International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 4, 2003

March 4, 2003




**  Muslim outlets assail Bush's "lies and illusions," fear Iraq a "first step" towards regional U.S. "hegemony."

**  European and other dailies worry U.S. policy is based on "theology, not practicality."

**  Some hail Bush political vision that would bring about regional "freedom and peace."




Arabs, Pakistanis castigate 'missionary American vision'--  The overwhelming majority of Muslim outlets viewed Bush's speech as "an attempt by Washington to impose its sovereignty, control the Arab nation and protect American and Israeli interests."  Egyptian and Syrian papers said the speech confirmed the U.S. plan to impose its "hegemony" in the region, with Egypt's pro-government Al Gomhouriya seeing "all signs of evil and harm to the Arab world."  Several dailies, including London-based Al-Hayat, warned Iraq would be the first of a "series of major wars" designed to solidify U.S. "political, economic and military control" over the Middle East.  Many insisted "Israel is what it is all about," accusing the U.S. of seeking to create regimes that would "accept Israeli and American dominance."  Others stressed the U.S. project "could never succeed" unless there is a "just solution to the Palestinian issue." 


Other observers term U.S. template for democratization 'simplistic' and 'dangerous'--  Many European, Latin and Asian dailies decried the U.S.' "unacceptable arrogance" in seeking a "messianic expansion of democracy."  Russia's neo-communist Slovo warned against using the "U.S.-provoked crisis" in Iraq to seek what Oslo's independent Dagbladet called a "large-scale political reorganizing of the Middle East."  Argentina's leading Clarin labeled the speech "the moment when [Bush] decided to conquer the Muslim world."  Japan's liberal Asahi warned that Muslims may see the plan as a "Christian invasion."  Many asserted that "imposing democracy by force is not a good idea," with Brazil's right-of-center O Globo noting that "democracy cannot be fabricated."  Several said Bush's vision of "democratizing the region" was "understandable and even justifiable," but left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau summed up a general sentiment that Bush's vision was "a fairy-tale...far away from reality." 


A few wholeheartedly support U.S. effort to create a 'genuinely transformed Arab world'--  Some Australian, German and Israeli papers backed Bush's "political vision" of an "Arab freedom and peace zone."  Australia's popular Daily Telegraph backed the idea of a "new order in the Middle East," while Germany's right-of-center Die Welt validated U.S. motives, asserting that it is a "serious mistake to consider [the speech] a fig leaf for a war for oil."  Notably, several Saudi and Tunisian papers also backed Bush's support for "establishing a democratic Palestinian state."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This survey is based on 62 reports from 31 countries over 27 February - 4 March 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Geeks Bearing Gifts"


The liberal Guardian opined (3/4):  "As the Middle East lurches towards war, Palestinians have more to fear than most.  Last week George Bush stressed his 'personal commitment' to Palestinian statehood.  Palestinians should beware of geeks bearing gifts.  Mr. Bush has talked about a Palestinian state before; but talk is all it amounts to so far.  He made a similar promise about progress on Palestine when seeking Muslim backing for his Afghan war.  That was 18 months ago....  No pacesetting diplomatic mediation is in sight.  The myriad problems of a post-war Iraq, meanwhile, are likely to preoccupy the White House well into the presidential election season.  Unpardonably, the Bush 'vision' blindly ignored Israel's throttling grip on Palestinian areas and its UN obligations to withdraw; worse still, Mr. Bush signalled a significant easing of earlier pressure to curb illegal settlement activity.  Yet all this is happening just as the US is supposedly in need of the Arab states' goodwill.  Little wonder, given their chronic weakness, that Mr. Bush exhibits such duplicitous nonchalance;  little wonder Palestinians fear they are on their own."


"Saddam's Fateful Choice"


The independent Financial Times ran a rare single-page editorial declaring (2/28):  "To invade, or not to invade?  The moment when the world will have to decide how to tackle Iraq is nigh.  On the answer could depend the fate of governments beyond Saddam Hussein's; the future of multilateral organizations from the the United Nations through Nato to the European Union; and, to a degree, the entire post-cold war era.  Anyone who doubts that the choice is this urgent should read the speech President Bush delivered in Washington on Wednesday.  In it he came close to proclaiming the 'liberation' of Iraq to be his intention--regardless of the outcome of the current UN inspections and irrespective of whether there is a second Security Council resolution authorizing attack.  There is no question that the world--and Iraq itself--would be a better place without Saddam Hussein.  The brutal nature of his tyranny has never been in doubt.  The debate now is about how to neuter it and in what circumstances a war against it can bejustified....  In recent weeks this impressive coalition [unanimous vote on 1441] has all but come unstuck, leaving transatlantic relations in shreds and the British prime minister--allied to Washington but faction strong opposition to this stance at home--dangerously exposed.  What the world now desperately needs is a way out of this impasse.  It could come in one of two forms. Either Mr. Hussein will decide now to disarm...or Mr. Blix will find that the Iraqi leader has still not 'come to an acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it....  The Financial Times will support an invasion, provided Iraq is clearly found by the Security Council in a new resolution to be in breach of Resolution 1441.  It will not support a unilateral action by the US and a few allies without UN cover."


FRANCE:  “Liberal Imperialism”


Left-of-center Le Monde opined (2/28):  “Sept. 11 has erased America’s temptation for isolationism....  The neo-imperialists...have taken over and convinced the U.S. President that America’s salvation could only come through the messianic expansion of democracy, with, eventually, the use of force. President Bush’s speech on Wednesday is a perfect illustration of this ideology. The goal of disarming Iraq hides a much greater ambition: democratization of the Middle East....  The question is whether a war in Iraq will render this goal, honorable in itself, easier to achieve, or whether it will hinder it....  Liberal imperialism, even when inspired by the best of intentions, can feed anti-Western feelings and fuel terrorism instead of the opposite. It can also provoke a rejection from moderate Arab nations which did not wait for George W. Bush’s sermons to fight for democracy. At the time, these nations were left to their own devices while Western leaders were in bed with despots in the name of realpolitik. Neo-imperialists forget that democracy is the result of a process and that it is one with international law.”


“The Cat Is Out Of The Bag”


Pierre Laurent wrote in communist l’Humanite (2/28):  “America’s counter-offensive is going full steam. The American President’s position has shifted: there is more than just Iraq’s disarmament. What was never really a secret is out in the open: the goal is toppling Saddam’s regime and controlling the region....  President Bush cannot easily convince us that invading Iraq is a necessary condition to easing the tension in the Middle East… To get the necessary support for its second resolution, Washington is threatening those who oppose it with reprisals....  At the same time, Condoleezza Rice talks of ‘lasting consequences for the UN’ if the U.S. resolution is not adopted. Such unacceptable arrogance....  is an invitation to hardening our position. France must not back down; it must use its veto if it becomes necessary.”


GERMANY:   "New Order In The Middle East"


Wolfgang Guenter Lerch judged in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (3/4):  “President Bush’s vision of a democratic Middle East is as startling as it is unlikely.  Wouldn’t such democratization replace the French and British colonial legacy with yet another foreign design?  Many Muslims harbor anti-western and particularly anti-American feelings because they already feel marginalized in world politics....  The danger of this feeling being exploited even more aggressively by terrorists in the future is much larger than the prospect of an Iraqi defeat leading to democratization.”


"Radical Missionary Zeal"


Right-of-center Saarbruecker Zeitung stated (3/4):  "If Iraqi oil had been the only issue in this conflict, then the United States would have had the opportunity to occupy the oil fields in Iraq during the previous Gulf war....  A totally different characteristic of U.S. realpolitik, however, is much more worrying:  the radical missionary zeal with which Bush and his Republican government retinue believe they are capable of democratizing dictatorships without showing any doubt about their own power and capabilities.”


“Dangerous Domino Theory”


Dietmar Ostermann commented in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (2/28):  “It sounds like a fairy-tale, really nice but far away from reality....  Thus far all U.S. governments have backed, used or protected the autocratic regimes in the Arab world, when it was in their interest.  These moves were mainly based on the wish for a stable supply with oil.  But the U.S. has not appeared in the Arab world as a credible advocate of democracy.  If Bush is now promising a democratic Mideast, then this may also be considered a failure of this cynical interest policy. According to the president, it is to be replaced by the dangerous domino theory of violent reform from the outside conceived by the hawks in the Pentagon.  The U.S. superpower wants to reshape the political map in the Mideast with a military liberation strike.  In reality, however, the ‘liberation’ of Mesopotamia has just begun with the sellout of the Iraqi Kurds to the strategic interests of Turkey.”


“Bush’s Vision”


Torsten Krauel said in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (2/28):  “The concept of an Arab freedom and peace zone that George W. Bush presented last the furthest-going political vision since Ronald Reagan’s address at the Brandenburg Gate.  It would be a serious mistake to consider it a fig leaf of a war for oil, as it was a mistake to reject Reagan’s vision of a free Europe as a fig leaf of his arms policy.  As absurd as Bush’s idea...may look like today of democratizing the Arab world, as false would it be to ignore Bush’s motives.  In their uninhibitedness, the Americans have a good feel for the longing of the ordinary people when freedom and peace are involved.”


“Democracy As A Punishment”


Clemens Wergin stated in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (2/28):  “Nobody [in the Arab world] buys this idealism from the Americans.  This is the greatest danger for Bush’s democratization [efforts].  If it is not accepted by Iraq’s society, or the people in the region, it must fail.  Nobody doubts that the decline of the Arab world must be stopped, but the chance that the Arabs will manage this all by themselves are very small.  The positions of the ‘old Europe’ and the United States are paradoxical.  While war opponents accept that torture and killing continues in Iraq, and the despots of the region can continue to rest smoothly, the Americans want a democratization á la carte.  Dictators that create problems should be eliminated, but with all others, for instance, Saudi Arabia the United States wants to continue to have good relations.  Bush is demonstrating only a partial idealism, because America’s security interests and America’s belief in freedom point to the same direction.  Democratization as a punishment--this is as a message not convincing.  And the dilemma remains, irrespective of whether the dictator will be eliminated by using force or whether he will stay in Baghdad.  Morality, and the people, will suffer in both cases.”


"Vision Out Of A Cowboy Hat"


G. Blaschke said on regional radio station Westdeutscher Rundfunk of Cologne (2/27):  “Once again President Bush pulled a vision out of his cowboy hat. Following unproven weapons of mass destruction, Al Qaida and other terrorist contacts, he is all of a sudden holding a banner with the term ‘democracy’ in his hand.  It could be promoted in the entire Arab world through regime change in Baghdad...and set in motion ‘the process to a truly Palestinian state.’  The president may have thought that he had tried to convince the world of the need of this war but he has not been successful.  Maybe it will now work with the term democracy….  But it is appropriate to remain skeptical, since only the Europeans and their leaders like the argument of democracy.  This message, however, must make the Arab potentates’ hair stand on end.  As undemocratic as they all are, Bush will be unable to lure them into war with a banner that carries the term democracy for the entire region.  For them, he should pull a banner out of his hat, saying 'Don’t worry, everything will remain as it is.'”


ITALY:  "Terrorism Will Depart The Middle East?"


Maurizio Molinari noted in centrist, influential La Stampa (2/28):  "Saddam Hussein assures that Iraq will not succumb to a U.S. attack, and George Bush reiterates that, after Baghdad’s fall, terrorism will withdraw from the entire Middle East to the advantage of the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.  The long-distance confrontation between the two opposing leaders...was aired on American televisions...when CBS broadcast an entire interview with Baghdad’s dictator virtually simultaneously with the U.S. President speech before the conservative... American Enterprise Institute....  The White House is already looking beyond the diplomatic iron fist and the end of the war.  The speech that President Bush delivered in Washington outlined the U.S. Administration’s strategic objective....  Bush’s final message was addressed to the Iraqi people: ‘We are not coming to occupy, but to liberate....’  With this promise, the White House is certain to convince the (Iraqi) population not to join the popular resistance organized by Saddam.”


RUSSIA:  "All Agree Saddam Won't Disarm Of Own Free Will"


Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta front-paged this comment by Yevgeniy Verlin (2/28):  "In the UN, the 'warring factions' are determined to come to terms to prevent further divisions in the international community.  All the key players are unanimous that Saddam will not disarm of his own free will.    In an effort to persuade the undecided, the U.S. president, shortly before the UN debates, came up with a major speech at American Enterprise Institute. Obviously, the speaker aimed to influence the opponents of armed action, there being no convincing evidence of Saddam's regime having WMD and three UNSC permanent members insisting on more time for the inspectors."


"U.S. Resolves To Re-Divide World"


Neo-communist weekly Slovo stated (2/28):  "Hardly anyone now hopes for a chance to avert war or find a peaceful solution to the U.S.-provoked crisis.  The United States in the persons of Bush and Rumsfeld, to name but two, is out to re-divide the world, beginning in the Persian Gulf."  


GREECE:  “Freedom And War”


Top circulation, influential pro-government Sunday To Vima had a piece by chief editor Yannis Kartalis that said said (3/2):  “President Bush gave the real reason for the war against Iraq in his speech to the American Enterprise Institute, that is, a general re-arrangement in the wider Middle East region from Bahrain to Morocco, where democracy and freedom in accordance with U.S. wishes and objectives will be imposed by force.  At first glance the plan could be seen positively, although it is obvious that the undertaking can hardly conceal plans for U.S. domination over the entire region. However, it is doubtful whether democracy can be imposed from overseas by means of war.”


IRELAND:  "Conservative Group Sets Bush's Foreign Agenda"


Paul Gillespie wrote in the liberal Irish Times (3/1):  "In assessing President Bush's major speech on Iraq and the Middle East this week, it helps to know more about the American Enterprise Institute, where he delivered it on Wednesday night....  Kenneth Pollack, a Clinton administration official who has long supported action against Iraq, said a stable and democratic regime there could be a positive example in the region, but that would happen only slowly. He questioned the wisdom of citing this as a rationale for war. How credible is the demand for disarmament and how can it be evaluated if the real U.S. motivation is regime change and democratic transformation?....  There is a contradiction between ends and means in the U.S. approach. While many in the region would welcome democratisation of the Middle East, they do not believe it is best achieved by a U.S.-led regime change in Iraq. This would be more likely to galvanise anti-American nationalism among Arab intellectuals and in the Arab street than to encourage democratic change....  Terrorism, too, would be boosted, not eliminated, in the Middle East, by a U.S. occupation of Iraq, according to many commentators in the region. The longer the military campaign, the more that would be the case....  That brings us back to Europe and its agonising disagreements over Iraq. Such contradictions in the U.S. approach mean war is still not inevitable. There remains space for an alternative political approach to disarming Iraq and encouraging change in the Middle East. It can come only from a Europe capable of overcoming its own contradictory approaches."


"Iraq Key To Middle East Peace, Says Bush"


Conor O'Clery observed in the liberal Irish Times (2/27):  "In a major speech to drum up support for war with Iraq, U.S. President Mr George Bush said that removing President Saddam Hussein from power would bring stability and democracy to the region and lay the groundwork for the emergence of a Palestinian state....  Mr Bush's sudden new focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict comes after intensive lobbying from his closest allies on Iraq, British Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair, and Spanish Prime Minister Mr. Jose Maria Aznar, for help to withstand the mounting pressures they face over support for war....  The EU has been pressing Washington to lay out a timetable for the creation of a Palestinian state....  U.S. officials said the administration was reluctant to upset Israeli Prime Minister Mr Ariel Sharon, who favours expanding settlements, on the eve of a war in which the US will need Israeli co-operation."


NORWAY:  “The Empire Strikes Back”


Editor Halvor Elvik commented in independent Dagbladet (2/28):  "After President Bush’s last speech the Iraqi campaign is not about a breach of UN resolutions and production of weapons of mass destruction, but about a large-scale political reorganizing of the Middle East....  When George Bush was a Presidential candidate he accused President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for misusing fighting trained American soldiers for ‘nation building’ in Bosnia and Kosovo....  Now he says that the American soldiers might stay in Iraq, but not longer than 'necessary.'"


PORTUGAL:  "The Bomb"


Former Social Democratic Party Finance Minister Francisco Sarsfield Cabral declared in respected center-left Diário de Notícias (3/3):  "Many objectives have been pointed to in order to justify a war in Iraq, decided upon in Washington long ago....  This multiplicity of targets reveals them all to be false, since Bush has a (badly) concealed design: the geostrategic assertion of the U.S. in a neuralgic zone, for the sake of the oil.  Other justifications are useful for public relations campaigns, trying to oppose anti-war feelings.  Now come two more arguments: a war in Iraq could facilitate peace between Israelis and Palestinians; and the overthrow of Saddam would set off a process of general democratization in the Arab world.  They're ridiculous justifications.  Bush never cared about the Israeli-Palestinian problem.  He supports Sharon....  Talking about Washington's support for a Palestinian state is a joke in bad taste.  As for bombing the Arabs into democratizing, this method could lead to the opposite result.  It's worth recalling how the modernizing reforms of another U.S. ally, the Shah of Iran, ended up.  And why not democratize Saudi Arabia...or Pakistan?....  They could start right now by democratizing their allies."




ISRAEL:  "It Isn't The Oil, Stupid, It's The Oil Money"


Liberal columnist B. Michael noted in pluralist Yediot Aharonot (3/4):  "Every day the longed-for war is approaching, the more obvious it becomes that the official reasons [for going to war] are unmitigated mumble jumble--not WMD, no conspiracy with al-Qaida, no threat on the United States, not even a threat against [Iraq's] neighbors....  The sudden holy aspiration to bring the gospel of democracy sounds like a joke altogether.  The Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney-Rice quartet proves daily...that a democratic regime isn't a guarantee for anything....  The true reason for the war could be found...on the Internet...with the following theory....  The international currency for oil trading is the [U.S.] dollar....  The USD's dominance [on the oil market] is currently almost the sole basis for the U.S. currency.  The U.S. economy is in incredible dumps....  [On December 1, 2000, Saddam Hussein] asked the UN to set his oil prices in euros rather than in dollars....  Documents show that in early 2001 voices in the U.S. Administration suggested making use of military force to take over Iraq--not to deprive the Iraqi people of oil, God forbid, but to bring mutinous Iraq back from the euro to the USD, to dominate the Iraqi oil trade and to weaken the OPEC cartel.  In a isn't the oil, it's only the oil currency--not for democracy, but for plutocracy."


"President Bush's New Democratic Middle East"


Natan Guttman remarked in independent Ha'aretz (2/28):  "In his speech [at the American Enterprise Institute on Wednesday], Bush frequently compared U.S. actions in the Gulf to those carried out by the Americans during World War II.  Similarly to the Marshall Plan....  Bush is proposing a detailed reconstruction plan for Iraq.  He also made use of the Japanese and German models to prove that it is possible to instill democracy into countries apparently devoid of such a legacy.  Those comparisons illuminate the U.S. commitment to the region even after the operation's immediate military goals are achieved, but also indicate the end of the era of Bush's reservations about 'nation-building."


"'A New Arab Charter'"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (2/28):  "AEI [the American Enterprise Institute] is the leading neoconservative think tank in the U.S., and the President's remarks were broadly in line with AEI's political orientation.  Against traditional conservatives, who would keep U.S. engagements abroad to a minimum, or Kissingerians who define America's foreign policy interests narrowly, the President set out a vision for a radically transformed Middle East.  It is a vision this column broadly shares....  It remains to be seen whether the president's reference to the road map was a formality and perhaps a sop to the British government, for whom Palestinian statehood has become an obsession.  What's certain is that as Bush's call for a genuinely transformed Arab world comes closer to realization, so too will the prospect of a Palestinian state with which Israel can hope to co-exist.  As the concept of 'linkage' goes, Bush's version offers the region the greatest chance of success."


WEST BANK:  “Contradicting Interests Threaten Arab Existence”


Independent Al-Quds declared (2/28):  “The United States and the UK are not fighting for the sake of Kuwait, the Gulf countries, democracy....  It is an attempt by Washington to impose its sovereignty, control the Arab nation and protect American and Israeli interests. If the goal was to change the [government] of Iraq in order to save the country from dictatorship and repression, it should have been stated as the topmost objective of the American and British demands. The international joint efforts would have then been able to achieve this goal through free elections in Iraq under international supervision away from invasion and occupation.”


"Aggression Under Execution”


Samieh Shubieb asserted in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (2/28):  "The American administration is fully aware that Iraq does not pose a real threat either to the United States or to the world....  Thus, it [the American administration] aims to use its military presence to achieve three goals necessary for rearranging the Middle East: first, deploying American-British forces in the Gulf countries, especially around the oil outlets. Second, subjugating countries around Iraq, especially Turkey and Iran....  Third, attacking Iraq and overthrowing the current regime and working on establishing a new system in Iraq.”


EGYPT:  “The U.N. Is The Sole Way For World Stability”


Leading, pro-government Al Ahram opined (3/1):  “In considering American foreign conduct towards Iraq, especially after September 11, we discern a growing change in the way America views itself and the world....  The U.S. leadership seems convinced that propagating this ultimately victorious model in different parts of the world constitutes a sacred message....  This missionary American vision was mixed in with Washington’s attempt to achieve hegemony over strategic, economic parts of the world of which Iraq is a prominent portion....  There are real dangers in these American views not only for the Arab world and the Middle East but also for the security...of the entire world. The return of the Iraqi issue entirely into the hands of international legitimacy, represented by the UN, is the only way to save the world from the huge dangers posed by the American vision.”


“Separating Lines”


Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya Editor-in-chief Samir Ragab wrote (2/28):  "We do not know whether Bush’s statement to American Enterprise Foundation was meant to precede the Arab summit or not.  Regardless, the scenario he presented implies all kinds of danger and all signs of evil and harm to the Arab world, even if Bush tried to choose his expressions and beautify the gloomy picture.  Is there a single incident in history that indicates that an unjust occupation of a nation was more merciful than the nation’s own cruel rulers?  Definitely not.  An occupier will not bother to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless--as Bush said. On the contrary, the occupier would seek to subdue both the poor and the rich, the displaced and the inhabitants of palaces....  We all agree that Saddam’s rule was tyrannical and closed all doors to freedom, democracy and rule of law. However, when Bush says that Saddam does not care about the lives of the Iraqis, while Americans care, no one would believe him, inside or outside Iraq.  Bush also added a strange new accusation against Saddam to the long list of repeated accusations. He said Saddam assisted the families of Palestinian “martyrs” and encouraged terrorism.  Again, Bush confused matters and purposes. If Americans consider fighting for one’s pride and land a terrorist act, the original owners of the cause consider this as a heroic and manly act, without which Palestinians would not regain their legitimate rights.  Bush also linked the solution of the main Arab issue--Palestine--to overthrowing Saddam, then Arafat....  More dangerously, he made many threats and warnings, which he considered promises, that what will happen in Iraq will be a model to all Arabs from Morocco to Bahrain."


JORDAN:  “Nothing But A Promise”


Dr. Musa Keilani said in centrist, elite English-language Jordan Times (3/2):  “U.S. President George W. Bush’s promise to turn his attention to Palestine after Iraq...reminds us of a similar pledge by his father in 1990 ad of what actually happened since then.  Indeed, Bush the father fulfilled half of that pledge by arranging the 1991 Middle East peace conference in Madrid where what was then described as historic peace talks began between the Arabs and Israel....  What do we have in our sights today to expect a situation different under Bush the son?  We have yet to see a commitment on the part of Bush Jr. to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we see it as unlikely that Washington has new ideas to advance this quest....  Bush’s promise is not worth much unless accompanied by a clear outline of the process that would lead to the realization of the quartet’s ‘roadmap for peace’.  We do appreciate that the ultimate point in that ‘roadmap’ is a Palestinian state.  But we have no idea what it would take for the Palestinians to get there.  More importantly, we have no assurance that pressure would be applied on Israeli to accept reason, logic, international legitimacy and a desire for peace based on the genuine rights of the Palestinians....  Until and unless we see concrete signs of a paradigm shift in the U.S. approach and Washington’s acceptance of the truth that it is its blind backing for Israel that has distorted any sincere and honest search for peace, we are afraid that Bush’s promise is nothing but just that--a promise.”


“Bush And The ‘Post-war Speech’”


Urayb Rintawi noted in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (3/2):  “The ‘post-war speech’ delivered by the U.S. President at the American Enterprise Institute sketched the outlines of U.S. strategy in the Middle East and highlighted the principles of ‘post-Saddam Hussein Iraq'....  A federal, democratic, modern Iraq, serving to bring security and stability to the region, providing the example for political reform for the entire Middle East; an Iraq that will  be able to export oil to world markets and add a modern ruling regime to the Middle East.  An Iraq of this kind cannot be under occupation and military rule, unless we are talking about a short transitional period.  An Iraq that lives under American generals or even civilian rulers could become an agent for the Americans, and then with time turn into the core of instability in the region and a source for a new wave of terrorism.  Our problem with the ‘American vision’ of Iraq lies in three aspects:  The first is that the advancement of Iraqi democracy will not replace the need for advancement on the Palestinian political track.  The second is that U.S. policy in general has always been characterized by pragmatism and a short attention span.  It is not unlikely that Washington would renege on all its pledges and promises at the first signs of a crisis or resistance.  The third aspect is that U.S. foreign policy is greatly influenced by domestic calculations and considerations that are determined by opportunist pressure groups that have their own interests to serve.”


LEBANON:  "The Iraqi Model"


Joseph Samahah declared in Arab nationalist As-Safir (2/28):  "We must believe President George Bush when he says he wants radical change in Iraq. We also must believe him when he says that change in Iraq will pave the way for restructuring the Middle East. And we must believe Bush when he announces that these two steps will lead to a solution to the Palestinian problem....  America's only option is to move from regime change in Iraq to the occupation of Iraq. This means controlling this country politically, militarily, and administratively and not leaving it before making sure that the new rulers accept the maximum American demands, not that democracy is established. These maximum American demands are nothing less than the 'liberalization' of the economy for foreign companies and banks, the privatization of oil, hostility toward the enemies of Washington and friendship with Washington's friends....  The other Arab countries will have to raise their alliance with the United States to this level of full political and economic subservience.  It is not strange, then, for George Bush Junior to do what George Bush Senior refused to do. In 1990/1991 the father refused to establish any link between Iraq and Palestine. But the son did that in his recent speech when he said that the new situation in Iraq and the region would help achieve a settlement with Israel. This is also what Israeli officials have been stressing....  The American occupation of Iraq is the midwife that will facilitate the birth of Sharon's solution to the Palestinian problem. Or this is at least what the American-Israeli alliance is seeking to achieve. We are before an amended copy of 'the new Middle East.'"


MOROCCO:  "War Against Iraq:  In The Name of Which Law?"


Independent, French-language business-oriented L'Economiste commented (3/4):  "International laws do not allow intervention.  Pax Americana is born. Deployment of U.S. forces has ended, and the U.S. Army is waiting for a signal....  Americans no longer hide their wish to control the region's oil. The U.S. plainly wants to restructure the Middle East....  Is this a new kind of U.S. colonialism?  It seems so!"


“The Unknown"


Amina Talhimet declared in French-language pro-government Liberation (3/3):  "Key to the Middle East issue: we have easily found the solution. Bush's address, its objective, is precise. The sudden generosity towards the region could have been understandable if it took place in different circumstances. Its impact could have been real if there was no embargo against Iraq; add to this the U.S.--British strikes on Baghdad since the First Gulf War....  And Ariel Sharon in Israel, and Bush in the U.S., and millions of marchers against the war....  The problem is that the U.S. and England request the green light from the international community to carry out an illegal action on behalf of the United Nations. This is the reason why the French position is very important. For France, a resolution against disarming Iraq exists but not against the removal of Saddam Hussein."


"Countdown Has Started In Iraq"


Mohammed Lakhdadi declared in semi-official, Arabic-language Assahra Al Maghribyia (2/28):  "President Bush, in his statement, has well chosen the timing to announce the countdown to invade Iraq....  Bush wanted to send messages to Arab leaders on the eve of the holding of an Arab summit in Egypt. President Bush, in his address, talked about the post Saddam era and said that the U.S.' first aim was to remove Saddam and did not underline the issue of weapons of mass destruction. President Bush tried to lessen Arab worries and underlined the issues of peace and democracy and a Palestinian State neighboring Israel in peace....  Bush, however, did not bring anything new in the case with regards to the Palestinian issue and only reminded us about the generalities already mentioned last June. What is more dangerous is that Bush renewed his statement about not dealing with the present Palestinian leadership and called for a change...supporting Sharon's policy."


“President Bush Vision For The Middle East, Palestinian State Is Possible Only In The Case Of A Change Of Iraqi Regime”


Semi-official, French-language Le Matin opined (2/28):  "U.S. plans for the post-Saddam era have been clarified.  President Bush in a speech at the ‘American Enterprise Institute’ stated that the change of the Iraqi regime is a condition for the creation of an independent Palestinian State....  This U.S. vision to change the regime in Iraq will allow  the creation of a U.S. administration in Iraq and will serve as an example to follow in the Middle East....  An Israeli official welcomed Mr. Bush's speech. Israeli Prime Minister confirmed that he accepted the quartet road map for the creation of a Palestinian State in 2005, but with many addenda and while refusing the Palestinians the right of return.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Farm Account And Field Account"


London's pan-Arab Al-Hayat ran a signed editorial by Walid Abi Morshid stating (3/2):  "Maybe the American administration needs a 'ideal' excuse in terms of a moral reason to justify its launching war, while the international community's feelings against war are on the increase. However, it is noted that while the world is concentrating on following the countdown for war, President Bush is focusing on setting up the Iraqis politically so as to politically restructure the whole Middle East....  It is worth mentioning that while the U.S is the most dominant military force in the world, but at the same time, the U.S. needs to be more careful in its Middle East policy."


"Between Cairo And Sharm El-Sheikh"


Mohammed Al-Ash'hab wrote in London's pan-Arab Al-Hayat (3/2):  "The American administration schemes to exercise power is consistent with imposing a political, economic and military control over the universe of the twenty-first century....  It is the right time for Arab countries to realize that war against Iraq is not just one war, but a series of major wars.  What concerns the American administration is not disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, freeing the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein's regime, treating the exhausted & surrounded Iraqi people with sympathy or supporting democratic ideals, but rather to reorganize the region after the Cold War merely for the sake of the giant American, according to a long-term strategy....  Yet, the American administration does not solicit, at this time, Arabic or international support, since it is planning to go in war against all."


"Sharon And The Palestinian State"


Jeddah’s moderate Okaz editorialized  (3/1):  "In order to clarify the picture we have to view two speeches, as both of them hold the same idea:  Colin Powell’s statement--Reform the Arab status, in other words, persuade all Arabs to focus their loyalty to serve American expansion and Israeli superiority. President Bush’ statement--Reform of Iraqi conditions and then reform the region according to a new Iraq (model)...could be (read carefully) for the sake of establishing a democratic Palestinian state."


"Towards An Iraqi Model, What About The Israeli One?"


London’s pan-Arab Al-Hayat ran a piece by Abdulwahab Baderakhan declaring (3/1):  "The first thing we understand from President Bush’s speech is that he is definite that the U.S. is headed towards war, but all other promising talks about the Iraqi future will be under consideration....  What President Bush said about a Palestinian state was very confusing and mysterious...participants in Sharm El Shaikh can clearly understand now, if they haven’t understood before, that the Palestinian resolution got lost in the maze of building the ‘Iraqi Model’ of democracy."


SYRIA:  "Reshaping"


Ali Qasem commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (3/1):  "After Secretary Powell's lengthy talk about reshaping the Middle East, President Bush started to talk in detail about a Middle East the U.S. imagines to tailor in accordance with its interests in the region, an imagination which is identical with the hegemony illusions the U.S. seeks to accomplish on the region and the world.  Such talk lacked the minimum requirements of diplomacy.  It was extremely rude and arrogant....  The U.S. strategy is based on naïve and unrealistic resumptions and illusions....  The current U.S. Administration is exaggerating in its dreams to the extent of imagining that the world people and governments are no more than chess pieces which it can easily move as it likes without even consulting them and comprehending their needs....  The U.S. believes that it can reshape the world depending on the fact that it is the only major power in the world....  The U.S. has exaggerated dreams and eventually will lose direction and commit more mistakes."


TUNISIA:  "Bush Promises The Arab World a 'Heavenly World'!"


Senior editor Mustapha Ben Ammar opined in independent French-language Le Quotidien (2/28):  "After the political loss he experienced in the majority of countries in the international community, in particular regards to its traditional allies, and after he succeeded in doing what no American President before him has ever achieved, provoking by his lapidary policy a virulent hostility and total international disapproval, George Bush persists in moving forward by using excuses....  Hence, by demonizing the Iraqi leader and presenting him as a direct threat to the American people, the chief of the White House wants to get through lies and illusions what he couldn't have through diplomatic argumentation....  Saddam, the ogre, threatens even the stability and security of the world superpower!  The height of aberration! On the other hand, the public Arab opinion should be, of course, entertained and promised a variety of illusions....  Hence, the disappearance of the 'Despotic' Saddam Hussein would open up all the doors, even to the creation of a democratic and viable Palestinian State, that would be according to President Bush's crazy promises, 'supported' by the new Israeli government."


"Iraq, Victim Of 9/11"


A commentary by Tahar Boukhris in independent bilingual-weekly Realites read (2/27):  "Through its incursion in Iraq, the Bush team hopes to cut the financial resources of the terrorist movement Al-Qaida and to nip any whim of aggression against the U.S. and the Western world in its bud. It is certain that this second war in the Gulf will provoke a deep disruption in the region. The people of the Middle East are against the American intervention. Isn't it legitimate to think that the Arab people in the region could benefit from the disruption that is going to take place!? They could benefit in the field of individual freedom, democracy and a more equal sharing of the country's resources.  Hope is allowed, moreover, this is what the American leaders are implying. But there is a certainty that the U.S. could never succeed in their project in the Middle East if they don't work out quickly a just solution to the Palestinian issue. If it does not like Saddam Hussein's regime, the same thing is indisputable to the Arab people, who are very sensitive to the Palestinian issue."


UAE:   "From Arab Country Into An American Territory"


Influential, pan-Arab Al Khaleej editorialized (3/1):  "The White House is planning on transforming Iraq from an Arab country into an American territory in the heart of the Arab World and then applying this 'model' in the region....  The least that could be said about the instructions submitted to the Arab Summit by Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State, is that it represents a shameless diplomatic ploy to impose certain opinions on the summit.  This must urge the Arabs to take a strong stand in the summit following U.S. disdain of Arabs and anything they represent....  The summit is requested to assert to the U.S that the Arabs have reached a point where they know what works best for them.  What is required is a unified Arab attitude and not a rambling stand fed by the U.S to achieve its goals and those of Israel.  Without this...there will be no need for any summits since the U.S. will be positioned in the Arab region controlling everything.  The current Iraqi crisis, after the Palestinian crisis, will pave the way for further crises in the region."




AUSTRALIA:  “When Peace Follows War”


The liberal Sydney Morning Herald observed (3/2):  "Prompted by friends and allies to start talking more about peace than war, the United States President, George Bush, opened a new front this week. He sought to justify a pre-emptive attack on Iraq as the means to wider peace in the Middle East....  His case, unfortunately, is not helped by the central historical analogy he relies on....  There is no real disagreement on the desirable goal of change. Iraq would be better off without Saddam. But to focus on the goal without sufficient regard to the dynamics of the change needed to reach it is misleading.“


“After The War”


The popular tabloid Daily Telegraph declared (2/28):  “The fanciful belief of many participants in recent peace marches that America is motivated by the desire to control Iraq’s oil reserves rather than return stability to the region and reduce the risk of terrorist attack was further eroded in an internationally televised speech yesterday by President George Bush....  The case to disarm Saddam, who is flagrant breach of the 17 UN resolutions, has been well made.  If action against Iraq is a first step towards a new order in the Middle East, the second step that could bring lasting peace to the region must also be taken.”


“Domino Effect Has No Basis In Reality”


Business-oriented Australian Financial Review editorialized (2/28):  "The experts say that Bush’s Elysian vision of a modern American domino effect in the Middle East is fundamentally flawed, neither replacing depots with democracies nor advancing the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But how is Bush’s speech unintentionally revealing? Because it does not come from any practical study of the subject--it arises from the theoretical visions of the neoconservatives in and around the Bush Administration.  It confirms that Bush’s foreign policy is run according to theology, not practicality.”


JAPAN:   "Arab Democratization Will Not Be As Easy As The U.S. Thinks"


Liberal Asahi editorialized (3/2):  "President Bush made clear plans to democratize the Arab world after getting rid of Saddam Hussein and restoring peace in Iraq. The U.S. is trying to not just nip the proliferation of WMD in the bud and eradicate the threat of terrorists but is trying to change the Arab/Islamic world....  Besides Iraq, there are dictatorial nations in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, where the royal family continues to monopolize oil. The U.S. call for democratizing the region is understandable and even justifiable.  But isn't it too simplistic for the U.S. to believe freeing Iraq from Saddam Hussein will open the way for Middle East democratization? Islam is so deep-rooted in the Arab world that many Arabs may regard such a democratization move as a Christian invasion. In fact, many Arabs are beginning to make the U.S. an enemy whose law enforcement officials have been tightening surveillance of people of Arab-Islam background since 9/11. At the bottom of anti-U.S. sentiment in the Arab world is the Bush administration's pro-Israel policy. Popular dissatisfaction with the pro-Israel U.S. policy may even become a moral boost for international terrorists who are overtly calling for Islamic revolution."


PHILIPPINES:  "Iraqi Horror Show"


Columnist Antonio Samson noted in leading business-oriented BusinessWorld (2/28):  "Uncertainty is not only about whether there will be a war or not. It touches too on the vagueness of the available options. Those trying to sound well informed and intelligent about Iraq do not understand even the most basic things about the place....  When asked for an opinion about the conflict, isn't it better to admit at least mild ignorance with so many unknowns about the country? Having a passionate position on this country with so little information is sure to put one between Iraq and a hard place."


THAILAND:  “Can Iraq War Win Middle East Peace?”


The top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post opined (3/3):  “Neither Mr. Bush’s vision nor the views of other recently liberated people can guarantee success in Iraq.  The U.S.-led effort to oust Saddam Hussein could be entirely successful, yet result in great chaos, inside Iraq and abroad.  Indeed, the success of any invasion will be measured by the civil achievements and not the military campaign....  War may not be inevitable in Iraq.  Diplomats can find a way out of the Iraq mess if they are determined.  But if there is a war the world owes battered, backward Iraq a massive step up.  A free, democratic Iraq would go a long way to bringing peace to the Gulf region.”


INDIA:  "Bush's Roman Empire"


Mumbai-based right-of-center Marathi-language Samina opined (2/28):  "A debate is on all around on whether the U.S.-Iraq military conflict will take place, and if it does, what will be its impact on the rest of the world....  The situation in the Persian Gulf is fast moving towards the war.  Saddam is willing to fight and die for his country.  The U.S. doesn't care if its war with Iraq shatters the world peace.  The U.S. intends to use the impending war to tell the world that its will must prevail, and that any country that doesn't fall in line would meet with the same fate as Saddam's Iraq....  The U.S. ambition is to rule the world.  A neo-Roman empire is on the rise.  Now Bush is going to be the globo-cop and Tony Blair his deputy.  People around the world, whether they like it or not, will have to put up with America's bullying.  While pretending to fight terrorism, America has started behaving like Osama bin Laden itself!"


PAKISTAN:  "Of Noble Missions And Sordid Aims"


Abdul Basit Haqqani noted in the Lahore-based Daily Times (3/3):  "The American President made another speech the other day.  He attempted, almost desperately, to convince listeners that his burning desire to unleash war was based on the noblest aims....  How easily the word 'evil' comes to the lips of those proud of what American journalists call their 'moral certainty'--another euphemism for fundamentalist fanaticism....  But in truth Israel is what it is all about. All potential threats to that 'unsinkable American aircraft carrier' in the Middle East must be destroyed. The plan is much bigger than 'fixing' Saddam's Iraq.  Iraq is only the first step. It transpires that the evil genius of this American regime, the 'dark prince' Richard Perle, wrote a paper in 1995 in which he argued that Israel's security could only be ensured by destroying or replacing the region's governments with those that would accept Israeli and American dominance (and, obviously, surrender their resources for use by these benefactors)....  Richard Perle was the mastermind during the Reagan era. It was his strategy to refuse to discuss anything with the Soviet Union, even when Moscow agreed to the demands made by Washington. The same thing is happening again.  Demands are made on Iraq, demands that amount to capitulation in the hope that they would be rejected and provide an excuse for war. When they are accepted, the Administration refuses to acknowledge that any progress has been made and still cries out to be allowed to unleash the dogs of war."


"The Real War Aim In The Middle East"


The Karachi-based independent national Dawn opined (3/1):  "President Bush has outlined his chilling vision for the Middle East to be pursued following the ouster or elimination of Saddam Hussein in a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In essence, the U.S. president is set to embark on a course of action whose ostensible aim is to spread the light of democracy across the Middle East through the barrel of the gun. The prime beneficiary, according to this blueprint, is likely to be the state of Israel....  The Bush vision seems to sanctify the option of military intervention as a mode of corrective action or enforcement wherever democracy is stubbornly resistant to outside encouragement. It is this missionary zeal to save the Middle East from itself that is supposed to provide a moral justification for a long-term occupation--something that is clearly warranted by less altruistic motives. Any attempt by an occupying army to bring democracy to the Arab world will clearly be seen both by Arab nationalists and Islamists as a cover for a new kind of colonialism and a new version of the Crusades.   Democracy is not something that can be foisted from above; it has to come from within societies themselves....  If the U.S. goes ahead with its unilateral action against Iraq, it could open up a Pandora's box, with a whole host of nations tempted to take similar action to further their aims. The world, especially the Muslim world, has a duty to fight back against this dangerous way of attempting to reorder the region and the world generally....  Posterity will be a harsh judge of those who go along with a policy that encourages a unilateral attack on Iraq and presages a long-term presence of the U.S. in the region, armed with a dangerously ambitious agenda of its own. The Bush vision for the region promises only deep turmoil and disorder. The Muslim world must stop calculating what it will gain from backing such a vision and think beyond its narrow self-interest."




SENEGAL:  "Threats to the Monarchies of the Gulf"


Independent, even-handed French-language Sud Quotidien carried a commentary by Serigne Mour Diop stating (3/4):  "An American attack against Iraq, a country already bruised by the numerous wars it has had, for the most part imposed, will be the culmination of the will of the United States to appropriate for itself all the wealth of the world, starting with the oil with which the country of Saddam Hussein is overflowing....  Saddam Hussein’s hesitation to destroy his missiles...may be justified by his 'overly armed' American adversaries and neighbor Israel....  In deploying more than 200,000 GIs to the Gulf...George Walker Bush and his [underlings] are perhaps going to raze an entire country and exterminate and entire generation....  The warning is to be taken very seriously by all the monarchies of the Gulf and by all the other countries late in democratizing....  In seeking to neutralize Saddam Hussein, George Walker Bush is turning his back to the world’s real democracies, which allow their people the right to choose their leaders....  All the democracies of the world must stand as one to prevent this massacre of an innocent people [Iraqis] to which the Bush/Rumsfeld/Powell trio want to dedicate themselves.”


SOUTH AFRICA:   "Third Force May Not Baill Out U.S. Policy In Middle East"


Philip van Niekerk wrote in balanced Business Day (3/3):  "High-minded idealism, driven by self-interest, with the ends justifying the means, is once again the theme of U.S. foreign policy....  The Bush administration has generated enormous distrust through its shifting rationale for the war and the sheer arrogance with which it has pursued its agenda....  The administration has gone to great lengths to deny the war is simply an excuse to pillage Iraqi oil but the fact is this region has huge strategic importance to the U.S. economy.  Without oil, the US would have about as much interest in regime change in Iraq as it does in Zimbabwe or Liberia.  But oil is not about securing concessions for US corporations: it is a political calculation in which the neo-conservatives have decided that to keep the status quo is to face defeat....  The U.S.' only hope of defeating the tide of fundamentalism is to throw its weight behind moderate democratic reforms in the Arab world, and thereby not only break with the autocrats but build a bulwark against the ideas and activities of Osama bin Laden and his fellow travelers....  If the Bush administration's diplomatic ineptitude of recent months is anything to go by, as the drama moves onto the battlefields of Iraq, the U.S. could soon find itself in a quagmire of even greater magnitude than Vietnam."


"How Viable Is Bush's Latest Word-trick To Win Over The Arabs?"


Robert Fisk declared in liberal Sunday Independent (3/2):  "The world 'viable' has now become the be-all and end-all of United States policy towards Palestine....  President Bush told the American Enterprise Institute 'the new government of Israel will be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state.'....  Why should Muslims take this talk seriously?  Of course, they don't.  It's just another word-trick to kick the Arabs into support--or at least acquiescence--in the American invasion of Iraq....  But once America occupies Iraq, what argument can the Arabs deploy against Israel?  If the West Bank is occupied, well so is Iraq.  If the U.S. occupied Iraq to spare the world from 'terror,' why shouldn't Israel occupy the West Bank to spare itself from 'terror'?  Few have yet worked through this dangerous equation.  They should."




CANADA: “A Volley Of Propaganda”


Contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis wrote in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (3/3): “[W]hat I dislike even more than Saddam's nasty regime are government lies and propaganda. Since 9/11, Americans have been subjected to the most intense propaganda campaign from their government since World War I....  A shocking two-thirds of Americans mistakenly believe Iraq staged the 9/11 attacks....  It's frightening to see Bush claim with a straight face his war against Iraq will bring democracy and peace to the Mideast, and save Iraqis from repression. Why didn't he begin by saving Palestinians from the repression by his alter-ego, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon? If Bush really cared about Mideast democracy, he's had two years to do something about U.S.-sponsored dictatorships like Egypt and Pakistan, or medieval autocracies such as Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and America's Gulf protectorates. When Bush says he will bring democracy to benighted Iraqis, what he really means is U.S. rule. In Bush-speak, 'democracy' has been perverted to mean U.S. imperial hegemony....  Many Americans simply don't understand their leadership is about to plunge the nation into an open-ended, dangerous colonial war. All the propaganda about democracy, human rights and regional stability is the same kind of double-talk used by the 19th century British and French imperialists who claimed they were grabbing Africa and Asia to bring the benefits of Christian civilization to the heathens....  Misery loves company. An American-occupied Iraq looks destined to join the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza as another human, political and moral disaster for all concerned."


“Remaking The Arab World”


The conservative National Post editorialized (3/1):  “In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on Wednesday, U.S. President George W. Bush made the case for war in terms that transcend weapons of mass destruction and UN resolutions....  We hope the world pays heed to Mr. Bush's message. While disarming Iraq, ending the country's sponsorship of terrorism and liberating Saddam Hussein's subjects are all war-worthy goals, the greatest dividend to be hoped for in the long run is the transformation of the Arab Middle East....  In his speech on Wednesday, Mr. Bush declared that 'we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary,' and compared the coming reconstruction project with the rebuilding of Japan and Germany six decades ago....  The historical comparison is apt, and we hope Mr. Bush follows through on these words. Through its sustained presence in Iraq, the United States will have a rare opportunity to transform the Arab Middle East. It would be a tragedy if the President turned his back on this crucial enterprise once the immediate threat posed by Saddam is extinguished.”


 "George W. Bush, The Engineer"


Mario Roy wrote in the centrist French-language La Presse (2/28):  "George W. Bush redrew the map of the Middle-East and undertook some spectacular political engineering work on Wednesday....  Everything is coherent with what could be called the Wolfowitz doctrine...the U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary and a high level strategist who considers it the West's duty to spread its values of liberty and democracy. But we have said it before: imposing democracy by force is not a good idea....  Moreover, one cannot imagine a worse guide than America to show the way especially in this region where, rightly or wrongly, the U.S. is thoroughly detested.  The fact that the Bush administration fails to see these pitfalls leaves us speechless."


"U.S. Serious About Democracy In Mideast"


Marcus Gee opined in the leading Globe and Mail (2/27):  "Whatever Washington's critics may say, there is no way that the United States is going to replace Saddam Hussein with a friendly thug and get out. Idealistic? Dangerous? Perhaps. There is always the danger that Muslims would see the attempt to build democracy in Iraq as an imperial enterprise, setting off a backlash that would make anti-Americanism worse, not better."


ARGENTINA:  "What To Do Vis-à-vis Bush's Imperial Project?"


Mariano Grondona observed in daily-of-record La Nacion (3/2):  "The purpose of President Bush is--no less--becoming a contemporary Julius Caesar. The danger of this is turning the U.S. into a military power like Caesar did with the Republic of Rome....  Iraq is only a pretext. The aggressive dictatorship that harasses Iraq, presumably harboring WMD, is only the theater of operations where the occasional U.S. Empire plans to become the intentional empire.  On the surface--the most visible but superficial aspect--is the argument whether Saddam is as dangerous as Bush presents him. But the underlying issue is whether the world will facilitate or obstruct Bush's imperial project.  When France, Germany, China or Russia object to a military attack on Iraq, what they're really doing is not supporting a tyrant such as Saddam, whose defense is impossible, but preventing Bush from inaugurating the intentional empire. When Bush and Powell present their evidence on Saddam's alleged danger, what they're really saying is 'Our time has come.'....  The hawks in the administration want an empire with Bush, imposing it like a new Rome, either the easy or hard way. Doves, instead, want an empire against Bush, building it like the British Empire built theirs, with the consensus of civilized nations. But, whether they bet on their army or diplomacy, either sector has an imperial vocation."


"To The Conquest Of The Islamic World"


Ana Baron wrote in leading Clarin (2/28):  "This time, Bush wants to conquer the Muslim world to disseminate Western world values....  Undoubtedly, Bush dreams of U.S. troops marching into Baghdad, hailed by the people on the streets, after 'liberation' day. He doesn't realize that, although the Arab world may want democracy and modernization, it also has a cultural identity it wants to maintain. And very probably will view the U.S. landing as the beginning of a new colonization period."


"Bush: 'We'll Be In Iraq As Long As It's Necessary'"


Ana Baron stated in leading Clarin (2/27):  "Yesterday, President Bush announced a plan for the immediate democratization of Iraq, following a war with which he plans to overthrow Saddam. In a speech in which--for the first time--he ruled out the possibility of the continuation of the Iraqi leader in power, he said that a change in the country's regime 'will serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom to other Middle East nations.'...  The speech marked a new emphasis in the military campaign of the Middle East. During all these months, the U.S. had stressed the importance of Iraq's disarming process....  Bush tried to show that, in his opinion, the fact that Iraq disarms is as important as having a drastic change in its regime. And this is why the White House expects its occupation forces to remain in Iraq for years....  But, for many years, the speech delivered by Bush last night will probably be remembered as the moment when he decided to conquer the Muslim world."


"Bush Launches Crusade To Bring Democracy To The Arab World"


Independent La Prensa said (2/27):  "Yesterday, President Bush disclosed his plan for a democratic change in the Arab world, which has, as intial goal, the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein....  The plan seems like a response to terror, expressed by several experts, that war may destabilize the region even further.  Skeptics believe this plan will clash with major obstacles, such as the distrust of the Arab world towards the U.S. and the resistance of certain regimes, including some of Washington's oldest allies, to any democratic reform.  Many analysts, including State Department diplomats, believe that the U.S. initiative will fail if the White House doesn’t make more efforts to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."


BRAZIL:  "Through Rose Colored Lenses"


Right-of-center O Globo indicated (2/27):  "In his speech yesterday, the U.S. President said that when the Iraqi people are set free from Saddam's bloody regime, a powerful renovating, democratic wave will flood and fertilize all of the Middle East.  The post-war Iraq will be an example for freedom, and democratic constitutions and parliaments will follow U.S troops....  That's not what experts say nor what common sense shows.  The war would be extremely expensive to the U.S....  It could be a disaster for Iraq.  George Bush Senior himself stopped from overthrowing Saddam as he expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait in the nineties.  He saw the dictator's downfall as a risk for Iraq which would disintegrate into an apocalyptic civil war between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.  In his speech yesterday Bush also failed to take into consideration a historic reality: democracy cannot be fabricated, especially when it comes from the outside."


NICARAGUA:  "Just A Euphemism"


Leftist Managua-based El Nuevo Diario ran an op-ed by former Sandanista foreign minister Miguel d'Escoto Brockman declaring (2/28):  "War is just a euphemism with which the empire and its lambs pretend to cover the masacre that Bush has been preparing for a long time against Iraq....  The gringos only understand desires, appetites, caprice and all types of greed for what is not theirs....  A government that lies, deceives and disinforms its people, the way the American government does, cannot speak of democracy or liberty."



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