International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

February 14, 2003

February 14, 2003



In the wake of Secretary Powell's February 5 UN presentation on the Iraqi WMD program, INR/MR surveyed 278 editorial excerpts from 73 countries on the U.S. case for the use of force against Iraq.  Excerpts were categorized as "Supportive of the U.S. Case", "Unconvinced by the U.S. Case" and "Opposed to the U.S. Case."  U.S. embassies and consulates surveyed major media and submitted these excerpts.  The following survey is based on the 81 editorial excerpts from media outlets in 14 UNSC member states. 


ANGOLA:  Both articles surveyed--from state-run Angolan outlets--backed "strengthening and continuing weapons inspections" to ensure the "peaceful disarmament" of Iraq.  Both were strongly opposed to any war, with Jornal de Angola terming the Iraqi situation a "threat" but stressing the need for a "peaceful solution." 


BRITAIN:  A majority of British editorials surveyed--five out of eight--supported using force in Iraq.  The independent Financial Times hailed Secretary Powell's "persuasive case" in concluding that Baghdad "is in defiant breach" of Resolution 1441.  Another paper added that Saddam must be stopped "even if it ultimately takes war."  Two liberal articles, however, opposed any war, emphasizing that Iraq can be contained.  The liberal Independent warned any "act of aggression" would "virtually guarantee an upsurge in global terrorism."


BULGARIA:  Two of three Bulgarian editorials backed war against Saddam, mainly because of fears over harming relations with the U.S.  The weekly Sofia Echo put it thus:  "In the war against terrorism, those who are not for America are against it." 


CAMEROON:  Among three editorials in the sample, two were unconvinced of the need for military action, one was supportive.  Privately-owned Radio Venus joined the government-owned Cameroon Tribune in judging that Secretary Powell presented "an indication but not proof" of Iraq's deceiving weapons inspectors.


CHILE:  In a small sample of three editorials, all straddled the fence on military action.  Most made war contingent on the weapons inspectors "verifying Washington's accusations."  Santiago's conservative, influential newspaper-of-record El Mercurio believed that Washington will try to link the yet-to-be formalized U.S.-Chile free trade agreement with Santiago's adopting a UNSC position "closer to the wishes of the United States."


CHINA (including Hong Kong and Macau SARS):   Out of seven articles surveyed from China, not one supported immediate military action.  Four were opposed to military action in any case; in one typical remark, the Hong Kong Economic Times accused Secretary Powell of merely seeking to "justify war" using evidence that "contained nothing new."  Three pieces conditionally backed war but only if the UN approved, with concerns over whether "the world will no longer have checks and balances on U.S. power." 


FRANCE:  None of the selected French editorials backed military action against Iraq at the present time.  Of eight pieces, five gave conditional support to eventual use of force but insisted that "if there is the slightest chance of convincing Saddam to save his people from a war, then France is right" to seek intensified inspections rather than war.  Left-of-center Le Monde summed up a common theme:  that Secretary Powell's much-anticipated presentation became the "day of reiterated suspicion" rather than the "day of proof."  Three pieces remained against using force in any scenario, accusing the U.S. of being "totally consumed with its war."  


GERMANY:  Three of seven German editorials surveyed backed using force against Iraq, declaring that Secretary Powell's "impressive presentation" means the "UN has to act" to avoid "political paralysis."  Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine termed Saddam a "genuine danger," while right-of-center Die Welt said opposing the U.S. would "alienate Germany from its most important ally."  Four pieces, meanwhile, said Powell's evidence "did not convince them of the need and the inevitability of war" and called for additional proof.


GUINEA:  Both editorials in this small sample opposed military action.  They said flawed U.S. policy made support for war untenable.  Government-owned Guinean National Radio stated, "Washington sought, in vain, to justify an unjustifiable war.  In response, Guinea, which is to chair the Security Council in March, seeks a political solution and the respect of international law in Iraq."


MEXICO:  All four editorials examined firmly opposed a war.  Most judged that the U.S. failed to provide "clear evidence" that Iraq is an immediate threat and has links to al-Qaida.  Independent Reforma focused on the negative consequences of any military action, positing gloomy "day-after" scenarios in which the U.S. becomes bogged down in a Vietnam-style quagmire and terrorists exact reprisals against U.S. and Israeli citizens.


PAKISTAN:  Only one of 15 articles from Pakistan supported the use of force with Iraq.  The majority firmly declared that the "arguments against war are stronger than those for it."  Of these, most said Secretary Powell's evidence was "doubtful" and "littered with gaping holes."  Popular Khabrain reflected common sentiment by accusing the U.S. of "beating the war-drums."  Four papers conditionally supported military action, but emphasized that Secretary Powell's evidence was "not sufficient to start the bombing of Baghdad."


RUSSIA:  Half of eight articles from Russia opposed resorting to a military solution in Iraq, with many declaring that Secretary Powell's presentation lacked "absolute proof" and was not "valid."  Others, including reformist Vremya Novostey, said the "world's reaction has been one of mistrust" of the U.S., generating calls for additional inspections and negotiations.  Only one piece backed the use of force, saying Powell's "impeccable piece of oratory" proved that Saddam is "a criminal and ought to be punished." 


SPAIN:  Spanish reaction was mixed, with all five pieces opposing wars in general.  However, one of the five noted that sometimes "there is nothing left to do but wage them."  Three pieces were unconvinced, with independent El Mundo stating that Powell's "serious" evidence supports "an extension of the inspectors' mandate" but not a "blank check for an invasion."  One editorial opposed any military action, fearing the "consequences of a war in the Middle East and the impact in the Moslem world." 


SYRIA:  In the harshest criticism found on the UNSC, all of Syria's government-run media expressed adamant opposition to any military intervention.  Secretary Powell's evidence before the UNSC was termed "no more than a scandal and a farce."  Dailies maintained that U.S. policy disqualifies it from receiving support for unilateral action and that U.S. "contempt" for the UN is undermining the body's authority.  The government-owned Syria Times challenged the UN to exercise greater leadership on the Iraq issue or undergo restructuring to "liberate it from American hegemony and disdain."


EDITORS:  Steve Thibeault, Ben Goldberg, Gail Hamer Burke





ANGOLA:  "Angola Supports Continuation Of Inspections In Iraq"


Luanda's government-controlled Jornal de Angola asserted (2/6): "The U.S. Secretary of State's speech on Iraq during yesterday's UN session was 'convincing,' but despite this Angola still supports strengthening and continuing weapons inspections, confirmed the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, George Rebelo Chikoty, yesterday. Speaking to the Security Council in New York following Colin Powell's address, Chikoty said the information presented would help to ensure the UN was 'prepared to take a stance in terms of the Security Council's work.'...  Iraq has to substantially cooperate in terms of Resolution 1441 passed last November, which compels it to destroy its arsenals of destruction, emphasized the Angolan diplomat.  The Security Council 'needs a clear and unambiguous stance from Iraq on issues brought up by the inspectors,' he added.  George Chikoty added that Angola believes 'extending and strengthening the inspection body' is imperative to 'increasing its efficiency'.  'Our global point of view regarding the situation is that the inspection program has to be continued.' said Chikoty.  And, to maintain peace, he confirmed, 'the Security Council should remain united and continue to provide political support for inspections,' which should be concluded 'resolutely.'  The situation in Iraq is 'a threat to peace and international security,' said Chikoty, but 'a peaceful solution can still be found.'"


"Angola Believes In A Peaceful Solution To Iraq Issue"


Government-controlled news agency ANGOP in its Internet version commented on Deputy Angolan Foreign Minister George Chicoty statement that Angola "believes in a peaceful solution to the Iraq issue" (2/6):  "This position was defended during a UN Security Council session, which came together on Wednesday to hear the proof presented by the United States about the existence of missiles, chemical and biological weapons in Iraq. Chicoty labeled the proof presented by US Secretary of State Colin Powell a significant contribution to encourage the UN Security Council to adopt pertinent decisions that will result in the peaceful disarmament of Iraq, without the need for war.....  He urged Iraq to give more cooperation to the UN weapons inspectors in order to comply with resolution 1441, with the objective of showing the world that it has destroyed its chemical and biological weapons and its missiles.  He argued that the destruction of the missiles, chemical and biological weapons is a guarantee for international peace and security, as well as the stability of the African states in accordance with the Pelindaba Treaty. Chicoty, citing the conclusions of the last African Union extraordinary summit, which ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, said that everyone should continue to support the UN's efforts, to try and avoid a war in Iraq, which would be a destabilizing factor in the region, and would have serious economic consequences for the world, and Africa in particular. Chicoty, continuing his speech, called for unity to continue within the Security Council on the Iraqi issue, with the objective of achieving the disarmament of Iraq in an effective and peaceful manner. 'Avoiding the war is strengthening international peace and security,' he concluded."


BRITAIN:  "Serious Consequences"


The independent Financial Times expressed this view (2/7):  "judging by the reactions of a number of Democrats, Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council may have been a pivotal moment in the U.S. debate on Iraq....  That may owe much to the identity of the messenger;  Mr. Powell has a credibility no other member of the administration can match.  Mr. Powell has proved persuasive in the past with America's allies, too, but here the success of his presentation is still uncertain.  The considered reaction of even the more skeptical European governments, now that they have had time to digest the allegations, suggests that Mr. Powell, with Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector who reported last week, has provided a persuasive cse that, at least as of today, Iraq is in defiant breach of its obligation to comply with UN Resolution 1441.  But the skeptics continue to urge extended diplomacy....  Skeptical governments are right to demand more evidence from Mr. Blix and Mohamed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency when they report to the Security Council next week. But unless there is a dramatic change in Iraqi behavior, those who insist that the threat posed by Mr. Hussein can indefinitely be dealt with by means other than force will have to give more form to their approach if they are to retain credibility."


"The Final Countdown To An Unsupportable Conflict Has Begun"


The liberal Independent stated (2/7):  "We come to the sad conclusion that we should be braced for war.  We fervently hope that if it comes, it will be short, and that the morale of the Iraqi military is in tatters.  We hope that Saddam will not, in desperation, use the chemical and biological weapons that he probably does possess.  We hope that the UN continues to be engaged as much as possible, in order to dilute the perception that this is a war of the Christian West against Islam.  We hope that the reconstruction of Iraq will not be seen in Arab countries as American imperialism.  If we could be sure that all these hopes would be realized, we might be persuaded that a war would be just. However, as the case has not been presented in those terms, we remain to be convinced.  Whatever the undoubted benefits to the Iraqi people of deposing Saddam by force, they cannot, in this case, justify the means. Saddam has been guilty of crimes against humanity in the past, but however awful his regime, he is not threatening genocide now.  And the threat of his biological and chemical weapons can be contained."


"Powell Shoots To Kill"


The liberal Guardian editorialized (2/6):  "This was not the dread moment that war became inevitable.  As the French foreign minister was quick to point out, there remain other ways of defusing this crisis.  But the U.S. secretary of state did provide persuasive, disturbing information suggesting that Iraq's efforts to circumvent the inspections are well-planned, thorough and centrally directed and as such constitute an unacceptable defiance of the UN's will.  Most powerful, perhaps, was Mr. Powell's detailed listing of the many ways in which Iraq has apparently sought to conceal proscribed activities.  But as he reeled off case after case...only one conclusion was possible....  Saddam, the bloodiest of dictators who has caused so much pain and suffering for so long, is once again recklessly courting the very disaster so many people rightly fear.  Iraqi behavior must change radically and without any more delay.  Much of the U.S. evidence must be accepted, if it is accepted at all, on trust.  Mr. Powell's sources were mostly anonymous defectors, detainees, third country spooks and U.S. intelligence....  Mr. Powell certainly did the UN a service in finally opening his Iraq dossier to public view.  But the way forward must now be expanded, intensified inspections equipped with this new evidence, as France proposes.  Iraq must disarm.  The U.S. and Britain must not jump the gun."


"The Case For The Prosecution"


The independent Financial Times lead editoral judged (2/6):  "Using the measured approach of a prosecutor--albeit with evidence requiring a high degree of trust--Mr. Powell has powerfully reinforced the judgement of Hans Blix's that it is five minutes to midnight for Mr. Hussein.  He can now fully cooperate in his disarmament or face war.  The next few days of debate will be exceptionally difficult, culminating in Hans Blix's report next Friday.  Only if he states unequivocally that the inspections route has run its course is there much chance of a consensus forming in favor of  using force.  But a consensus is what the UN and the world desperately need."


"Powell Makes The Case"


The conservative Daily Telegraph took this view (2/6):  "Colin Powell's presentation yesterday to the United Nations on Iraqi defiance of the Security Council was an extraordinary event....  The fact that the case against Saddam Hussein was being made by the leading dove in the Bush Administration was a powerful reminder that Baghdad has been given ample time to demonstrate compliance with the UN.  Mr. Blix will report again to the Security Council tommorrow week.  It will then have to decide whether to face up to its responsibilities.  If is does not, America and its allies will go to war without its blessing.  The risk, post-September 11, of leaving Saddam in possession of deadly weapons is not one that they are prepared to run."


"An Impressive Show But Powell Failed To Make Case For War"


The liberal Independent editorialized (2/6):  "General Powell asked the international community to understand that, in the light of all we know about Saddam and all the intelligence that the Secretary of State shared with the UN, the United States government could not 'run the risk' of allowing Saddam to remain in power.  In turn, General Powell and the Bush administration must understand that much of the rest of the world is not ready to countenance the even more terrible risks involved in a war.  Such an act of aggression by the U.S. threatens to destabilize the whole region, would be a huge encouragement to the fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and would virtually guarantee an upsurge in global terrorism.  The policy of containment and sanctions, pursued for 12 years, has been frustrating and messy; but it has constrained Sddam.  General Powell did not tell us why we must abandon it."


"Cocked Gun"


The conservative Times held (2/6):  "This was, as the general had said it would be, a sober presentation, but the cumulative effect of his circumstancial, visual, and auditory evidence powerfully reinforced the U.S. and British contention that Iraq continues to deceive UN inspectors, to defy the UN Security Council, and to manufacture weapons so appalling that they are outlawed by UN conventions.  In Iraq, the world is not up against a diminished threat lingering from the past, but confronting a dangerous serial offender, a dictator as contemptuous of human life as he is of international law.  Containment has failed to to prevent him building and hiding weapons that, he must be assumed to believe, would make him ultimately impossible to restrain.  Even if it ultimately takes war, he must be stopped."


"And We Still Wait For The Evidence"


The liberal tabloid Daily Mirror opined (2/6):  "Some smudgy old photos and blurred taped conversations are not the basis for war.  Saddam Hussein is an abominable tyrant--a deceiver and liar who no doubt glories in trying to cheat the UN's weapons inspectors.  But is he a serious threat to the world?  Mr. Powell says so, without producing real evidence to back up his claim.  Everyone can agree that Saddam Hussein must be controlled.  And he is being--not because the U.S. and Britain are threatening him with war but because the United Nations has taken a strong line.  The greatest protection the world can get is by uniting behind the UN.  Unilateral action will divide it and weaken the front against terrorism.  Colin Powell said that this is a defining moment for the United Nations.  He is right in that--but not in the way that he intends.  It is a defining moment because the world's only superpower threatens to go it alone--apart from Britain's help."


BULGARIA:  Political Support On Call"


Left-leaning Monitor held (2/10):  "For the first time in the last 50 years Bulgaria is being involved in a war.  No one is taking into account the sentiment of the Bulgarian nation.  Washington demanded and received the Bulgarian government's unconditional support.  The Bulgarian cabinet offered its services to the U.S. and is seemingly oblivious to the impression this would make on the rest of the world.... The Bulgarian politicians are always ready to compromise with their hard-won dignity, but in all too many cases they also compromise with the nation's dignity as well."


"Iraq As An Admission Exam For NATO"


Center-right, pro-West Dnevnik (2/10) ran this piece by political scientist Anton Todorov:  "Even if it had prayed for it, the country could have hardly received a better opportunity to back its bid for NATO membership than the current Iraq crisis....  All countries bidding for membership are currently under close scrutiny and any sign of hesitation would not benefit the hesitant state.  The engine of the anti-Saddam coalition is the U.S., and the U.S. is the country that will have a decisive say about the accession of the new members to NATO....  It would b wrong to claim that Bulgaria should base its commitments to NATO and the Iraq crisis in particular on national interest only.  Such behavior could turn into an obstacle for preserving NATO's internal stability and could encourage future splits with the other NATO members....  An ambiguous position or an attempt to copy other examples of restraint is unacceptable as well as counterproductive.  It would be a pity if Bulgaria turns out to be the only new aspirant country that weakens, instead of strengthening, the Alliance."


"U.S. Asks Bulgaria To Anct ON De Facto Alliance"


English-language weekly Sofia Echo editorialized (2/7):  "By the time U.S. Secretary of State Powell was preparing to take the podium at the UNSC this week, it was clear that the phase of diplomacy and the exchanging of messages through multilateral channels and the media was winding down....  As Bulgaria's Cabinet gathered this week to consider the U.S. request for military assistance, mainly in the form of allowing the passage of troops and equipment, at very worst they would have remembered the U.S. line that in the war against terrorism, those who are not for America are against it. The United States has done no more than ask Bulgaria to act in terms of an alliance already de facto in existence. One day, it may be that in Sofia a U.S. ambassador and an Iraqi ambassador speak face to face on amicable terms.  One of the prices for this:  Bulgarian assistance against Saddam."


CAMEROON:  "Facts Or Indications"


Yaounde-based bilingual, government-owned Cameroon Tribune's editorialist Gregoire Djarmaila questioned (2/6)  “Powell’s presentation was very argumentative....  The speech eloquent and well done.  Arguments were learnedly prepared to prove that Iraq has not fully cooperated with the UN inspectors and that it possesses weapons of mass destruction...  Must one conclude that the information provided by Collin Powell is true evidence?  For the moment, it is difficult to answer this question.  The sources of the information are exclusively from American intelligence services. The data was highly technical to many observers who think that this information is an indication but not proof. ”


"Cameroon Seeks Stronger Weapons Inspections"


The Yaounde-based bilingual, government-owned Cameroon Tribune (2/6) gave a lot of coverage to the remarks of Minister Francois Xavier Ngoubeyou who said in the UNSC:  "War is not inevitable....  Cameroon understands and shares the concerns and apprehensions of the United States as well as its determination to disarm Iraq…but let us give the inspectors the time to utilize and verify the elements of the information that has been presented.”  The editorial detailed the evidence laid out by Secretary Powell and stated, “Mr. Powell methodically made the case that Iraq has defied all demands that it he warned the special Council session against any further delay.”


"Evidence Not Very Convincing"


Radio Venus a private radio station, in a news bulletin (2/6) said that the Secretary of State presented tape recordings, satellite photos and other information to explain why Iraq is dangerous to the international community, but that the evidence was not convincing that Iraq actually possessed WMD.   Radio Reine, which is owned by a Catholic priest, highlighted in its newscast several key points raised by the Secretary of State to prove that Iraqi possesses WMD and to prove the connection of Baghdad’s regime to al-Qaida. According to the news presenter, “the evidence was not very convincing. The Secretary of State was persuasive but his arguments were not impressive.  He balanced his presentation with the positions of Cameroon and other UNSC members who are urging the United States and the UN give more time to the inspectors, before backing any military action against Iraq.”


CHILE:  "Iraq Before The United Nations"


Santiago's conservative, influential newspaper-of-record El Mercurio opined (2/8), "On Wednesday U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Iraq's non-compliance with UN resolutions to the UN Security Council.  Powell's statements did not convince...Russia, France, or China that Iraq is producing weapons of mass destruction....  Chile's position as a non-permanent member of the Council seems an uncomfortable one.  It has been inclined--along with Cameroon, Angola, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan--to favor a majority of that institution, putting aside a position closer to the wishes of the United States.  In a call related to the Iraqi crisis, President Bush referred to the (U.S.-Chile) free trade agreement, which was recently reached but not formalized.  It does not seem a casual reference.  Its contents were not revealed."


"An Unnecessary War"


Noted international affairs journalist Raul Sohr wrote in Santiago's government-owned, editorially independent La Nacion (2/7).  "Secretary of State Colin Powell made a solid presentation to the UNSC....  Although it is impossible to corroborate each one of Powell's points, there is no reason to question them, either....  Paris and Berlin agree with Washington that Hussein is an unscrupulous dictator and a potential threat, but they do not view him as an immediate threat.  They believe that by strengthening the inspectors they will save themselves the cost of a war...and succeed in getting Iraq to effectively disarm.  The only good thing about a war is that it relies on the will of individuals to either end or begin.  Therefore, it is still possible to stop this unnecessary conflict."


"Inspectors Must Verify Powell's Accusations"


Daily-of-record El Mercurio held (2/6): "Rather than convincing the other 14 Security Council members to attack Iraq... the 'evidence' presented yesterday by Secretary of State Colin Powell convinced several countries that it is necessary to continue with the weapons inspections and verify Washington's accusations."


"A Skeptical World"


Top circulation La Tercera commented (2/6):  "Secretary Powell's presentation, which lasted more than 90 minutes, centered around three main points: that Iraq continues to manufacture WMD, that it continues to deceive UN weapons' inspectors, and that it supports international terrorism....  Certainly, Washington managed to prove a point that few still doubted: the government in Baghdad has repeatedly attempted to flout the dictates of the UN and that Saddam Hussein's words about cooperating with the inspectors must be evaluated with a great deal of caution and skepticism.  Nevertheless, Powell's evidence was insufficient to convince an incredulous international community that an immediate war is the only alternative to ensure that Hussein is no longer a threat to world peace."  


CHINA:  "The Embarrassing Result Of Plagiarism”


Sheng Jingren commented in the official Communist Party People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (2/10):  "It is out of people’s expectation that the U.S. report elaborating Iraq’s violation of the UN Resolution 1441 is plagiarized from an official document of the U.K.  It may be the U.S.’ last choice under an urgent situation that the U.S. intended to frame a case against Iraq but could not find sufficient evidence.”“In fact, the U.K. document is also of a questionable origin.  It is reasonable for people to question how many times the U.S. and the U.K. have lied in important international affairs.”


“Powell Launched A Multi-media Attack, War Is Drawing Close”


Official Xinhua declared (2/7):  “In order to prove the necessity of military action against Saddam, U.S. Secretary of State Powell launched a ‘multi-media attack’ on Iraq at the UN Security Council meeting on Feb. 5, doing all he could to convince the member countries of the Security Council that Iraq was trying its best to conceal weapons of mass destruction.  However, the fact is that he seems to have wasted his breath.  Although Powell’s speech has had little effect, many people from Arab countries, no matter whether or not they support the U.S. stance, think that Powell’s speech has proved at least one point--that war is drawing nigh.” 


"Powell Plays His ‘Intelligence Trump Card’"


Guo Lijun and Duan Jiyong reported on the website of the official Xinhua News Agency (2/6):  “According to analysts, first, U.S. President Bush’s further publication of the necessity to attack Iraq in the State of the Union speech shows the U.S.’ determination to resolve the Iraq issue at any cost even through unilateral military means.  Powell’s presentation of the evidence about Iraq delivering and concealing WMD is obviously to echo Bush’s national general mobilization for war.  Second, the U.S. presenting the ‘evidence of Iraq’s crime’ at this moment is for the purpose of expediting its diplomatic efforts to gain the authorization for war from the UN.  Third, the U.S. has not only accused Saddam of having relations with terrorist organizations, but also clearly related the Iraqi Government to al-Qaida.  This behavior is to warn Americans that the ‘dangerous weapons’ Iraq has can directly threaten every American through terrorist organizations.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Who will be the losers?  The innocent, as usual"


Cesar Chelala, international public health consultant and co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award, remarked in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (2/9):  "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's forceful presentation to the UN Security Council failed to convince key members of the need for immediate war against Iraq....  The Iraqi people have experienced two gruelling wars in the recent past--one against Iran and the 1991 Gulf War.  These have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, mostly civilians or youngsters forcibly conscripted.  A new war against Iraq would further undermine its health infrastructure and lead to the suffering and death of huge numbers of civilians.  As a result of the skewed priorities of the current Iraqi regime and the economic sanctions imposed against it, a country that was once prosperous has suffered a dramatic decline in the health and quality of life of the general population....  Although there is every reason to want Saddam Hussein out of power in Iraq, any action contemplated against him should take into account the serious humanitarian consequences of such action."


"War Or Peace Hinges On U.S. And Iraq"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao commented (2/7):  "On February 5, U.S. Secretary Powell addressed a special meeting of the UN Secretary Council, providing evidence to show Iraq was in violation of the UN resolution.  Secretary Powell also detailed Iraq's connection with al Qaeda in a bid to win UN support for military action against Iraq.  From preliminary reactions, U.S. efforts were not very successful....  From an objective point of view, the 'evidence' raised in Secretary of State Powell's speech was mainly based on questionable data collected by its intelligence and inferences made from that data.  This can hardly be taken as 'proven evidence.'  Powell's information, however, should provide some clues for the UN weapons inspection to conduct a thorough investigation and evaluation.  In other words, the information provided by the U.S. should be verified by the UN before it can be considered as evidence.  In the interim, Iraq should also provide an explanation and clarification to the doubts raised by the U.S. and the weapon inspection team....  The majority of Security Council members, however, especially China, Russia, France and Germany, continue to call on the U.S. to resolve the Iraqi crisis within the UN framework."


"Easy To Win War, But Hard To Deal With Aftermath"


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal editorialized (2/6):  "With Secretary Powell's submission of 'evidence' of Iraqi non-compliance to the UNSC, U.S. diplomatic efforts were brought to a temporary close.  As the Secretary of State appeared in person to submit the 'evidence of crime,' the evidence is naturally proven.  If the Security Council and its allies still refuse to support military action, the U.S. will have 'sufficient grounds' to act alone.  In fact, U.S. aircraft carriers deployed to the Middle East have already sailed closer to Iraq, within the range of fire.  Everything is ready.  War on Iraq could break out at any moment.  Although the U.S. did not secure strong support from its allies, its military deployments continue to go smoothly.  According to the Deputy Secretary of State Armitage, 21 countries have shown their support for a U.S. strike against Iraq, and they promise to provide assistance to the U.S....  People are more concerned that if the U.S. ignores the UN and no longer needs the support of its traditional European allies to act, this will show the U.S. is a huge military power that can command the world.  Unilateralism will become the leading force behind U.S. national policy.  Will the world no longer have checks and balances on U.S. power!?"


"Powell Blows The Trumpet; Iraq On Brink Of War"


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times commented (2/6):  "Secretary Powell yesterday addressed the UNSC.  He submitted 'evidence' showing Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.  Regardless of whether or not the evidence is sufficient, Powell used it to lobby for other countries' support....  [He] appeared in person at the Security Council, lifting the curtain on the last show of the U.S. war against Iraq.  Many people feel that the so-called 'evidence' Powell submitted, which included satellite photographs and audio tapes, contained nothing new.  U.S. President Bush and Secretary Powell, however, are not concerned about whether the evidence is shocking.  They were simply using the Security Council 'show' to justify war and show that they are not fighting alone."


FRANCE:  “Powell’s Suspicion”


Left-of-center Le Monde said in its editorial (2/7):  “The Bush administration chose its best spokesperson to defend its Iraq policy. Secretary Powell inspires confidence. It is more than just his stature and his self-assurance. It is more than his exceptional personal achievement.  It is the way he is.  The man cultivates a form of careful pragmatism; he is not a warmonger....  Banking on this capital of trust Secretary Powell was able to stage an extraordinary presentation in favor of war....  Secretary Powell was able to confirm the general feeling that Iraq is lying and that it is not playing the game by the rules, a feeling shared by the other members of the Security Council. The result, when added to what one knows of Saddam’s past, was enough to raise doubts....  Everyone was waiting for the ‘day of proof.’ What we got was the ‘day of reiterated suspicion.’ On the basis of his own examples Secretary Powell managed only to evoke possibilities, not demonstrate factual reality. Does one go to war because of one’s suspicion? A majority of the UN Security Council members says no and suggests more time is needed before the inspectors can confirm these doubts, or not.”


“Paris, Washington, Baghdad”


Bruno Frappat commented in Catholic La Croix (2/7):  “The nature of Secretary Powell’s proof was not of the sort to lead France to change its position. It is possible that France may change its stance in the weeks to come. But only after every avenue has been explored....  Paradoxically, and in spite of appearances, the extreme positions adopted by Washington on the one hand and Paris on the other could be interpreted as being complementary rather than antagonistic. At least in as much as both are seeking to disarm Iraq....  If there is the slightest chance of convincing Saddam to save his people from a war, then France is right to hold on to its position. If Saddam is closed to reason, then the U.S. will be right. One is saying that Saddam still has a chance. The other states that he has ruined every chance. Paris believes that however small, the hypothetical chance is worth the wait.”


“War Against War!”


Claude Cabanes noted in communist L’Humanite (2/7):  “What can be said of a court in which the same man is the judge, the prosecutor, the witness, the cop and the expert, and who pronounces the sentence before the opening of court. At the UN Secretary Powell was in fact settling a score....  His show was a flop....  If Washington had any proof, it would have been more effective to give it to the inspectors. But Washington no longer cares about the inspections. It is totally consumed with its war… In another era a call came for ‘War Against War!’ It was a war against imperialism. That time has come again.”


"Powell Said"


Yves Therard commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/6):  “During 80 minutes Secretary Powell used words that frighten, he heaped [accusations] on the rogue state of Baghdad, showed garbled pictures, broadcast inaudible communications and tried to prove that war was necessary.  What do we, the public, know today that we didn’t know before?  Not much....  Secretary Powell presented arguments that only experts can evaluate.  Intangible proof, presumption, clues?  To Saddam’s lies we can probably add the U.S. administration’s own lies....  The truth is that since Sept. 11 America is hungry for revenge and needs to reaffirm its power....  It has chosen Saddam, an old acquaintance, for its purpose.  It could have picked North Korea...or Pakistan....  One way or another everyone owes Washington-the-capital-of-the-world....  Even France, which has been threatening to use its right of veto, seems to be speaking with less determination, as was apparent in de Villepin’s remarks.  As for the UN it is in the hands of the Americans....  The stage has been set from the beginning.  What remained was convincing pubic opinion, which is largely hostile to war.  That was Secretary Powell’s job.  While he may have convinced the Minnesota cattle breeder, the European farmer is probably still doubting.  But so what.  America’s leadership does not care about differences.  It is in itself justification for every crusade.”


"Arsenal of Persuasion"


Gerard Dupuy held in left-of-center Liberation (2/6):  “Powell’s long presentation was only convincing to those who are already convinced, not because the presentation was lacking in substance but because between probability and proof there is firm belief....  Last fall, French diplomacy forced the U.S. to recognize the legitimacy of the UN and in doing so won a significant diplomatic battle....  Colin Powell’s arsenal of persuasion was an indirect homage to this international institution....  Even if the U.S. decides to act without the approval of the UN, it would do so only after acknowledging that this unilateralism is a choice by default.  The question is to know whether the U.S. can quickly obtain (perhaps before the end of the month) a green light.  Will it be able to speed things up?  This will depend on its ability to pressure and seduce the Security Council members. The French...fear that there will be a second resolution, yet they were the first to support this option....  Yesterday, de Villepin spoke of a French military participation as the last resort.  Is this a clear change or are we still limping along?…  Powell’s intention was not to convince but to influence. If his interlocutors refuse to be influenced he can always ignore them.”


"Who Will Judge?"


Catholic La Croix editorialized (2/6):  “The U.S. decided yesterday to turn the UNSC into an international tribunal....  It would be presumptuous after this presentation, which was nevertheless troubling, to pass sentence....  The ‘truth’ does not jump out at us to the point that all of our doubts vanish....  It has become clear that since the beginning George Bush and his team have lost all faith in the inspectors’ work.  Emphasizing the ambiguous role of being both accuser and judge does not mean that the accused is beyond reproach.  We do not need ‘new’ proof to be convinced of the duplicitous and cruel nature of the Iraqi regime.  But this ‘trial’ does not involve Saddam Hussein alone, it involves all of the people who live under his rule. It involves other people in the region.  It involves perhaps the security of the whole world.  And the only judge that is competent remains the UNSC.  Now it is up to each of its members to assess the scope of the proof and of the doubts.”


"Peace As Proof"


Patrick Le Hyaric in communist l’Humanite (2/6): “The important revelations that Secretary Powell was supposed to make to the world turned out to be an empty bag of ‘clues, suspicion and proof.’ The famous ‘material breach’ remained unproven. Will manipulation go so far as to demonstrate that the absence of proof is proof in itself? Secretary Powell’s declaration must be read in light of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s recent affirmation: ‘we will change the name of the ‘bureau’ but that will not keep us from lying’... What is at stake is much too serious to base decisions on unclear satellite photos and CIA-tapped conversations whose validity the FBI doubts. The whole thing was staged to give more time to the deployment of troops.”


"The Last Card"


The editorial by Pascal Aubert in centrist business-oriented La Tribune (2/6):  “The assignment that Colin Powell handed in was well-presented but lacked the substance necessary to convince the world of Saddam Hussein’s duplicity so that the deliberate dramatization that preceded the presentation of the ‘evidence’...fell flat.  Those countries that have already decided to join the ranks of the U.S. saw in the Secretary of State’s explanation a justification of their conviction....  The others, among which is France, saw in these explanations ambiguous accusations, biased connections and hypothetical arguments that further legitimize the need to continue the inspections....  Today the ball is clearly in Baghdad’s court.  Faced with President Bush’s avowed hostility, Baghdad still has one card left to play...that of transparency.  America has laid out what it sees as Saddam Hussein’s underhandedness....  Now it is up to him to meet the complying without reserve or ruse to all of the UN demands.  This is Iraq’s only chance to convince the international community to hold George Bush back.  The point of no return will be reached next week when the inspectors hand in their report.  It will be up to Saddam Hussein to decide if he wants to undertake the rehabilitation or the annihilation of his country.”


GERMANY:  “Will And Aversion”


Peter Muench editorialized in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/7):  “Saddam will not change but the inspections could change the situation in Iraq because they will deprive him of the possibility to use trickery.  If we really wanted to convince men like Donald Rumsfeld, then we should use the following phrase:  It is better to stop Saddam from breathing than cutting his head.  But it is getting increasingly difficult to make Washington change its tough war course.  In this controversy the war opponents have the better arguments, but the worse cards.  The U.S. government has all the trump cards in its hand.  The UN Security Council sits in a credibility trap with UN resolution 1441 which threatens ‘serious consequences’ if Saddam is proven guilty of a material breach....  The entire United Nations is now faced with the choice to sanction war with another resolution or to fall by the wayside if the Americans go it a lone.  With this link, the U.S. government can succeed in breaking at least the resistance of the veto powers in the UNSC….  If a war breaks out, almost everybody will then accept the unavoidable.  Powell’s appearance in New York will then have been an important waystation on the path to Baghdad.”


"The UN Has To Act"


Thomas Frankenfeld wrote in right-of-center Hamburger Abendblatt (2/6):  "Now the UN has to act.  It was not a particularly great day for Saddam Hussein yesterday.  After the impressive presentation by the American Secretary of State at the Security Council, the end of the tyrant at the river Tigris has come considerably nearer....  The UN has to act, otherwise it will be accused of political paralysis."


"Unconvincing Case"


National radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (2/5) aired the following commentary by Burkhard Birke:   “What Secretary of State Powell presented sounds conclusive but is not really convincing in all its details.  In a courtroom we would probably talk about a trial based on circumstantial evidence....  Of course, it is up to Saddam to prove that he is innocent, but it would be naïve to think that the despot from Baghdad would give up his cat-and-mouse game without massive pressure.  That is why one thing is important: To take a coherent position and increase pressure on Saddam and to build up a credible position....  Basically, a fundamental thing is now at stake: the credibility of the United Nations.  Thus far, the United States has left it to the international community to resolve the Iraq crisis.  It must now make clear to Saddam that the hiding game must come to an end once and for all.  At the same time, Washington should be aware of the consequences of a military strike that has not been sanctioned by the United Nations.  Bush would place himself above international law.  And this is something nobody can seriously want.”


"The Iraq Case"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted in a front-page editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/6):  “Powell’s presentation made it clear that Saddam represents a genuine danger, that he continues to strive for weapons of mass destruction and does not intend to disarm, cooperate with the inspectors, or fulfill the Security Council resolutions.  Powell’s presentation has not made it any easier to believe in the purpose of ongoing inspections.  This much should be clear to anyone by now--the U.S. administration is not willing to live with a danger it judges unacceptably high....  The other Security Council members...will not suddenly accept the U.S. position.  The reluctance to say ‘yes’ to a war that could create much greater dangers for the world tomorrow cannot be overcome with a few satellite images....  Powell has reminded the Europeans what kind of deal they accepted with resolution 1441.  And it is true--anyone who accepts that Council resolutions are being ignored...risks disappearing into meaninglessness.”


"Powell Makes His Case"


Andreas Oldag judged in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/6):  “Powell gave a perfect performance, coming across as an experienced statesman....  He did not present any material that could count as irrefutable evidence of the existence of weapons of mass destruction.  While there was plenty of information about the alleged ties between Saddam and Al Qaida, the material remained inconclusive....  The Security Council is not a court.  It must make a political decision to avoid becoming superfluous--a second UN resolution that unmistakably underlines that time is running out.  The Council will have to take into account that another dictator is playing with nuclear fire in North Korea, representing at least as much of a threat to global peace as Saddam.  Finally, Powell’s speech was also meant as a wake-up call for the Europeans on the Council....  Their recent disagreements have helped only the Washington hawks.”


"Baghdad Must Deliver Evidence"


Jacques Schuster stated in a front-page editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/6):  “Powell’s material did not and could not have the strength of irrefutable evidence....  The most important piece of evidence for Iraq’s power games has been available for a long time.  It is Saddam himself....  The German government and people must be aware that more is at stake than the Iraqi danger.  This is also about the consequences of a ‘without us’ position.  A strict ‘no’ in the Council, maybe together with Syria, would alienate Germany from its most important ally, damage the Western alliance, and create distrust about the ‘unpredictable Germans’ in Europe....  One cannot imagine a worse scenario.”


"Guilty But Not Yet Overpowered"


Washington correspondent Malte Lehming filed the following front-page editorial for centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/6):  “Powell’s words did not fail to have an effect.  He spoke with an impressive voice, strung facts together did not agitate nor did he use polemics.  This man is surrounded by an aura of sincerity.  That is why he is a stroke of luck for the U.S. government and its Iraq policy....  He is now ringing the alarm bells.  Those who still continue to close their eyes to the tricks with which Saddam operates...will be convinced by no evidence at all.  Until proven the opposite, one thing is true: Iraq has biological and chemical weapons.  In addition, the Iraqi regime continuously violates UN resolution 1441....  What does the UN plan to do about this?...  Powell’s address gave this question new urgency. The German government must also face this question.  A simple ‘go on and give the inspectors more time,’ will not be enough.  But the decision over war or peace has not become easier since this historic meeting of the UNSC....  The controversy is based on the question whether there is an appropriate cost-benefit ratio for the costs of a war, including the civilian casualties and the burden of an occupying regime that will stay for years.  This was a question even Powell was unable to answer.  He exerted considerable pressure on the members of the UNSC to act, but he did not convince them of the need and the inevitability of a war.  Not yet.”


GUINEA:  "The Die Is Cast!"


First independent newspaper La Lance ran this piece (2/11) by Prosper Dore: "Well, has Colin Powell succeeded in convincing his audience?  The opinions are split, and the war of words immediately resumed with ferocity between Washington and Baghdad.  In any case, to the point of where we are, the carrots are cooked!  One doesn't know by which miracle one will prevent Bush-the-son, from making his war against the inescapable master of Iraq."


"Guineas Seeks A Political Solution"


Government-owned and operated Guinean National Radio reported (2/7): "The speech of the American Secretary of State did not convince many people.  Colin Powell did not furnish any proof of flagrant violation (byIraq) of Resolution 1441.  Washington sought, in vain, to justify an unjusifiable war.  In response, Guinea, which is to chair the Security Council in March, seeks a political solution and the respect of international law in Iraq."


MEXICO:  "Ground Zero"


Sergio Sarmiento wrote in independent Reforma (2/11):  "Understanding the legacy of Sept. 11 is very important to comprehend why the U.S. public is preparing for war.  The majority of Americans supported the war against Afghanistan, and the majority supports a possible war against Iraq.  However, there is a difference.  There is not clear evidence, not even what was presented by Colin Powell at the UN Security Council, that al-Qaida has definite links to Saddam Hussein’s authoritarian regime in Iraq.  Is it possible that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction?  Of course it is.  But would Hussein use these weapons in a war against the United States and its allies?  Maybe.  Even though no one doubts that the USG would emerge as a victor if this war comes to fruition, it is also true that the dangers for the United States and its allies would not end there.  Responses to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein could come in the form of terrorist attacks--against U.S. citizens, Israeli citizens, or even

other people, months or years after the war."


 "Would Bush Go To War Without The Support Of The United Nations?"


An editorial in nationalist Universal (2/11) read:  "Yesterday, Saddam Hussein informed the United Nations that Iraq was willing to permit the U.N. to use U-2 spy planes to fly over Iraqi territory in search of weapons of mass destruction.  With this statement, Hussein complies with a U.N. demand and invalidates one of Washington’s reasons to attack Iraq.  However, Washington has not ceased in its military insistence and in its determination to attack Iraq.  It seems not to care about the costs of pursuing a bellicose adventure against the will of its allies and many other important nations.  And it seems to not be concerned about the risks of creating a crisis within NATO as well as the within the United Nations."


"You Did It"


Pablo Marentes wrote in nationalist Universal (2/11):  "Colin Powell presented a virtual document which did not show signs of nuclear weapons factories.  But he did present a new theory that if Hussein remains in power, Iraq will become the main distributor of weapons for terrorists.  The absurdity of this search for clandestine weapons factors is even more apparent when it is revealed that the USG is the biggest arms manufacturer in the world.  British Prime Minister Tony Blair has gone against British public opinion by following President Bush’s instructions.  The panorama is clear.  Citizens of all nationalities should know who is making weapons and launching extermination bombs.  And they will be able to say, ‘you did it!’ The tide of history will reveal this…not to foretell this tale, but Powell’s helpers unveiled Guernica."


"The Day After"


Isabel Turrent wrote in independent Reforma (2/9):  "Colin Powell's speech before the UN Security Council was unconvincing.  The only unquestionable evidence that the Council gained from his presentation was that Washington continues with its bellicose plans, organizing troops and war supplies in the Middle East, and that soon it will launch an attack upon Iraq in the coming weeks, with or without the approval of the United Nations.   There is no doubt that this war, one of the most foretold in history, will last a few weeks and will culminate in an overwhelming victory by the United States and its few allies.  The next day, Washington will face the truly delicate problems of its operation against Saddam Hussein: those related to what has been euphemistically baptized 'the national reconstruction.'  Inside Iraq...the existence of tribal nationalism could turn Iraq into a battlefield among internal groups and U.S. troops.  The success or failure of Iraq's reconstruction will depend upon the behavior of these groups."


PAKISTAN:  "Powell Presents Evidence, Seeks UN Action Against Iraq"


A news story in the centrist national News held (2/6), "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday played tapes and showed satellite pictures which he said proved the Iraqi military had conspired to conceal banned weapons from UN weapons inspectors.  In a high-stakes address at the United Nations to win over skeptical countries to the U.S. view that force may be needed soon if Baghdad fails to cooperate, Powell said Iraqi officers hid weapons, gave orders to sanitize documents referring to 'nerve agents' and cleaned up chemical weapons sites."


"Madness Marches On"


Anwar Ahmad wrote in the centrist national News (2/10):  "If the American case against Iraq was halfway as 'sober, straightforward and compelling' as Secretary of State Colin Powell had promised it would be, and as 'irrefutable and undeniable' as he assured the Security Council that it is, why has all the sound and fury left the world unconvinced that there is a 'just cause' to wage war? Mainly, because America's credibility ratings are plummeting to new depths as it spins outright lies and false excuses to turn its unrivalled power into unparalleled profits....  Actually, the U.S. never really had a case against Iraq and had gone to the UN very reluctantly. Even Secretary Powell's heart did not seem to be in the charges he was leveling. Realizing perhaps how he was diminishing himself, he practically rushed through the prepared text and then sat back impassively to absorb the reaction....  If Iraq has the WMDs that the U.S. says it does, isn't it reason enough for not driving Saddam to desperation? But the U.S. knows that he doesn't have any, as the post-conquest 'rethink' will show....  In any case, the Bush brigade is playing for very high stakes and has already come too far to retreat. And most countries are bleating for the UN fig-leaf only to hide their impotence. If the UN balks, the U.S. will go ahead with Rumsfeld's burgeoning 'coalition of the willing.'  If the UN yields, it will be dead any way. The question really is whether to let the U.S. wreck the UN from within or force it to try doing so from without."


"Has Diplomacy Failed?"


Ikram Ullah opined in the center-right national Nation (2/9):  "As for the views of the 15 Security Council members, 12 had sent their foreign ministers to attend the February 5 meeting.  Their views after Powell's address are significant. Not a single member advocated war. Everyone pleaded for peace. Everyone urged diplomacy to be given the utmost chance....  It is, therefore, obvious that diplomacy has not yet failed, as stated by Secretary Rumsfeld at Rome. At least not until the inspectors make their next report to the Security Council on February 14, and the Council passes another resolution to deal with the situation in the light of their report. One may also ask whether President Bush's reference (at the White House Prayer Breakfast) to Roosevelt's belief that 'all men and women born to freedom in the image of God will not forever suffer the oppressor's sword' also applies to the oppressed people of Kashmir. And whether Kashmir is included in Bush's prayer that "the people in every part of the world wish for freedom, not tyranny." 


"Powell's Speech And Iraqi Rebuttal"


Najmuddin Shaikh commented in the Lahore-based Daily Times (2/9):  "Secretary Colin Powell's presentation at the UN Security Council was, as expected, a personal triumph....  Many looked upon it as a tour de force. It earned some compliments from his Security Council colleagues even though it became evident from the speeches that followed from France, Russia, China and even Pakistan that it had not changed the position these countries had taken on the need to let the inspections run their course while exhorting Iraq to be more pro-active in cooperating with the UN inspectors....  But the Security Council members were only a part, and perhaps an unimportant part, of the audience Powell's president, if not Powell himself, was seeking to influence....  The setting may have been the hallowed chambers of the Security Council, but the principal target audience was the American people....  On the international front, perhaps as anticipated things are worse rather than better for the proposition that the Americans are intent on selling. The Iraqi rebuttal press conference in Baghdad the day after Powell's speech left many questions unanswered, but it seemed to cast credible doubt on many pieces of the evidence that Powell had adduced....  While it would probably be an exaggeration to say that the Iraqi rebuttal of the allegations made by Powell had shattered the American case, it would be fair to say that it was left considerably damaged." 


"What if Powell's Speech Were To Be Applied To Israel?"


Kaleem Omar declared in the Lahore-based Daily Times (2/9):  "Much of what U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said in his address to the UN Security Council on Iraq on Wednesday applies, if anything, even more so to Israel, the most heavily armed country in the Middle East and one that is known to possess an arsenal of more than 200 nuclear weapons including hydrogen bombs....  Or are we to take it that the United States thinks that weapons of mass destruction in Israel's hands are "good things" and that such weapons only become "bad things" when they are in Iraqi hands? And are we also to take it that terrorism is not terrorism when it is carried out by Israel against the Palestinians?  There is an element of double standards in every country's dealings with other countries. But when it comes to double standards, the United States is in a class of its own. No wonder some wags have taken to calling President Bush's U.S. the 'United States of Israel.'"


"Powell's Proof"


The centrist national News (2/7):  "The prosecution case presented by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to finally damn Iraq was considerable in length and exhaustive in sweep, but it was not sufficient to start the bombing of Baghdad. Much more needs to be provided than what was disclosed to convince the sceptics that in the given circumstances a war would be more preferable than abiding with threat of WMDs in unsafe hands. War needs a weightier case to obfuscate the conscience and humanity of nations to prepare them for intentional murder of people.  Mr. Colin Powell's exertions produced a corpus of American allegations against Mr. Saddam Hussein, not a universally acceptable case....  It is difficult to see how the Americans expect the world to accept that proof when the UN team of weapon inspectors after months of searching has still not found any credible evidence. If the U.S. Secretary of State had so much information at hand, he should have made it available to speed up the work of the inspectors, not kept it to himself." 


"Evidence Presented By Gen. Colin Powell"


An editorial in popular Urdu daily Din held (2/7), "While no one called the evidence presented by Gen. Powell 'a heap of lies' like Iraq did, no one drew the conclusion that America wanted drawn, either. Conversely, Russia, China and France said that after this evidence, it has become even more important that the UN inspectors be given more time...  Although U.S. President Bush has already decided to attack Iraq and has even said that 'it is a matter of weeks, not months" that Saddam will face a U.S. attack, a war on Iraq will defeat the very purpose America wants to promote: eliminating terrorism.  An attack on Iraq will engender more terrorism and strengthen extremist religious elements in Muslim countries. The negative effects of this war will engulf the Arab world and spread to Central Asia also.  Therefore, while the U.S. might not have any sympathy for Iraq and the Iraqi nation, it should avoid war for the sake of its Arab friends. The arguments against war are stronger than those for it."


 "Powell Puts His Credibility At Stake"


An op-ed by Nasim Zehra in the centrist national daily News held (2/7)  Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State, is a man generally credited for wisdom. He brings sobriety to the 'gun slinging' ways of the Bush Administration....  Departing from his usual calm demeanor, Powell took to table thumping, finger pointing and fluctuating tones to argue that the world was being exposed to a grave danger, since Saddam was not genuinely cooperating with the UN inspectors....  Many questions arise from Powell's case for war against Iraq. First, about the nature of the evidence.  The United States is without doubt an interested party in the Iraq crisis. It had pre-judged the outcome of the mission of UN weapons' inspectors and had begun calling for war on Iraq. Given this, the question about the U.S. insistence and desire to pursue war and not diplomacy backed by force to resolve the crisis, no evidence provided by the U.S. can be accepted without verification. This is what justice would require....  Significantly, there are two principle parties in the Iraq conflict, Saddam and the United States. Both suffer heavily on the credibility front....  Logic, therefore, demands that neither Iraq nor the United States should alone define the way forward on the Iraq crisis. Clearly, the multilateral way, which seeks more time for the UN weapons inspectors and demands complete cooperation from the Iraqi regime, is the only way forward. This is not a risk-free way. Only less risky than the war route that the United States keenly proposes.... This is about wisdom, not about fear. A strict regime of political, military and economic containment of Iraq which also brings Iraq back into the mainstream may be the most viable way of preventing Iraq from threatening world security....  End quote.


"Unsatisfactory U.S. Evidence"


An editorial note in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt (2/7), "France, China and Russia have rejected the satellite pictures presented on the UNSC platform by the 'dove of peace, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. By rejecting these photographs, these countries have proven that they consider U.S. evidence more suspect than Iraq. When this is the actual situation, why try to fool the world with lame excuses?...  We must review and understand the consequences hidden in Colin Powell's statement that "the Iraqi Embassy in Pakistan is the center of links with al-Qaida. Pakistan must devise its Iraq policy keeping in mind the U.S. bias, as well as the sentiments of the nation."


"Colin Powell's Address To The Security Council"


Center-right Urdu Pakistan held (2/7), "The tone the U.S. Secretary of State adopted in his address to the Security Council and the manner in which he threatened to render UN existence meaningless cannot be condoned at all... Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri has responded to the speech by saying that a final report by the weapons inspectors must be awaited before taking any decision on Iraq. Mr. Kasuri also encouraged Iraq to respond to questions raised by the U.S. Secretary of State. However, Mr. Kasuri did not comment on the allegations leveled against the Iraqi Embassy in Islamabad. Of the ten permanent and temporary members of the Security Council, none but Britain has supported the U.S. However, all urged the U.S. to exercise restraint and asked the Council to give more time to the inspectors. But Colin Powell's speech, U.S. Spokesmen's statements, American war preparations and military exercises in Kuwait and other countries reveal U.S. plans very clearly. It must be said, though, that a unilateral U.S. strike would plunge the world into a crisis."


"U.S. Secretary Of State's Speech"


An editorial in Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic Urdu daily Jasarat held (2/7), "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech at the UNSC failed to convince the world at large that the war against Iraq was unavoidable.  The evidence that he has put forth was doubtful.  The photographs and cassettes presented by him did not provide a justification for an attack on Iraq. Colin Powell was considered to be a moderate person, but now he has started talking about war after coming under pressure from hawks in the Bush administration.  The common fear after this speech is that the U.S. would definitely go to war.  End quote.


"America's Cry Of the UN Becoming Meaningless"


Karachi-based, pro-Taliban Urdu daily Islam said (2/7), "The world and the permanent security council members have very rightly rejected the evidence presented by the U.S. Secretary of State against Iraq.  Now justice demands that the world community should acquit Iraq of all charges.  But if it cannot do it in the light of American pressure, then it should, at least, reject war, wait for the inspectors' final report and advocate a peaceful resolution of this crises through dialogue."


"U.S. Declaration Of War At UN"


Popular Urdu daily Khabrain said (2/7), "The Iraqi weapons and technology giving the U.S. sleepless nights today were given to Iraq by the U.S. itself. This proof was presented by the U.S. Secretary of State in his speech yesterday when he said that that Iraq had used 400 chemical weapons in its war against Iran...  Permanent members of the Security Council, China, France and Russia, are looking upon American activities with distaste, while British PM Blair continues to play the role of America's unpaid servant.  But this British support is only limited to Mr. Blair - the British nation is protesting President Bush's plans.  It is, however, saddening that the Muslim countries are not protesting as much as the non-Muslim countries are... We feel that the U.S. excuses in the Security Council are like beating the war-drums. Circumstances demand that this issue be resolved through dialogue, because any step taken in haste could produce negative results."


"Improbable, Not Irrefutable"


The center-right national Nation held (2/7), "What Secretary Powell has called "irrefutable" evidence of the Iraqi program of maintaining or manufacturing weapons of mass destruction at a UN Security Council session on Wednesday is littered with gaping holes. At close inspection, it is highly improbable....  The sites of the images might as well be from anywhere in the world and the dates a manipulated imposition....  The charge of mobile construction facilities having escaped the notice of eagle-eyed inspectors is rather flimsy; for, as pointed out by an Iraqi official, by their very nature they would have to be too sprawling to permit tucking them away in the event of a surprise inspection visit. The tape recording purporting to contain Iraqi officials' conversations establishing President Saddam Hussein's continued resolve to defy UN dictates to disarm would simply fall flat before an impartial tribunal. Any Arab with Iraqi accent, and there are dissidents aplenty ready to sell their services, could be hired to do the bidding....  Solution lies in letting the inspectors complete their job, as demanded by Russia, China and France and Iraq."


"Endgame On Iraq"


The Lahore-based Daily Times held (2/7), "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations last Wednesday built a case against Iraq and brought Washington almost to the point of no return. Also, the speech - replete with human, electronic and satellite intelligence "evidence" - shows that internal dissensions in the U.S. government on the war have ended. And while opposition from France, China and Russia continues, it is a matter of time before they fall in line....  The last part of his speech is a semi-veiled threat of unilateral action: 'We wanted to go through you (UN), but since you have chosen to frustrate us, we will go in alone and sideline you.'  So this is the moment of reckoning....  The opponents know this is the endgame. They must decide whether to keep on opposing the U.S. and risk being deprived of any post-war dividends or jump on the bandwagon as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, Mr. Powell's reference to the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad being a liaison between Baghdad and al-Qaida is most intriguing. General Musharraf says nothing of the sort happened and if it did, the government of Pakistan was not aware of it. This shows clearly, and more than ever before, that the government of Pakistan is walking a tight rope. Like most American allies, General Pervez Musharraf does not like the idea of war in Iraq. But like most of them, he has no choice but to stand with America and make the best of a bad situation."


RUSSIA:  "Emotions Prevail Over Facts"


Vadim Markushin held in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (2/7):  "The speech was long-winded and delivered in the best tradition of American rhetoric, with emotions clearly prevailing over facts.  The arguments as laid out by the chief of the State Department lack the most important thing, absolute proof that Iraq has been involved in terrorist acts and has WMD ready to be used against the United States and its allies.  With Washington constantly invoking the law, Baghdad's intentions don't count since they are hypothetical."


"Washington Fails"


Vitaliy Gun asserted in neo-communist weekly Slovo (2/7):  "Even in America today, serious observers would not call the White House-produced evidence valid.  The general opinion is that Washington has failed to change the balance of forces in favor of a military operation against Saddam's regime."


"Bombshell It Is Not"


Maksim Makarychev argued in official Rossiyskaya Gazeta (2/7):  "Stylistically, it was an impeccable piece of oratory.... Special service analysts did a great job, presenting some evidence so the man in the street, anyone with an impressionable heart, has no doubts that Saddam is a criminal and ought to be punished.  There is one 'but' about it, though.  The U.S. report would have been invaluable had Saddam been caught red-handed.   So a bombshell it was not to be.  What Powell said was no revelation to savvy diplomats."


"There's No Averting War"


Reformist business-oriented Kommersant commented (2/7):  "The Powell speech, so it seems, has resulted in no big changes in the alignment of forces on the issue of Iraq.  It has made it clear that war is inevitable.  That being so, those who are against the war must think of not how to avert it but of what line of action they should pick now.  It looks like Russia has made its choice....  What the Secretary of State has definitely succeeded in is convincing his fellow countrymen that armed action is a must."


"World Shocked Into State Of Trepidation"


Reformist Vremya Novostey carried this commentary (2/6):  "Divided on the subject of war in the Persian Gulf, the world is nonetheless preparing for it.  This in spite of the fact that Secretary of State Colin Powell fell short of doing what U.S. Ambassador Edlai Stevenson did in the autumn of 1962, when he silenced Soviet officials by producing satellite-taken pictures of Soviet rockets in Cuba.   Powell was not as convincing as he was eloquent, even though he spoke for a full hour and a half....  It could be that the Americans did not tell everything for fear of disclosing their methods and sources.  Their arguments in favor of a military operation seem weak, anyway.  You can interpret them either way, depending on whether you are for war or against it....  The world's reaction has been one of mistrust.  Speaking more precisely, everyone stands his/her ground....  Powell's speech has made divisions in the world even deeper, causing more complications inside many countries."


"There's Nothing There"


Igor Fedyukhin wrote in business-oriented Vedomosti (2/6):  "Secretary of State Colin Powell submitted to the UN Security Council one more illustration of Saddam Hussein possibly hiding WMD from the inspectors.  This evidence is circumstantial, too, but, because of it, the Euro has fallen slightly against the dollar....  Washington remains firm, insisting that Baghdad should prove its innocence to the UN.  The Administration has made it plain that it can by rights launch an invasion without UN authorization, based on November's resolution 1441 alone.  Washington is of the opinion that it just does a favor to the UN by discussing the matter with the organization."


"The Ruse"


Mariya Zelezneva remarked in reformist Novyye Izvestiya (2/6):  "References to a need to protect 'sources and methods' are clever.  You can use them to parry all charges by participants in yesterday's session that the 'disclosed' intelligence is nothing new."


"U.S. Tries To Rewrite Law"


Valeriy Panyushkin stated in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (2/6):  "Generally accepted norms presuppose that even an exposed criminal has a right to use a lawyer, open hearings, competition between the sides, the benefit of alleviating circumstances, and a jury.  Open hearings are the most important of all....   It appears that the United States is trying to rewrite international law so Iraq looks like a criminal."


SPAIN:  "Learning The Lesson"


Ramon-Perez Maura observed in conservative ABC (2/7):  "Javier Solana...said yesterday that Secretary Powell's UN presentation was 'very solid'.....  Wars are supremely unhappy facts that we should try to avoid. That is why no one wants them.  But, when deciding if there is nothing left to do but to wage them, we shouldn't take measure popular sentiment, but rather, the [judgment] those who know what is at stake and what the alternatives are."


"Pacifism And Aggression"


Hermann Tertsch said in eft-of-center El País "(2/7):  "It is quite funny to see how those who discredit Bush and U.S. citizens in general for being simplistic show unanimous simplicity themselves, adopting the same attitude of moral superiority as any Methodist community in the heartland of America and refusing to understand anything....  The risks are immense, both in acting and in not doing it.  We may be in favor or against and express it, but it is advisable to always try to understand the other, perhaps even more so if he is the one determining what is going to happen."


"The U.S.' Reasons"


Left-of-center El País wrote (2/6): "The United States has strengthened its case against Saddam Hussein....  It's difficult to imagine a step backwards from Bush’s military plans, after listening to the string of indicators that reinforce the supposition that the Iraqi dictator has violated the unanimous 1441 resolution through the hiding of biological and chemical weapons....  From the documents that Washington has decided to finally share with the international community, to an observer of good faith, it can be deduced that Baghdad had embarked before the arrival of the inspectors on a plan of concealment....  Washington cannot loose reason, which is assisting [it's case], by ignoring international legality.  But the danger [Saddam] represents...does not justify  unilateral, immediate and, by any reckoning, disproportionate action....  Nobody can predict the consequences of a war in the Middle East, and the impact in the Moslem world of an U.S. occupation of Iraq.  But there are enough signs to judge that the risks are of a nature that make the last option the military one."


"There Are Reasons For Keeping Saddam In His Place, But Not For Attacking Iraq"


Independent El Mundo wrote (2/6): "U.S. Secretary of State provided some serious pieces of evidence that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, but failed in his attempt to prove the links of [Saddam's] regime with Al Qaeda...  Powell played an important card yesterday and... this emphasizes the pressure from the countries that are demanding an extension of inspector's mandate.  If Powell and Bush want to be coherent with their search for international support, they should put aside their threats to act unilaterally and accept the prolongation of the inspector's mandate...they should try to generate a consensus for a second resolution that would serve to put the handcuffs even more on Saddam, but this would not be a blank check for an invasion...Yesterday's meeting of the Security Council corroborates that there are reasons for keeping international pressure on the Iraqi leader and even for approving new diplomatic and economic sanctions, but that there still is not a clear justification for war."


"Bush's Evidence"


Conservative La Razon wrote (2/6/): "Colin Powell limited himself... to showing some loose facts, that are perhaps insignificant if you consider them in an individual way, but in totality they paint a pretty troubling shadow of suspicion about the real intentions of Saddam." 


SYRIA:  "Between Exposed Invasion and Required Arab Stand"


Dr. Khalaf al-Jarad, chief editor of government-owned Tishreen, editorialized (2/10):  "Regardless of whether Powell's 'irrefutable evidence; which he presented to the Security Council in a Hollywood fashion and a style reminiscent of magic shows, was wholly or partially lifted from a dissertation by an Iraqi student in California... This evidence, by any assessment, is no more than a scandal and a farce...  It was unconvincing, unreasonable and illogical. The best description of it was stated by the British journalist, Robert Fisk, who described it as 'old soup, which was newly reheated....  At a time when everyone is focusing on Iraq's alleged WMD, the real goals behind the US Administration's insistence on invading Iraq remain absent. To seize Iraqi oil and impose a siege on Iraqi scientists and researchers, to isolate them suspend their scientific activities and maybe even deporting them outside Iraq; all this only serves to maintain Israeli supremacy as the pre-eminent scientific and technical power in the region....  Powell testified before the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee that changing the regime in Baghdad will be a prelude to reshaping the Middle East in a way to promote US interests and help end the Arab-Israeli conflict.  This is the core issue... Arab existence has become jeopardized.  This compulsory prescription for democracy will spare nobody. Reorganization and reformation will come only after demolishing Iraq and exterminating its people.  Have Arab leaders listened to President Asad's call for Arab cautiousness and solidarity in the face of the coming storm?"


"Rumsfeld Continues his Attack against 'Old Europe'"


Shawkat Abu Fakhr, an op-ed writer in government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote (2/10):  "Rumsfeld described Europe as 'old' in reference to Paris and Berlin a month ago; today he says that Germans have no role. The US Administration will continue categorizing against those who oppose its policy and believe a war against Iraq is unjustifiable as long as inspectors continue their work with positive cooperation from Baghdad...  The old Europe that opposes war has not convinced the US Administration, but at the same time it will not conform to Washington's logic of power possibly due to the wisdom of old-age.  If Europe's fault lies in its old-age, at least it has logic and experience... Americans have forgotten the lessons of history as they prepare for the second war of the century. They will be repeat others' mistakes by denying principles they have advocated in the near past..."


"U.S. Pretexts"


Ahmad Hamadah, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote (2/6):  "Anyone who followed the direction of the U.S. wind preceding Secretary Powell's alleged evidence about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and its linkage with al-Qaida and international terrorism immediately realized that the issue had nothing to do with presenting evidence, rather it is merely a new U.S. attempt to militarize the world against Iraq and fabricate lies to justify Washington's military misadventure....  The alleged evidence was no more than a link in the chain of war against Iraq, the goal of which is not to help the inspectors find weapons of mass destruction, but rather to invade Iraq and establish a new scheme for Iraq and the region....  If the U.S. administration is serious in its claims, shouldn't it have presented its evidence to the inspectors? The inspections have been taking place for more than two months; if the US possesses definite information it should have presented it to Blix and  Al-Baradei to implement UN Resolution 1441. It didn't because such evidence is no more than a collection of weak and unconvincing pretexts. Powell himself acknowledged that he had no irrefutable evidence."


"Reforming The UN Is The Answer"


Fouad Mardoud, chief editor of the government-owned Syria Times, editorialized (2/6):  "It was a sad time for the idea of the United Nations as a chamber of wisdom and peacemaking.  Colin Powell's speech at the Security Council represents a tragic event in the Council's deliberations, and illustrates the need for quick and dramatic reform of the world's body.  Keeping international peace and resolving the world's conflicts will require greater leadership from the United Nations than has been in evidence in recent years....  The time has come to reform the UN and liberate it from American hegemony and disdain. The February 5 meeting of the UNSC showed how much the Bush Administration scorns the United Nations and the contempt it holds for others' views."


"Americans Are Themselves Engaging In Deception"


Government-run Damascus Radio commentary maintained (2/5):  "The (U.S.) tone has started taking on a new and rather strange turn. This tone indicates confusion on the one hand, and an exaggerated insistence on launching an aggressive war against Iraq and its people on the other, regardless of reasons, justifications, and pretexts....   They (Americans) said the evidence would be very convincing and would support the idea that Baghdad is not honestly cooperating and is attempting to remove or hide equipment behind the inspectors' backs, as (Powell) he put it.  In keeping with this new approach, there were references accusing Iraq of eavesdropping on the inspectors and claims that their work has been hampered. In addition, there were those who volunteered to provide special information personally obtained from a source inside Iraq and other such naive talk that shows disregard for the issues to be discussed in the Security Council's meeting today. They (Americans) also show deception in seeking to achieve a floating resolution or a position that does not conform to any measure of justice, logic and law."


"The Iraqi Issue Between Facts And Evaluations" 


Dr. Mahdi Dakhlallah, editor-in-chief of government-owned Al-Ba'th, editorialized (2/5): "The mountain has given birth to a mouse!  The American Secretary of State's report to the UNSC did not present anything new to justify the eagerness of war-mongers on both sides of the Atlantic.  Rather the report presented a collection of hypotheses and personal evaluations presented in an aggressive speech.   At best the speech included unconfirmed information that needs to be reviewed and verified by the inspection teams.  Anyone who listened to the report would imagine that Iraq is a great power that manufactures all kinds of weapons of mass destruction. But is it logical for a country that has been suffering an economic and political siege for over 12 years to produce all these advanced weapons?  The writer of the report unintentionally admitted what he termed 'Iraq's genius' in manufacturing and hiding all these weapons.  Does this mean that the powers that are watching Iraq with their advanced technological eyes are stupid?  Or do we find ourselves in front of the clash of geniuses? (i.e. the U.S. versus Iraq).  As for the information about a link between al-Qaida and Iraq, this raises the question for which everyone knows the answer:  Which is the 'superpower' that established al-Qaida and supported it, and set up many other 'Qaidas' in the different corners of the world?  Which is the 'superpower' that has supported organized Israeli state terrorism since the establishment of the Zionist entity?  The one who does not have material evidence for his accusations uses illogical exhortations of the type: 'Believe me... because I am saying the truth.'  And such an exhortation is followed up with the threatening tone along the lines of 'we... or else!'  The chief of American diplomacy used this expression and stressed that the UNSC must either 'shoulder its responsibilities' or it will be a 'useless forum.'  So the question now is:  Is the objective of all of this (rhetoric) to find a way to salvage peace or to find 'justifications for declaring war?"



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