International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 29, 2003

January 29, 2003





** World media found "something for everyone" in the Blix report; some fearing its lack of closure will deepen discord at the UN, others seeing it as a "green light for warmongers."

** Most concluded that Blix and El Baradei made a stronger case for "more time and better proof," preferring to disarm Saddam via international pressure vice U.S. "unilateral" action.

** An emerging chorus of impatient voices, however, criticized open-ended inspections and decided that Saddam has "run out of time," warning the onus was on him "to avoid war."




Report raises as many questions as it answers-- Writers in all regions complained that the report offered "nothing new" and failed to clarify an "extremely vague situation."  While some agreed with London's liberal Independent that the report was "dispassionate" and "Mr. Blix got it right," more shared a French daily's concern that Blix's comments were "convoluted enough" to "pit both sides against each other."  A number faulted the report for being  "open to several interpretations."  Most conceded that while the report did not provide a "pretext" for war, it advanced the likelihood of a U.S. "unilateral" decision against Iraq."


Saddam not to be trusted, but few see enough proof for war--  Absent concrete "proof" of the "danger" posed by Iraq, a majority endorsed staying the "rational" course of more time for inspections and more pressure on Iraq.  While they acknowledged that Saddam still had "many serious questions to answer," their reservations about the "imperious wager" of war and its repercussions outweighed their negative feelings for the "tyrant."  European writers were especially rankled by Washington's "impatience" and "rush to war," issuing hand-wringing pleas against "blind consent" and the "heave-ho to a war."  Capturing the prevailing hostility, Munich's center-left  Sueddeutsche Zeitung insisted: "As long as there is no proof of such a danger...the U.S. administration might be the bigger threat to world peace."  Arab and Asian writers inveighed against American "intransigence" and "aggression," with a Pakistani daily accusing the U.S. of an "unsuccessful attempt to deceive the international community." 


Countering the 'give peace a chance' camp, some concur 'time is running out' for Iraq-- Observers dissenting from the majority anti-war opinion expressed growing "impatience" with Saddam's "cat and mouse game."  They backed Switzerland's center-left Berner Zeitung's argument that it was "illusory to think that extending inspections will be enough to bring about a peaceful solution."  Several gave their unequivocal support to the U.S and the removal of Saddam, which a Nigerian writer defended as "a superior argument to the meaningless rhetoric of pacifists."  Speaking from experience, Kosovo's Pro-PDK Epoka e Re proclaimed: "The most natural and just thing to do is for America to lead the coalition and to force Iraqi disarmament by war, for the good of the mankind, therefore, for the good of the Iraqi nation."

EDITOR:  Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 87 reports from 49 countries, Jan. 26-29.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Mr. Blix Left Iraq In No Doubt About How It Can Still Avoid War"


The liberal Independent observed (1/28):  "Baghdad can not accuse either [Blix or El Baradei] of kow-towing to the Americans to foment conspiracies.  The inspectors' reports were as dispassionate as they could be when dealing with such emotive topics as illicitly acquired missile parts and components for chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.  The clarity of Mr. Blix's report should have left Iraq in no doubt about what it must do next.  It has to provide evidence, documentary and otherwise, to show that it no longer has the VX gas, anthrax and other stockpiled substances that it once had--or explain why the records produced by the pre-1998 inspection teams are wrong....  First U.S. reactions were angry and impatient.  Iraq, American officials argued, was already in clear breach of UN resolutions.  Initial reaction from opposed to war, such as Russia, were that the inspectors had been unjustifiably harsh. In arguing for more time and better proof before anyone embarked on so risky and irreversible a course as war, Mr. Blix got it right."


"Iraq's Evasions"


The conservative Times opined (1/28):  "The question before the Security Council is whether Iraq has abandoned cheating and concealment.  The thrust of his conclusion is, thus far, inescapably negative.  That is why Dr. Blix's distinction between process and substance--the facilities offered inspectors,and the information provided to them--is crucial.  On process, Iraq's refusal to permit the inspectors to use U2 reconnaissance is a clear violation of 1441.  But still grave is the refusal to produce documents and the falsification of evidence....  Mr.Blix has left Iraq in no doubt about how it can still avoid war"


"No Fire Without Smoke"


The liberal Guardian offered this perspective (1/28):  "Two main conclusions may be drawn from the interim reports delivered to the UNSC yesterday by the principal weapons inspectors in Iraq, Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei.  One is that while Iraq has shown a previously unexpected degree of cooperation in creating a 'workable environment,' it still has many serious questions to answer and has very much more to do in helping inspectors to fulfill their mandate....  Despite the made-in-Washington aspects of this crisis, it is certainly necessary, as before, to maintain diplomatic and indirect military pressure on Iraq.  Certainly Iraq should not be 'let off the hook'. Credible accounting for its missing chemical and biological weapons material remains a key goal.  But as Mr. El Baradei said, continued inspections over 'the next few months' may turn out to be an 'invaluable investment in peace.'  There was certainly nothing remotely to justify the setting of timetables or deadlines for a lurch into war, which while smashing untold numbers of lives,could also smash the UN itself."


FRANCE: "Time Management"


Bruno Frappat in Catholic La Croix (1/29): "When it comes to the war against Saddam Hussein, George Bush's America has adopted a form of time management which is both compressed and stressing....  Then there is the pragmatic wisdom and embarrassed hesitation of those who have not yet made up their minds....  France's position is that at this point in time impatience is not legitimate....  Nothing proves that America's hawks can see farther than the tip of their boots. They think a war can be won quickly. They believe that a world without Saddam Hussein will be a safer world. It is an imperious wager, and considering the risks, a crazy bet....  If George W. Bush hopes to build long-lasting peace, he must also provide some 'proof'."


“The Glass Is Half-Full”


Pascal Dupuy wrote in left-of-center Liberation (1/28):  “Diplomacy keeps moving in the realm of nuances.  But in the end the choice will be a binary choice: war or peace....  Blix’s comments are convoluted enough that they fill the glass exactly to the half-mark.  By doing so he is pitting both sides against each other. But in time a decision will have to be made.  The question is when?  By accepting the delay, President Bush and Tony Blair are proving they are not totally indifferent to the UN’s approval....  But the U.S. cannot wait much longer: as Secretary Powell said, ‘we are in the final phase.’  There is no doubt Washington will revert to force.  Such a decision will immediately cause considerable collateral damage to the peace of mind of French politicians....  In spite of FM de Villepin’s references to France using its right of veto, no one today can exclude the possibility that Paris will, in the end, join a military action against Iraq.  It is indeed difficult to be a big nation, but not a big enough one.”


GERMANY:  "Second Resolution"


Burkhard Birke commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (1/28):  “The United Nations must continue to keep its monopoly on the use of force.  That is why a second resolution is all the more important as a precondition for a second war against Iraq.  The United States considers this desirable, not compelling, because it is feeling that extended inspections will, in the end, produce results that do not legitimize a war or make it highly doubtful.  But why has the much-lauded intelligence information not been revealed and handed out to the inspectors?  Is the reason because the United States pinned its hopes right from the start on a war and does not want to reveal its strategic goals?  Only if the international community acts in a coherent way--increases pressure on Saddam, forces him to disarm and makes possible for the United States a withdrawal that saves face--can a war be avoided.  Time is running, hopefully for a long time before the final act in the Iraq drama begins.”


"For Sake Of Their Own Credibility, Bush And Blair Must Hand Over WMD Intelligence"


Alexander Kekulé editorialized in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/29): “The reports of the weapons inspectors shows that Saddam did not tell the truth…but in addition, the report revealed a second truth which must be a slap in the face for the advocates of military action:  It refutes U.S. and British reports on alleged weapons of mass destruction....  In the service of their own credibility, Bush and Blair must now hand over all their intelligence information, including the one they have held back thus far, to the inspectors."


"Looking For Lost Time"


Peter Muench observed in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/28):  “Time is the most important means of exerting pressure for the United States.  The country has built up its troops and war is coming closer....   The U.S. position makes sense only if Washington can prove that Iraq is an immediate danger for world peace.  As long as there is no proof of such a danger--and questions raised by Blix about anthrax and chemical weapons are no proof--the U.S. administration might be the bigger threat to world peace....  The rejection of U.S. policy in the Security Council must be linked to the prospect that the United States, too, has more to gain from additional inspections than from a premature war.  Saddam must not escape the inspectors despite his efforts to slow things down.  If Washington is to give up its time pressure on Baghdad, the UN must exert more pressure.”


"Who Defends The UN?"


Christoph von Marschall judged on the front-page of centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/28):  “What will the Europeans do if nothing changes in the next few weeks, if Saddam wastes his last chance?  Nobody should claim that this is not enough time.  All Saddam would have to do is grant access to his arsenals and documents, and Hans Blix could quickly arrive at a judgment.  If Saddam keeps refusing to do so, one must assume that he has something to hide....  The Europeans are now realizing what kind of dynamic they started by turning to the Security Council.  Their goal was to keep the United States from taking action--no going it alone, no preventive war.  The extension of the inspections is an expression of European concerns, but the extension cannot go on forever.  If Saddam remains passive, the Europeans must decide whether they will vote for a war they wanted to avoid or whether they will harm the UN’s reputation by allowing Baghdad to go unpunished.  The Iraqi threat is not a justification for war, but the question remains whether Europe is willing to defend UN authority.”


“Mounting Dangers”


Frank Barint noted in centrist Abendzeitung of Munich (1/28):  “No, the danger of war has not been banned.  It has increased following the report of UN weapons inspectors.  Hans Blix was unable to present new evidence of WMD in Iraq, but he also confirmed one thing:  We cannot trust Saddam Hussein.  That is why the UN will have to stick to a motto that was also Lenin’s maxim: Confidence is good but controls are better.  That means that inspections must continue.  But more time for controls also mean more time for reason.  With a heave-ho to a victory in a war, these times are over and have created enough misery.   That is why the position of the ‘old Europe’ is more convincing than the one of the Americans.  They will ignore the Blix report like international law, which bans preventive war.  Saddam will be unable to divide the world, but he is distracting power and concentration away from the real global danger.  This is not Iraq, but international terrorism.”


"Europe, Oh Europe"


Michael Stuermer maintained in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (1/28):  “The hour of truth is approaching.  Either Saddam gives up, which would be a miracle, or the Americans take action, with or without a second UN resolution.  Then, Paris and the other permanent members of the Security Council need to decide whether to play along or whether to witness their impotence....  Hardly capable of defending themselves, most Europeans view space and time as if the benevolent end of history were already in sight.  In reality, it is only the United States that still stands between the new horsemen of the apocalypse and the European paradise of fools.”


ITALY:  "A Step Back (Towards War)"


Franco Venturini commented on the front-page of centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/28):  “Yesterday, Hans Blix...put the ‘smoking gun’...on the UNSC table.  Indeed, it is not really a gun because they were not able to find sure evidence of the existence of WMD, and many doubts about the smoke also remain....  But [according to Blix]:  Baghdad has not ‘genuinely’ cooperated....  Indeed, it is not difficult to understand what a few more weeks of further inspections will be used for.  By giving more time, even if unwillingly, America will be able to show that it is reasonable.  The most inconvenient allies--like France and Germany--will be formally consulted.  The UN will save its role.  Russia and China will be able to stay on the margins, as they will acknowledge that many efforts to convince Saddam were made.  And the same argument will soften the impact on moderate Arab nations’ domestic fronts....  Indeed, even after the Blix’s report…we should remember that European public opinions are not all affected by anti-Americanism...but a real legitimization of the UN is the minimum the Europeans must ask for, with one voice or many voices.  Because obedience outside the rules in order to save the precious relationship between Europe and the U.S. would indeed condemn Saddam, but would also further discredit our sad and divided Europe.”


"Bush Calls The Old Europe"


Vittorio Zucconi argued on the front-page of left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (1/28): "Bush's America discovers the political need not to fight alone, and its moral need for that despised 'old Europe.'  Now that the inspectors' report offers Bush the formal pretext he wanted--the lack of 'active cooperation'--the president calls European order to find the pretext to pursue a recomposition and to pursue at least a symbolic mediation effort between Europe and America before the fist bomber plane takes off. Or, if the mediation should fail, (Bush) can at least to create a little 'American' Europe inside the big 'European' Europe..... Indeed, Bush has invested too much, in political prestige, mobilization, ideological capital to allow him to wait and do nothing.  And tonight, in that State of the Union address that has now become State of the Peace in the World address, he should try to perform the most difficult political operation in his life. To convince...and galvanize the Europeans and the world public opinion on the immediate and serious reality of an Iraq that nobody defends but that few consider as a new nazi Germany ready to invade and strike the whole world."


RUSSIA:  "No Panic"


Sergey Sumbayev asserted in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (1/29): "There is nothing dramatic or panicky in the reports by Blix and El Baradei.  They say that, as the work goes on, everything is okay, but it would not hurt the Iraqis to do certain things so it looks even better."


"Report Doesn't Live Up To U.S.' Expectations"


Reformist Vremya Novostey (1/28) front-paged this by Andrey Zlobin and Katerina Labetskaya: "The report has not lived up to the expectations of very many politicians in the United States, primarily President Bush, according to Sergey Oznobishchev, director of the Institute for Strategic Assessments....   A new report could be slated for February.   But the United States and Britain are trying to find a pretext for war in yesterday's reports....   Washington's dictatorial methods in the world turn off many."


"Critical But Not Deadly"


Official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (1/28) ran this comment by Maksim Makarychev:  "Noteworthily, as it becomes more obvious that Iraq has no WMD, U.S. officials grow more categorical in their statements which sound more like ultimatums.   Washington, not being in the habit of retreating, would hate to do so now, after the Chief Executive has repeatedly spoken of a need to overthrow 'hated Saddam' and the Administration has spent tens of millions of dollars on the shipment of tens of thousands of troops to the Persian Gulf area alone.  It looks as if the inspection reports are no more than scraps of paper to the Americans, and Washington's only concern now is to sell the world on a military solution."


ARMENIA:  "Crisis"


The oppositionist  Iravunk commented (1/28): "Observers believe that military preparedness alone is not enough for the U.S. to unleash a war against Iraq.  First of all, the U.S. should succeed in creating a favorable diplomatic and ideological basis in the world to abolish Saddam Hussein's regime.  As a matter of fact, so far Washington's efforts to gain the support of the super powers on the Iraqi issue have failed, similar to what happened on the threshold of the campaign against Afghanistan...  A rapid growth in anti-American sentiment in a dozen countries, including ones which have friendly relations with the U.S., has become a serious concern for the United States....  Nevertheless, these developments do not change the U.S. administration's position.  U.S. government representatives continue to make bellicose statements against Iraq, underscoring that the United States is ready, without anyone else's backing, to go to war with Baghdad even absent the UN Security  Council's approval."


AUSTRIA:  "Test For The UN"


Senior foreign editor Anneliese Rohrer commented in centrist Die Presse (1/29): "In the Iraq crisis, the UN has arrived at a crossroads: Will it continue to be an instrument of peace, or become insignificant?...  Still, surveys in Europe and the United States show that the majority of the people would only accept military intervention in Iraq with UN authorization.  In the long run, it would harm the cause of peace far more than Washington's current tough stance on Iraq if the UN turns out to be immobilized and powerless at such a crucial juncture."


BULGARIA: "The Price Of War"


Largest circulation Trud (1/28) commented:  "The U.S.' two most important NATO allies, Germany and France, are against a military action against Iraq without the UNSC sanction.  On the other hand, at least two of the UNSC permanent members--Russia and China--are against a unilateral American strike and will certainly veto any resolution allowing  such action.  Washington's pressure on smaller countries, which have already received invitations to join NATO, is particularly obvious.  They  are expected to prove their worthiness.  Among them is Bulgaria, which is located closer to Iraq and can provide logistic support to the Americans.  Additionally, Bulgaria is a non-permanent member of the UNSC and for the Americans it is important not to be completely isolated at the Security Council--and have at least one more vote in favor of their position."


 "The Drunk Sheriff"


Second- largest circulation 24 Hours Daily held (1/28): "In the  world's history there are always periods of Great Confusion.  Today  America rejects the opinions of not just any country, but the engines of  United Europe -- the ideological engine France and the economic engine  Germany.  The danger lies not in the possibility of war, but in the  possibility of not having a UN sanction for such a war.  The world would  not forgive a decision for war over the heads of the UN, the EU and China.  Tomorrow, some other country will be attacked in the same way--without consensus, without negotiations. The nations of the world have given their silent consent to have the U.S. as the world's sheriff, but all they want is for the sheriff not to act like he's on a power-drunk binge."


GEORGIA:  "Inspectors Returned From Iraq Empty-handed"


Shota Utiashvili analyzed the UN inspectors' report in Georgia's independent liberal--opposition 24 Hours (1/28): "The inspectors are not confident to say whether Iraq has or does not have banned weapons.  'I cannot say if Iraq does or does not possess weapons of mass destruction,' this is what Mr. Blix stated to the UN Security Council....  According to Reuter's news agency, despite very aggressive rhetoric, the United States has decided to delay military actions against Iraq for several months to come.  The inspectors' report has failed, if anything, to elucidate this extremely vague situation. Therefore, both war supporters and war opponent interpreted the report in favor of their own interests."


"Americans Developed Plan To Go Into Iraq;...The Plan Will Be Put Into Action"


Independent pro-reform Resonance stressed (1/28): "U.S.-Iraq relations are an issue that, one way or another, worries every country in the world. This is why the world is waiting for the U.S. army to appear on Iraqi soil; the world is waiting to see if Bush Junior will be able to succeed in accomplishing the plan that Bush Senior started; i.e. to put an end to Saddam Hussein."


KOSOVO: "In Case Of A War In Iraq We Support The Americans"


Pro-PDK Epoka e Re editorialized (1/28): "The NATO intervention led by the U.S.A. and Great Britain without waiting for the UN bureaucratic machinery to bring a resolution, i.e. the air strikes against Milosevic forces that were committing violence and genocide against Kosovo Albanians, was also considered an unprecedented case....   This is a good chance for the UN, better, some of the countries represented there, to learn how one should react when mankind faces mass destruction.  The most natural and just thing to do is for America to lead the coalition and to force Iraqi disarmament by war, for the good of the mankind therefore for the good of the Iraqi nation....  In such a war the U.S. will with no doubt enjoy the needed support of the democratic world, no matter the current opposition by some European governments.  Although elected in a democratic way, they still do not transmit the real views of the majority on this issue.... In case of war on Iraq, the U.S.A. will surely have the strong backing of the Albanians; in Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and in other places they live.  Albanians, especially the Albanians of Kosovo have numerous reasons to stand by side with the U.S.A., both in peace and war.  This is not only for their pro-American sentiment, for their pro-American feeling for the values of democracy....  There are numerous other reasons for supporting the U.S.A. and their strong ally Great Britain in case there is war on Iraq.... Wherever they go, there is establishment of democracy....  And Kosovo knows best how important liberation from the tyrants is."       


IRELAND:  "Running Out Of Time"


The conservative, progressive, populist Irish Independent commented (1/28):  "His (Hans Blix) message was not simple like theirs (hawks)....  The world at large certainly believes that the tyrant does possess such weapons, but it does not agree with the hawks as to the course to be followed. If it refuses to comply (with Resolution 1441), a new situation arises. But it has not refused to comply. Time is needed for the inspectors to determine the truth, and for the UN Security Council to determine the next step. And even if (as is likely enough) Baghdad continues to engage in concealment and deception, what is a justifiable next step? Washington constantly asserts that its patience is running out. It plainly thinks that war is the next step. It is not. Iraqi non-compliance could force the Security Council to authorise the use of force. But the Americans are on very shaky ground when they claim that they already have such authority by virtue of Resolution 1441....  Members of the U.S. administration could ask...if they wish to cause divisions among their European allies, including those contemptuously dismissed as 'old Europe'. It would be tragic if the present crisis undermined the transatlantic alliance. It would be more tragic still if it reopened old wounds in Europe."


"U.S. Use Of Shannon Airport"


Conor Sweeney filed from Brussels in conservative, progressive populist Irish Independent (1/28):  "The Government could halt the American right to use Shannon Airport in the event of a war with Iraq without a new UN resolution, Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen said yesterday.  The move would represent an unprecedented breach with the United States, which has used Irish facilities throughout the Cold War and since then, including the first Gulf War, which had UN approval. The minister insisted Ireland would not support any attack on Iraq without a second resolution from the UN, despite threats from U.S. President George Bush that he may start a war without one. But Mr Cowen was reluctant to reveal what stance the Government would take if, as seems likely, the US proceeds with an Iraqi invasion despite failing to win international support.  He insisted the United States could not take access to Irish facilities for granted."


THE NETHERLANDS: "Impatience And Fear"


Influential liberal De Volkskrant editorialized (1/28): "The Blix report says Iraq did not really cooperate with the demand to disarm.  The inspectors cannot say that Iraq has illegal weapons but they cannot say that Iraq does not have these weapons. and so, the Blix report contains something for everybody....  Iraq does not wish to say what happened to the supply of chemicals it had four years ago. this is serious but is it sufficient reason to start a risky war which could have unforeseen consequences and which could cost many lives.... Many people rightly so think it is not sufficient reason. But the U.S. government is impatient.  It fears a repetition of the mouse and cat game Saddam Hussein played in the nineties.  The impatience with the Americans is as big as the fear with many allies.  The Atlantic alliance is heading toward its worst crisis ever.  This will require smart guidance from all involved.  Powell said the U.S. will take actions alone if it cannot convince the Europeans. France and Germany cannot do with just saying 'no' to military intervention.  The allies will have to show willingness and provide instruments to make the UN inspections successful.   That seems the only way to keep President Bush from fighting a war."




Conservative De Telegraaf had this editorial (1/28): "Of course it is good to have the inspectors continue their work. But this cannot last forever and ever.  The Americans are understandably losing their patience.  The rest of the world should also not lean back, hoping this crisis will pass to find out later that the country did indeed have those dangerous weapons.  It would be too late then."


NORWAY:  "Soon Ready For USA's Crusade"


In social democratic Dagsavisen Foreign Affairs Editor Erik Sagflaat commented (1/28):  "The United States is certainly ready to go through with the war on its own. That has been the plan the whole time.  It will be far more difficult to also handle a long lasting occupation alone. Here the U.S. is quite dependent for help from its allies.  But war alone--or with only a handful of faithful nodding puppets--also has another and more serious side for the United States; it will be almost impossible to sell such a war as the surrounding world's war against Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.  What we then will get is the USA's crusade against the Arabic world."


"Saddam Must Cooperate"


The independent Dagbladet commented (1/28): "The most serious point in the report from Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baradei to the Security Council is that Iraq has neither accepted or followed up the world community's request to the country about disarming by giving an account of its weapons of mass destruction and destroying them.... But Saddam Hussein's lack of will to voluntarily give information away causes the inspectors to be far away from being able to state that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destructions or means and possibility to produce them."


"A Fight About The Time"


Newspaper of record Aftenposten (1/28) commented: "The two reports from Iraq inspections that were presented to the UNSC yesterday raise just as many questions as they answer.... One of the reasons for this confusion is Iraq's lack of will to cooperate....  We don't know if the United States already has decided to attack Iraq, but it sounds like it.... First step is to ensure the inspectors from the UN and IAEA are not disturbed and have the space to work in the fateful months to come."


POLAND:  Time On Hussein’s Side


Maciej Rybinski opined in centrist Rzeczpospolita (1/28): ”The Security Council has received thousands of pages of documents, as well as the suggestion that the inspectors’ work should be extended for many months, perhaps even for two years. During that time, perhaps one could successfully find the proof that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction or, conversely, the proof that it has destroyed them. For an international and global institution like the United Nations and its Security Council, where different political interests and arrangements clash, the situation is perfect. One can freely interpret the reports and reality in Iraq and in the world....  This may lead to one thing: as time passes, Hussein will become more and more innocent while the world will be increasingly sick and tired of controlling him."


PORTUGAL: "Time is Running Out"


In a signed editorial, influential moderate-left Público editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes insisted (1/28): "The chief of the UN inspectors mission to Iraq yesterday confirmed what was already known -- but that many insist on not admitting,....[something] that the diplomats of the United States and the United Kingdom have repeatedly stated.  He confirmed that....[Iraq] continues to play a cat-and-mouse game with the international community.  Like St. Thomas, many countries, beginning with France and Germany, will only believe that the Iraq of Saddam Hussein continues to be the Iraq of Saddam Hussein when their leaders trip over a chemical warhead themselves....  In contrast, both the United States and the United Kingdom continue to do exactly the opposite of what they are accused of: they continue to seek a platform for multilateral agreement, they continue to try to work with the Security Council, they continue to do everything to convince its members to join them in the attempt to force Iraq to comply with United Nations resolutions....  But we must be conscious of the fact that time is passing, and that it is running out."




Associate editor Francisco Azevedo e Silva, in the respected center-left Diário de Notícias, editorialized (1/28): "In the face of the statements [by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei], the reaction by U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte, that the inspectors' report 'gives no hope that Iraq will disarm', is legitimate....  The EU has still omitted any reference to Iraq rapidly providing the information requested by Blix and El-Baradei. The principle that war is the last resort (and not a preventive act) demands that EU countries put pressure on Saddam.  The inspectors are asking for more time, and Europe -- to the good -- is giving it to them; the inspectors are asking for more information and Brussels is not demanding anything from Baghdad, seeming to believe the cat-and-mouse game is a peace process.  It's a bad job."


ROMANIA: "Repercussions Of War With Iraq"


In an editorial in the independent Ziua foreign policy analyst Victor Roncea opined (1/29): "What was not taken into consideration in western thinking is the violent reactions of ordinary people, be they Muslims or Christians, reactions which could launch the most dangerous revolt in the world.  Then, just as a boomerang, America's strike (against  Iraq) could terribly turn against all democratic values existing in the world."


SLOVENIA:  "Not Enough For Anyone"


Zare Rojc opined in left-of-center independent Vecer (1/28): "Reports [by Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei] offered nothing new; particularly to those who have been observing Iraq's and America's mutual accusations and the growing tension between them.....  Both reports seem unfinished--both [inspectors] blame Iraq and often wrong and exaggerated information provided by the allies....  Blix in his report did not give the final truth about anthrax and other accusations that have recently been made by the United States. His report indicates that there is some truth in this, but there are no traces and findings which can confirm this.... The two top inspectors have not offered cards strong enough to interrupt the current poker game in which bluff prevails aver facts. Americans and their allies...will most probably not like the reports; therefore, President Bush is expected to announce his plans about Iraq in his State of the Union Address today. He will not be able to by-pass the resistance against a military operation, which has been growing in the United States and in the world. The only question is how tightly the oil lobby - which already sees Iraq's oil in its hands - will squeeze [Bush] into a corner."


SPAIN: "Stalemate In Baghdad"


Left-of-center El País wrote (1/28): "Washington's position cannot be mistaken.  With all that has happened, [Washington] considers that it already has authorization to attack.... The European Union has come to the agreement, at least, to ask for more time for the inspectors.   For the moment this position has impeded a break between those who have come out against the war (France and Germany) and those who are following the line laid out by Washington (UK, Spain, Italy)...The most elementary logic demands that the Security Council have reliable proof before its decides. If Washington has this [proof] as it has said so many time it has, it should show it.  For that there's plenty of time.  However indecent Saddam's regime is, the international community cannot give legitimacy to a war with the information it currently has."


"Bush Has The Last Word"


Conservative ABC wrote (1/28): "The meeting [of the Security Council] tomorrow...could include in its deliberations the extension of the inspectors' mission.  Europe seems to be ready to request it, and [the extension] would not be inconvenient for the United States for two reasons: military deployment is still not complete and, considering Saddam's suicidal tactics, several more weeks of hypothetical Iraqi noncompliance would support Washington's theory and diminish some of the resistance to war among European allies and public opinion.  The extension of the inspection would be the most desirable option."


SWITZERLAND:  "Not Enough"


Marcel Huber wrote in the center-left Berner Zeitung (1/28):  "Although the Iraqis keep insisting that they have no WMD, there is good reason to doubt their honesty.  They have yet to answer questions regarding the current whereabouts of biological and chemical substances suited for weapons.  That generates suspicion towards Iraq, even among those strongly opposed to war....  Giving the UN inspectors more time is certainly a good idea.  But as long as Baghdad refuses to fully disclose its weapons, it is illusory to think that extending the inspections will be enough to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict."


TURKEY:  "Genuine Way Toward Peace: Iraq Without Saddam"


Omer Celik, an MP from AKP wrote in tabloid Star (1/29): "The United States should seriously think about the worldwide reaction on the Iraq issue, which questions both U.S. 'goals' and 'methods.'  It is very legitimate and very humane to stand against war.  Yet this is not where the issue ends.  Saddam Hussein represents an incompatibility with the level of humanitarian progress, which goes from testing weapons on his own people to posing a threat to the region.  His method of leadership, which is fed by the weaknesses and mistakes of his rivals, is in no way acceptable for the people of Iraq or to the world.... The fact of the matter is that pro-peace methods have not yet produced a mechanism to end the political careers of political figures like Saddam.  On the Iraq issue, standing against the war is the right thing, but in a way it also contributes to Saddam's political lifespan.... Today, unfortunately, the peace-seekers have once again overlooked the issue of the Iraqi people, who suffer under a dictator's oppression.  There is only one way to prevent a war: by paving the way for an Iraq without Saddam.  No peace initiatives will pass scrutiny unless a clear stance against Saddam is declared.  Any peace effort with that is not clear in its stance against Saddam will lead to an indirect support for war."


UKRAINE:  "Old" And "New" Europe: Iraq Challenges The Transatlantic Unity"


Centrist newspaper Den (1/28), in a frontpager by leading international affairs analyst Victor Zamyatin, commented on Rumsfeld's reaction to Franco-German anti-war statements: "Last week's events demonstrated that there was no consent specifically on Iraq issues among the US and its NATO allies, particularly France and Germany; the United Kingdom, its closest ally, did not quite share Washington's views and may not be willing to compromise....  The countries that Rumsfeld referred to in his speech--Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic--really do have a somewhat different situation....  Transatlantic unity of the times of the Cold War ceased to exist....  Many EU countries resent the fact that the United Statesdoes not care about other's opinions (exiting the Kyoto protocol and not ratifying the International Criminal Court treaty), that the US is implementing a pro-Israeli policy in the Middle East, that the U.S.creates 'agents of influence' in Eastern Europe, that Washington is protectionist regarding American companies.  All of those factors have naturally caused the rejection of the unilateral policy of the  world's only superpower--yet Europe can hardly interfere with the process and in fact does not want to get into a serious row with the United States."


YUGOSLAVIA: "The Finger On The Trigger"


Pro-government Politika (1/29) carried an analytical article on a possible war against Iraq by its Political-Military commentator Miroslav Lazanski: "The states that would like to prevent a war should act now and force Baghdad to fully comply with everything that the inspectors requested.  In the  Near East chess game there are many pawns...because the fact of the  matter is not only regional balance, but the credibility of the UN (is at stake)....  However, the political slap that the U.S. received in the  Security Council will not stop President Bush from planning a military  action against Iraq.  Most probably the stands of Paris, Berlin and Moscow  will make the American hardliners even more determined that it should not be giving in to Hussein.  Washington has declared that it could go to war, with or without allies.  However, the biggest news is the possible use of  special nuclear bombs B-61-11 which could be used to eliminate the Iraqi  president in his underground bunkers.... Even NATO's military experts said that the use of any type of nuclear weapon would have catastrophic  consequences for human lives and the environment, and that it would cause  enormous political damage to a state that decides to use it, especially in  the first round of attacks."



WEST BANK:  "Extending Inspectors' Mission:  American-Euro Relations On The Iraqi Point"


Hani Habib opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/29): "Extending the mission of the international committee of inspectors might allow more time for the incursive forces to get prepared. Also, such an extension will allow more time for Iraq to exert political efforts to avoid an incursion. Nevertheless, giving more time to the inspectors will likely hinder an incursion in light of the growing international public opinion opposing a war against Iraq, especially in the United States and the UK. We can assume that the reports of Blix and el-Baradi will be an additional factor that agitates public opinion against incursions. The two reports did not prove that the inspectors obtained any evidence to incriminate Iraq."


"Whatever The Inspectors’ Report Is, Aggression Is Pre-Destined"


Independent Al-Quds (1/28) editorialized:  “The report that Chief of Weapons Inspector Hans Blix presented at the Security Council is foggy.  It [the report] mentioned Iraq’s cooperation with the weapons’ inspectors, but also went along with the American allegations that Iraq does not substantially cooperate with the weapons inspectors. The conclusion that ‘Iraq does not seem to realistically accept the principle of demilitarizing itself so far’ satisfies the American administration.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  “America, And The Open File Of Accusations!”


Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (1/28): “The Iraqi corner proved that the policies in the U.S. aren’t governed by wisdom....  We repeatedly say, that we don’t have any reservations on toppling Saddam....  But subjecting the Iraqi people to slaughter as what happened in Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Vietnam cities, this is another case, where nobody will support this attack...and this is annoying the U.S. because it can’t characterize those who oppose it as Taliban or al-Qaida followers.”


SYRIA: "The UN Addressing Its Responsibilities"


Government-owned Al-Baath asserted (1/27): "The UN, represented by the UNSC, stands at one of the most and difficult crossroads since its founding 58 years ago....  This is the result of the report submitted yesterday to the UNSC on the of international inspectors mission in Iraq....  The UNSC session shows that there is not any argument or pretext now for the United States to launch a military strike against Iraq.  But the United States is expected to look for specific points regarding 'issues still under review which will require a longer period.'  This position contradicts the general international position calling for reason to find a just settlement to the Iraqi issue that will ensure lifting the suffocating sanctions on the Iraqi people. American intransigence and President Bush's insistence on war might force the United States to bypass the UNSC and take a unilateral decision against Iraq without international cover. If this happens, the United States will be solely and directly responsible for igniting a war that all agree will be disastrous and destructive.... This means the UNSC must accept the level of responsibility to put an end to this foolish adventure.... The issue does not deal with the fate of one country but rather with destiny the of the entire world community."


JORDAN: “Jordan And The Patriot”


Daily columnist Urayb Rintawi wrote on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Arabic Al-Dustour (1/28):  “Many analysts and journalists read too much into Jordan’s talk about the Patriot.  Some viewed it as ‘submission to U.S. pressures, while others argued that it is preparation for Jordan’s participation in the American war on Iraq.…  No one stopped to think of the ‘geographic dilemma’ that is pressuring Jordan’s policy.  The American war on Iraq, if it expands to include Israel, which is a possibility no one can ignore, will have direct repercussions on Jordan’s security and its people....  Any Iraqi strike against Israel may entail a violent Israeli response.  It would be better for Jordan that Iraqi missiles are not launched against Israel or that Israel’s responsive measures are adopted. They [Israelis] are the only ones who continue to view Jordan as an ‘arena’, and they would love a scenario like that…  ‘Rejecting American pressures’, ‘defying the American policy’, ‘stopping the America aggression’ are all slogans fit to attract applause and cheers in speech rallies, but not fit for making foreign policy, particularly in a country like Jordan and in a region like ours.”


MOROCCO:  "Throwback To Colonialism"


Columnist Abdullatif Jebrou wrote in independent Arabic-language Al Ahdath Al Maghrebiya (1/29), "America has sentenced Iraq and accused it of having WMD and other countries--both allies and non-allies--should believe what America says, regardless of what inspectors find or not inside Iraq....  Now, we have directly returned to old colonialism era, but with modern techniques. This is the reality of the new world order after America's aggressive war against Iraq."


TUNISIA:  "The Bidding War"


Deputy editor-in-chief, Sabri Brahem opined in independent French-language Le Quotidien (1/28):  'The long-awaited report of UN disarmament inspectors, which kept the whole international community spellbound, appears at first sight to appease the warmongers....  The report is far from giving the perfect alibi for those who badly need it.  If we stick to the respective declarations of Blix and Al Baradei, not a single proof has been discovered on the possession of WMD by Iraq.  Certainly, what the report has provided is a new deadline, but it is far from ruling out the possibility of a military intervention against Iraq.  In fact, the declarations that followed the report incite pessimism. However, the realities put forth in the report, accommodate the voices of peace.  Yet, as it was expected, the report had to be strewn with doubts and uncertainties, including an indictment of 'mitigated cooperation on the part of Iraq' which can be interpreted as a violation of UNSC Resolution 1441. Calling for better cooperation, the UN chief inspector is likely to 'legitimize' the determination of the American administration...thus, the real question which should be raised is to determine ahead the weight of the present and the 'next' report, if ever there will be one."




AUSTRALIA: "UN Must Set Firm Deadline To Disarm Iraq"


An editorial in the conservative national Australian asserted (1/29): "The case to disarm Iraq, by military force if necessary, is now made. The report to the UN Security Council by chief weapons inspector Hans Blix provides ample evidence that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein remains committed to weapons of mass destruction--and the means to make and maintain them--as part of a decade of direct defiance of the UN."


"The UN Calls Iraq To Account"


The liberal Age stated (1/29): "The Security Council should continue to support the inspectors, granting Mr ElBaradei the extra time he has requested and doing the same for Dr Blix if he makes a similar request in his next report."


"Extra Time For Iraq Is Finite"


The business daily, the Australian Financial Review stressed (1/29): "If anything can get them to comply now--and avoid the terrible prospect of another Middle East war--it is the credible threat of force. This needs to be borne firmly in mind by all the critics of the Howard government's decision to deploy troops to the Middle East with the Americans and British."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Give Nuclear Weapons Inspection Team More Time"


The independent Chinese-language Apple Daily News editorialized (1/28):  "U.S. foreign policy has always been affected by domestic opinion and politics, rather than by the international community's pressure and views.  Now more and more domestic voices and opinions, questioning military action, are springing up.  The U.S. administration must not lower its guard; rather, it must spend more time and effort to gather domestic support....  In order to allay domestic anti-war voices, the crux is to get UN approval and authorization.  The Washington Post recently conducted a survey that showed most respondents believe that taking military action after gaining UN authorization is the best arrangement....  In other words, the U.S. administration should not announce in undue haste the ineffectiveness of the nuclear weapons inspection and immediately declare war against Iraq if it wants to gather its own people's support.  We hope that the United States and Britain will give the nuclear weapons inspection team sufficient time to carry out the inspection, so as to make sure whether or not Iraq is violating the UN resolution.  Only when the international community and the American and British people themselves see clearly that Iraq is not cooperating sincerely and it has not obeyed the UN resolution will military action on Iraq receive wide support."


"Military Action On Iraq Not Yet Confirmed; Markets Show Worry"


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times said in an editorial (1/28):  "The UN nuclear weapons inspection team yesterday released its report on Iraq.  The report shows that there is no evidence that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.  It is now U.S. President Bush's turn to decide whether he will respect the international call to givemore time to the nuclear weapons inspection team to dig out Iraq's 'evidence of a crime' or declare war immediately.  If Bush lets the inspection team goon for few more weeks, financial markets will continue to suffer a lot of pressure and will undergo many fluctuations in a short period of time."


JAPAN:  "U.S. Clarifies Posture Of Using Force Against Iraq"


Conservative Sankei's Washington correspondent Komori observed (1/28): "The Bush administration has made clear its basic stance of using force against Iraq irrespective of how the UNSC will react to Baghdad. The U.S. administration, having concluded that Saddam Hussein is neglecting to dispose of WMDs, is posed to launch action against Iraq in cooperation with a dozen allies."


"Concern Over Emergence Of Pro-U.S. Dictator"


Liberal Mainichi's Baghdad correspondent Ogura observed (1/28): "Even if the U.S. launches action against Iraq and removes Saddam Hussein from power, it will be difficult to find a new leader in Iraq because Hussein has purged most of his political foes since he became president in 1979. Although most Iraqis are actually dissatisfied with the current (Hussein) dictatorship, they need a strong leader who can unite Iraq, a nation divided and ruled by antagonistic ethnic and religious groups. Some have even voiced concern over the emergence of a pro-U.S. dictator."


INDONESIA: "War Is Not The Answer"


Independent English-language Jakarta Post stated (1/29): "The U.S. military buildup in the region seems to have failed to pressure Iraq to comply with the Security Council resolution to disarm its WMD. But now that Saddam seems to have called Bush's bluff, the threat of war has become real....  This is about making the region, and the world, safer from the menace of WMD....  The real victims in this gunfight, should it take place, would not be the two men, but the innocent people, those in Iraq and God knows where else, if Saddam Hussein decides to use his WMD."


"UN Team Work Announced, U.S. Insists On Attacking Iraq"


Leading independent Kompas commented (1/29): "Iraq has denied all U.S. charges, but denials do not seem to be enough because what is needed now is cooperation with the UN inspection team to uncover the real truth.   It was very rational for the UN team to request an extension for further inspection.  Whereas the desire of the U.S. to act beyond the UN mandate would only incite the world's condemnation and anger."


THE PHILIPPINES: "Time Is Running Out"


Conrado de Quiros wrote in his column in the widely read Philippine Daily Inquirer (1/29):  "Hans Blix, the UN chief weapons inspector, revealed the results of his search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and as expected raised a storm of controversy with it.... Much of the reaction to the report from the international community was positive, the consensus being to allow the inspection team to continue to do its work....  Predictably, not so for the United States and Great Britain. A day before Blix submitted his report to the UN, Colin Powell spoke before the World Economic Summit beating the drums of war while blowing token rings of smoke from the peace pipe. That is to say, cajoling the world community to hitch on to George Bush's warpath while saying that is the last thing Bush wants. Shortly after Blix's report, Ari Fleischer... took the same tack. It was a breathtaking exercise in imperial hypocrisy and Catch-22 logic....   Fleischer--or Bush--complains that Saddam has not cooperated fully with the UN inspectors, which flies in the face of Blix's report. But the United States itself has not lived up to the arms disarmament protocols, and it must be asked what kind of cooperation a UN inspection team could get from Bush if it decided to look into the extent of America's arms buildup and the kinds of weapons of mass destruction it has."


SOUTH KOREA: "U.S. Pushing Ahead While Denouncing 'Old Europe'"


Conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized (1/28): “One year after President Bush labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea an ‘axis of evil’ threatening world peace, the world remains in the grip of terror threats and fears of war.  The U.S. is planning military action against Iraq in response to threats from the country’s weapons of mass destruction and is pressuring the North to give up its nuclear weapons programs....  It is regrettable that the U.S. seems to be rushing to war with Iraq, irrespective of the results of the Security Council’s deliberation on arms inspections and despite mounting opposition from its allies and from within.  In particular, we worry about the consequences of the U.S. pushing ahead with the war while denouncing its Western allies as ‘old Europe.’… As long as the United States goes at it alone based on its superior power, it will be difficult to break the vicious cycle of terror and war.”


THAILAND: “Please Give Peace A Chance”


Kanjana Spindler commented in the top-circulation, moderately conservative, English language Bangkok Post (1/29):  “It is said that war is a failure of politics.  If President Bush would like history to salute him then he needs to give the politics of peace a chance and let the UN weapons inspectors do their job for as long as it takes to make sure Iraq has no capability to step outside its borders.  Then maybe the Iraqi people will have time enough to figure out how to get rid of the tyrant who rules them.”


"Bush’s America"


Veteran politician and former dean of noted journalism school Kasem Sirisamphan commented in sensationalist, business-oriented Thai-language Phujatkarn (1/28): “Contrary to earlier predictions that the U.S. will start its war against Saddam Hussein mid-February, present signals indicate Bush will not jump into war easily....  Meanwhile, the U.S. will encourage its Middle Eastern allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, to proceed in two fronts-attempting to get political groups in Iraq to stage a coup to topple Saddam Hussein and pressuring the Iraqi leader to go into exile… With this two-front approach, the U.S. would be able to dispose of Saddam Hussein without going into war which has been so painstakingly planned. Strangely, though, Saddam Hussein has managed to remain calm and collected and still has Iraq under his secure control. History may repeat itself!... This time around the U.S. is threatening to wage war against Iraq to get rid of Saddam Hussein but the Iraqi leader continues to rule Iraq unperturbed.  If things stay this way, what a disgrace it would be for George W. Bush."




INDIA: "A Disturbing Report"


The centrist Hindu asserted (1/29): "The (Hans Blix) report...has come as a setback for those who hoped that yet another West Asian war could be avoided ... The conclusions drawn by UNMOVIC do add weight to the accusation leveled by the U. S. administration that Baghdad is leading the U.N. inspectors on a wild goose chase ... Washington can be expected to become more vehement in its argument that military action is necessary since Baghdad will not give up its WMD program voluntarily ... Whatever the truth may be, it is now essential that Baghdad takes its friends in the international community, and neutral nations, into its confidence and come forth with a complete disclosure of its non-conventional weapons program.  It would be unwise for Baghdad to believe that the nascent anti-war sentiment in the West will build with sufficient speed and strength to block a U.S. administration that appears to be bent on war."


"On The Very Edge"


The centrist Indian Express declared (1/29): "The long-awaited report...clearly indicates that there is no 'smoking gun' to eliminate which the United States should launch a war against Iraq.... The United States has been saying it has unambiguous evidence about Iraq's possession and program of weapons of mass destruction. Hopefully this will be time they will provide that information to the inspectors before launching a war.... The problem has been complicated by Washington often indicating that the goal was a 'regime change' in Iraq. Most of Iraq's neighbors may also want this; but others also see it as struggle to control oil. A war with multiple aims not clearly mandated by the UN would set a wrong precedent."


PAKISTAN:  "Attack Or Inspection?"


Second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt said (1/29), "At a time when weapons inspectors are asking for more time (for inspection), it is premature and interfering on the part of the United States to demand a Security Council decision as to what message it wants to give to the world....  America must fight against terrorism, but not to target any country's freedom, government and security on this pretext.  Removing Iraqi leadership is the right of the Iraqi people, which should not be usurped by a democratic country like America."


"Avoid War And Give Inspectors More Time"


Leading mass circulation Urdu daily Jang held (1/29): "The American posture that it does not want to see Iraqi people dying and wants to protect them is unjustified and baseless, because after the war millions of ordinary Iraqis are going to be killed, and the deterioration in their [living] condition is quite imminent...(This is) an unsuccessful attempt to deceive the international community....  It is high time that UN inspectors are given more time to do their job." 


"Inspectors Report Regarding Iraq"


Karachi-based rightwing, pro-Islamic Urdu daily Jasarat opined (1/29): "Blix's reports has raised certain points which would further strengthen American designs and would provide it with justification to attack Iraq.  But the Blix reports should also have provided answers to the questions as to who helped Iraq in the manufacture of chemical weapons prior to the Gulf war and who provided arms to Iraq in its war against Iran during 1980-88.  The United States should also be asked why the present Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, visited Baghdad several times when the CIA was helping the Iraqi regime."


NEPAL:  "War Over Iraq:  When, Not If"


The centrist Kathmandu Post ran this piece (1/29) by senior journalist M. R. Josse: "America's preparation for war against Iraq is manifest…from its open support for Iraqi dissidents, as underscored by its backing for a conference on that theme in London last December....  Another indicator is that a Pentagon-based office has been created to help rebuild Iraq's schools, roads, hospitals and other critical building blocks of a civil society, in a post-Saddam Iraq....  If Saddam doesn't capitulate, war will come to Iraq if not by February's end, at the most, a month or so later. The U.S. and Britain may make a virtue out of necessity and advertise that, following the UN inspectors' report to the UNSC, they are prepared to give…some more time to Iraq to respond to the host of serious unanswered questions raised by Blix on Monday.  My guess is that after the inspectors' February 14 report to the UNSC, the chips will rapidly begin to fall.  After a final attempt to obtain UNSC endorsement, perhaps lasting for a few weeks, the U.S. and Britain will go ahead with or without it.  Thus war seems likely in March--if Saddam doesn't change his still defiant stance."


SRI LANKA: "The Report That Will Decide American Action"


Independent Tamil weekly, Sunday Thinakural commented (1/26):  "UN weapons inspectors will reveal their the UN Security Council tomorrow.  On the following day Bush will give his State of the Union Address.  Everyone is anxiously awaiting both events. At the same time, three countries with veto power in the Security Council have condemned any attack on Iraq and one of them, France, has openly stated that it will use its veto power.  Other powerful countries, such as Canada and Germany, are also showing opposition to any action against Iraq."




CAMEROON:          "Beating the Drums of War"


Editorialist Ekinneh-Agbaw-Ebai wrote (1/29) in the Yaounde-based bilingual, government-owned Cameroon Tribune:  “From all indications, the end game has now begun and it is increasingly difficult to see how it can result in anything other than war. The report of the chief UN inspectors Hans Blix…enabled the United States to increase the intensity of its diplomatic assault on Iraq, which might soon become a physical assault....  The American position is quite clear--there will have to be a complete change of attitude by Iraq or it will be attacked....  Both U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair…are saying that they must act in case international terrorists get weapons of mass destruction from Iraq. There is not much which can rationally counter this argument, and the fact that the specter has been raised is a major reason why war is so likely.”


SOUTH AFRICA:  "Trust Blix"


Balanced Business Day held (1/29), "Even though Iraq cannot be trusted, it is far better that an orderly process of disarmament takes place through the process of weapons inspection rather than through war.  In the chaos of war, weapons may be widely dispersed and even handed over to terrorist groups.  The risk of this occurring under the commission's lightning regime is far smaller.   As long as the inspectors believe they are making headway they should remain in Iraq.  Blix's report shows that his people can be trusted.  But it is worthwhile to remember that the weapons inspectors would not even be in Baghdad were it not for the threat of war.  That threat, however uncomfortable, should not wane so long as the inspectors are doing their job.  It makes them more effective and gives hope that Iraq will answer the key questions promptly."


"Is It Oil Or Democracy?"


Pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan (1/28) commented:  "No doubt, the questions Blix raises are disturbing.  There is no absolute proof that Iraq had indeed destroyed biological agents--as it claims....  But...UN Resolution 1441...does not call for war....  The resolution...demands that [WMD] be destroyed.  Nowhere does this same U.S.-sponsored resolution suggest that this could only be achieved through war.  Nor has the U.S. convincingly argued its case that military force alone can disarm...Saddam....  The U.S. has its mind made up....  In the absence of a convincing case for war, it must be assumed that George Bush's commitment to 'regime change' in Iraq is nothing more than a precursor to the colonization of that country's oil fields.  Even the U.S. must know now--it will only succeed in this selfish endeavor by wasting the lives of innocent Iraqi's that have had no hand in the quarrel between himself and Hussein."


TANZANIA:  "Bush Should Not Bulldoze The UN"


The English-language privately-owned African held (1/29), "Pentagon officials have been quoted as saying the operation against Iraq will be nothing ever seen before--as even Hitler himself would have envied it....  Whatever that means it smells like a lot of blood spilling around.  Innocent blood.  We have said Washington has assembled a deliberately intimidating military force in the Gulf area.  Intimidating to the whole world, but in particular to the neighboring Gulf countries, who are being coerced to adopt the Washington position--and some are already....  Even before Blix and Baradei mounted the steps to the Council Chambers and Monday, the Bush administration was already claiming victory--that it had already proved its case against Iraq.  Proved what may we ask?  The inspectors did not say that Washington had, beyond reasonable doubt, proved its case.  Why does Washington like to be a spokesman for the whole UN?  We appeal to other Council members to uphold the integrity of the United Nations.  It should not be allowed to be bulldozed by one super power to satisfy its agenda."


NIGERIA: "Wrong Move"


The Ibadan-based independent Nigerian Tribune held (1/28), "Bush has accused Hussein of intolerable brinkmanship, of engaging in a provocative game of dissimulation.  So Bush wants to take Hussein out with or without the say-so of the Security Council of the United Nations.  That would be wrong, not to say arrogant. The UN has waited 12 years for Hussein to comply with its resolution to disarm.  It can wait a few months more.  And the arms inspectors say that they are making progress, though painfully slow progress, but progress all the same.... Only the Security Council, voting unanimously and without abstentions, should determine the inevitability of war with Iraq."


"Saddam Must Go"


Sola Fasure commented in the Lagos-based independent Comet stating (1/28): "This is President Bush's moment of decision.  He has announced a policy of regime change in Iraq in furtherance of American national security, which is threatened by rogue leaderships like Saddam Hussein's.  He must not let anything distract him from this path.  The U.S. is now in a position where it can no longer back out without losing credibility.  The situation is critical and has gone beyond whether Saddam should go.  What should be discussed now is post-Saddam Iraq--prosecuting the war with minimum casualty and environment damage, post-war reconstruction and reconciliation.... When Saddam is removed, Iraqis will be free.  This is a superior argument to the meaningless rhetoric of pacifists. We saw this in Afghanistan.  When the Tailban regime was destroyed by the superior fire power of United States and Britain, Afghans became free and order is gradually returning to the country."




ARGENTINA:  "According To Inspectors, Iraq Did Not Offer Evidence Of Its Disarmament"


Alberto Armendariz, on special assignment in New York for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (1/28): "In a harsh report addressed to the UN Security Council, weapon inspectors in Iraq accused the Hussein regime of not fully cooperating in its disarmament, although they requested more time to end their work in order to avoid war. In any event, the message was clear: Iraq did not submit evidence it got rid of its entire production of anthrax, mustard gas or dangerous VX nerve gas. It has not proved it used all its chemical bombs and its Scud missiles in the Gulf War. The report's submission has deepened disagreement within the Council, with most of the countries willing to seek evidence that Baghdad is disarming itself, while the U.S. reiterated time is running out... Most of the 15 countries in the Council reacted more cautiously than the U.S. to the report. Even Great Britain, an almost unconditional ally of Washington, expressed its will to continue inspections and wait until the submission of a new report on February 14 to decide a military intervention. This is the first time since the crisis started that Great Britain has adopted a position in line with its European neighbors."


"The Argument Expected By 'Hawks'"


Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion, stressed (1/28): "The Blix report...fits perfectly with the USG's aggressive policy of military deployment based on Saddam's unwillingness to disarm his country. The U.S. would not reject the request for more time for UN inspectors but this would be the element it would use to pressure its European allies, who still refuse to participate in a military coalition.  According to the Republican administration, if during the time UN experts need to finish their work, the perception that Iraq is not willing to deliver its weapons, then there will be no excuse... In tonight's State-of-the-Union address, President Bush is expected to use his seduction order to dispel Americans' increasing amount of rejection and doubts on a war on Iraq."


"UN Inspectors Have Doubts On Iraq And Ask For More Time"


Marina Aizen, New York-based correspondent for leading Clarin wrote (1/28) "In an advanced UN Security Council meeting, in which the blurry line between war and peace was at stake, UN weapon inspectors did not submit evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, although they denounced that Baghdad was not able to demonstrate that it destroyed its arsenal and they asked for more time to finished their task....  Never before had there been so much anxiety due to the submission of two international bureaucrats from the UN Security Council.... While Blix's statement includes more questions than signs of a 'smoking gun' directly targeting the Hussein regime, the different members of the UN Security Council can find in his report grounds in favor or against war."


BRAZIL:  "What Is Worrisome In The Blix Report"


Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo judged (1/28): "The Blix report has strengthened the U.S. posture that Saddam Hussein refuses to give up Iraq's arms of mass destruction programs.... What is most worrisome in the report is its support to Washington's new theory on the reasons for the inspections and on Iraq's responsibilities in fulfilling the resolution the UNSC unanimously approved.... The initial goal was to investigate whether Baghdad was telling the truth and if Iraq was fully cooperating with the inspectors.... But Washington has now adopted the reasoning that it is up to Iraq to prove it has disarmed, while the UN's inspectors have to evaluate Baghdad's evidences.... Washington will insist...that Saddam has no intention to disarm Iraq and therefore must be disarmed by force.  It is very unlikely, however, that the USG will succeed in convincing the SC's members or those who oppose the invasion in the U.S."


"Pressure Against The War"


The lead editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (1/28) asserted: "The report by the UN's arms inspectors is open to several interpretations, and as is common in such cases, each interested nation will adopt the one that it considers more in line with its own interests....  Hans Blix's evaluation of Iraq's cooperation was in fact tougher than speculation had anticipated....The lack of clarity is expected to persist for some time.  Despite the U.S.' increasingly bellicose rhetoric, the White House has given indications that so far it will not launch military action without UN support.... The U.S. forces will be ready to launch an attack only in late February or early March.  Despite the fact that no nation is capable of opposing the U.S. in the case of an attack against Iraq, this is the moment for all those who oppose the war to work together toward a peaceful solution."


MEXICO: "Iraq:  A Difficult Moment"


Far-left Jornada held (1/28):  "Unfortunately, Hans Blix's message did not help to dissipate threats of warlike aggression hanging over Iraq, with the accusation that Baghdad 'has not accepted genuine disarmament' as we have asked.  However, his statements did not seem to give President Bush enough of a pretext to launch a unilateral military incursion against Iraq, nor did they provide enough justification for Washington and London's calls for war to be accepted by the other three permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.  We hope that Blix's report will not be the departure point for another war, but rather the beginning of a new waiting period to rule out or prove that Iraq has chemical, biological, and nuclear the case that these accusations are proven, Iraq should be persuaded to renounce these weapons by diplomatic and peaceful means."


"The Size Of An Obsession"


Federico Reyes Heroles asserted in independent Reforma (1/28):  "Today President Bush will give his State of the Union address.  In contrast to other occasions, what Bush says today will involve the entire world.  What did Hans Blix say before the UN Security Council?  Even though the hunt did not capture its sought-after prey...Blix was very clear about his politics.  The inspections focus on the process of the hunt, but they have another relevant outcome:  to force an end to the production of weapons of mass destruction and bring them under control.  The report--his reports--are not finished.  And now, what is next?  Colin Powell, the dove of the team, gave us a preview from Davos:  There is enough evidence.  War is inevitable....  Hussein is a tyrant, without a doubt, but with the continuation of inspections, he has nowhere to hide.  How many coffins covered with the U.S. flag does Bush need to see in order to realize the depths of his obsession?"


"Bush And The Fly Swatter"


Luis Villarreal asserted in independent El Norte (1/27): "Today's diagnosis that will be released to the public will have to address a decision that has already been made: to attack Iraq and overthrow Sadam Hussein, no matter the cost in human lives that this will imply.  According to Bush, the purpose will be carried out, even though it is against the will of the U.S. people and the UN....  A serious and ominous precedent is days away from becoming evident: the crush of the weak by the power of the strong.  Unless, protests and international lobbying intensify the consensus against the war.  Is there time?"


ECUADOR:  "Against Unilateral Action" 


Center-left influential Hoy held (1/28): "According to the report from the UN weapons inspectors, there is not enough evidence to presume that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, but neither is there reason not to discount this possibility.  Therefore, it is necessary to extend the work of this UN mission.  The foreign ministers of the European Union have announced they are in favor of continuing the inspections.... The day before the report, Colin Powell restated the determination of the U.S. to act firmly against Saddam Hussein and he left open the possibility of an attack on Iraq without the support of U.S. allies.  As is well known, Germany and France have expressed opposition to military intervention.... International support for a U.S. attack has waned.  The United States undoubtedly will not have support without evidence from the UN inspectors.  President Bush's problem now is not just international support but public opinion in the United States, which seems to be more and more against unilateral action.  The Security Council should approve an extension for the inspectors to complete their work. A unilateral decision against Saddam would be an error with grave consequences for the world."


JAMAICA:  "Give The Weapons Inspectors More Time"


The editor-in-chief of the centrist, business-oriented Jamaica Observer argued (1/28): "Mr. Blix is reported as telling the Security Council...we expect that the war rhetoric will crescendo and would not be surprised if the 15 members of the Security Council are subjected to increased pressure to endorse a military solution when they meet tomorrow....  But with doubts still lingering in the minds of the Chinese, French, Russians and Germans, we urge the United States to abide by the request of Mohamed El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, for a few months to complete the weapons search....  We can't help but be skeptical about the reason for the crisis advanced by the White House and Downing Street--Iraq's pursuance of a nuclear weapons programme....  If that was the only reason, the Americans' slap-on-the-wrist response to the North Koreans' open admittance that they have resumed their nuclear programme is, to say the least, puzzling.  Wasn't North Korea one of the countries named in President Bush's 'axis of evil'?"


"Don't Rush, Mr.  Bush"


Regular columnist and Jamaican journalist of the year (2002), Ken Chaplin argued in the centrist, business-oriented Jamaica Observer (1/28):  "If Mr. Bush has credible evidence that Iraq has any such weapons and their locations, he should pass this information on to the UN weapons inspectors....  This column cannot support war on the basis of suspicion....  Iraq has already been asked to disarm.  If hard evidence is produced that the country has weapons of mass destruction, then he should not be asked again to disarm. The UN Security Council would have no other option but to vote that he be disarmed by an international force. In the meantime, a mighty American and British armada has surrounded Iraq, ready to strike, and Israel, America's ally, is preparing for war."


PANAMA:  "This Time, U.S. Will Be Aggressor"


Independent La Prensa asserted in a front page editorial column (1/27): "The first Gulf War has nothing in common with what Bush proposes to unleash.... This time the United States will be the aggressor country and will be by itself.  Statesman from the area, the Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese have condemned in advance such irresponsible adventure.... The UN experts not only did not find anything, but also praised the collaboration that was provided by Iraq's government. Fifty-nine percent of the Americans oppose war and a high percentage demand that their president presents evidence before acting.  For foolishness, for greed of those that surround Bush, the president is wasting the political capital that he was able to accumulate since September 11, 2001."


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