International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 9, 2003

April 9, 2003





** Most commentators say an "occupation regime" will fail to "win the peace."

** Many view Blair as pushing the U.S. towards a more prominent UN role as "hawks" and "moderates" in the Bush administration battle over post-war policy.

** To many Arabs and Muslims, post-war plans are about "spoils" and serving Israel's interests.




U.S. 'military occupation' could 'open the door to extremism'--  Noting that winning the war would open "a Pandora's box" in a country made up of "a very complex set of ethnic groups and religious sects," editorialists warned that the post-war transition will be "anything but easy."  Though initially there will be "no alternative to U.S. and British forces assuming control" of the country, most dailies urged, as did Sweden's independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter, that the "sooner the UN is given a prominent role, the better."  Papers heeded Bush's announcement that the UN would have "a vital role" in post-war Iraq, but wondered if the words were "a semantic device or...olive branch" to countries like France that favor a "central" UN role.  A few, including one Italian writer, discounted the UN as "impotent and discredited" and said "it makes no sense" to talk about its role in Iraq.


'Multilateralist' Blair advocates greater UN role, while Washington is 'at war with itself'--  Though one Russian daily took the contrarian view that Tony Blair "has chosen to follow in the wake" of U.S. policy towards post-war Iraq, most saw the British "coming round to the view that the UN must be brought back into the picture."  While Bush and Blair left "political analysts scratching their heads" over the exact meaning of "vital role," some believed "Bush is beginning to heed the fact" that an interim Iraqi administration "will need bolstering from the outside" to have legitimacy.  Some saw Blair as "countering Washington's hawks" in the "permanent struggle between hardliner Rumsfeld and...Colin Powell."  Russia's reformist Moskovskiye Novosti supported Blair's "efforts for a consensus" on the UN's role, while an Italian daily contended "it is resume transatlantic dialogue, including France and Germany."


Arabs, Muslims see attempt to 'legitimize aggression' and 'plunder' Iraq--  Papers in the Arab and Muslim world viewed the "U.S. gameplan" for Iraq as one drawn up "with a Likud eye."  The West Bank's pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam declared the U.S. intends to set up an Iraqi government "totally submissive to American policy" with a single mission:  "stealing Iraq's wealth."  Outlets in Egypt and Jordan wondered why "the Pentagon has chosen an American general with strong ties to Israel" who is "a personal friend of Sharon's" to administer Iraq.  They concluded that it was part of "the original aims" of the war, "to clear the area around Israel" so it would retain "its monopoly on weapons of mass destruction."  Lebanon's moderate, anti-Syria An-Nahar similarly judged that "Pentagon hawks" see Ahmad Chalabi as the "natural ruler" of Iraq.  "America is pretending" to bring democracy to Iraq, the paper stated, "but it is doing nothing but attempting to bring peace to Israel."

EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 85 reports from 45 countries, April 4-9, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Victory Spoils"


An editorial in the centrist Independent stated (4/9):  "This meeting [in Belfast] saw Bush bending over backwards to accommodate his British partner.  Of course the UN would play a role both in humanitarian relief and the eventual civil reconstruction of Iraq.  No problem, no dissension.  What Bush did not say, and what his host certainly did not press him on, is what this means in practice.  Who is to appoint this interim administration?  How long does the U.S. intend to maintain a military presence in Iraq?...  It’s all very well taking generalities and using the language of accommodation but it is in the details that we will see Washington’s true intentions."


"Picking Up The Pieces"


The independent Financial Times contended (4/9):  "Iraq’s military conquerors are at least moving in the right direction to win the peace....  The UN [should be] at the heart of rebuilding Iraq....  The Bush-Blair statement could just mean confining the UN to co-ordinating aid and rubber-stamping a 'Made in Washington' administration of Iraqi exiles.  Nevertheless, it could mean that Bush is beginning to heed the fact that whatever legitimacy he hopes to draw from involving Iraqis in aiding and running post-war Iraq will need bolstering from the outside by the UN.  Without UN approval, the 'interim Iraqi authority' that the U.S. wants to create could find it hard to get international recognition....  The U.S. and Britain should aim to involve the UN from the outset. They will have only one chance to get the peace right.  They should not blow it by ignoring the UN.”


"The UN’s Leading Role"


An editorial in the left-of-center Guardian stated (4/9):  "By handing overall control to the UN , the U.S. and Britain would take an important step towards healing the rift with France, Germany and Russia....  The reality is that the UN is still being offered a merely advisory, walk-on role in determining Iraq’s future polity; that the U.S. is set on having its own way; and that this Frank Sinatra approach to nation-building may be but a prelude to a cacophony of discord and disharmony.”


"After The War Ends In Iraq"


The independent Financial Times stated (4/8):  "That this will be a fragile transition is beyond doubt.  There is a unresolved debate concerning whether it should be under U.S. or United Nations authority, and in what shape government should be turned over to Iraqis.  But all must agree that the ultimate goal is to set up a legitimate regime that fairly represents the ethnic, religious and political patchwork of Iraq.  In the early stages, there is no alternative to U.S. and British forces assuming control of the country.  Indeed, the conventions of war make the occupiers responsible for stabilizing the country, establishing the rule of law and ensuring the population has access to food and medicine.  As it sets about these tasks, the U.S. would be well advised to heed its British ally and seek broader international support to legitimize the transition....  However resentful the Bush administration feels at the failure of the Security Council to back its war, it is in everyone's interest, including Washington's, to phase in UN involvement as fast as is feasible."


FRANCE:  "Vital Is Not Central"


Philippe Mudry editorialized in centrist La Tribune (4/9):  “Can we say there is the beginning of a rapprochement over the role of the UN, ‘central’ for President Chirac and ‘vital’ for Bush and Blair?  To say so would be taking a big gamble....  To maintain that the UN can take over is an illusion....  America’s determination to assign a humanitarian role to the UN leaves no room for discussion....  Washington’s public remarks have made things clear as to its reticence to include [in Iraq’s reconstruction] those who, in America’s view, have shown signs of complacency towards Saddam Hussein.  French interests in the Gulf may suffer in the next few months.  Cold realism should keep us from expecting a quick warming in transatlantic relations.”


"Two Logics"


Bruno Frappat held in Catholic La Croix (4/9):  “Do the future winners of the war know what they will do with their victory?...  The role of the UN is at the center of the debate....  Once victory is won, it may be that Tony Blair will revert to a more multilateral approach, either from belief or calculated interest....  President Bush’s all-American logic may be confronted by a more European Blair logic, tinged with a hint of remorse.”


"Blair’s Way"


Pierre Rousselin argued in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/8):  “At first, Iraq’s liberators will need to establish a military administration....  The British and Americans are best in line to take over that responsibility....  But very soon, like all military administrations, theirs will look like a foreign occupation.  Very soon they will need to transfer power into Iraqi hands.  And the six months the Pentagon has given itself seems too long....  The U.S. cannot take the risk of giving the impression that the war was led in order to put Iraq under foreign rule.  The Iraqis the U.S. is planning to put at the helm are more popular in Washington than in Baghdad.  An occupation regime would have harsh consequences in the region....  Tony Blair...needs to convince George Bush and to counter Washington’s hawks in order to lead the White House to adopt a more multilateral approach, giving the UN its proper role."


"The U.S. Ready To Bypass The UN"


Charles Lambroschini contended in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/8):  “Tony Blair will be playing the UN’s advocate.  For him, the UN’s involvement would be the only way to avoid seeing the liberators transformed into occupants and unleashing a huge Islamic response.  But the British Prime Minister has a very small chance of being heard.”


GERMANY:  "What Needs To Be Restructured"


Stefan Kornelius judged in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/9):  “It can no longer be denied that the most difficult stage of the war is coming to an end….  That is why it is now all the more important that Iraq is restructured politically without any discord.  But the war-waging nations are only slowly approaching a joint policy.  It is true that Tony Blair and George W. Bush speak a joint language...but the question is whether they also mean the same.  It is encouraging that the U.S. president concedes that the UN has a role to play.  But it is less encouraging that the Bush is unable to contain the trench fighting in his own government.  While Secretary Powell is conveying the impression that his post-war notions will gain the upper hand, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld creates facts.  A year ago, Rumsfeld transferred unit after unit to the Gulf, today he is sending selected political shock troops to Iraq, with the unbearable Achmed Chalabi at the helm....   Before Bush makes references to the future UN role in Iraq and plans a new political order, he should first of all create order in his own government.”


"What They Want And What They Are Able To Do"


Christoph von Marschall opined in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/9):  "[President Bush's] gesture and the diplomatic words can hardly obscure the fact how different the views are on the role of the UN in post-war Iraq.  Humanitarian assistance and the participation in setting up an interim administration, this is how President Bush described it.  UN sovereignty instead of a U.S. military government--that is how France and Germany want it.  And the UN should have the final say with respect to reconstruction and the income derived from oil exports, since this would offer them a say that resembles a veto.  This is brazen.  Who, apart from the United States and Britain, wants to offer soldiers who could create security in Iraq?  And the United Nations must also be able to fill the role they are to play in Iraq.  Bush’s description fits the picture of the really existing UN much more then Europe’s ideal picture.”


"Post-Saddam Order"


Michael Stuermer noted in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/9):  “Every analysis of the deeply divided Iraq shows that only the military of the war coalition is able to guarantee a reliable order for Iraq during the critical months of the transition from an Arab Stalinism to a free form of living.  This is the main condition in order to guarantee the supply of drinking water, electricity, and medical care.  The experience with the UN administration does not create too much optimism....  It is always important that Iraq, even though it is an artificial colonial structure, sticks together, that the transition to an Iraqi responsibility is being carried out with great vigor and that the Mideast neighborhood gains confidence in the durability of the new power situation.”


ITALY:  "The Battle For Peace"


Franco Venturini commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/9):  “The military success still needs consensus and undisputed legitimacy, inside Iraq as well as in the Arab world and in important parts of the international community....  It is necessary to work to relaunch the strategic agreement among Europeans and to resume transatlantic dialogue, including France and Germany....  The future Iraqi democracy should not sit on foreign guns, but should rely on an agreed military presence of peacekeeping forces....  With all its defects, there are no alternatives to the UN road, if we want to try and reach such complex targets.  We do hope that George Bush will realize this, despite opposite advice from the Pentagon.”


"The Winner’s Right"


Mario Cervi contended in pro-government, leading center-right daily Il Giornale (4/9):  “You may have approved or disapproved the war, but in either case we cannot deny that those who bear the costs and risks--that is the U.S. with the support of Great Britain--have the right to a decisive saying on the post-war.  In their meeting in Belfast, Bush and Blair gave…the UN some humanitarian roles in the immense task of reconstruction of an exhausted country.  But those who have some good sense are aware that in the present condition, the UN is an aged simulacrum, an impotent and discredited international organization....  Washington and London will do their best…to give Iraq back to the Iraqi people and, if possible, to a democracy which never existed.  In the meantime, they will establish a military protectorate, bearing heavy burdens and responsibilities....  The U.S. presence and preeminence in the tandem that will...assure that the operation will not have any neo-colonial connotation.  America was born by a rebellion against colonialism and it will never forget it....  Expansionism is not in America’s DNA.”


"Post-War, 'Vital Role' For The UN"


Ennio Caretto stated from Belfast in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/9):  “What is not clear is if Bush’s unexpected pragmatism is a semantic device or is really an olive branch for the French, Russian and German group....  While accepting Blair’s request that the UN have a role in the liberated Iraq, Bush refuses to give it any political power....  Indeed, the agreement in Belfast rules out a UN lead role in the post-Saddam Iraq.  This is a prospect that Bush has never taken into consideration, and on this Blair had to give in.”


"A Vital Role For The UN"


Guido Rampoldi reported from Belfast in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (4/9):  “That empty formula, ‘vital role for the UN,’ as it is so vague, might be open to some negotiations."


RUSSIA:  "Talks Proved Easier Than Expected"


Yevgeniy Verlin commented in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/9):  "U.S. President George Bush must be very pleased with his talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.  They proved less difficult than the press had predicted, and differences between the Allies not very significant.  As agreed in Belfast, the United States and Britain, as its junior partner, will take over control of Iraq after the war.  This is the principal outcome of the summit.  It has dashed hopes for a return of the issue of an Iraq settlement to the UN....  Rather than taking into account his EU partners' views, the British Prime Minister has chosen to follow in the wake of the United States' policy."


"Talking of UN's Role Makes No Sense"


Nataliya Gevorkian wrote in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (4/8):  "It makes no sense talking about the UN's role in postwar Iraq.  This is not to say that the winners may not at some point try to reach a compromise so that the UN is put on record as having taken part in reinstating Iraq to peaceful life instead of being taken out of circulation right after the war."


"How To Reorganize Antiwar Coalition"


Vadim Razumovskiy held in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (4/8):  "We need to try to overcome differences between Russia, France and Germany, on the one hand, and the United States and Britain, on the other.  It would be proper to support the British prime minister's efforts for a consensus on the UN's future role in an Iraq settlement.  After the war Iraq will need a transition government that could rely on an international administration with a mandate from the UN Security Council."


ALBANIA:  "One Iraq And A Different World After War"


Mustafa Nano argued in center-left Shekulli (4/9):  "Is the war over by the end of war?  Administering post-Saddam Iraq and orienting this country to a democratic future is a far more gigantic and difficult undertaking than any military operation.  It is a country destroyed further more in the last three weeks; a country without any democratic tradition in its political history....  It is the Americans themselves who are aware of this situation.  It is exactly this awareness that makes them insist on the idea that the post-war Iraq should be administered by a harmonious administration, initially a military and later a civil one.  Bringing the UN in this gives legitimacy to any political and diplomatic action, but cannot guarantee efficiency, safety and stability."


AUSTRIA:  "Bush Should Watch Out For Rumsfeld"


Foreign affairs writer Stefan Galoppi wrote in mass-circulation Kurier (4/9):  “In the permanent struggle between hardliner Rumsfeld and the more open Secretary of State Colin Powell, reason and pragmatism will finally have to win.  And Bush’s faithful ally Tony Blair has offered the president an easy way of achieving this.  The British premier wants to get the UN involved again as soon as possible....  It is now up to Bush to make the next move: If he follows Rumsfeld, the USA will continue to enforce their interests alone and, if needs be, with violence.  Short-term economic advantages will have to be paid for with anti-American resistance.  If the president follows Powell, the USA will once again become part of the international order and share its advantages as well as its problems.”


BELGIUM:  "Reconstruction Of Iraq"


Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn held in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/9):  “There is only one logical means to reconstruct Iraq: it must be done under the leadership of the UN.  Only the UN has the expertise to deal with such a problem.  It is logical that the Americans install an American provisional regime.  But as soon as it has the situation under control, it must hand over power to an interim UN administration--which, in its turn, must leave the country to the only ones who are entitled to it: the Iraqis themselves.  That is the vision of British Prime Minister Tony Blair--and he is right.  By doing that, the United States would create goodwill....  The hawks in Washington do not want interference from others in Iraq--and certainly not from the UN after the efforts they made to topple Saddam.  Yet, it would be the most serious mistake the Americans could make.  If they rule Iraq alone, it would open the door to extremism.  No one needs that--not even the Americans.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Illusions Of U.S. 'Hawks' Are Seductive, But Naïve"


Martin Novak wrote in business Hospodarske noviny (4/9):  "It’s safe to say that the fall of Saddam’s regime will give the country a chance for a better future.  However, plans of the American 'hawks' about implementing democracy in the post-war region evoke some doubts....  Even those Arab intellectuals who have been influenced by Western culture claim that only a specific form of Islamic democracy can successfully function in the region now. The parallel with the U.S. involvement in the East European fight against communism doesn’t work either.  East European countries viewed the U.S. as a country sharing the same values as they have, whereas many Arab countries see the U.S. as a superpower that wants to impose itself on them.  Many supporters of the export of democracy don’t see the Middle East for what it is, but for what they want it to be. If the Iraqis begin to feel that the allies are conquerors rather then liberators, plans for the Middle East’s better future will be shaky from the very beginning." 


"The West And Post-War Iraq"


Adam Cerny opined in centrist Hospodarske Noviny (4/8):  "Even as allied coalition troops pass through Baghdad, Western politicians seem unable to agree on the post-war setup of the country.  UK Prime Minister Tony Blair hasn’t diminished his support for the U.S., but he is striving to persuade the Americans that the UN should not be left out of the administration of post-war Iraq.  However, Washington believes that the one who risks lives of their soldiers is entitled to hold the floor also after the combat.  As long as the NATO partners argue about the role of UN, it will be difficult to implement any kind of administration in post-war Iraq. The Western politicians also know that any victory is sustainable only after the local people have accepted it.  And most Iraqis prefer their own flag to the blue one or the one with stars and stripes."


"Cakes Behind Locked Gate"


Pavel Masa commented in center-right daily Lidove Noviny (4/8):  "If the Americans take the exclusive responsibility for the fate of a big Arab and Muslim country (Iraq), they are in danger of being trapped for a long time in an unexplored swamp of antagonistic interests.  On the other hand, the so-called multilateral attitude whose main proponent is Secretary of State Powell, offers them a decisive share in political and economic gain together with shared risks....  The world of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, or Perle with border barriers in American national colours suits President Bush for now, White House experts say.  The question is whether somebody convinces him that a family business run in a patriarchal manner is more suited to the times of early capitalism.  Corporations surviving today are not afraid of mergers, even at the price of compromising which sometimes hurts."


DENMARK:  "No Need For Iraqi Reconstruction Power Struggle"


Sensationalist tabloid BT asserted (4/9):  "There is no reasonable reason to suggest that the U.S. is not committed to giving Iraq a fresh start.  The UN will be involved, but this does not have to develop into a power struggle that will deepen existing divides."


FINLAND:  "End of Battle In Sight"


Leading, centrist Helsingin Sanomat editorialized (4/8):  "Washington and London appear to continue to be uncertain about how Iraq's post-conflict administration should be organized...[but] are expected to meet their promises of returning the country and its natural resources to the Iraqis and of establishing a democratic system.  This task will be anything but easy in a state whose unity has been completely artificial.  Obvious differences in the British and American views don't inspire great confidence."


IRELAND:  "U.S. Sends World Mixed Messages"


The left-of-center Irish Examiner contended (4/9):  "After coming under intense pressure from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush has promised the UN would have a 'vital role' to play in post-war Iraq....  He is refusing to spell out in any detail what role it would have in the aftermath.  Their marked reluctance to define how the UN would be involved reflects the determination of the hawkish regime currently controlling U.S. foreign policy.  Despite its many flaws, the UN remains the only agency capable of commanding respect and credence on a global basis."


"The Confluence Of Remarkable Events"


The center-left Irish Times editorialized (4/8):  "Unless the UN has a central role in endorsing the government of Iraq, as well as in reconstruction and humanitarian aid, the war's outcome will lack international legitimacy and reflect only the interests of those who successfully prosecuted it." 


"Prospects For Post-War Iraq"


The center-right Irish Independent contended (4/8):  "The war is all but over....  The same, alas, cannot be said of the prospects of postwar Iraq....  At present Washington is firmly opposed to a meaningful UN role in anything but relief....  The UN...has valuable experience.  The American may at some future time find it expedient to draw upon it.  But they may find it equally expedient to deny that they are doing anything of the kind."


KOSOVO:  "Post-Saddam Will Be Like Post-Hitler Germany"


A commentary in the pro-LDK Bota Sot argued (4/9):  “Chirac and Schroeder are demanding a primary role for the UN in Iraq at the time when UN has lost its credibility more than ever....  In the meantime, for the same reasons it saved Old Lady Europe and Germany from the hands of Hitler and Stalin...the USA will have the major role in post-Saddam Iraq.”


LITHUANIA:  "World Reconstruction Work"


The business daily Verslo zinios commented (4/8):  "The topic of the day is...not about restoring Iraq, but restoring the international relations system.  Animosity between the U.S. and Europe is already revealing itself as disagreement over the UN role in rebuilding Iraq.  It wouldn't be wise of Lithuania to take another path rather than that of EU requirement to relate Iraq's future with the UN."


NORWAY:  "Politically Jumping The Gun"


Svein A. Roehne commented in the independent VG (4/9) :  “Ahmad Chalabi is not just a controversial figure in the Iraqi exile environment, where different leaders at times have been more busy fighting each other than against Saddam Hussein....  Also the American Department of State and the intelligence organization CIA are very skeptical of Chalabi.  He is a charming and charismatic leadership character, yes probably.  But he has lived overseas for 45 years, is educated in the U.S., has British citizenship and is little known in Iraq.  Besides experience shows that Chalabi is not to be trusted.  His analysis of the situation in the homeland has repeatedly shown itself to match poorly with reality."


"New Dog Fight Target"


Independent VG offered this view (4/9):  “As much as President Bush is set against a political role for the UN in Iraq, as much Putin, Chirac and Schroeder are eager for the same.  Not first and foremost because of their great love for the UN.  But because they wish to hinder an American occupation force that in reality can come to decide the oil-rich country’s future while they are parked on the sideline.”


"Oil Power And International Law"


In the newspaper of record Aftenposten Kjell Dragnes commented (4/8):  "An American occupation force that immediately sets in motion with repairing and upgrading Iraq’s rich oil fields, gives contracts to American companies and increases the production in order to pay both for the military occupation, for the civil administration and the usual services a state renders...and that at the same time procures the U.S. supplies of large quantities of cheap oil, will come up against large problems....  [With] the close ties both President George W. Bush and not least Vice President Dick Cheney have to the American oil industry, every venture that can smack of favoritism by the American companies in Iraq, can be interpreted as a sign that the war in Iraq ultimately is a war about control of Iraq’s oil--not a question about weapons of mass destruction and regime change for the good of the Iraqis, such as Bush claims.”


POLAND:  "Winning Peace"


Marek Ostrowski opined in center-left weekly Polityka (4/9):  “Despite tensions, and even invectives, the first to reach out [to Europe] was Secretary of State Colin Powell, who came to Brussels last week to meet with NATO and EU ministers.  The right decision was not to live in the past but to deal only with the future--including concrete talks on how to organize post-war Iraq….  It is in Europe’s best interest to join in this process.”


SPAIN:  "Planning The Postwar Period"


Left-of-center El País asserted (4/9):  "The fastest way to transform a military victory into a political defeat is by installing a plenipotentiary in Baghdad, accompanied by a government which represents almost no one....  Instead, Bush should pay attention to his staunch ally Tony Blair and give a primary role to the UN, as Europe and many Arab governments want, as soon as possible....  The White House should assume that its presence beyond what is necessary will contribute to inflame the aggravation of many Arabs and encourage armed Muslim fanaticism.  The way that post-war Iraq is managed will be decisive for the whole, explosive region, where the U.S. is seen exclusively as an imperial superpower."


SWEDEN:  "Not Just the U.S. in Iraq"


Independent, liberal Stockholm Dagens Nyheter editorialized (4/9):  "The EU has all the time advocated a UN role [in post-war Iraq]...and at the Belfast Summit President Bush said that he approves of a prominent role for the international organization in the rebuilding of Iraq....  The task to rebuild Iraq is not solely for the U.S.  The sooner the UN is given a prominent role, the better.  Only by a widest possible international grounding will peace have a chance."


TURKEY:  "Military Victory And Political Defeat"


Hasan Cemal commented in mass appeal Milliyet (4/9):  “There seems to be a difference of opinion between the U.S. and the UK regarding the possible role for the UN to play in post-war Iraq.  On the other hand, Washington is also the scene of a tiff between the Pentagon and the State Department on the future of Iraq....  The new Iraqi administration will emerge from an occupation, and it remains to be seen to what extent it will gain legitimacy in the Arab world and the larger international community....  The end of Saddam is clear and definite, but Iraq in the post-Saddam era has uncertainties.  Let’s hope that we do not see chaos in Iraq, but rather a speedy normalization process in the near future.”


"End Of Military War, And The Beginning Of Political War"


Murat Yetkin opined in the liberal-intellectual Radikal (4/9):  “The only way to achieve political victory in Iraq is to establish an administration with the support of the people instead of one imposed by foreign military powers.  Yet there is no indication that the former will happen instead of the latter.  It is irrational to believe that a former U.S. army general or a former ambassador will be able to establish a new administration in Iraq with popular support.  It is also risky to appoint a local figure to head an American-led administration.  There are names circulating for the new administration, such as Ahmad Chalabi or Bahram Salih, which are seen by the majority of Iraqis as either ‘crooks’ or ‘traitors.’...  If Washington wants to turn its military victory into a political triumph, it must create a synergy with the UN system as well as regional countries and the genuine representatives of Iraqi people.”


"Now The Real War Starts"


Serdar Turgut commented in mass appeal Aksam (4/8):  “It seems that the CIA’s influence will prevail over the view of other departments about Ahmad Chalabi.  He will no longer be viewed as the key figure in the restructuring of Iraq.  In the post-Saddam government, we should expect a group of Americans serving as ministers in Iraq.  The U.S. is very determined to implement its ‘new world order,’ and the formation of the new Iraqi government will demonstrate this fact....  A recent report by the Army War College clearly indicates that the U.S. should stay in the region for a long time in order to finish the job....  Turkey should be prepared for living with chaos in its immediate neighborhood for a very long time.”


"As Pandora’s Box Opens"


Sedat Ergin contended in mass appeal Hurriyet (4/8):  “The U.S. will eventually claim victory as expected, but the next phase of the Iraq issue--the restructuring--will be even more critical than the war itself.  Iraq is made up of a very complex set of ethnic groups and religious sects....  However, the new Iraqi structure can only function if all of the Iraqi elements reach a consensus.  Yet finding a formula to achieve such a consensus is certainly a very tough job....  It is also possible to see many players assuming a role of influence in the future Iraq, which could mean competition and even conflict....  There is still a question yet to be answered: To what extent will the people of Iraq accept the U.S.-imposed formula and move on with things?  How will the restructuring of Iraq be turned to the establishment of democracy with political parties?”




ISRAEL:  "The Day After"


Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/9):  "The true victory in Iraq will only come about when a new and stable regime is established....  The process that Iraq undergoes will be fragile and vulnerable to shocks....  It is worth paying attention to the most recent statements by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.  He warned that an American victory in Iraq would be a catastrophe for Hizbullah's and the Palestinians' fight.  For him, this is a battle for the entire pot.  If a democratic regime is established in Iraq, it will put other less democratic Arab regimes in an uneasy situation."


WEST BANK:  "Belfast Summit: Agreement On War And Conflict on Spoils"


Hani Habieb opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (4/9):  “The Belfast Summit is the last attempt by Tony Blair to convince George Bush of the necessity of assigning even a minor role for the UN in administrating occupied Iraq’s affairs.  It is not because the British PM is seeking a real role for the UN, but it is an attempt to respond to the demands of some influential members of his government.  In addition, it is an attempt by Tony Blair to legitimize the aggression…furthermore, he has been trying to play the role of the double collaborator with the United States and the European countries, which are opposing war.”


"War Has Not Ended"


Mohammed Abed el-Hameed opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (4/8):  "Tailoring a new Iraqi government to fit the [American] occupational measures needs a period of time estimated by the Americans not to be less than six months.  Such a government will be totally submissive to American policy and will work in accordance with American dictates.   The survival of such a government will also be conditional on American protection and an American military presence.…  The direct or indirect American military presence [in Iraq] has one mission: stealing Iraq's wealth under the pretexts of compensating for the expenses and losses of war and the rebuilding of Iraq.”


EGYPT:  "Who Rules Baghdad?"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Atef El-Ghamry wrote (4/9):  “Why has the Pentagon chosen an American general with strong ties with Israel to run Iraq?...  There are words in Washington about an Israeli involvement in planning the region after the war in Iraq....  Noticeably, there are many similarities in the political thinking and applications between the aims of the war on Iraq and what is happening in the Palestinian territories at the hands of Sharon’s government....  There are opinions in Washington--as voiced by Pat Buchanan--that this [war] aims to serve Israel’s interests....  It is thus logical that General Garner is chosen to coincide with the original aims of the war; which are to clear the area around Israel from any weapons that could break its monopoly of weapons of mass destruction, to formulate a regional situation for Iraq and an new regional system that includes Israel, Turkey and some Arab countries, so as to destroy the Arab League.”


"Not Recognizing The War Results"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Dr. Abdel Atti Mohamed forecast (4/8):  “The repercussion of the war will be more serious and complicated than the status quo before it erupted.  Although the U.S. entered the war unilaterally, it won’t be able to preserve a post-war settlement too unilaterally.  The American administration is mistaken if it thinks the new situation will restore freedom to Iraqis and peace to the region and the world....  The international community had a bitter pre-war experience when the U.S. defied it and eliminated its legitimacy...  Consequently the U.S. will not be able to provide international support for the political results of the war....  A situation like this will make the Iraqi crisis a chronic problem which poses a constant threat internationally to the American empire.”


JORDAN:  "A Zionist Prepares To Rule Iraq!"


Daily columnist Fahd Fanek wrote in semi-official, influential Al-Rai (4/8):  “The chiefs of the U.S. administration have disagreed on how to skin the bear even before it was hunted.  The State Department believes that it should be the party concerned with ruling Iraq after occupying it and ousting its regime, while the Defense Department confirms it is the one for the task, and even went ahead and appointed one of the retired generals, Jay Garner, for that position.  So who is this Garner?  Garner was in charge of supplying food and shelter for the Kurds during the thirty-country aggression in 1991.  He is now preparing to supervise the operation of reconstructing Iraq through American companies and international financing....  The Zionist bulletin, Forward...writes, with a bit of pride, about the personal aspects of this general, namely that he is a personal friend of Sharon’s and one of Israel’s staunchest supporters....  This is the American plan:  to liberate Iraq from its national leadership and to appoint an American general who is a personal friend of Sharon’s to manage Iraq’s affairs in accordance with the requirements of Israel’s security.  Shall we live and see a Zionist occupying the throne of Aaron Rashid?”


"High Commissioner Garner"


Columnist Jamil Nimri contended in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/8):  “Why is there not talk about a single political step that would confirm good intentions?  Why does the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League not have a part to play?  This is different.  Iraq is a spoil of war for which the mouths of the extremist right-wing group in Washington water.  Iraq has been in the heart of the thinking of this Zionist, right-wing America for while....  The proposal, therefore, is, simply, occupying Iraq and managing it to serve a joint American-Israeli account.”


"The Occupation Is The Beginning!"


Mohammad Kawash opined in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/7):  “The Americans and the British will eventually come to the realization that the occupation of Iraq is not the end of the line, that it is not going to achieve security and stability and open doors for investment companies.  Occupying Iraq will be the beginning, because Washington has no political solutions for Iraq that could overcome the historical, geographical, political and ethnic complexities and difficulties....  We are certain that the occupation of Iraq and its tragic repercussions are going to lead to entrenching the Arabs’ and Muslims’ feelings of hatred and animosity towards the United States.  This in turn is going to lead to the creation of a state of instability inside Iraq that would extend to a number of countries in the region.  This means that the entire region is at the threshold of a wave of violence, the consequences of which cannot be predicted....  These measures and plans are part and parcel of an America’s project to liquidate the Palestinian issue, to reshape the Middle East, to nullify the Arab order, and to turn this region into small sectarian and ethnic states, which would nullify the joint Arab action and the Arab identity.”


LEBANON:  "A Dubious Future"


Sahar Baasiri judged in moderate, anti-Syria An-Nahar (4/8):  "All the questions now revolve around the future of Iraq.  The war group at the Pentagon, is looking at this future with a Likud eye.  Ahmad Chalabi from the Iraqi opposition, is considered (by the U.S.) the natural ruler of Iraq following Saddam.  However, his closest friend at the Pentagon is Donald Rumsfeld, and his partners and those who support him are members of the Jewish Institute for National Security known as (JINSA)....  This group of the Pentagon hawks, who are sticking to the theory that the Americans are 'sacrificing' for Iraq, for this reason they are the only ones who have the right to make decisions regarding Iraq after the war, want to appoint their friend Chalabi as the head of the first Iraqi interim government....  By appointing Chalabi...America is pretending that it is bringing democracy to Iraq and the region, but it is doing nothing but attempting to bring peace to Israel....  The future that is awaiting Iraq and the region is extremely dubious."


"The Baghdad Wall"


Joseph Samaha wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir (4/8):  "The war group in the U.S. believes that occupying Iraq will have the same impact that was generated by the fall of the Berlin wall....  They believe that...the fall of the 'Baghdad wall' will help Arabs express their 'love' for the United States and its policy....  They also believe that if the Arab countries change their regimes and become democratic, then they will suddenly discover that they have no problem with their democratic neighbor Israel."


SYRIA:  "The Logic Of Haughtiness"


Sayyah Al-Sukhni commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (4/9):  "Statements made by extremist U.S. officials concerning the post-war stage, reflect great arrogance and haughtiness and use a vocabulary that departs from standard political and diplomatic ethics....  These statements were meant to say that the U.S. is proceeding with its unilateral policy and will not accept any discussion or objection to its goals in the region and the world."


TUNISIA:  "If the New-Conservatives Knew"


Government-owned French-language La Presse stated (4/9):  "The South, which is already controlled by the Coalition, looks like a Hobbesian world, where serious crimes and anarchy reign....  Iraq could emerge as another Lebanon."




AUSTRALIA:  "Iraq's Future In The Balance"


The business-focused Australian Financial Review editorialized (4/9):  “There are plenty of good reasons both military and logistical, why a United States-led administration will run Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the war--although the U.S. should seek United Nations authority for this.  There are just as many good reasons why the U.S. should be willing to allow the UN to assume responsibility, as soon as possible, for Iraqi peacekeeping, reconstruction and the transition to a representative government….  Having fought the war in the face of UN Security Council opposition, the coalition has to get the occupation right first time…. The responsibility is theirs [to protect civilians]--they can’t wait for the UN bureaucracy to creak into action....  The difference between getting it wrong and getting it right could be as stark as the difference between a meltdown in the world’s most volatile region and its ultimate pacification." 


"Position Vacant, Puppets Apply"


Columnist Hugh White contended in the liberal Age (4/9):  “Some very big issues are not yet resolved--such as who will run Iraq when Saddam falls.  And some even bigger ones are waiting down the track--such as whether America's objective of a democratic, pro-American government in Iraq is a contradiction in terms....  America has big objectives in Iraq. It wants to turn Iraq into a major political and strategic asset for the U.S. in the Middle East--a beacon of democracy, and a bulwark against Islamic extremism. To do that it has faced down the UN and taken major military and political risks in launching the invasion of Iraq. The Bush administration is not going to risk throwing away its potential gains now, at the moment of victory, by handing the prize to the UN."


CHINA:  "Post-War Rebuilding Must Not Sideline UN"


Chong Zi commented in the official English-language newspaper China Daily (4/9):  “The United States is embarking on a giant ‘privatization’ project for the rebuilding of post-war Iraq.  Though opinion is divided on the role of the [UN] in the reconstruction of Iraq, the voice for U.S. dominance is piercing....  The world body was sidestepped when the U.S. and Britain launched military action to topple Saddam Hussein's regime, which was legally and morally wrong.  The U.S. design for a post-war Iraq is putting the UN's credibility and authority once more on the line....  Whatever intentions the U.S. have, its plan to install Pentagon generals to govern Iraq, however temporary, will make the U.S. a de facto occupying force.  This will add to tensions in the region and further damage the UN.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "U.S. Declares Victory; UN Is In Decline"


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal editorialized (4/9):  "Under the new Iraqi regime--propped up by the U.S.--it goes without saying who will benefit most.  Who will actually lead the post-war reconstruction, the UN or the U.S.?  The U.S. military victory makes a U.S.-led Iraqi reconstruction inevitable.  For the U.S., the UN's sole function will be to provide capital for reconstruction....  Otherwise, the U.S. would have to bear most of these costs alone"


JAPAN:  "UN Should Play Vital Role In Post-War Iraq"


The liberal Asahi observed (4/9):  "One of the focal points of the Bush-Blair meeting in Belfast had been whether the British prime minister would be able to persuade the U.S. President to give the UN greater authority in ruling and reconstructing a postwar Iraq....  There appears to be no basic change in the U.S. position that the 'winners of the war' should take the initiative in ruling and reconstructing Iraq....  If the U.S. attaches importance to the UNSC, it should endorse policy cooperation through the world body in facilitating Iraq's reconstruction."   


INDONESIA:  "Bush and Blair Meet, Already Discussing Post-War Iraq"


Leading independent daily Kompas commented (4/9):  “The Belfast Summit is obviously very important for the two leaders, just when both are looking at the matter differently.  While Bush is finding the reconstruction not as a matter of who points whom to be involved and Blair sees the presence of the UN as the legitimacy [of the war], then the two allied aggressors will find it important for them to sit together.”


MALAYSIA:  "U.S. Has No Right To Administer Iraq"


Government-influenced Malay language Utusan Malaysia judged (4/9):  “When a great power bashes a small, weakened country, they don't need surprise.  War preparations can be out in the open.  The attacker can take his time to gather his forces and even order the world to watch.  With an end in sight to the battle for Baghdad, President Bush is now moving to end two arguments that were never resolved before the shooting started: One between the United States and Europe over who will run Iraq, and a second between his own State and Defense departments over how to run it.  But under Bush's plan, the UN would not play a role in shaping the new government, especially at what the president and his aides call the 'power ministries'-- defense, internal security --or in the critical decisions about when Iraq is ready to be turned back to Iraqis.  This would seem to put him at odds with Blair, who favors a more prominent role for the UN, to bridge America's gap with Europe and his own country.”


SINGAPORE: "Still Have To Go Back To UN Eventually"


Pro-government major Chinese Lianhe Zaobao editorialized (4/8): "U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has made it clear that it is only natural for the U.S. to play a leading role in post-war Iraq as it has risked the lives of its soldiers in toppling the Saddam regime.  The argument is understandable. However, maintaining the long-term stability of Iraq is an arduous task.  Without international co-operation and support, the U.S. will certainly encounter more problems.  Even if the U.S. is able to control the political situation in Iraq on its own, the new regime, which would not be recognized by the UN and the international community, would lack legitimacy and legality.  The Bush administration has paid a price in its foreign diplomatic relations and international reputation.  It should stop having its own way and ignore the role of the UN in safeguarding world peace."


TAIWAN: "U.S. Intends To Put Iraq In Its Clutches"


The "International Outlook" column of the centrist, pro-status quo China Times stated (4/9): "Iraq is the land that U.S. military forces have conquered, and for that the U.S. has paid a dear price.  Washington not only tore down its hypocrite's mask and kicked the UN aside but has also turned against most of the European countries.  Given that, will it be possible for the U.S. to allow others to share a piece of post war Iraq, especially after it had stubbornly insisted on conquering the Gulf nation disregarding world criticism? The Pentagon waited no time in establishing an Iraqi Interim Authority with members from all of Iraq's ethnic groups, not even before Baghdad is conquered.  The Pentagon wants to use this rootless organization as its tool and sees Iraq as the U.S.' exclusive domain, which not even Britain can lay a finger on.  Naturally, the purpose of the U.S. military operations is to rule Iraq; how can it allow anyone else to meddle with it?  The U.S. does not care if it is labeled as imperialism; after all, people are already saying that the U.S. is implementing a new imperialism."




INDIA:  "Shaping Post-War Iraq"


The centrist Hindu editorialized (4/9):  "If the remarks of American officials are a sign of things to come, it is unlikely that the UN will be given any major role in the economic and political reconstruction of Iraq....  Any program of reconstruction and rehabilitation, political, economic and social, will have little support or little chance of acceptance in the region if it lacks the endorsement and leadership of the UN....  The 'Iraq for Iraqis' call conceals concerns that Washington might allow opportunistic, friendly, returning exiles to take political charge of their country."


"White Man's Burden?"


The pro-economic-reform Economic Times took this view (4/9):  "The vision presented in the joint press conference of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair in Northern Ireland reflects a twenty-first century version of the White Man's Burden....  By discarding the political role of the UN and offering it a bureaucratic one, the world body is expected to do little more than assist the United States and Britain in carrying the White Man's Burden.  It is doubtful if France, Russia and China will accept a role for the UN that would in effect legitimize the unilateral action of the United States and Britain.  The UN bureaucracy may itself be wary of being put in a position where it does no more than clean up the mess left by the U.S. and the UK."


"Bush's 'Vital' Vow Foxes Pundits"


The centrist Telegraph wrote (4/9):  "President Bush left political analysts scratching their heads...after he pledged the UN would play 'a vital role' in the interim administration of Iraq....  Analysts immediately pointed out that a 'vital role' falls short of the pivotal or central role for the UN that many, including the French and the Russians, are demanding.  Others said that Blair appears to have won a compromise from Bush, who had earlier appeared intent on relegating the UN to providing only humanitarian aid in post-war Iraq but with no real political clout.  Much will now depend on what Bush means by 'vital,' a new word he had clearly agreed [upon] with Blair."


"U.S. Gameplan"


The nationalist Rashtriya Sahara Urdu daily editorialized (4/7):  "The occupation of Iraq is just the first stage of the implementation of unsavory designs the U.S. has for the Middle East, which is evident from the dominant role assigned to the military lobby and the pro-Israel elements in the post-war administration to be installed by Washington in Baghdad.  Making the new government accountable to the Pentagon leaves no doubt that the real goal of waging the war was nothing but to plunder Iraq's natural resources for the benefit of American oil cartel...[and] only reaffirms the apprehension that Iraq is not the last but the first stage of a larger plan of aggression to be unfolded gradually."


"New Fundamentalism"


The centrist Statesman editorialized (4/8):  "We have a taste of the freedom reserved for Iraqis.  Umm Qsar port would be operated by an American stevedoring company and an open-ended contract for putting out oil fires is given to Vice-President Dick Cheney's company.  Only a spurious religious fervor can sustain such corruption and nepotism....  It is made clear even to ally Tony Blair that America expects to recoup itself for the billions spent on the war from sales of Iraqi oil."


"Assuming A Mandate"


The Guwahati English left-of-center Sentinel judged (4/8):  "The interim military rule that U.S. President George Bush has in mind is likely to be extended for a long time.  And any colonial rule extended through the U.S. Army--in another sovereign country over which the U.S. has no mandate, can only mean eventual toppling of the U.S. regime through long-drawn resistance movements that will again reduce Iraq to rubble like Afghanistan."


"Iraq: Killing Field In The Making"


The Guwahati Assamese left-of-center Aji maintained (4/8):  "The U.S. would never be able to secure stable governance in Iraq....  The Iraqi people are not going to live peacefully by accepting U.S. intervention for long.  This would invariably result in turning Iraq into a killing field for years to come.  Rebellion will raise its head slowly.  What guarantee is there that the Iraqis won't start a long suicidal warfare like their Palestinian brothers?'


"U.S. Proconsul For Iraq"


Mumbai-based, left-of-center The Free Press Journal took this view (4/8):  "The shape of things in post-war Iraq has almost been decided.  Washington's viceroy-designate to take over as post-war ruler of Iraq is a U.S. general....  It is military occupation.  The answerable to U.S. commander Tom Franks and not to the State Department. This decision has already sown seeds of confrontation between the State Department and Pentagon.  What happens to the projected role for the UN?...  What immediately matters is the attitude of the Arab rulers.  If any attempt is made by the U.S. to interfere with oil prices outside the ambit of OPEC, there can be trouble.  If the UN continues to be marginalized on Iraq, that will be the beginning of the end of the UN."


PAKISTAN:  "UN Role In Post-War Iraq"


Karachi-based independent Dawn editorialized (4/9):  "America's closest allies, including Britain and Australia, seem coming round to the view that the UN must now be brought back into the picture in relation to Iraq....  If that happens, it could mean a setback for hawks within the U.S. administration and a triumph for sanity and reason.  Whatever its shortcomings, the UN is a vital world institution that enjoys global legitimacy and is perfectly equipped to oversee complex exercises like the post-war transition in Iraq."


"Bestowing Legitimacy To Aggression"


Islamabad rightist English-language Pakistan Observer had this view (4/9):  "Kofi Annan has stressed the UN role in post-war Iraq....  But what face is the UN left with to legitimize the U.S. invasion in the name of the new Iraqi set-up, when the lone superpower had trampled the world body and torn apart its charter guaranteeing states' sovereign equality?  It will, in fact, amount to legitimizing the concept of 'might is right' despite boasts of civilized behavior.  Despite no reason or logic for it to wag its tail, the UN is apparently going to once again accept the role of Capitol Hill's subsidiary, with Kofi Annan acting as the puppet."


"Post-War Iraq"


Amanat Ali Chaudhry held in the center-right national daily, The Nation (4/9):  "Democracy cannot be installed by manipulation.  It evolves naturally out of prolonged processes.  Even if a so-called democratic regime is installed at the behest of powerful countries, its remains a puppet drawing sustenance from outside support....  People may be alienated from Saddam, but they are not with the U.S. either.  They know that America...has a game plan for securing maximum advantages for itself and Israel.  Thus, there is a huge perceptional gap between the Iraqis and Americans....  Any American attempt to balkanize Iraq would entail disaster. Therefore, instead of arrogating to itself the right of regime change, it should allow people to elect their leaders in a transparent exercise conducted by the UN."


BANGLADESH:  "Occupation Of Iraq By The U.S. Imperialist"


Leftist columnist Baddruddin Umar opined in largest-circulation Bangla language Jugantor  (4/9):  "There have been disputes between the U.S. departments of State and Defense on how to deal with the situation in post-war Iraq.  Although American control will be established following the fall of Saddam Hussein, it will not be a happy moment for the United States.  The crisis will deepen following resistance of the Iraqi people.  Initially, there will be people to support the Americans, which is common in similar situations in any country.  But a large number of people will unite against the imperialist occupation.  The Iraqi people did not accept the Anglo-American forces with flowers but considered them invaders.  There is no reason to believe that the Iraqis will remain silent when they will see control and plunder of their own resources by foreigners."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Political Future"  


Afrikaans language, centrist Die Burger held (4/9):  "With the military battle in the war in Iraq slowly moving to a close, the focus now shifts to the political future of that country....  Bush and...Blair met to discuss this, and it seems as if any future role the UN will play received considerable attention....  Blair, like the rest of Europe, wants the UN to manage the process of transition...while Bush is only willing for the UN to play a humanitarian role.  Judging from the press conference which followed the talks...the UN will have a role but it will not manage the transition process.  That will be handled by America....  This decision was preceded by a power struggle...between...Powell and...Rumsfeld.... Powell wanted to give the UN a bigger role whereas Rumsfeld seems to have been opposed to any UN involvement whatsoever.  The result was a compromise....  The transition process will be tarnished when viewed by the Arab world.  The perception that America wanted to install its own puppet regime in Baghdad...will be strengthened.  This will exacerbate the polarization between Islam and the West, especially America."


TANZANIA:  "The UN Should Never Be Disregarded Again"


Kiswahili tabloid Nipashe commented (4/8):  “After the war is over, the major issue will be how Iraq is going to be administered.  There is already anxiety that America wants to occupy Iraq by appointing its own military ruler.  Britain is worried about the American plan and wants this responsibility to be left to the UN, which these two countries disregarded before they started the war.  We want to emphasize that after ignoring the UN, America and Britain should not make another mistake now.  They should comply with the wishes of the international community and put Iraq under UN administration, with an Iraqi transitional government of national unity taking charge.”




CANADA:  "Let The UN Shape Iraq's New Regime"


The liberal Toronto Star opined (4/8):  "Symbolism matters. That's why American tanks and troops ripped through Baghdad yesterday.  They smashed into Saddam Hussein's presidential palace, toppled a 40-foot statue and created a prisoner-of-war pen on the palace grounds.  They want Iraqis to know that Saddam is finished.  And so he is.  But in victory U.S. President George Bush should be equally attentive to the symbolism of replacing Saddam's hated regime with a new one.  Bush promised liberation, and democracy.  Not American colonization.  Now he must follow through....  The Security Council must endorse any successor for it to have international legitimacy.  Bush and Blair agree on that.  But whether Bush will let the UN help shape the new regime is far from certain....  That approach would require Washington to re-engage with the UN, to resist the urge to handpick a new regime, and to replace the U.S. military occupation with a UN.-mandated security force.  As soon as conditions permit.  This would be powerful, positive symbolism, after so much destruction.  It would help heal the Security Council breach caused by Bush's decision to topple Saddam without a proper UN mandate.  It would counter criticism that Washington launched a cynical war to seize Iraq's oil.  And it would bolster American claims to be liberators, not oppressors."


ARGENTINA:  "Iraq: The Day-After Challenges"


Khatchik DerGhoukassian commented in leading Clarin (4/8):  "Those who supported in good faith the Operation Iraqi Freedom bet on long-term commitment.  According to them, the thesis of making of Iraq an example of democracy and sparking a domino effect on the region has little credibility....  But they think that a strong Pax Americana commitment is the only way to modernize the Arab world and put an end to the cultural pathology of pan-Arabism utopia, the victim's psychology and the anti-U.S. feeling of religious fundamentalism.... In spite of the strength of these arguments, it is very likely that no modernizing project will be seen and Iraq is very likely to become a new military base in the heart of the Middle East, which will allow the U.S. to rapidly react whenever it perceives any threat jeopardizing its hegemony."


BRAZIL:  "Military Force And Political Truculence"


Independent Jornal da Tarde editorialized (4/9):  "The military power that the U.S. and the UK have demonstrated in the invasion of Iraq is in proportion to the shameless truculence that accompanies their first indications of how they will build the new post-Saddam Hussein order....  The 'vital role' that Bush and Blair have insisted on giving to the UN will be restricted to 'aiding' the transition in irrelevant areas, such as agriculture--not in decisions on oil, reconstruction bidding, or a timetable for handing over control of political institutions.  If the French, Germans and Russians, among others, are willing to participate, the U.S. will gladly accept bank deposits to finance the reconstruction, but, of course, without offering any reward in terms of reconstruction contracts."


"Washington's Veto To The UN"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo held (4/9):  "The U.S. has not the slightest intention of allowing the UN to assume a substantive role in a post-Saddam Iraq....  Bush went to Northern Ireland to demonstrate how much he respects Tony Blair, who is trying to engineer a rapprochement between America and Europe and to induce the U.S. to leave room for the UN in Iraq....  The White House would like Europe to share the costs of reconstruction, but the U.S. Congress wants to bar the French, Germans and Russians from participating in the bidding.  As for the UN, Washington wants it to work as a kind of 'subcontractor' to the occupation forces, to legitimize the new regime in Iraq."


"A Role For The UN"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (4/8):  "The two war lords, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, have already met to discuss the 'reconstruction' of Iraq.  The U.S. and the UK hold different views, as do even Bush's top aides.  Blair, in concert with the European nations, supports UN involvement in the post-war period.  Bush and his cabinet are more inclined to approve a U.S. administration in which the Iraqis would have some voice....  Although he has not advocated a leading role for the UN, Secstate Powell has said that it is the only organization capable of giving legitimacy to the post-Saddam administration.  The hawks, for whom legitimacy seems unimportant, urge that U.S. administration begin in the next few days.  It seems that that at least for a while the hawks' position will prevail.  Many of them are linked to contractors and oil companies that would benefit from profitable contracts granted by a U.S. administration....  Brazil should push for the UN to become the chief player in the 'reconstruction.'"


MEXICO:  "Iraq, Now What?"


Alejandro Ramos Esquivel wrote in business-oriented El Financiero (4/8):   "As the armed forces...go on defeating the Iraqi people, one can clearly see the real struggle behind this war: interests.  All kinds of interests: political, diplomatic, strategic, but mostly economic, and these will be triggered by the Iraqi reconstruction and the control of their oil....  In the diplomatic arena, Secretary of State Colin Powell is very active.  His goal is to legitimize the war in Iraq after it is over....  Through Powell, Washington seeks to set the role of United Nation regarding Iraq, as if the world organization validated the unilateral intervention and Hussein's virtual fall after they happened."


"Post-War In Iraq"


Alfonso Elizondo stated in independent El Norte (4/5):  "Everything leads toward a post-war government in Iraq guided to divide Europe and to weaken the European Union’s financial capacity as well as the Euro’s strength, preserving control over oil profits in the Middle East.”


CHILE:  "Looking Toward Reconstruction"


Conservative, influential, El Mercurio observed (4/5):  "Winning the war is just the beginning of a gigantic task for the coalition forces....   It is also the beginning of a debate that promises to become very complex....   And it is at that point that we will see how much the U.S. truly values working with its allies and the international community.   Not taking into account the opinion of others and basing its behavior on its power as an only superpower could deeply wound its relations with the rest of the world and be counterproductive for its policy toward the Middle East."


PANAMA:  "Iraq And The Other Dragons"


Tabloid Critica Libre held (4/6):  "Evidently the United States plan to install a government compatible with its strategic interests, and it is not necessary to occupy Baghdad nor eliminate Saddam to carry out its mission in Iraq....  An Iraq under Washington's control would serve as a base to reduce the influence of Islamic fundamentalist Iran....  The question is whether Iraq will accept U.S. style democracy."


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