and Russia that it is crucial to act promptly. It seems as if the powers were more cautious of U.S. supremacy than of a possibly nuclear Saddam. If Bush presented allies with evidences about Iraq's nuclear program and stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, it would probably persuade them, and a campaign against Baghdad would occur under the UN flag. Moreover, a war against Iraq without a U.N. mandate would even split the Euro-Atlantic alliance and weaken NATO. And this is not in anyone's interest."


"Waltz Or Parade?"


Pavel Masa wrote in center-right Lidove noviny (1/23):  "France and Germany have decided to adopt a common stand over matters discussed in international organizations. This might have been the reason why NATO declined to support Washington's request for military action against Iraq before the international inspector team has had a chance to submit its report. President George Bush refused to comment on the French-German stand, dropping a few ironic remarks on the issue. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, treats the subject much more seriously, claiming that some countries would take advantage of the disunity between the U.S. and Europe to their own advantage. Mr. Blair's alternative could be treated in a detached way if the two countries limit their activities to diplomatic games. If, however, they decide to march together in war, no one will be in the mood for any games or George Bush for ironic remarks. "


FINLAND:  "Growing Criticism Against Bush"


Liberal Hufvudstadsbladet held (1/22):  "The United States has no new arguments justifying a strike, and criticism against the old arguments is growing.  Does the U.S. really want to embark on a course that is unpopular from the very start and which is bound to cause great setbacks, high numbers of civilian casualties as well as new hard to resolve problems in a conquered Iraq?  More and more people hope that Bush's black-and-white outlook on the world does not result in an unnecessary tragedy with unpredictable consequences."  


HUNGARY:  “Fremany [French/German] Tactics”


The Brussels correspondent for leading Nepszabadsag opined (1/23):  “The fact is that yesterday Chancellor Schroeder and President Chirac did not meet to celebrate but to restart.  To restart to spin the main axis, otherwise France and Germany continue to become weaker in the world mainly against the United States and its European friends....  The revival of the French-German community should not be overestimated yet.  But it would be a mistake to consider it an empty bluff.  Chancellor Schroeder dares to say ‘no’ to the United States in the Iraq issue.  It is another question whether it is good for Berlin in the long term or not.” 



IRELAND:  "European Big Guns Remain Wary Of "


The centrist Irish Examiner ran a comment by John Downing (1/23):  "Officials in Paris and Bonn stress the failure of the United States to appreciate their solid, practical reasons for having an abhorrence of war....  Blair's position in all of this is interesting. Since Tony Blair's Labour Party came to power in 1997, London has enjoyed a gradual marked improvement in relations with Paris and Berlin....  It was finally showing signs that it could be at the heart of Europe....Blair's...utterances and actions (since September 11) have been about preserving and enhancing that much vaunted special US-British relationship."


"Rift Between US And EU Deepens Over Iraqi Crisis"


Conor O'Clery stated in the liberal Irish Times (1/22): "The rift between the United States and the European Union over Iraq deepened yesterday, with U.S. President Bush expressing frustration with allies reluctant to accept that time was running out for Saddam Hussein to disarm....Yesterday the EU rejected a war on Iraq without the backing of the UN, and said weapons inspectors must have time to do their job."




Influential liberal De Volkskrant had this editorial (1/21): "Will we get a war against Iraq or not?  The Americans are suspected of having made up their minds in wanting to fight a war and now only look for a reason... that scenario is possible but not certain.  After all we cannot look into Bush's mind...  however, one fact is that the American president opted to follow the long path via the UN....  Apparently Bush, the unilateralist, thought it was better to seek a international cover for his Iraq policy....  We are now four months later... and the UN inspectors have not found a smoking gun...   It will be exciting to see what the inspectors will report on Monday....  Bush will have to cut the knot.  One should hope that he would continue to have a preference for maintaining broad international cooperation and consensus. The people of Europe and the United States value this.  And if this would require giving the UN inspectors more time, then Bush would have to give them more time."


NORWAY: "USA, Iraq And Oil"


In the newspaper of-record Aftenposten journalist Per A. Christiansen commented (1/17): "When the Americans now want to remove Saddam Hussein, it is precisely in connection to his capacity to unleash a possible catastrophe in an area that is vital for the energy supply to the West... The Americans would rather have the moral high ground on their side when they go to war. And the way they see it, they will do the world a favor by removing both Saddam and the strategic threat he represents. The danger is of course that by starting a war against Iraq it might contribute to provoke exactly the catastrophe they want to prevent."


POLAND:  "From Chernobyl To Iraq"


Stanislaw Lem observed in leftist weekly Przeglad (1/21):  “Despite the fact that Hans Blix was compromised by repeating Soviet propaganda that there were only six casualties in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, he did not lose his position.  Consequently, he is now in Iraq as the main expert of the [UN] inspectors whose task is to find Hussein’s dangerous weapons.  One can be certain that Saddam’s people will eagerly take advantage of his naivety.  The weapons inspection team should be headed by a less gullible and more efficient professional.  The person of Hans Blix puts into question the sense and effectiveness of the UN mission.”


PORTUGAL:  "The UN and Preventive War"


Center-right Social Democratic Party Eurodeputy and writer Vasco Graça Moura pointed out in his regular column in respected center-left  Diário de Notícias (1/22): "[...] It would be preferable for any military intervention in Iraq to be preceded by the approval of the Security Council....  The United States has taken a skillful and bold position on this....  The United States knows it has the responsibility of getting the world out of a supremely dangerous impasse, and they are not forsaking this.  This responsibility, which fortunately no UN in this world (or out of it) can change, is one of being the only democratic power capable of confronting a threat that, for its part, is the tip of an apocalyptic iceberg.... The members of the Security Council these days are not so much managing the problematic of doubts as they are the specific interests and reactions of public opinion in their countries.  Everything indicates that the United States understands, thank goodness, that  in the end there are sure logical conclusions leading to incontrovertible proof.  And it's hard to understand all the fuss about a so-called preventive war.  Because, supposing the UN approves intervention, won't that also be purely and simply preventive?"


"The Arguments Of War"


In an op-ed in influential moderate-left Público, Marxist historian and Left Bloc Party politician Fernando Rosas railed (1/22): "[...] A refusal of war and citizen opposition to it cannot remain suspended or depend upon something so random, and possible so unjust, as a decision by the Security Council.  Under no circumstances would the U.S.'s theory of preventive war or policy of imperial expansion become acceptable. If the Security Council, to the fatal disgrace of the UN and even the EU, allowed itself to become a tool of American war policy, that would not turn it into a policy of peace.  The fight for peace cannot be a prisoner of the decisions of the Security Council, even if it is of transcendent importance and would benefit from its support...


"Support For War And Anti-Americanism"


This week's editorial in top-circulation centrist weekly Expresso noted (1/18): "This war, like all of them, has tended to create extremist positions.  No one defends it publicly, but in private conversations there are those who confess to wanting it as the only way to eradicate an old evil: Saddam Hussein's regime.  On the opposing side there is a mixture of pacifism and anti-Americanism.  And in the anti-Americanism there is a strong dose of 'anti-Bushism'.... We do not believe that the attack on Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein will resolve anything: the threat to the West resides in Islam (and not just in Saddam...), and so is not 'eradicable'.  On the other hand, we think the anti-Americanism of some sectors and hatred of George Bush is ridiculous....  It is obviously bad for a single power to dominate the world scene --'s better that this power be a country that values democracy....  It is also wrong to think that America is going to attack Iraq exclusively because of oil....  The war in Iraq is probably inevitable and it will probably also not resolve anything.  But let's not get things confused.  Whether the American president is a Democrat or a Republican, let's have the lucidity to see the United States as a friendly country and potential ally, not as an enemy."


SPAIN:  "Disagreement Between Europe and the United States"


Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (1/24) in a signed piece by José Antich:  "Nothing... seems to be able to make Bush back down.  [He] responds to every action promoted by the Europeans--with the exception of Spain and the UK -- by sending more troops to the conflict region.  It seems evident... that it is going to be necessary that the United Nations is heard and its decision respected before any military intervention whatsoever.  The current disagreement should give way to the search for a way out which respects international legality.  And it is here where Europe, besides saying no to war, should contribute to finding a solid peace alternative in the face of international terrorism threats."


"Atlantic Breach"


Conservative La Razon wrote (1/24): "The search for peace is always a good cause, even if at times it hides the weakness of those who, like [Spanish president Aznar] reminded yesterday, live protected under the imperial security umbrella of Washington.   They are not used to paying the bill for being self-sufficient in defense [nor] able, as in the Balkans, to employ the means and [make the] decisions to maintain peace in our own continent.   For this reason there is room for doubt about how firm these solemn statements [of France and Germany] will be in the case of war,  one should at least consider them to be a search for EU leadership and a protest against the unilateralism shown by Bush, who by himself has been able to dynamite the bridge that the horror of 9/11 had built across both sides of the Atlantic." 


"Visions on Iraq"


Conservative ABC wrote (1/21): "The four European countries consider that the double [U.N.] resolution would be better, but Washington will only negotiate it [the double resolution] if its approval is guaranteed in advance so as to to avoid a resonant defeat in the Council.  And although both positions have their legal arguments, the fact is that Europe with these four big countries seated at the star forum for international relations at this critical point, is wasting another opportunity to speak with a common voice."


TURKEY:  "The Iraq Situation"


Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in conservative, mass-appeal Turkiye (1/22):  “Saddam is aware of the fact that he has absolutely no chance to withstand an American attack.  Instead, he will most likely resist U.S. and UK troops until Iraq is demolished and thousands die.  In this way, he will be the ‘winner’ in terms of inciting hatred against the Americans and British among the people of Iraq....  On the other hand, the U.S. apparently has various game plans for Iraq and the choice among them will be shaped according to conditions.  Yet whatever the scenario might be, it is going to be a major source of concern in the region....  Ankara finds itself rather puzzled and in a very difficult position.  Turkey is trying to support its strategic allies while at the same time tempering their war-mongering acts."


"U.S. Tactics"


Nazli Ilicak argued in conservative DB-Tercuman (1/22):  “What is the U.S. plan for Iraq exactly?  Will Saudi Arabia be next on the list?  It should be if the US is sincere enough about its Iraq arguments.  Unless the real intention is to control oil fields, the U.S. should take Saudi Arabia onto the list in order to prevent the financing of terrorism.  Let’s not ignore the fact that terrorists are predominantly of Saudi origin.  Those who live in Saudi Arabia are full of hatred against the Saudi authoritarian regime as well as the U.S., which supports it.  In other words, injustice in the Islamic world has become the main motive for terrorism.  The U.S. should be as determined as it is for the Iraqi regime by making the case against the Saudis as well.”


"Saddam And Peace Are Incompatible"


Hasan Cemal wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (1/21): "Saddam and peace are completely incompatible with one another, because Saddam Hussein represents trouble and instability.  Those who rush to Baghdad in the name of peace might unwittingly fall into the traps of war.  They may in fact be a comrade of a bloody-handed dictator even without realizing it....  In fact, nobody in this region will mourn for Saddam, yet it is also impossible to argue that getting rid of Saddam is a piece of cake.  This brings up the worry of the post-Saddam aftermath, and the related fear of 'opening Pandora's box' in the region.  Due to the fact that certain worries remain unanswered, war in and of itself is a reason for fear.  All of this provides a justification for the ongoing peace efforts to continue to the bitter end."


YUGOSLAVIA: "The Right To Capitulation" 


Belgrade centrist Glas Javnosti carried a commentary on Iraq by Dusan Nikolis, Foreign Policy Analyst stating (1/20): "The fact that the U.S. in the military sense has an impressive tradition,  that it is mentally and politically predestined to win the war,  is very dangerous.  The U.S. establishment has been obsessed for decades by the demon of global leadership...the creative centers of the spirit of the American nation are continuously placing ideas about... enemies, dangers, national interests.  The U.S. is the biggest military-scientific-technological complex... has the biggest arsenal of WMD and the only state that has used nuclear weapon.  The latest and most dangerous mini-doctrine that the U.S. would attack Iraq with nuclear weapons if Iraq attacked their invading troops with WMD, has as its bottom line that no one should dare to defend itself if it would cause the loss of  American lives...  Violently, with a  highly-sophisticated military ... and nuclear state terror, the U.S. abolishes the right to defend, allowing only the right to capitulate...   In the area of international relations have we  gone off-track into a new post-ideology of democratic violence and state terror, democratic totalitarianism, democratic neo-nazism?  The American society must be in a catastrophic crisis when it can produce, nourish and tolerate such politics."




ISRAEL:  "Still No 'Smoking Gun'"


Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote on page one of independent Ha'aretz (1/17):  "If no further evidence can be found on the ground in Iraq, this diplomatic move [the request for an extension of the UN inspectors' mandate], which is shared by part of the European states, could determine whether January 27 will indeed be a decisive date.  As the Arab-European-Turkish coalition is taking shape, alongside growing public opposition in Britain to unilateral war in the Gulf, the U.S. administration could find it extremely difficult to put into effect its declaration that the United States can go to war against Iraq on its own."


WEST BANK:   "The Palestinian-Palestinian Dialogue in Cairo”


Ahmed Majdalani opined in independent, pro-PA Al-Ayyam (1/22):  “An attack against Iraq will result in changes on the regional and Palestinian levels.  The major changes will include: First, replacing the Iraqi regime with a government loyal to the U.S. and willing to serve U.S. economic and strategic policy in the Gulf....  Second, reorganizing intra-Arab relations by means of shifting the regional roles of some key countries, such as Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia.  This will have a negative affect on the Palestinian cause. Third, giving Israel a major role on security and the economy in the Middle East as a result of the state of frustration created by an American attack.  Fourth, allowing for a possible exploitation by the Sharon government of the world’s preoccupation with Iraq during an American aggression to carry out a massive military offensive against the Palestinians.”


"Iraq And Palestine: Attempts To Avoid Upcoming War" 


Abdullah Awad opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/23):  “It is clear that Iraq’s efforts to avoid an American war have reached a dead end.  It seems that a war will probably flare up any time in the next few weeks.  For their part, the Palestinians, through the Cairo dialogue, are trying to prevent an Israeli war against them....  There are many similarities between the Palestinian and the Iraqi situations, the most prominent of which is that both are targeted as a result of [failing to adhere to] imposed American and Israeli standards to conduct internal changes.” 


EGYPT:  "Iraq’s Cooperation And A Single Set Of International Standards Are Needed"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram’s unsigned editorial read (1/23):  "Iraq responded to all the international inspectors’ demands....  However, the U.S. continues on the warpath....  While the U.S. determines coercion with Iraq, it continues its support for Israel which possesses weapons of mass destruction and adopts terrorist policies against Palestinians.  Indeed, Washington not only needs to revise its position in Iraq, but also its position toward Palestine and Israel because a superpower’s respect and credibility cannot be realized except by justice and a single set of standards.”


"Iraq, The 51st State"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Reda Helal observed (1/23):  “What America seeks is to change the Iraqi regime with or without war.  However, the greatest problem is the post-Saddam stage.  Iraq could be divided...neighboring parties, such as Turkey, Iran, and Israel may exploit the power vacuum in Baghdad for border raids or oil looting....  That is why American circles found no other choice but a direct rule in Iraq, which means turning Iraq into the 51st state of the U.S....  If Arabs delay their action to fend off the phantom of war by convincing Saddam to step down, their greatest problem is the post-Saddam period.”


"Even If Saddam Steps Out"


Aggressive pro-government weekly Akhbar al Yom’s columnist Kamal Abdel Raouf wrote (1/18):  “Even if Saddam agreed to step down, America would not leave Iraq alone and would continue to repeat the claims about WMD and play the broken record about democracy and human rights in Iraq--the same song we heard in Afghanistan and nothing happened except destruction and some Afghani women were showing their brazen faces on television.  The issue is not about democracy or human rights; America only seeks Iraqi oil and Iraqi wealth.... The idea of Saddam’s stepping down will not change anything except provide the U.S. with a chance to occupy Iraq peacefully.... Poor Iraqis. Once they emerged from the kingdom they fell into the hands of Baath. Now Saddam is threatened with being toppled and all of Iraq may be put into the hands of the American hawks surrounding Bush.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  “The Regional Phase”


London’s pan-Arab Al-Hayat carried a commentary by Riyadh bureau chief Dawood Al-Shiryan stating (1/23):  "Washington perhaps might be ready to support the idea of the regional conference and to provide it with a new regional momentum.  Since it is a gathering that revokes the old traditional division of the region, it could play a vital role after the Iraqi crisis.  Israel’s participation could address the regional problem between Arabs and Israel.  Certainly, the regional conference will not succeed if it is a repetition of (previous) Arab and Islamic summits....  Therefore, it is necessary to reconsider some sensitive political concepts.”


“Iraq And U.S.”


Jeddah’s English-language Arab News editorialized (1/23):  “Is the U.S. going to lead an attack on Iraq or not?  That is the question being asked around the world with increasing nervousness--and no one really knows the answer, not even the White House or the Pentagon; President Bush has clearly not yet made up his mind....  It is to be hoped that today’s meeting in Ankara of Iraq’s neighbors--Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iran and Turkey--can produce something concrete to avoid war....  It is strange that Kuwait was not asked.  This too must weaken the prospects for any regional proposals since the U.S. is listening very strongly to what Kuwait has to say--and Kuwait, for obvious reasons, is the one Arab state that most wants Saddam Hussein toppled.  One idea, however, that today’s meeting ought to consider is that arms inspectors not only be allowed to get on with their job but that they should again be stationed permanently in Iraq. Saddam Hussein may well manage to conceal a bomb or two up his metaphorical sleeve, but if inspectors were constantly at work in Iraq he would never be able to move or deploy them.  This may not be the solution the U.S. wants, but it is a practical and workable alternative to war as the means of controlling Saddam Hussein.”


“Voice Against War”


Riyadh’s moderate, English-language Riyadh Daily opined (1/23):  "Tomorrow’s regional meeting assumes importance.  It would be the first real overt effort to take war completely off the global agenda.  Two of the countries in the regional meeting--Iran and Syria--are staunch adversaries of the United States.  This fact should not lead the meeting to go off the mark, into a U.S.-bashing exercise.  The primary goal is to silence the war drums by pressurizing Iraq into complying with the UN resolutions all the way.”


JORDAN:  “The Surprises Of The American People”


Daily columnist Bater Wardam wrote on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Arabic-langauge Al-Dustour (1/21):  “The massive demonstration against the war on Iraq that took place in Washington last week and that accompanied more than ten other demonstrations around the world is a nice surprise for us in the Arab world…  The fact is, the American people’s anti-Iraq war movement is strong and effective, but it suffers from an American and international media blackout.  Even the Arab media knows nothing about the hundreds of demonstrations and anti-war activities that are taking place....  The Arab people must know that the world is not in support of a war on Iraq, and that there is no international conspiracy against the Arab world.  In fact, the world is united in rejecting the terrorism and the aggressive policies of the current Zionist U.S. administration.  The anti-war movement may not be able to stop American aggression, but this spreading awakening is a positive sign that the world is still OK.”


MOROCCO:  "The Ones Who Marched"


Driss Bennani wrote in independent, French-language political and economic weekly TelQuel  (1/18):  "Morocco will soon sign the FTA with the U.S.  It is unthinkable that the same Ministers that would shake the hand of administration officials in Washington, will march in the streets of Rabat to express disapproval of U.S. foreign policy and of course oppose the U.S.' sacred war on international terrorism."


"Passing Words: So That Our Future Won't Go Awry"


In government coalition, Arabic language Istiqaul party Al Alam's back page column, Hamadi El Ghari argued (1/17):  "Arabs and Muslims find themselves today at a perilous crossroad no one knows where it is leading... We are today, both governors and governed, besieged and no one will be safe from the siege that surrounds us from sea to sea and we will be eaten one after another. The strange thing is that some Arabs and Muslims have paid a high price for their own protection and come to believe that they are safe from the deluge at their doors; especially those who say 'My heart is with Iraq but my sword is with America.'... In front of this perilous crossroad, we should invoke a self-Intifada which would bring us back our soul. We should return to our religion, to Allah and make peace with ourselves, by freeing our peoples, lifting injustice and liberating them from oppression and humiliation."


SYRIA: "Serious Situation Requires Efforts Of All Parties"


Damascus-based Arabic-language official Syrian Arab Republic radio commented (1/23):  "The serious situation in the region, whether due to the Israeli occupation and aggression or the threats of an attack against Iraq, requires the efforts of all parties, especially key countries in the region. This situation also needs the efforts of the international community, especially rational and peace-loving forces.  On both the regional and international arenas, Syria has been exerting huge efforts to avert war and to open the gates for peace.  In this endeavor, Syria has sided with the international consensus and the activation of the UN role....  Should war break out, it will greatly harm not only the interests of the countries of the region, but also the interests of Europe, Russia, and the United States.... Regarding the Iraqi issue, Resolution 1441 should be binding on the United States and all the countries concerned, and not only on Iraq. As for the Arab-Israeli conflict, the resolutions of the Security Council, which manifest the international will, should also be binding on all parties to the conflict and the countries that drafted and approved them, including the United States.  All the tensions, conflicts, occupation, killing, bloodshed, and destruction that the region suffers from are caused by the Israeli refusal to comply with the UNSC resolutions  and the U.S. refusal to oblige it to do so."


"What If Arab Anger Reaches The Point Of Explosion?"


Dr. Mahdi Dakhlallah, Editor-in-Chief of government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote (1/23):  "At a time when we (Syrians) extend our hand to contribute collectively to the construction of a new world based on legitimacy and equality, we stress that our dignity and sovereignty is above reproach, and that our deep sense of our role and position will prevent us from any thought of giving up.  We are an angry nation that is feeling injustice. So does the world want the Arab anger to reach the point of explosion?"


"To Avoid The Catastrophe"


Government-owned Tishreen stated (1/22):  "Syria is concentrating on building an Arab and regional position to stave off an American war.  As President Assad pointed out to A/S William Burns, all parties should abide by UNSC resolutions.  Resolution 1441 does not concern Iraq alone, rather all countries are concerned with the resolution, especially the United States.  It is the duty of Arab and Muslim countries of the region to do their utmost to avoid a war against Iraq and spare it from the grave consequences of such a war.  This is what Syria is trying with all its capabilities to do."


"Optimism Remains!"


Sayah Sukhni opined government-owned Al-Thawra (1/20): ""The U.S. Administration's wise men are convinced that preserving America's interest in the region and improving its tarnished image in the Arab street, will not require mobilizing armies, sending fleets and threatening to strike Iraq. The loud voices of the hot heads in the American Administration that are overwhelming many moderate and sound voices should not lead us to despair, nor confuse international efforts to prevent the war. Countries around the world, especially those in the region, should intensify efforts to contain this crisis and come up with ideas and formulae that will not only save Iraq from the tragedies of war, but also recover the respectability of the UN and restore its role as the sole authority on security and stability of the world."


TUNISIA:  "Turkey In The Front Line" 


Editor-in-chief Nourredine Bouttar wrote in independent As-Sabah (1/17):  "Following the tour undertaken by the Turkish Prime Minister to a number of Middle East and Gulf countries, the latter's government called for the importance of holding a summit in Ankara to pursue efforts to settle the Iraqi crisis peacefully.  This diplomatic effort reflects the worries of the Turkish government of a potential U.S. attack on Iraq.  Indeed, if the scenarios published by the American press were to come true, the direct domination of the U.S. over Iraqi's oil would prevent Turkey from having any control over the rights of oil in Northern Iraq.  Moreover, the possibility of seeing the U.S. confer upon Iraqi's Kurds a role in the new world map might cause the Turkish-Kurdish conflict to resurface and frustrate the Turkish government....  Yet...NATO bases exist in Turkey that the U.S. will not hesitate in using at any time....  In fact, Turkey might turn a  blind eye to any political map for Iraq as long as it receives guarantees [from the U.S.] that the Kurdish issue will not resurface as well as promises to obtain a share of Iraqi oil."


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Calling For A Peaceful Resolution To Crisis With Iraq"


Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al-Arab editorialized (1/21): "Efforts to avert the war should not stop for a moment and should not be confined to demands for the Iraqi President to step down and spare Iraq the consequences of war.  (These efforts) must extend to include making Washington and the UN allow the inspectors more time and give the leadership in Baghdad additional chances to pursue fundamental changes to convince the world that Iraq is heading towards a new phase .... Peaceful solutions deserve further opportunities with a determination to implement these solutions because the alternative is a war for which we cannot even anticipate the consequences."




AUSTRALIA:  "Australia In Coalition Of The Willing"


Business-oriented Australian Financial Review commented (1/23):  "By its [Australia's] decision to deploy a bigger and more complex force than earlier signalled, it is now unambiguously engaged in an enterprise whose logical conclusion is an assault on a sovereign state, possibly without United Nations approval. This is a huge step for a country of Australia's size and weight in the world."


"What A Real Mate Would Tell Bush"


The liberal Age asserted (1/22):  "Australia is not an important nation in world affairs. But there have been times when we have had the opportunity to exercise influence out of all proportion to our size, whether for good or ill.  This is another of those times when we can serve our own interests, as well as those of our great-power protector, by counselling caution rather than urging Washington on to war."


"Peace Still Has A Chance"


An editorial in the liberal Melbourne Age stated (1/18-19): "The Federal Government has a task ahead if it wants to convince Australians either that this war is justified, or that we should be part of it. Part of the problem is the government's own apparent ambivalence."


CHINA:  “U.S., Britain Search For Trigger For War”


Chong Zi commented in the official English-language China Daily (1/24):  “[The U.S. and British] concession [to allow Saddam Hussein's exile], however, bluntly disregards the sovereignty of Iraq and the validity of Resolution 1441 which was ratified by the United Nations (UN) Security Council in November last year.  Ousting Saddam is not mentioned in the resolution.  British Prime Minister Tony Blair made it clear that he was prepared to back military action against Iraq even if the UN weapons inspectors failed to find a ‘smoking gun’.  This is wicked arrogance.  Without credible evidence, military action against Iraq is not just a foolish diversion from fighting terrorism. It is a sure-fire way to fuel it.”


“Pre-emptive Policy Produces Instability”


Feng Changhong commented in the official English-language China Daily (1/23):  “Its [the U.S.] strategy of launching a pre-emptive strike against adversaries will in particular have a prolonged impact upon the international strategic environment.  Meanwhile, the United States holds that it could launch similar attacks against other countries allegedly carrying out terrorist actions or possessing weapons of mass destruction. The strategy, however, will inevitably prove hazardous to the United States and the international community.  Without a persuasive reason for military action in Iraq, a pre-emptive attack by the United States will surely create long-term turbulence in the Gulf region and the whole Middle East.  By carrying out a pre-emptive military attack on terrorists and ‘rogue states’ allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction, the United States does certainly have a capability to wipe out part of its enemies' manpower.  But any attack can by no means completely eradicate their beliefs and values, inevitably resulting in retaliation.”\


“What Do The Global Anti-war Demonstrations Illustrate?”


Er Yan commented in official Communist Party Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 1/22):  “The global anti-war demonstrations are actually demonstrations opposing the United States....  If the U.S. insists on attacking Iraq in defiance of world condemnation, it will face moral criticism and complaints by U.S. citizens about the government ignoring U.S. economic development.  Moreover, the U.S. will put itself in a more isolated situation in the international community.”


HONG KONG SAR:  "The U.S. Goes To War, The Whole World Pays"


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal remarked (1/24):  "Who will pay the astronomical cost for a war?....  Given the current discord between the U.S. and its allies, if the U.S. sticks obstinately to its own course, it must bear alone the military risk as well as the military expenditures and the costs of rebuilding Iraq.  At the same time, the U.S. must handle a domestic deficit and worry about the impact of oil price fluctuations on its economy.  This is not an easy task for President Bush.... For the sake of others as well as itself, the U.S. must control oil production in post-war Iraq....  There is a close relationship between U.S. control of Iraqi oil and the life-and-death state of the economies of other oil-producing countries.  If the U.S. significantly increases oil production, the price of oil will drop, hurting Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, and others....  War in Iraq will realign the Middle East's political and military powers and will dramatically change the oil economy.  The U.S. is leading the war in Iraq, but will the entire world pay the bill?"


"Time Is Running Out For Hussein..."


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times remarked (1/23):  "Facing objections from Europe, Bush gives the impression that he would not hesitate to fall out with his allies.  He sounds like the U.S. is ready to fight to win or die.  There is only one reason for that:  Bush is running out of time.  After the war on Iraq, Bush faces a tough fight which is even more important:  the battle for reelection....  The U.S. economy will not be able to recover by the end of this year, and it will be even more difficult for Bush to run for reelection.  Seen from this angle, the pressures of reelection leave Bush with no choice but to resolve the Iraq issue as quickly as possible.  In the short run, the war drums will only get louder.  Now Bush's greatest test will be how to convince his European allies to support him in war.  Before taking any military action against Iraq, Bush has to win a diplomatic battle."


JAPAN:  "U.S. Should Close Gap With France And Russia"


Liberal Mainichi editorialized (1/23):  "The Iraq situation has intensified even before UN weapons inspectors' Jan. 27 submission of a report on Iraq's WMD program to the UNSC. The Bush administration says alternatives to using force against Baghdad have nearly been exhausted....  Not to be overlooked is the fact that the U.S. and Britain are at odds with other UNSC permanent members over how to deal with Baghdad. While the U.S. maintains it can use force against Iraq without a new UN resolution, France and Russia are opposed to the U.S. and British use of force against Baghdad.  The longer these major powers remain in discord, the more likely Saddam Hussein is to take advantage of the confusion at the UNSC. The Arab world is opposed to the U.S. and British use of force--action that will adversely affect the Palestinian problem and global cooperation in the anti-terror campaign.  The U.S. should close the gap with France and Russia.  It may be necessary to apply diplomatic and military pressure on Iraq. But if the U.S. and Britain unilaterally go ahead with action against Iraq, it will only weaken global solidarity and cooperation in dealing with issues facing the world."


"Iraq Can No Longer Play For Time"


Conservative Sankei editorialized (1/22):  "It is regrettable the five UNSC permanent members failed to iron out differences, given the possibility that Iraq, if left unrestrained, will go ahead with developing nuclear and other WMD.  If the U.S. and Britain yield to the call from France, Russia and China for a new resolution on the use of force against Baghdad, the current period of UN weapons inspections would be extended and the early adoption of the new UN resolution would be unlikely.  Saddam Hussein is most likely to take advantage of such confusion at the UN to 'play for time,' strengthen his dictatorship and pose an unprecedented threat to the international community.  Last September, the U.S. government issued a report indicating how Iraq has defied UN resolutions and obstructed UN weapons inspections during the past decade. The discord among the permanent UNSC members can no longer allow Iraq to play for time."


SOUTH KOREA:  “Global Voices of Conscience”


The pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (1/21): “Demonstrations were staged in some 70 cities around the world over the weekend to oppose a possible U.S. strike on Iraq.…  We believe these rallies are the very voices of conscience.  Nevertheless, the U.S. government is stepping up its preparations for war.  The U.S. is raising its voice for that purpose particularly following the UN inspection team’s discovery - for the first time in 50 days of inspections in Iraq - of ten or so empty chemical warheads and documents related to the manufacture of nuclear weapons....  The U.S. is not entitled to bomb Iraq and kill innocent Iraqi citizens without convincing evidence. If the U.S. considers itself the world’s policeman, it should at least respect UN agreements. Furthermore, if it is a democratic nation, the U.S. should heed public opinion.”


INDONESIA: "Protests Against Plan to Attack Iraq Escalating"


Leading independent daily Kompas (1/21) commented: "An indifferent attitude to the protests from the international community will only worsen the U.S. anti-American sentiment which will turn into radicalism, not conducive for the global coalition against terrorism."


"The U.S. Must Refrain"


Independent Koran Tempo commented (1/21): "Only one day after the Inspection Team reports to the UN, President Bush is slated to deliver a State of the Union address that will likely be related to the Iraq issue.  With only a one day time difference, the U.S. will very likely ignore the findings of the team.  In other words, whether or not Iraq proves to possess mass destruction weapons, in the U.S. mind the attacks can still be carried out. We hope this bad scenario that will happen."


MALAYSIA:  "A U.S. Vision for Iraq"


Feature Editor Zin Mahmud wrote in government-influenced English-language New Straits Times (1/22):  "The recent aggressiveness shown by a Bush administration...has provoked waves of criticism and praise not only from the international community but also at home.  The decision to use the UN as the proper and unique legal forum with the jurisdiction to manage the crisis in the Gulf was a welcome move....  To gain traction with Iraqis, senior U.S. officials must project a positive future for Iraq, a vision which is both anti-Saddam and pro-Iraq.  Both inside the country and in exile, Iraqis crave assurance that, once Saddam is ousted and Iraq is in compliance with all relevant UN resolutions, conditions for the Iraqi people will improve rapidly enough to bolster the new, possibly interim, government.  The Middle East would greatly benefit from the re-entry of Iraq into the international community under a new leadership.  The U.S. should take the lead in making this happen.”


VIETNAM:  "An Ambition That May Lead To Getting Bogged Down"


Minh Tam wrote in Vietnam People's Army daily Quan Doi Nhan Dan (1/19): "By reason of preparation for a strike in Iraq, for many months now, the U.S. Government has been carrying out a massive diplomatic campaign to induce Gulf countries to participate in a war against Iraq...  Washington has told Iraq's neighbors flatly that they will benefit a lot if supporting the U.S. in an attack against Iraq, and if not supporting the U.S., they are likely to be targets for economic, political and military embargos and sanctions...  The U.S. plan for Iraq and the whole Middle East region is posing a severe threat to the security and stability of the Arab world. With certainty, the different lifestyle of the Americans and the imposition of American values will create many troubles to Arab people, who have always respected their cultural and religious practices.  The inevitable result is that the U.S. will be hit by waves of anti-U.S. protests and demonstrations of the local people.  It is necessary to remind the U.S. of lessons in South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and many other countries, where U.S. soldiers have become subjects for hatred and revenge from the local people...  Analysts say that the Pentagon's big ambition is likely to get bogged down and only the U.S. military circles know what consequences they will suffer as they are the ones that have had many bitter lessons from similar cases."


INDONESIA:  “Impact Of Iraqi Crisis On Indonesia”


Smith Alhadar declared in independent Koran Tempo (1/23):  “If the U.S. attacks unilaterally, the [Indonesian] government must have no doubt but to condemn the aggressor, even without the support from major Arab countries.  ‘Siding’ with Iraq does not mean giving support to Saddam Hussein but to humanity, a state’s sovereignty, and the world’s order based on the existing international norms.”


PHILIPPINES:  "Finish The Job"

Julius Fortuna wrote in the independent Manila Times (1/23):  "Over at the United Nations, the French are showing that the best policy toward Iraq is to let the arms inspectors in Baghdad finish their job instead of preparing for war. This is a kind of rebuke to the United States and Great Britain which--in order to secure the oil supply--are now sending troops to the Middle East in preparation for attack."


SINGAPORE:  "Seek UN Approval"


The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (1/23):  "United States policy on Iraq has run into a roadblock at the United Nations Security Council....  The fundamental difference between the U.S. and the others comes down to this question: What have the inspections accomplished so far?....  The fact that the inspectors have not found any smoking gun in this round does not prove anything, Washington argues, for the guns may still be around, smoldering in hidden places. It should be noted that this is not a position unique to Washington, for the inspectors, too, do not believe Baghdad has come clean. As irregular as it may seem, it is really up to Mr. Saddam to prove his innocence, not for the inspectors to prove he is guilty. Thus far, he has not.  But does this mean the U.S. should move quickly to invade Iraq soon after the inspectors present their report on Monday? It would be preferable if the U.S. got the approval of the Security Council before it acted. It had lobbied hard for Resolution 1441, which set the framework for the inspection regime, and it should allow that process to work itself out. If the inspectors say on Monday they need more time, the U.S. is honor-bound to give them that time. For it to invade Iraq without international sanction would make a risky venture even riskier, and will probably jeopardize also the larger war on terrorism."




IRAN:  "We Shall Swim Or Sink Together"


Iran's English-language pro-government Tehran Times opined (1/23):  "Foreign ministers of six regional countries are sitting down in Turkey today to find a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis....  The regional countries are trying to ward off war...for a U.S. attack on Iraq will have dire consequences for their countries and the entire region....  Since the United States has already announced that if Saddam Hussein steps down, war will be averted, it will be very encouraging if the regional countries find an acceptable process by which Saddam can step down in the interest of the Iraqi people. But it should be borne in mind that they cannot force him to leave power....  Unfortunately, today, the United States assumes itself the chief of the global village. It indicts, tries, condemns, and punishes other countries, as if it were the policeman, prosecutor, and judge of the global village.  Second, the ministers must bear in mind that the territorial integrity of Iraq must be respected.  Indeed any dent in the territorial integrity of Iraq...will turn the region into a hotbed of crisis after crisis.  This consultation by regional countries is a most welcome development....  It shows that they have concluded that all regional countries are aboard the same ship; should it sink, all will drown, and if it is salvaged from the current turbulence, all will be rescued."


INDIA:  "This Chaos Will Not Lead To A U.S. Cosmos"


S. Nihal Singh opined in the centrist Asian Age (1/23):  "The U.S. declares that it is seeking to democratize West Asia, but few believe it....  There is little subtlety in choosing Iraq and the helpless Palestinian territories for democratic reforms....  As of now, things are going splendidly for America's imperial aims. Post-Saddam plans are being refined in Washington.  After a period of American military occupation of Iraq for two years to begin with, the UN and European members of the EU, with suitable Iraqi puppets, will be left the task of "nation-building."  Iraqi oil largesse and contracts will be doled out by Washington to those who side with it and serve its interests....  Americans seem to be underestimating the chinks in their armor. For one thing, an invasion of Iraq would give a tremendous fillip to the remaining forces of Al Qaeda and their sympathizers and the broader Arab and Muslim ranks to seek spectacular vengeance against Americans and Israelis. Second, the resentment of much of the rest of the world to American hegemony in the 21st century will make itself apparent in many other ways."


"Itching For War"


An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times asserted (1/20): "The United States may have found the discovery of empty chemical warheads in Iraq 'troubling', but it is still not clear whether they constitute enough of a smoking gun to call for an invasion...there is still no certainty whether the American deadline for going to war before the end of winter can be met. For one thing, there is growing evidence of anti-war sentiments in the US itself. For another, even Britain is now somewhat less enthusiastic about the war.... Besides, there is something faintly ridiculous about the American preference for a war in the cold season.... There are, of course, other bumps on the road to war. The Arab States are seemingly as unhappy about a conflict on their doorstep as about an introduction of democracy in a post-Saddam Iraq, as promised by the US. Both are unwelcome to them, as they threaten their cozy dictatorships."


PAKISTAN:  "Countdown To War"


An editorial in the centrist national News declared (1/23):  "The first Gulf war was virtually a weekend affair as Iraq was at that time smarting under international odium because of its occupation of Kuwait. This time Baghdad emerges as a helpless, weak state threatened by an American overkill. President Bush's florid rhetoric has invited global sympathy for Iraq, regardless of President Saddam Hussain's real or imagined vile acts.  The season, therefore, is not propitious for an invented war that has an imperialist rubric to it, and much as Mr. Bush chronicles the sins of the Iraqi leader, he will find no support....  Mr. Bush will be fighting not only against the Iraqis, but his own people. Vietnam showed that a war at home and abroad is difficult."


"Washington's Lone Battle Cry"


Nasim Zehra wrote in the centrist national News (1/23):  "Clearly what is at stake is the complete collapse of a collective international body which facilitates, to whatever degree possible, interstate relations in these dangerously chaotic times.  A U.S. attack will indeed stamp out all notions of multilateralism.  It will reinforce the U.S.' image of a hegemonic power that is oblivious of all 'rules of the game' whenever it perceives real, imagined or deliberately contrived threat to its interest linked to the flow of oil or to Israel's security....The war may or may not destroy Saddam Hussein.  It will, however, give birth to an all-consuming hatred, resentment and desperation among millions across the globe who understand and experience the impact of U.S.' double standards when it comes to the issues of international law, morality and values. In opting for a credible mechanism to handle the threat of Saddam, the opponents of Washington's Iraq policy are in fact opting for a multilateral path that may help to stop the global slide towards anarchy."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Bush's Terrors"


Center left Daily Dispatch commented (1/22):  "In spite of Baghdad's renewed co-operation with United Nations weapons inspectors and rising calls from all sane quarters for President George Bush to back off, American military deployment in the Gulf continues....  But most world leaders still hope war can be averted as support among ordinary Britons and Americans falls....  The central issue at stake is almost certainly not weapons or even terrorism, but oil....  Bush's motives for war are increasingly under suspicion.  His harshest critics call him 'a white man with a god complex' (not a very bright one)--and see him as a possible Adolf Hitler in the making.  Bush has managed to use Americans' 9/1 outrage as a license to fuel his 'war on terror' to a point where, even after Afghanistan and the fruitless pursuit of Osama bin Laden, one in two Americans now believes Saddam, and thus Iraq, was behind the attacks.  There is no evidence to support this belief.  The damage this lunacy has done to America's relations with most of humanity is terrifying.  And war has not yet been declared."


"War Against Iraq Unjustified"


Political commentator Andrew Kenny argued in the conservative Citizen (1/21):  "An American war against Iraq now would be unjustified and set a dangerous precedent in international affairs....  Iraq has met all of the conditions of weapons inspection, and the inspectors have found nothing of importance.  That means there is no justification for a war against Iraq.  Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator, guilty of dreadful crimes against his own people....  But there are plenty of brutal dictators about.  Why pick on Hussein?  I do not think oil is the reason for Bush's desire to go to war....   I think it is the U.S. presidential election next year, where he hopes, unlike his father, to get a second term.  A well-timed war is a good electoral ploy....  The United States would win such a war of course, probably in less than a month, and the Iraqi  people would be delighted to see Hussein removed.  But this does not mean it should happen.  It should not." 


CAMEROON:   "U.S. Prepares for War:  Iraq Gets Support in Yaounde"


The Yaounde-based pro-opposition English-language Herald editorialized (1/21):  "Last week's meeting in Yaounde of parliamentarians from the Islamic world offered yet another welcome opportunity for Iraq, now under threat of attack by the US and its chief ally Britain....  Unable to stand the military might of the world's only super power and its chief ally, Iraq is working around the clock to mobilize world opinion on its side....  There have been anti-war, anti-Bush demonstrations in at least 16 capitals....  But for Paul Biya's fearfulness and vacillation over such matters, Yaounde would have been the scene of one of such anti-war demonstrations on the occasion of Islamic parliamentarians."


GHANA: "President Bush Blows His War Trumpets"


Kofi Akordor, in the state-owned Saturday weekly with national circulation Mirror, opined (1/18): "There was the story of a man in full battle regalia, who went to war against imaginary enemies....Today, the world is confronted with another Don Quixote of yesteryear, this modern one can cause considerable damage to mankind if not held in check, for he is going to war not against windmills but against innocent people....The question is, why after all the overwhelming evidence that Iraq and the UN weapons inspectors are co-operating effectively, should the US and Britain be beating the war drums?...The Jewish lobby in the Bush Administration also wants Iraq, the only Arab country that can stand up to Israel destroyed...The attitude of the US towards North Korea's withdrawal from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty is also sending signals that the US is preparing to attack Iraq, not because of that country's weapons of destruction."


MOZAMBIQUE:  "U.S.A. Versus Iraq--New Century May Begin Again"


Independent weekly Zambeze opined (1/16), "All these maneuvers may culminate in a war that, even before beginning, has a very negative outcome and does not dignify the people of this post-modern era at all, who sin by being controlled by an unipolar power, namely the U.S.A....  Even if it's hard for Bush and his followers to believe, the truth is that the world is fed up with wars."  


NIGERIA:  "Before The War On Iraq"


Abuja-based independent Daily Trust opined (1/22), "One, possession of weapons of mass destruction is only an excuse for an attack on Iraq and most people around the world already know this.  Two, in an already polarized world, an attack on Iraq will be seen as an extension of the war on terrorism, which half of the world already believe is an excuse for unwarranted American aggression.  Three, that if they ride roughshod on world opinion and render the UN impotent to stop them, they cannot stop retaliatory attacks on American and British interests the world over, since this will inevitably follow.  Finally, a war on Iraq could trigger a nuclear war if countries with nuclear capabilities, which are fed up with American tyranny, decide to fight on the Iraqi side."


TANZANIA:  “America Should Respect The Will Of The World’s Peace Lovers”


Kiswahili-language ruling party-run Mzalendo opined (1/19):  "We are surprised and saddened by the statements coming out of the American government....  America’s intention remains the same: to hit Iraq and remove President Saddam Hussein from power....  The UN’s decision to send in the weapons inspectors and America’s consent were just ploys to placate its allies who seemed to oppose the use of military force without a UN mandate....  While the American and British governments continue with their preparations to hit Iraq, the world at large does not support these plans....  This world belongs to all of us, and every one of us should be able to live in peace, without fear of becoming the victims of any country's bullying tactics.  Besides threatening the lives of innocent people in Iraq, the impact of a war against Iraq will be tremendous to the neighboring countries in the Middle East, the whole Persian Gulf area, including poor countries such as our own, which will be severely economically affected by the prospects of drastic increase in the price of oil products.”




CANADA: "Let U.N. Bean-Counter Do His Job"


Foreign affairs editor Gordon Barthos observed in the liberal Toronto Star (1/23): "...Given this propensity to create and preserve laundry lists, it's easy to see why U.S. President George Bush finds it hard to accept that Iraq is unable to produce the paperwork to prove that its arsenal has been scrapped.... Bush wants to keep the pressure on Saddam, hoping he may flee or be toppled. And to bolster U.N. demands. But the huge American/British military buildup is excessive. It all but confirms that a decision to go to war has been made, and that military logistics, not diplomacy and a desire to uncover the facts, now drive this crisis. Indeed, in the rush to war, Blix's search for the truth may be the first casualty."


"The U.S. Is Ready To Strike"


Editor emeritus Peter Worthington wrote in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (1/23): "There are reports that British and American Special Forces are already active in northern Iraq. If there's war, it's possible, even likely, Saddam will go down violently, inflicting as much damage as he can by unleashing those thousands of litres of chemical and anthrax weapons, and whatever else he may have.  What does Saddam care about Iraqi lives? He's killed untold thousands of his people with poison gas to solidify control, and used these weapons against Iran."


"Bush's Moral Clarity Turns Fuzzy"


Columnist Richard Gwyn commented in the liberal Toronto Star (1/22): "There has always also been a disturbing overlap between Bush's moral clarity and plain moral simplicity. Bush's good/evil, we/they division of the world, while deeply felt, was also calculatingly convenient....  The appeal of Bush's moral clarity persisted, nevertheless, because it was decisive and bold, and most plainly and simply, clear.  Each day now, as Bush gets closer and closer to invading Iraq, that priceless asset of his is wasting away. The contrast between Bush's bellicose policy towards Iraq, which has no nuclear weapons, or none of consequence, and his diplomatic dealings with North Korea, which has both bombs and the missiles to deliver them, is too obvious to be justified except by resort to the old arguments of realism and of national interest. These may be valid pragmatically; they most certainly are not moral.... The U.S., in short, is going to war because it wants to go to war, whether for oil, or to avenge family honour, or, probably, because Bush would lose too much face if he didn't invade Iraq.... But while Bush will still have his war it'll now be just that--his war, rather than a war against terrorism or for some higher morality."


"What Do Iraqis Fear More Than War?  More Saddam"


Margaret Wente wrote in the leading Globe and Mail (1/21): "There are many reasons to oppose a war. But the best interests of the innocent Iraqi people are not among them. And the sight of sanctimonious Westerners pretending to speak for them, and demanding that they be kept enslaved by the most brutal dictator outside North Korea, is not an edifying one. War is terrible. But there are worse things. Just ask the people of Iraq."


"Saddam's Golden Parachute"


Under the sub-heading, "Iraq's despot should accept an offer of cosy exile, thus saving lives," the nationalist Ottawa Citizen opined (1/21): "Whatever promises an end to the threat Saddam poses to the region deserves serious attention. No other contemporary dictator--not even Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe...has demonstrated the same capacity for aggression against his neighbours or the desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction with which to assert his domination. That said, it would be dangerously naive to rely on strategies such as exile or coups.  Full-scale war against Saddam is no one's first choice, but it's better than the prospect of war later on--after Saddam acquires nuclear weapons."


"Weak U.S. Case For War"


The liberal Toronto Star commented (1/21): "He's been demonizing Saddam Hussein for a year, but U.S. President George Bush still hasn't managed to sell most Americans on his Iraq policy, much less the rest of the world.... Bush has failed to put forward a compelling case for attacking Iraq, a full year after making his 'axis of evil' speech. That's remarkable, given America's tendency to rally to the president in war, the 9/11 effect, the power of the presidential bully pulpit, the reach of U.S. intelligence services, and a largely compliant American media. While the U.S. still has reason to contain Saddam, Bush's approach looks more like bullying and less like prudence with every passing day. The push is now on to frighten Saddam into exile, or to spark a palace revolt. Should that fail, Bush wants the Security Council to begin consideration of war as soon as chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix delivers his verdict Monday on Iraq's cooperation after 400 inspections.... A majority of permanent Security Council members...agree. They believe sanctions have blunted Saddam's threat....The need to attack Iraq is far from evident. The timing is wrong. The human cost could be tragically high."


ARGENTINA: "Confrontation Of The French-German Axis Against Bush Worsens"


Araceli Viceconte, Berlin-correspondent for leading Clarin wrote (1/24): "The repercussion of Donald Rumsfeld's statements speaks of the US inability to neutralize the European opposition to the war against Iraq and also of the lack of dialogue between allies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In Germany, even the conservative opposition criticized Rumsfeld in spite of the fact that it favors the alignment with Washington... While troops continue arriving to the Persian Gulf, the confrontation between the US and the France-Germany axis deepens. Disappointed by the lack of support of two traditional allies, Washington pressures the Paris-Berlin axis... The US will send representatives to different European countries to convince them to support war. The idea is isolate France and Germany and blame them for the delay in the UN Security Council's decision."


"Bush, With The Dilemma Of Having To Attack Without The Support Of A Coalition"


Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (1/22): "The opposition of the U.S.'s European allies, mainly France and Germany, places the Bush administration on the road to testing his new national security doctrine, focused on the preventive attack, which could break the prevailing balance of recent centuries in international relations. The Republican administration has decided not to stop war in spite of the opposition... This war scenario of war without the support of an alliance raises fear among Americans. According to a Newsweek opinion poll, 81 percent of Americans would support a military action as long as the US is part of an alliance and is supported by the UN Security Council. But this support dramatically falls to 39 per cent if the hypothesis changes and the country attacks Iraq by itself or with the support of only one or two allies and without the UN support."


"The Opportunistic War"


Claudio Uriarte, international analyst of left-of-center Pagina 12 reflected (1/19): "Of all possible reasons for a US war on Iraq, it is not unlikely that opportunism be the soundest one. This means, there is no doubt that the US army can defeat an isolated and weakened Saddam Hussein in a relatively fast war... while there are strong doubts that it could defeat Iran or North Korea..., not to mention China... But beyond this relative operation easiness, the underlying rationality of the operation is still dark. Saddam Hussein's international aggressiveness and his hostility towards the US are obvious, but his ties with Al Qaeda are unlikely and the possibility that he could deliver weapons of mass destruction to terrorism seem very low... Out of all the arguments in favor of war, the most ridiculous one is the one about establishing democracy in Iraq. Of course, a democratic regime would be a very bad idea to maintain Iraq's geopolitical cohesion, Iraq being a state with two separatisms of regional impact, the Kurds and the Shiites... , not to mention the multiple clans and factions... In this context, a possible dangerous consequence should not be disregarded. Bush used last year's rhetoric war to win legislative elections, but this year, with the deployment of 90,000 soldiers, the possibility has become a real one. And the order of retreat, increasingly difficult."


BRAZIL:"Reasons For The War"


The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo read (1/22): "While the U.S. and the UK continue to send troops to the Persian Gulf region for an increasingly probable military action against Iraq, those who oppose the war are gaining more visibility.... Nevertheless, both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have shown that they are willing to go to any lengths to depose Saddam Hussein. Apparently, the only thing lacking is a pretext for starting the bombings and the invasion. Saddam is truly a bloody tyrant, and his overthrow would be more than welcome. But to wage a war to depose him is reckless. The main reasons alleged by Bush have no basis. There is no concrete link between the Iraqi regime and the Sept. 11 terrorists. The UN's inspectors have not yet found any solid evidence that Iraq is producing arms of mass destruction.... There are, however, geopolitical reasons for the war that Bush does not admit. The U.S. would assume control of major oil reserves, thereby reducing its dependence on Saudi Arabia. The U.S. would also show the world that it is ready to exert its hegemony through military means if necessary."


"The Sound Of War Drums"


The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (1/20) opined: "While President Bush continues to beat the war drums and the Pentagon speeds up the sending of troops and equipment to the Persian Gulf, the White House has not obtained a single diplomatic victory, not even in the battle for U.S. public support for the planned attack. When polls revealed that only 24 percent of the population would support a unilateral strike against Baghdad, the U.S. was forced to make a tactical retreat at the UNSC.... Next week Bush will deliver his State of the Union Address.... The UN's inclination to make a possible attack contingent on another SC resolution foreshadows another U.S. setback.... The U.S. says it has evidence that Iraq possesses forbidden weapons but refuses to present it, and Iraq, which denies possessing them, must prove what it states.... The problem is determining whether war is the best solution for this presumed danger, or whether it is nothing more than a pretext for the President to settle accounts his father failed to settle in 1991, reduce increasing domestic discontent with his disastrous economic policy, ensure his reelection next year, affirm U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, control the world's second-largest oil reserves, or a combination of all of this."


"Lose And Win"


Independent Jornal do Brasil held (1/20): "Now it's a question of time: War seems inevitable....(But) in spite of everything, peace is still the best road to take, for the countries directly involved and for the rest of the world. A conflict would be disastrous for all.... (For example), the president of the United States shouldn't attack Iraq until the situation in Venezuela is resolved satisfactorily.  The question of oil is crucial for the world.... For George W. Bush and for Saddam Hussein, the best way is still through the UN."


MEXICO: "The United States: Regime Change And War"


John Saxe-Fernandez writes in far-left Jornada (1/23):  "Under President Bush, Washington has become the main threat to political and strategic security around the world, because it acts unilaterally, and now it is about to launch an attack on Iraq, in spite of differences with some of its allies…Bush has generated the largest amount of global opposition to Washington in the past 50 years, and U.S. society is divided over hastened preparations for war.  Within this context, the White House is aware that political repercussions would increase regarding any independent investigation into the government’s behavior related to the Sept. 11 attacks and the web of secrecy that surrounds clandestine operations used for national and international security.  It has been very difficult to obtain information about Sept. 11 from the USG.  I wonder what they are hiding?"


"Iraq: A Political Exit Is Still Possible"


Gabriel Szekely wrote in nationalist Universal (1/22):  "In a moral sense, there are many questions as to whether it is acceptable for a nation’s leadership to demand that we back the use of force…even though this nation may act only in its own interests.  Why should we trust someone who remains quiet when its allies of convenience possess terrible weapons, which they have decided to use against Iraq and North Korea?  How much will the rehabilitation of Iraq cost? Will voters in rich nations be willing to provide large amounts of resources for this effort, or will they settle for the increase of oil exports?  It is still possible to find a political exit that will offer answers to these questions; I hope this will happen, and that the world will focus on other urgent tasks that are worthy of attention."


"Toward World Peace"


Abel Hibert notes in independent El Norte (1/22): "What really amazes is that in several cities of the U.S., including the capital, thousands of demonstrators went out to the streets and pacifically opposed the U.S. invasion on Iraqi land, which, in a certain way, ends the myth about the existence of total consensus among our northern neighbors concerning a new adventure in the Middle East.... The problem is that the U.S. is establishing itself as judge and jury to decide which countries can have military armaments of this type and which ones cannot. ... It appears incredible that Iraq can develop the military weapons that the U.S. fear so much. Despite the 'diabolic' Sadam Hussein, what Iraq has suffered in the last 20 years leaves many questions that it has the economic, technological, scientific and military capacity to constitute a threat to free world. ... It is important to wait, before any military intervention, the final results of the UN inspectors to really see if it justifies a military intervention of this scale. Every country should favor a diplomatic solution over a military decision. Because the principal affected (one) in any war is always the civil population."


CHILE: "Hussein A Result Of U.S. Mistakes"


Catholic University of Chile, conservative television station Channel 13's international commentator Karen Ebensperger said (1/20): "The question is: why does the United States make so many mistakes?  Why did it support Saddam Hussein in the past and give him so many   weapons?  Why did the U.S. permit Hussein to rule for 24 years if  Washington says it has the power to remove him? The only answer always  given is that the U.S. feared an unstable Iraq without Hussein.  The difference is that today the U.S. has made a political decision to take charge of that difficult and strategic country, even if it is for a long period of time."


ECUADOR: "A "Bit of Everything"


An opinion column by Edmundo Ribadeneira in Quito's leading centrist El Comercio (1/22): "The people against the war...that is what we see in ever greater numbers as we watch President Bush's obsession with Iraq's oil become increasingly more threatening.  Lacking positive proof of weapons of mass destruction belonging to Saddam Hussein, Bush has resorted to hollow accusations.  Everything supposedly points to the fact that Iraq wants to destroy the U.S.... The people of the U.S., Asia and Europe have staged large demonstrations against Bush in his quest to take over the world.  We have to trust that common sense will prevail over imperialist madness and that cannon fodder will not be sacrificed by a fascist North American."


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