International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

May 13, 2003

May 13, 2003





**  Lifting sanctions on Iraq is "indispensable" to aiding the country's recovery.


**  Critics assail draft resolution for relegating the UN to the "sidelines" in Iraq's reconstruction.


**  Claims that America's "hidden agenda" includes control of the "spoils of war."




'There are no arguments against the lifting of sanctions'--  Commentary reflected a widespread belief that lifting sanctions on Iraq was the "common sense" thing to do "to help the economically crippled Iraqis back on their feet."  The argument that UN weapons inspectors should first verify the lack of WMD, said Spain's conservative ABC, "is a show of cynicism."  A conservative Canadian daily agreed that continuing with sanctions "would be hypocritical and reinforce the damage they've already done."  A distinctly minority view was expressed by one centrist Russian outlet that professed the matter "not so simple" and that the UN's post-war role was "a stumbling block" to approving the resolution.  Another Russian paper countered, however, that "to use the UN as an instrument of struggle against Washington" only helped those eager to undermine the UN. 


Coalition's draft resolution blasted for "downgrading" and "degrading" the UN--  Skeptics carped that the U.S. had introduced a "victor's resolution" that would mean "the UN will play the second fiddle in Iraq" and be limited to the role of "just an observer."  Singapore's pro-government Straits Times complained that while making "explicit references to the UN," the draft resolution "does not seem to give the world body the vital role" promised it by President Bush.  A leftist British daily contended the U.S. was trying to "steamroller" the resolution through the UNSC.  French papers judged that "the UN is being robbed of its powers" and that the resolution's call for recognizing the Coalition as the "Authority" in Iraq was "an attack on the Charter."  Zambia's independent Post said U.S. intentions were to install "a puppet regime that will follow its wishes and secure its interests."   Other analysts said adopting the resolution would amount to "retroactive UN recognition" of the legitimacy of the war.   


Suspicion is widespread that U.S. policy is driven by oil, reconstruction contracts for U.S. firms--  The Bush administration's handling of the first contracts for rebuilding Iraq, held Thailand's The Nation, "has only bolstered the belief that the war was waged for oil and to enrich Bush cronies."  A liberal Canadian daily held that "Bush and Blair did not bother with nuances" and that the sale of Iraq's oil thus would "not be subject to legal proceedings."  Denmark's left-wing Information noted that U.S. oil companies had been "frozen out" of Saddam's Iraq and contended "it is not difficult to guess who will benefit" if oil contracts were redistributed.  An Asian daily warned that any "Iraq Authority" that was seen "to favor U.S. or British companies...will rapidly lose its legitimacy."


EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 50 reports from 27 countries, May 9-13, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Yanks Go Home"


Jonathan Steele commented in the left-of-center Guardian (5/12):  "The speed with which the U.S. is forfeiting the goodwill it had in Iraq is breathtaking....  The draft resolution on Iraq which the U.S. put forward at the UN last Friday adds to the suspicions.  It makes no mention of letting UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq.  It threatens within four months to abolish the system of subsidised food rations on which 60% of Iraqis depended before the war, and which even more need now that the economy has collapsed.  It awards the U.S. almost total control over Iraq's oil revenues.


"The U.S. is trying to steamroller the resolution through the Security Council with the argument that sanctions must be lifted urgently to help the Iraqi people....  Lifting sanctions is important, but it is far more necessary to lift the occupation....  The notion that U.S. advisers should sit in every Iraqi ministry is an insult.  So, too, is the idea that Iraq needs any kind of foreign occupying power or 'authority,' as the U.S. draft resolution euphemistically calls it.  Once Iraq has an interim government, perhaps within the next month, the concept of outside supervision becomes unnecessary.  Political resistance to any U.S. role is already strong, and the longer Washington overstays its welcome, the more likely it is that opponents of occupation will turn to arms....  Instead of arguing over the powers which the U.S. and its British ally seek, the security council should not grant them any powers at all."


"Nauseating Hypocrisy From The Axis Of Weasels"


Stephen Pollard penned this op-ed in the conservative Times (5/9):  "They’re back.  Just when you thought the axis of weasels might have had the grace to leave Iraq alone, France and Russia have once again resumed their favourite pastime--making the lives of ordinary Iraqis as unpleasant as possible.  Not content with propping up Saddam Hussein by doing as much business with him as possible; not content with supplying Saddam with 70 per cent of his weapons (according to the internationally recognised Stockholm International Peace Research Institute); not content with doing their best to keep Saddam in power by trying to prevent the coalition from taking action; not content with doing all of that, France and Russia have found a new means to help to ensure that Iraqis suffer.  They have turned their attention to the UN sanctions against Iraq, and are fighting Anglo-American attempts to have them lifted....  The fact that Iraq has begun the delicate, troubled process of rebuilding itself might lead you to think that the case for dropping sanctions is so obvious and overwhelming that it barely needs to be made....  There are no arguments, respectable or otherwise, against the lifting of sanctions.  There is only the truly shameful, hypocritical, self-centred spectacle of the axis of weasels wanting to punish the Iraqi people for the failure of their foreign policies."


FRANCE:  "The UN Downgraded"


Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (5/12):  “Iraq is back at the UN.  Some of President Bush’s hardliners would have preferred to bypass the UN altogether.  For them, everything in the multilateral system that can limit Washington’s actions, is to be condemned....  But all those who consider that the UN, with its imperfections, embodies international legality are glad to see the Iraqi issue back before the UNSC.  Washington knows that its prolonged presence in Iraq must have the UN’s seal of approval....  But the UN will have no political role.  Its area of activity will be limited to humanitarian actions.  What this means is that the UN is being robbed of its powers, as defined by the UN Charter....  The situation is more complex than it appears on the surface: it is revealing as to Washington’s attitude toward the international scene.  It proves its intentions of being a solitary empire because of what it endured on Sept.11 and because of its military hegemony.”


"An Attack On The UN Charter"


Richard Labeviere held on Radio France Internationale (5/12):  “The draft resolution presented at the UN seeks to limit the UN role to humanitarian issues.  Not only do the Americans want to reserve the management of Iraq’s oil reserves to the coalition forces, they want the UN and its member nations to pay for humanitarian aid and Iraq’s reconstruction.  This is a first at the UNSC: it is an attack on the spirit of the UN Charter itself.”




Patrick Sabatier contended in left-of-center Liberation (5/9):  “Every day that passes proves to the Americans that it is easier to topple a third world dictatorship than to rebuild a prosperous and free society.  Iraq has been freed from tyranny, but chaos is threatening....  While Iraq has not disintegrated...there is still no economic activity and insecurity is everywhere....  The Bush administration must have expected that transition would not be easy.  Yet the U.S. appears to be much less prepared for the aftermath of war than for war.  Having found no WMD, the only way to tone down the hostility felt around the world against the war is to bring democracy to the Iraqis.  The U.S. is asking the UN to lift the sanctions against Iraq.  This is commendable.  But it is keeping the UN on the sidelines of the reconstruction....  There is another danger facing the Americans: faced with such quagmires, they may turn their backs on Iraq and its problems too soon, like they did in Afghanistan, a liberated country still in the grips of insecurity and instability.”


"Massive Destruction"


Bruno Frappat opined in Catholic La Croix (5/9):  “Years of American impatience and embargo; months of diplomatic battles; a month of war: what are the results?  The dictatorship has been toppled, but there is no new administration for Iraq, while its people are on their knees and divided....  Once again we need to be patient and wait to see whether long-term results will prove, after the fact, whether the war was after all legitimate, or whether a mistake guided America’s hand from start to finish.  At this stage and without being intimidated by the victors, who believe that a victory is enough to silence the world’s questions, we need to remind everyone that the original reason for waging this war was nothing but a lure.  Where are the supposedly threatening WMD?  Was it necessary to destroy the country, along with its regime, in order to verify that Iraq did not have WMD?  No one will cry for the lost regime, but this is not a sufficient reason for an empire, be it a democracy, to impose its reasoning simply because it is an empire.  Its might alone is not enough to impose its solitary sovereignty.”


GERMANY:  "Bush’s Provocation"


Rolf Paasch commented in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (5/10):  “The winner takes all.  This is how the eight-page UN resolution could be labeled.  With this proposal for lifting UN sanctions, the Bush administration is signaling those who rejected the war that they can at best provide the personnel for the reconstruction and democratization of Iraq, but they are not the decision makers....  Ideology, unilateral power projection and retaliation are the motors of American foreign policy under George Bush.  Pragmatism and the painful consensus-building are only for losers.  At the same time the motives of those who reject lifting the sanctions are questionable.  As much as it is justified to call for the return of the UN inspectors, the end of the embargo as called for by Washington is indispensable.  To let the Iraqis pay the price for the weakness of the UN would only by a cynical European answer to the cynical provocation of the Bush administration.”




Guenter Nonnenmacher noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (5/9):  “For Washington, a resolution that lifts the sanctions on Iraq is a litmus test to repair the damaged relations with the allies.  This resolution is smartly chosen:  Those who for political reason or for reasons of international law block the adoption of such a resolution, can be accused of fighting for prestige on the backs of the Iraqis.  The timing is also favorable:  The governments in Paris and Berlin have signaled that they want to cooperate again with the leading Western power.  But the matter is not that simple.  France and Germany must now be able to act together in order to avoid further friction.  And both will try to prevent their relations with Russia from being damaged.  But the French in particular will see to it that their approval will not be interpreted as a gesture of humility but as a compromise.  But remarks by Security Advisor Rice still create the impression that the U.S. agenda towards Paris is still dominated by the term 'punishment.'  This creates again a well-known foreign policy constellation.  But the Berlin government should not allow anybody to impose its will on Germany.”


"Tightrope Act To Baghdad"


Stefan Ulrich judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/9):  “We must concede to the U.S. government that it has a clear view on the post-war order in Iraq and elsewhere.  France is to atone for its policy in the Iraq conflict, Germany and Turkey are to apologize, and the UN is allowed to help a bit, but otherwise should shut up.  This expectation hides the conviction of the Bush team that the success gives them all the rights it need.  That is why they are now self-confidently demanding the lifting of UN sanctions on Iraq and giving the U.S. a free hand in reconstructing the country.  This makes clear to war opponents, multilateralists and friends of international law, the dilemma they are now faced with.  One the one hand, they must wish the U.S. success in pacifying Iraq in the interest of Iraq and the Mideast, and, on the other hand, they know that a U.S. success will fatten the hubris in the White House and confirm those who want to ignore the UN and international law in the next conflict.  This situation makes it so difficult for the UNSC to find the right answer to the U.S. draft resolution....  In theory, only the UN, not the occupiers, can legitimately lead Iraq in this transition stage.  In reality, however, this claim cannot be implemented as long as Washington ignores it.  But the UNSC should avoid being turned into a fig leaf for the Bush administration policy.  That is why it should approve a UN role in Iraq only if it is really as ‘vital’ as Secretary of State Powell promised it.”


"Dirty Business"


Center-left tabloid Berliner Kurier (5/9) had this to say:  “The U.S. wants to lift sanctions on Iraq immediately.  This is reasonable, the poorest of the poor in the country suffered from the embargo, not the ones who should really suffer....  Saddam is ousted and now the boycott is also to be lifted.  This is logical and makes common sense, but obviously not all politicians have this common sense.  People in the Kremlin, for instance, are opposed to a general lifting of the UN sanctions.  The mock argument is the resolution itself, which requires as evidence WMD, which do not exist.  The truth is that in reality everything centers on business and influence.  While discussions are going on and debates are postponed, the people [in Iraq] continue to starve and die, but now in freedom.  This is the sad thing and politics is turning into a dirty business.”


ITALY:  "Bush: International Control Over Iraqi Oil"


Stefano Trincia wrote from New York in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero (5/9):  “George Bush goes back to the UN as the winner and governor of Iraq.  This time, by requesting the UN's formal end of the sanctions imposed on Saddam for over a decade, the President intends to get from the Security Council an official recognition of Iraq’s post-war set up.  Along with Great Britain and Spain, today, the White House is going to submit a resolution, which establishes the revocation of the sanctions, but maintains the embargo on the weapons....  Despite all efforts to reconcile with the front opposing the war, including France, Germany and Russia, the resolution might not have an easy course at the UN.”


RUSSIA:  "Cooperation With The U.S. Is A Must"


Sergey Karaganov, chairman of Russia's Council for Foreign and Defense Policies, wrote in reformist Izvestiya (5/13):  "Russia must have taken the game of inspectors and disarmament seriously, adjusting its policy, including in the UN, accordingly.  If we were trying to dissuade the United States from attacking Iraq, standing up for international law, which is increasingly and clearly at variance with economic and political realities, that policy was naïve and doomed right from the outset.  If we were trying to safeguard the UN and our position in it, our efforts were, and for the most part, remain, counterproductive.  To argue now that we were right and the Americans and British were wrong and to clamor for 'proof' is hardly constructive and incites mutual distrust.  If the UN is to be maintained and reformed successfully, cooperation with the United States is a must.  To use the UN as an instrument of struggle against Washington is to help those who want this organization written off.  The Iraq operation has just born out the simple truth that the United States is the only surviving superpower.  It has bolstered the United States' position still further....  So far, there has been no sign of the United States weakening.  Few people may like that, but to acknowledge it means that to have friendly relations with the United States, as a rule, pays, but to be in confrontation with it hurts."


"Next Month May See Iraqi Oil In World Market"


Konstantin Frumkin held in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/13): "There are virtually no arguments in favor of continued sanctions.  The question that remains is about the UN's role in postwar Iraq governance."


"Seizing Oil Thru UN"


Igor Fedyukin contended in business-oriented Vedomosti (5/12):  "The U.S. has agreed to discuss Iraq's future in the UN and even calls itself an 'occupying power.'  In return, the Coalition demands that all anti-Iraq sanctions be lifted.  The Americans are going to run that country for an indefinite time.  In the meantime America's Kellogg Brown & Root, close to the Vice President, has secured a right to extract and distribute oil in Iraq....  Chances are that the U.S. resolution will be adopted because Washington has assumed responsibility for Iraq reconstruction and allows for the UN's formal participation in controlling and distributing profits from oil."


"Moscow, Paris, Berlin, Beijing Ready For Constructive Dialogue"


Andrey Terekhov observed in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/12):  "Even though all recognize that the draft resolution virtually allows Washington to get hold of Iraqi oil, the world's reaction has been mostly positive, according to Secretary Powell.  Washington would like the document's fate to be decided by June 3....  But diplomats, primarily in Moscow and Paris, point out that the text is 'not simple' and will take time to examine.  Even so, Moscow, Paris, Berlin and Beijing are ready for a 'constructive dialogue' with the U.S....  The UN's role in postwar Iraq clearly remains a stumbling block."


"Sanctions To Be Lifted On U.S. Terms"


Nikolai Snezhkov filed from Washington for reformist Vremya Novostey (5/12):  "It is a victor's resolution and its tone is victorious, too.  Some American commentators find the text of the resolution tougher than expected.  The idea, they say, is to provide room for bargaining."


"Calm Reaction"


Svetlana Babayeva noted on page-one of reformist Izvestiya (5/12):  "The worldwide reaction to the resolution has been quite calm--over the past few weeks the U.S. has made it plain whom it wants to see in a new Iraq and in what capacity.  There has been no outcry over the fact that the UN has been assigned the role of just an observer."


AUSTRIA:  "The American Scandal In Iraq"


Senior editor Hans Rauscher commented in liberal Der Standard (5/9):  “The U.S. has appointed a new civilian governor in Iraq....  It is to be hoped that this is going to change the--by now almost criminal--negligence of the U.S. in post-war Iraq.  True, the U.S. has conquered Iraq in a Blitzkrieg, but it is neglecting the responsibilities laid out by international law on occupying forces....  It is partly a deliberate, partly an incompetent negligence.  The Bush administration wanted a quick, relatively effortless victory--and they got it....  But apparently they were insufficiently prepared for the essentials in the aftermath, not to mention the fact of political miscalculations: Radical Shiites are about to take control of the south of Iraq--again, because the Americans did not provide help or establish order.  But the negligence in Iraq also has an element of deliberate policy-making: 'We are not into nation-building,' is the mantra of the conservative ideologists around Donald Rumsfeld.  The U.S. military is supposed to just come in, win, and leave again as soon as possible--leaving a U.S.-friendly government behind, of course.  Allies, or the UN, or the EU, who could take care of the reconstruction, are also not particularly welcome.  And the result is inevitably a humanitarian crisis.  How Iraq can possibly become the 'democratic model' for the Middle East under these circumstances is Rumsfeld's secret.  The overthrow of Saddam Hussein was the positive element in this war, but now the politics of the Bush administration are about to destroy even that.”


BELGIUM:  "Iraq Sanctions"


Foreign editor Jean Vanempten wrote in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd (5/10):  “One must not be surprised that the U.S. wants the lifting of all UN sanctions and a free hand in Iraq’s oil production.  In that event, the U.S. can simply turn Iraq into a protectorate.  One will have to wait and see whether it is successful.  The more the people suffer from chaos and disorder, the more they will turn away from the invading troops....  If the U.S. and the coalition troops do not succeed in normalizing the situation, they will confront more and more problems....  That is why the coalition troops should not only start the reconstruction and install a political regime, but also rapidly establish a transparent judicial system that ends chaos.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Commissioner Nielson's Mistake"


Frantisek Sulc commented in center left Lidove noviny (5/10):  "When the EU Commissioner Paul Nielson said that 'the U.S. has taken hold of the Iraqi oil' he was mistaken.  At this point, there is nobody in Iraq, who would is in a position to administer the profits coming from the export of oil.  With all probability, these profits would end up in the hands of various interest groups and ordinary people would gain nothing from them.  The Europeans have a chance to participate in the deal, but only through cooperation, not by rejecting proposals."


"UN As Outsider"


Adam Cerny maintained in the leading business Hospodarske noviny (5/12):  "It is evident that the UN will play the second fiddle in Iraq.  This degrading role is, however, only the result of the strained relationship among the key members of the UNSC....  Not until they're able to achieve consensus, will the UN be sought as the mediator of conflicts and the medium that will forestall increased international tensions through negotiations."


DENMARK:  "Incomprehensible That U.S. Is Ignoring UN"


Center-left Politiken commented (5/13):  "After Saddam's fall, long-term American engagement seems crucial.  It is vital that America is able to deal effectively with the situation and incomprehensible that Washington seems to think that it can manage without the assistance of the UN."


"American Oil"


Left-wing Information judged (5/10):  "Under Saddam, French and Russian companies enjoyed lucrative contracts...while ExxonMObil, BP-Amoco, Shell and ChevronTexaco were out in the cold.  If a redistribution of contracts is initiated, it is not difficult to guess who will benefit."


"Open U.S. Is Willing To Listen"


Center-right Jyllands-Posten asserted (5/10):  "PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen's meeting with President Bush showed the Americans to be flexible and considerate regarding allied wishes in connection with Iraq.  But, if Iraqi reconstruction should end up being administered by the U.S. and its allies alone, [U.S. critical Danish EU Commissioner] Poul Nielson will be partly to blame."


NORWAY:  "New Fights About Iraq’s Future"


The newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (5/9):  "Secretary Powell says that America’s resolution suggestion aims to give the UN a considerable role in Iraq.  If this means that the world organization really becomes a part in forming the new Iraq, there is reason to welcome the proposal.  If it just becomes a formality and the U.S. keeps all power, the proposal is not acceptable.  The problems are many, some are urgent, and the solution for them decisive for developments in Iraq, in the Middle East and internationally.  They must be solved.  We support Powell’s request that the Security Council must not fight old battles over again.”


POLAND:  "Race For Reconstruction"


Roman Przasnyski judged in centrist Rzeczpospolita (5/10):  “Americans certainly want to avoid antagonizing the world public, especially given the reservations and objections toward the intervention in Iraq.  Consequently, we can expect a just division of the ‘spoils.’  Therefore, the U.S.' recent allies should not count on special treatment.  Besides, as it is usually with Americans, business elements of offers will matter most.”


PORTUGAL:  "After The War"


Senior editor Jorge Almeida Fernandes opined in influential moderate-left Público (5/11):  "The UN is being associated with reconstruction and the Security Council will be called upon to pronounce the end of sanctions.  But with no illusions.  The UN will have to legitimize the American reconstruction and furnish the resources for humanitarian aid.  International sovereign jurisdiction resides in Washington, not in New York....  The U.S. is preparing to reorganize the international field according to new rules of the game--its own."


ROMANIA:  "Post-War Iraq"


Ioana Lupea, editor-in-chief of independent Cotidianul declared (5/12):  “The conquest of Baghdad is not only a method through which the U.S. has solved its energy problems in the long term, as some have simply interpreted, but an action which will force the UN to reform itself in terms of preemptive action.  The UN cannot remain apart from the major cases now taken over by the U.S., such as the creation of a Palestinian state, unification of the two Koreas in the not too distant future, and a solution of the dispute over Kashmir.”      


SPAIN:  "Spain, The Occupier"


Left-of-center El País argued (5/13):  "If there is no resolution of the UN Security Council to create a stabilization force, sending a contingent of Spanish soldiers to Iraq would mean the direct implication of our country in a military occupation outside of international legality."


"Ending Sanctions On Iraq"


Conservative ABC held (5/9):  "There is little reason to refuse lifting sanctions at this moment.  The argument that the UN should first certify that there are no WMD anymore, above all on the part of those who denied their existence or doubted they were a real threat, is a show of cynicism.  Resorting to weakening even more the UN [is] an attempt to hide visible individual economic interests....  From the political point of view, [the suspension of the sanctions] would strengthen the influence of the Allies to the detriment of the Russian influence inherited from the USSR."


"A Month Without Saddam"


Centrist La Vanguardia commented (5/9):  "It is surprising that yesterday, 30 days after the collapse of the Baath regime, Great Britain called together representatives of armies from 15 countries for a secret meeting to discuss the contribution of each to a stabilization force.  It seems that this should have been a question already solved and reinforces the idea of a certain lack of foresight."




TUNISIA:  "From The Frying Pan To The Fire"


Senior editor Hajer Jeridi held in independent French language Le Temps (5/9):  "Faced with anarchy, the 'Liberators' of Iraq find themselves overwhelmed by their own plans.  The country seems to be unmanageable, its problems unsolvable and its priorities difficult to establish....  It is true that Iraq has lived for a long time under dictatorship and tyranny.  The scandals of the former regime and the extortion made to the detriment of its people, having been revealed to the public, show us that the Iraqis had nothing to lose and everything to gain from the fall of the regime.  But to see them today lacking all basic necessities, threatened in their security, health and subsistence, being left to their own devices and dealing with the dramatic consequences of three destructive wars and a fatal embargo, we wonder if Iraq has not gone from the frying pan into the fire....  It is illusory to say that order has been restored by the simple creation of a transition government.  No opposition party has been unanimously approved in the country.  Each ethnic group wants to compete and boast its success.  The divisions are many, the wounds are deep and the supposed Iraqi union seems to be only an illusion....  Talking about reconstruction and reconciliation in this incandescent confusion, are just simple words that have no link with reality."




AUSTRALIA:  "A Rough Start In New Iraq"


The liberal Sydney Morning Herald held (5/13):  “Still flushed with its swift and complete victory in war, the United States cannot allow itself to be swamped by the difficulties of the peace....  Washington is committed to restoring Iraq as a functioning, democratic state.  The danger now is not necessarily that the U.S. will assume too dominant a role in Iraq's affairs, but that it will turn its back on the task of rebuilding before it has been properly completed.  The fear for Iraq is that there will be either an incomplete resolution of the task of building a new, independent and viable democracy--as has been the unhappy experience in Afghanistan--or something worse."


CHINA:  "The UN Is Suffering Greatly"


Zhu Feng commented in the official Communist Youth League China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao)(5/12):  “On the one hand, the new resolution displays the realistic need for reconstructing Iraq, on the other hand, it means the confrontation within the UN Security Council for the past several months will be over....  If the UN suddenly can’t play a central role in Iraqi reconstruction, its twelve years of work will become ‘a good start but a poor ending’.  What’s more important, afterwards, it will start a bad precedent that the UN can’t do anything on important regional issues since the end of Cold War.”


"The UN Role Facing Test Again"


Guo Lijun and Duan Jiyong commented in the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (5/11):  “Analysts think that the U.S. and other countries have put forward the new proposal aiming at two goals....  Their major goal is to pursue economic benefits and lay down the economic burden of the future Iraq government through lifting sanctions.  Meanwhile, the U.S. can realize its interests through the opportunity the war has given it to control Iraq trade.  Their minor goal is using the new proposal as a way of testing contacts with other UNSC members on how they feel about the Iraqi political arrangements and the issue of avoiding nuclear inspection, so that, in the end, if any UNSC resolution doesn’t serve U.S. interests it would be annulled....  The U.S. and UK used military force against a sovereign country without authorization from the UN....  The new proposal has made a new challenge to the function of the UN in the international affairs.  The result of diplomatic fights in the UNSC on the new proposal would be an essential factor for the future function of the UN.”


"There Is A Hidden Deep Goal In The Proposal To Lift Sanctions"


Guo Lijun, Duan Jiyong and Fang Ming commented in official, popular Beijing Youth Daily

(Beijing Qingnianbao) (5/11):  “Analysts think the new proposal...has a major goal: to pursue economic interests....  Beside, once the proposal is approved, the international community would have to accept the fact of a post-war Iraq, so that the war initiated by the U.S. unilaterally would be legitimized and the Iraqi regime, which the U.S. is actively building, would be a ‘legal government.'”


"The U.S. Cornered The UN"


Liang Yan commented in the official Communist Party Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)(5/12):  "This is the first time that the U.S. returned to the UN framework to settle leftover issues of Iraq through UN resolutions since initiating the Iraq war without UN authorization....  Media indicate that if the proposal gets approved, it would show the UN has got no choice but to accept the fact of being marginalized.  The UN has been forced into a corner.”


"UN Must Not Be Sidelined'


Hu Xuan commented in the official English-language China Daily (5/12):  “Outlining a U.S. vision for post-war Iraq that is sharply at odds with that of the majority of the international community, the proposal shows little inclination towards giving the UN much say in Iraq's foreseeable future....  Worse, any UNSC resolution to authorize the U.S.-led reconstruction of post-war Iraq might give Washington the retroactive UN recognition it craves to legitimize its war against Iraq.  Hence, the international community, particularly the UNSC, should keep a clear head about what is to be done in its name.”


JAPAN:  "UNSC Must Move To Lift Sanctions Against Iraq"


The top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri editorialized (5/11):  "The U.S., Britain and Spain have submitted a draft resolution that would remove all sanctions that were imposed on Iraq in 1990.  The UNSC must adopt this resolution or another one based on it at an early date to help the economically crippled Iraqis back on their feet....  Financial resources and international assistance are indispensable to Iraq's reconstruction....  Japan, which supported the U.S.-led war on Iraq, has responsibility for assisting in the reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure, medical care and transportation of reconstruction materials in a positive manner.  The GOJ can no longer waste any more time in legislating a new law that could enable SDF troops to go to Iraq on a reconstruction mission."  


"It Takes Two to Wrestle"


The liberal Asahi observed (5/9):  "It has been one month since the Saddam Hussein dictatorship collapsed.  Although President Bush has declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq, a state of anarchy and confusion remains.  It will not be easy to rebuild the postwar national framework of Iraq where many rival ethnic, tribal and religious groups exist.  The U.S., which has deployed about 130,000 troops in Iraq, has been hopeful that Iraqis will become more cooperative with the U.S.-led 'liberation army' in rebuilding their nation.  But the U.S. cannot maintain security in a satisfactory manner, as disgruntled Iraqis have clashed with U.S. troops.  To restore public order, the establishment of an interim Iraqi authority should be hastened. The DOD's ORHA, joined by pro-U.S. Iraqi groups, is trying to establish the interim authority by the end of this month.  But the smooth formation of such an authority is not certain, as more and more Iraqis have become distrustful of the U.S. military administration, while tribal and religious rivalries continue.  The interim authority, even if established as planned, would not be able to function well without strong support from Shiite groups who have lived through Hussein's oppression."


PHILIPPINES:  "The Iraq Question In A Multipolar World"


The independent Manila Times commented (5/12):  "The draft resolution seeks to bless the U.S.-led Coalition's occupation of Iraq....  America and Britain will really be calling the shots....  France and Russia may have more reasons to object to those arrangements....  These two countries know that giving control of Iraq to America will further strengthen it as the world's only pole of power and influence....  The Iraq Question is likely to prove another venue in which the concept of a multipolar world will be tested.  The emerging poles--seeking to challenge the American pole--are Europe, and possibly a new Moscow-Beijing alliance.  Perhaps, with U.S. and Saudi relations souring up, there will also come to emerge an Islamist pole of power and influence."


SINGAPORE:  "Healing In The UN?"


The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (5/13):  "It is indeed time for everyone to put behind them the bitter divisions preceding the war.  At stake is not only the Western alliance, but also the well-being of the Iraqi people.  Whatever hope there is for peace in the region hinges on a quick and successful transition to a new government in Baghdad.  That is an outcome in everyone's interest.  The proposed resolution, though, is not perfect and leaves unanswered as many questions as it answers.  For one thing, it makes explicit references to the UN, but does not seem to give the world body the 'vital role' that U.S. President George W. Bush had promised....  Notwithstanding these shortcomings, the proposed resolution is still a step in the right direction.  At the very least, it brings the UN back into play--with the 'Authority' implicitly acknowledging that it is no 'Authority' unless the UN says it is--and opens the way for the participation of international organizations in Iraq's reconstruction.  Much will depend, of course, on how the resolution is implemented.  If the 'Authority' uses the Assistance Fund or the Iraqi oil industry, say, to favor U.S. or British companies, it will rapidly lose its legitimacy.  But if it manages the transition to a democratic Iraq properly--and involves the UN meaningfully in that process--then the wounds that were opened before and during the war may at last be healed."


THAILAND:  "Spoils Of War For U.S. Corporates"


The lead editorial in independent, English language The Nation judged (5/13):  “The reconstruction of Iraq is the biggest such engineering project since the rebuilding of Germany and Japan in the wake of World War II....  Given the great international skepticism about the necessity for the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration should have taken the high road...and invited an international administration to handle the management of Iraq’s reconstruction and its wealth.  Instead, its handling of the first wave of multimillion-dollar contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq has only bolstered the belief that the war was waged for oil and to enrich Bush cronies.  As U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put it after looters plundered Iraq’s priceless antiquities while U.S. marines guarded the oil ministry: ‘Democracy is an untidy business.’  It certainly is the way it’s practiced in Bush’s Washington.”




INDIA:  "Blueprint Iraq"


The centrist Times of India editorialized (5/13):  "There was never any doubt that the United States and its allies will be the sole arbiters of post-war Iraq's political and economic destinies.  Even so, the U.S. resolution on the subject, introduced in the UN is something of a revelation....  The strategy for controlling Iraq was finalized way before the battle plans were worked out.  The alleged weapons of mass destruction were only the means to that end....  To be sure, Washington does see a minimal role in Iraq's reconstruction for the UN and other international financial organizations....  Washington cannot on its own lift sanctions.  It has also to depend on financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank to restructure Iraq's debt and stabilize its currency.  The big picture, though, is that the U.S. will manage the actual running of Iraq, and more crucially, control its oil revenues."


PAKISTAN:  "It's All About Principles"


Mubasher Luckan contended in the center-right national Nation (5/9):  "The objective of keeping the UN away from Iraq doesn't stem from contempt for the UN because it dared to oppose the mighty U.S. war crusade, or because the Americans feel that the UN must be kept at a distance and taught some meaningful lessons.  The reason is also not because the Americans want us to believe that they actually went in to liberate the Iraqi people from the tentacles of a mighty and cruel dictator, but more importantly once the war is officially over the U.S. would be held fully responsible for its actions on the ground in Iraq.  And the chances are that it could be prosecuted for many war crimes in Iraq.  Consequently, any witnesses other than the coalition members are definitely not welcome....  Only once an Iraqi government agreeable to the U.S. authorities is formed, and an accord of the sort signed that would legitimize the American presence in Iraq absolving it of any misdemeanors or breach of the Geneva Convention; will the war be declared over"




ZAMBIA:  "U.S. Seeks Puppet Regime"


The independent The Post editorialized (5/9):  "The U.S. draft resolution on Iraq appears to leave nearly all power in the hands of the U.S. and its allies.  There's a need for a strong role for the UN in Iraq and not to allow the country to become a U.S. colony....  It is only the UN that can guarantee Iraq's sovereignty and self determination.  What the U.S. is seeking in Iraq is not sovereignty and self-determination for that country but to install a puppet regime that will follow its wishes and secure its interests.  What the world is experiencing today is clearly not liberation but a resurgence of colonialism, fascism and its brutal intent to control the planet....  No democratic government that will emerge in Iraq."




CANADA:  "Let Iraq Trade Freely"


The nationalist Ottawa Citizen opined (5/10):  "France and Russia tried to get sanctions against Iraq lifted in the 1990s in exchange for lucrative contracts with Saddam's regime.  Then they tried to prevent the war to protect the deals they'd made with that regime.  They've also been major traders with Iraq under the oil-for-food program they want to maintain.  Continuing to insist on sanctions would be hypocritical, and reinforce the damage they've already done.  It's time they made amends, to the Americans and to Iraqis." 


"Sidelining The UN"


Editorialist Serge Truffaut maintained in the liberal Le Devoir of Montreal (5/10):  "The role handed out to the UN would be limited to a humanitarian one...freed from the obligations contained in past resolutions.  Bush and Blair thus intend to govern Iraq for an initial period of twelve months and to take care of the oil....  Bush and Blair did not bother with nuances.  The black gold will be exploited by the coalition.  Part of the revenues will be paid into an Assistance to Iraq Fund that, unlike the Oil for Food Program, will not be managed by the UN but will be simply overseen by the IMF.  For better or worse, depending on how you look at it, the resolution of the duo provides that the sale of oil--and this also means the contracts awarded without tenders--will not be subject to legal proceedings.  We must ask ourselves if the Bush administration does not want the UN and everything it symbolizes to be quarantined."


ARGENTINA:  "The Winners' Diplomacy"


Oscar Raul Cardoso commented in leading Clarin (5/10):  "Given the fact that the lifting of sanctions against Iraq needs a favorable vote at the UN Security Council, the authors of the U.S. draft resolution received instructions to include a couple of 'sweets' to satisfy France and Russia, which are UN permanent members and, therefore, have the veto power....  If approved, the U.S. draft resolution would make an infringement on international law--incurred in by the U.S. by invading Iraq--an issue of the past that would only be a topic of debate for historians and legal experts, and would make a colonialist territorial occupation something supported by the UN."


BRAZIL:  "Post-War"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (5/11):  "Bush seems not willing to reconcile with the UN.  He has only offered the organization a secondary role in Iraq's reconstruction.  The conflict has shown that the U.S. maintains military supremacy on Earth....  The victory has also reinforced Washington's dissuading power.  Other nations with which the U.S. has maintained tense relations, such as North Korea, Iran and Syria, seemed to have understood the message sent to Saddam Hussein and almost automatically have moderated their postures....  The adventure in Iraq may even be seen as a victory by the hawks in the Bush administration, but for the world it is a fact that multilateralism in international relations has retrogressed significantly."


Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home