International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 10, 2003

April 10, 2003





**  The fall of Baghdad a "historic turning point," but reservations remain about "enormous risks ahead" and concerns about the U.S.' ability to "manage the peace."


**  War opponents bid Saddam "good riddance" but do not accept that the means used to oust him were justified, citing the absence of definitive proof of WMD. 


**  Writers understand Iraqi "jubilation," but warn against U.S. "triumphalism," Coalition occupation, and the Iraqi "model" of U.S. pre-emptive war.




A 'beautiful day for democracy,' future of Iraqi people 'brighter than ever'-- Outlets in Britain, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Russia and Israel portrayed the fall of Baghdad as a "liberation," and a "turning point" in history.  Ottawa's conservative National Post asserted that the "accomplishments" of Bush, "go beyond the battlefield" and put an end to the conceit that the "21st-century threat" posed by WMD, terrorism and rogue power could be addressed "according to the dictates of 19th-century international law." Calling yesterday an "historic day of liberation," London's conservative Times held that "after 24 years of oppression, Baghdad has emerged from an age of darkness," but cautioned that Iraq "now stands at that dangerous point between war and peace."  Others suggested that the war's "fortunate outcome" now offers America and Europe the chance for a "greater willingness for compromise" over the post-Saddam order.


War still a 'mistake with respect to its genesis,' as WMD remain undiscovered--  Acknowledging that the world will be better off after the "fall of the dreadful regime," those opposed to the "irresponsible bellicose adventure" maintained that its positive outcome did not make the war legitimate.  The very swiftness of the campaign and absence of a decisive WMD discovery revealed that Saddam was not enough of a threat to warrant the Coalition's "unilateral move" and "obscene" use of force.  Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung insisted that "a military success" did not mean that the "regime could not have been ousted and eliminated otherwise without the bloodshed and without the political damage."  Echoing the skepticism in European outlets about the existence of WMD, liberal Folha de Sao Paulo noted, "WMD, whose existence was the main justification for the attack, have not been found."


Obstacles and 'enormous risks' lie ahead-- Dailies also focused on the challenge of winning the peace, pointing out that the war was not over yet.  Reiterating the common refrain that getting rid of the regime "is the easy part," the Saudi pro-government Arab News stressed that the difficult part is filling the "resulting vacuum."  The paper joined others urging the Iraq people not to settle for being ruled by "a quasi-democratic leadership" from an administration "propped up by those greedy for Iraq's oil" and set on, as an Algerian writer noted "providing complete security for Israel's interests."  The risk of "enraging" the Arab world and the possibility of "lawlessness" and "anarchy" were additional concerns.  South Africa's balanced Business Day cited the "new seeds of anger sown among Muslim militants," among the "massive challenges for the world."  A UAE daily observed  "there is more to the liberation of Iraq than removing the regime; a new rule of law has to be introduced."  The UN was considered essential to the reconstruction of Iraq.  Tokyo's liberal Asahi advised that in order to "restore stability," the U.S. should "let the UN take the lead role in setting up a tentative administration."


Iraq may serve as 'dangerous model'-- Dailies focused on the possibility that the U.S., "crowned with this military success," would repeat the Iraqi experience elsewhere.  These observers found that "Iraq does not mean future pre-emptive unilateral, illegal war-making is now somehow OK."  Belgium's conservative La Derniere Heure advised the U.S. to "remain modest and avoid granting itself the right to become the policeman of a world that it wants to reshape according to its interests."  Editorials from Muslim countries in particular speculated that Iraq was "just the beginning."  Turkey's mass-appeal Sabah alleged that "dictatorships and other backward regimes in the Middle East are next on the list," and Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak warned the U.S. "might target any country in the world by using 'magical' terms such as liberation and freedom."  A Pakistani paper cautioned against "giving America the license to replace any disliked foreign government using military might."


EDITOR:  Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This report is based on 73 reports from 34 countries, over 9-10 April 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Liberated Baghdad"


The conservative Times editorialized (4/10):  "Baghdad, once the glittering capital of the Muslim world at its zenith, has been attacked, besieged, bombarded and occupied more often than any capital in the Middle East....  But yesterday was like no other day....  After 24 years of oppression...Baghdad has emerged from an age of darkness.  Yesterday was an historic day of liberation.  For the first time, Iraqis felt free to voice their suffering, to recall their horrors and to spit out their hatred of the man who had crushed their spirit....  When dictatorships fall, a political structure based on intimidation disintegrates.  The vacuum could easily lead to a catastrophic collapse of living standards, endemic violence and ethnic or tribal disputes.  Iraq now stands at that dangerous point between war and peace....  The immediate challenge is to hold together a country and society exhausted by everything it has been through....


"Liberating Iraq from its past means binding up the wounds, as quickly and fairly as possible, of a society all but destroyed by dictatorship....  Liberation means more than this, however....  The road back to prosperity and legitimacy will be strewn with obstacles.  A continuation of the European bickering that preceded the U.S.-led liberation must not be one of those obstacles, and nor should battles for institutional turf.  Efficacy matters more than who does what.  The goal must be Iraqi self-government just as soon as is practical, and transitional machinery should be kept simple and free of paternalism....  One of the first needs is the swift resumption of United Nations humanitarian aid.  That needs no new resolution: help can be channeled through the existing oil-for-food regime....  Baghdad recovered from devastation by the Mongols and sacking by Tamburlaine. Now, at last, it has a chance to recover from the devastation wrought on it by the tyrant from Tikrit."


"After The Fall"


The left-of-center Guardian took this view (4/10):  "The collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime will send shockwaves of joy and alarm around the world....  Finding [Saddam] and bringing him to justice is a more urgent priority than ever.  Until the body of Saddam is handed up, dead or alive, until the spectre of Saddam is finally exorcised, many Iraqis will have trouble believing they are really free....  Iraqis' problems are not at an end; they merely change in form and scale.  Baghdad, let alone Iraq as a whole, is not yet secure.  Saddam's weapons of mass destruction have not been found....  There may be hard fighting still ahead....  There may be yet more civilian casualties to add to the uncounted thousands....  For them and many like them, victory is meaningless.  But the swiftness of Saddam's rout reduces the chances of continuing carnage.  For this relief, much thanks.


"Iraq's state of shock, replacing its state of siege, will have many difficult manifestations.  Already, revenge and reprisal intermingle with celebration....  Parts of Baghdad and other cities are close to anarchy....  Such tendencies to chaos, unless quickly curbed, threaten civil conflicts sucking in thinly-spread allied troops.  The shock of the day weighed heavily on some--but not all--Arab hearts....  This unprecedented show of U.S. offensive power sends a daunting message.  Who knows which way the Abrams tank barrels will swivel next?  And who in Damascus, Tehran or Riyadh is entirely sure that the Iraqi people's release, although largely involuntary, will not find willing emulators there?  If reconstruction works, and that is an enormous 'if', a resource-rich, democratic Iraq may become the throbbing engine of the Middle East.  The political ramifications of that do indeed invite shock and awe.  On one level the U.S.-British success to date is deeply impressive and on another, troubling.  Saddam's overthrow is a great boon.  But Iraq's 'liberation' must not lead to internal destabilisation or external exploitation.  Pre-war promises must be fulfilled; there must be long-term follow-through and a major rethink, too.  For George Bush's America must understand that Iraq does not mean future pre-emptive, unilateral, illegal war-making is now somehow OK.  Sometimes war proves unstoppable; but it is seldom OK. "


FRANCE:  "A Page Is Turned In The Middle East"


Jean de Belt held in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/10):  "Yesterday marked a historic date:  Saddam Hussein's regime is no more.  This is a victory for George W. Bush....  This is a war than strengthens America's unilateralism....  America's goal goes beyond Iraq and it would be insulting the U.S. to imagine that its unilateralism is being implemented without vision.  The White House has a simple plan:  to pacify the Middle East, bringing democracy to Iraq, turning it into an example.  This is why tomorrow's task is as decisive as yesterday's victory....  No one can predict how the U.S. model will be accepted.  Yesterday, a dictator fell.  While we cannot accuse President Bush's plans of lacking coherence, we cannot ignore the risks involved."


"What Lies Ahead"


Patrick Sabatier argued in left-of-center Liberation (4/10):  "Saddam's regime is over, even if the war is not completely finished....  We rejoice along with the liberated people of Iraq....  But the hardest task is still ahead....  The weeks to come will be decisive.  The Coalition will need to harness the emergence of anarchy and secure the distribution of humanitarian aid.  Will President Bush know how to handle victory and avoid exacerbating the rage which feeds Islamic terrorism in the Arab world?  Establishing a government under UN supervision is essential."


"What Now?"


Bernard Guetta had this to day on state-run France Inter radio (4/10):  "Now that the regime has fallen...two questions remain.  This first is whether the Americans will know how to deal with the challenge of peace....  The Americans are determined to manage peace the way they managed the war, on their own.  This will not make the second problem any easier:  finding political stability for Iraq....  How Iran will react is part of Act II in this regional Great Game."


"The Law Of Might"


Denis Jeambar opined in right-of-center weekly L'Express (4/10):  "The fall of Baghdad will determine how our world is organized for years to come.  This battle will fall in the category of symbolic battles which have changed history....  International relations are being redefined...with religion playing a new role....  The notion of force and its use will play a new and central role."


GERMANY:  "Fall Of Baghdad"


Siegmund Gottlieb commented on ARD-TV's (national channel one) late evening newscast Tagesthemen (4/9):  "This is not yet a historic day, and we have not yet experienced the end of the war.  Reality is much more complicated than a simple  perception of pictures on TV.  Where are the weapons of mass destruction, which served as the main argument for Washington's campaign?  Was the regime of the dictator really as dangerous, making it necessary to disarm Saddam?   This question must be raised, and it must be discussed with the Americans....  But to insinuate that they would wage this war out of hegemonic lust for power, for billions they could raise from oil resources, or in religious blindness, would be too shortsighted, since it were not we but the United States that has still not yet overcome the trauma of September 11.  But it would also be too shortsighted to insinuate with European arrogance that the Arab world is incapable of democracy until further notice."


"The Judgment Of Iraqis" 


Berthold Kohler noted in a front-page editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/10):  "With its swift military success, the United States has been able to make up some of its political defeats which it had to suffer from its attempt to get a UN mandate for its activities.  As long as the American soldiers are welcome as liberators in Baghdad and not spit at as imperial oil thieves, even die-hard anti-Americans will have difficulty refusing Washington's leading role in shaping the post-war order in Iraq.  Believing that America would give up control over Iraq, just as it has achieved a swift victory over a feared terror regime and demonstrated to the world and itself its power, would be naive.  And this is also true for the notion that the UN could take over control immediately.  A massive military presence will be necessary to end this war, prevent a rekindling of the conflict and to restore a more or less stable order in the country.  The surprisingly quick collapse of Saddam's rule should not prompt us to assume that a democracy could be set up on the debris of the regime.  If the smokescreen of the war has faded, many existing conflicts will come to the fore again like the one between the Shiites and the Sunnis, and the Arabs and the Kurds.  There will be a lot of work for so experienced civil society builders as the Europeans.  But for a long time to come, someone with a gun will have to stand right next to them."


"Saddam's End"


Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/10):  "Liberation is no act of the moment, it is a process.  It is  necessary to work for liberation; to fight for it and to celebrate it is not enough.  The end requires a new beginning, chaos requires order. Regime change, which the Americans and British have written on their colors, cannot be more than a stopover on a waystation.  A great number of significant problems is now on the agenda: safety must be created in a country in revolt; assistance must be offered to a pauperized population of 24 million people, and an infrastructure that was destroyed within three weeks requires billions of investment.  But the war of the alleged coalition was a unilateral move of a few willing nations which deliberately put off the others.  Now the allies are  faced with the dilemma that they need support but are unwilling to give up control.  In addition it is necessary to follow an iron law:  the future cannot happen without coming to terms with the past.  Two things must be reprocessed: the legacy of the regime and the legacies of the war that toppled the regime.  The first is not easy, but, nevertheless, the easier task.  After the war, not only Iraq, but the entire Middle East and the whole world, must search for a new order.  The question of the effects of this war should not push aside the question of what were  the reasons for this war.  The outcome does not decide whether it was justified.  A military success does not clarify whether the regime could have been ousted and eliminated otherwise without the bloodshed and without the political damage.  If the question of preventive war is now being pushed aside, it could be raised again at another troublespot."


"The Right Thing"


Christoph von Marschall stated in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/10):  "Even the positive outcome of the war does not undo the violation of international law, which cost the lives of many people.  But obviously, even a false war can create something good.  This is the distressed experience for the old Europe, which gives doubts a higher priority than the fight against a criminal regime.  And all this is happening on the same day--and this is another symbol when the European Parliament agrees on the acceptance of ten new members in the EU, states that are more open for the idea of democratic intervention because of their history.  The new Europe will not support a policy that speaks of multilateralism and the United Nations as the highest authority, but means America's containment and uses the United Nations to assert national interests.  France and Germany already had to feel this....  The fortunate outcome of the war offers America and Europe the chance to show a greater willingness for compromise to negotiate the post-Saddam order.  President Bush made the first step and offered the UN an important role.  But what Iraq now needs the most cannot be guaranteed by the UN nor by Germany and France: security and public order.  The pictures of exuberant joy should not obscure the things that this day also produced:  looting, chaos, boundless greed.  For the time being, only Bush and Blair's forces are able to create a new order."


ITALY:  ''The Victory With Its Challenges"


Managing Editor Ezio Mauro wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (4/10):  "A tyrant was pulled down along with his statues...and this is a beautiful day for the Iraqi people, who invaded the streets of Baghdad...a beautiful  day for democracy.  The route through which president Bush has reached this result proved to be successful, quick as well as costly in terms of human lives.  In fact, all that sophisticated high technology couldn't  eliminate the load of destruction and grief, which all wars always carry with  them, no matter whether they are right or wrong wars.  This war remains a mistake with respect to its genesis, as well as a dangerous model, because (it  was conducted) outside of international legitimacy of the UN, with the  United States becoming, after September 11, simultaneously victim, judge as well as avenger....  Once the war is won, Bush and Blair, in order not to lose the postwar, should go through the United Nations as well as a political European platform, so that they will actually be able to turn Iraq into a democratic, independent (state) from its liberators, as well.   In fact, the building of a democracy begins with rules, rules for everybody."


"The War That Tastes Of Jubilee" 


Managing Editor Marcello Sorgi commented on the front-page of centrist, influential La Stampa (4/10):  "The war that tastes of jubilee, the jubilee that tastes of war....  It is not the foregone, military outcome (of the war) that weighs, but the climate of its conclusion, as well as the relief for the liberation impressed on the faces of the Iraqi people, which will offer the Americans an extra opportunity, as well as many good reasons, to gather greater solidarity around them,  which, until now, was quite little.  They will have the opportunity, in some  cases, to break out of their isolation and build, once again, the broad chain of worldwide friendships that they had established the day after September  11. For President Bush, the price of this (positive) evolution consists in his reassessment of the doctrine based on a 'pre-emptive intervention.'...  In Belfast, the U.S. president appeared sensitive, but also cautious.  Victory could push him towards a less prudent approach."


"Bush Watching TV:  'This Is History'"


Ennio Caretto reported from Washington in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/10):  "George Bush followed fascinated the fall of Baghdad, live on TV, from his private room next to the Oval Office.  This is the President's happiest day....  Bush looked excited, suddenly standing up, 'this is an historical moment,' he said to his spokesman Ari Fleischer....  Since dawn, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and others were informed that the Iraqi capital was collapsing.  They then agreed on a common line: to  contain their enthusiasm and to warn the public that the worst could still come.... This contained approach includes a three-fold objective: to give time to the administration to establish a temporary Iraqi Authority; to gain control of the entire territory of Iraq; and to admonish Syria and Iran not to interfere."


RUSSIA:  "Bush, Blair Win"


Maksim Yusin wrote in reformist Izvestiya (4/10):  "Today Bush and Blair have every right to rejoice.  They have won.  They have kept their word.  They have overthrown the 'bloody regime.'  They have not found weapons of mass destruction yet, but they will certainly find them.  Even if they don't, who will rebuke them, the winners, after they have captured Baghdad in a matter of days, almost bloodlessly?...  Yesterday was a happy day for the Allies.  Already it is history....  To defeat an almost unarmed country, to destroy an army which refuses to fight, and to overthrow a rotten regime is the easiest part of the mission.  Its most difficult part is still ahead."


"Baghdad Captured, Pillaged"


Maksim Chizhikov contended in reformist, youth-oriented Komsomol'skaya Pravda (4/10):  "While northern Iraq and Saddam's hometown of Tikrit are still unsubdued, the war is virtually over....  Where are the 'patriots' who were willing to die for Saddam?  Only recently they kissed his hands.  Now they kiss the boots of U.S. Marines, pose for pictures with an 'I am an American' sign, help topple monuments to Hussein, and loot stores and offices on the quiet.  They are the people Russia supported.  With friends like these you don't need enemies."


BELGIUM:  "Peace Still Needs to Be Won"


Chief editor Beatrice Delvaux held in left-of-center Le Soir (4/10):  "In spite of the persistent doubts on the reasons for waging this war, and in spite of the legitimate criticism on the way it was imposed to the rest of the world, the fall of this dreadful regime and of its vile dictator arouses a feeling of relief....  It is also simply fair to point out that the Americans fulfilled the first part of their promises: their intervention was rapid.  But that was the least one could ask them.  The upcoming challenges are bigger, riskier and more difficult than ever.  Iraq will have to promptly become a democracy that is not the vassal of a superpower or of Islamic fundamentalism, and that is not economically colonized.  No tank or oil contract can do that.  But beyond this, Bush will have to demonstrate that he does not want to impose this 'new American order' on the Middle East but that he wants to participate in the reconstruction of a genuine democratic project, respectful of the rights and identities of each of the countries of this region that is stil dominated by despotism and injustice.  A first and undeniable sign of this would be the real resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."


"Winning Peace"


Chief editor Gerald Papy in independent La Libre Belgique (4/10) editorialized:  "One can only rejoice at the fall of the Iraqi dictatorship and at the rapid outcome of the conflict.  The Iraqis are spared sufferings that recent history imposed to them on too many occasions, first and foremost because of a brutal dictator but also because of the hypocrisy of the international community and of the United States in particular that, on other occasions in the past, let realpolitik prevail over the respect of freedom and of human rights....  Beyond the military victory that was predictable, the challenge of winning the peace will be much more delicate to take up.  Yet, the hardly concealed intentions that some attitudes of the Bush administration showed can be worrying.  The persistent instability of a country like Afghanistan that was also freed from a dictatorship by a lightning war--should lead American leaders to be cautious and modest.  Especially in light  of the fact that the Middle East remains a potential powder keg."


"Expectations Are High, Promises To Keep"


Patrick Dath-Delcambe commented in conservative La Derniere Heure (4/10):  "Peace must now be won.  The United States and Great Britain have made a lot of promises to the Iraqis, and even to the entire region.  The Americans are usually not sparing their promises.   Expectations are high, especially for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian  conflict.  Crowned with this military success, the United States should nevertheless remain modest and avoid granting itself the right to become the policeman of a world that it wants to reshapes according to its interests.  Their decision to impose the members of the new Iraqi regime is not encouraging."


"How To Win The Peace"


Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert commented in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (4/7):  "With this war, the United States made itself less sympathetic than ever before.  But, if it wants to win the peace in the region, it must take two paths at the same time.  First, it must give the UN a role- as important aspossible--in the reconstruction of heavily battered Iraq.  Second, it must immediately focus on a genuine peace solution on the basis of two viable states: Israel and Palestine.  Only in that manner can the United States start to remove the Arab feelings of humiliation and show that the great protector of Israel is no enemy of the Arabs."  


NETHERLANDS:  "Baghdad Captured"


Left-of-center Trouw editorialized (4/10):  "After three weeks of war, and ultimately more quickly than expected, American troops captured the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.  However, the war is not yet over....  And no one knows what the Iraqi government is still capable of doing....  Winning a war could prove to be much easier than winning peace.  And  eventually, also easier than changing a dictatorial Iraq into a state with some sort of democracy.  The latter is a task the Americans and the British cannot handle alone but also should not want to handle alone...this task should mainly be handled by the UN....  President Bush said the UN would play an 'essential' role in all areas.  Bush will have to be held to that."


"Exit Saddam"


Influential liberal De Volkskrant opined (4/10):  "After  three weeks of war, Saddam's regime collapsed....  Except for surprises that could still occur, the battle seems to be settled.  Son Bush did what father Bush did not dare to do: move into Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein....  After Kosovo (78) days and Afghanistan (38 days),  the military victory in Iraq seems to be in sight after 21 days.  The  outcome itself is a good thing....  But triumph would be inappropriate....  Bush and Blair started this war from a very lonely position.  They can now feel strengthened by the images of people celebrating in the streets of Baghdad;  the opponents of the war cannot ignore this fact.  Whether this is sufficient to retroactively legitimize the invasion will depend on whether or not the allied forces find illegal weapons of mass destruction.  It will also be important to see if Bush will manage to win this war not only militarily but also politically by pacifying, stabilizing, and democratizing Iraq.  That is an enormous task, and his father can tell him how quickly military victory can turn into political defeat."


PORTUGAL: "Saddam is the Enemy of God"


In a featured editorial, influential moderate left Público editor-in-chief Jose Manuel Fernandes wrote (4/10): "The images of celebration in the streets of Baghdad...remind  me of Belgrade's unforgettable October 5, the day a popular uprising  overthrew Milosevic, and the celebration that I experienced  personally, almost 30 years ago, on a certain April 25 [in Portugal].  Do you  remember?.... Do you remember how they said that we weren't ready for  democracy?  Or that we would never be a 'bourgeois democracy'?.... Someone is going to have to be found quickly to take the reins of power, more quickly than even the most optimistic had dared to  believe.  And, at this moment, there are only two countries with the moral  authority and forces on the ground to lead the process: the United States and  the United Kingdom....  With this war ended and won -- and it is still  not  over -- the peace has to be won.  Not just in Iraq, but in the whole  of the Middle East.  Starting with Palestine."


"April 9" 


Deputy editor-in-chief António Ribeiro Ferreira penned  in respected center-left Diário de Notícias (4/10):  "Freedom for Iraq was achieved against the will of France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, and naturally the UNSC.  Despite that, the political and economic reconstruction of  Iraq -- a cyclopean and lengthy task -- will be done, as Bush and Blair  affirmed in Belfast, with the UN and the international community  involved....  Following the Iraqi April 9, it is now possible to dream about a realistic and just peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.   The  Iraqi April 9 represents an enormous defeat for international  terrorism and for all those who, either actively or passively, support it."


"Comic Book Re-drawn"


In an editorial in influential moderate-left daily Público, deputy  editor-in-chief Nuno Pacheco argued (4/10): "[...] There has been a deaf shock of fears since the beginning of this war: fear of the unknown stamped on the faces of many young  soldiers; and fear of the known, visible in the initial attitude of many Iraqis  facing the black shadow of Saddam Hussein.  Now that everything has  crumbled, and Saddam has strangely 'evaporated' --as Osama bin Laden  or  the sinister 'mullah' Omar had earlier 'evaporated' --the audacity  of the  uniformed 'daredevils' whom the obstinacy of the White House had  pushed into a war decided upon long ago has flowed out into a wave of  popular  euphoria in the wake of the overthrow of the dictatorship, and into  an  immense desert of unknowns." 


 "War Crimes"


Editor-in-chief Carlos Cáceres Monteiro had this to say in an op-ed in left-of-center leading circulation newsweekly Visão (4/10):  "The absurd inhumanity of this war is exceeding all bounds of the acceptable: hotels [in Baghdad] have been declared to be military objectives....  There are no reasons that can justify this war.  It  would have been possible to depose Saddam Hussein without it.  And, as can  be  seen, the famous arsenals of chemical weapons in large quantities are  yet to be discovered."


SPAIN:  "The Collapse"


Left-of-center El País wrote (4/10):  "The fall of a dictator of this ilk, who resisted in the end and added to the suffering of his people, is a reason to be satisfied.  This was not, however, the way to achieve it....  The world is better without this dictator, but the execution of this conflict has  contributed to the weakening of the fragile international order....  Few Arabs will cry for the disappearance of Saddam, but probably many now feel humiliated....  It has been a military campaign of speed, concentration of bombing and fire, and precision, without precedent, but it also makes very clear with so many civilian deaths that the idea of a 'clean war' is impossible....  The war has produced too many victims, has made a mess of international legality and has put in stark relief a bad use by the U.S. of its immense military power.... In the hour  of victory one shouldn't forget that Bush wasn't able to get in the UN Security Council the votes necessary to justify this war which shou ld never have happened."


"How The Steamroller Rolled The Paper Tiger"


Independent El Mundo judged (4/10):  "What  this conflict has proved, without any doubt, is the overwhelming--almost obscene--military superiority that has literally erased the Iraqi military....  What we have seen in these last three weeks is a crushing military exhibition, worthy of the very best of international arms fair....  But the fall of Baghdad and the war's development has made clear the lack of justification for this attack by Bush and his allies....  Where is the terrible arsenal which Powell referred to?  Saddam has not made use of weapons of mass destruction in this conflict.  If he had them and they were effective, why didn't he use them when he was cornered in Baghdad?...   And if he didn't have them, then this war has been based on a great trickery."


TURKEY:  "He Did Not Even Fire One Honorary Bullet"


Editor-in-Chief Ertugrul Ozkok observed in mass appeal Hurriyet (4/10):  "The Saddam era has ended and the future of the Iraqi people is now brighter than ever before.  In the next 5 to 10 years, we are going to see the proper use of oil money--that is, for the welfare of the people as opposed to building kitsch palaces for dictators or producing chemical weapons.  It is sure that in the years ahead, we will observe the domino-effect on other'Baath-like' regimes in the region....  Yet it is also the time for us to get rid of the 'Third world rationale' and 'Saddam-like' mentality in Turkey.  It is just the right time to lift Turkey up to become a full member of the modern Western community."


"Iraq Is Only The Beginning"


Erdal Safak wrote in mass appeal Sabah (4/10):  "The fall of Baghdad not only signified the end of Saddam, but also the end of the Eisenhower doctrine, which had served as a protective shield for regimes in the Middle East since 1956....  Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. has begun to shape a new doctrine.  As Paul Wolfowitz defined it, 'the U.S. cannot possibly be safe and secure unless the Middle East is democratized'....  The Iraq war is just the beginning.  Dictatorships and other backward regimes in the Middle East are next on the list, and it is certain that the most immediate concern is Syria....  Turkish Foreign Minister Gul should urgently cancel his upcoming trip to Damascus, which will only serve to increase misunderstandings between Turkey and the U.S."


"Toward The End"


Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (4/10):  "The planners of the Iraq war did not conceal their intention to move toward other countries once Iraq is finished.  It will also be interesting to see what kind of administration is to be formed in post-war Iraq....  The  world is rapidly moving toward a new era, and it will most likely be formed based on the 'superiority of power.'  From now on, the U.S. might target any country in the world by using 'magical' terms such as liberation and freedom."




ISRAEL:  "Baghdad Rises"


Sever Plotker declared in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/10):  "Baghdad has not fallen.  Baghdad has risen.  Baghdad has risen from a decades-long nightmare of cruel dictatorship....  Baghdad was not captured, it was liberated in a war that was one of the shortest, most efficient, surprising, and least destructive in modern history....  Opponents of the war were still demonstrating against America in the streets of Paris while the residents of Baghdad welcomed the American soldiers with shouts of happiness....  True, the Americans are bringing democracy to Baghdad with the barrels of tank cannons, but Iraq will be democratic under its own steam.  It will be the first Arab country to have the generations-old curse lifted, the curse whereby being both Arab and democratic is impossible, whereby the two are diametrically opposed.  Iraq will disprove the learned theories that claim that Arab culture rejects the values of liberal democracy,  because it has other values.... It has been said of many countries in the world that they would never succeed in becoming democratic because they have a 'culture' or 'tradition' or 'religion' that is not amenable to democracy.  And they are democratic in all respects: Argentina and Chile, Romania and Poland, South Korea and Ghana, South Africa and Spain, Portugal and Mongolia.  Iraq will be too.  And why not?  Countries with an ethnic and national makeup much more complicated that Iraq's have become democratic.  For their own good."


"An Earthquake Broadcast Live"


Yoel Marcus wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (4/10): "The fall of Baghdad on Wednesday, the earthquake broadcast live, will be remembered along with the key events of history....  People like Saddam come into the world as promising leaders who wind up cruel dictators.  In effect, Saddam brought stability to a country of constantly changing governments.  With time, he fell in love with his own image and turned Iraq into a medium for his megalomaniac ambitions.  It's not clear why eight years of war with Iran were necessary, or why it was necessary to invade Kuwait or massacre thousands of his own people.  Saddam could have gotten out of this mess by just surrendering, had he not been over-enthusiastic for war and sure that he could win it.  Saddam is one of those who believe that their people really love them and are willing to die on his behalf. Saddam is one of those people who live within a bubble of themselves--and end up suffocating inside that bubble."


WEST BANK:  "Baghdad Has Another Awakening"


Independent Al-Quds editorialized (4/10):  "The painful scenes broadcast by the satellite channels of the streets of Baghdad that fell under the fire of the American-British occupier, may not be the last episode of the hostile Anglo-American war.  There might be other episodes in some cities that  did not fall in the occupiers' hands. These episodes might not be pleasent  for the aggressors, or perhaps we will see the same scenes [of Baghdad],  because all signs show the absence of the Iraqi authority. This absence puzzled commentators and observers, even the British and the Americans...Baghdad's fall is a catastrophe and it will not be the last one, because the Anglo-American victory will whet the appetite of the colonialists to  devour more Arab capitals. In addition, this victory will encourage them to reshape the Arab world according to the political, cultural and social values of Washington."


"The Second Palestine"


Fouad Abu Hejleh commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (4/10):  "We expected the invading forces to reach Baghdad and the American-British forces to occupy Iraq, but we did not expect it to be that easy. We were astonished by the weakness of the Iraqi resistance in many areas and its absence in other areas of Iraq....  There is great vagueness and secrets, which might be cleared up later to explain the reasons of this Iraqi surrender to the American-British-Israeli power....  It seems that the American 'shock and  awe' was realized, despite our writing about the failure of that method. We  dealt with the military dimension of 'shock and awe', but did not pay attention to the psychological effects on the people following the first attack."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Against The Occupation"


English-language pro-government Arab News editorialized (4/10):  "The images of Iraqi people in Baghdad dancing on the broken hull of a statue of Saddam Hussein yesterday were welcomed by all of the civilized world. Saddam was a dictator and accordingly was hated by most of his people. That they are rid of him is a good thing, and to argue otherwise would be not only foolish, but cruel. But some things remain as they were.  The debate surrounding this war got off on a false premise. It said that either you were with the US/UK forces and their bid to topple the Saddam regime, or you were with Saddam himself. This was false because the world and its problems can almost never be divided into simple black and white, right and wrong....  Back here in the real world, those who opposed the US/UK invasion of Iraq according to principles quite beyond the “with or against us” dichotomy have no reason to change their minds, celebrations or no celebrations in Baghdad....  The plan to invade Iraq was drawn up long before Sept. 11 by individuals who are now members of the Bush administration. They had, and still have, close ties with major energy firms whose chief concern is oil....  For the Iraqi people to be rid of a tyrant only then to be vulnerable to exploitation by the conservative Zionist junta who have taken over the White House is merely for them to be thrown from the frying pan into the fire. The Iraqi people, like everyone else, deserve to be the masters of their own destiny....  As with all the revolutions in history, the easy part is getting rid of the regime. The difficult part is knowing what to fill the resulting vacuum with. The danger now is that, because the invaders offer something better than Saddam in the short term, they may be left in the dark as to those invaders’ real long-term motives.  The Iraqi people should not settle for second best, namely being ruled by a quasi-democratic leadership propped up by a US administration which is itself propped up by those greedy for Iraq’s oil and spurred on by their desire for a secure Israel. Baghdad has fallen, Saddam is on the run and his Baath Party has disintegrated. Good riddance to them all. But now those who were against the war must double their protests against an American occupation."


ALGERIA:  "Baghdad + ? = !"


Independent, Arabic-language El Youm noted (4/10):  "According to observers, after the end of the American aggression against Iraq, and the end of the peace spectacle between Palestinians and Israelis, Syria’s turn will come, in order to provide complete security for Israel in the Middle East region. Then, a transition in the Arab Gulf will begin, and finally in North Africa, beginning with Tripoli. The barbarian American machine has begun. Those who prostrate themselves have to wait their turn because they possess only subservience, for they are rejected as a people."


JORDAN:  "Listen To The Friends"


The English-language, independent, centrist Jordan Times observed (4/10):  "Some perhaps expected that, before scenes of jubilation in Baghdad at the progressive downfall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, some Arabs would feel shocked and disappointed.  But Iraqis' relief at what is possibly the nearing end of both the war and the regime does not mean that this aggression was ever just or right, nor that a US occupation is welcomed.  Some channels showed a few Iraqis throwing flowers at US-British soldiers, cheering and dancing on the pieces of a smashed statue of Saddam, taking off their shoes to hit his murals and portraits.  There was no footage yesterday showing Iraqis' rejection of a US military occupation, but there will indeed soon be plenty, if Washington makes the mistake to listen to its “hawks” rather than to its friends....  For Iraq and the region to be stable and secure, Iraq needs to be run by Iraqis.  Iraqis might be happy that Saddam's regime is disintegrating. It does not mean that they would be happy for that regime to be replaced by another imposed from the outside. It does not mean that the breach of international legitimacy and UN Charter by the so-called “coalition” was justified. It does not mean, most of all, that all the suffering and death brought about by this war was “for a good cause.”  Never the end justifies the means.  Obviously the US will win this war militarily. One had to be seriously brainwashed or living on a remote island to think otherwise.  What the US has not won, and is no way near winning, is the peace.  Get out of Iraq sooner rather than later. Leave Iraq to the Iraqis."


MOROCCO:  "A New Style Of Liberation"


Abdelkrim Ghallab wrote in pro-government, Arabic-language Al Alam (4/9):  "America has come to Iraq to liberate it and this is a new style of liberation which includes thousands of airplanes bombing Iraq with bombs and destroying all cities, all villages, all schools, all hospitals and all museums and historical sites that go five thousand years back in history. All these sites have become rubble as a result of U.S. liberation airplanes....  It may become a tradition for America and Britain to liberate other Arab and Islamic countries so that Israel will remain the master in our Arab and Islamic Middle East. Let's learn the lesson from the liberation of Iraq well taught by two countries called the U.S. and the United Kingdom."


SYRIA:  "Iraqi Nationalists Must Maintain Iraq's Territorial Integrity And Self-Determination"


Dr. Mahdi Dakhllalah, chief editor of government-owned Al-Ba'th observed (4/10): "The Iraqi crisis has entered a new phase with the occupation of extensive parts of Baghdad....  The basic principles that should now be applied to the Iraqi issue are: Iraq's unity and territorial integrity both as an entity and a people, and the People's right to choose their future and destiny....  Maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity and securing its people's right to self-determination is the first mission of the Iraqi people, throughout all their segments and within the framework of national unity which is as essential as water and air.  All Iraqis...must now forget the past and start working within a unified formula, without force or intervention, to cement democratic and pluralistic rule that encompasses all strata in Iraq. The goal is to build an Iraq that will positively contribute to pan-Arabism and be a part of the Arab homeland; an Iraq that will achieve freedom and equality, for its people and allow them to take part in politics.  The alternative will be that occupation forces will fill the vacuum left by political institutions linked to the occupiers. National action must occur if Iraq is to achieve nationalist salvation. The salvation of Iraq is one of the basic current tasks of all Arabs, of their joint establishments and of the pan-Arab structure. It is the mission of the international community, which must restore the respect for the international law and international legitimacy that was so arrogantly bypassed recently.  All Arabs confirm that no matter the circumstances and difficulties, the only option for Iraq is to restore its important pan-Arab role and confront the Zionist scheme and its tool, Israel, which ambushes all Arabs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf."


"On The Tune Of Chaos"


Ahmad Hamadeh commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (4/10):  "Aggression against Iraq has entered a dangerous phase for the life of the Iraqi people. The invading forces are promoting chaos in Iraqi villages and towns. Its trumpets of information are focusing on fights revenge trying to force Iraq back to the Stone Age....  After three weeks of killing and destruction and misleading world opinion about the goals of the invasion, the Iraqi capital is left facing complete and utter chaos....  What kind of liberation have they achieved? The new curriculum America has prepared for Iraqi children omits everything that reflects a pan-Arab pulse and a nationalist trend in support of Arab rights, and that exposes Israel's racism and its colonial role in the Arab region.The American-British aggression against the Iraqi people confirms the absence of logic that now dominates international relations due to the US's unilateral monopoly of international decision-making and its ownership of brute force enticed into committing oppression and aggression against a people without any consideration of the sanctity of law and ethical norms. What is taking place in Iraq is the best evidence about this."


LEBANON:  "How The Victors Can Become ‘Liberators’"


Beirut-based English-language Daily Star editorialized (4/10):  "It took almost three weeks for the war in Iraq to produce the promised “shock and awe,” and the feeling came not from the technological wizardry of American defense contractors but from the heartfelt actions and emotions of Iraqis celebrating the downfall of Saddam Hussein. The scenes of jubilation on the streets of Baghdad were many and memorable as an oppressed people finally concluded that their tormentor had lost the power of life and death over an entire nation. Like those of so many other dictators, Saddam’s cult of personality proved surprisingly fragile once it was no longer backed up by fear. Despite receiving at long last the scenes of joy they had counted on getting as soon as they crossed into Iraq, however, the Americans should not confuse happiness at the tyrant’s fall with a willingness to accept occupation. The only time they will be truly welcome in Iraq will be when they leave....  The vast majority of Iraqis are thrilled that Saddam’s rule is hurtling toward an overdue end, but they have every right to see the entire war as an exercise in the United States’ cleaning up its own mess. It was Western assistance, after all, that kept Iraq together during the long years of Saddam’s war against Iran....  The watchword should be sensitivity. The young soldier who first draped a statue of Saddam with an American flag, only to subsequently remove it, cannot be blamed for his over-enthusiasm. It is the senior US commanders who must prevent similar gaffes from being repeated if Washington and London are to keep from fueling the perception that Iraq has, in fact, been “conquered” in the traditional sense of the word--and for the same traditional reasons....  The period of foreign tutelage must be one of understanding for Iraq’s culture and respect for its people. Only in this way will the Americans ever be regarded as genuine “liberators.” 


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:  "Now The Hard Work Begins"


The English-language Gulf News (Internet version) stated (4/10):  "Where is Saddam Hussain? Along with his regime, he seems to have melted into the background, leaving Iraqis to celebrate in the street, throughout the nation. It is obvious from the pictures broadcast live on satellite television that most Iraqis are overjoyed at the release of the suppression under which they have lived for the past 35 years. While many are still cautious, since they fear some form of retribution if they celebrate too soon at the departure of the Baath regime, the majority have accepted that the actuality of the coalition forces arriving in Baghdad and taking over key buildings, merely confirms what they have all along wanted: liberation from repression. It is a welcome sight that gladdens the heart of those who have empathy with the plight of all Iraqis....  But there is more to the liberation of Iraq than removing the regime; a new rule of law has to be introduced as well as an administration that will be accepted by the populace. There is much to do, but first, the confidence of the people must be gained. That will include the more urgent necessities, such as the provision of adequate food and water.  Even more important, in the light of the number of sick and wounded, is the need for medical supplies and facilities.... What happens in Iraq in the following days and weeks will be watched very carefully by the world community, to determine whether there is any movement by America to be a de facto government, or install an administration that is contrary to the wishes of the majority. Thus far, the attempt by the coalition forces to win the "hearts and minds" of Iraqis has been far from successful. The jubilation in the streets of Basra, Baghdad and elsewhere is insufficient evidence to claim that occupation by America is required, merely that the people are glad to be free again."




AUSTRALIA:  "For Iraqi Opposition, UN Is A Force Not To Be Reckoned With"


Peter Fray wrote in the liberal Melbourne Age (4/10):  "Debate about the UN's postwar role is largely ignoring the fact that many of the leading Iraqis who will soon take control of their country actually do not want the UN to run the show or even play a "vital role", as US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have put it.  What is important for the Iraqi National an end to the war, restoration of law and order and an interim authority that leads to government of Iraq by Iraqis as soon as politically possible.  Coalition forces are delivering the first two faster than many thought possible, and moving quickly to establish the mechanism for the third, under retired general Jay Garner.  Where then does the UN fit in? Delivering the humanitarian aid, but possibly not much more.  For the Iraqi opposition, freedom from Saddam Hussein has been achieved despite the UN, not because of it. Having failed to endorse the war, why should the UN expect to organise the peace, they argue.  The Iraqis are grateful to the coalition, but also do not need them to hang around once the job is over.  Exactly how the US intends to move from restoring law and order (now), establishing an interim authority (soon), and then delivering free elections (in a year or so) remains unclear."


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "After Saddam, The First Order Should Be Elections"


Independent South China Morning Post declared (4/10):  "The debate over post-war Iraq is no longer academic but it is certainly still political.  With American and British troops sweeping through Baghdad, it may only be a matter of days before Lt. Gen. Jay Garner's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, now based in Kuwait City, will move north to set up the framework of a transitional government. Unlike in Afghanistan, East Timor, or Kosovo, the United Nations will not be in charge--the United States will be, with some help from its ally, the United Kingdom.  Like the debate before the war, the squabbling over this arrangement is already vociferous....  More importantly, the only politics that count in a post-Saddam Iraq are going to be those fostered by Iraqis, however confused, disorganised, and demoralised they may be by Saddam Hussein's brutal, dictatorial rule and 12 years of some of the harshest economic sanctions ever imposed by the UN....  The most constructive role other countries can play at this juncture is to hold the US administration to its words. It is promising that Mr Bush, at the top of his political game with victory almost within his grasp, seemed aware of how dangerous and reckless it would be to prolong the US occupation of Iraq beyond the time needed to get Iraq's own civil and political machinery going again....  The costs to Mr Bush of not living up to his promises will be high, not only in the loss of international credibility but in managing the peace. Post-war Japan aside, the US has little experience with occupying other countries, and the American public will quickly lose interest if Iraq proves ungovernable under America. This will be the case if its new government carries even a taint of American orchestration. Iraq, as Mr Blair and Mr Bush both have said, must be for the Iraqis, and as soon as possible."


JAPAN:  "Regime Collapse:  The Test Starts Now"


Leftist Asahi opined (4/10):  "Three weeks after the start of the war, the capital of Baghdad has fallen, and Hussein's regime has collapsed.  Although sporadic battles are continuing, organized resistance in the capital is over.  In the densely populated eastern area of the city, military and police figures have disappeared and thus looting has broken out, it has become a situation where there is no government.  Although President Bush has indicated that the war is not over, it is largely decided.  Now, it is necessary to urgently supply medicine, food and water to the people and the restoration of stability.  Through air bombing and land attacks many civilians have become victims.  there is still the threat of guerilla war and terrorism.  In addition, most important is to avoid street fighting in the cities.  Due to violent attacks from the U.S. and Britain, the republican guard, the nucleaus of Iraq's military regime, have largely surrendered.  But throughout the country battles are continuing.  althoguh teh whereabouts of Hussein himself are unclear, we seek to end all fighting and resistance from this moment forward, not a moment too soon.  As for the war goals of both the U.S. and Britain, along with the toppling of Hussein's regime, there is also the destruction of WMD and the democratization of Iraq.  We must grapple with the job of reconstructing Iraq and helping create a new future administration, which rests in the hands of each Iraqi.  The U.S and Britain must first spread military rule, and then speed up the process to restore a tentative control structure made up of Iraqis themselves.   If one thinks of the most important issue having to do with restoring stability, most urgent the need to end military rule from the British and the Americans. To accomplish this, the U.S. should consider these factors and let the UN take the lead role in setting up a tentative administration.  With that, there will be more international support, and easier to gain cooperation from Arab countries."    


PHILIPPINES:   "A Role For The UN"


The independent Philippine Star declared (4/10):  "Whether or not Iraqi President Saddam Hussein survived a US bombing the other day, the streets of east Baghdad erupted in jubilation yesterday. They were scenes the world had been looking for since the start of the war: Iraqis cheering their 'liberation'--as coalition forces want to describe it--from the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein.  Amid the jubilation, however, were early signs of trouble that the coalition would have to address immediately. In Saddam City and a suburb of Baghdad, Iraqis were seen happily entering the government buildings they once feared, then leaving with everything they could cart away, from sacks of flour to computers and refrigerators. Across the country, in areas under coalition control, anxious residents asked coalition troops to stop the looting and impose order.  With Saddam’s regime crumbling, Iraq could quickly slide into lawlessness and an orgy of revenge on Saddam’s enforcers who once held that nation in the grip of terror....  In the task of peacekeeping the coalition clearly needs help from the United Nations. For all the cheering in Baghdad and Northern Iraq, years of sanctions have made the United States unpopular among Iraqis. As in much of the Middle East, there is also resentment in Iraq over the Americans’ perceived pro-Jewish bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Facing the muzzle of an Abrams tank, with "bunker busters" poised to strike their homes and offices, Iraqis may accept American authority. But the Iraqis will do so grudgingly, and simmering tensions will hobble post-war reconstruction.  The United Nations is still wrangling over who should take the lead role in rebuilding Iraq....  In dealing with these urgent problems the coalition must call in the United Nations." 


"Quick End To War A 'Sin' For The US"


Solita Collas-Monsod commented in business-oriented BusinessWorld (4/10):  "The United States is really in for it now. It has committed the sin of winning the war in Iraq in what looks like an obscenely short span of time....  But, against all expectations (even President Bush added to the doubts with his "as long as it takes" statement), victory for the coalition seems to be all but assured after 18 or 19 days....  The swifter-than-expected victory is not going to stop the critics from finding even more fault than before--and may even spur them to greater efforts on this score. Already one can visualize the following scenarios:  For starters, there's going to be a lot of pooh-poohing of the stories of Iraqi civilian cooperation....  Then there will be analyses which will argue that the relatively quick successful outcome was because Saddam Hussein's military might was actually very weak or nonexistent....  There will also be, I am certain, an enumeration of the costs of the war....  Much will also be made of the increase in anti-American sentiment....  But what is also needed, to allow us to come to a conclusion as to whether the decision to go to war was the right one, but which may not be forthcoming, is a listing of the benefits arising from it...greater stability in the region, greater stability in world oil supply, savings in cost compared to a larger war in the future. And then there will be the ensuing discussions on whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. If these are not found, the US will be blamed for going to war for no reason. If they are found, the US will be blamed anyway--for planting the stuff. Uncle Sam makes a very large, very easy target. And with all that mud that is and will be thrown, it is going to be very hard to determine whether the hat he wears is white or black. But then, I guess it goes with the territory."




INDIA:  "Overwhelming Baghdad"


The centrist Hindu opined (4/10):  "The larger issue, however, is the extraordinary human cost of this aggressive push into the Iraqi capital and, that too, in an unequal war where there was always going to be only one victor ... The assault on Baghdad clearly reveals that the U.S. strategy is dictated by the overweening consideration of bringing the battle to a quick end. Among the many fears about engaging in a longer war is the adverse impact it will have not only in the Arab countries but pretty much all over the world, where anti-war sentiments, coupled with anti-U.S. emotions, are growing with every passing day....  Washington never tires of repeating that it is doing whatever it can to minimize (collateral)damage, a claim which is hardly corroborated by the events on the ground....  The Iraq conflict has shown that while precision munitions may work well in open country, their use in densely-populated urban areas cannot but kill innocent people....  To make matters worse, the U.S. has demonstrated that it is not averse to liberally using far less accurate heavy artillery in urban areas....  The strategy employed to capture Baghdad and incapacitate the Saddam Hussein regime so quickly...will weigh heavily on the minds of most people are the cost at which this was achieved and the basis it provides for constructing an edifice for peace."


"The Way The U.S. Will Travel After Winning The War"


Pro-BJP Calcutta-based Bengali-language Bartaman declared (4/10):  "Even if there were a few problems down the middle, Rumsfeld's plans have become the winner.  He has taken President Bush along the path of war and he is bringing victory in the hands of the President.  In the 21st century if the American Empire takes shape, Bush will get the recognition as the vanguard.  But Rumsfeld has brought about the lion's share of his achievements.  It is because of this Powell is getting defeated in the domestic fights to Rumsfeld ... The U.S. has not waged the war as an obstinate and it is advancing with a well thought out strategy.  They are also taking calculated steps to establish the American Empire.  Mere disturbances on the streets will not help in deviating them from their goal.  These will also not help them check."


"Chief Of Baghdad" 


The centrist Times Of India editorialized (4/10):  "Having waged the war against Saddam Hussein almost entirely on its own, it is the US that will determine the destiny of Baghdad for the foreseeable future. He who holds the stick, owns the buffalo, as an old Indian saying has it. On Tuesday, after yet another summit meeting with Blair...the U.S. president was willing to concede...a 'vital role' for the UN in post-war Iraq, but it was just as well that he was not questioned too closely on the exact nature of this role.  The fact is that Washington has no plans to include the UN, in anything other than a subordinate capacity, on the political and administrative side of things. The 'vital role' that Bush spoke of is restricted purely to humanitarian relief and civil reconstruction. But even here the UN will have to work under the overall control and supervision of the American army ... On the political front, the real issue is not so much what role America will play but which arm of the US government ... Current indications suggest that it would be the Pentagon rather than the state department. As for the post-transition phase, Bush's stirring promise of a 'democratic' Iraq, running 'its own affairs', is perhaps too far-fetched to bear serious scrutiny ... Democracy may eventually come to the Arab world, but for a long while it will be one directed from Washington."


PAKISTAN:  "Iraq War:  International Community And UN Must Not Accept Any Role"


A commentary in second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt read (4/10):  "It seems as if the U.S. wants to use the international community and the United Nations to achieve its future objectives; and by creating the impression of differences with the U.K., wants to ensnare the whole world....  If the U.S. succeeds in capturing Iraq after breaking all records of barbarism and forms a government led by Jay Garner or Tommy Franks, it will be an illegal, occupation government established by military force and coercion....  Providing a legal cover for this government is a political necessity for the U.S. However, the international community and the so-called Ummah have no compulsion to recognize a foreign regime imposed on a sovereign and independent state. Recognizing such a government would mean giving America the license to replace any disliked foreign government using military might."


"U.S., U.K. Remembering The UN Now"


Karachi-based right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat opined (4/10):  "After destroying Iraq for the last nineteen days, the United States and U.K. have all of a sudden remembered the United Nations. Only 20 days back these two countries had abandoned the UN and its Security Council to attack Iraq. The forceful resistance of the Iraqi public has further blackened the faces of the U.S. and the U.K."


"Blood-Bath In Iraq"


The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer (4/10):  "Iraq is undoubtedly in a blood-bath as the U.S. and British forces have unleashed a hell of ground and air fire against the civilians in Baghdad and other cities and towns of the country.  Men, women and children with chopped off limbs are a common sight in the hospitals, which are overcrowded, besides facing serious shortage of medicines.  The situation in Baghdad is particularly critical, which has so far braved thousands of tons of bombs, besides thousands of missile and unprecedented artillery fire.  It's under virtual siege as the allied forces have encircled the historic city, which was once the cradle of knowledge and civilization."





SOUTH AFRICA: " The Fall Of Baghdad"


 Liberal Cape Times  commented (4/10):  "It will still  take a long time before the full ramifications become clear of the US/UK  military victory in Iraq yesterday....   Immediate relief must be  provided to the civilians affected in various ways by the conflict...    An immediate end must also be brought to the looting and breakdown of  order...   But that is just the beginning of what will be a long and  arduous process....   The U.S....must make room for the UN in this  process.  It cannot be both player and referee....   The UN must not  become an unintended casualty of the war in Iraq.  International peace  and security is not the exclusive concern of the U.S.  The U.S. made many  enemies through its unilateral decision....  It can still win back  some of the goodwill by not behaving graciously in victory." 


" At The End, A Rout "


Balanced Business Day commented (4/10):  "Baghdad fell to the U.S. Marines with barely a whimper...  It is possible the  Butcher of Baghdad is dead or being protected by Russia.  Politically, he  is finished...   While the war may not be over, officially, it is not  too early to take some stock....   The U.S. and British forces...have done a remarkable job - in purely military terms....   On the  other side of the coin, the misery spread among the victims of the air  attacks and artillery bombardments, the damage done to the Western body  politic in the run-up...the inevitable diversion of development funds  away from Africa now to rebuild Iraq and the new seeds of anger sown  among Muslim militants are all massive challenges for the world....  Coalition forces must quickly unearth the weapons of mass destruction....   They must rebuild what they have broken of Iraq.  And then they  must leave....   If these [WMD] are not found then the Americans and  the British have fought and died and killed for a lie.  The damage to  the world order as we know it will be incalculable."


"Underestimating Bush Can Be Costly - As Foes Find Out "


 Washington based correspondent Philip van Niekerk (International  Consortium of Investigative Journalists) writes in balanced Business  Day (4/10): " "Bush has extraordinary political instincts.  And  he compensates for his deficiencies by surrounding himself with some of  the shrewdest minds in Washington, people who understand power - how to  apply it and how to keep it....   The war has bolstered the  administration domestically....   Now that the U.S. has Baghdad by the throat,  Bush appears vindicated in the eyes of his supporters and the swing  voters.  However, much depends on what happens in the months ahead... It is questionable whether Americans will long tolerate a  drawn-out and bloody battle, particularly if the coalition forces are unable to  locate Iraq 's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction,  which is what the war and the shedding of lives was supposed to be about  in the first place...   The Democrats are starting to realize that  this Bush is a more formidable foe that the old man....  He has  launched the most radical changes in international relations since the Second  World War.  His administration is peopled by proponents of a greater US  power in the wider world and a smaller government in Washington....    By allowing his presidency to be inordinately influenced by a narrow  band of ideological neo conservatives, Bush has recruited a core of  well-motivated, well-funded, well-organized partisans who will fight to  maintain their hold on Washington. "


NIGERIA:  "Thumbs Up for U.S."


Akeem Soboyede commented in the Lagos-based independent Punch (4/10):  "A democratic Iraq that emerges from the ashes of Saddam's despotic regime would serve as a shinning example for repressed citizens in other countries in the region--the so-called 'Arab Street'--who have been sold on the lie that only the present repressive regimes can protect their 'way of life.'  If an invasion of Iraq is what it would take to changethis frightful reality, so be it.  The whole world -- not least people in the Middle East--would owe a debt of gratitude to the United States for this."


"Global Dictatorship"


Edwin Madunagu wrote in the respected Lagos-based independent Guardian (4/10):  "America abandoned the (Security) Council, gave it a one-day ultimatum, followed by a 48-hour ultimatum to President Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq, and finally a one-day ultimatum to foreigners and United Nations personnel to leave Iraq.  Two hours after the expiration of the ultimatum to Iraq, American rulers attempted to eliminate Saddam Hussein and his leading lieutenants.  Shortly after this, and in spite of huge anti-war protests across the globe, especially in America and Europe, American and British rulers launched a savage war on  Iraq.  All this while, neither the Security Council, nor the UN Secretary-General, did anything.  And they did nothing simply because they could do nothing.  The post-Cold War United Nations has become irrelevant except as post-facto American 'undertakers.'  The new global dictatorship has replaced it."


UGANDA:  "The Winner Is Bin Laden"


The government-owned, influential New Vision opined (4/10):  "Who is the winner in Iraq, Saddam or Bush?  The answer is neither; the winner is Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden hated both the Great Satan and the heretical Saddam. Now he has succeeded in getting them to destroy each other.  When he attacked the World Trade Centre 18 months ago, the whole world feared that the USA would indulge in a kneejerk act of revenge against the Muslim world. Instead, Bush and the USA...provided convincing evidence that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were responsible and that they were being hosted by the Taliban government in Afghanistan. They secured an international consensus to depose the Taliban with support from Iraq, Iran and many other Arab governments. Bin Laden eluded capture but he had been marginalised.  He had failed in his primary task of precipitating a global Islamic backlash against American hegemony.  Now bin Laden has succeeded. For whatever reason, whether in pursuit of oil or revenge for 9/11, the reckless adventurism of the Bush administration in Iraq has turned the Arab and Muslim world fiercely against the USA and Britain. Every day that the Marines remain in Iraq further reveals the hollowness of their agenda.  No WMD have been found. There has been no popular uprising. And in the end, the Americans will resort to former Ba’aathist officials to run their interim administration because they are the only Iraqi technocrats available.  What was the point?  The only beneficiary is bin Laden. American credibility is ruined. Bush has brought that global revolt against the USA one step closer."




CANADA: "Next p? American Triumphalism"


Columnist Jeffrey Simpson commented in the leading Globe and Mail  (4/10): "The war, as was often said, would be easier than the peace, and certainly shorter. For the U.S., there now awaits a self-appointed  mission of remaking Iraq into a democratic, peaceful, prosperous country -  something it has never been in a history stretching back thousands of years....  The public explanation for the U.S. strategy was to remove the threat of  these weapons of mass destruction; the weapons, after all, might be given to terrorists, who, in turn, would use them against the U.S. or its  allies. The UN inspectors found little to support these contentions. And, so far,  U.S. inspectors have found nothing.... The U.S. will have to be engaged in  Iraq for a long time in Iraq....The easy military victory will certainly surround George W. Bush at home with the aura of a commander-in-chief who knew what he wanted and how to get it. Those who encouraged the military option will have had their opinions  strengthened that the United States should never hesitate to use its vast might when vital interests are at stake, regardless of what nervous Nellies,  appeasers, doubters, multilateralists and all those mired in the 'old' ways of  thinking might say or do. American triumphalism will be deepened at home, even  while it is resented and feared abroad."


"Iraq's New Beginning After The Tyrant's Fall"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (4/10): "Mr. Rumsfeld could have sent a much larger invasion force, of course. But this war, while primarily  about hurling Mr. Hussein from power, was also about sending a message to  other regimes that the Bush administration abhors - Iran and North Korea, primarily, and auxiliary members of the axis of evil, too, especially  Syria. The message: American power is unchallengeable, it can refashion  history without breaking a sweat. Don't mess with us. This is a key reason,  though, why the world also should be uneasy about what has occurred. It is impossible not to rejoice at the liberation of Iraq's 24 million  citizens from one of the worst despots of the modern age - the man associated  with acid baths. Even those who passionately oppose the war did so knowing  that Iraqis deserve a new birth of freedom. But they wonder about  Washington's goals and about the impact on global governance if the world's sole superpower be comes all too willing to eschew the structures of multilateralism in favour of gunboat diplomacy. This will remain a  concern. The world is far better off with a speedy American victory than a  prolonged guerrilla war against Iraqi fighters that saps U.S. resolve. But the victorious troops are now an occupying force in a volatile region that,  at best, is profoundly skeptical of Western power. Many Iraqis seemed  sombre yesterday, and many across the Arab world seethed at the worst defeat  since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The Bush administration now must prove that  its motives are true - disarmament and democracy. And it must stay only so  long as to achieve it.... The international community, riven by the  diplomatic tensions of recent months, needs to come together to put Iraq on its  feet. This is the most important reconstruction project since postwar Germany  and Japan. It cannot be allowed to fail. As the war ends, so should the bickering about the war."


 "George W. Bush: Victor, Liberator"


Canada's conservative National Post editorialized (Internet version) (4/10):  "Yesterday--just three weeks after the war began--the Iraqi capital was effectively liberated, with the greatest threat to U.S. troops coming from teetering Saddam Hussein statues....  How wonderful it is to know that, after 12 maddening years of watching Saddam deceive the civilized world, his game is up.  No more UN resolutions.  No more Kofi-brokered compromises.  No more phony inspections.  Meanwhile, the euphoric spectacle that unfolded in Baghdad's Firdos Square yesterday was as inspiring as anything we've seen since the demise of the Soviet bloc.  Indeed, it is not overly optimistic to imagine that the Muslim Middle East might soon stand at the same political threshold Eastern Europe did a generation ago....  Mr. Bush's accomplishments go beyond the battlefield....  The President has done more to revamp the world's intellectual landscape than any politician of our time.  Most importantly, he has dispensed with the conceit that the 21st-century threat posed by the intersection of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and rogue power must be addressed according to the dictates of 19th-century international law....  Even if Mr. Bush resigned today, his foreign policy accomplishments would place him prominently among the most effective presidents in U.S. history."


"Victory In Iraq But Success Awaits"


The liberal Toronto Star maintained (Internet version) (4/10):  "After decades of tyranny, the feared Baathist regime is no more and the joy is evident....  U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair--and the military forces under their direction--deserve the credit for liberating Iraqis from a 24-year nightmare, in three weeks.  They have yet to uncover evidence of weapons of mass destruction, which was Bush's main pretext for this war, much less the means to deliver them.  But people are freer today, and full of hope.  That is no mean achievement....  And yet Iraq's liberation has come at a cost, not just in the thousands of lives that have been sacrificed...but also in the damage done to the United Nations, the global consensus and the rule of law.  The sheer speed and 'success' of America's first 'pre-emptive' war...may now tempt Washington to hubris, and down a reckless path....  Where will the American superpower strike next?  For what reason?  And what demands may it make of allies?


"Looking ahead, Bush must rebuild Iraq in a way that heals the U.N. rift, dispels some of the world's hostility to the Anglo/American invasion, and reassures proud Iraqis that they will not be occupied for long.  Rather than impose a lengthy American colonial administration, Bush should invite the Security Council to mandate a speedy process whereby Iraqis can take charge of their own government and legislature.  Any political program should have the U.N.'s formal blessing, and input.  And Washington should refrain from trying to stack the post-Saddam regime with American cronies....  And war criminals would best be hauled before The Hague, not U.S. military tribunals.  Bush promised Iraqis liberation, not oppression under new management.  They expect no less.  Delivery should begin today."


BRAZIL: "Baghdad's Fall"


The lead editorial in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo judged (4/10): "The  fall of Saddam Hussein's regime is good news.  Iraq and the world are better off  now that the dictator has been removed from power. Of course, this does not  mean that George W. Bush's war has become just or necessary. The tyrant's overthrow is a positive collateral effect of an irresponsible bellicose adventure.... So far, the WMD, whose existence was the main  justification for the attack, have not been found.... The end of the war seems  imminent, but Iraq and the world are far from recovering from Bush's irresponsible adventure."


 "Washington's Suburb"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political columnist Eliane Cantanhede commented (4/10): "Bush's war is coming to an end. Where are Saddam Hussein's  chemical and biological weapons? Either the dictator did not want to use them  because he is a saint, or there were no WMD. The U.S. pretext was a lie. Now,  with Bagdhad occupied, it is time to look to the future. And it is as much  or even more worrisome than the war. Of course, American newspapers are  showing pictures of U.S. flags over Baghdad and Iraqis celebrating Bush's  victory. But the open images of independent television stations have shown a different reality: just a few people surrounded by photographers really lauded the occupation.... Under the pretext of eliminating arms that  did not exist and of 'saving' people who have different religions, beliefs and culture, [the U.S. has] turned Iraq into a suburb of Washington. And  what if these people - from Iraq and its Arab neighborhood - did not want to be saved by western Christians?  And what if, as a result, 'one hundred  bin Ladens,' as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak predicts, emerge?"


"Bush's Victory"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo editorial writer Helio Schwartsman maintained (4/10): "George W. Bush will pay a high price for his triumph, but not  with coalition soldiers. To depose Saddam Hussein, Bush has sacrificed not  only the lives of thousands of Iraqis, but also the UN, NATO, the  anti-terror coalition, the U.S. image in the world and the notion that humanity  advances by creating civilized means for nations to coexist.... Bush has already undermined several international initiatives such as the Kyoto  Protocol, the ICC and the UN's consensus for the control of light arms trafficking,  to mention just a few of his achievements.... Some of his top associates  are suspected of involvement in business fraud. According to recent  reports, business groups linked to Bush's Cabinet members will be favored in contracts for the 'reconstruction' of Iraq. If [these reports] are confirmed, then it will be the legalization of pillage."         


MEXICO: "The President Fulfilled His Duty"


An editorial in old-guard nationalist El Universal (4/10) read:  "The war in Iraq is about to end.  The tortuous process of dominating a population with sufficient reasons to feel insulted will begin-thousands of lives have been changed for the worse forever.  It will not be easy too make up a government that is independent from the invading forces.  Iraq can be the first stage in the re-colonization of the Third World....  With regards to Mexico, it is obvious that President Fox acted according to the Constitution when he refused to support the invasion of Iraq.  Further, he acted with the full backing of the Mexican people.  He has been transparent, fair and honest. Once the worse moments of the conflict are gone, perhaps President Bush will be capable of understanding why the Mexican President acted as he did. There is no reason for Bush to feel disappointed: there have been no double talk or deception, but transparency, openness and fulfilling responsibilities....  It might not always be possible to agree on everything, but we coincide on a number of issues.  Let's understand the former and continue to expand the latter."


"Who's Next?"


Jesus Ortega writes in business-oriented El Financiero (4/10):  "Only 23 days were enough to confirm that barbarism contradicts humanity's future.... The military operations led by the United States and its allies to invade Iraq will be accompanied by a ritual performed by the media that honors victory.  Whose is this victory, when the world is being threatened by a power that has taken a path against humanity...?  The U.S. unipolar world that resulted after 9/11, has a counterpart in the sketch of a society that preconceived multilateralism.... to rule over the world.  This means war does not fit anymore in today's world, neither the role of a superpower over international organizations; this is the only way to avoid humanity to remain subject to the will of weapons."


PANAMA: "The Real War"


Attorney Juan David Morgan's oped published in independent La Prensa (4/9):  "To keep its world leadership, the United States will have to overcome the contradictions, paradigms, and double standards that have tarnished some of its actions in the international arena.… Today, the United States, being the only world power, cannot and should not make mistakes in the international arena because the harmful effects of its mistakes will be suffered by all of humanity.… It is time for the leaders of the great nation [U.S.] to stop, reflect, and understand that in today's world they cannot look for momentary solutions to resolve complex and long range problems -- just as it was understood by that nation's admirable leaders, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt when the foundations were laid to establish their country as the paradigm of democracy, humanism and liberty."


"Reflection Of A Friend Of The United States"


Independent La Prensa also carried an op-ed by Octavio Vallarino Arias (4/9):  "Rejection of war is universal, because normal people detest it.… The U.N. Security Council failed because not enough pressure was applied to Hussein.… Why wasn't Hussein asked to turn in Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or to leave power to avoid war?… How would the world be today without America's intervention in conflicts in world history?  Probably Europe would be a Great Germany; Noriega would still be in power; Cedras in Haiti; Castro would own Grenada; etc.  I don't agree with those that state that the Americans have invaded Iraq for their oil...I have never seen the Americans conquer or invade a country in order to take possession of its property.  It did not happen in Japan or Germany.  On the contrary, they [U.S.] helped to reconstruct both countries.… The root to so many anti American feelings in the Arab countries comes from the envy they have of the powerful western country."


PERU: "Bush's Nephews"


Serious tabloid Correo editorialized (4/9): “One of the global consequences of the...military attack on Iraq...will certainly be the resurgence of leftist groups…  In Peru...public opinion will associate the U.S. attack...with… abuse of market policies and expansion of capitalist groups.…  Even liberal groups have criticized the neo-conservative fundamentalism of Washington’s Republican Party representatives.… Free markets and democracy will be affected by the war.” 


VENEZUELA:  "The End Of Saddam Hussein"


Leading Venezuelan national liberal daily of record El Nacional commented (4/10): "From a military point of view, the situation is finally decided in favor of the American-British alliance.  A giant statue of Hussein in the center of Baghdad was toppled by the Iraqis themselves, cheered and watched by Marines close by.... The symbolism of the fall of Baghdad and the chaotic scenes of people sacking palaces were more than sufficient signs to think that this is closer to the end than the beginning....  The end of dictatorships and strongman regimes seems to obey universal rules.... Nonetheless, winning the war does not mean that Washington and London have won the peace....  Reconstruction is a name given to many things.  It involves the political and economic influence in the region and the Muslim world.  It involves the control of Iraq's oil, whose reserves can determine the destiny of OPEC.  It involves control of the great wealth of Iraq in foreign banks.  It involves the participation of different companies specializing the arduous, costly and complex work to come.  Finally, and not least, it involves selecting the Iraqis who will form the post-Saddam government and building the bases of an open society. All this has the apparently simple name of 'reconstruction.'  By extension, it also means 'the role of the UN.  In other words, no to the monopoly of the U.S."




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