International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

February 6, 2003

February 6, 2003





**  Most foreign media judged that Secretary Powell made a strong case demonstrating Iraq's deception of UN weapons inspectors, but remained unconvinced of the need to go to war.

**  Many concluded that the U.S. is now poised to forcibly disarm Iraq, with or without allies.

**  Most praised Powell's "compelling" presentation, but detractors found "nothing new."

**  Some cast doubts about the "veracity" of the evidence, and others questioned why UN inspectors were not given the same intelligence as presented to the Security Council.




EUROPE:  Powell gets high marks for presentation, but the 'unconvinced remain unconvinced'-- Commentary in British, French, German, Italian and Russian papers generally reflected prior editorial leanings.  Some called the evidence "comprehensive and disquieting" and "an impressive dossier"--even London's liberal and reliably anti-Bush Guardian termed it "persuasive, disturbing information."  Others, while praising the "serious," polemics-free presentation, maintained the material was "nothing new" and not "irrefutable evidence of the existence" of Iraq's WMD.  A few dailies, like France's right-of-center Le Figaro, sniffed about "garbled pictures" and "inaudible communications" or satellite photos showing "trucks that might have carried milk."  Italy's left-leaning, influential La Repubblica struck a common theme: The evidence "only convinced those who were already convinced."  As London's liberal Independent put it, Powell's evidence of Saddam's WMD has not convinced those who worried about "the even more terrible risks involved in a war."


Likewise, observers in Austria, Greece, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland did not deny that Powell gave a "powerful performance," but parted ways in determining whether the evidence was strong enough to follow the U.S. into war.  While the Greek press defiantly declared that the secretary "failed to prove" that Iraq posed an immediate threat, more shared Vienna's liberal Der Standard's view that: "After the presentation there can be no doubt that Iraq has been deceiving the UN inspectors."  Lisbon's leading financial Diario Economico nevertheless cautioned that no one can confirm with the necessary "degree of certainty" that the Iraqi regime has the WMD or al-Qaida links "that would legitimize a military attack."  Madrid's left-of-center El Pais declared that "the danger [Saddam] represents...does not justify unilateral, immediate and, by any reckoning, disproportionate action."


A few outlets also wondered if this were "the first time" the UN and its arms inspectors had seen this intelligence.  If so, argued Dublin's liberal Irish Times, "it raises grave questions about the seriousness with which the U.S. treats...the arms inspectors' obligation to verify and evaluate these allegations." 


MIDDLE EAST:  Israelis praise 'masterful presentation' of evidence, Arabs see U.S. 'deception'--Most Israeli writers saw Powell's presentation as closing the books on whether Iraq's WMD capabilities needed to be taken out by force.  The conservative Jerusalem Post was so impressed by Powell's "masterful and devastating" case that it declared: "Scratch everything the Jerusalem Post has said about Powell.  We love him."  Arab dailies slammed the secretary's "evidence" against Iraq.  Many argued that the U.S. will not succeed in selling its "logic" to the world by “manufacturing pretexts for its aggression.”  They also stressed that a peaceful solution to the conflict must be found and that the inspectors need more time to complete their work.  Calling the UNSC meeting "a sad time" for the UN "as a chamber of wisdom and peacemaking," the government-owned Syria Times opined that "the time has come to reform the UN and liberate it from American hegemony."


ASIA/PACIFIC: Most remain skeptical about the 'evidence'--  Asia/Pacific editorials emphasized the administration's readiness to go to war in Iraq.  Japanese dailies were the most impressed in the region by the secretary's evidence on Iraq's WMD deception, with liberal Mainichi comparing the U.S. case to "the presentation of aerial photos showing the construction of a missile base in Cuba during the 1962 crisis."  India's centrist Hindu also acknowledged Powell's "irrefutable proof."  Many other outlets in the region, however, put quotation marks around the word "evidence."  They observed that while Washington clearly considered the intelligence information sufficiently damning to warrant an attack on Iraq, they themselves remained skeptical.


WESTERN HEMISPHERE:  Powell 'strengthened Bush's hand,' but reasons for war still questionable--  Most observers concluded that the secretary, while presenting a compelling and persuasive case, had "failed to change any minds."  Dailies in Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru and elsewhere continued to ask "why attack Iraq now?" Anticipating a "solo military aggression," many refused to believe that war was "the only alternative to ensure that Hussein is no longer a threat to world peace."  A number shared the liberal Toronto Star's argument that Iraq is "enfeebled, isolated, encircled and contained" and "poses no more threat today than it did last week, last month or last year."  Joining others who refused to be swayed, Brazil's liberal Folha de Sao Paulo asserted that "despite its photos and videotape pyrotechnics, Secretary Powell's presentation did not offer more grounds to justify a war against Iraq."  Some disparaged the "evidence," charging that the Bush administration was creating excuses to "stubbornly further a war with Iraq."  Mexico's far-left Jornada suggested that the photographs were "blurred," and that "the taped telephone conversations could have been made anywhere in the U.S."


AFRICA:  'Long overdue evidence' welcomed; but will Washington continue to go through UN?  Kenyan, Nigerian and Zambian editorialists jumped to the conclusion that the U.S.-Iraq confrontation "is about to begin."  On balance, Powell's "long overdue evidence" was believed to firmly place the onus on Iraq to fully "cooperate with the weapons inspectors."  Writers warned, however, that "Iraq should be given the chance to respond to all queries and allegations raised against it."  A columnist for Kenya's left-of-center Nation slammed Germany and France for "undermining" Powell.  The writer argued that German and French resistance to a resolution authorizing war reduces both "Saddam Hussein's incentive to comply with the Security Council" and Powell's influence on President Bush to stay multilateral by putting "the the center of whatever action is taken."


EDITORS:  Irene Marr, Gail Hamer Burke, Steven Thibeault, Steven Wangsness


EDITORS' NOTE:  This report is an expanded version of today's Early Report.  The survey is based on 149 reports from 58 countries, Feb. 5-6.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "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."


FRANCE:  "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:  "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.”


ITALY:  "Without A Majority"


Prominent foreign affairs commentator Franco Venturini opined in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/6):  “In reality, not only we incompetent people, but also intelligence specialists will have to roll up their sleeves to judge every aspect of the U.S. Secretary of State’s multimedia tirade.  What we can immediately grasp is the political impact of Powell’s much-anticipated report, its influence on the ‘impossible’ task of the inspectors, its impact on the disagreements that, both at the United Nations and in Europe, indicate different paths to disarm Iraq.  In the intentions of the Americans, the stakes were high: the ‘evidence’ against Saddam...,was meant to convince the uncertain....  A pro-war majority could be formed within the UNSC...and (then) a second resolution would have sealed the UN’s go-ahead to legitimately punish Saddam.  If these were the premises, then Powell didn’t reach his goal....  After the inspectors’ February 14 report, we can hypothesize a U.S. ultimatum to the Security Council.  We (U.S.) are going to war and you decide whether or not to give us UN backing. ”


"The Longest Day Of Good Soldier Colin"


Washington correspondent Vittorio Zucconi commented in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (2/6):  "Colin Powell had in front of him the most important speech of his life....   However, his ‘evidence’ only convinced those who were already convinced, without really making skeptics change their minds....  Calm and never strident, sad as every true man should be in front of the gravity of war, Powell knew how to use the great advantage coming from his personal credibility....  However, the material that his government had provided him to take to the UN for the ‘road show,’ impressed the audience much less than did the protagonist.  Apart from those ‘cartoons’ with a Disney flavor showing Saddam’s trucks, the logical progression of his harangue showed all the structural limits of the argument related to the war...but it was not able to explain to those who are still perplexed why a war would be necessary now, and why only against Iraq."


"The Unhappy War Of The Old Trooper"


Gianni Riotta wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/6):  “Yesterday’s performance was a masterpiece....  If war has to take place, Powell--the reluctant warrior--says it is necessary that the American and world public opinion be convinced, till the very end, without hypocrisy....  If war has to take place, and Powell has been trying to avoid it for months, it must be supported by the trust of America and the world. Yesterday, the former general showed his face to the world.  ‘Trust me,’ he asked once more.  The coming days will tell us if, even in this litmus test of his life, was successful and the world believed in him.”


"The Game Is Open"


Ugo Tramballi argued on the front page of leading business daily Il Sole 24 Ore (2/6):  “With firmness and passion...Colin Powell convinced the world of something everyone was already convinced of: that Saddam Hussein is a scoundrel....  Rather than providing a fixed point, yesterday’s address renders implicit the need to give the inspectors more time to do their job: Powell gave them a new mandate, strong clues to investigate; (and he gave) to Saddam Hussein, if he has ears to listen, his last chance.”


RUSSIA:  "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."



AUSTRIA:  "UNSC Or Will U.S. Go-It-Alone?"


ORF TV's Washington correspondent Peter Fritz analyzed reactions to the presentation on Austrian radio early morning news Morgenjournal(2/6): "The documents and new evidence are likely to convince only those who already believe in the Iraqi threat. Furthermore, because of continued skepticism among some UNSC permanent members the US is still a long way from its goal of convincing the international community that intervention in Iraq is unavoidable. However, the issue no longer seems to be whether there will be a war or not, but whether military interventions will be endorsed by the UNSC, or if the US launches a go-it-alone operation."


"U.S. Plea For An Iraq War"


Foreign affairs writer Peter Friedl commented in mass-circulation Kurier (2/6): "It is no longer inconceivable that the UNSC will give the United States the green light. War is apparently sometimes more powerful than moral considerations....  Even France might now attempt an about-turn."


"A Powerful Performance"


Chief editor Andreas Unterberger wrote in centrist Die Presse (2/6):  "The world would be much worse off without such a global policeman....  The strongest argument in favor of the United States' position:  Just imagine a world where in the end Saddam Hussein emerges victorious from this crisis."


"Colin Powell:  Opinion-Maker For The U.S."


Foreign affairs editor Martin Stricker opined in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (2/6): "On the diplomatic front--thus the U.S. assessment--the electronic intercepts and satellite photographs and other documents should be powerful enough to convince the other members of the UNSC of the necessity to endorse Saddam Hussein's dethronement by military means. As it is certain that Baghdad has wasted the 'last chance' it was given with Resolution 1441, a second resolution containing an ultimatum and authorizing the use of force will have to follow."


"Bringing Up The Big Guns"


Managing editor Eric Frey stated in liberal Der Standard (2/6): "After the (Secretary of State's) presentation there can be no doubt that Iraq has been deceiving the UN inspectors for weeks....  The UN chief weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohamed el-Baradei, recently confirmed that Iraqi cooperation has been virtually non-existent....  Even if a second UN resolution on Iraq should fail because of opposition from Russia and France, it is clear that the United States will not stand alone in the upcoming Iraq war--and Powell's speech left no doubt it will come to that."


BELGIUM: "Ball In Iraq's Court"


Baudouin Loos in left-of-center Le Soir (2/6) editorialized: "Many will say that Colin Powell's presentation lacked irrefutable evidence...  However, everything indicates that war will take place. This assertion is first and foremost based on the determination of the United States, whose impressive influence is able to convince countries like Turkey -- although an Islamic regime is in power there -- China, and Russia, not to oppose the U.S. President's plans....  The United States has succeeded in sending the ball in the Iraqi court. If Iraq does not respond in detail to the inspectors' still unanswered questions, war will probably follow."


"Insufficient, Mr. Bush"


Foreign editor Gerald Papy in independent La Libre Belgique editorialized (2/6):"Colin Powell's presentation was more disappointing than convincing.... One must admit that he did not supply any conclusive evidence. Of course, this does not exonerate the Iraqi regime and Saddam Hussein of the obligations that the international community is expecting them to fulfill, especially since their bad faith was highlighted again. But is this attitude sufficient to justify a war? It probably is in the eyes of the British and of the Americans. But with so little conclusive evidence, waging that war can only be complicated  But the war will be inevitable if the Iraqi leaders do not seize the opportunity of the visit of Messrs. Blix and El Baradei this week end to radically change their behavior vis-à-vis the United Nations."


"No More Standing On The Sidelines"


Deputy chief editor Bart Sturtewagen in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard asserted (2/6):  "All the cards are on the table now.  Powell not only made it clear that the United States will remove Saddam Hussein with violence, but he also methodically refuted all the arguments of the hesitant countries that the inspectors must be given more time.  Given the scale of Saddam's cheating, that exercise is barely relevant now. The question is whether the UN will succeed in maintaining some impact on the further process.  If that is not the case, the consequences will be even more alarming for the world.  In that event, there will no longer be an institution that can be a counterweight, in the name of the world community, against American economic and military hegemony. The countries that delayed their judgment until irrefutable evidence of the Iraqi threat was available can no longer stand on the sideline idly.  They must make every effort to increase pressure on Saddam to a maximum.  At this moment, only the Iraqi dictator can prevent bombs from falling on his country before the spring.  He must feel the decisiveness of the entire world.  A war in Iraq will cost many innocent lives.  It will lead the Middle East and the rest of the world into extremely dangerous times.  The shock waves of even a short conflict will be felt very far away.  Unfortunately, a pious hope that there will be no war is no longer sufficient after Powell's speech.  That is the terrible but inevitable conclusion."


"Powell's Speech Does Not Produce A Breakthrough"


Foreign editor Jean Vanempten in financial  De Financieel-Economische Tijd commented (2/6):  "For Powell, the moment of truth has come.  The UNSC must not procrastinate anymore.  The United States, supported by Great Britain, wants a UN resolution as soon as possible that makes a war under the international flag possible.  The United States no longer wants to negotiate.  In America's view it is clear that Iraq violates resolution 1441....  America's conclusion is that it already has a mandate to attack Iraq.... The United States and the UN totally agree on essential issues.  All forbidden weapons must be found and destroyed.  But, for the time being, unanimity does not go farther than that.  Powell's speech does not seem to produce a breakthrough in the positions.  In the eyes of certain members, war remains the ultimate option - and clear evidence must be put on the table for that."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Saddam Doesn't Stand A Chance"


Pavel Masa wrote in the leading center-right daily Lidove noviny (2/6):  "If Secretary of State Powell were a state attorney he might be quite successful.  Yesterday in the UN, he managed to sell circumstantial evidence as trustworthy exhibits.  Mr. Powell's British colleague Jack Straw could then pass the final verdict (judgment): Saddam will either reform himself in nine days, or he will be punished.  The problem however is that it is up to the Security Council to pass the verdict, and it was evident that the other SC members did not see the presented evidence as proof of a criminal act.  The logic of the UN resolutions speaks in favor of Powell; the harshness of punishment  (war against Iraq) would however call for more credible evidence.  It would be unfortunate if the different approaches would lead to the loss of unity among the international community.  Saddam doesn't deserve another adjournment, but the UN should definitely get 'a second chance'."


"The End Is Near"


Jiri Roskot argued in the leading center-left daily Pravo (2/6):  "The presented evidence was...only indirect and did not prove anything, especially in light of the marketing efforts which preceded it.  Hans Blix's report from the day before, which cast doubt upon the critical issue--no proof of camouflage or work of heavy army machinery had been found--makes the situation even more serious.  It is, nevertheless, evident that President Bush will attack Iraq regardless of the UN stand.  Powell's presentation was only a formal entr'acte and a psychological preparation of the audience for the war soon to come."


"Iraq Is Sliding Downhill; Regardless of Proof"


Milan Vodicka held in the mainstream daily Mf Dnes (2/6):  "It was chilling to listen to Colin Powell's presentation yesterday.  Those who expected 'smoking guns' got only lots of smoke.  But all the smoke might be worth something. It is now finally clear what Mr. Powell wanted to say--Saddam does not cooperate and is hiding something....  Why didn't the U.S. give this information to the Blix's inspectors?  Why didn't the U.S. destroy the Al-Qaeda training camp in Kurdistan if it knew about it?....  Yes, the presented evidence wouldn't stand a chance in court.  But now it is not the evidence which counts, the matter has already shifted into the world of politics and there Saddam is sliding down the hill."


DENMARK:  "War Is Worst Alternative"


Center-left Politiken commented (2/6):  "War is not the only alternative and the U.S. is yet to convince the world--despite Powell's speech--that war is a better alternative than continuing pressure."


"Onus Of Proof On Iraq"


Center-right Berlingske Tidende held (2/6):  "Huge gaps exists in Iraq's accounting, but nobody seems to be interested in the fact that Iraq cannot account [for the destruction of its chemical weapons].  Instead, the discussion appears to be centered on U.S. evidence....  Skeptics ask why Iraq has to be disarmed right now and raise concerns about other rogue states.  The answer is that after September 11, the U.S. is not taking any chances.  The answer is that, as far as we can see, Iraq is in possession of large amounts of WMD.  The answer is that Saddam Hussein has shown that he is willing to use these terrible weapons against his neighbors and his own people.  However, if you believe that Saddam Hussein has honorable intentions, the best thing would probably be to wait and hope for the best."


"Communication Problems Cloud U.S. Case Against Iraq"


Center-right Fyens Stiftstidende judged (2/6):  "The American government's position is clear.  Bush wants to see Saddam removed form power, but he has not succeeded in explaining the urgency of the issue.  It should still be possible to avoid the worst possible solution."


"Strong Evidence Points To Saddam's Removal"


Sensationalist tabloid Ekstra Bladet argued (2/6):  "Colin Powell's address was about as close as you can get to a declaration of war.  His speech contained a lot of very strong evidence and his conclusion was clear:  Saddam must be removed from power now."


ESTONIA: "A Little More Time"


Center-right  Postimees commented (2/6): "Powell's presentation was convincing.  It could have been even more convincing if the U.S. had practiced calm, well-argued policy from the moment that the Iraq problem became an issue.  But in late summer of 2002, the U.S. said they were ready to fight alone and considered consultations with the UN senseless.  Then Washington agreed that a UN resolution would not hurt and agreed to wait until weapons inspectors reach Iraq, promising that they would quickly find evidence revealing Iraq's evil.  When this was not found, the U.S. began to claim that it is impossible to find evidence, because it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Such mercurial and insufficiently thought out policies are not worthy of a superpower.  But it is good that the result was a decision to work with the UN and to find convincing arguments to prove the danger of Iraq -- which can be found in the U.S. as Powell demonstrated yesterday.... One has to agree with the Russian Foreign Minister.  It would be an ideal solution if Saddam understood that his cat and mouse game has failed.  The Iraqi nation has suffered a great deal because of Saddam, and surrender would be the best thing Saddam could do to redeem himself.  But this is an idealistic wish.  Therefore we have no option other than to wish the UN Security Council, and particularly the U.S., the wisdom to conduct themselves so that years later we don't recall this as the great mistake at the beginning of the 21st century."


FINLAND: "Guilty and Sentenced To Be Overthrown"


Independent Aamulehti editorial (2/6): "Secretary Powell's presentation at the UNSC was well-prepared but not necessarily convincing enough.  Analyzing the evidence will take time but the basic problem is that there were no smoking WMD.  Some of the evidence was circumstantial ... while other evidence was based on hearsay.  Many pieces of the evidence, especially the satellite photos, arouse serious questions which Iraq did not answer anywhere nearly satisfactorily. But was it enough to justify war against Iraq? The majority of the UNSC members are still unlikely to mandate an attack.  The United States, meanwhile, appears convinced of its case and will not wait long for a UN permission to send its troops to Baghdad.  That would be a serious setback for the UN and others who have worked hard to come up with a peaceful solution to the crisis."


"Evidence Comes and Evidence Goes"


Leftist Kansan Uutiset editorialized (2/6): "Iraq has hidden at least some of old weapons of mass destruction.  But in order for the case to be strong enough to justify a war, the arms inspectors should be able to find at least something to back up Powell.  The arms inspectors need more time but the U.s. wants to start the war in the coming weeks, with or without a UN mandate."


"Powell Was Not Convincing"


Liberal Swedish-language Hufvudstadsbladet editorialized (2/6): "Did Powell succeed in convincing the UNSC and television audience around the world that a war against Saddam Hussein is necessary.  Not highly likely. Powell sounded like one of the talented public prosecutors that the entire world has gotten used to see in U.S. court room TV dramas.  But those who think that Saddam must be disarmed with violence got a host of new arguments from the speech. Nothing in the speech indicated that the U.S. might be reconsidering its plan to disarm Saddam Hussein with violence.  The coming days will show if he managed to turn around any of the many sceptics who oppose the war."


"Powell:  Iraq Deceives The UN and Hides Weapons Of Mass Destruction"


Finland's leading daily,independent Helsingin Sanomat (2/6):  "The much-expected speech contained messages for various audiences. Providing evidence of Hussein's WMD programs and his efforts to deceive the arms inspectors, Powell sought to rally UN support and mandate for a war against Iraq.  In stressing the links between Saddam and Al-Qaida, the Secretary was, above all, talking to Americans to whom Al-Qaida continues to be an incarnation of evil."


GREECE:  "Peaceful Solution"


The lead editorial in influential independent Kathimerini said (2/6), "Secretary Powell...failed to prove that the Iraqi attempt to rearm itself poses any immediate threat; most crucially, he failed to make clear why war is a better response than inspections and systematic monitoring of Baghdad.  Powell in fact succeeded in demonstrating the need for further weapons searches.  Snubbing the UN inspectors' recommendations for a few satellite photos and recordings would mean that the UN disregards its team giving them their mission merely for show.  The West, which has rightfully taken pride in its humanist tradition, should not pull the trigger before doing its utmost to achieve a peaceful solution."




The lead editorial in best selling, pro-GoG, influential Ta Nea said (2/6), "Everybody knows that the US has long ago made up its mind to launch a war against Iraq.  Everybody knows that this war has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein and terrorism....but with oil and the geo-strategic interests of the Americans....  The performance staged by the United States at the UN with the leading role played by moderate Powell was certainly flawless....  According to all indications the countdown for the launching of an irrational war has started, and among other, the war may make a dictator a martyr and multiply terrorism, which Mr. Bush says he is fighting!"


"Crime And Immunity"


The lead editorial in popular, pro-government and anti-American Eleftherotypia held (2/6), "The evidence presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell convinced only Britain....  The British public opinion, military, and legal experts have a different view from that shared by warmongers Tony Blair and Jack Straw....  Caesar Bush II and his American accessories, Secretaries and Generals, have secured immunity for their crimes.  Their accessories, however, like Tony Blair, who do not have the privilege of being citizens of New Rome run the risk of being taken to Court for their participation in the crime which is underway."  


IRELAND:  "Powell Puts The U.S. Case"


The liberal Irish TImes editorialized (2/6):  "Colin Powell made a powerful case...that Iraq has systematically evaded and deceived UN arms inspectors....  Not a great deal of this case is substantively new.  What is so is the intelligence evidence on which it is based.  Has this been released for the first time to the UN and its arms inspectors?  If this is so it raises grave questions about the seriousness with which the U.S. treats the Security Council's mandate and the arms inspectors' obligation to verify and evaluate these allegations.  If a system of collective security is to work it must be based on trustworthy pooling of information about breaches of Security Council demands....  Powell's case that Iraq plans regional domination by using these weapons and must be stopped by the use of force is not proven....   But even if his case about evasion and deceit is shown to be correct it does not necessarily follow that military action is the best means to deal with the threat....  The U.S. must fully respect the UN's role in coming weeks."


"Flimsy Evidence On Al-Qaida"


Conservative, progressive Irish Independent took this view (2/6):  "On one major point, Secretary Powell's charges did not even have the support of Britain....  He alleged close links between the Baghdad regime and al-Qa'ida.  His evidence was flimsy, and among the sceptics is British intelligence....  Yesterday Mr. Powell said that the tyrant has 'utter contempt for human life'. That is true.  And the world, carrying the banner of an institution that stands for the noblest aspirations, must not conduct war and peace according to the standards of Saddam."


NETHERLANDS:   "War Will Take Place"


Baudouin Loos argued in left-of-center Le Soir (2/6):  “Many will say that Colin Powell’s presentation lacked irrefutable evidence....  However, everything indicates that war will take place.  This assertion is first and foremost based on the determination of the United States, whose impressive influence is able to convince countries like Turkey--although an Islamic regime is in power there--China, and Russia, not to oppose the U.S. president’s plans....  The United States has succeeded in sending the ball in the Iraqi court.  If Iraq does not respond in detail to the inspectors’ still unanswered questions, war will probably follow.”




Gerald Papy commented in independent La Libre Belgique (2/6):  “Colin Powell’s presentation was more disappointing than convincing....  One must admit that he did not supply any conclusive evidence.  Of course, this does not exonerate the Iraqi regime and Saddam Hussein of the obligations that the international community is expecting them to fulfill, especially since their bad faith was highlighted again.  But is this attitude sufficient to justify a war?  It probably is in the eyes of the British and of the Americans.  But with so little conclusive evidence, waging that war can only be complicated.  But the war will be inevitable if the Iraqi leaders do not seize the opportunity of the visit of Messrs. Blix and El Baradei this week end to radically change their behavior vis-à-vis the United Nations.”




Deputy chief editor Bart Sturtewagen wrote in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (2/6):  “All the cards are on the table now.  Powell not only made it clear that the United States will remove Saddam Hussein with violence, but he also methodically refuted all the arguments of the hesitant countries that the inspectors must be given more time.  Given the scale of Saddam’s cheating, that exercise is barely relevant now.  The question is whether the UN will succeed in maintaining some impact on the further process.  If that is not the case, the consequences will be even more alarming for the world.  In that event, there will no longer be an institution that can be a counterweight, in the name of the world community, against American economic and military hegemony."


NORWAY:  "Closer To War"


The newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (2/6):  "The most convincing sections in Powell’s long presentation described the significant efforts to trick the UN inspectors, and described President Saddam Hussein’s work to develop biological and chemical weapons and missiles with a range that has been prohibited to Iraq....  Less convincing was the documentation of a direct connection between the regime in Baghdad and the terrorist organization Al-Qaida....  There is a very clear message in Powell’s reminder that the Security Council risks making itself irrelevant if it doesn’t decide to take action....  Colin Powell’s presentation leaves no doubt that the U.S. has decided that a war is necessary to disarm Saddam Hussein....  But the actual UN track is found today not in the story that warns about war, but in the continued work to discover and disarm the Iraqi despot without a new major war in the world’s most inflammable region.”


"Evidence--And No Proof"


An editorial in social democratic Dagsavisen held (2/6):  “The intelligence information that Secretary of State Powell presented to the UNSC yesterday did not provide any clear and convincing answer to the whether Saddam Hussein really has weapons of mass destruction and whether the land is linked with the terrorist network Al Qaida....  The intelligence contained nothing that actually indicates that Iraq is in a position to produce atomic weapons....  Powell left no doubt that the U.S. has already made up its mind for war.  For the USA, it doesn’t matter what role the UNSC plays from here.  But it’s the UNSC--and that alone--that shall define what one determines is going to be 'serious consequences' for Iraq, per Resolution 1441.  For the UN, war has always been the last resort.  And that the way it should continue to be.”


"But The U.S. Has Made Up Its Mind"


The independent Dagbladet judged (2/6):  "The material evidence against Iraq that the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented yesterday to the UNSC was comprehensive and disquieting....  Colin Powell made it perfectly clear that the U.S. has no doubts, and has already pronounced its judgment. The U.S. has decided to disarm Iraq by force and to remove Saddam Hussein....  It is serious and disheartening that Iraq does not cooperate with the international society in finding a peaceful solution to this conflict.  It strengthens this negative development in the conflict that the hyperpower USA undermines the UN by its attempt to press ahead toward war now.”



POLAND:  "Respect To The World"


Maciej Rybinski wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (2/6):  “Colin Powell’s presentation before the U.N. Security Council... might have seemed a needless ritual. Those convinced that Baghdad violates successive resolutions and pursues dangerous weapons programs did not have to be convinced.  Those unconvinced who want to believe that the Saddam Hussein regime is an exemplary, peace-loving democracy will be convinced by nothing.  However, Powell’s speech was necessary as it showed that war decisions are not made recklessly, without patient consideration and careful investigation, but are made in accordance with the U.N. charter and Security Council resolutions, as a logical consequence of gathered evidence.  It was only a gesture, but a gesture of respect toward the international public.  If anyone thinks that what Colin Powell presented was not evidence but circumstantial evidence, they must be reminded that when the perpetrator is a recidivist, circumstantial evidence is of great material significance.  And Saddam Hussein is a repeated recidivist, one who is guilty of crimes against peace and human life.”


"Powell’s Evidence”


Bartosz Weglarczyk, U.S.-based correspondent of liberal Gazeta Wyborcza opined (2/6):  “Powell’s speech was a gesture of goodwill from Washington....  It shows that President Bush reaches out to allies, but he is prepared for war should America have to fight alone."


PORTUGAL:  "We Came, We Heard"


Editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes noted in influential moderate-left Público (2/6): "Anyone who expected to see images of Saddam Hussein sitting on top of a Scud was certainly disappointed.  However, anyone who knows that to make biological weapons you only need disguisable installations inside an inhabited building wouldn't have expected much more [than what Secretary Powell presented]....  Even so, the careful way that the permanent members of the Security Council reacted was significant....  Elements of proof are, in some cases, only circumstantial, but they cannot be carelessly discarded as 'evidence', in quotation marks.... Thus, we find ourselves ever more faced with the question of time. Little by little, the Bush Administration...has been building an international coalition and doing so within the framework of the United Nations.  So we shouldn't be surprised when an attack on Iraq, contrary to the Kosovo operation, ends up with the authorization of the Security Council.  Even more so since, at this moment, if anyone is disrespecting international law and the resolutions of the Security Council, that someone is Iraq."


"The Madness Of An Unjust War"


Leading financial Diário Económico's editor-in-chief Miguel Coutinho published this (2/6): "The war that the United States has internalized and decided upon--before obtaining any sustainable proof against Iraq--is, above all, a war of conquest....  No one doubts Saddam Hussein's disdain for human rights or democratic Western regimes.  No one, however, can affirm with the degree of certainty that would legitimize a military attack that the Iraqi regime has weapons of mass destruction or links to al-Qaida.  This is the weakness of the American case:  It is based upon suspicions and not on facts....  Portugal's involvement in this conflict cannot be decided on the margins of the Constitution of the Republic, cannot fail to be grounded on a United Nations resolution, and cannot fail to observe two essential requirements: prior consultations with the President of the Republic and with the Assembly of the Republic.  Portugal, as a sovereign nation, and its sovereign organs cannot allow itself to assume the status of a mere American protectorate.  Any and all existing agreements with the United States of America, including those involving authorization for the use of Lajes Base, have their content and validity determined by the Constitution of the Republic."


"Stop Saddam"


João Vaz, deputy editor-in-chief of high-circulation center-right tabloid Correio da Manhã, had this commentary (2/6): "Today, the case is clear.  As Colin Powell said at the United Nations, Saddam and his regime won't stop for anything until something forces them to stop.  The case is obvious, and lies in one of the basic principles of physics, the law of inertia....  Saddam Hussein took power in Iraq in a bloodbath....  Thus a tyrant was installed who skillfully knew how to build counter-alliances later of every kind, and put the whole world in danger."


"Colin Powell's Hour"


Influential moderate-left Público's foreign affairs editor Teresa de Sousa provided this analysis (2/6): "The new elements that he furnished simply ended up giving added force to the evidence and the legitimate doubts provided by UN chief inspector Hans Blix on January 27.  This is not what was fundamentally at issue in yesterday's Security Council session.  What was at stake was the capaity of the American Secretary of State to demonstrate before the international community that Iraq today constitutes a sufficiently credible and immediate threat to merit a preventive war....  We will have to wait another ten days, until Blix's next report, to judge the degree of Powell's success in his final move to keep multilateralism partly alive."


"The Evidence"


Portuguese wire service LUSA chief Luís Delgado observed in his daily 'Straight Lines' column in respected center-left Diário de Notícias (2/6):  "In a speech that was consistent, much more so than expected, and profusely documented, Colin Powell...showed substantial proofs to the world and the countries that still might have doubts....  It was a credible demonstration that makes an armed intervention--with or without the United Nations--urgent and necessary, unless Saddam abandons power, in order to finish off the dangerous threat that comes from Iraq....  [Powell's speech was] simply demolishing.  All doubts are gone."


ROMANIA:  "The Evidence"


Political analyst Roxana Frosin opined in business-oriented daily Curentul (2/6):  “The evidence presented yesterday by Powell, in the presence of the mass media, did not seem to have the necessary weight to justify the use of force....   But it is enough for the United States to reiterate that Iraq is defying the international community by manufacturing and concealing its weapons of mass destruction, and by cooperating with the terrorist Al Qaida network.”


"Opponents Not Conquered"


Political analyst Costin Ionita opined in the independent daily Cotidianul (2/6):  “The opponents to war did not allow themselves to be easily 'conquered' and arrived at yesterday’s reunion disappointed by Powell’s preliminary presentation.  Moreover, one of the main arguments of the American official, namely the cooperation between Iraq and terrorist organizations, received a hard blow from a BBC story on a British intelligence report saying that there is no evidence of Saddam’s relations with Al-Qaida, contrary to what the Bush Administration is claiming.”


SLOVENIA:  "Persuading The Persuaded"


Left-of-center independent Vecer eidtorialized (2/6):  "Those who expected Powell’s give new--and above all--firm evidence of the dangerousness of Saddam’s regime, were wrong.  [Secretary Powell]...listed supposed evidence about the existence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, which were not very persuading....  Proofs given by Secretary Powell are on such shaky legs that no court in a country observing the rule of law would even begin a trial based on them.  Tapes of telephone conversations…could have been made in a studio of any radio station in the world.  Satellite images are slightly more credible, but they only showed trucks that might have carried milk....  Powell did not tell why America had not shared its findings with the international inspectors....  It is impossible to get rid of the feeling that Powell’s speech was directed to the American public, among for military intervention in Iraq has decreased, rather than to the international community which will not be persuaded by such unconvincing evidence."


SPAIN: "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." 


"Powell's Hour"


Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (2/6): Naturally, you have to look at this from the basis of [intellectual] rigor and good faith.  If as some [Spanish parliamentarians said yesterday] the evidence is manipulated, then no reasonable discussion is possible, because it all comes down to a question of faith....The photos obtained by satellite that were presented...are not easy to interpret...But, even to those not well-versed in the complicated logistics of chemical and biological weapons, some of the conversations released by Powell reveal clear Iraqi obstructionism to the mission lead by Hans Blix."


"War Is Not More Distant"


Centrist La Vanguardia said (2/6) in a piece by Xavier Batalla:  "Colin Powell...did not provide the definitive piece of evidence against Saddam Hussein....  Powell was a different Powell yesterday, more impatient and less diplomatic....  The logic of war was reinforced yesterday with two announcements favorable to Washington.  On the one hand, ten countries of Eastern Europe agreed with Powell; on the other, Turkish Prime Minister, Abdullah Gul, let it be known that his country, key in the conflict, has decided to join the United States in its military plans against Saddam."


"The Sad Face"


Left-of-center El País carried this piece by Josep Ramoneda (2/6): "The organizational chart that Powell demonstrated to show the collaboration of Iraq with terrorists did not have the support of any evidence...  The evidence provided by Powell on the chemical and nuclear materials the dictator has at this moment not only would not pass the slightest judicial review, but is also irrelevant for common sense reasons.  And it could not be otherwise."


SWITZERLAND: "Bush's World Theater"


Erich Gysling of the Berner Zeitung commented (2/6): "Either you are with us or you are insignificant-this is the main message of the U.S. Secretary of State to the 14 members of the UN Security Council.  One could conclude from Powell's speech that the United States will start the war against Iraq anyway.  Whoever will be on the boat then will be rewarded (NATO newcomers and candidates in East Europe have realized this quickly and have revealed themselves as friends of America), whoever stays outside will have to suffer the consequences."


TURKEY:  "Powell's Presentation"


Mehmet Barlas commented in mass appeal Aksam (2/6):  "Powell's presentation to the UNSC is a serious development by itself and reminds me of the previous acts of Washington.  The U.S. has always been acting unilaterally whenever it felt necessary and urgent....  Secretary Powell's presentation about Iraq is similar to the Libya case.  The U.S. administration presented the phone records between Tripoli and the Libyan Embassy in East Germany, and the then-president Reagan ordered U.S. bombing of Libya, including the residence of Qadhafi....  The phone records and other documents presented by Secretary Powell are the clear indication of upcoming U.S. strike."


"Powell's Presented Evidence But..."


Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (2/6):  "The presentation of Secretary Powell to the UNSC stirred a debate in many countries about making their positions defined in the case of a war.  First of all there are some question marks which vary from the validity of these proofs to the issue of legitimacy for conducting a military operation based on them....  It remains to be seen what would be the world-wide stances, particularly of France and Russia as well as NATO and the UN.  They all have to define the nature of their support in the case of a U.S. military action against Iraq based on the facts presented by Powell....  If a war is going to happen--and most probably it will--Turkey should be provided with a defense system prior to the strike, and thus it requires a NATO decision.  NATO has failed to reach a consensus on this issue because of France and Germany, and it causes a serious weakness within the Alliance.  We'll see whether they will change their attitude following Powell's presentation.  In case they don't, it will not only harm NATO's credibility but also damage Turkey's trust to the Alliance."




ISRAEL:   "Most Worrying For Israel:  Revelations About Chemical Material In W. Iraq"


Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote on page one of independent Ha'aretz (2/6): "If anyone still had doubts that the U.S. plans to attack Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his regime, those doubts were removed yesterday by Secretary of State Colin Powell's sometimes emotional address to the UNSC....  If the United States retreats now, after the presentation of the evidence by Powell, President Bush and his administration will lose credibility and prestige and America's stature in the world will be undermined....  From the evidence [Powell] presented, Israel should be most worried by the Iraqis' having apparently hid chemical or biological material in western Iraq, the closest part of Iraq to Israel.  From Powell's revelations, one may deduce that U.S. intelligence is focused on western Iraq no less than on Baghdad....  There is one area that Powell avoided.  He reported that forbidden equipment and material was smuggled into Iraq....  But he he did not say a word about how the smuggling took place.  That means the U.S. Administration knows the smuggling routes--the forbidden equipment did not arrive via Iran or Kuwait, nor Jordan nor Turkey.  That means it arrived via Syria--and Syria was never mentioned in his speech."




Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (2/6): "'Enough,' said Secretary Powell to the Security Council on Wednesday.  Up until now the enlightened world has ignored Saddam wicked deeds and was silent to his hide-and-seek games.  From now on, we must react.  From now on, the time leading up to the military blow on Saddam Hussein and his regime will be measured in days, not in months.... This was a blood-curdling presentation.  However, the evidence presented by Powell to the Security Council did not convince those who preferred to bury their heads in the sand, out of convenience, interests and worshipping the Moloch of a 'peaceful solution,' even if it means giving up to the dictator and accepting his misleading and deceiving deeds....  Many Security Council members were not 'convinced' by Powell's speech.  Not because it was unconvincing but rather because they had made up their minds not to take part in the war against Saddam Hussein.  As far as they are concerned, it makes no difference whether Saddam is threatening to execute scientists who would dare to give evidence to the inspectors.  They do not care whether Iraq is granting al-Qaida not just accommodation but also active assistance in weaponry and training.  Even the accelerated purchase by Saddam Hussein's regime of WMD has no effect on their permanent stance.  They have no desire for a preemptive war, and are willing to pay any price to make sure it will not break out.... 'Enough,' said Powell publicly on Wednesday, marking the patience limit to Saddam Hussein: Either the UN Security Council approves a military action against him, or the U.S. and its allies will do it alone, causing the UN to become irrelevant as happened in the past with the League of Nations."


"To Frighten Europe"


Military correspondent Amit Cohen wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (2/6):  "Wednesday, Colin Powell went back several years....  He sounded less like the diplomat number one than a young intelligence officer eager to convince his superiors that bits and pieces of information and circumstantial evidence are enough to establish the intelligence report he assembled....  Had such an intelligence assessment, mostly based on speculation and guesses, been presented to decision-makers, one can assume that it would have ended up in the garbage can.... In his speech, Powell managed to preach to the converted....  But one must remember that Saddam does possess weapons of mass destruction; therefore, at the conclusion of the war, the Americans will have enough time to say, 'We told you so.'"


"The UN's Last Chance"


The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/6):  "Scratch everything the Jerusalem Post has said about Secretary of State Colin Powell.  We love him.  Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council was masterful and devastating.  He reduced any conceivable case for inaction in Iraq to rubble....  If the quavering Security Council does not support the U.S., it is because they know the truth, but will attempt to resist U.S. leadership until the last second, and after their choices have been reduced to ratifying a given or being left behind....  In the 1930s, the League of Nations ignored similar warnings that Germany was violating the arms limitations imposed upon it by the Treaty of Versailles.  One can imagine Winston Churchill making a presentation like the one Powell made yesterday.  It is not necessary to imagine the war that came when those warnings were not heeded, and that the League of Nations itself became a casualty of that war.  Saddam has lost his last chance.  The question now is, will the UN lose its as well?"


WEST BANK:   "The Wolf And Lamb Concept"


Independent Al-Quds opined (2/6):  “The speech of American Secretary of State Colin Powell at the Security Council yesterday reminded us of the story of the wolf and the lamb that talks about the notion of manufacturing pretexts to justify a hostile or an unethical act against someone.… Colin Powell expressed his government’s dwindling patience with Iraqi breaches of international resolutions.… The reactions of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and his Chinese counterpart Tang Jiaxuan, in which they demanded that the inspectors be given more time, shows that it is not easy to deceive the world.  The world community has started to realize the danger posed by the existence of a sole superpower dominating small countries in order to serve American interests regardless of UN principles and conventions governing relations between different countries.”


"How Would Iraqis Confront War?"


Abduallah Awad commented in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (2/6),  “The American administration thinks that the real [diplomatic] initiative expired on January 29 and that we are now in the overtime period.  If this report did not contain anything new, Iraq would be accused by the Americans of continuing deception.  During this overtime, the Bush administration will be working towards passing a new resolution at the Security Council that will give the United States a ‘fake’ authorization for waging war against Iraq.”     


EGYPT:  "Crisis Of Credibility"


English-language Al Ahram Weekly’s editorial voiced leading pro-government Al Ahram’s position (2/6): “This week the UN Security Council faces a serious challenge to its credibility. The way in which it deals with the Iraqi crisis will decide, once and for all, whether or not it has any continuing relevance when it comes to maintaining peace in the world, or whether it will become little more than a backbench supporter for policies formulated by the U.S. State Department....  Judging by statements that have emerged from Washington so far, it would appear that Colin Powell is going to [the UNSC] armed, at most, with...circumstantial evidence rather than the hard proofs Washington insists it has in its possession....  Powell’s aim is to secure authorization for war against Iraq. If the UNSC agrees to offer such authorization in the absence of compelling evidence of wrong doing on the part of Iraq, then its credibility will be left in tatters, particularly among Arab countries that have spent decades pointing to this same body’s refusal to take any action to compel Israel to comply with resolutions expressing the will of the international community.” 


JORDAN:  “Unconvincing Evidence”


The centrist, influential among the elite English-language Jordan Times (2/6) editorialized:  “Powell’s presentation contained little that was new....  Many people will question the authenticity of these documents, and their mere presentation is unlikely to change many minds.  Yet, even if we give the United States the benefit of the doubt, these new elements did not amount to convincing evidence of Iraqi non-compliance, or that Iraq presents any real or imminent danger to any party....  On Powell’s claims that Iraq has close links with al-Qaida, we have to wonder why it is that reports from all of the leading intelligence agencies over the past two years consistently contradict this view.  Powell presented precious little evidence in this regard, but made allegations which can only increase irrational fears about terrorism at a time when the war on terrorism is faltering precisely because the United States has incomprehensibly shifted the focus to Iraq.…  We have every reason to believe that the Iraqi crisis can be solved by peaceful means and insist that all parties, including the United States and Iraq, should work tirelessly for that outcome.”


“A Few Hours Before Saying ‘I Got It’”


Columnist Jawad Bashiti wrote in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (2/6):  “All the world has to do is show the slightest Powell’s evidence to be dragged, willingly or not, into a crime that is exactly like the Hiroshima crime in terms of the perpetrator, the tools, the victims and the consequences....  The Bush administration has no other means to convince the American people of the necessity of this war except to scare and frighten it of the possibility of a new terrorist attack by al-Qaida with chemical and biological weapons supplied by Saddam Hussein.  The Americans must be made to view this war as a preventative measure.  Without this link between Saddam Hussein’s weapons and Osama bin Laden’s terrorism, the Bush administration would not be able to frighten its citizens and then convince them that war is inevitable.”


LEBANON:  "A Last Chance For The Security Council"


Joseph Samaha asked in Arab nationalist As-Safir (2/6):  "Why did the United States wait until now to present the information it has?  Why hasn't it given this information to the chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei who heads the U.N. agency that monitors nuclear programs?  Why didn't President Bush lay out this information to Europe and the world during his closed meetings with world leaders?  It was clear that Washington wants to win two wars:  a diplomatic war and a media war.  Powell himself was an effective weapon because he has credibility and, despite everything, was able to hint that his country prefers to listen and consult with others."


"A Definitive Indication That War Is Forthcoming"


Rafiq Khoury noted in centrist Al-Anwar (2/6):  "Despite the fact that Secretary Powell sounded as if he is giving the Security Council a final chance to exert pressure on Baghdad and try to avoid the war, nevertheless he prejudged Baghdad's reaction and opined that Saddam Hussein will never stop if not stopped by someone....  The military buildup is almost complete and positions of countries in the region are adapting to the U.S. preparations for war....  However, what looks easy at the beginning will have serious and dangerous consequences on the U.S. and the region."


MOROCCO:  "No Evidence Of Iraqi 'Flagrante Delicto.'"


Mustapha Moulay wrote in semi-official French-language Le Matin (2/5):  "Secretary of State Colin Powell tried hard before the UNSC to convince the international community on the necessity to strike Iraq.  This was a difficult task as the majority at the UNSC is presently opposed to this idea....  Powell thinks, however, that the UN would be useless in the case the UN did not react to the violations of the UN resolution by Iraq....  Just before his appearance at the UNSC, Colin Powell promised a 'convincing' demonstration of non-respect of the UN  resolution by Baghdad; but he admitted that there would be no 'smoking gun.'"


"Washington Exerts Pressure On The U.N. By Using 'Evidence'"


Mohammed Lakhdadi noted in semi-official Arabic-language Assahra Al Maghribyia (2/6):  "Powell's address yesterday represents Washington's evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction...this will bring us to the last phase of diplomacy before the military aggression....  Powell talked about convincing elements and information that came from CIA that  highlight Iraq's style....  Meanwhile, the Arab League is discussing the  details of its next summit."


QATAR:  "Iraq Is Not The Only Challenge To The U.S."


The semi-independent English-language Gulf Times held (2/6): "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday delivered his long-awaited speech in front of the UN Security Council, presenting some new tapes and photographs that raised additional questions about Iraq's sincerity in accepting Resolution 1441.  Powell's aim was to demonstrate that Iraq's actions showed, beyond reasonable doubt, that it was cheating on its obligation to disarm and to co-operate with the weapons inspectors.  But while Washington focuses on what it believes to be the threat posed by Iraq, a much more potent danger is developing in the Far East.  North Korea announced that it had put the nuclear facilities, which are at the heart of its nuclear weapons program 'on a normal footing' in an announcement that must have been deliberately timed to coincide with Powell's address.  The North Koreans have adopted a very assertive and at times provocative attitude dashing last year's hopes that Seoul's 'sunshine policy' would lead to normalization on the divided peninsula.  Washington's treatment of Pyongyang has not been entirely fair.  As a result, the greatest peril threatening the United States and its allies lies in the Far East, where Pyongyang either has or could very soon have nuclear weapons.  Despite that, the White House remains obsessed with the economically and militarily crippled Iraqi regime and has sent only token reinforcements to its East Asian garrison while flooding the Gulf with men and materiel.  Time will tell whether the United States is making a strategic blunder of historic proportions." 


"Wisdom Is Most Needed Now"


Semi-independent Arabic-language Al-Watan said (2/6):  "Secretary of State Powell constructed a strong case to show that Baghdad's co-operation has fallen short of the obligations placed on it by the Security Council. The presentation, which the Secretary gave yesterday strongly markets the U.S. plan to attack Iraq. Even the statement, which the Secretary gave, seemed to be very strong but it did not really affect either Russia or France. On the contrary, both countries believe that the American statement is a great motivation to continue the inspectors' mission.  The Secretary worked very hard to back his statement with proofs. However, patience, which is the highest form of wisdom, is the most needed now in such a situation. It is very easy to declare a war, but it is almost impossible to control its horrible effects."  


SYRIA:  "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?"


"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."


TUNISIA:  "Dissipate The Doubts And Protect The Iraqi People"


Mustapha Khammari wrote in independent French-language Le Temps (2/6), "Lots of accusations without tangible proof, one is tempted to write after Colin Powell's presentation to the Security Council.  This presentation, for which a meeting of the Security Council was called, does not appear to have provided information that the world did not already know, nor has it provided irrefutable evidence that Iraq is hiding WMD.  Neither precise details nor sure proof, were brought by the American Secretary of  State, who contented himself for the majority of time in making accusations , already heard, against the Iraqi leadership... Certainly, the report of the American Secretary of State will not be enough to close the file and evoke a war.   One could even admit that the American initiative before the Security Council could even serve the Iraqi point of view.  How can one understand, in effect, that the U.S., with all its intelligence services of listening and spying, could not place its hand on the stocks of prohibited arms that are, according to Powell, hidden by Baghdad?...  Certain grave accusations advanced by the American Secretary of State, such as those relative to chemical and biological weapons, must be provided in order to overcome doubt.  Simple accusations are insufficient to authorize a destructive war with heavy consequences for the Iraqi people....  The Iraqi authority must itself measure the danger threatening its people.  It is still possible to further the specter of war and to cooperate better with the UN to remove all doubts and thereby show that the accusations made by Powell are unfounded."


"American Circus"


Editor-in-chief Abdelhamid Riahi wrote in the independent Arabic-language As-Shourouq (2/6), "American circus...meant to dissuade the international community.  SecState Powell's speech to the Security Council was part of a long American endeavor to justify waging a war on Iraq....   Powell's report was replete with information, data, satellite-taken pictures and recordings to try to persuade the world of evidence incriminating Iraq...  We really felt sorry for the United States which, through this report, was desperately trying to cling to a straw so as to avoid drowning.... The alleged phone calls between Iraqi officials discussing the issue of modified mobile factories can be totally fabricated. Also, why did the U.S. conceal the satellite pictures from UN inspectors for so long? The U.S. has made the mistake of hiding such evidence, which could have been inspected meticulously by the UN. The real motivation behind the aggression has become evident to everyone. It concerns Iraqi oil and U.S. domination of the world."


U.A.E.:  "The Final Indictment Procedure"


Abu Dhabi-based, semi-official Al-Ittihad editorialized (2/6):  "What came in Powell's long submission to the UNSC is extremely dangerous; it goes beyond speeches and mobilization to pave the way for the actual use of force to eliminate Iraq's WMD that are carefully hidden in mobile containers and camouflaged positions in Iraq....  There is no doubt that Powell's presentation has opened the Iraqi crisis up to catastrophic possibilities unless Baghdad stops its efforts to hide and eliminate any trace of its banned weapons and takes a step towards clearing the huge congestion which threatens to explode.  Only then will it gain the support of the world community which seeks to avert war by all available means."


"Evidence Which Needs Someone To Believe It"


Sharjah-based, pan-Arab Al-Khaleej known for its vociferous anti-American rhetoric, editorialized (2/6): "Powell's speech before the UNSC yesterday comes within the framework of speeding up the aggression, especially after he deliberately showed satellite images and phone conversations in an attempt to demonstrate Iraq's violation of UNSCR 1441, which permits exposing Iraq to grave consequences....  Powell and others who blow the trumpets of war can present more images and phone conversations.  But who would lend them credibility, since the U.S. has (already) made its decision and the mobilizations have reached their peak?  All we understood from Powell is that he brought to the Security Council evidence which needs someone to believe it and ratify it in order to finalize the war to destroy Iraq."




INDIA:  "Powell Makes His Case For War As Countdown Starts"


While most papers (2/6) ran international wire reports on the Secretary's presentation, the centrist Hindu had its own story by Sridhar Krishnaswami.  Typical headlines included:  "Powell Makes His Case for War As Countdown Starts" in the centrist Indian Express; "Powell Exposes Iraq Lies" in the centrist Statesman; and "Iraq Hiding its Weapons, Says Powell" in the centrist Times of India.


"Operation Historical Madness"


Pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer ran this piece (2/6) by V.K. Grover:  "Having made up its mind to attack Iraq, with or without sufficient evidence, and with or without United Nations backing, the United States is determined to oust the villain of the day--Saddam Hussein....  So what are the U.S.' real objectives?  If they are to oust Mr Hussein as a potential supplier of WMDs to terrorist outfits, one can live with it. Also, if this action results in bringing down the price of oil, and in reducing the cash flow to Islamic fundamentalists, then India stands to benefit.  On the other hand, if the objective is to cut the Islamic countries down to size and redraw the map of this region, then we are in real trouble."


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."




AUSTRALIA:  “Final Outcome Not Up For Negotiation”


Washington correspondent Peter Hartcher observed in the national, business-oriented Australian Financial Review (2/6):  “In culling the material for...Colin Powell to present to the UNSC today, the top U.S. intelligence experts needed to get a threshold decision from the White House--have we decided to attack Iraq or not?…  If the administration had already decided to invade Iraq...Mr. Powell could draw on a much greater array of intelligence in appealing for world support.  The answer that came back from the White House?  The decision has been made, the U.S. will attack so use broad latitude in choosing intelligence, according to a well-placed U.S. official....  Only a total capitulation by Saddam Hussein can now halt the advance of the U.S. was machine....  As the very act of compiling Mr. Powell’s testimony demonstrated, the final outcome is not up for negotiation.”


CHINA:  “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):  "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."


INDONESIA:  "U.S. Attacks On Iraq Raise Concern"


Golkar Party’s Suara Karya (2/6) commented:  “Is it all these pieces of evidence [as Powell laid out at the UN] that make the U.S. so enthusiastic to launch strikes on Iraq?  Everything is not clear yet.  And thus far, Saddam Hussein has never provided such evidence to the UN weapons inspection team....  Therefore, U.S. attacks on Iraq must be strongly rejected.  The solution to the Gulf crisis must be made through peaceful means by pushing Bush to cancel his desire to use force and push Saddam to disarm itself publicly.”  


JAPAN:  "Irrefutable Evidence"


Conservative Sankei's UN correspondent Uchibatake noted (2/6):  "The evidence Secretary Powell submitted to the UNSC--satellite photos and monitoring records of Iraqi communications--was much more compelling than expected.  In making a case against Iraq, the Secretary spoke like a prosecutor throwing the UNSC into temporary silence.  After Mr. Powell's submission of compelling evidence, the U.S. claim for the use of force appears to be prevailing at the UNSC."


"Historic Performance?"


Liberal Mainichi's UN correspondent Uemura observed (2/6):  "Secretary Powell effectively used satellite photos to give other UNSC officials the 'visual' impression that Iraq's WMD development is an 'irrefutable' and 'undeniable' fact.   Powell's presentation of 'concrete' evidence is likely to become a 'historic performance' similar to the presentation of aerial photos showing the construction of a missile base in Cuba during the 1962 crisis."  Another Mainichi correspondent Nakajima observed: "Secretary Powell's submission of evidence was aimed at closing the gap between the U.S. and its allies over Iraq, but it is not immediately certain whether there will be rising calls at the UNSC for adopting a new resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq." 


THAILAND:  “Evidence Is Not An Issue; U.S. Has Decided On War From Day One”


Café Dam commented in elite, business-oriented Krungthep Turakij (2/6):  “Whether the evidence is ‘new’ or not is not an issue here.  Actually, there is nothing ‘newer’ than what the U.S. and U.K. have attempted to tell the world earlier.  The only difference is that the U.S. Secretary of State has re-arranged that information and used stronger wording to convince the world that this is ‘the real thing’.”




CANADA: "Powell Makes The Case"


The conservative National Post opined (2/6): "Just as he did last November, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented himself to the United Nations Security Council yesterday to make the case against Iraq. His multimedia presentation provided the international organization and the world with an impressive catalogue of Saddam Hussein's violations and evasions."


"Going To The UN Was A Waste Of Time"


Editorial writer  David Warren commented in the conservative National Post and the nationalist Ottawa Citizen (2/6): "Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council yesterday was a waste of time and energy. While his show was effective enough in itself, and met the demanding criterion of entertainment, by holding its audience, no one was swayed by it one way or the other. It is impossible to gauge the effect on world public opinion, which is anyway impossible to measure given contextual differences from country to country. But my gut sense is that the effect on opinion outside the United States will be slight.... Nobody, or at least nobody who is properly informed, said it was going to be easy. But it is going to be done, and as would now appear, done over the dead body of the United Nations."


"Powell's Strong Case And The Coming Risk"


The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (2/6): "[I]n methodically laying out damning demonstrations of Iraq's efforts to conceal weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. Secretary of State came as close as anyone expected. There can be little doubt that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime is lying to the countries of the world. He is playing  them for dupes. The question now is how the international community responds.... In sum, though, there can be little doubt that Mr. Hussein is in violation of Security Council Resolution 1441, passed unanimously on Nov. 8, which gave Iraq one last chance to disarm under the watchful eye of the UN....  In the end, if the United States is determined to attack, it is unlikely any of those three would wield their vetoes to deny Washington the imprimatur of the UN. It is the UN's credibility that is put at stake by Mr. Hussein's  actions. Mr. Hussein will have brought this invasion on himself unless he has a full and complete change of heart now. Few expect it."


"Saddam's Web Of Lies"


The liberal Toronto Star opined (2/6): "Powell's 'smoking intercepts,' satellite photos and a litany of informants' claims merely lent colourful, if thin, support to U.S. President George Bush's angry claims that Saddam is hiding ambitious nuclear, chemical and biological programs. Powell brought forward no 'smoking gun' to justify war.... There was nothing in Powell's presentation that answered the questions: Why attack Iraq now? Isn't Iraq militarily hobbled and sufficiently contained? But those queries become less relevant the longer Saddam thwarts this process.... Every peaceful option must be explored. And another Security Council resolution should be obtained before launching a war. But that day cannot be far off. Saddam is close to paying a terrible price for defying the world."


"Let The U.N. Seal Saddam's Fate"


Foreign affairs editorial writer Gordon Barthos commented in the liberal Toronto Star (2/6): "...While his theatrics yesterday fell far short of an 'Adlai Stevenson' moment and produced no 'smoking gun,' it was a forceful indictment.... Happily, Iraq poses no comparable, urgent threat. Saddam's regime may be malevolent. But it is enfeebled, isolated, encircled and contained. It poses no more threat today than it did last week, last month or last year. Canada is right to hold out for formal U.N. authorization before going to war this time. It's more than 'highly desirable.' It's a shield against anarchy."


"The Case Against Iraq"


Under the sub-heading, "Colin Powell's UN speech shows why Saddam Hussein must go," the nationalist Ottawa Citizen wrote (2/6): "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, armed with clandestine recordings, satellite photographs and evidence from various intelligence sources, made a convincing case before the United Nations Security Council yesterday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is continuing to conceal weapons of mass destruction in direct defiance of council resolution 1441...  Despite Mr. Powell's impressive performance yesterday, critics of the United States will continue to insist it provide unassailable 'proof' of Iraq's non-compliance....  Mr. Powell has made a compelling case that Iraq is not obeying resolution 1441. Those who disagree will have to present an equally convincing counter-argument that Iraq is co-operating with the UN. It  won't be easy."


"Compelling Case"


An editorial in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun held (2/6): "There was no smoking gun, no irrefutable piece of evidence -- a satellite photo of Saddam Hussein sitting on a nuclear warhead, perhaps. But Powell did present a case against Iraq so detailed, so utterly damning, that even the most ardent skeptic of U.S. policy on Iraq would be hard-pressed and foolish to ignore the message contained in it.  And that message, drawn from intelligence files gathered over a decade, was this: That Iraq has deceived the world time and time again. It has continued to construct weapons of mass destruction and to hide the evidence while opening the doors to fraudulent UN inspections....  Powell's warning wasn't aimed at Iraq, it was directed at countries like France and Germany, key allies and Security Council members who remain opposed to military force to end Saddam's rule, who still cling naively to hopes of a political solution, not a military one.  Even squeamish little Canada, while admitting that Powell presented a disturbing and persuasive case against Iraq, still clings to hopes of a political solution, as though Iraq can still be convinced to co-operate. Silly us."


"Like In 1962" 


Murray Maltais editorialized in Ottawa's only French-language Le  Droit (2/6): "The Iraqi regime, far from repent and showing a  willingness to amend its ways, is sinking deeper. It has no  credibility.... What Powell failed to say yesterday is that the Bush  administration wished to remodel the Middle East to serve the United  States' interests. Interests that start with its own security.... Force  must be used as a last resort. But Colin Powell's presentation is disturbing.  It demonstrates that the Iraqi regime is becoming more and  more dangerous for its neighbors. Its policies are based on lies to the  world and terror and repression within. Since yesterday, hope for peace is more fragile. And Baghdad's reaction's is to be relentless.  This is a  suicidal strategy.


"Colin Bond"


Editorialist Mario Roy wrote in the centrist French-language La Presse (2/6):  "The fundamental question is not the quality of the proof presented by Colin Powell....  Almost everyone knows that Saddam Hussein is hiding chemical and biological weapons and that he is hiding them to eventually use them if only during his last stand before being thrown on the garbage heap of history.  The question remains: is war the solution to this crisis?  Despite Colin Powell's brilliant and calm intervention, we still believe the answer is no."


"The Burden Of Proof"


Julie Lemieux judged in the centrist Quebec City Le Soleil (2/6):  "Expectations were low for Colin Powell's presentation.... the end we heard a solid expose from the Secretary of State who gave the world disquieting pieces of information which Saddam Hussein will have to answer quickly....  The American case does not justify by itself the start of a war.  But it now forces the dictator to prove that these suspicions are not founded....  To do this Saddam Hussein will have no choice but to comply with UN requirements and finally fully collaborate with the inspectors."world of maintaining a military presence in Iraq for months and maybe years after the war. Financial costs but also political costs directly tied to the


ARGENTINA:  "Powell, Not Convincing, But Insists On Attacking Iraq"


Alberto Armendariz, daily-of-record La Nacion political columnist, argued (2/6): "Yesterday, in his highly expected presentation of evidence against Iraq, Secretary Powell was unable to convince the UNSC that Saddam's regime still has WMD, and most member countries promoted the need to give UN arms inspectors more time, while they also made a last minute plea to Baghdad for cooperation. Facing a skeptical UNSC, and armed with satellite photos, videos, audio tapes and even a small flask with a substance similar to anthrax, Powell tried - during 83 minutes -- to show that Iraqis continue to produce chemical and biological weapons, that he has even tried to produce a nuclear bomb and that he maintains close ties with Al Qaida. The Secretary of State insisted on the need for an offensive to disarm Iraq and urged the UN not to avoid its responsibility in doing so."


"U.S. Presents Evidence, But UN Still Divided"


Marina Aizen, leading Clarin New York-based correspondent, stated (2/6): "In a dramatic presentation at the UNSC that appeared to be the prelude of war, Secretary Powell accused Iraq of having WMD and actively supporting Al Qaida. Though he didn't provide a 'smoking gun' as the irrefutable evidence so many were expecting, the U.S. official relied on audio recordings of allegedly secret conversations, satellite images and other pieces of 'intelligence information' in an attempt to convince the UNSC that Saddam keeps deceiving the international community regarding his terrible arsenal.... But this presentation seemed to be better received by the U.S. people... rather than by UNSC members. Despite his striking presentation, Powell was unable to reverse the opinion of most people in the UNSC who are in favor of peace.... The presentation had a clear goal: casting a negative shadow on the inspections process, showing how Baghdad repeatedly fools UN inspections.... On the alleged conversations between Iraqi officials on WMD, Powell didn’t even try to explain how he obtained them... He addressed the Council as if he were a district attorney at a UN crimes court.... More compelling than taped conversations were the satellite images he provided though, here too, there was nothing more than Powell's words to guarantee their veracity."


"Closer to Unilateral War"


Ana Baron, leading Clarin Washington-based correspondent, opined (2/6): "The evidence against Saddam Hussein presented yesterday by Secretary Powell at the UNSC triggered negative repercussions at an international level - exactly the opposite reaction to what the White House wanted. Powell's presentation was unable to increase support for war within the UN, but weakened it, instead. Most countries now believe that they need to give arms inspectors more time. In this context, chances that the U.S. may have to launch a military offensive without UNSC support grew significantly. Therefore, after presenting the world evidence which -- in opinion of the U.S. President-- proves that his cause is just, it will now be more difficult for Bush to backtrack.  As Powell himself had previously announced, the evidence was not irrefutable. On the contrary, the presentation was more of the same: a display of what judges call circumstantial - but not direct - evidence.  So, after listening to Powell, the three countries with veto power that repeatedly expressed their opposition to attack Iraq (China, France and Russia) didn't change their position an inch and pointed out the importance of arms inspections, highlighting that inspectors need more time to analyze the information provided by Powell.... On repeated occasions, Bush has said the U.S. has the right to launch a unilateral military offensive. Judging by the deployment of U.S. troops in the Gulf area, the decision has already been made. If in the past there had been a remote possibility of backtracking, yesterday's presentation leads Bush to a dead-end street where, unless he acknowledges a mistake in his strategic views, the only way out is war."


BRAZIL: "War Diplomacy"


The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (2/6) held: "Despite its photos and videotape pyrotechnics, Secstate Powell's presentation did not offer more grounds to justify a war against Iraq. General Powell showed a series of circumstantial evidence that Iraq has not been fulfilling the terms of UN Resolution 1441.... Not complying with this resolution, however, does not necessarily mean war.... The concrete fact is that Powell did not demonstrate that Saddam Hussein is a real and imminent threat to the world order who must be contained by an immediate war.... What has been discussed at the UNSC is whether the international community is or is not willing to give the U.S. license to act at the same time as the world's policeman and hangman. The answer can only be a vehement 'no.'"


"Closer To Midnight"


Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo's lead editorial (2/6) commented: "The 'accumulation of facts' Secstate Powell presented yesterday can be summarized this way: Saddam Hussein has never provided any indication he may cooperate with the UN's arms inspectors; the evidence that Iraq continues to develop arms of mass destruction is 'irrefutable and undeniable'; Saddam has not given up producing nuclear weapons; the Baghdad regime has maintained operational links with Al Qaeda; the war, therefore, is unavoidable. The matter is not 'if,' but 'when'.... The question Powell failed to answer is whether the attack against Baghdad would not be precisely the thing to lead Saddam, as final revenge, to launch the terrible arsenals he has been accused of possessing, not only against enemy troops, but against Kuwait, Israel and oil wells in Saudi Arabia as well."


"Smokeless Gun"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political columnist Clovis Rossi opined (2/6): "The U.S. does not need evidence to attack Iraq and will not be stopped by its absence. But it must convince the largest number of nations possible to join the attack, which would theoretically make the war 'cleaner' and less costly, and with less collateral damage (a terrorist strike, for example).... If Powell failed to present a smoking gun, the BBC produced the contrary: a document from the UK's intelligence service that denies the existence of ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda.... Even without links with Al Qaeda, Saddam is as dangerous today as he was ten, five or three years ago. Therefore, the haste in removing him can only be attributed to oil or to a demonstration of extreme force in the finest style of the old West."


"Saddam Opens 'New World Order'"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo international editor Sergio Malbergier observed (2/6): "The matter of whether to support George W. Bush's imminent war against Saddam Hussein will not be decided based on possible evidence that the Iraq dictator is violating UN sanctions.  He has been violating them since 1991. The nations of the UNSC, as well as others throughout the world, will take their positions according to their ability to resist the U.S. steamroller.... It was terrorist Osama bin Laden who awakened the sleeping beast of imperial militarism.... The enthusiasm generated by the war in Afghanistan helped to consolidate a doctrine long supported by Republican hardline conservatives - that the U.S. must pursue a policy of preventive attacks to fend off any challenge to its hegemony."


"Powell's Word Is More Important Than Evidence"


Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo Paris correspondent Giles Lapouge asserted (2/6): "The U.S. determination to use force has become even clearer because the evidence of Iraq's lies that was presented [by Secstate Colin Powell] seemed weak, doubtful and questionable. The Secretary of State's speech seemed directed not at the UNSC, but at public opinion - both in the U.S. and worldwide.... It was a good strategy to choose a dove, not a hawk, to announce the war. The way Powell speaks and his reputation count more than the evidence accumulated against Iraq.  It does not matter that such evidence is inconsistent.... Therefore, if Powell says that Iraq is dangerous, we should believe it. Therefore, we must go to war."


"The Economy Of War"


Rio de Janeriro's Jornal do Brasil's lead editorial stated (2/6):  "After the intervention of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell at the U.N. Security Council, the lot is cast.  One only has to know the day and time the U.S. will start the war against Iraq.  If the war is inevitable, all the other countries must get ready for its negative effects on the world economy.... The U.S. will go to war."


MEXICO: "Mexico, Irrelevant Position Vis-à-vis Iraq"


Alan Arias Marin wrote in sensationalist Milenio (2/6):  "President Bush said a year ago either you are with me or against me.  It seems that his discourse changed, judging from Bush's State of the Union Address, and from Secretary Powell's presentation before the UN Security Council.  The U.S. feels that those who do not support the U.S. position are irrelevant....  Mexico should continue to further multilateral solutions to international problems, and to hold a pacifist position and at the same time side with the U.S. in the anti-terrorist struggle."


"The Other Empire of Evil"


Academic Erasmo Saenz Carrete states in sensationalist Milenio (2/6):  "The Bush administration is stubbornly furthering a war with Iraq under the excuse that Iraq has developed chemical, nuclear and other mass destruction weapons…  However, the UN inspectors have not found anything that would make the UN Security Council launch a military action against Iraq.  The much-anticipated disclosures that were made public yesterday do not reveal anything new.  They are rather an excuse to justify a military intervention."


"Powell, Unconvincing Data"


An editorial in far-left La Jornada (2/6) reads:  "Secretary Powell was to give a direct, sober and accurate demonstration' of Iraq's efforts to hide mass destruction weapons from the UN inspectors....  However, Powell only showed blurred photographs of what could be warehouses to store chemical weapons, or factories.  The taped telephone conversations could have been made anywhere in the U.S....  The 'convincing' evidence was of such nature that none of the members of the UN Security Council were convinced - with the exception of those who had already committed themselves to support the US position: the United Kingdom and Spain....  The U.S. is isolated, and by launching a solo military aggression against Iraq, it could prompt the anticipated collapse of the current administration."


"Mexico At The UN"


Editorial in nationalist Excelsior (2/6) asserted:  "Mexico's position to further an effective disarmament in Iraq under the supervision of UN inspectors is the right and reasonable position....  Secretary Powell's demonstration of audio recordings and photographs did not have an impact on the members of the UN Security Council.  Most of them feel that negotiations to further peace should continue, although this position is far from materializing because of the U.S. desire for war."




Rogelio Rios asserted in independent El Norte (1/29):  Secretary Powell’s great credibility and international prestige was put on the table before the temporary and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, among them Mexico. His presentation and the later discussion generated among his counterparts displayed what the hard power policy speech is about.... This is the face of power: the use of the threat of  force, the determined defense of strategic and domestic interests...pointing fingers at other’s sins and the hiding of ours, the exclusion of all social and humanitarian considerations that obstruct the great nations’ power policies."




Independent, conservative morning El Caribe editorialized (2/6): "His concern with Iraq was not shared by the rest of the members of the Council....  In these crucial times, on the contrary, what is relevant is that Iraq meet its inspection promise, that the United States assume a more prudent position of international solidarity and then, depending on the reference report, the Security Council should honor its responsibilities."


"The Lost Arsenals"


International analyst Alejandro Baez wrote in his column in the international section of independent, conservative morning El Caribe (2/6): "The war against Iraq is a fact.  Colin Powell's message yesterday could not have been clearer:  the U.S. believes that Saddam Hussein is hiding weapons of mass destruction....  The only doubt remaining is whether the United States will finally receive support from the U.N. Security Council, or will go to war with a handful of friendly countries.  ...a rushed military intervention will benefit no one.  Above all, a U.S. unilateral war should be avoided without the support of the U.N."


"The Empire In Practice"


Left-of-center morning Hoy published a commentary by columnist Emilio Lapayesse, a former priest and current editorialist, (2/6): "Powell did not convince France, Russia and China with his alleged 'proof' against Iraq."  Powell did not even convince American CNN, which yesterday kept repeating that all his proof was 'alleged.'"


CHILE:  "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."  


COLOMBIA: "It's Today"


An op-ed by writer Daniel Samper in leading El Tiempo concluded (2/5): "It's Today," stated: "We all agree with Bush: Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator.... The question is it worth fighting an international war on this guy."


"What Does Bush Want?"


An op-ed by journalist Reinaldo Spitaletta in Medellín daily El Colombiano (2/5) entitled:  stated: "Most people suspect Americans are after Iraq's oil.... U.S. attack on Iraq using the antiterrorist excuse will probably assure the powerful nation oil reserves, while creating repudiation and condemn in the world, mostly by nations suffering the consequences."


Powell Built A Good Case"


Evening Channel One News aired an interview with Colombian ex Ambassador to the UN Alfonso Valdivieso who asserted (2/5): "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell built a good case and made progress on several points... The Colombian position is to demand Saddam Hussein to fulfill commitments, which he has failed to do over the years." 


ECUADOR: "Closer to War with Iraq"


An editorial in Quito's center-left influential Hoy (2/6): "Yesterday, at the UN Security Council, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Iraq has a reserve of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons, that it could arm 16,000 missiles and that it has two or the three ingredients needed to produce a nuclear weapon....The international community is aware of the danger of having these weapons in the hands of the Iraqi dictator, but is asking for more convincing evidence and hoping to stop a war that seems ever more inevitable... Powell's remarks do not alter the position of France, China and Russia, who want the UN weapons inspectors to have additional time to carry out their work....  Those who agree with the U.S. in calling for an immediate military strike argue that Saddam Hussein will not curtail his efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction and that any extension would be useless....  However, a war would be a serious step backwards for the world and it would not guarantee an end to terrorist activity but, on the contrary, would most likely create more feelings of hate and destruction....  The possibility of a diplomatic solutions appears unlikely, even more so considering that the world's second largest oil reserve is a stake."


"Imminent War"


An opinion column by Carlos Jijon in Quito's center-left (influential) Hoy (2/6): "Quote: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday presented the UN Security Council apparent proof that Iraq is violating UN conditions.  Pure theater.  The U.S. is determined to invade Iraq and without the support of the UN.  It does not matter that France, China and Russia do not agree.  Nor that the BBC has found a report showing that there is no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda (details of which media such as CNN and the Miami Herald do not even report).  The business of war is underway and only a miracle will stop it....  Meanwhile, Ecuador's petro-boom lifestyle could be over.  It will all depend on how long Bush's troops take to pacify the country he plans to invade.  If it is hoped that the price of oil will increase during the months of war, it is likely that the price will drop once the U.S. has captured oil wells.  If the price of oil falls, so too will dollarization.... It is unlikely that Gutierrez or Pacari will stop the war.  But dignified gestures are important.  While we wait, the country should expect the worst. The problem is that it does not seem to realize this."


GUATEMALA: "Without A Shadow of a Doubt"


Conservative, anti-American afternoon La Hora stated in its main editorial (2/5): "Iraq's fate has been decided, when Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke before the United Nations Security Council...  there is no shadow of a doubt of the United States' determination to attack Iraq..."


PARAGUAY: "Covering Guernica With Cloth Of Petroleum Color"


Conservative Asuncion Noticias in an editorial by regular columnist Guido Rodriguez Alcala, said (2/6): that the covering of the Picasso behind Powell was in order to: "convince the members of the organization (UNSC) of the need to replay Guernica and of the advantages of a war against Iraq....  [Powell]said no more than his boss had already said."


PERU:  "Those Wanting Proof, Were Disappointed"


The lead editorial from center-right El Correro noted (2/6):  "Those who were hoping that Colin Powell would present proofs demonstrating that Iraq was the nerve center of a terrorist wave tied to al-Qaida were disappointed.... If there were no oil in Iraq, the tyrannical regime of Sadaam Hussein wouldn't bother the U.S.... the unipolar U.S. feels like it can intervene anywhere based on purely pragmatic considerations [which support] its imperial interests.  International law and world orgainizations are only a mask to hide a true military and economic force which rules the world, avoiding norms and agreements....  The 'axis of evil' could have been a good Hollywood script if millions of lives were in the balance."




KENYA:  "Germany And France Wronged Powell"


Jonathan Power a syndicated columnist, declared in the independent left-of-center Nation (2/6):  "The continental Europeans--Germany and France, in particular--made a grave tactical mistake recently in making it clear to Washington that they felt the UN inspections were working and that the inspectors should be given more time.  They appear to have undermined one of two people who have some chance of bending President George Bush's ear on the subject of going to war--Secretary of State Colin Powell.  (The other is British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.)....  Yet France and Germany have reduced Saddam Hussein's incentive to comply with the Security Council resolution.  They have given him hope that he can forestall a February or March invasion by spinning the inspection process out at least until the autumn, when the temperature will again start to fall in the desert and make fighting for an American army more feasible....  Mr. Powell is determined to avoid a war.  But if the war goes ahead, Mr. Powell wants to remain on the inside track so he can make sure, as he did the last time, that Vice-President Dick Cheney doesn't succeed in arguing for the use of nuclear weapons."


ZAMBIA:  "Giving Peace A Chance"


The independent Post opined (2/6):  "As the UN Security Council received evidence on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, the world as a whole should realize that hegemony built on nothing but military superiority is fragile....   This is one fact that all those warmongers in the United States and the British governments, among others, should not be blind to.  While appreciating the long overdue evidence, submitted by the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell before the UN Security Council, there is need for member states and the world to critically analyze what has been given out objectively and with impartiality in the interest of world peace and harmony.  With the submission of this evidence by the United States government, Iraq should also be given the chance to respond to all queries and allegations raised against it while the team of UN inspectors, should also be allowed to verify whatever has been tabled without undue influence from anyone whether calling for military action or not.  In this vein, we welcome German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who presided over the Security Council meeting, in his statement that he believed that war against Iraq could be avoided....  We also support the progressive stance taken by the French government in reaction to Powell's presentation of evidence of calling for tougher weapons inspections and firmly stating that force must be the last resort.   French Foreign Minister  Dominque said his country would not rule out the use of force as the last resort but that the UN must be at the center of whatever action is taken....


"We can only hope that the Iraqi leadership will cooperate with the weapons inspectors to avoid giving the United States and Britain grounds to unleash their imperialist wars against nations that don't kow-tow to their whims....  Like empires before, the United States is behaving the same way, attracting increasing opposition from most of humanity even in the approach towards the Iraq weapons issue, where it is clearly ready for unilateral military action before exhausting all channels available.  But it seems the United States, Britain and some of their close allies don't realize that real possibilities still exist in the world to resolve these problems without wars....  None of the present problems of the world can be solved by force.  Only the intelligent policy of seeking strength through consensus and the international public opinion can decidedly uproot this problem. There is definitely need to give peace a chance."


NIGERIA:  "Unconvincing Display"


Segun Adeniyi, editor of the Lagos-based independent This Day commented in his column (2/6), "There is now no longer any doubt that the all-important soccer match the world had been preparing for is about to begin, especially with Colin Powell's CIA tales at the United Nations Security Council yesterday....  It is glaring Bush and Blair want blood.  Especially after Powell's display of yesterday which reminded many Nigerians of the Sani Abacha Coup video saga.  All the questionable audio conversations and 'satellite photographs' Powell spent hours boring the world with yesterday could easily have been procured at Oluwole here in Lagos.  Even the UN audience wasn't convinced."


SOUTH AFRICA:  Media Treatment


First free-to-air independent South Africa television channel coverage began with straight reporting -"U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell tries to convince UN Security Council that Iraq has lied to weapons inspectors... told UN Security Council that Iraq has deliberately concealed its weapons of mass destruction and ...violated 16 UN resolutions in the past 12 years and Baghdad continued to violate resolution 1441 which was passed in November to give Iraq one last chance."



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