International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

November 17, 2003

November 17, 2003





**  After a "hastily" called summit, the U.S. "is adjusting to reality" in Iraq.


**  Speeding up the transfer of power to Iraqis is positive, but not a panacea.


**  Some now worry the U.S. will leave Iraq too quickly--with "catastrophic" results.




An accelerated exit from 'mayhem'--  Editorialists concluded that the U.S. has been "readjusting its sights" in Iraq because of the twin pressures of a "sharp rise in terrorist attacks" and the "electoral imperative" of escaping the "Iraq quagmire."  Following "a feverish round of consultations" in Washington, the U.S. was "apparently looking forward to having all problems solved by the summer 2004."  President Bush, "having seen a drop in public support, had no option but to move forward the timing of ending the occupation of Iraq," stated Japan's liberal Asahi.  Echoing this view, France's left-of-center Liberation stated, "After having initially refused the transfer of power to the Iraqis, Bush is all of a sudden in a hurry to do so," adding that increased disaffection over Iraq "is jeopardizing Bush’s chances to be re-elected."  Arab papers argued "America’s enthusiasm to hand over power" results from successes of the "resistance."


'Real concerns remain'--  Dailies asserted that "America's new orientation in its Iraq policy was overdue" and that Washington "appears to have understood that the absolute priority, in its own best interest, is to transfer power to the Iraqis."  Germany's centrist Der Tagesspiegel judged that "the timetable will not stop violence immediately...but the approach is right."   A reformist Russian paper allowed that "the Iraqi guerrillas have succeeded where European diplomats have failed," but cautioned "this is hardly a cause for rejoicing."  With Iraq "close to 'Lebanonization,'" another European paper remarked, "solutions that could have been implemented four months ago are much more difficult today."  According to an Italian analyst, the "real problem is to establish the length of time it will take to transfer government responsibilities,, to a trustworthy Iraqi government."


The U.S. is 'obliged to stay the course'--  Even formerly stalwart anti-war papers worried that "having created the mess" in Iraq, the U.S. might now be tempted to leave too soon.  "When Washington signals uncertainty" or that it wants "to get out very quickly, the Americans are pulling the carpet out from under the feet of those Iraqis" who would help build the new Iraq, stated Norway's paper-of-record Aftenposten.  Others argued that handing over power to the Iraqis too soon could lead to "civil war and draw thousands upon thousands of Islamic fanatics" to Iraq.  A frequently expressed sentiment was that it would be "a mistake" to proceed with a quick "Iraqification" without "genuine internationalization" under the UN aegis.  Iraq should be placed under a UN "political mandate" and the UN should be allowed to "take over the supervision of the establishment of new institutions." 


EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 96 reports from 41 countries, November 13-17, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date. 




BRITAIN:  "No Alternative To Bush's Plans For Iraq"


The conservative Scotsman of Edinburgh editorialized (Internet version, 11/17):  "Those who wonder what benefits might derive from President Bush’s state visit to Britain this week might stop to note the acceleration of the political timetable in Iraq that has just occurred.  The de facto American protectorate in Iraq is now scheduled to end by 30 June, 2004, at which point a sovereign provisional government composed of Iraqis will take over control of the country.  This announcement, timed to coincide with the visit, will not dissuade those bent on demonstrating against Mr. Bush in London, but it rather suggests that loose talk about a new western colonialism in Iraq is rather wide of the mark....  The essential issue to forge a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Iraq that has a workable democracy; and how to create stability and security in Iraq which will allow reconstruction....  Both the Bush and Blair administrations have grossly underestimated the difficulty of securing a post-Saddam settlement in Iraq.  That suggests there has been a tendency to present issues too simplistically.  Leave that to the anti-Bush demonstrators."


"The Power Of A Car, A Bomb And A Man Willing To Die"


Martin Woollacott wrote in the left-of-center Guardian (11/14):  "It is ironic that the United States and Britain, who would never have invaded Iraq had it not been for the superior technology which they trusted would limit their casualties to a tolerable level, now face a military and political crisis in that country precisely because of the primitive technology which those resisting them are employing....    The paradox of Iraq is that the occupiers face a militarily successful resistance which is not at all popular except in limited areas and among limited groups....  How to unlock Iraqi knowledge about who is doing the violence, and how to release Iraqi energies and courage so that the conflict becomes one between the Iraqi majority and the minority of wreckers is...the main preoccupation of the coalition authorities.  Speeding up the handover of power may or not be the solution....  The Iraqis may wish to see the back of the Americans, but not before the threats to their security have been reduced and basic political decisions have been taken....  If American seriousness becomes widely questioned that will reinforce the wait-and-see attitude, which is part of the problem.  The final paradox may be that the more determined the U.S. is to stay, the sooner it may be able to leave."


"A Second Chance To Get Iraq Right" 


The independent Financial Times observed (11/14):  "Seven months after the fall of Baghdad, the Bush administration has been forced by intensifying violence to reconsider the 'seven steps to sovereignty' plan devised by Paul Bremer, its administrator in Iraq....  The main one is that the insurgency against the U.S.-led occupation forces is gaining ground, in step with the fast-spreading perception among Iraqis that they can beat them....  This is important, because a realistic judgment about security is imperative if there is to be any chance of retrieving the situation....  Inside Iraq, not only can the insurgents recruit more; they can also inhibit and intimidate any form of collaboration with the Coalition Provisional Authority....  The critical message to send is that this is a national project to rebuild Iraq, which the occupying forces are there to assist but not dictate.  It also needs international support to succeed, and the only way to secure that is through the United Nations Security Council's placing Iraq under a political mandate--to give the project the external legitimacy it currently lacks."


"America Should Start The Search For A Way Out Of Iraq"


The center-left Independent editorialized (11/13):  "The urgent recall to Washington of Paul Bremer, the American head of the euphemistically named Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, is welcome for one reason only.  It suggests that the United States is at last reviewing its whole approach to the conquest it embarked upon with such unrealistic expectations in March....  The need for a comprehensive reassessment of the deteriorating situation is beyond doubt....  Yet a fast track to elections and the broadening of Iraq's Governing Council under UN auspices may now offer the only chance of progress.  Whether the UN would, or could, accept that responsibility at this late stage, having suffered the losses it has and without new U.S. guarantees of safety, is a separate question....  Regrettably, the suspicion must be that Mr. Bremer's summons to Washington was less about the future of Iraq than it was about the future of George Bush.  With the prospects for peace and democracy in Iraq looking more remote than ever, the risk is a deliberate confusion in the White House between what is best for Iraq and what is best for Mr. Bush's re-election--and a betrayal of the very ideals for which the U.S. president, and our prime minister, have said they were fighting."


FRANCE:  "Iraq And How To Get Rid Of It"


Michele Gayral judged on government-run Radio France Internationale (11/17):  “The U.S. appears to have understood that the absolute priority, in its own best interest, is to transfer power to the Iraqis....  This vision, which is certainly realistic and seems to espouse the Afghan scenario, leaves several questions unanswered....  To answer all the questions President Bush would need time, something he does not have much of.  A certain Tuesday is fast approaching, when the problem will be ‘Iraq or how to get rid of it.’”


"France’s Reason"


Michel Schifres held in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/14):  “Everyone agrees that France’s analysis of the Iraqi crisis was on the mark....  But what is important now is the future....  De Villepin’s suggestions are among the most reasonable and credible.  Only a political approach to the crisis can resolve the situation....  The power behind de Villepin’s approach lies not only in what he said but how he said it....  His was a friendly attitude devoid of the bitterness which in the past led to France’s disgrace....  Time will be an important factor:  whereas President Bush's electoral constraints urge him to go fast, the armed guerrillas’ preference is for a slow process giving them a chance to increase their campaign of terror.  These two opposing forces complicate even further the Iraqi conundrum.”


"France’s Helping Hand"


Ivan Rioufol commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/14):  “American strategists underestimated the risk of a Sunni population coming together against the coalition....  It has become quite clear that Colin Powell’s concerns should have been taken into account.  If the neo-conservatives lose in Iraq it will in large part due to their arrogance and convictions.  De Villepin’s solemn offer to help must be noted.  This time the Americans should listen to the France’s advice.”


"Bush Wants To Escape The Iraqi Quagmire"


Joseph Limagne remarked in regional Ouest France (11/14):  “Paul Bremer’s new mission, to speed up the transfer of sovereignty is a positive turning point:  hence de Villepin’s gesture.  But we must not cry victory too soon....  The endeavor is far from easy...because it comes so late.  The solutions that could have been implemented four months ago are much more difficult today:  on the military front, the Iraqi army has been disbanded.  Politically, Iraq is close to 'Lebanonization.'  Without very strong international support it is hard to see how the same individuals will all of a sudden become more effective....  For President Bush, escaping the Iraqi quagmire is an electoral imperative.  Yet he cannot wash his hands of the mayhem triggered by his war against Saddam....  He will probably opt for a partial withdrawal and a gradual transfer of sovereignty.  But this will raise questions for America’s allies, especially the peace camp:  should they commit or not?  France must begin to think about how to fill the vacuum.”




Patrick Sabatier wrote in left-of-center Liberation (11/13):  “Bush’s priority is simple: to reduce the number of coffins coming home from Iraq and the daily flow of images of suicide attacks.  The increase in hostility towards the Iraqi adventure among American public opinion is jeopardizing Bush’s chances to be re-elected....  After having initially refused the transfer of power to the Iraqis, Bush is all of a sudden in a hurry to do so.  The danger of the ‘Iraqification’ is that a power with no real legitimacy will take the reins.  It would be divided, powerless and backed by troops much less well-armed that the GIs to fight the increasingly murderous threat of terrorist attacks....  The question is whether it is already too late to establish an Iraqi government in Baghdad.  It could not be durable without the support of an international force that would not be an occupying force.  Nor could it function without a minimum of legitimacy that could only be conferred on it by the UN.”


GERMANY:  "Why America Is In Iraq"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger opined in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/16):  "George W. Bush wants to return sovereignty in a way that promotes, not weakens, stability.  This is why America will continue to carry the main burden for quite some time.  Bush wants to leave forces in the country until the Iraqi democracy is no longer in danger.  This is a noble, but also dangerous goal.  And it sounds like a long stay in Iraq."


"Acceleration In Iraq"


Daniel Herrmann opined in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (11/17):  "In Iraq, not only two different worldviews are clashing but also two different cultures and several religions.  But this is only one reason why U.S. soldiers are...dying in Iraq in the fight for democratization.  It is characteristic that U.S. strategists are now using the 'iron hammer' get the problem of constant attacks under control.  But this heave-ho mentality is also responsible for the fact that the proud Iraqis do not warm to the cowboys.  But now there is at least a quick 'Iraqification.'…  In Germany there were four years between the end of the war and the Basic Law.  The United States has still not said why this is to work faster in Iraq than in Germany--and this under the current circumstances."  


"Late Insight"


Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin editorialized (11/17):  "America's new orientation in its Iraq policy was overdue.  Washington loved the idea too much to turn the former Saddam dictatorship into a model democracy....  This was a mistake and President Bush has now realized this.  But he listened more to opinion polls in the United States than to the Iraqis, since they, like the Europeans, have demanded a clear and political timetable for the transfer of power for months.  It is bitter that the United States rethought only under pressure from terrorists...but it is better to make a late correction than no correction at all....  The timetable will not stop violence immediately...but the approach is right....  The Americans should now not interfere in the political new restructuring process.  To safeguard this process, the United Nations could take over the supervision of the establishment of new institutions.  Otherwise the second chance to pacify the country will be forfeited.  It could be the last."




Uwe Schmitt concluded in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/17):  "What is new beyond the new language, beyond the change of strategies?  Nothing apart from the implicit confession that the pain threshold for President Bush has now been reached in view of the more than 400 soldiers killed in Iraq.  It would be stupid if the war opponents in Berlin and Paris now saw their views confirmed, since the United Nations has not the power nor the will to fill the vacuum in Iraq, and the old Europeans do not have the money nor the support among their people to back a United States that has converted to multilateralism.  This means that the Americans won the war without a grand coalition and they will have to end it that way.  But they cannot leave the country before Iraq has democratic structures and peace been safeguarded....  In reality, Bush's policy does not depend on troop strengths not even on himself, but on the will of the Iraqis to suffocate terror, which is no revolt.  Without them, America has no chance."




Right-of-center Braunschweiger Zeitung has this to say (11/17):  "The prospects for Iraq are gloomy:  Despite all nice words from Washington, the country is confronted with the dispute between the Shiite majority that was suppressed under Saddam and the Sunni minority.  The 'traveling' tourists from other Arab countries will add fuel to this conflict, because an unstable Iraq must be feared less than the democratic model, President Bush originally planned to implement."


"Acceleration In Iraq"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/14):  "As a consequence of the shock at the attack on the Italian headquarters we can demand that Iraq becomes a stable country as soon as possible.  But there is no concept that guarantees success, since there are enough people in Iraq who are preventing precisely this normalization and stability; they want the resurrection of the old regime....  The transfer of power to Iraqi institutions is the logical political choice.  But if Iraqification means to withdraw as quickly as possible before the new bodies have gained the necessary authority, this would look like an overhasty withdrawal....  There is no way around it:  the security question will determine Iraq's future--and probably even more.  That is why the forces who came as liberators but are occupiers, are unable to free themselves from their responsibility.  It is not easy to get out of this dilemma.  Even France seems to realize the things that are at risk.  If the French offer of comprehensive cooperation is not exhausted with the sterile demand to place power in Iraq under the UN's supervision...this would be a first step to revive the lost partnership.  Since Washington must also be blamed for the rift, it should give up this childish behavior of punishing France.  The situation in Iraq requires the (practical) solidarity of all partners in the Alliance."


"Iraq And Europe"


Michael Stuermer noted in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/14):  "The Europeans are at odds with each other over the diplomacy and strategy of the Iraq war.  Now that the U.S. war plan is in trouble at home and in Iraq, it is time that the Europeans redesign their foreign and security policy.  This will not become easy, but the situation is too serious for malicious glee and a know-it-all attitude.  The government in Berlin must comprehend that the future of the Atlantic Alliance and the European role in the world will be decided in Iraq....  The governments in Berlin and Paris had called upon the United States to transfer responsibility to the Iraqis as soon as possible, but as if this would be very easy.  Now the Americans want to begin with this transfer, but under different circumstances.  And the Berlin government must now accept an old demand and make possible its implementation, not to please Washington but to avert further misery and to overcome the disagreement among the Europeans."


"U.S. Position Is Hopeless"


Right-of-center Braunschweiger Zeitung judged (11/14):  "A withdrawal is out of the question, since Iraq would implode.  The trouble spot could endanger the world for years.  Will additional funds and forces help?  Means for reconstruction are indispensable, but additional forces would only be worn down.  Even a domestic Iraqi government could survive only with the support of international forces.  Then they would no longer be occupiers, but this is no guarantee for peace.  With this war without a UN mandate and without a post-war plan, the United States has maneuvered itself into a hopeless situation."


"New Strategy"


Rolf Clement commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (11/13):  "What is currently being discussed in Washington as a change of strategy is not enough and points to the wrong direction.  The transfer of responsibility to the Iraqi authorities as the only element of a new strategy will not be enough, since it must also include an integration of the international community of nations.  It must get greater authorities in the transition period....  What is becoming clear again is that the United States does not have the intercultural competence which is necessary for such post-war stabilization.  This deficit can be reduced only if others get increasing responsibilities there."


ITALY:  "The Massacres And Politics"


Franco Venturini commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/17):  "Iraq.  It will not be the demonstrations in London that convince Bush that it is necessary to change course in Baghdad, because Bush has already understood and done so with the institutional calendar that will formally put an end to the occupation next June.  But real concerns remain.  Will the electoral season push the White House to prematurely reduce its contingent now that the fuel has been added to the flames?  A clearer UN mandate could certainly serve politically, but would it change anything on the ground now that the UN has withdrawn from Iraq?"


"The American Theorem"


Former Italian ambassador in Washington Boris Biancheri opined in centrist, influential daily La Stampa (11/15):  "Lately there has been talk of Washington's change in strategy.  It seems to me, however, that the fundamental strategy has not changed.  Washington has never had the intention to remain in Iraq forever and it neither has the ambition nor the culture of a colonial power.  The real problem is to establish the length of time it will take to transfer government responsibilities, including those relative to security, to a trustworthy Iraqi government capable of taking [the responsibilities] and preparing elections. If the U.S. and allied forces were to leave the country too soon, we would risk an inter-ethnic and inter-religious war with consequent massacres.  If they were to stay too long we would risk the possibility that the guerrilla war, as al Qaida undoubtedly wants, turn into a popular insurrection against the foreign occupier."


"The Allies And The Weapon Of Democracy"


Gianni Riotta commented on the front page of centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/15):  "It is of widespread opinion that in his trip to London next week, Bush will have a less unilateral attitude, offering his principal ally Tony Blair and European public opinion a different tone: the strategy of chaos in Iraq erases the utopia of 'democracy for export' like merchandise in a container and re-launches the Atlantic cooperation.... Only a multinational force, capable of giving legitimacy to an Iraqi government, can help the U.S. in this difficult stage, perhaps under the aegis of NATO and the UN. President Ciampi brought to the White House the moral authority of an ally that is paying the price with blood, not a project for power but for a better world.   Last Spring, mutual arrogance and opportunism divided the United States and Europe. In order to stop chaos from spreading from Iraq to the [rest of the] world, it is now necessary that the international community not abandon the Americans in Baghdad. It is likewise important that Bush's speech on democracy as an instrument, and not as an end, become the doctrine for the entire U.S. diplomatic machine."


"The Best Youth"


Igor Man opined in centrist, influential daily La Stampa (11/15):  "From Washington come unclear and contradictory signals...whether to begin again with Air Force attacks or to pass the hand to the UN.  Total war resolves nothing (as Vietnam taught).  In order to find itself again the UN needs a revitalization sponsored by Washington."


"The Preventive Withdrawal"


Vittorio Zucconi opined in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (11/14):  "The new 'tactical doctrine' that today seems to persuade the sovereign [Bush] the another one of the formulas taken from Vietnam:  finding an exit strategy--a strategy to leave and to proclaim a victory...going from a 'preventive war' to a 'preventive withdrawal.'...   A prisoner among his own people, Bush is the only one who cannot pull back.  He has to knock about the pro-consul in Baghdad, Bremer, with orders to speed up as much as possible the preliminary and necessary phase of the exit strategy, the transfer of politics and weapons to the local clans....  Today, the very new George Bush seems to lean toward the side of the pragmatic realists....  This is a politician who is seeking a way out and whom Europe, that was wrong to put him with his back to the wall at the beginning of the year, should encourage."


"The Two Souls Of Terrorism"


Lucio Caracciolo judged in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (11/14):  "In Iraq the terrorists are following a strategy, the Americans are desperately looking for one.  The former attack, the latter defend themselves....  If this scenario is not reversed in the next few months we will lose the war.  We will all lose it, not only the Americans.  Or better, we Italians and other Europeans, the weak link in the coalition, will be more exposed to the consequences of the defeat....  To continue to present our mission as a 'humanitarian' one, to deny that we are at war, is not only dishonest, it assures further tragedies....  Tired of the inconclusiveness and quarrelsomeness of the interim government, Bush seems to be searching for an interim authority, an Iraqi Karzai, to act as a shield.  If the former is reduced to the 'mayor of Kabul,' it is probable that his Iraqi counterpart would have difficulties in asserting himself 'mayor of Baghdad.'  At this point we must all ask ourselves--we Italians included--if we can still win.  The answer is yes.  Neither the Iraqi insurgents nor the Islamic terrorists are omnipotent.  Their resources, even financial, are not unlimited.  Sooner or later the common people in Baghdad and in the Triangle could realize that if the occupation is humiliating and often short-sighted, a permanent guerrilla has no outlet."


"A U.S. Withdrawal Would Lead To Chaos"


Sergio Romano commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/13): "The uneasiness of the other countries that have troops in Iraq, particularly Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Poland, remains evident.  They can't leave because their gesture would be unbecoming and America would interpret it like a betrayal.  But let's start asking ourselves if their ally has what the U.S. calls an exit strategy.  With their impotence they are paying the price for a participation in 'scattered order' that has drastically reduced Europe's influence and contractual power in the Iraqi matter."


"An Action With Too Many Alarming Signals"


Alessandro Politi commented in Rome center-left daily Il Messaggero (11/13):  "The war began amid a alarming lack of planning for the post-war....  A feverish round of consultations was held in Washington [recently] on how to find a solution for this situation, but the only way not to render all these deaths [of Italians in Nasiriyah] in vain is to manage, rapidly and wisely, the transfer of power to an authority that would be seen as concretely legitimate by the Iraqi people."


"The Pain And Politics"


Ezio Mauro, managing editor of left-leaning, influential daily La Repubblica wrote (11/13):  "Today, after America has asked the UN's help to attempt to gain control of the situation in the crazy post-war, Italy must work to restore the role of politics in the Iraqi crisis by helping the UN to play an effective role, the Iraqis to build a real autonomous government, the West to count on Europe's values along with those of America."


RUSSIA:  "Vietnam Syndrome Comeback"


Andrey Zlobin and Denis Rebrov opined in reformist Vremya Novostey (11/17):  "America tries not to think of its past, but there is no way it can stop the return of the Vietnam syndrome, as the body count grows.  The crash of two Black Hawks has become a new source of inspiration for the Iraqi resistance and yet another grim warning for the White House.  Saddam's swagger and bluster has given way to the guerrillas' terse and real threats.  Washington is still hoping for other countries' help, but as the fighting gets rougher, the hopes fade away.  No one is willing to send troops to die in the Iraqi desert.  Death spares no one, be it the Yankees or their allies.  The Iraqi guerrillas have succeeded where European diplomats have failed.  But this is hardly a cause for rejoicing in Russia, France, and Germany.  Were the U.S. occupation to end a la Vietnam, the region would become a potential powder keg rather than a model democracy, as promised by Bush.  Handing over power to the Iraqis amidst growing resistance would plunge Iraq into a civil war and draw thousands upon thousands of Islamic fanatics from across the world.  The United States has failed to reach its political and economic objectives.  Talk of an early and inevitable fall in oil prices after Iraq 'liberation' is no more than theorizing."


"A Blow To Berlusconi"


Andrey Terekhov commented on the front page of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (11/13):  "Obviously, the events at Nasiriyah will impair the United States' diplomatic efforts to expand its coalition in Iraq.  They are another clear message to Washington that it should hand over power to the Iraqis soon, possibly before the adoption of a new constitution."


"Winning Wars And Fighting Them Again"


Andrey Zlobin stated on page one of reformist Vremya Novostey (11/13):  "Don't expect the United States to pull out its troops from Iraq.  That would be 'fatal' to Iraq and the rest of the region, according to Paul Bremer.  But the United States may try to do away with the vacuum of power by transferring some of its authority to the Iraqis.  One way of doing this would be to find someone suitable among local leaders, one who will run the country until elections, and appoint him a president.  It is the Afghan scenario.  Whatever, to discuss such a plan at the White House means to acknowledge that the provisional governing council is a stillborn of the United States' foreign policy, unable to meet the December 15 deadline...under the latest resolution of the UN Security Council.  Whether they like it or not, the Americans will have to share power with the Iraqis, something Moscow, Paris, and Berlin have been talking about all along."


AUSTRIA:  "Squaring The Circle In Iraq"


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal daily Der Standard (11/14):  “Accelerating the restitution of Iraqi sovereignty is definitely a good thing, but the decision has to be based on a political concept...and cannot simply be an act of despair.  After all, previous efforts didn’t amount to much:  what, for instance, happened to Condoleezza Rice’s stabilization group for Iraq?  As long as American or other foreign troops are present in Iraq, the resistance movement will continue.  Past mistakes cannot be undone that easily:  the mistake of not immediately declaring a state of emergency after the war had ended in order to get looting and criminality under control.  The mistake of not taking any responsibility for the lootings and the crimes.  The mistake of having dissolved the army and thus with one stroke multiplied the potential of the militia.  The mistake of having taken too hard a stance against normal citizens in the battle against the militia, and of having committed mortal sins against Iraqi culture.  The list goes on. Right now, it seems that no-one knows how to rectify these mistakes.”


"Payday For The Willing"


Foreign affairs writer Christoph Prantner wrote in liberal daily Der Standard (11/13):  “For the governments that were not willing to participate in the Iraq campaign from the start, the current situation may be a confirmation of their original position.  However, there is certainly no cause for more or less open jeering, as the consequences of the disaster in Iraq do not only affect the coalition, but the entire international community.  Indeed, a new kind of willingness is needed for getting the situation in the country under control.  Washington would probably have a good chance of getting together a new, broad, independent ‘coalition of the willing,’ if it showed a bit of honest insight.”


BELGIUM:  "Electoral Haste In Baghdad"


Philippe Paquet held in independent La Libre Belgique (11/17):  “Paradoxically, the Europeans who, at the UN in September, urged the Americans to promptly transfer Iraq’s sovereignty to the Iraqis, might be led to ask the Americans not to hurry when they meet with Colin Powell in Brussels tomorrow.  At first glance, the timetable that was unveiled in Baghdad on Saturday should please everybody....  This scenario, which is a copy of the procedure that was followed by the Americans in Afghanistan after the ousting of the Taliban, is a pragmatic one.  In any case, there does not seem to be other possibilities if the objective is to put in place a government that is representative of the population in a former dictatorship without any democratic tradition.  However, what is disturbing is the haste of this spectacular American turnabout.  This haste is, of course, the result of the numerous setbacks of these last weeks.  But it is also the result of electoral pressure, one year before U.S. presidential elections....   By continuing to keep the UN on the side to re-shape post-Saddam Iraq by itself, the Bush administration has not succeeded in justifying its extended presence in Iraq more than it managed to convince people that it was right to launch its offensive against it.”


"There Is No Time To Lose"


Patrick Dath-Delcambe commented in tabloid La Derniere Heure (11/14):  “The United States wanted to take its time in order to re-shape the post-Saddam Iraq as it wanted to.  And when the Europeans urged it to urgently transfer political power to the Iraqis, it was very reluctant.  Now, Washington wants to put on a spurt, apparently looking forward to having all problems solved by the summer 2004.  The proximity of the U.S. presidential elections in November has, of course, nothing to do with this suddenly tight schedule.”




Bart Sturtewagen judged in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (11/14):  "The United States has committed itself so deeply in Iraq that it can no longer retreat.  No one will shed a tear on Saddam’s departure, but the idea that the Americans can depart now and leave a vacuum behind them is absurd.  This would make the situation even worse than before the war....  The United States would be fully responsible for this.  Besides, there would remain nothing of the Bush administration’s foreign policy.  A superpower that is chased away by a few hundreds--or even more probably, a few dozen--bomb planters would be an even greater disgrace than the Vietnam defeat.  The United States has therefore no alternative but to continue and to suffer casualties....  The change of strategy that President Bush announced yesterday will in fact not change much.  Speeding up the appointment of a puppet government without elections and without a new constitution is a recipe that can save appearances in a strategically unimportant country like Afghanistan, but not in Iraq....  If this failure has a positive side, it is that it will take quite some time before the United States will throw itself into such an adventure without international approval again."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "The U.S. Is Seeking A Way Out Of The Iraqi Trap"


Petr Pesek commented in center-right daily Lidove Noviny (11/13):  "The fact that American Administrator Paul Bremer arrived in Washington so hastily indicates the difficulties Americans face due to the slow transformation of Iraq from a battlefield into a normal state.  And if the number of attacks is not limited to a tolerable level, it can also jeopardize the planned withdrawal of American troops."


"Withdrawal Of Forces Would Be Cowardly"


Frantisek Sulc opined in the center-right daily Lidove Noviny (11/13):  "Now it can be said that there will not be peace in Iraq within several months.  The situation could improve within a year, but it will require many changes in the current attitude towards the country, stronger presence of coalition forces, and bigger investments.  However, this does not mean that everything is lost and everything that has been done was wrong....  The ones who will have to make a major contribution to improving the situation in Iraq and who will bring most sacrifices will be the Americans.  If the situation in Iraq is to improve, the following steps are necessary:  The Americans must accelerate the reconstruction as quickly as possible, together with securing safety and improving the living conditions of ordinary Iraqis.  This cannot be done without further investments and an increased number of troops--not only American ones.  It is necessary to start transferring power to the Iraqi interim government as soon as possible, without waiting for a constitution.  Putting government in the hands of Iraqis would have a tremendous psychological effect.  The training of the Iraqi army and police must be speeded up.  It is essential to try to engage countries like France or Russia to solve the situation in Iraq."


"Instant Plan For Iraq"


Pavel Tomasek editorialized in the business daily Hospodarske Noviny (11/13):  "One of the vital rules for ice hockey coaches is that when your team is losing, the only thing you mustn’t do is nothing.  Judging by the sudden trip of Paul Bremer back to Washington, George probably considering a change in [the U.S.’] strategic approach [in Iraq]....  Nonetheless, as in ice hockey, the likelihood of the change to succeed is not much over 50 percent....  It won’t be an easy choice [for President Bush], since [his] advisors vary in their opinions dramatically.  If he is serious about maintaining that the U.S. mission in Iraq is to introduce democracy, then he should give up the pre-election gimmick of withdrawing a large number of U.S. soldiers from Iraq, because an 'instant' path to democracy is not an option."


HUNGARY:  "A Baghdad Card Game"


Liberal Hungarian daily Magyar Hirlap remarked (11/17):  “Although Washington denies it, it seems to be quite obvious that President Bush approved the ‘hand over of sovereignty’ of Iraq to the Iraqi people by next July for his own domestic political considerations....  But Bush’s move might have a high price....  Because the recent decision fundamentally changes Washington’s Iraq strategy.  Washington has, up till now, followed the pattern which was successfully employed in Germany and the Japan: it first gave a constitution and then taught democracy.  Then, it helped to organize elections.  Finally it transferred power over to the winner of the elections.  The pattern now changes in Iraq: first Washington transfers power and the drafting of the constitution to the Iraqis, which seems to be quite an impossible undertaking in a country that lacks any traditions of a democracy.  In Iraq even the basic question of what should be the form of state, could not be resolved.”


"Iraqi Emergency Plan"


Washington correspondent Gabor Horvath editorialized in leading Nepszabadsag (11/14):  "President Bush can’t claim that nobody warned him....  The White House is now seeking, with gnashing teeth, to adjust its policy in Iraq to the reality of Iraq.  The United States has failed so far to quickly capture the heart of the Iraqi people.  The U.S. could not do the magic of building a democracy within six months on the ruins of a three decade long dictatorship.  But it was all to be known ahead.  The United States, though, is not going to be beaten.  It is not going to lose in Iraq.  Because the U.S. simply can’t afford it.  The parameters of a victory in Iraq might, or surely will, be redefined.  But even if the most liberal Democratic candidate happens to win the elections in 2004, the U.S. will not change its goals.  America needed the Iraq war primarily for psychological reasons.  It needed a cathartic victory after 9/11 in order that the American citizens could look optimistically again into the future."


IRELAND:  "Strategy On Iraq"


The center-left Irish Times editorialized (11/15):  "Events are forcing the United States to change course in Iraq, where resistance to the post-war occupation has reached much more serious proportions....  It has become clear that the Iraq Governing Council appointed by the occupation authorities is dysfunctional....  In any case the council's powers are severely circumscribed by the failure to devolve sufficient authority to it.  As a result progress made in restoring basic physical and human infrastructure has been obscured by the more dramatic acts of resistance and growing dissatisfaction with the occupation among ordinary Iraqis."


"Bush Tries To Close Pandora's Box"


The centrist Sunday Tribune judged (11/16):  "The prediction that war on Iraq was a Pandora's Box has, unfortunately, been proven through death, destruction and deprivation....  It has been proven by the replacement of a brutal dictator in Saddam Hussein with a grossly inefficient one in the United States....  The U.S., it seems, now seeks a way out of the mess....  Eight months ago, we said that George Bush and his allies had all but destroyed the UN.  In a perverse kind of way, they have actually proved how valuable that organization is.  A force led by the UN would have had a far better chance of success in Iraq....  Hopefully, as Bush now tries to slam the lid on his Pandora's Box we are, at least, left with hope." 


NORWAY:  "Dangerous And Vicious Circle In Iraq"


Newspaper of record Aftenposten judged (11/15):  “After seven months it is obvious that the Americans are having trouble in Baghdad....  When Washington signals uncertainty and pressure to get out very quickly, the Americans are pulling the carpet our from under the feet of those Iraqis that would consider collaborating to have a better government....  The U.S. governing assembly in Iraq has little or no authority, and there is plenty to show that only an election--even a chaotic election--is the only is the only thing that can give the country a stronger government.”


"Socialist Left And The Ostrich"


The independent VG commented (11/17):  “A withdrawal today will send entirely wrong signals to those who daily attack the occupying forces....  In reality it will appear as a confirmation that the numerous suicide bombings are having the desired effect, to create chaos and frighten the occupying forces and their collaborators out of Iraq....  It is something entirely different that is needed in Iraq, and the last initiatives from Washington indicate that this is about to become obvious for President George W. Bush and his political team.”


"Iraq A Stone Around Bush's Neck"


Erik Sagflaat commented in the social democratic Dagsavisen (11/13) :  "Time is running out for George W. Bush.  With less than one year left until the presidential election he must as soon as possible reduce the American losses in Iraq....  It is expected that the U.S. will try to put in place an Iraqi transitional government sooner than Bremer had planned.  Bush does not have time to wait for Bremer's more gradual approach....  The problem is to find an Iraqi leader with trust of all the fighting factions and with the ability to build bridges over the deep ethnic, political and religious conflicts.  In Iraq besides there is greater danger than in Afghanistan that such a government would be considered by many Iraqis a Quisling-government....  One thing is certain in any case.  One of America's main problems is still Saddam Hussein.  As long as he is on the loose, it can be difficult to create stability.  There will always be a nagging fear that the despot can somehow one day get back to power."


POLAND:  "Poland, Iraq, Europe"


Piotr Kuncewicz observed in leftist Trybuna (11/14):  “None of the declared goals of this war has been accomplished aside from creating a favorable economic situation for the American arms sector....  Transferring power to the Iraqis would mean either a new satrap or a civil war--or both.  Whoever is going to help rebuild Iraq in the future, they will not be Americans, British, or Poles, because by then they would be totally hated.”


PORTUGAL:  "Anything, Except Give Up"


José Manuel Fernandes editorialized in influential, moderate left daily Público (11/13):  "Independent from the political cost that it has for Bush (and for Blair, or for Berlusconi, or for Barroso), the only option that can't be added to the Iraqi scenario is that of escape.  The coalition, although it continues to be punished by terrorist attacks, cannot get out of Iraq as the United Nations and the Red Cross did: they above all have the obligation, in collaboration with good-willed Iraqis, to continue to adapt their strategy to the difficulties which, in the short term, are likely to increase....  In Iraq, the [coalition] has to continue to follow its course, since there is no manual for situations which are arising there.  And it is a course where the difficulties of each day have to be learned by experience, but which does not leave room for retreat.  Not even for strategies dictated by electoral calendars, even when those elections are American."


ROMANIA:  "Change In Strategy"


Foreign policy analyst Ana Ilie commented in Cotidianul (11/17):  “Pushed by the more and more obvious degradation of security in Iraq and before the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, the George W. Bush administration has decided to change its military and political strategy in the Gulf....  The transfer of political and security responsibilities to Iraqis must not be done hastily, because, on a military level, it might prove to be a failure, and, on a political level, it might take Iraq out of the democratization process.”


"Political Inefficiency"


Bogdan Chireac opined in respected daily Adevarul (11/17):  “Since 9/11, America has prepared and successfully led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq....   However, with combat efficiency did not come political efficiency....  Iraq has become a real magnet for all of the Arabic world’s fundamentalists, and every American or westerner there, no matter what his mission is, has for them become a legitimate target....  The lack of political strategy is so obvious, that America was not even able to find believable leaders to impose on Kabul or Baghdad, so as for America not to be perceived as an invader state any longer.”


SLOVAKIA:  "The Dead Make The Political Problem Come Alive"


Boris Latta wrote in left-of-center independent daily Pravda (11/14):  "Iraqis are beginning to win.  Since it’s hard to get the Americans out; they are succeeding in threatening the countries that have decided to send their own soldiers to join the U.S. in this war.  After the assassination of the Italians, the Japanese and Danish became afraid and requested the time to think, and the Portuguese sent their soldiers to ‘calmer’ Basra....  The fact that it was easier to enter Iraq then to leave it shows the similarity to Vietnam.  The problem is that 'Iraqification' can create governmental offices whose legitimacy will be doubtful under these circumstances.  The predictions about the Americans taking too much on their shoulders are more and more becoming true and Iraq is becoming a nightmare."


SPAIN:  "Time And The Hammer"


Left-of-center El País commented (11/17):  "Time is running in a paradoxical way against the U.S. in Iraq....  Now, as was anticipated, Bush is in a hurry to accelerate the 'Iraqification'...which doesn't mean that U.S. troops would withdraw, but rather, that they will 'bunker-ize,' making Washington no longer a de facto occupying power, with the obligations that that implies....   Bush is suggesting a quick 'Iraqification' but without prior, genuine internationalization.  A mistake.  And as the situation worsens, the more help the U.S. needs, the less it will get....  The U.S. must fully return to the UN and place it in the center of the whole process, especially concerning authority of legitimization and political control, as happened in Afghanistan or Bosnia.The U.S. must also support the Geneva Plan for a peace between Palestinians and Israelis, something Washington is now starting to indicate, as something that would contribute to changing the current image of the U.S. in the Arab world.  The hammer is not enough.  Nor is 'Iraqification'.  Go see 'The Battle of Algiers' again.  


"Political Process For Iraq"


Conservative La Razon held (11/16):  "The problem is that the success of the transition plan is not only conditioned by the development of the internal situation in Iraq, but also by the electoral interests of the Bush administration.  Before November 2004, when the current president will be a candidate for reelection, Washington needs a local power to exist in Iraq, on which to unload part of the responsibility for the maintenance of public order and the civil administration of the State....  It is not a very long period, and depends on too many factors.  And the resistance by the supporters of Saddam is not the worst one."


"To Iraqify As Quickly As Possible"


Left-of-center daily El País stated (11/17):  "The thing is, the U.S. needed to have done something from the beginning.  The model of a phantom Iraqi Government Council..has failed....  Wise men correct their mistakes.  But in the new plans of Bush an absolutely necessary element is missing: greater involvement of the UN as the legitimizing authority and supervising, rather than driving, the transition....  Bush wants the U.S. to stop being an occupying force as soon as possible....  But at the same time he is trying to avoid at all costs having his change be misinterpreted as a retreat or an 'early' withdrawal (this is the expression that now Rumsfeld uses).  Nobody wants a quick retreat.  But the existence of a political schedule is an essential condition for an exit that won't cause greater harm."  


"SWEDEN:  "Fatal To Leave Iraq"


Independent, liberal Stockholm Dagens Nyheter noted (11/14):  "It is true that much has become better after Saddam Hussein's fall, but Iraq still is an unstable, troubled, and dangerous part of the world....  The terrorists do not treat differently troops or relief workers, do not differ between military or civilian targets, and the situation is gradually becoming a nightmare for the U.S. and the UK....  It is obvious that the aim must be that the Iraqis take over government themselves, that democracy becomes domestic, and is not controlled from the outside....  Much therefore speaks for a speedy handing over of power and control to national authorities.  But at the same time the dangers (of doing so) are apparent....  A real nightmare scenario would be that out of the remnants of Saddam Hussein's rule of terror emerges a state that once again terrorizes its citizens, will be plagued by internal fighting, or will become a threat to peace."


TURKEY:  "Saddam Takes Revenge"


Sami Kohen observed in mass appeal Milliyet (11/14):  "The situation in Iraq increasingly makes clear that Saddam Hussein has started to take his revenge on the U.S.  The magnitude and style of the attacks against the occupation forces indicate an organized guerrilla war, if not a popular resistance....  Following these developments, the U.S. administration felt the need to reevaluate its Iraq policy.  According to Washington-based reports, the Bush administration has now decided to transfer authority from Americans to Iraqis as quickly as possible.  If that is really the case, it indicates a complete U-turn in U.S. policy for Iraq.  The Bush administration has pursued a policy based on the belief that it has all the capabilities to finish the job alone.  This miscalculation has come at a high cost.  Things would have been different had the U.S. acted along with an international peacekeeping force and under UN authority."


"American Puzzle"


Hasan Bulent Kahraman opined in the liberal-intellectual Radikal (11/14):  "It seems that the U.S. policy for Iraq as well as its theories about Iraq's future have totally collapsed.  It is unlikely that the Bush administration can overcome the consequences in the foreseeable future....  The gist of the issue is probably not about Republicans and Democrats, who are saying almost the same thing.  The real issue is about the lack of U.S. creativity in coming up with new ideas.  The situation is like a complex American puzzle for which even the U.S. doesn't have the answer."




ISRAEL:  "Bush's Iraq Exit Strategy"


Veteran journalist Larry Derfner wrote in conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (11/13):  "Iraq is turning out to be a tragedy of much greater depth than either the pro-war or anti-war camps, with their shallow certainties, are prepared to deal with....  Between Bush's natural cynicism about nation-building and his traumatic encounter with the Middle East on 9/11, not to mention his utter frustration with the Palestinians and the loathing he can't help but notice coming at him from the Arab and Muslim world, where does he suddenly come to believe that Iraq can be transformed into a stable democracy?  He doesn't believe it.  Bush only talked himself into believing it because he had no choice--his war plan was short an exit strategy, so he took neoconservative advice and adopted democracy as his desperate excuse for one.  In truth, though, there is no exit strategy.  America has no way to get out of Iraq without all hell breaking loose.  So America digs in, and all hell is breaking loose.  Like I said--a tragedy."


EGYPT:  "Evacuating Iraq Is The Solution"


Pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (11/17):  “The Iraqi resistance against American troops has escalated....  This proves that the era of occupation and controlling other nations by force has gone....  If the news that the U.S. agreed to surrender power to Iraqis in June is true, the U.S. will have made the first steps on the right track....  Confession is a virtue and it is political shrewdness to work on correcting mistakes....  Certainly this transfer of power should be conducted first through an interim period where the designation 'occupying forces' is eliminated and the UN and the Arab League cooperate in managing Iraqi affairs.”


"Truth Is Virtue"


Editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar wrote in aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar (11/16):  “There is an international consensus that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq has been barbaric conduct that lacked legitimacy....  Undoubtedly, the U.S. President’s retraction from consecrating his occupation of Iraq is a virtue...and is a victory for all the honest voices which opposed this American-Zionist imperialist madness.  The orders given to hasten the transfer of power to Iraqis indicate that the U.S. president has started to fear a repetition of the Vietnam quagmire in Iraq.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Washington's Options For Extracting Itself From Iraq"


Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina editorialized (11/17):  "Arabs and Muslims have nothing to do with the growing violence in Iraq.  The occupation is what gave birth to this situation.  According to a UN resolution, Iraq is an occupied country, thus the resistance is an undeniable reaction to the occupying force....  The United States has two choices.  First, America could play to the election year, and gain time with promises to turn over authority to a temporary Iraqi government; or they could turn over the whole matter to the UN and lighten American domination.  Which of these options will the U.S. take?"


JORDAN:  "The Iraqi Resistance Is Making Events"


Chief Editor Taher Udwan contended in mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (11/16):  “No one can ignore the fact that Saddam Hussein and the Al-Baa'th regime are the ones leading the resistance in Iraq, that this resistance has brought dramatic and conclusive changes to events in Iraq, and that the story about America’s enthusiasm to hand over power to the Iraqis is nothing but the fruit of this resistance.  It is early to say that the United States will withdraw from Iraq, but it is not far from the truth to say that the Bush administration has actually linked the Iraq file to the next presidential elections in the fall of 2004.  Choosing next June as the time for forming the ‘Iraqi Karzai government,' five months before these elections, indicates that the Bush administration is seriously looking for a political cover to allow it to withdraw from the Iraqi arena and still allow the president to win the next elections.  This is what the Bush administration wants...but its calculations are not guaranteed, and it all depends on the Iraqi resistance and what Saddam Hussein might do.”


LEBANON:  "Chaos In Iraq?"


Rajeh Khoury wrote in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (11/14):  "As quickly as possible and in any way possible...these words indicate that someone is in a great hurry!  In flaming Iraq, these words indicated that there is suffering and suffocation....  Where did Rumsfeld's plans and Wolfowitz's programs for a democracy in Iraq go?...  There is no need to speculate....  The only thing that Washington decided and was able to implement was going to war....  It is only fair to mention that America, which has planted shock and fear, has started to harvest what it planted....  The meeting in the White House between Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, and Bremer was an urgent meeting to study developments in Iraq in the shadow of an intelligence report that is cautioning of even worse times to come....  However, speeding up things in Iraq might pave the way for a civil war inside Iraq that might have regional dimensions."


"What Is Behind Summoning Bremer To Washington?"


Aouni Al-Kaaki commented in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq (11/14):  "Bremer was summoned to Washington...and with him all the problems in Iraq, which reflected mounting concern at the White House, Pentagon, and the State Department over the situation in Iraq....  There is no doubt that the American administration has become convinced that it will not be able to subjugate the Iraqis...and that President Bush's popularity is decreasing alarmingly as a result of what is happening in Iraq....  The Americans know what the solution should be:  the UN should fully supervise the formulation of a temporary government that would work on a new constitution, pave the way for free elections, and outline a calendar for American and British withdrawal from Iraq.  However, to date, Bush has not approved such a plan because it means that his policy and plans in Iraq have failed."




AUSTRALIA:  "U.S. Must Stay The Distance"


Defense writer Geoffrey Barker observed in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (11/17):  “Last week’s sudden U.S. policy reversal on Iraq suggests that President George Bush wants to declare victory and to cut and run from what has become a Middle East slaughterhouse since Saddam Hussein’s overthrow....  The U.S. leader now faces compelling domestic pressures to make a quick exit....  It is easy (and tempting) to observe that the U.S.-led coalition was warned repeatedly that it would face the crisis it now confronts in Iraq....  Creating a peaceful, democratic Iraq was never going to be easy....  Having created the mess, the U.S. and its partners (including Australia) are obliged to stay the course....  If this means handing administrative control to a United Nations-led transitional authority modeled perhaps on the successful East Timor transitional authority, the victorious allies should do so with good grace while they take primary responsibility for ensuring security in Iraqi cities and in the countryside.“


CHINA:  "U.S. Forced To Adjust Iraq Policy"


Ren Yujun commented in the official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) (11/17):  "The U.S. has no other choice but again to adjust its Iraq policy...due to the increasing death toll in Iraq and...the decrease in public support for Bush to its lowest point yet....  Bush's behavior aims to ease rising anti-war sentiments in the U.S. and abroad, and more importantly, before the 2004 presidential election.  However it is doubtful that the U.S.' new wishful thinking will be effective."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "U.S. Should Fundamentally Change Its Iraq Policy "


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao noted (11/15):  "The Bush administration...plans to step up the pace to return power to the Iraqi people....  However, this readjustment is not enough and it may even bring about bigger risks.  The key problem is that the U.S. is still attempting to manipulate post-war Iraqi reconstruction.  It has basically never considered readjusting the UN role in Iraq.  The White House wants to extricate itself from Iraq, but it cannot withdraw its troops hastily for it has the responsibility to deal with the aftermath of the Iraqi war and to stabilize the situation.  The Bush administration should make fundamental changes to its Iraq policy and the post-war reconstruction.  Most important of all, the U.S. should return the leading role in post-war Iraqi reconstruction to the UN....  U.S. troops should not withdraw hastily.  They should continue to stay in Iraq to safeguard security and maintain social order before the UN sends a multinational peacekeeping troop to take up the responsibility."


"UN Offers A Way Out Of The Iraq Crisis"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post remarked (11/13):  "Washington at last appears to be acknowledging the grim reality that its strategy for rebuilding Iraq is failing.  It has taken six months and the loss of many lives, but indications of a shift in policy are beginning to emerge....  The meeting with Mr. Bremer is believed to be aimed at speeding up the transition of political power to the Iraqi people, perhaps by adopting measures which the U.S. has previously shunned.  It looks as if a turning point may, indeed, have been reached....  One of the options being considered is installing an interim leader....  Electing a constitutional convention, or preparing a temporary constitution, are also possibilities.  What is most important, though, is that there is a change in mindset on the part of the U.S.  The effort to rebuild Iraq must be made the responsibility of the international community, through the UN.  And the country must be swiftly returned to the Iraqi people.  Accepting that a turning point has been reached is a good start.  Now the U.S. needs to choose the right direction to take."


JAPAN:  "Recoil From SDF Dispatch Would Encourage Terrorists"


The conservative Sankei editorialized (11/16):  "If the dispatch of SDF troops to Iraq on a logistical and humanitarian mission is not positively and independently (of the U.S. call) enforced by the GOJ, it would not contribute solidly to the reconstruction of the war-ravaged nation.  Japan itself must take responsibility for possible casualties among SDF troops during their deployment in Iraq.  The government has no choice but to send the Japanese troops at an early date because Japan's participation in the U.S.-led Iraq rebuilding project will not only bring stability to the Middle East but also serve Japan's national interests.  A recoil by Japan from the planned SDF dispatch following the massive Nasiriyah bombing would only encourage acts of terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere in the world."


"Will U.S. Occupation Be Over By June?"


The liberal Asahi remarked (11/17):  "Considering the sharp rise in terrorist attacks and anti-U.S. feeling among Iraqis as well as the current stalemate in Iraq's reconstruction, President Bush, having seen a drop in public support, had no option but to move forward the timing of ending the occupation of Iraq.  An early end to the coalition occupation of Iraq would certainly open the way for rebuilding the war-devastated nation.  The U.S. should have returned authority to Iraqis much earlier.  But it is not certain whether...the transfer of authority will actually bear fruit.  One major problem is that...there is no clarification concerning the presence of U.S. and British forces in Iraq after the return of power to the Iraqi people."


"Cooperation From Arab Nations Is Necessary"


The business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (11/13):  "The withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq could not only throw the postwar nation into total anarchy but also open the way for the formation of a new Hussein-like regime.  Arab nations, which opposed the U.S.-led use of force against Iraq, have yet to contribute troops to the coalition forces....  The participation of Arab nations in the coalition forces would make reconstruction efforts by the U.S. and international organizations more meaningful and effective.  Japan has an important role to play in Iraq's reconstruction by sending SDF troops and seeking the Arab world's understanding and support for these reconstruction projects."


INDONESIA:  "U.S. Suggests Throwing In The Towel"


Leading independent daily Kompas commented (11/17):  “President George W. Bush’s administration seems prepared to throw in the towel as a sign of surrender from the battle arena in Iraq....  The transfer of power process will greatly determine the fate of Iraq in the future.  There are concerns that there will be even worse mayhem should the U.S. leave Iraq in a chaotic state.  The U.S. will be alleged as being irresponsible because it has messed up Iraq....  There are more challenges because the upheaval in Iraq has been used by militants from various countries in the Middle East to fight against the U.S.”


"Iraq, The U.S. Project Has Not Finished"


Muslim intellectual Republika commented (11/15):  “It seems that the situation in Iraq in the last few days has raised concerns of the U.S.  There are attacks almost everyday--bombs, mortars, or mines--that kill U.S. troops....  In the worsening security condition, and political situation, that is not going as expected--the Iraqi Government Council has not yet finished working on the constitution as the U.S. wished--the lack of support from alliances means a higher cost of war.  Although the Congress has approved Bush’s budget proposal for Iraq, Bush cannot just linger with an uncertain problem....  Nevertheless, setting up a transitional government does not mean that the U.S. physically could leave soon Iraq.  The U.S. has spent too much money and, of course, it does not want to leave Iraq empty handed.  This means the problem of Iraq will not be resolved immediately.”


PHILIPPINES:  "Winning Hearts And Minds"


Luis Teodoro wrote in the independent Today (11/15):  "While the Iraqi situation is vastly different, winning the war there, as in Vietnam, requires the support of the population.  The members of the Iraqi Governing Council are mostly former expatriates without popular support, and are regarded as U.S. puppets....  The U.S. is at the same time determined to prevent the rise of an Iraqi fundamentalist state....  The U.S. will 'rebuild Iraq into a democracy' only if the democracy will be in accordance with U.S. strategic goals (to secure the energy sources it needs, and to maintain a credible armed presence in the Middle East) and therefore no democracy at all.  'Transferring power' to Iraqis is thus likely to be regarded as subterfuge to...continuing U.S control over Iraq."


SOUTH KOREA:  "Troop Dispatch Must Be Linked To New U.S. Policy On Iraq"


The independent Joong-Ang Ilbo editorialized (11/14):  "In particular, if Washington, as the U.S. press reported, seeks to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis by next summer and to withdraw its troops from Iraq at an earlier date, the guidelines are bound to change, due to this significant development in U.S. policy.  The ROKG must adopt a flexible attitude of first lending an ear to Washington's position, while keeping a close watch on developments in Iraq and a possible shift in U.S. policy on Iraq."


"Discussions On Troop Dispatch Lose Ground Under U.S. Pressure"


The nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun commented (11/13):  "The world knows well that the Iraqi situation, which is escalating into an all-out war between the U.S. forces in the country and local resistance forces, will not get better unless Washington fundamentally changes its attitude."




INDIA:  "U.S. Dilemma In Iraq"


Hindi daily Dainik Tribune remarked (11/17):  "The losses being borne by the U.S. Army in Iraq may not work to Bush's advantage when America holds elections next year.  Bush knows this only too well, and is, therefore, trying to prevent U.S. losses by talking about pulling out of Iraq.  Bush's dilemma is that at a time when America's friends have backed out from helping it, he cannot even admit that Iraq was a blunder for the U.S."


"More Blind Spots"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (11/15):  "Under the pressure of circumstances, the United States has had to readjust its sights in Iraq.  Washington was not inclined to heed the UN and the European voices favoring an early timetable for self-rule in Iraq following the drafting of a Constitution.  But the growing tension between America's civilian representative, Paul Bremer, in Baghdad, and the Governing Council handpicked by him on questions of authority, seems to have been a key factor in persuading the Bush administration to hasten the process of transferring civil power to the Iraqis....  The Bush administration now appears ready to go along with the desire of the Governing Council to be given effective powers as the country's provisional government.  The Americans are apprehensive that an elected constituent assembly may author an Islamic constitution.  Thus, key issues are by no means settled.  Besides, America will be in military control of Iraq even after civil authority passes to the Iraqis.  Will that make it less of an occupier in Iraqi eyes, and will the resistance subside?"


"Un-Do The Damage"


The centrist Times of India commented (11/15):  "Washington's inclination to cobble together some sort of a governing body and then rapidly exit is fraught with danger.  Already, the Iraqis inducted into the security forces are being picked off by the resistance and local Iraqi leaders have warned that the country could fall apart.  In the end, rather than contain terrorism, Washington might have succeeded in creating yet another front that will threaten world peace.  There is no alternative for it but to go back to the UN and ask for a fresh mandate.  If the operations are under the umbrella of the blue helmets, there will be many more participants.  Washington's bluster--that it will meet force with greater force--is not going to help.  The recent losses suffered by the coalition will, it is hoped, make Bush understand that democracy can be spread only by democratic means.  And that America, as the leader of the free world, must lead by example."


PAKISTAN:  "Precarious Iraq Situation"


Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu daily, Jasarat declared (11/15):  "One quick recipe for bringing the situation under control in Iraq would be to have the United States immediately pull out its troops from there and hand over affairs to the UN.  But the U.S. has come to Iraq to occupy the oil resources and the Middle East itself and it will not leave these at any cost."


"Conflict Without Borders"


Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn judged (11/14):  "The choice before the Americans appears to be either to step up their attrition and impose a peace of the graveyard on Iraq or to leave and let the UN hold early and free elections in cooperation with countries such as Russia that might still have some leverage with the anti-coalition elements.  Once a timetable for a quick withdrawal is announced, there can be some hope that figures will emerge from the shadows who might be willing to talk peace.  Otherwise, we will remain caught up in a spiral of violence."




KENYA:  "Humble Yourself, George W., Before It’s Too Late"


Imre Loefler wrote in the intellectual weekly The E. African (11/17):  “Whatever the intellectual and moral strengths of George W. are, he very probably desires to be re-elected and to go down in history as a great president who used his power to improve the world.  He will not be re-elected and he will not be hailed for greatness either if he muddles on as he is doing now, nor if he withdraws.  The best way out for Bush, for America, for Iraq and the rest of the world would be if he found a way to humble himself.  What the world so much dislikes in the manner in which the leadership of America exercises their power is the hubris, the arrogance.  The ever recurring theme of the Greek tragedy is that hubris leads to nemesis.  If Bush is unable to change his stance, Iraq will become his nemesis and the end of American supremacy.  For no great power ever existed on account of its wealth alone.”


MADAGASCAR:  "The Iraqi Mess"


The independent daily Madagascar Tribune editorialized (11/13):  "The U.S.-led pacification army, not well used to guerrilla warfare, is helpless in front of this rarely visible enemy drowned among the population; thus it inevitably makes mistakes, aggravated by the anger and antipathy of the Iraqis who are already impatient to take care of themselves.  For GI's and Tommies, going to patrol sounds like a real commando suicide from which you are not sure to come back alive.  Iraq reconstruction...looks like being outstripped by the destructive actions perpetrated by Saddam's fanatics....  How to get out of this mess?  The first alternative could consist in letting Iraqis manage for themselves the giving full power to the Government Council....  Secondly, the U.S., while continuing to hunt down terrorists and their like, should give room to find a solution, perhaps 'Afghan style.'"


UGANDA:  "UN Should Manage Iraq"


"The United States has announced that it will change its strategy in Iraq, shortening the transition to Iraqi rule....  Contrary to the assertions of President Bush and U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that Iraqis have the capacity to run their country in the short run, the real reason for the Americans' new thinking is the harassment they are suffering.  It would be wrong to hurriedly pass power to Iraqis, who are not united. The Iraqi Governing Council has not been fully accepted; many in its composition are weak characters.  It may not be too late to run the country as a trust territory of the United Nations up till such a time that sanity has been restored.  If the UN managed the transition, it could be a much more acceptable arrangement for Iraqis and, ultimately, would lay the foundation for a much more stable country than the hurried timetable promises."


ZAMBIA:  "More Chaos In Iraq"


The government-owned Zambia Daily Mail editorialized (11/14):  "Instead of sanity and order, there is more chaos in Iraq than there was before the war....  If the U.S. really wanted to reconstruct Iraq, it should have left the country immediately it declared the war over in May and used its billions of dollars on rebuilding the country that it has helped to destroy with its ammunition....  And maybe for peace and order to return to Iraq, the U.S. and its coalition forces would do well to return home....  We implore the United Nations to quickly play its part and bring order to Iraq.  Otherwise the war in Iraq is far from over--maybe it has just started."




CANADA:  "Don't Let Bombs Wreck An International Rescue"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (11/13):  "The motive for yesterday's bombing of Italian police headquarters in Iraq was painfully prevent other countries and organizations from helping the United States rebuild Iraq....  The attackers hope that the victims will take flight, leaving the United States alone in Iraq.  That way they can pose as the patriotic resistance to an illegitimate American occupation, rather than the wreckers of a legitimate international rescue.  Will it work? t had better not.  If the international community caves in to this campaign of intimidation, the insurgents have a much better chance of winning their war of terror....  Everyone wants Iraqis to regain control of Iraq as soon as humanly possible.  The U.S. itself is trying to speed the process.  That is why Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, was recalled to Washington for talks this week.  But transferring power to a shaky, unelected Iraqi government while bombs are still going off would be a disaster.  First, the bombers have to be stopped and Iraq has to be put back on its feet.  The whole world should pitch in."


"Give Iraqis A Chance"


The conservative National Post editorialized (11/13):  "Various ideas are floating around about how best to turn this grim reality around....  The forces of freedom must act quickly....  While the timetable for turning power over to Iraqis must be sped up, it is imperative that the Americans remain in Iraq.  Terrorists have no scruples, and they're certainly not going to turn into convenience store operators and medical service workers overnight just because the United States has ceded direct control to a provisional Iraqi group.  American and other forces must remain in the country to prevent anarchy and preserve the objectives of the invasion, which is to bring stability--and ultimately, democracy--to a nation accustomed to tyranny.  An early move toward greater Iraqi control may help achieve those objectives."


BRAZIL:  "Pressure In Iraq"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (11/15):  "Signs of deteriorating security in Iraq are very clear....  The most dramatic problem is that there are apparently no prospects for improvement in the short or medium term.  Some in the U.S. media are comparing Iraq to Vietnam....  A few months ago, Bush was counting on his success in the war to offset what appeared to be weak economic performance.  Now, with the economy seemingly in recovery, Bush's staff fears that Iraq will jeopardize his re-election."


"Europeans Celebrate Speed-Up Of The Transition"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo Paris correspondent Giles Lapouge remarked (11/15):  "There is no reason to believe that France and its leaders will advocate a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.  Such a decision would be have dramatic consequences.  First, the U.S. would endure terrible criticism in addition to experiencing a long period of depression comparable to that which followed its defeat in the Vietnam War. And nothing is more dangerous than a humiliated and challenged power.  Moreover, a simple withdrawal of occupying U.S. troops would run the risk of exacerbating the situation not only in Iraq but also throughout the Middle East.  Once mortally wounded, Iraq would become an ideal base for Islamic terrorists.  Even those in France who firmly opposed the war in Iraq are today warning Washington to resist the temptation of abandoning Iraq."


"Bush Will Speed Up 'Iraqification'"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized (11/14):  "Regardless of the reasons that led the U.S. to invade Iraq, the motivation that is beginning to guide the White House's strategy in that nation is clear.  It is nothing more than an effort to ensure President Bush's re-election in 2004....  The economy is no longer Bush's weak point, due less to the first and still uncertain signs of recovery in terms of employment than to the impact of escalating death tolls in Iraq....  Lives saved or lost in Iraq may make all the difference in determining whether the president stays or goes....  In a strictly military sense, the U.S. should respond to the violence it did not expect with additional troops.  But Bush will not do that.  On the contrary, he wants to come up with a 'withdrawal strategy' that will bring home a significant number of soldiers....  This was the reason Paul Bremer was called to Washington for a series of intensive consultations.  And this is also at the heart of the decision to speed up the transfer of power to the Iraqis.  The problem is that the Americans do not have a clear idea of how to do it....  There is the expectation that Bush's 'Iraqification' process will break down France's and Russia's resistance to participating in the U.S.-led UN peacekeeping force." 


"Diplomatic Weapon"


Right-of-center O Globo noted (11/4):  "President Bush recognizes that a sudden retreat of the American forces would be catastrophic in Iraq.  But, if Washington doesn't change the approach quickly the result will be just the same.  The decision to speed up a transfer of power to the Iraqis is, therefore, an important diplomatic move.  Maybe only a central Iraqi government, though provisional, should be capable of reconciling ethnic, religious differences, prevent civil war, and leave Saddam's era definitely behind." 


"Mourning And Resistance In Italy"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (11/13):  "Given the situation created since the U.S. announced the supposed 'end of the war,' the attack against the Italian base is further evidence that things in Iraq are extremely serious and seem to be getting worse.  Despite efforts by the occupation troops to form something akin to a local government, internal resistance has shown increasing cohesiveness.  The aim of the guerrillas is to make Iraq unmanageable."


"As It Remains"


Right-of-center O Globo held this view (11/13):  "Everything indicates U.S. authorities are finally convinced that it's necessary to speed up the transference of power in Iraq to decrease tension and reduce the number of attacks.  That means to quickly prepare a new constitution enabling Iraqis to accommodate ethnic and religious differences.  And call for elections.  Last week President Bush declared the U.S. is prepared for great sacrifices in the upcoming decades--of human lives, he means--to democratize the whole region.  This has either been poorly explained, or it's contradictory tactics reconciled by the challenge for a president already in an election campaign."


CHILE:  "The Questionable U.S. Role In Iraq"


Leading, popular Santiago daily La Tercera remarked (11/14):  "The ferocity of the attacks and the difficulties the Iraqi resistance is creating for Iraq's development have become big problems....  But it would be too soon to say the U.S. operation in Iraq has failed....  Washington's best alternative to lower and share the high cost of this operation would be to create a UN-led transition administration, which would allow the U.S. to correct the mistake it made some months ago when it refused to share the control of Iraq with the international organization."


COLOMBIA:  "War, Lies And Backward Steps"


Leading national El Tiempo editorialized (11/14):  “All wars have lies...but the lies of the war in Iraq are being discovered too soon....  If Bush decides to rush transferring the governance of Iraq to the will not be out of consideration for the Iraqi people, but for fear that elections next November...will surprise him with an even worse mess.”


"Between The Postwar And The Endless War"


Medellin-based daily El Colombiano observed (11/13):  “Paul Bremer’s sudden trip to considered a clear sign that there will be important decisions taken in the next few days.  The discussion centers around what must come first:  a constitution, or elections for an interim Iraqi government.  The U.S. believes that the first step should be to adopt a constitutional document....  Meanwhile, the priority is to re-establish security....  Otherwise what can happen endless guerrilla war that will dilute the American dream of establishing in Iraq an Islamic system with a democratic orientation.”


ECUADOR:  "Bloody Attack In Iraq"


Quito's center-left Hoy contended (11/13):  "Since the moment the U.S. decided to act without UN authorization, everyone feared that a swift military victory, which in reality is what happened, might turn into a maze with no easy exit due to resistance from Iraqi groups transforming the situation into a sort of guerrilla war with suicide attacks that are very difficult to control.  This wave of attacks will probably accelerate the timetable for the political reconstruction of Iraq, transferring the power to a provisional government and approving a constitution....  But the issue of guaranteeing security remains, as proven by the bloody attacks, difficult to achieve and does not foresee any gradual decrease of coalition troops in Iraq."



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