International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 1, 2003

April 1, 2003


April 1, 2003



** Looking ahead, most global media wanted the UN to play a central role in Iraq's reconstruction, insisting that the U.S. "alone" can neither rebuild Iraq nor guarantee its stability.

** Some groused that the "unilateral" invasion of Iraq could plunge the UN into "irrelevance."

** Many praised Britain's PM Blair as the "good cop" advocating a UN part in rebuilding Iraq.

** Critics charged the U.S. was planning to manage post-war Iraq as a "military protectorate" and monopolize post-war contracts by "holding onto the reins."



U.S. will need UN and international allies after the conflict-- Most observers argued that while the U.S. could wage a war "without the rest of the world," it would be dependent on the international community to deal with the "Herculean tasks" of the aftermath.  Calling on the UN to play a central role in Iraq's reconstruction, few wanted to trust the U.S. "to manage the peace."  Many insisted, as a Hong Kong daily put it, that if "Bush truly wants the best for Iraq," it can be done only with a "concerted, international effort."  Editorials also echoed a Spanish writer's speculation that if the U.S. were to run Iraq without the UN, it would brand itself as a "neocolonialist power" which could "attract the hatred of the Arab world."  Calling attention to a common fear, Northern Ireland's leading Belfast Telegraph cautioned that if "establishing...the new regime were left to the U.S. alone, instability might spread through the region." 


UN's future and 'credibility' in doubt, but still 'a chance for its survival'-- While some questioned the UN's relevance and lamented its failure "to prevent war and destruction," more came to its defense asserting that in the "so-called new world order" the UN remains "indispensable."  African and Latin dailies shared Zimbabwe's government-controlled Sunday Mail's despair that the UN "has become paralyzed," but agreed with Chile's conservative La Segunda that the UN must recover from the "devastating effects of the unilateral intervention in Iraq."  Some European dailies were heartened by PM Blair's advocacy at Camp David of the UN's "decisive role."  Others, such as Berlin's right-of-center Die Welt, were rooting for the UN to "outlast the militant ideologues currently occupying the White House."


Alarmists fear a 'struggle for influence' and U.S. firms 'assuming control'-- Many critics were galled at the idea that the war's "cost will be borne by Iraqis," while the money will be "controlled and disbursed by the U.S."  Voicing the general cynicism in Arab media, a Syrian daily dismissed the U.S.' allocation of "only $3.5 billion" for humanitarian aid as a "sad joke."  Liberal outlets joined London's leftist Guardian in accusing the U.S. of "doling out contracts" to "carpet-bagging" U.S. companies "linked to government."  Paris's communist L'Humanite intoned that "soldiers think they are dying for freedom, but they are dying for the financiers."  Noting that after having their country "wrecked" the Iraqis will "now be forced to pay U.S. firms" to rebuild, the centrist Times of India quipped: "Who said 'Iraqi Freedom' was going to be free?"

EDITOR: Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 83 reports from 41 countries, 3/27-4/1.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "After Saddam, Can Blair Rescue Us From Europe?"

William Rees-Mogg of the conservative Times asserted (3/31) "In the United States, Tony Blair is the hero of this war. He is seen as the loyal ally.... Admiration for him, and for Britain, is in contrast to the distrust, amounting almost to detestation, for France. This is a political asset in terms of Blair’s dealings with the United States. It is an equally valuable asset in terms of his dealings with Europe. The European governments are already looking forward with anxiety to the situation when the Iraq war is over. They know that Europe will have to do business with the United States, which is the EU’s most important trading partner. They know that the Iraq war, and the behaviour of France on the UNSC have brought US-European relations to their worst state since 1945. They know that these relations will have to be repaired. And now they know that Tony Blair is the only European leader with any chance of restoring them.... So long as the U.S. is the only superpower, the American relationship will remain at the heart of European politics. Tony Blair has the confidence of America. Does he have the realism to recognise that the proposed European constitution is intended to cut Europe away from the United States?"

"When Arabs Put Biggest Blame On Britain"


Gavin Esler mused in Edinburgh's center-right Scotsman (Internet version) (3/28):  "Part of Tony Blair's reason for going to Camp David this week has been to put on his own diplomatic donkey jacket and start building bridges between any of the following: the U.S. and the UN; the U.S. and Europe; within NATO; between the Americans, the French and the Germans.  But perhaps the bridge most in need of attention is that rickety old cantilevered structure which extends from British to the Arabs.  In the run-up to this war, I have been repeatedly told by Arabs that the British understand the region in ways which the Americans simply do not.  One consequence of this observation is that some Arabs blame Britain even more for getting involved in a war which they claim the British must know can only result in greater anti-Western feeling across the Arab world....  Figures are not available, but I suspect an opinion poll...would discover that Arabs dislike their own governments as much as they dislike the U.S., but have no democratic way of expressing this dislike.  One obvious problem follows.  If America really does want to create democracies in the Arab world, it had better brace itself for a string of anti-American leaders being elected."


"Overstretched And Underpowered"

The independent, pro-business Financial Times observed (3/28):  "Tony Blair made his two war objectives clear when seeking support for action against Iraq in the Commons last week.  In return for joining President George W. Bush's coalition of the willing, he wanted postwar reconstruction to be organised through the UN....   Mr Blair will not be able easily to walk away from such decisions but he has also learned the limits of his influence on the U.S. president.  He may wish to shape decisions that are important but not critical to Britain's interest, such as the structure of Iraq's postwar government.  But he must keep his powder dry for the issues that are fundamental to the reconstruction of the international order.  On the need for UN authorisation of postwar arrangements, he must insist that this is non-negotiable.  And this time, be prepared to break ranks sooner than back down."

"Iraq's Future"

The leftist Guardian took this view (3/28):  "The perils inherent in American over-confidence, now manifest in unexpected military difficulties in southern Iraq, extend to Bush administration plans for post-war reconstruction.  Although the details are still in flux, the U.S. appears set on running Iraq, initially at least, as a military protectorate overseen by General Tommy Franks.   This week's doling out of contracts to carpet-bagging private U.S. companies linked to government figures may be a sign of things to come.  This is a far cry from the central, executive UN role that most countries, including France and more ambiguously, Britain, would like to see.  It raises the question of legal authority and, as Clare Short suggests, issues about future World Bank, UN, EU and other international funding.  This U.S. overreaching, if not checked now, will make a bad post-war situation much worse.  Mr Blair owes it to the British as well as the Iraqi people to ensure that any eventual plan does not compromise certain basic principles, even if that means challenging the U.S.  One is that Iraq's territory and its rich resources belong to all Iraqis and to Iraqis alone.  The occupying powers have no business there once Saddam is gone and as concerns about Iraq's weaponry are resolved via resumed UN inspections."

"What Did Mr Blair Achieve By Going To America?"

The center-left Independent observed (3/28):  "Mr Blair did not travel to Camp David simply to embarrass the President by outshining him in front of the press corps.  If he went to resolve the differences of opinion between him and George Bush about aspects of the post-conflict settlement, however, he failed.  All that Mr Blair was able to extract was U.S. agreement to put pressure on the UN's recalcitrants to approve the restart of the oil-for-food programme, which would have to be run under the supervision of coalition forces.  That would provide a UN-branded figleaf for the aid operation, but no more.  Of course, restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a task of heroic, not to say epic, proportions.  Even if Mr Bush could be persuaded to bring pressure on the Sharon government, it would not guarantee progress.  But without it, lack of progress can be guaranteed.  There was no evidence yesterday that Mr Bush was genuinely inclined to apply such pressure.  The unspoken question that hung over Mr Blair's trip to Camp David remains: what was the Prime Minister doing there at all?"


 "UN's Important Role In The Post-War Iraq"


The leading Belfast Telegraph observed (3/28): "The two war leaders, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, will have had a lot to talk about in their review of the situation in Iraq. Firstly, the war is not going according to plan, whatever the spin-doctors may say, and secondly, there is deep disagreement over the way the country is to be managed, after the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime.... There is a potent mixture of national pride and resentment of the invader that is hampering the campaign every bit as much as the atrocious weather.... The confusion that is evident from the pictures of the war will have been reflected in today's summit talks. Although the Americans made fast progress through the desert, it is obvious that they underestimated the difficulty in defending their supply lines and in combating the guerrilla resistance from Saddam loyalists. The British have, therefore, played a key role in keeping the Iraqi forces at bay and in preparing the way for the humanitarian aid that was to win hearts and minds. That is Mr Blair's strength, in discussions about a post-war Iraq, and he must push the case for UN supervision of governmental arrangements rather than again relying on the Americans to manage the peace.  It was worrying to hear the dovish Colin Powell declaring that Americans did not take on the huge burden of Iraq not to have "significant dominating control" of the aftermath. The removal of Saddam Hussein, which may only be obtained after lengthy urban warfare in Baghdad, will leave a dangerous vacuum that will require a concerted effort by the international community. If establishing and consolidating the new regime were to be left to the U.S. alone, instability might spread throughout the region."


FRANCE: "From One Unilateralism to the Next"


Philippe Mudry in centrist La Tribune (3/31): "The aftermath of the war may well be morose... There is no reason why America's unilateralism, so forceful in Iraq, should limit itself to the diplomatic arena and not spill over to protect Americas' economic interests throughout the world... The way Iraq's reconstruction is managed, and the way contracts are allotted will serve as a test. America's future involvement in the work of the G-7 and the G-8 will be particularly indicative of Washington's degree of economic cooperation with its European allies."


“Dying For Halliburton?”


Claude Cabanes noted in communist l’Humanite (3/28):  “Capitalism has no soul....  Those who generously financed the presidential campaign were eagerly waiting for their return on investment. Their moment has come. The White House has designated a handful of U.S. companies who will share in the huge Iraqi ‘reconstruction’ manna....  Soldiers think they are dying for freedom, but they are dying for the financiers.”


GERMANY:  “Washington Needs The UN”


Joerg von Uthmann maintained in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (3/29): “The Security Council’s willingness to go against U.S. wishes has improved its reputation outside of the United States.  Once the fury has blown over, Washington, too, will realize that the Security Council can be a useful tool, that ‘hard power’ needs to be accompanied by ‘soft power’ and that the United States cannot rule the world like Moscow did the Warsaw Pact....  The UN will outlast the militant ideologues currently occupying the White House.”


“War Opponents At Odds With Each Other Over Goals”


Stefan Ulrich opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/28):  "In the end, they could tear Iraq apart.  That is why reason requires all sides involved to forget about the pre-war disputes in favor a stable post-war order.... Only if the allies and war opponents cooperate, can they dampen jolts that are radiating to the entire region....  But the Americans and British should not get a free hand, since it were them who damaged international organizations and began a war that violates international law....  That is why the UN must make clear three things: First, there will be no legalization of the war by a UNSC resolution....  Second, only the UN, and not some willing nations under the U.S. leadership are justified to lead Iraq through post-war times.  And third, costs and contracts for reconstruction will be fairly distributed....  The efforts necessary to wage Bush's not so glorious campaign should be a warning: the establishment of a post-war order will become even more difficult.  A multinational force of order could therefore be useful, while a quasi colonial U.S. rule would attract the hatred of the Arab world....  And not only this:  in the end, the United States could appear less as a hegemonic power but rather as a tyrant in wide parts of the world."


"The War Coalition"


Burkhard Birke commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (3/28):  “As much as the commanders-in-chief Bush and Blair tried to hush it up: neither the quality of this war coalition nor the new strategy corresponds to their idealized expectations....  The optimism, the desire that this war and the cruel specter of war could be over soon has gone, despite all the certainty to win that was displayed in Camp David.  And what about reconstruction?  It is true that the Americans are able to wage war without the rest of the world, but they are dependent on a bigger than the Gulf coalition alliance for the establishment of a new order.  And those who instigate war that has not been legitimized by international law against the will of the majority of the international community of nations should also bear the brunt of the costs for [Iraq’s] reconstruction.  There was a reason why Chancellor Schroeder has never said that this war violates international law.  By doing so he wants to avoid problems like the legitimacy of overflight rights and Alliance assistance, but he also wants to keep a backdoor open for the reconstruction of Iraq as reconstruction of destroyed German-American relations. This is politically understandable, but morally questionable.  Unfortunately, this black and white picture of the world, as Bush likes to see it, does not exist.”


"U.S. Needs UN"


New York correspondent Rainer Suetfeld commented on regional radio stations Westdeutscher Rundfunk of Cologne and Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (3/27):  “Under German leadership, France and Russia have given in and will now help post-war Iraq and thus also the U.S.  But more is involved than the role of the UN as a Blue Cross, as a kind of repair workshop.  At issue is nation building, the establishment of a new Iraq, a peace structure for the Mideast as a whole, and in this context, a strengthened UNSC must and will play a more important, if not the main, role.  Tony Blair is aware of this, George W. Bush does not want to hear this, and Kofi Annan is fighting for it.  But his prospects are bad.  Despite all the U.S. propaganda, in which patriotism has replaced thinking, despite all the roaring from Washington that it would never again speak with Paris about Iraq, and that only U.S. companies are to profit from reconstruction:  the U.S.--and the begging for assistance has demonstrated that it is wobbling under the running operating costs for the war--will hardly be able to deploy massive troop units for years between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers.  The U.S. needs UN experts and blue helmets...   It will cost the U.S. a political price until all those who were offended before, will cooperate with Washington again.  A first payment could be a tougher course toward the Sharon government.”


"Save The UN"


Jacques Schuster judged in a front-page editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (3/28):  “What would Europe, the United Nations be without Tony Blair?  For months, the British PM has been traveling between Washington and London.  Indefatigably he is trying to avoid the gap between Europe and the United States turning into an abyss.  But hardly anybody in Germany is able to estimate this.  For most, he is considered a warmonger.  But in the end, it will be Blair who will save transatlantic relations and be able to reconcile the old with the new Europe within the EU.  Blair is the only European who has access to the U.S. president.  Only he has a certain influence in Washington.  Who if not Blair will be able to create a relaxation between the old and the new world after the end of the war."


"Not A Heart And Soul Meeting"


Right-of-center Luebecker Nachrichten (3/28) had this to say:  “The meeting between George W. Bush and Tony Blair was not a heart-and-soul meeting, since both leaders have different viewpoints on who should control the complicated post-war order in Iraq....  The Americans leave no doubt that they want to set the tone following the capitulation of the Saddam regime....  New conflicts are programmed, now with Great Britain and of course with the European war opponents, with the UN and the Iraqis.”


ITALY:  “Too Many (Are) Interested In The After-Saddam”


Elite, classical liberal Il Foglio editorialized (3/28):  "Now Germany, after France, is aiming at the contracts in Iraq....  And while the Paris-Berlin axis was debating over this, USAID bid the first-billion-dollar contract to be allotted for emergency assistance in Iraq, inviting only U.S. firms.  The Germans and French immediately concurred to deplore that decision as well....  However, despite that agreement, Berlin and Paris continue to disagree on the role of the UN after the victory of the allies over Saddam: world order has very little to do with all that, it is much more interesting to watch who is going to control business.” 


"Sand Over The Atlantic"


Franco Venturini commenteed on the front-page of centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (3/28):  "Yesterday, Tony Blair and George Bush tried to look beyond their casualties.  Neither of them...lacked the necessary determination to go on until the end, but when they talked about the 'after,' their tones seemed to differ.  London, more than Washington, wants a UN resolution to establish a key UN role in the reconstruction--not only economic--of Iraq after Saddam.  But the United States clearly appeared jealous of ‘its’ undertaking and ‘its’ already-assigned contracts.  Washington is quarreling with Moscow...and France, as usual, stated its opposition to a UN resolution....  Nothing new, if you will.  However the danger lies in the fact that a long, bloody, costly, war would exasperate differences and divides, instead of leaving room for healing the European-transatlantic rift.”


"The Iraq Of General Franks"


Independent El Mundo  wrote (3/28): "It is surprising that Kofi Annan has kept silent since the beginning of hostilities, a sign that many interpret as weakness before the U.S.  Annan should be the main advocate of the 'central role' of the UN [in a post conflict Iraq] in order to assure the rights of the Iraqis, which neither Bush nor anyone can take away in the name of a military victory."


"No To The War, Yes To Business"


A short editorial in elite, classical liberal Il Foglio (3/27): "Politics are one thing.  Money is another.... A French government spokesman said yesterday that 'France opposes the war...but wants to fully participate in its reconstruction'...Chirac's main card is political and diplomatic. He accuses the Americans of having taken the contracts for reconstruction and asks that post-Saddam Iraq not be under U.S. control, but under the UN, because a different solution would jeapordize its (UN) role in the world, which, instead, must urgently be rebuilt. Therefore, he says not to the war, but yes to business. In the name of peace."


RUSSIA: "Bush Might Accept UN's Key Role But..."


Mikhail Overchenko and Igor Fedyukin remarked in business-oriented Vedomosti (3/31): "Bush might have accepted the UN's key role in postwar reconstruction in Iraq had it not been for the chief 'puppeteers' in Washington, Vice President Richard Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who see the actions in Iraq merely as a demonstration of U.S. supremacy."


 "UN Seeks Place In Postwar Iraq"


Boris Volkhonskiy contended in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (3/28):  "For the UN the main thing to do now is formulate its decisions on the issue of Iraq in a way that would not only secure the leading role in postwar Iraq but avoid any mention of coordination with the administration the United States ands Britain are planning to install in that country.  Otherwise, it would actually mean legitimizing the current and future actions of London and Washington."


"Humanitarian Aid Involves Struggle For Influence"


Melor Sturua reported from Minneapolis for reformist youth-oriented Moskovskiy Komsomolets (3/28): "It is believed in the UN that the problem of humanitarian aid is increasingly turning into one of struggle for influence in post-Saddam Iraq between the United States and Britain, on the one side, and Russia and France, on the other.   That is the way Real Politik is."


"U.S. Mad At UN"


Vladimir Skosyrev held in reformist Vremya MN (3/28): "The United States' ruling elite is still fuming at the UN, especially its Security Council members Russia, France and Germany, which did not let Washington use the UN colors to disguise its invasion of Iraq.   Therefore, as of this moment the Americans won't hear of the UN playing a key role in deciding Iraq's destiny after regime change."


CZECH REPUBLIC: "U.N. As Advertisement For Humanity"


Petr Fischer in the center-right Lidove noviny (3/28): "In the shadows of the war against Iraq a political battle over the future of the U.N. is waged. Secretary of State Colin Powell made it absolutely clear that the U.S. sees no reason why it should do all the dirty work and then leave the rest to the U.N. Powell's words indicated the stand of the radical U.S. conservatives who want to put the U.N. on the side-track and who see the U.N. as a mere public relations organization providing some care for the children, the starving, etc. The important things such as the "production" of democratic regimes, economic management of the liberated countries should, however, stay in the hands of the U.S. The idea of preemptive attack can, however, spread even beyond the U.S.; for example to China."


"Bush’s Test By Blair"


Adam Cerny contended in business  Hospodarske noviny (3/27):  "While generals are focusing on battles over Baghdad, diplomats are already sizing up who will oversee Iraq after the war.  The answer to this question will ultimately determine the UN’s future role.  From the perspective of the UK, the major U.S. ally in Europe, belittling of the UN position also threatens to destroy the balance of the UK ties with both sides of the Atlantic, and that is something Labour MPs would not forgive their Prime Minister.  Maybe it is exactly Tony Blair, through whom the U.S. can disprove the allegations of being unilateral and unconcerned with opinions of its allies.  Blair provided consistent support to Bush.  Now it’s his turn to expect gratitude from those whom he has been helping so far."


DENMARK:  "U.S Has The Right To Shape Iraqi Reconstruction"


Center-right Jyllands-Posten commented (4/1):  "It will be very difficult for the U.N. to make any decision regarding reconstruction efforts....  Whether we like it or not, it is the U.S. that possesses the military power and the solutions must therefore also come from the U.S."


"Failure To Reform Could Spell Death Knell For UN"


Left-wing Information stated (4/1):  "The U.N. will die unless it is reformed.  The right of veto is unfair because countries like Britain and France have a veto while more populous countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia, do not.  More importantly, veto countries can prevent the world from acting to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing and the proliferation of WMDs.  This...must be changed."



FINLAND: "Repairing Devastation In Iraq...Emerging As The Next Quarrel


Business newspaper Taloussanomat editorialized (3/27): "The financing of the forthcoming Iraq reconstruction will largely depend on who will be in charge. If the U.S. holds on to the reins, it will also have to come up with the funding. That will inevitably lead to a situation where deals will mostly go to U.S. companies. If the UN is in charge, the costs and the deals will be distributed among a larger number of players. If no agreement is reached about the post-conflict reconstruction efforts, the war will have long-term economic and political consequences for the transatlantic relationship."


GREECE:  “Fiasco and Imagination”


The lead editorial in popular, pro-government and anti-American Eleftherotypia (3/31) said:  “As those opposing war had predicted, armies of kamikazes ready to become human bombs are flocking Iraq.… The invasion, which according to the warlords, was meant to fight terrorism, now multiplies it.…Warlord Donald Rumsfeld throws the blame on the UN and expects his claim to be believed.… All now talk about long-term war which means a humanitarian disaster of much greater scale than expected.”




Popular, pro-government and anti-American Eleftherotypia held (3/28):  "Warlords Bush and Blair said that they will continue the war ‘as long as necessary’ to ‘liberate’ the Iraqi people.  In other words, Baghdad will be bombed and noncombatants will be killed until Iraqis accept their ‘liberation.’...  Invaders want to convince Iraqis ‘it is worth’ paying a ‘high price’ only to go under foreign occupation after 'liberation.'  According to the warlords, Iraqis wish but fear to celebrate ‘liberation.’  They don’t fear the bombs that kill and destroy their country; they fear the regime that’s why they give their lives to defend it.  This is not propaganda, it’s schizophrenia.”


KOSOVO:  “The Just War Against Saddam”


Edita Tahiri remarked in independent, mass-circulation Koha Ditore (3/31):  “The world has changed and with it the form of risks to the world peace and security.  But, one has to conclude with regret that not all international mechanisms have followed these changes.  An example of such a harmful deadlock is the UN and its Charter, which failed not finding the force to make the right decision to authorize the use of force against Saddam the dictator.  The U.N. made a similar mistake in the case of Kosovo, but it was the U.S. and the responsible force of NATO coalition that brought dictator Milosevic to his end, and now, the U.S. and the 'Coalition of the willing' are giving end to another big dictator, Saddam....  The answer to this dilemma should come from the U.N., which in fact must speed up its reforms to be able to face the security challenges of the 21st century.  Until then the vacuum of alternatives I think should be filled with the right lessons that one can learn from the past experience, especially from Kosovo and Rwanda.  We all realize that the ‘unauthorized’ military intervention in Kosovo stopped the genocide there, and the lack of the intervention in Rwanda due to the ‘lack of authorization’ allowed the genocide in Rwanda to happen, leaving everybody ashamed.  I think that the world conscience cannot bear more such shame.”  


IRELAND:  "We're Against The War And We Don't Think Much Of Our Own Lot Either"


Fergus Finlay opined in the left-of-center Irish Examiner (4/1):  "The least worst outcome of this war is the quick defeat of Saddam Hussein and the reinstatement of the UN as the pre-eminent actor in the reconstruction of Iraq.  It's still too early to say, but there are as yet very few signs that the Iraqi people feel that they are being liberated.  If that is the case, the management of post-Saddam Iraq will be a difficult and delicate challenge.  The idea that it should be left to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (and the multinational corporations with which they are associated) seems to me to be obscene."


"Role Of The UN Still At Issue"


The center-left Irish Times editorialized (3/28):  "President George Bush and Mr Tony Blair addressed but did not resolve...the role of the UN in governing that country after the fighting is finished....  At the core of this issue is who will control post-war Iraq....  This is the difference between an outcome based on rights established by invasion and occupation (Anglo-American led coalition) and one based on international legitimacy (UN)....  The balance struck between them will determine the shape of international order elsewhere for years to come....  Arguments within the Bush administration over the proper role of the UN have alerted other governments to the deep significance of how these questions are resolved.  On their outcome will depend the credibility of Mr Blair's own role as a transatlantic bridge builder and his political future in Britain....  Events in the field and the great uncertainty of all-out war will...continue to determine political positioning about a post-war settlement.  But that settlement must give the UN the central role in determining Iraq's political future."


MALTA:  "UN Is War's First Casualty"

An editorial in the highest circulated independent English-language Times of Malta (3/28):  "Even before the first shot had been fired, there were already serious consequences resulting from the decision of President George W. Bush to attack Iraq.... The first casualty was the UN Security Council itself, which brings together the representatives of a handful of nations and whose power and efficacy depend entirely on the participation and goodwill of those nations. ...  But perhaps the most significant casualty will be the Iraqi citizens themselves.  However objectionable President Saddam's rule has been in the past and however shifty and unreliable his statements might be - and no-one has much sympathy for the man himself - it is the people who will bear the brunt of war.  Even now we are told by UNICEF representatives there are over one million children facing starvation...are not subject to harm. This assumes greater significance when the very basis of this war is being contested so hotly across the globe."

THE NETHERLANDS: "Emergency Aid And Reconstruction"


Influential independent NRC Handelsblad's editorial observed a parallel between the pre-war discussions, the pre-reconstruction discussions and comments on the nuisance value of international politics (3/27):  "The Iraqi people tend to fall victim to this power struggle between the large nations. The war is still going on with humanitarian consequences...what we see now is shameful as it ignores the essence of the moment: to ease human misery."


"America Offers More Security Than The UN"


Left-of-center Trouw has an op-ed by Alexander von Schmidt, ethics professor in Rotterdam, who comments (3/28): "the UN has never been able to offer a serious international rule of law.  Members of the UNSC are always looking at their own interest first.  It is better for the Netherlands to side with the United States."


NORWAY:  “The Big We”


Arne Foss commented in independent Dagbladet (4/1):  "The war against Iraq will shape both President Bush’s political future and form future presidents' role and power in international politics.  It will also partly decide the future relationship between the U.S. and the UN.  If it is long and bloody, a regime shift in the U.S. could happen long before regime change in Iraq....  If the war is short, with losses that are accepted by the American people, the UN’s role can be dramatically altered....  But the Iraq war may not only crush a regime, it can also crush a dream.  It is the dream about ‘The big We’ built into the hope that they really can be established an organization that unites the world’s people and that speaks on behalf of all of them.”


“Blair Key Figure In UN And Europe”


The newspaper-of-record Aftenposten judged (3/31): "We know that Great Britain fights for the same ideals as Norway.… Even more important is that Great Britain - and Blair personally - today stand back as the only partner of the U.S. with a little influence in the White House. This Blair has used, as much as he could, to the best for a UN-role in this conflict and for a continued strong cooperation over the Atlantic Ocean.… For Norway it will be an important step in the right direction if Great Britain can reopen dialogue with France about Iraq - and also with Germany. If the two large countries on the continent should set their sights on defense cooperation outside of NATO, we can count on that Blair also sees the dangers for trans-Atlantic cooperation being undermined. But he should also ask himself if Britain’s influence is greatest when they appear as America’s special partner, or when they gamble on mobilizing political alliances in Europe and the EU.… America’s strong ideological foreign policy, like that we experience today, will not last forever.  When a change comes, NATO must be intact and in place. We are right to hope that this war will make it a little clearer for the U.S. that a broad diplomatic cooperation has a high value in itself.  With their historic traditions there is no one better situated than the Brits to go solve such a formidable pedagogic challenge.”


PORTUGAL:  "Tony Blair's Next Battle"


Influential moderate-left daily Público foreign affairs editor Teresa de Sousa offered (3/28): "Before leaving for Washington, Tony Blair defined the banner for his meeting with Bush: begin the debate about building the peace, putting the UN back into the center of the reconstruction process in Iraq, and putting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process back at the top of the international agenda.  The two issues are, for the British prime minister, the only possible way to begin rebuilding transatlantic relations and relegitimizing the military intervention in Iraq in the eyes of the world....  It remains to be seen how much weight Blair's arguments carry against the new doctrine prevailing in Washington today, following Colin Powell's political defeat.  For its authors, Saddam Hussein is not the only target of this war.  It also aims at proving the uselessness of the UN, the irrelevance of the EU and the inconvenience of a NATO that is little more than a 'myth'."


SPAIN: "After Saddam"


Left-of-center El País carried a commentary by Andres Ortega (3/31): "It would be a historic mistake if the participation of the UN, vaguely foreseen by Bush, were reduced to the management of the huge humanitarian crisis.  Today, the UN is the only body able to legitimize the provisional exercise of a power over a sovereign and independent country, like the that outlined by the U.S....  And [the UN] is the body which it should fall to, as soon as possible, despite the obvious difficulties, the task of organizing the transition of Iraq towards a new state in the hands of the Iraqis....  In a world that considers this war as a blind use of the force by the U.S...subsequent control of the country by Washington without the participation of the UN would indelibly stamp the image [of the U.S.] as a neocolonialist power.  In the hypersensitive Arab and Islamic world a long occupation will produce a devastating effect on regional instability that would increase exponentially the wave of anti-Americanism and encourage the most bloody expressions of armed fanaticism....  U.S. military presence will be unavoidable for a long time, but it should be reduced to the essential tasks.  The key to the stability of Iraq after Saddam is a kaleidoscope, unmanageable in its dimensions and complexity by only one country, even if it is the U.S.  Bush should understand that his Herculean tasks need the cooperation of his allies, even if discord with most of them is resounding.  And above all, as the spine of the operation, the participation of the UN would be the source of any future legitimacy."


SWEDEN:  "Bush's War, Blair's Peace"


Independent, liberal Stockholm tabloid Expressen editorialized (3/28):  "The war, as it is pursued, is President Bush's.  Peace, in order to make it work, must be Blair's.  Today Prime Minister Tony Blair will give Kofi Annan the same message as he yesterday gave President Bush at Camp David:  The UN must have a decisive role in the rebuilding of Iraq.  Not only to help consolidate the oil incomes for the benefit of the people but also to be part of the formation of a reasonable democratic rule of the country....  When Blair talked to President Bush he also brought up the rift between the U.S. and what Secretary Rumsfeld calls the old Europe.  To Prime Minister Blair is it of utmost importance that the rift is bridged, that cooperation is resumed within the old community of interests."




ALGERIA:  "UN Silence"


Leading French-language independent Le Quotidien d’Oran declared (3/31):  "The UN and its Security Council have been silent during the first ten days of the U.S.-British aggression against Iraq.  They have suddenly awakened, not to condemn the aggression and the barbarian way in which it is carried out, but to cynically negotiate their contribution to ‘the humanitarian’ aid needed by the Iraqi people through proposing that the U.S. accept the resumption of the Oil for Food Program.  The UN initiative aims in fact at resuming dialogue with Washington, which has totally ignored the international organization in its military and political plans in Iraq.  The U.S. Administration, which is facing diplomatic international isolation, has not opposed the UN proposition because it seeks in return a legitimization of its aggression after the fact.  Washington is counting on the fact that a resumption of the Oil for Food Program under the exclusive control of the UN via its Secretary General will decrease its financial contribution to the ‘humanitarian aid,’ since the money raised in this way will be that of the Iraqis.  The UN and Washington have agreed that the Iraqi victims of aggression, whose means of survival are being systematically destroyed by the invaders, will also have to pay for the products necessary for their survival.  By taking this decision, the UN shows that it agrees with the principal political objective of the current aggression: The elimination of the Iraqi regime....  On the pretext of ‘humanitarian’ operations, the UN is trying to restore its place in an international reconfiguration from which it has been shoved aside and humiliated by the U.S.”


MOROCCO: "Humanitarian Disaster"


With a photo of Iraqi starved children asking for food, independent French-language Maroc Ouest (3/27): "Lack of food, medicine, water and electricity cut off: A whole population that the U.S. is smothering because of oil. The dramatic situation that is going on in Iraq must raise the anger and indignation of all humanity."


SYRIA: "Frankly, A Sad U.S. Joke"


Abdul-Fattah Awad, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen commented (3/31):  "Out of the $75 billion requested by the Bush Administration to cover the additional expenses of its war against Iraq, only $3.5 billion will be allocated for rebuilding Iraq and for humanitarian aid!... This is a sad U.S. joke, but it is not the only one. The U.S., which is used to making others fight on its behalf..., is now fighting a proxy war on Israel's behalf. This war is an Israeli war with distinction. It is serving the scheme masterminded by the US 'Princes of Darkness.'  We are not here to analyze the motives which made the U.S. wage a war on Israel's behalf... but what we are sure about is that there are common interests which provoked this scheme; interests which will be less useful and more harmful to the US [in the long run]..."




CHINA:  "Blair: Problems Emerge While War Chariot Is Bumping Forward"


Jiang Yaping commented in the official Xinhua News Agency international news publication International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao, 3/28):  “Blair may have to bear the blame for splitting Europe, causing chaos in the Labor Party and increasing the financial deficit of the British Government.  It is necessary for Blair to stand on solid ground, facing reality and considering how to get through the present difficulties.”


"Conflicting Orders"


Ye Zicheng commented in official Communist Party-run international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 3/28):  "If the U.S. wins the Iraq war smoothly and sets up a pro-U.S. Iraqi regime successfully, two completely conflicting orders will coexist at that time.  One is the current order...the other is an order that the U.S. unilateral force is trying to enhance but cannot completely establish through Iraqi war, and will emerge to destroy the current order.  Therefore a paradox appears that one U.S. is opposing the other U.S.  The U.S.’ overbearing position and its great importance in the current international order result in an abnormal development of this order. This order created a weird outcome: unilateralism and hegemony of the U.S....  The September 11 incident provided good conditions for the weird outcome’s development....  The crazy international terrorism stimulated the feeling of revenge of some U.S. ‘right-wing hawks’ that is equally crazy: the U.S. will use military force to destroy any countries that is possibly connected with terrorism.”


"Is The Era Of The United Nations Over? US Hawks Reply: Yes."


Pang Zhongying argued in the Internet version of Beijing Zhongguo Qingnian Bao sponsored by the China Youth League of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee(3/28): "The war against Iraq is actually an important link in the well-thought out plan of the U.S. hawks to change the world.... The Iraq crisis at the UN again gave the United States an excuse to demand a thorough reform of the UN. The logic of the United States is that the UN can only regain its credibility if France and the other countries support the war against Iraq....  This war against Iraq is an opportunity for the United States to implement its UN reform strategy.  If the U.S. sets up a new international organization after the Iraqi war, its first batch of members is expected to be the more than 30 countries that are taking part and helping in this war. Meanwhile those countries that have refused to support the war against Iraq will definitely be excluded....  [I]f the UN reform plan of the U.S. hawks were studied seriously, we cannot be optimistic about the future of the UN. The UN will remain in place after the U.S.-Iraq war but it faces a multitude of crises."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Iraq's Future A Global Matter"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post commented (3/28):  "The more the U.S. reveals of its Iraq strategy, the more flawed it appears to be.  As the facets become clear, so too does the potential for problems....  Ignoring the authority of the United Nations to go to war was the start of a much more difficult diplomatic battle.  In one stroke, the U.S. alienated some of its strongest allies, strained ties with others, and threatened the viability of the world's leading multilateral forums.  Yet it will--it must--eventually have to turn to those allies for help in rebuilding Iraq.  Unfortunately, there is no sign of that recognition just yet....  In Mr. Bush's black and white world, there is nothing wrong with what he is doing.  Let down by the UNSC process and its key members, he has opted for making the point that the U.S. can change the world without traditional help.  But now is not a time to let pride get in the way.  The potential for conflict among competing Iraqi political rivals and ethnic groups is high.... The U.S. needs its traditional partners....  If Mr. Bush truly wants the best for Iraq, it can be achieved only through a concerted, international effort.  May he have the wisdom to realize this before it is too late."


TAIWAN:  "UN, Reshape Or Retire?"


The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post noted (4/1):  "Over the years, calls have been abundant for reorganizing the UN or revising the Charter to abolish the Security Council or the veto power of its five permanent members.  In the name of the Iraqi people's safety and freedom as well as regional peace and stability, it is necessary for the UNSC to demand Saddam Hussein's immediate voluntary exile in exchange for a ceasefire to assure continued UN inspections of WMD without hindrance.  After all, everybody agrees that the Iraqi dictator is the source of the problem who must be toppled.  Otherwise, the conflict and the crisis will not end soon and the international system will be on the cusp of a tectonic change.  The September 11 terror attacks on the U.S. and Washington's swift and decisive response to them are not only enhancing America's leadership role in the world but also shaping a new world order."


INDONESIA:   “The UN Still Needed”


Independent Koran Tempo editorialized (4/1):  "We cannot merely call George W. Bush to listen to the 'world’s conscience’ through pro-peace mass demonstrations.  The White House should be isolated and forced to pay dearly for its current enterprise.  We hope, under such pressure, there will be awareness among the American people to seek regime change in Washington, choosing a leader who will be more responsible not only for the Americans but also for the world.”


MALAYSIA:  "The American Dream Of Ruling Iraq."


Government-influenced Malay-language Berita Harian contended (4/1):  "The U.S. used many lies to strengthen its reasons for attacking Iraq.  However hidden behind their promises are bombs which blow up civilians and humanitarian aid that is used as bargaining chips.  The hatred the Iraqi people feel for the U.S. and its allies continues to grow.  The U.S. cannot hope to rule Iraq.  The Iraqi Opposition party-in-exile already do not support this.  Clearly the U.S. has a puppet government in mind to install in Iraq once Saddam Hussein’s government falls.  The Iraqi people want their freedom to choose their leader.  Only the UN should be allowed to handle the transition of power as it helps the Iraqis organize elections." 


MALAYSIA:  "Untied Nations"


Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times held (3/28):  "While this madness continues (in Iraq), at the United Nations, the Security Council decided, none too soon in the circumstances, that it ought to re-evaluate its relevance and consider its credibility.  As the council knows full welll, its majority condemnation of the U.S. invasion of Iraq now rings hollow and impotent.  What would mean much more would be for the UN to move quickly and concertedly into position for the aftermath of the Iraq war.  Having failed to prevent war and destruction, the UN might at least ensure it is not similarly periphalized in administering to Iraq's post-war rehabilitation."


PHILIPPINES:  "An Unusual War"


The widely-read, independent Philippine Daily Inquirer observed (4/1):  "It is a foregone conclusion that the coalition forces will win the war militarily.  But will they win the propaganda war, the psychological war, the political war, the war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqis?...  The Americans may be able to install their own man after Saddam Hussein is killed, captured or forced into exile.  But will America's man be able to maintain his hold on power and be able to govern a postwar Iraq effectively?  Hope for a rational postwar scenario for Iraq may be provided by British PM Tony Blair's proposal that the United Nations be 'centrally involved' in administering Iraq once Saddam is defeated.  This would mean a transfer of power from a U.S. military governor to a UN civil administration after the end of the war.  The U.S. would be well advised to seriously consider Blair's proposal.  An exclusive American occupation of Iraq, without the participation of UN officials and peace-keeping troops, could exacerbate the strong anti-American sentiment in the Arab and Muslim world, fuel new terrorist attacks, spark violent demonstrations in many countries and destabilize the entire world.  A UN civil administration would give the occupation of postwar Iraq a cover of legitimacy that the U.S. attack didn't have in the first place."


"Humanitarian Crisis"


The independent Philippine Star said (3/28):  "UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has sounded an alarm for the humanitarian crisis now emerging in Iraq.  It is a crisis that nations in the coalition, with their combined economic resources, may be able to address by themselves once the war is over. But it is a crisis that can be better met by the combined resources of the international community. The legitimacy of this war will be debated for a long time. No matter where nations stand in this war, however, the world must come to the aid of the people of Iraq."


SINGAPORE: "Do We Have To Kiss The UN Goodbye?"


Deputy Foreign Editor Paul Jacob wrote in the pro-government influential Straits Times (3/29):  "My belief remains that we must beat a path back to the UN, however difficult that is going to be.  It has aproven record, regardless of the irritations many have had with the process and pace of its decision-making.  That's where the next battle must be fought, even as the dust continues to be kicked up in Iraq. There's an obvious need to bridge the deep divide that opened up among key players, and others, when the issue of military action in Iraq was put on the table in the first place.  It continues to fester.  But the divide is not simple one over Iraq and Mr. Saddam.  It's about the exercise of power and authority; it's about unilateralism versus multilateralism; it's about how to re-establish the UN as the instrument that the world uses to exerciseinternational authority.  It's about whether we want to accept and allow the U.S. to be the global protector and policemen, no matter how readily, or reluctantly, it takes on that role.... It is the international community, including nations like Singapore, and especially those in the coalition of the willing which have Washington's ear, that have to decide if that's the way they want it to stay.  If no one is able to act effectively, and Mr. Bush and America can act with impunity, then we all might as well kiss the UN goodbye."


 "Playing The Unwilling Enemy To The U.S."


Janadas Devan commented in the pro-government influential Straits Times (3/28):  "Like the Athenians, today's ruling elite in Washington evince an impatience with politics, with the give-and-take of diplomacy....  U.S. neo-conservatives would dismiss such concerns.  At a recent celebratory gathering of the American Enterprise Institute, some influential hawks close to the Bush administration laid out their vision for a post-war world.  Their agenda included 'radical reform of the United Nations, regime change in Iran and Syria, and 'containment' of France and Germany'....  The democratic transformation of the Middle East--something that will flow inevitably from the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they believe--can be achieved by the U.S. alone, with no assistance from the UN.  But how can Washington achieve its democratic ends if much of the world believes its means are un-democratic? Isn't it passing strange that all the Arab states in its 'coalition of the willing' are authoritarian regimes, while the only democratic Muslim state in the region, Turkey, has hitherto refused to sign on?  Similarly, the U.S. represents today a better bet for civilization than any other conceivable combination of powers.  And yet?"




INDIA:  "Questions About The International System"


M.H. Ansari commented in the pro-reform Economic Times (4/1):  "The invasion of Iraq by the 'coalition of the willing' has induced many to ask questions about the international system generally and the UN specifically....  What then is to be done? The UN cannot be abandoned; the international system cannot be allowed to lapse either into anarchy or into a condition of dominance....  The alternative then is to go back to the UN and its Charter and to work diligently to develop consensus on issues of war and peace, as on questions pertaining to development, environment, human rights and a reform agenda for the UN itself."


"U.S. Has Bombed, Will Be Paid To Rebuild"


Senior editor Siddarth Varadarajan informed  in the centrist Times of India  (3/31): "As for the money to pay US companies lucky enough to win contracts, a ranking Senator said on Thursday that Iraq's oil reserves would foot the bill, the report noted.  The report said that in an official release, the US State Department confirmed that USAID has issued eight proposals for reconstruction projects to be undertaken once Iraq is under American occupation....  After having their country wrecked by US bombing and ten years of sanctions, the Iraqis will be now forced to pay U.S. firms to rebuild everything.  Who said 'Iraqi Freedom' was going to be free?"


"Jostling For Crumbs"


An editorial in the centrist Times of India judged (3/31): "While the war in Iraq may be hogging the headlines for now, many are already looking ahead to the peace that will follow, and what it might offer...some commentators have flatly stated that the Indian government should back the Bush regime's actions, in the hope of getting a juicy share of the Iraq pie. Unfortunately, it may not work out quite that way.... The cost will be borne by the Iraqis, but the money will be controlled and disbursed by the US government. Top priority projects include the rebuilding of Iraq's only deep-water port at Umm Qasr, rebuilding of two international airports ... Only American corporations have been invited to bid for these contracts...the reconstruction of Iraq looks like being an American-only bash, with nobody else invited to the party."


 "Survival At Stake" 


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer carried a piece by Kalyani Shankar stating (3/28):  "The UN has never been a strong body.... It is not surprising that the Iraq war has made it almost irrelevant....  The latest war in Iraq is a classic example of the decadence of the UN system....  All is not lost yet.  If certain measures are taken, there is a chance for the UN's survival....The results of the Iraq war will determine the future of the UN in a manner of speaking. Only time will reveal what is in store for the future multilateralism or unilateralism?"


PAKISTAN:   "UN Must Act"


The centrist national News opined (4/1):  "It is time the U.S.-led coalition measures its attack on Iraq against the growing worldwide clamor to end the war and let the UN call a halt to hostilities and ensure a withdrawal of all outside forces from Iraq.  The depressing reports from the front cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be considered encouraging for the American warlords to continue the mindless mayhem.  With the war plan wholly gone to pieces, the alliance really has no alternative to peace except to drag on the fighting meaninglessly.  Vietnam is an example that immediately comes to mind...(of) how a war continued to be fought by an aggressor at great cost only because it could not find a way to end it....  With support pouring into Iraq in the shape of suicide bombers, the situation is rapidly changing, requiring the U.S. to seriously consider an early pullout.  Dispatching more troops is not a solution as that, far from managing a quick fixit to the war, will only drag it on." 


"Stop The Illegal War"


The center-right national Nation contended (3/28):  "Most would readily agree with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who has blamed Washington for launching an illegal war....  The U.S. is unlikely to engage in indiscriminate bombing, but as frustration mounts, less care will be exercised in avoiding collateral damage.  If street-to-street and hand-to-hand fight takes place in the streets, the worst scenario that has been visualised, the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians daily....  The only way to ensure the safety of the non-combatant section of the population in Iraq is for the Security Council to declare the war illegal in its forthcoming session, as suggested by Mr. Ivanov. The apex UN body has to pressure the invading powers to put an end to the military operation and resolve the matter through talks of the UN as required from law-abiding countries."


BANGLADESH:  “The UN In Post-war Iraq”


the independent English-language News Today observed (4/1):  "The question which now comes up is therefore one of the role the United Nations means to play here.  Clearly, the world body has been laid low, thanks to the body blow given to it by the U.S. and Britain, and will...require a good deal of time and nourishment to get back to health.  The French, along with others, have of course called for the U.N. to be involved in the humanitarian work that will follow the end of military hostilities.  Even Britain has concurred with the idea, which is in another way a small indication of its disagreements with America on a U.N. role in post-war Iraq.  The reality, though, is that unless the war ends soon and unless the world body is brought in to clean up the mess, the travails of ordinary Iraqis will not end.  Which is why it becomes important for them in Washington and London to step back a little and try to comprehend the nature of the calamity they have let loose on the world.

NEPAL:  "U.S. War On Iraq: The Pros And Cons"


Government-owned Rising Nepal editorialized (3/28):  "Although the role of the UN has been overshadowed at the moment, its role cannot be minimized to tackle the post war situation and revive peace in the Persian Gulf.… It seems Bush will face a daunting task in reconstructing Iraq."


SRI LANKA:  "What's The Role Of The UN?"


Pro-opposition English-language Island commented (3/28):  "A basic question...being asked amongst western powers:  who rules Iraq if the Saddam Hussein regime is eliminated?  With the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of one superpower, the prospects of the UN playing a more significant role in world affairs was much greater.  Indeed President George Bush (Sr.) played according to UN rules when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait by putting together a coalition of nations...and driving the invader out....  But the son has acted like a bull in a china shop.  Whereas even radical, usually anti-American Arab states, joined the father's coalition....  Saddam, who has been hated in many Arab countries, is being cheered and volunteers queuing up to fight for him.  The war...has amply demonstrated American power to win...but President Bush has failed to convince the world that it is a just war....  The UN has to step in at some stage. The sooner, the better."




NIGERIA:  "The UN Remains Indispensable"


Ifeanyi Ubabukoh wrote in Lagos-based independent Daily Champion (3/28):  "Whatever the misgivings about the Iraqi matter, the UN's role in the so-called new world order remains indispensable.  No one great nation can alone shoulder the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.  At no time has the United States demonstrated that America could carry on without the UN.  In the case of the Iraq episode, the United States pursued its goal through the UN up to the point it did.  Even in the post-war Iraq, the UN's assistance and cooperation would become invaluable in the rebuilding of Iraq and maintenance of peace in the Middle East generally.  The unfortunate war in Iraq should serve the useful purpose of compelling urgent, necessary reforms in the Security Council for greater efficiency of the UN."


MADAGASCAR:  "Find This A Just War:  One Would Love To"


Independent French-language L'Express de Madagascar editorialized (3/29):  "Along with shells, bombs, grenades, some important principles are blowing up in the sky over Iraq....  [The principle of] rejecting war as solution...provide the United Nations in providing, with the passing years, with the moral authority it needed to avoid, or stop armed conflicts....  Since this war started without the authorization of the international organization, one would expect that the UN to officially condemn it....  That's evidently what small countries, the African continent, expect with impatience, since those countries are systematically condemned any time they are picking a quarrel with their neighbours."


SOUTH AFRICA:  "Winds Of Change Blowing In Middle East"


Larry Benjamin noted in liberal Cape Times (3/28):  "The impact of armed conflict in Iraq both on that country, and more broadly on the region, will be strongly influenced by the duration and course of the war.  The subsequent American occupation of Iraq will be and even more telling factor.  Much will depend upon America's conduct and whether it acts as...a liberating force or as an imperialist overlord....  Regime change in Iraq, especially if it does ultimately lead to a more representative government in Baghdad, may also induce unexpected changes in the behavior of incumbent regimes throughout the region....  What is certain is that if existing pro-Western dictators are overthrown by Islamic radicals, Afghanistan and Iraq may turn out to be only the first two chapters in the lamentable new era of pre-emptive wars aimed at overthrowing regimes perceived by Washington to be hostile to America's vital interests."


ZIMBABWE:  "UN Becomes Irrelevant"


The government-controlled Sunday Mail carried the following opinion piece by William Godwin Nhara, Executive Director of the Southern African Institute for Democracy and Good Governance (3/30): “The unilateral invasion of Iraq by the U. S., the United Kingdom and four others will have reverberating and long-lasting consequences.  This unholy alliance has thrown the United Nations, its covenants and Charter out of the window and plunged the world body into an irrelevant body that will henceforth not have any moral voice and authority within international diplomacy and relations.... I feel pity for Kofi Anan....  In short, the U. N. has become paralyzed and has failed to live up to upholding the concept of collective security...  What is at stake in Iraq is not about weapons of mass destruction, otherwise the U. S. would be in North Korea right now.  What is at stake is about the control of Iraq oil for a period of about 50 years, by an American occupation force.... The Iraq invasion has a lot of significance and repercussions for the security and developments in Zimbabwe....  I am not an alarmist but a realist.  The game plan is that after the Iraq invasion, the U. S. will pay back Tony Blair by having a go at President Mugabe...  We cannot therefore rule out an invasion of Zimbabwe.  The U. S. has bases in neighboring Botswana, which are at the beck and call of the U. S.  The U. S. can launch its missiles direct from the Indian Ocean.  We should never underestimate the consequences of the Iraq invasion for the security of small nations.”


“Attack On Iraq Compromises U. N. Peace Efforts”


The government-controlled Sunday Mail carried another opinion piece by Clever Chirume stating (3/30): “The current attack on Iraq by America and Britain should be castigated as it is an assault on the world’s most august institution, the United Nations.  It has cast a shadow on the effectiveness of international law and the function of democracy, compromising any future united efforts for peace and stability in the world.  The attack, which comes amid worldwide protests against war, legitimizes state terrorism and violates not only the human rights of the people of Iraq but also the integrity and credibility of the U. N. Security Council and all other U. N. institutions.... Though I wish not to sound like a prophet of doom, if Americans are not careful, the same curse might also be signaling a self-devouring process to their great civilization....  In waging the Iraq war, America and its ally are trying to use the chaos that will be created in the Gulf region by the war to install seemingly modern ruling groups in the Gulf region who will safeguard the oilfields in perpetuity for U. S. interests.  Everyone knows that the Iraq war is an ‘opportunity venture’ in which the real interests of America and Britain are to maintain the strategic dominance in the Gulf region by preventing the emergence of strong Arab states who might lay claim to the oil resources of the region.  The attack on Iraq, coming at the heels of another similar escapade in Afghanistan, leaves the world more insecure than after the September 11 terrorist attack.”




ARGENTINA: "The U.S. Slams The Door At The UN Meeting"


Alberto Armendariz, on a special assignment in New York for daily-of-record La Nacion observed (3/28): "The tone of the debate on the war in Iraq overheated in the UN Security Council's public session, which the US left all of a sudden, after having been criticized by most of the members of the organization and condemned by the Iraqi representative. On the other hand, a deal was reached to resume the Oil for Food Program, which could be approved today....  An overwhelming majority of countries, which expressed their opinion regarding war, denounced the US/UK military action, claimed respect for the UN Chart, troops withdrawal and the preservation of civilians' integrity....  In spite of the strong criticism, it is unlikely that some of the fifteen members propose a resolution condemning the US and even if they did, Washington and London would immediately veto it. The submission of a proposal to the UN General Assembly would be more feasible because support could easily be obtained there, although a UN resolution would not be more than a mere statement."


"War And The International System"


Daily-of-record La Nacion ran an opinion piece by Juan Jose Sebrelli, stressing (3/28):  "The war in Iraq does not have clear reasons. Of course, Saddam is a bloody dictator...and his removal is desirable. But cruel dictators govern almost all the Arab countries...; however, the defeat of Hussein will hardly bring a democratic government to Iraq; even through free elections, the Islamic fundamentalism is likely to win elections. The WMD ownership, another pretext for war, is not exclusive of Iraq...but is abundant in several Asian and African countries. On the other hand, no direct ties between Hussein and the authors of the September 11 attacks have been proved.... No reason justifies this war. Therefore, this is not an inevitable war, but a war of choice, arbitrarily chosen due to military hegemony and religious reasons... This unilateral decision to launch war is unusual in the US history.... Public opinion...should not confuse the anti-war feeling with the anti-US feeling of anti-globalization, populist and nationalistic groups because they are also enemies of world democracy, the only guarantee of peace."


"Bush And Blair Disagree On The UN Role In Iraq"


Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading Clarin wrote (3/28): "President George W. Bush and PM Tony Blair agreed that the war against Iraq 'is not a matter of timetable, but a matter of victory.' Nonetheless, there is deep disagreement between them regarding the UN role in the reconstruction of Iraq and the nature of its temporary government. Blair wants a UN bigger intervention role, while Bush wants to limit it... The problem is that there is disagreement not only between Bush and Blair on this point but also within the Bush administration, between (US Secretary of State) Colin Powell and US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. According to The New York Times, while both agree that the US should have an important role in the government, they do not agree how big the UN role should be. Rumsfeld wants it to intervene only in certain cooperation programs, but he rejects its intervention in the government or in peacekeeping missions. Powell, closer to Blair's position on this point, prefers the UN to have an important role at all levels because he thinks this is the way to start healing the damage inflicted by the war on Iraq on transatlantic relations."


BRAZIL:  "The Couple"


Right-of-center O Globo ran piece by Luis Fernando Verissimo stating (3/30): "I read the plane that took Tony Blair to his meeting with Bush was hit by lightening shortly before landing in Washington.  I imagine that God is trying to maintain a correct attitude of staying the correct distance from the Iraq question, since he is constantly called on by both those who make war and by those who are opposed to it. But like all of us, his tolerance for hypocrisy has a limit.  Upon hearing the response of the Prime Minister to the press on what he thought about the death of Iraqui children in the war in Iraq, Tony had said: they also suffer very much under the Saddam regime - God may have lost his patience and ordered: Give the bastard a scare...  Just a scare. Despite all, Blair is the good cop of the couple in which Bush is the crazy one.  One knows less about what the two talked about privately than about God's privacy. But one supposes Blair is trying to counter-balance the influence that the worse Israeli right winger has on neo-conservatives advising Bush, insisting for the inclusion of the Palestine issue in the larger discussion on what to do with the Middle East, thus defending a more important U.N. role in the post Iraq war, rescuing them from the prevaling American idea of leaving them out … and a possible recovery of the Atlantic Alliance destroyed by W's truculence. God did well in only shaking the plane, and not downing the plane.... But it was also said that the main issue of the couple in the meeting, was the fact that no British company had been accepted in the bidding for the lucrative task of Iraq's reconstruction, or the hypocrisy applied to engineering."  


"One Defeat"


Opinion piece in right-of-center O Globo (3/28): "Even if the marines win a brilliant victory...and the American soldiers are received with flowers in Baghdad's streets.  Even if everything goes right for the American-British coalition forces in the sands of Iraq.  Even if the bloody dictator Saddam Hussein is quickly sent to history's trash can.  Even so, the weight of business interests or this war will always raise suspicions about the USG.  And it's the fault of the Texans in Washington, starting with Vice-President Dick Cheney.  He left Halliburton three year ago.  But he won't convince anyone he has."


MEXICO:  “The Humanitarian Tragedy”


Adolfo Aguilar Zinser noted in independent Reforma (3/28):  “Despite the plans that the United Nations organized before the outbreak of the war in Iraq, and despite the preparations that the USG and the British claim to have made, it is evident that plans for this war were fundamentally realized from a military viewpoint and that scant attention was paid to humanitarian issues.  Now that this conflict has erupted outside of the margin of authority of the Security Council, the main role that the international community must play is to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible.  This will be the only way to prevent a humanitarian tragedy.”


"When The UN Would Be One"


An opinion column by Fausto Segovia Baus in Guayaquil's (and Ecuador's) leading center-right El Universo (3/28): "The U.S.-Iraq war, with all its cruelty, demonstrates the present state of international relations and, regrettably, the inability of the UN and its primary body, the UNSC, to resolve conflicts and manage world peace....  Wars are aberrations of culture, a return to barbaric times.... To demand tolerance in a world of business and fundamentalism may be counterproductive.  Given the conflict we are experiencing, the word 'tolerance' does not come to mind, rather the word 'peace', and the need to contribute to creating in the future --if possible-- a new international order in which the UN in reality would act like one."


“Imperial Democracy Or Absolutist State”


Jose Luis Reyna observed in nationalist Milenio (3/27): “Mankind in the 21st century will have to get used to living with a hegemonic power; the destiny of the world will lie in few hands: in a single nation, in the plans of only one man....  The beginning of the century will be a serious historical failure....  Using force and not international and internal consensus, the U.S. shows the inevitability of its military, financial and political hegemony.… The military presence of the U.S. in 132 out of 190 UN countries gives the war a global touch.  America has become an absolutist State because today’s world is being shaped by its desires, by the perceptions of a single man who has passed over the citizens and the multilateral organisms, pretending to impose a political order that breaks the national structures of many countries.”


ECUADOR:  "When The UN Would Be One"

Fausto Segovia Baus opined in Guayaqil's leading center-right El Universo (3/28): "The U.S.-Iraq war, with all its cruelty, demonstrates the present state of international relations and, regrettably, the inability of the UN and its primary body, the UNSC, to resolve conflicts and manage world peace....  Wars are aberrations of culture, a return to barbaric times.... To demand tolerance in a world of business and fundamentalism may be counterproductive.  Given the conflict we are experiencing, the word 'tolerance' does not come to mind, rather the word 'peace', and the need to contribute to creating in the future --if possible-- a new international order in which the UN in reality would act like one."


“It All Depends On Your Point Of View”


Dr. Rafael Molina, Dean of Dominican journalists, wrote in his daily op-ed column in left-of-center, independent Hoy (3/27), an article entitled:  “It all depends on your point of view.”  He states:  “On the one hand the U.S. and its President speak with an air of generosity on how they plan to rebuild the Iraq that they themselves are destroying; and how they will head humanitarian actions to aid the same people that they are hurting …Trujillo, Noriega and Cedras, for example, were its creation [the U.S.], and when the time came to eliminate each of them, it actively participated in their elimination or removal from power, depending on the same.”


GUATEMALA:  "Triumphant March On Baghdad?"


Miguel Angel Sandoval wrote in influential El Periódico (3/31):  "The invasion of Iraq is not about Saddam, but is about strategic control of this region, and above all an attempt to demonstrate that the U.S. is the sole superpower, invincible, which should rule the world in the third millennium....  For that reason it abandoned the UN and the entire international legal system.  At the end of the day (the U.S.) can win this dirty war, but the victor is already the Iraqi people.  And this is part of what some have been trying to hide since the beginning of this absurd war.  The U.S. and the British are seen in the region as enemies, as colonialists, as allies of Israel, as defenders of sheikhs and the best thing that ever happened to extreme dictators, including Saddam, who is a former ally become an enemy. And this of course is what the Iraqi resistance is expressing, they who without defending Saddam are defending the fatherland, the nation, independence, sovereignty, and all those concepts that the news media promptly forget."


“Delenda Est Baghdad”


Conservative, business-oriented Siglo Veintiuno judged in a column by Cesar Montes (3/28): “What we are witnessing is the destruction of the UN, of international law, the death of reason, a mockery of intellect by naming bombs ‘smart,’ when the only thing they do is to mutilate, massacre, and destroy civilians with no mercy.”


CHILE: "The U.N. And The Future Of Iraq." 


Conservative afternoon La Segunda editorialized (3/27): "Bush and Blair's agenda in Camp David is not limited to the course of a war that faces increasing military problems and opposition outside the United States.  They face another problem that is urgent and complex: humanitarian aid and a plan for Iraq's future when the war ends....  For now, the humanitarian aid is most urgent--both for obvious reasons and for its enormous impact on the psychological war....  As to Iraq's future...there is a discrepancy about the role the U.N. must play....  The collapse of the Soviet Union left the U.S as the sole world power, but the multilateral system continued to operate for important international decisions.  Now the U.N. must recover not just from the devastating effects of the unilateral intervention in Iraq and its impact on international order, but to ensure its inclusion in future decisions regarding Iraq."


PANAMA: "How To Read War"


Independent La Prensa also ran op-ed piece by retired colonel and now law student Roberto Diaz Herrera stating (3/28): “We don’t know how many lives this war will cost, how much destruction of that historical capital, and, worst of all, we won’t don’t know how much harm has been done to the United Nations’ role as arbiter of conflict in the future. Nor how much damage to the minds of the children that have seen how ‘civilized’ officials scorn the voices of so many good, peaceful people, such as the pope, secretary general Kofi Annan, among others"“


Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere
April 1, 2003 IN POST-WAR IRAQ, WILL U.S. 'RULE' AND UN WITHER? April 1, 2003

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