International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

February 21, 2003

February 21, 2003





** Most foreign media credited the anti-war protests for sending a "strong signal" to the U.S. that the "global tide" of opposition to an Iraq war was not an endorsement of Saddam's regime.

** Skeptics, primarily but not exclusively in conservative outlets, dismissed the demonstrators as "naive," warning that displays of anti-American "hysteria" would play into Saddam's hands.

** Observers spilt on the protests' impact: some held they took the momentum away from the "rush to war," but more decided they would not change Washington's war plans.




Protests represent a 'global vote' against war, not support for Saddam-- Writers worldwide, applauding the "global tide for peace," stressed while the protests were anti-war, they were not pro-Saddam.  Oslo's social democratic Dagavisen argued that it would behoove war opponents to be "very careful" to show that "the resistance to war in Iraq has totally different reasons than a desire to support a tyrant."  A Saudi paper likewise insisted that the "marches ought to be understood as sympathy for the Iraqi people but not as sympathy with the regime in Baghdad."  Many outlets celebrated the global mobilization of anti-war sentiment.  The opposition is not "confined to Arabs or Muslims alone," declared Pakistan's independent national Dawn, adding that "the whole world has united in a common struggle for peace."  Some Arab writers, notably in Cairo and Jerusalem, voiced regret at the lack of participation by the Arab street, while the rest of the world stood "in the face of American tyranny."


Concern that anti-war protests and anti-U.S. slogans may play into Saddam's hands-- Many writers worried that the protests might have sent the wrong signal to Saddam.  Putting Saddam Hussein on notice, the conservative Trinidad Guardian held that "it would be tragic and futile...for Iraq to interpret the wide international distaste for war as anything but an urgent demand for its compliance with UN requirements."  Arab media also called for Saddam to step up to the plate.  A Lebanese daily issued this warning: "Baghdad has to heed the same call as Washington by cooperating unreservedly with the inspectors."  A number of European writers advised "global pacifists" not to succumb to the easy temptation of "anti-Americanism." 


Bush 'indifferent' to public opinion; U.S. trying to 'impose its will'-- Many liberal and left-leaning outlets were incensed by the Bush administration's perceived "disdain" for world opinion.  These critics shared the liberal Toronto Star's indignation that "George W. Bush himself and his Praetorian Guard are as contemptuous of outside opinions as any old Roman."  Capturing the sense of despair, liberal Folha de Sao Paulo found it "very unlikely that the unprecedented global mobilization [against war with Iraq] will dissuade Bush and his allies from his plan to depose Saddam Hussein through military means."

EDITOR:  Irene Marr

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 65 reports from 41 countries over Feb. 15-20.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed by most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Message to Baghdad"


The liberal Guardian opined (2/19):  "At this argumentative moment in the Iraq crisis, a few basic points bear repeating, lest Saddam Hussein mistake the west's message and miscalculate, as in 1991, with fatal consequences.  The UN, the EU and most Arab countries are fully agreed on the necessity of Iraqi disarmament.  Disputes and debate about how this is best achieved,and how quickly, should not be misinterpreted in Baghdad as a weakening of this long-standing, non-negotiable, core demand....  Last weekend's marchers do not support war.  But they do not support Saddam either.  Nobody does.  He would indeed be silly to rely upon Jacques Chirac to get him off the hook. Saddam must understand the U.S.-shaped reality that if he backslides now, he has perhaps a maximum of four weeks before the 101st Airborne ends the discussion in the worst possible way."


ITALY:  “Peace Marches Do Not Stop Bush”


Stefano Trincia reported from New York in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero (2/19):  “His face was tired, his expression was tense, as if he were feeling a growing sense of isolation and doubts about the war within the same Administration.  George Bush accepts the challenge coming from the pacifist masses all over the war. And reaffirms that the war remains his ‘last option,’ but nothing will move him away from the aim of disarming Saddam through force if necessary....  The Bush Administration is ready to wait some days in the hope of gaining some support at the UNSC. “


“The Non-existent Warmonger”


Piero Ostellino commented on the front page of centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/19):  “We do not want to delegitimize peace marches...but we think that the only real way to avoid a war is to convince Saddam to disarm in full respect of UN resolution 1441....  Indeed, pacifists should not march for peace, but for the removal of the causes for a war.  If they don’t do this, it means that the fact that Saddam possesses WMD is not a problem.  It is a legitimate opinion, but it denies the UN.”


“The President And The Squares”


Vittorio Zucconi wrote on the front page of left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (2/19):  “The marches of global pacifists produced the opposite effect the protesters were hoping for: Bush reacted with a nationalistic reflex.  It has changed the ‘option’ of the war into the ‘duty’ of a war....  Indeed, when a President...invokes the duty to protect his country; he touches upon a very deep and absolute chord.... Therefore, there is a psychological abyss...between the Europeans, who still think the war is the ‘last goddess,’ and the Americans, who see it as the lesser evil to avoid the bigger evil....  The protests worldwide...sped up the ‘war council’ around the President....  Many Europeans see the possible second resolution as a life vest to avoid the invasion.  Bush, and the American people who follow him, still see it as an obstacle.”


GERMANY:  “The New Peace Movement”


Joachim Kaeppner noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/17):  "The broad alliance of protesters, ranging from opponents of globalization to Christian conservatives,  gives rise to the hope that the new peace movement will not fall prey to old temptations, for example the tendency to embrace moralizing self-righteousness.  However, the road being taken by ‘Attac’ and others raises doubts.  ‘Attac’ has contributed a lot to the protests’ theoretical foundation, but its astute criticism of neo-liberalism has become a simple belief in conspiracy--‘No Blood for Oil.’  Such a position is just one step away from another temptation: anti-American sentiment.  However, these forces are not yet in control.  For now, the protests are concerned with the facts at hand.”


"The Right Of The Stronger One”


Jan-Eric Peters judged on the front-page editorial of right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/17):  "Let us follow the protesters’ wishes and imagine that the U.S. gives up on military action as a last resort.  What then?…  Demonstrations are governed by emotions, and reason has a hard time making itself heard.  Nevertheless, policy decision have to be reasonable....  With resolution 1441, the UNSC has unanimously declared Iraqi disarmament the primary goal of the international community.  It has threatened ‘serious consequences’ if Iraq violates the resolution--which it has been doing consistently and stubbornly.”


“Quod Erat Demonstrandum”


Stephan Hebel observed in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (2/17):  "The protesters succeeded in making one thing very clear: The arguments of the war mongers cannot be reconciled with the political morality of a great number of people.  It was not simply diffuse fear of war that made millions take to the streets.  It was also the legitimate impression that the Bush administration’s verbal pathos hides too many motives, taking away the justification for war....  There are no signs that the U.S. administration is going to take the protesters’ arguments to heart....  President Bush is making it relatively easy for people to be against this war.  If Washington were able to point to aggressive behavior in violation of international law (as in the first Iraq war) or to flagrant genocide (as in ex-Yugoslavia), the ‘no’ to war would not nearly be as loud.”


BELGIUM:  "Yankee Go Home, The Sequel" 


Director Frans Crols commented in business weekly Trends (2/20), “The majority of the demonstrators last Saturday in Brussels--a coalition of the extreme left, Third World-ists, Utopians, immigrants, professional demonstrators, neo-Marxists disguised as Greens, SP.A, a few CD&V individuals, and some VLD people--gave the impression that they are dissatisfied with the fact that they have to live in a world that opted after 1989 for the free market, sympathy for entrepreneurs, free trade, liberalization of energy, telecom and transportation companies, and Western values.  Iraq is an opportunity and chiding America is a reaction of anger against the things that the European extreme left had to give up after 1989:  The hope to separate itself from the United States and to become a member of the workers’ paradise.” 


POLAND: "Bush's Defeat"


Leopold Unger opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (2/18): "Bush has one more war to fight, but he has already lost one war. The first is a real, military war-and if it occurs, he is sure to win it.... But he has lost the battle for the souls of people, and he did it himself.... Ignoring the old saying that you should not justify a war before you start it, he behaved like an opera tenor who keeps singing the same aria announcing he is all ready to go-but who won't move. A couple of months sufficed for the movement against the war to gain its own momentum."


"Anything But Not War"


Marcin Bosacki commented in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (2/17): "Among the millions of people who protested against a war on Iraq were also thoughtless radicals who say that 'American imperialism' is the main enemy and Bush is Hitler. But most of them were people who simply do not want war.... The scale of today's protests should be a strong signal to the U.S. and its allies: you did not convince the public that threat from Saddam cannot be eliminated without an immediate war. Strong, sometimes patronizing, rhetoric by leading U.S. politicians was certainly no help. This does not mean that America is not right in its estimate of the scale of threats. Iraq has been cheating on WMD for more than a decade.... People do not want war. Politicians must find a response to the threat. It is a duty both for the U.S. that is pushing for war, and its cautious opponents-Germany and France. May it not be too late."




Oldest Sarajevo daily, with limited circulation, Oslobodjenje carried a commentary by Daniel Omeragic in which the author noted (2/12): "Disapproval of the U.S. invasion on Iraq is most probably the only thing on which both Sarajevo and Banja Luka agree.... Peaceful anti-war demonstrations are scheduled for Friday in Sarajevo.  Those demonstrations will be organized by artists, singers, film directors, etc... The actor presenting himself as the organizer claims he is neither on the side of George Bush nor Saddam Hussein.  It is a good thing when artists wake up and raise their voice.  It is a good thing that finally an anti-war voices can be heard in whole Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, a danger exists that 'bad elements' could infiltrate themselves among the demonstrators; and anti-American hysteria is the last thing Bosnia and Herzegovina needs."


IRELAND: "Now Work For Peace"


The conservative, populist Irish Independent editorialized (2/17):  "The government under-estimated the broad basis for anti-war feeling. It was not protest for protest's sake but a deep seated antagonism to a planned assault that has in its structure too much of revenge for September 11 and for terrorism generally, and too little based on the proven threat of Iraq's leader as a war monger....  Because of this (marches) they appear to have produced changes of attitude, both in London and Washington, with the time-scale altered, the role of Hans Blix reinforced, and the determination of the Pentagon and of the Bush-led administration temporarily softened....There is a case for combining it with a different sanctions regime and the possible release onto the international market again of Iraqi oil. Ireland, along with a majority of other countries, places its trust in the United Nations. It does not want to see the organisation used by powerful member-states such as the United States as a rubber stamp for war.....It is up to the United Nations to move beyond the present narrow policing and detection role on the presence of weapons of mass destruction to one that is broader and more positive, extending the principle of directing Iraq on what the world sees as civilised and proper behaviour."


"Protests Put Pressure On Warmongers"


The centrist Irish Examiner argued (2/17): "If US President George W. Bush or Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had any illusion about the strength of anti-war sentiment around the globe or in this country, it was dispelled when millions of people took to the streets over the weekend to deliver the loud message that they don't want war.  Not since the Vietnam was has there been such an outpouring of opposition to conflict...His intransigence and irrationality make him the most dangerous president ever produced by America....Taoiseach Bertie Ahern should realize that anti-war does not mean anti-American.  Even in the United States, as evidenced by the weekend protest and by recent US polls, the tide has turned against war, deepening the Bush administration's isolation...Perhaps Mr Bush should heed the advice of former American President Richard Nixon, who famously said it was time the United States lectured its friends in Europe less and listened to them more."


NORWAY:  “Saddam Thanks”


Social democratic Dagsavisen commented (2/19):  “Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein thanks the demonstrators in the whole world for the efforts on Saturday.  It probably couldn’t be avoided.  But the resistance to war in Iraq has totally different reasons than a desire to support a tyrant in Baghdad.  The war opponents must be very careful in pointing that out on all occasions. A world without Saddam Hussein will still be a better world.”


PORTUGAL: "Head And Heart"


Respected center-left Diário de Notícias editor-in-chief Mário Bettencourt Resendes editorialized (2/16): "[...] The enormous popular participation in peace demonstrations that took place yesterday in countries where citizens can freely express their opinions is not surprising.  And the possibility of avoiding a military confrontation that would spare the already so-martyred Iraqi people would be met with generalized and understandable relief.  There are, however, moments in history when political leaders have the obligation to manage to look beyond the crowds.... Let's be clear about this: for the overwhelming majority of the millions of people who demonstrated yesterday on the streets of the free world, the villain of this story is in Washington, not Baghdad.  And the responsibility for this lies with the politicians that--could not or would not--end up giving priority in the current international crisis to safeguarding the transatlantic alliance."


"The Aim of Peace"


In an editorial in influential moderate-left Público, deputy editor-in-chief Nuno Pacheco argued (2/16): "[...] These demonstrations were an unequivocal signal that war must truly be a last resort as in fact determined by the UN, and only admissible after all negotiating channels have been exhausted.  And this signal must be accepted by the politicians with seriousness and maximum consideration. There are those who warn about the danger of confusing the powerful clamor from the streets with an exculpation of Saddam Hussein's regime and his juggler's tricks....  But it is doubtful such a mistake would spread [from Baghdad] to the rest of the world, because the peace now being demanded on the streets can only be seen and accepted as an imperative of conscience, not as an act of capitulation to anyone.  Much less to someone who violates or defies international law.  The aim of this peace can only be to induce Saddam to see himself more and more obligated to comply with UN resolutions without reservations.  And for those most anxious for military action to return to the limits agreed upon at the United Nations, within the framework of international law.... These demonstrations were a kind of global vote.  May everyone see them that way."


"The Revolt of Public Opinion"


State-owned RTP-TV news broadcaster Judite de Sousa contributed this op-ed to leading circulation, Porto-based center-left  Jornal de Notícias (2/15):  "The United States and the governments that support a war have still not managed to explain the reasons for an attack.... Governing by polls is dangerous and inhibits the ability and obligation to act and make decisions.  By the same token, acting against public opinion, governments are subverting the democratic rules and compromising their legitimacy.... Since September 11, 2001, Americans have been living with fear and want security.  Bush presents himself as the face of a divine-like mission to combat terrorism and fight evil.  Saddam is a demon in the eyes of Americans and, as such, will have to be exterminated.  But this vision is too simplistic for the Europeans who bring to the streets of Paris, Brussels, London or Berlin a heritage that recalls another framework of mentalities and values."


SPAIN:"The PSOE [Spanish Socialist Party] Turns down the EU Consensus"


Conservative ABC wrote (2/19): The distinction in contemporary political theory is well-known between 'the democracy of reason' and the 'democracy of protest.'...  Nobody wants war and it is not easy to define concepts as subtle as 'preventive war' or 'sufficient pressure' in relation to international peace and security.... But in this way [of the Aznar government] it is possible to initiate a process which adapts the unequivocal position of Spain in favor of our democratic allies and against the tyranny of Saddam...with the firm 'no' to war expressed by the citizens in Spanish streets and it many other countries."


SWEDEN: "Naive And Simplification"


Independent, liberal Stockholm morning  Dagens Nyheter's editorial writer Maria Carlshamre commented (2/16):  "These were the largest demonstrations in decades. The nice weather likely helped but there is also no doubt that there is a broad group opposing the upcoming war against Iraq. But not by a majority of the Swedes--six out of ten support a war sanctioned by the UN... But many of the banners were characterized by extreme simplification. To the demonstrators Bush and Blair are the problem, not Saddam Hussein...  Those who demonstrated for peace without realizing that they thereby played into Saddam Hussein's hands are more than naive. They support the war that Saddam has waged for more than two decades against his own people."


"Marching Against War"


The independent, liberal Stockholm morning Dagens Nyheter editorialized (2/16): "Now the popular disapproval (against a war against Iraq) is demonstrated being manifest all over the world. Nobody, except Saddam Hussein, are likely to listen to those who maintain that nothing should be done, that he should be left alone. But the U.S. has all the reason to take seriously the opposition against an imminent and unilateral American attack. On this issue demonstrators and state leaders speak in one voice.


TURKEY:  "Better To Stand Against Both The War And Saddam"


Mehmet Barlas wrote in mass appeal Aksam (2/19):  "The Saddam regime considers Chirac and Schoreder as well as those anti-war masses as its allies....  Turkey should think about the benefits of Iraq with or without Saddam to itself as well as to the humanity.  Recent history will tell us about the consequences of having despotic regimes within Turkey's immediate neighborhood....  In the example of today's Iraq, neither Kurds, nor Shiites or Turkomans are safe and secure.  We just don't know exactly how many intellectually-brilliant Iraqis were killed only because of their opposition to Saddam.  Saying 'no' to war is well enough to count you a member of the masses, yet it requires a certain degree of intellectualism to be able to say 'no' both to a war and to Saddam as well."




EGYPT: "Finally Arabs Are Moving"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama noted (2/16): "Although UNSC discussions unveiled America's isolation, it was necessary that Egypt call for an Arab summit to move still Arab waters.... It was illogical that the entire world act, through demonstrations...while Arabs remained silent and watched the catastrophe....  It was illogical that [world countries] stand in the face of American tyranny, which is starting in Iraq and aims to re-map the Middle East according to its own whims...while Arabs only are saying America cannot be stopped. But Arab countries that have the right and interest in peace and war can take a unified position and declare strongly that they oppose a strike on Iraq."


"Good Morning"


Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar's senior columnist Said Sonbol wrote (2/16): "It was not logical or acceptable that countries of the world express their opinion about the Iraqi crisis while Arabs remained silent.... Truly they expressed condemnation of the war and expressed their opinion about American threats and agreed to reject war - not for love of Saddam and his dictatorship, which brought catastrophes and defeats to the Arab world- but out of fear for Iraqis and the entire region. But it is also true that Arab nations were searched for a unified Arab position...and found only silence. Thus it was good President Mubarak called for an emergency summit.... There is great hope that it...results in a unified Arab position which might reach the ears of the world and American decision makers and they might be encouraged to avoid the horrors of war."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Era of the People"   


Jeddah’s Conservative, Al-Madina editorialized (2/17): Those millions who went out in capitol cities all over the world yesterday, objecting to the expected attack on Iraq from the U.S., definitely aren’t defending Saddam Hussein or Iraq’s independence...More than ten million people said: ’NO, not in our names,’ ‘Drop Bush not Bombs,’ and ’No Oil for Blood.’ None of them hold a grudge against America, some of them even are American, and they also don’t love Iraq.  They are aware of their power and believe that no matter how small their numbers may be, their protests can still change the world’s destiny and avert a war, which will kill the blameless...The awareness of the people of the consequences of a one-power domination of the world is the main motive in the angry demonstrations against the U.S.,Bush and the Pentagon team.  The Iraqi regime should not misunderstand this message, as most of its own and its neighbors’ catastrophes are the result of Saddam’s misunderstanding of opinions and events.  What happened and what is happening in the world streets has no meaning except that we are living in an era of the people, which the Iraqi regime should figure out.


"Them And Us, Advantages And Destiny" 


Jeddah’s moderate, Okaz editorialized (2/17): "International opinion puts the U.S. in a very tough corner, where for the first time she finds herself facing international official and public opinion which objects to the war and the U.S. unilateral policy, that it, alone, can decide to go to war.... This war isn’t targeting the Iraqi regime only.  The liberation of Kuwait or the concern for oil aren’t even considered in the American calculation but rather, the destiny of the whole region....  If some countries are defending advantage and some are defending principle, we, as Arab countries, governments and people, must defend the Arab destiny."


"Noble Feelings And Opportunistic Policies"


London’s influential, ASharq Al-Awsat editorialized (2/16):  "Yesterday’s marches ought to be understood as sympathy for the Iraqi people... But they should not be viewed as sympathy with the regime in Baghdad... Furthermore, the marches of yesterday, which were the largest since the Vietnam war, raise a very essential question: Will the Iraqi people one day obtain freedom to organize their own demonstrations against their government’s policies?... It is evident that there is a growing international tendency that believes that the Iraqi question has not yet been debated in an appropriate and sufficient way." 


"Millions Against The Trap" 


London’s pan-Arab, Al-Hayat ran an editorial by Zohair Qosibaty (2/16):  "When millions of people say ‘No War,’ this means a lot, not only because they are concerned about Iraq and its oil or security in the Gulf, but because it is an angry scream to object to President Bush and his administration’s efforts to dominate the world as if it is the White House.... Those millions who crowded together yesterday say ‘Stop’ to American domination and to its special champions of this administration, who claim the absolute right to determine what is good or evil...A lot of people feel happy for the slap Washington received yesterday in the U.N.S.C. because the world and the U.S. use of blackmail with September 11th didn’t go over that well and it will not... All those millions who voted against this war denounced the American trap."


"Another America"


English language Arab News editorialized (2/16):  "In the United States, the difference of opinion between Washington, Paris and Berlin on what to do with Iraq is being presented by politicians and the press as a rift between the good and the ungrateful, the selfless and the selfish...But that is talking about governments. When it comes to people, it is a different picture and that picture says that never has the United States has been more isolated or more mistaken. Across Europe, across the world yesterday, from India to Iceland, from Australia to the Arctic, millions upon millions took to the streets to reject war as the way to deal with Saddam Hussein. The fact that across the United States, too, people demonstrated in the tens of thousands against war is the most encouraging aspect of yesterday’s protests.... There is another America, an America that is on the side of justice and integrity. This rift over Iraq is not about America against the world. It is about the White House against the world.  Sadly, President Bush seems to think that everyone else is wrong, and he alone is right. He may be even more dangerously deluded than we imagine.


WEST BANK:  “One Hundred Million Demonstrators And Our Absence”


Hasan al-Kashif wrote in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (2/17):  “One hundred million...said no to the American war on Iraq, and we, the Arabs, did not participate with one million of these millions.  The Arabs, rulers and subjects, were absent from the scene when humanity stood against the decision and goals of the American war on Iraq....  We know that the American war will target the Arabs and not Iraq alone.  We know that it will target the regimes, despite the silence of some, the collusion of some, and the weak voice of some.  We know that the sovereignty of the Arabs, their national resources and security, and the territorial integrity and unity of their countries will be the target of direct American domination.  This is exactly what Secretary Powell said before the Congress a few days ago.”


LEBANON:  "Saddam Is Not Alone In Having To Act Quickly"


The English-language Daily Star (2/18):  "The combination of massive public protests in the West, a relatively positive report from U.N. weapons inspectors, and the Franco-German initiative seems to have at least delayed the onset of a U.S.-lead war against Iraq.  One thing that all these factors have in common is they amounted to calls to 'give peace a chance' by allowing the inspection process to run its course.  The effect has been widely interpreted as a message to Washington that it should hold off on its invasion plans.  There are other parties, however, that must also threat the opening widow as an opportunity to do more than mark time:  Baghdad has to heed the same call as Washington by cooperating unreservedly with the inspectors; and Arab regimes in general must, at long last, throw themselves into reform."


MOROCCO: "Citizens Of The World"


Front-page commentary in government coalition, French-language, USFP party Liberation on (2/19): "The war in Iraq will definitely take place.  All experts say so. This has become a fact that should convince the peoples of the world to give in to the submission imposed by the Bush administration. ... Last week, thousands of people demonstrated against the war. It is certain that political decisions are not made in the streets but democracy depends on the reaction of the same streets. ... Blair and Straw do not have any choice but to listen to their voice of their people, the English people, nourished by the most ancient democratic culture."


SYRIA:  "Ill-intentioned Concern"


Ahmad Dawa, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote (2/19):  "Logically, based on continued U.S. claims of encouraging democracy and promoting it internationally, the U.S. Administration should take into consideration the anti-war public opinion, or at least U.S. public opinion, that rejects the Bush Administration's for war.  It should reshape its policies in accordance with the demonstrators' demands. But as expected, the U.S. Administration has ignored the demands of U.S. public opinion, the simplest elements with democracy. It is giving no heed to world public opinion....  The Anglo-American concern about linking UN support of war to concern about its {[S's] credibility, hides a U.S. endeavor to disturb the UN and prevent it from reclaiming its role. But the United States is not concerned about the UN reclaiming its credibility as Bush and Blair claim.  The recent Security Council discussions, reflecting the rift between the United States and the UK on the one hand and the rest of the Security Council members on the other, has placed the United States in front of two crises: first, the difficulty for the Security Council to pass a resolution authorizing a war as long as the inspectors have failed to find any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or register any violation of resolution 1441; second, the U.S. administration's concern that this showdown will be an important step for the UN to restore its credibility after a semi- absence over the last decade due to U.S. policies."


TUNISIA: "February 15: Is it a Turning Point in the History of Humanity?"


Commentary editor Abdelmajid Haouachi, stated in the independent French-daily newspaper Le Quotidien (2/19): "Will the movement of the planetary demonstrations of last February 15 against the war in Iraq inaugurate a new era in the struggle against the U.S. neo-imperialism? ...It is no doubt that the drama of the Iraqi people, subject to draconian sanctions since 12 years, has galvanized the international public opinion in its reaction against the war.  But we still should say that the injustices and horror perpetrated by the Hebrew State against the Palestinian people are also among the origin of this international pacifist consciousness awakening.  Since the beginning of the 21st century, images of war crimes against humanity, perpetrated by the holy American-Zionist alliance in the Arab region, have not ceased to burst out in televisions worldwide.  Added to this are the horrors of the Afghani war, and the human catastrophe into which Afghanistan has been plunged. Neither the misinformation nor the manipulations have succeeded to divert the bloody truth about what the U.S. and some of its allies will do to dominate the world by using violence and blood."




AUSTRALIA: “Anti-War Protests A Reminder Of Political Consequences Of Backing U.S.”

The liberal Age editorialized (2/18):   “In his campaign to disarm Iraq, by war if necessary, President George Bush appears to be eyeball to eyeball with a tenacious new adversary: millions of people who flooded the cities around the world to say they are against war based on the evidence at hand....  The fresh outpouring of anti-war sentiment may not be enough to dissuade Mr Bush or his advisers from their resolute preparations for war. But the sheer number of protesters offers a potent message that any rush to war may have political consequences for nations that support Mr Bush's march into the Tigris and Euphrates valleys.”

“Facing The Real Issue”

The popular tabloid Daily Telegraph (2/17) declared:  “It is understandable so many people want to demonstrate in favor of peace.  Everyone hopes this situation can be resolved in a peaceful way.  The real issue, however, is how will Saddam Hussein be disarmed in accordance with the United Nations resolution. …if its resolutions are to mean anything it must enforce them....  The decision the UN makes on Iraq this week will have profound consequences not just for Iraq for its own future.”

“The Many Voices Against A War”

The liberal Sydney Morning Herald (2/17) observed:  “The demonstrations at the weekend in the U.S., Britain and Australia might not move the governments of the three nations most committed to war.  Undoubtedly, however, they express a mood which transcends the domestic politics in each of those countries and which genuinely reflects a new internationalism in politics.”


 “More Than One Way To Stop A War”

Editorial in the national conservative Australian (2/15-16) noted: “This weekend, millions of concerned citizens around the world will be marching against war with Iraq.... To oppose war is a fine and honorable thing. But it would be quite wrong to assume that those who support the Iraq policy of the US, British and Australian governments do not oppose war, even if they will not be marching this weekend.... For those protesters who believe the US-led initiatives are serving only to 'radicalize' elements within Islam, this week's message from Osama bin Laden should have been a wake-up call. It expressed the credo of a movement that is racist, misogynistic, bloodthirsty and already 'radicalized' to the very heart of its being.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR) "Can The Global Wave Against War Stop It?"


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Hong Kong Commercial Daily commented (2/17): "The global anti-war demonstrations all urge the same thing.  They resolutely object to the U.S. and Britain taking unilateral military action against Iraq, and they condemn Bush's war policy.  They hope the issue can be resolved peacefully, through political means, by giving 'peace one more chance.'  Demonstrators cry out loudly, 'No blood for oil.'  Their slogan hits the nail on the head.  The war to be launched by the U.S. and Britain is a war that uses strength to bully the weak....  Although the anti-war movement may urge the U.S. and Britain to adjust their pace, to a certain degree, we are not optimistic that the movement can eventually change U.S. President Bush's fixed goal to attack Iraq.  Since Bush took office, he has been counting on the U.S.'s super-power status to pursue unilateralism in international affairs....  Overthrowing the present Iraqi regime is an important part of Bush's global strategy.  Hence, the U.S. will not pay serious attention to the global anti-war voice.  When everything is ready and the time is ripe, the U.S. will bypass the UN and obstinately cling to its plan to cooperate with a few allies to wage war against Iraq."


"The Whole World Roars 'No' To The U.S."


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao said in its editorial (2/17): "To many hawks, last Saturday was an unforgettable day.  In the roar of millions of people, President Bush could see people power and hear the calls of the just.  Most of the people demonstrating on the streets have never been to Iraq, nor are they Saddam supporters or even sympathizers.  They are only fighting against a big country using trumped-up charges to attack another sovereign state.  They hate to see the hegemonic, overbearing face of the U.S....  A just course enjoys abundant support, while an unjust one finds little.  The Bush administration wants to dominate the world.  Its hegemonic expression and manner, however, have caused great disgust among people around the world.  The U.S. has put itself in unprecedented isolation."


TAIWAN: "Banana Republic"


The "Black and White" column of conservative, pro-unification United Daily News asserted (2/16): "Should Taiwan be regarded as the "Banana Republic" since it consumes American hamburgers, watches American films, buys American weaponry and learns to know the world through American media? [The anti-war protests outside AIT] indicated that we have finally begun to face the world from a more balanced and multiple perspective.  The dictatorship of Iraq must be condemned, but will the use of force be able to solve the problem or will it put all mankind in a catastrophe?  The rule of democracy and the rule of totalitarianism have the potential of turning into hegemony.  How can we criticize one but tolerate the other?  Don't both the Vietnam War, which was fought for the interests of the military and industrial sector, and the attack against Iraq, launched for the interests of its oil, reveal the greediness of capitalism?" We need not anticipate that Taiwan will learn anything from the protests outside AIT.  But it would be a great improvement for Taiwan if we can just raise our heads from the Hollywood and Disney movies and ponder upon some in-depth questions."


SOUTH KOREA:"Will the U.S. Continue to Ignore World Opinion?"


The moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized (2/17): "With President Bush starting the countdown for a strike against Iraq, the largest-ever anti-war demonstrations took place around the world on Feb. 15....  The argument of anti-war protestors is simple: war should be averted at all costs.  They criticize President Bush for being anxious to go to war, the last and most horrible means to which humankind can resort....   In addition, they see hidden in the U.S. pursuit of military action against Iraq selfish American ambition to protect its war industry and oil interests....  The Bush Administration should realize before it is too late that ongoing anti-war protests are a warning against U.S. arrogant unilateralism and represent a strong condemnation of war as a means to solve problems as war will clearly inflict an enormous burden on innocent people."


"U.S. Should Listen to 'Shouts of Peace'"


The pro-government Hankyoreh Shinmun editorialized (2/17): "On Feb. 15 the world echoed with shouts of peace and outcries against war....  These anti-war rallies represented another milestone in history in that the world raised its voice in unison to prevent war....   UN chief arms inspector Hans Blix testified during his Feb. 14 report to the Security Council that his inspection team failed to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that Iraqis were very cooperative, making U.S. efforts to launch military action against Iraq less persuasive.  Furthermore, Security Council members, excepting Bulgaria and Spain, are all opposed to the U.S. and U.K-led war on Iraq. We once again urge the U.S. to withdraw its plan for this unjustifiable war."


INDONESIA: "Vox Populi, Vox Dei"


Independent English-language Jakarta Post (2/18) commented: "The massive anti-war protests in major cities across the globe over the weekend sent the loudest message yet to President George W. Bush that the world considers military action against Iraq appalling and unacceptable....  Indonesia can find comfort from these massive protests. As the world's most populous Muslim country, there have been fears that a U.S. attack against Iraq would be portrayed by some people here as an attack against Islam. It would be a sure recipe for disaster in Indonesia because it would galvanize the radical groups in this country and raise tension between Muslims and non-Muslims.... Few people are disputing that there is a need to disarm Saddam Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction. But the protesters are saying that disarmament can still be done by peaceful means."


PHILIPPINES: "World Afire"


The liberal Today said in its editorial (2/18):  "In the millions they marched. London, 1 to 2 million; Rome, a million; Sydney, a million. And where millions did not march, tens to hundreds of thousands marched: in New York, in Paris, in Madrid, in Auckland -- virtually every major city in the world found ordinary people, rich and poor, the famous and obscure, whole families, marching. For peace. The most remarkable were the tens of thousands in Britain, Australia and the United States who marched for the first time, out of principle.... From Saturday to Sunday the world was afire with idealism....The result has been to leave the governments most enthusiastic about America's bloody plans isolated from their people -- in Britain, in Australia, in Spain....  It will be a test of democracy not just here, but in Europe and Australia, to see how governments pledged to all-out support for America react to the resistance of their people to those policies. Whatever happens, it is encouraging to see that where once there was apathy, there is now an active feeling of solidarity with all who do not want a war for selfish reasons."


SINGAPORE: "Global Tide For Peace"


The pro-government Straits Times observed (2/18): "The weekend's protest marches worldwide against the prospect of war over Iraq bore a pacifist message that was earnest and real....  Mr. Bush should be troubled that a significant swathe of humanity does not agree, and sees it as nothing but an attempt to commandeer Iraq's oil fields.... It was clear they had no political or commercial axe to grind; many were first-time protesters drawn to make a stand over what they see as impending doom. It would surely impress those elected leaders who have been beating war drums the loudest...that this global tide for peace had rolled across all the continents, covering some 300 cities and towns in 60 countries....the open animosity towards American policies shown in the protests also provides a tantalizing peek at a new calculus. Mr. Bush is no different from many a recent US president in designing policies by opinion poll numbers. He still has majority support among his people for military action if approved by the United Nations Security Council, but the street barometer of the pro-peace movement can exert a negative influence. If the momentum gathers force and Vietnam-era doubt begins to infect America, it is not impossible there could be a different denouement to the drama."


THAILAND; “People Say: Give Peace A Chance”


The lead editorial in independent, English language Nation read (2/18): “The peace demonstration around the world provided a good opportunity for the U.S. to factor in global opinion.  Will the U.S. lose face or creditability if it responds to the global sentiment?  Absolutely not.  The U.S. would gain a great measure of respect and win the hearts of skeptics around the world.  It would then be in a better position to deal with Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction.  Delaying the war until the UN inspectors have done their jobs would improve Washington’s stature, and that’s a window of opportunity it shouldn’t ignore.  Otherwise, the harder it pushes for war the more it will further divide its people and its allies, not to mention the rest of the world.  Who will benefit from this messy situation?  It should not take long to dislodge Saddam.  But to do it with the world’s support, Washington has to be a bit more patient.  If a peaceful approach can do the job, then that is the path Washington should take.”


VIETNAM:"Peace Must Be Protected"


Manh Tuong wrote in Vietnam People's Army Quan Doi Nhan Dan (2/20): "War cannot be the solution for the Iraq issue.  With certainty, a devastating war and its consequences will increase confrontation and hatred. Burdens created by the war will only make the life of ordinary Iraqi people harder....  Finding a peaceful solution for the Iraq issue and preventing a war from breaking out has become the aspiration of a majority of the world's population.  The desire to live in peace and stability has motivated millions of people, including Americans, to take to the street on these days....  The Iraq issue must be settled through a peaceful solution and by the UN, as the center of the world order and the organization with the top responsibility to solve the row over Iraq....  The Vietnamese people once were victims of the most cruel and terrible wars of invasion and policies of blockade and embargo implemented by the imperialism.  We resolve on saying no to war and always support a political solution for the Iraq issue. Together with peace-loving people in the world, the Vietnamese people sympathize with the Iraqi people and demand warmonger forces to immediately stop their conspiracy to wage a war, lift the embargo and respect independence and sovereignty of all nations, contributing to a world of peace and development."


PAKISTAN:  "Uniting Against An Unjust War"

Karachi-based independent national Dawn editorialized (2/19):  "If America goes ahead with its war on Iraq, it would be doing so in defiance of world opinion.  Never before in modern times has the world been so united in opposing an unjust war as it is in the present case....  The opposition to war is no longer confined to the Arabs or Muslims alone; the whole world has united in a common struggle for peace....  In doing so, they have torn to shreds the propaganda unleashed by diplomatic and media hawks in favor of disarming Iraq by military means.  Not only that, they also know that this war is for oil, and people in Europe and North America do not want their sons to be exposed to the dangers of an immoral and unnecessary war simply to advance the interests of American oil multinationals."


NEPAL:  "All Is Not Lost"


Senior scholar Shreedhar Gautam wrote in the centrist Kathmandu Post (2/20): "In the name of our hatred to an individual to punish the whole country and that too constantly for 13 years is clearly a sign of the defeat of humanity.  It was an enlightening experience in life to watch millions of people in New York, London, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Sydney, Hong Kong, Moscow, Brussels, Toronto, and other parts of Europe and America chanting slogans against the looming war on Iraq....  There are great humanists and thinkers in America and Britain, and they too are worried about the looming danger of war on Iraq.  They too are against the war policies of their leaders.  After all, America and Britain are not the personal properties of Bush and Blair.  Our anger should never be directed against any single American and British, but against the policies of the responsible leaders....  The U.S. and British leaders still can control the situation from turning into nightmare for all."


CANADA:  "U.S. Reacts To World Opinion"


Columnist Richard Gwyn observed in the liberal Toronto Star (2/19): "George W. Bush himself and his Praetorian Guard are as contemptuous of outside opinions as any old Roman. The 'cultural cringe' that many Americans once exhibited toward the sophisticated, worldly Europeans has just about entirely vanished. Yet it still matters critically that Bush is an American emperor, not a Roman one. He has to be concerned about the effect of world opinion upon his allies, most particularly Britain's Tony Blair. And he has to be concerned about the effect of world opinion upon domestic American opinion.... Saddam Hussein's supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction is a matter of vital national interest to the U.S. (Maybe entirely misguidedly so, but here it's only the perception that matters.) For six months now, other lesser powers, like France and Germany, have challenged the right of the U.S. to protect its vital national interest in the manner it sees fit. I can't recall a precedent in U.N. history. None exist involving the Soviet Union/Russia, or China, nor, that come to my

mind, involving Britain or France. All these nations, though, and equally the worldwide protesters, take for granted they have the right to alter U.S. national policy on this kind of issue. They have compelled the U.S. to change its action plans in order to accommodate a prolonged debate in the Security Council. They are now forcing it to tone down its second 'war' resolution. In the end, by denying multilateral approval for an attack, they would significantly compromise U.S. invasion plans."


ARGENTINA: "Global Protest Rallies: Civil Societies and International Peace"


An editorial in leading Clarin read (2/20): "(Given the mass protest rallies around the world) This means that the world's key leaders and rulers must take into consideration this expression as a very important factor when it's time to define positions and decisions regarding an apparently unavoidable war.... The existence of a global public opinion not divided by trenches and capable of speaking out its own voice is a reality that cannot be overlooked at the time of crucial decisions."


"Bush Disregards Peace Rallies"


Daily-of-record La Nacion says (2/19) "President Bush said yesterday that he's 'respectfully in disagreement' with those millions of people who recently took part in rallies around the world against an attack on Iraq and firmly reiterated that he's ready to 'disarm' Saddam's regime, even by force. Bush said that 'the risk of not doing anything is an even worse option,' and disregarded the magnitude of Saturday's mass peace rallies, pointing out that 'the size of the protest marches is like deciding policy based on a survey group.  A leader's role is to decide policy based upon security -- in this case -- security of the people.... Bush also disclosed that there's less time to make a decision on when to tell the thousands of U.S. soldiers deployed in the Persian Gulf to launch a 'blitzkrieg' attack on Iraq."


"The Hawks' Logic"


International analyst Claudio Uriarte opined in leftist Pagina 12 (2/16): "(Following the worldwide protest marches against war in Iraq) 'This is not the first time that a wave of popular European pacifism contradicts the strategic military 'diktat' of the U.S. The other crisis took place in 1981-83 when a very broad coalition took the streets to protest against the installation of Cruise and Pershing 2 missiles in several NATO countries. The difference is that in 1981-83 the Germany of Social Democrat Helmut Schmidt requested the installation of the euro missiles, while now Germany, Belgium and France are against the U.S.... Now, instead, the paralysis in NATO and the UN, in addition to the significant fact that popular rejection to war is higher in those countries that have stated their support for war - Great Britain, Italy and Spain --, may strengthen, and not weaken, the perverse logic of the inevitability of the conflict. In other words, the hawks may be winning in the only place that decides matters right now: George Bush's war cabinet."


BRAZIL: "Global Pacifism"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's lead editorial (2/18) emphasized: "Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that the unprecedented global mobilization [against war with Iraq] will dissuade Bush and its allies from his plan to depose Saddam Hussein through military means. Apparently the preparations for war continue at full steam. Even so, pacifist initiatives should continue and be expanded. The opposition of world opinion to the conflict is an element that Bush and especially his European allies must take into consideration in their political calculations.... It is evident that most of the demonstrators did not go to the streets to support Saddam Hussein, who is a bloody dictator, or to demonstrate their anti-Americanism. The protest could be that large only for the most elementary reason: the alleged motive for the war simply is not convincing."


"The 'Western Street' Will Not Prevent The Worst"


The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (2/18) commented: "The estimated six million street demonstrators against a war in Iraq have imposed on the governments of both the U.S. and the UK a moral defeat whose proportions exceeded expectations.... But not even the most optimistic observers believe that the reiterated refusals by France, Germany, Russia and China to view the Iraq issue through Bush's and Blair's gloomy lens will dissuade the two leaders from their insane decision to settle accounts with Saddam Hussein.... Washington's hawks see traditional anti-Americanism at the root of the demonstrations. They do not realize that the revival of anti-Americanism has in the Bush administration's unilateralism andself-determined monopoly of truth its most powerful stimulus."


BOLIVIA: "Bush Against The World"


La Paz's centrist La Razon published a commentary by Mario Rueda Peña which argued (2/17): "Surveys show the majority of people ask for peace throughout the world.  Even in the United States a good part of the population does not want to do what the American leading class intends to do. Bush against the world.  The question remains whether Bush will get his way, even with bullets, in the best and oldest Texan tradition, in the hunt of the bandit (Sadam)who must be hunted, but not as Uncle Sam's sheriff wants, but as the UN Security Council decides at the end."


CHILE:  "Leadership At Any Cost"


Top-circulation, popular, independent La Tercera carried an editorial (2/19): "The British government's management and leadership are facing a complex trial due to the opposition that its support of a military offensive on Iraq has raised.... Although nobody can sidestep the importance of public opinion in orienting governmental guidelines, the British Prime Minister would be mistaken if he conditioned his management to the citizen's tendencies....  Blair's leadership will depend on the consequences reached by his state policy during the following weeks."


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: "F-15 And World Peace"


Sociologist and political leader, Max Puig, wrote in his weekly column in independent, conservative El Caribe, (2/18): “Last Saturday’s worldwide protests [against a U.S. sponsored war against Iraq] is nothing less than ‘historic.’…The war being planned by the U.S. has universal implications.… Although the Government of the United States seems to cling to a war that it considers imminent, an anti-war front of universal dimensions has been created.  The mobilization that took place in more than 500 cities confirms what worldwide surveys have revealed:  an ample majority is hostile to American actions without the support of international law.”


JAMAICA: "U.S. Ignoring Anti-War Marches


The business-oriented, centrist Daily Observer noted in its editorial (2/18): "These [anti-war] marches, particularly those in Europe, would have served to remind those leaders, who are in favour of quick military action against Iraq, that they are mostly out of step with their populations.... We hope that the United States, which the Caribbean holds as trusted friend, does not deem this opposition to war as some nasty, envious anti-Americanism, which, unfortunately, is how too many Americans, including many in the administration, see any independent assertion by others which does not echo Washington's thinking. In that regard, America's behaviour too often resembles that of the spoilt rich kid who not only insists on winning each game, but breaks up the game if he doesn't get his own way.... This raw and aggressive assertion of power abroad, with little regard for other people's sensibilities, has served to erode, if not squander, not only genuine goodwill and affection for America, but the deep sympathy that was evident in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks. Our message to our friends, therefore, is that great power comes with even greater responsibility, and part of that responsibility is to display respect to others....The underlying implication is that America has to think again about its policy and produce one that is even-handed and fair. Saddam Hussein may not be loved by his neighbours, but he will receive their sympathy when they feel that America's diplomacy ignores their legitimate concerns and interests."


PANAMA:  "Arrogance And Ambition Turn Into Deafness"

Conservative El Panama America ran inside oped by educator Angel Valdes that stated (2/18):  "Since morning hours of February 15, millions of people have demonstrated in all parts of the world against the war that the United States and its allies stubbornly have declared against Iraq.  ... Nothing from the United Nations inspections has demonstrated that Iraq has the technology to build nuclear armaments. ... War is born from ambition, and if Bush, Blair and Aznar do not want to see, hear or understand, a hurricane of voices will wipe away the foundations of the inhumane economic system thatthey defend."


GUATEMALA: "The Grave Risk"


Leading, moderate Prensa Libre ran an op-ed by staff columnist Mario Antonio Sandoval (2/19): "The public opinion war is being won by Hussein, and the great losers are the leaders of governments that support the United States' position...the unspoken worldwide referendum against the war has a surprising result. It sends the message that it is necessary to give greater importance to negotiations between allies.... The matter is simply too serious and today we must pay for the decision of having left unfinished what we started when Kuwait was set free."


TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:  “Give Peace A Chance; But Iraq Must Help, Too"


Referring to the anti-war demonstrations around the world, the conservative Trinidad Guardian (2/18): "Millions of people came out in the capitals of what may be called ‘front-line’ states to demonstrate against the rush to war by the United States and the United Kingdom.  The loudest outcry was heard in the countries whose governments have supported U.S. President  George W. Bush’s warlike position at the UN and elsewhere.…Speaking to the T&T media last week, Ambassador Otto Reich claimed the U.S. was ‘still trying to avoid having to go to war’.  He could not show, however, how such efforts squared with the massive and growing military build-up encircling Iraq, and the generally belligerent postures of his principals in Washington.... It would be tragic and futile, however, for Iraq to interpret the wide international distaste for war as anything but an urgent demand for its compliance with UN requirements and for more active co-operation with the inspectors. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq has to demonstrate in action that it also belongs to those in the world passionate for peace. It has to prove that in not just words but also provable and transparent action to remove the source of what the U.S. and the U.K. are now advertising as a casus belli, or compelling reason for war.”


URUGUAY: "Rebellion For Peace"


Political-business El Observador published an editorial (2/18) that read:  "September 11 generated a wave of international sympathy and support for the U.S. which was followed by an uninterrupted fight against terrorism. However,  this support declined when the Bush administration decided to terminate Hussein unilaterally.  The loss of support did not spring from unexpected popularity of Saddam Hussein but from the opposition to the U.S. posture of acting on its own, with or without the blessing of the international community -- represented by the United Nations -- on an issue that involves the entire world. The worldwide demand for peace revealed this weekend represents a word of warning for governments who should pay more attention to what their people want before embarking on adventures of destruction and killing.


"The Fight For Peace"


Leftist La Republica's editorial (2/18) said:  "The United States' intention of imposing once again its will and economic and geopolitical interests on the rest of the world encountered enormous opposition in this instance. Despite the opposition of France, Germany and Russia, a decisive component has been added: the people of the world say no. Something is changing. The cowboy, nuclear-minded George W. Bush, will have to understand the world is more complex when you leave Texas. In Montevideo, Uruguay, seventy thousand people and thousands in the interior of the country joined worldwide demonstrations. Something is changing; millions of women and men in the world went out to the streets proud of being citizens. It is not a small thing."



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