International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

May 23, 2003

May 23, 2003





**  "Pragmatism" and "flexibility" overcame lingering ill-feeling to spur resolution's passage.


**  The U.S. got what it wanted for postwar Iraq, but onus will be on Washington to succeed.


**  Unity in the UNSC inspires some hope for UN's relevance, U.S.-Europe rapprochement.


**  Skeptics deride the action as "legitimizing" the war and giving the U.S.-UK a "mandate to run Iraq as they see fit."



UNSC practiced 'the politics of the possible'--  Though some saw a "complete victory for the U.S." in the unanimous vote on the UN resolution lifting sanctions on Iraq, more viewed the outcome as reflecting the prevailing "political realism" that recognized the "undeniable" fact of the coalition's position on the ground in Iraq.  While the resolution was a "bitter pill" for the anti-war countries on the UNSC, they took the "overdue" step of lifting the sanctions to facilitate "the Iraqi people's return to a normal life."  Writers took note of U.S. "compromises" that led to a "less sweeping" resolution than the original draft.  Many papers, like Britain's Financial Times, contended the U.S., despite its newly sanctioned authority, "would be unwise to attempt" the "incredibly risky Iraq adventure" alone.  If things did not progress smoothly, "Washington will need help, and troops.  How it behaves will decide whether it gets them."


Hope the 'good mood' in N.Y. will spill over into U.S. relations with pre-war 'doubters'--  European papers expressed limited optimism that "the return to international cooperation" shown in the UNSC would spill over into U.S.-Euro relations.  "This U.S. narrowing of difficulties with the Europeans breathes new life into NATO," held Germany's right-of-center Die Welt; center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung agreed that "influencing Washington--even though to a limited degree--is possible again."  Russian papers stated that "people in the Kremlin...realize that it's time to get over" the disagreements over Iraq and that "Moscow intends to normalize relations with Washington as soon as possible."  Some analysts also hoped that the resolution "gets the UN into the game," though others cautioned that the resolution marks "the beginning of a difficult partnership" between the UN and the coalition partners.


Arabs, others criticize resolution for giving U.S.-UK "carte blanche" over Iraq's oil and political future--  Dailies in the Arab world, as well as elsewhere, contended the resolution "officially blesses" the coalition occupation and "legitimizes the looting of Iraq's treasures and fortune."  Tunisia's Ash-Shourouq held that the UN action "opens the door to the American-British forces to legitimize their status" and "allows them to dispose of the Iraqi people's wealth and of its political future without any censor."  An Israeli outlet stated that "every country that wants to conduct business in Iraq will have to negotiate" with the U.S. and UK, while a Swiss daily held that thanks to the resolution, "Bechtel will determine where and how the reconstruction of Iraq will proceed."

EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 42 reports from 21 countries, May  23, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Resolution May Not Be Perfect, But It Is A Start"


The center-left Independent commented (5/23):  "The UNSC practiced the politics of the possible yesterday.  It would be better if the occupation of Iraq were directly supervised by the UN.  But at least the U.S. was engaged with the UN to the extent of offering minor concessions on its original draft resolution.  Yesterday's UN resolution is far from the perfect basis for the transition to democratic Iraqi rule, even though it has been improved a little in the negotiations.  For example, the promotion of the UN figurehead in Iraq from 'coordinator' to 'special representative' (as in Afghanistan) is symbolically important.  Nevertheless, the complaint that the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq is 'illegal' is to miss the point."


"Cautious Backing For Iraq Occupation"


The independent Financial Times held (5/23):  "With yesterday's almost harmonious vote by the Security Council on Iraq, the UN, according to the French foreign minister, is back in business.  That is improbable, but just about conceivable--depending on what happens now.  The resolution confers on its sponsors, the U.S. and the UK, the transitional control of Iraq and its oil wealth.  The UN, other multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, and an interim Iraqi administration have been written into the transitional picture.  But their role is defined with--one hopes creative--ambiguity;  as more than mere subordinates to the occupying powers but less than real partners.  Still, the mandate is less sweeping than the original draft, which gave the Anglo-American victors of the war against Saddam Hussein the sort of mandatory powers the victors of the first world war awarded themselves over tracts of the Ottoman empire (three of which Britain bolted together and called Iraq).  That is one reason the French-led axis that opposed the war assented to a UN mandate for the peace.  Another is the combination of acute emergency for Iraqis with weariness in the Council at the transatlantic and intra-European tug of war over Iraq.  But all agreed that the regime of sanctions that had driven Iraq back into a pre-industrial age had to end.  This resolution should not give the occupiers carte blanche for the year before they have to report back to the Council.  They are accountable to the UN, as the trustees for a future representative government elected by the Iraqi people.  Can the UN, in practice, hold the US accountable?  Perhaps not.  But the Iraqi venture remains incredibly risky, and the U.S. would be unwise to attempt it (almost) alone.  On the evidence to date, the odds must favor the U.S. mismanaging what will in any case be a treacherous transition.  Washington will need help, and troops.  How it behaves will decide whether it gets them."


"Altogether Now"


The center-left Guardian stated (5/23):  "In pressing significant amendments to the new UN security council resolution on Iraq, France and Russia did Britain a favor.  The original draft, principally authored by the U.S., failed to give a central role to the UN and was objectionable in several other respects, not least in its silence on resumed UN weapons inspections.  The resolution passed yesterday corrects some of these imbalances.   The resolution is still unsatisfactorily vague about future, 'confirmatory' UN inspections, promising only to revisit the issue.  It sets no timetable for the establishment of a new Iraqi government while giving extraordinary powers to the occupier....  But overall this is a better outcome than might have been expected after all the pre-war ructions."


FRANCE:  "Back To Reality"


Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (5/23):  “The change in French attitude is eminently clear.  The war is over.  America’s victory came faster and easier than expected.  No one will regret the fall of Saddam Hussein.  But in spite of the display of Franco-German-Russian solidarity, France has found itself largely isolated in Europe.  Abstaining on the new resolution might have been interpreted by Washington as a hostile act, just when Jacques Chirac is about to welcome his G8 colleagues.  In order to ensure the success of the summit, the French President needed the support, or at least George W. Bush’s kind neutrality.  The relative flexibility that the U.S. demonstrated at the UN shows that it has also taken stock of reality. The difficulties encountered in Iraq in reestablishing order, as well as the difficulty of rebuilding a new state, may lead the U.S. to be less self-assured.  French diplomacy continues to bet on the idea that in order to ‘win the peace,’ the Americans will need all their friends, including those who objected to the military intervention.  This is true.  But betting only on its allies’ concerns would be shortsighted.”


"The End Of Principles"


Bruno Frappat judged in Catholic La Croix (5/23):  “Yes, the UN is back in the game, but in what state?  There is no longer talk of the ‘central’ role France wanted it to play.  On the jump seat they have been granted by the occupation forces, the UN and its advisor will not be in command.  Necessity dictates a return to ‘pragmatism’ while it marks the end of principles....  France wants to turn the page....  The Anglo-American coalition has won the war on Iraq.  The UN will do what the coalition will want it to do.  No more, no less.”


GERMANY:  "The Non-United Nations"


Stefan Kornelius observed in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/23):  "In reality, this was a resolution about the future treatment of the U.S., as the diplomatic knife-fighting before the Iraq war was supposed to determine the balance of power between western Europe, Russia and the U.S....  For France, Russia and Germany, it again opens the door to U.S. policy.  Influencing Washington--even though to a limited degree--is possible again and the UN has been able to tear up its death certificate at the last moment.  The price for this is high, maybe too high.  Those who were opposed to the Iraq war are now recognizing the outcome of this war:  the occupation of the country by the U.S. and Britain....  The former opponents to the war get little for this fall to their knees....  But this mock conciliation also offers a chance.  With this resolution, the U.S. very reluctantly signaled that it prefers to don the cloak of legitimacy with the assistance of the UN.  If chaos in Iraq grows and domestic thunder increases with the coming presidential elections in the United States, the U.S. government could really need the cover of the international community.  This would be the moment when the UNSC can demand a dividend."


"United In Peace"


Christoph von Marschall contended in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (5/23):  "This is a good day for all who suffer from the fact that the law of the jungle prevails too often in global politics....  The gloomy predictions at the beginning of the war did not come true: that the UN will be marginalized, and that international law has abdicated.  With the new resolution the UN is again officially the authority that can legitimize foreign interference in a country....  In this new resolution, the U.S. gets off cheaply because the real UN has so many flaws and doesn't correspond to the ideal picture the Germans have of it....  The negotiations about the text of the resolution again showed that at issue is not global well being but national interests....  But should such lackluster compromises be cause for joy?  Yes, for the distant goal of a world order that respects international law.  A postwar Iraq with a UN mandate is better than without such a mandate.  Those who want to strengthen the UN should not ask too much of it and must cooperate with it as it is.  We do not have any better UN."


"Good Mood"


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine noted (5/23):  "A good mood is programmed for the upcoming G-8 summit.  The foreign ministers have now seen to this....  According to Foreign Minister Fischer, the German position on the Iraq war is still 'unchanged,' but, at the same time, Berlin raises the picture of 'transatlantic friendship' and a 'close indispensable partnership' with the United States."


"Organizations Believed To Be Dead Live Longer"


Andreas Middel argued in an editorial in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (5/23):  "The latest U.S. draft resolution meets with support mainly because the future UN role has now been defined as more political than in the past.  This U.S. narrowing of difficulties with the Europeans breathes new life into NATO.  This resolution paves the path for the Alliance to considerably increase its engagement in Iraq beyond only cautiously offering assistance for the Polish occupation zone.  It is now thinkable that the Alliance will play a similar role in Iraq as it does in the summer in Afghanistan where it will take over command of the protection and peacekeeping forces.  If the partners in the Alliance manage to find an understanding on this, NATO would indeed be back in the play.  Not because it is present as a military alliance, but mainly because it has demonstrated its load-bearing capacity as a transatlantic bridge despite the painful rows."


"Peace Pipe In New York"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg editorialized (5/23):  "The opponents of the Iraq war have arrived at reality.  It was a crash landing....  They have thus sent the urgently needed signal for an end of the confrontational course, even though the peace pipe tastes bitter....  The war opponents should now fully support Iraq's reconstruction to the best of their abilities.  An upgraded role for the UN representative in Iraq--one of the few U.S. concessions--offers a good basis.  A personality with stature could give efforts for Iraq's future an international face.  The UN would enter the stage through the backdoor."


ITALY:  "Europe’s Realism Before Bush The Winner"


Bernardo Valli observed in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (5/23):  “The European countries on the opposition front have recognized the consequences of an intervention that they had condemned.  They declared their faith, in theory, to their original principles--the central role of the UN and respect of a multinational world--but they bent before ‘reality’--the war ended and there is one dictator less in the world....  By legitimizing the Iraq occupation, the Security Council has recognized an undeniable reality.  And France, Germany and Russia gave their significant votes with correct pragmatism.  They reiterate, in theory, their loyalty to those principles which at the moment don’t coincide with those of Bush’s America, but which might become valid, operational, during this long adventure that just started in Iraq and the Middle East.”


RUSSIA:  "Time To Get It Over And Done With"


Reformist Izvestiya commented (5/23):  "Now the U.S. and Britain have extraordinary rights to govern the occupied land and control its oil industry.  The concessions the Bush administration has made to the chief critics of the U.S. armed action in Iraq are less than basic.  They don't change the essence of what is going on but help the advocates of the UN's 'key role' save face....  The UN has had to legitimize reality that has come to be in Iraq and, in return, it has won the right to be formally present in that country, which does not add to its authority there or anywhere else.  We have to accept that and concentrate on the development of new, more effective mechanisms, including those where Russia might have a big say....  People in the Kremlin and around it, as they are discussing the issue of Iraq, realize that it's time to get it over and done with.  They have even coined a new term, an honest divergence, meaning a divergence with the U.S. over Iraq."


"Cutting Gordian Knot"


Reformist Vremya Novostey held (5/23):  "The resolution that has been adopted puts everything in its place.  The U.S. and Britain will stay in Iraq, in control of its oil resources, while France, Germany and Russia have had their reputations unsoiled and, more importantly, have a chance to have their interests in Iraq taken into account."


"Moscow Favors Normalization With The U.S."


Gennadiy Sysoyev and Leonid Gankin wrote in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (5/23):  "Russia's vote for the U.S.-submitted draft resolution on Iraq means that Moscow intends to normalize relations with Washington as soon as possible.  Apparently, Washington wants the same....  The reason is not only mutual sympathy between the two presidents.  Moscow has managed to convince Washington that international terrorist organizations pose an equal threat to the United States and Russia, which make our countries natural allies in a global antiterrorist campaign."


"U.S. Flexible"


Maksim Glikin noted in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/23):  "Moscow believes that Washington, as the two were coordinating on the final text of the resolution, revealed great flexibility and took into account practically all Russian proposals.  The Kremlin appreciates that and the fact that the Americans have been restrained, commenting on Russia's tough stand on the issue of Iraq lately."


"SC Agrees To Occupation Of UN Member-Nation"


Vladimir Skosyrev contended in reformist Vremya MN (5/23):  "It is the first time that the Security Council has agreed to the occupation of a UN member-country despite the fact that most members of this worldwide organization protested against the use of force....  The truth is that the resolution gives political legitimacy to the U.S.-led temporary coalition governance.  Also, it is a chance for international financial institutions and governments that called the overthrow of the Baghdad regime illegal to take part in Iraq reconstruction....  It is clear to all that the back-stage bargain was not so much about principles as about money."


AUSTRIA:  "The Return To International Cooperation"


Senior editor Helmut L. Müller commented in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (5/23):  “The opponents to the war in Iraq had to swallow a bitter pill--with the new UN resolution, the U.S. has more or less reached its target: The sanctions against Baghdad have been lifted--a step that was more than overdue after the overthrow of Saddam.  The Allies (not the United Nations) have the core competence for the administration of Iraq, and they control the oil revenues of the country, albeit under the supervision of an international board.  France, Germany and Russia have to admit to themselves that they have failed in their attempt of forming a counter-power to the U.S.  However, the new Iraq resolution offers absolutely no retrospective justification of the military attack.  The UN mandate rather puts the occupying forces under pressure: they have to prove that they are capable of driving forward the reconstruction process in the country.  Within 12 months, the Security Council is going to assess the progress made.  The fact that the UN was given a bigger role helps the former war opponents to save face, but it is also an admission from Washington that the U.S. cannot successfully complete the reconstruction of Iraq on its own.”


"Complete Victory For The U.S."


Mass-circulation provincial daily Kleine Zeitung held (5/23):  “The U.S. victory in the Security Council couldn’t have been more complete.  With the backing of the UN, the Americans may now do pretty much anything they like in Iraq.  The big anti-war alliance led by France had to eat humble pie, and the Germans are also following the same line as the U.S....  We have seen another example of what is a well-known fact, but often forgotten: In a legal sense, the UN Security Council is the only authority in the world that can decide over war and peace.  However, at the same time, it is a body of powerful states that base their decisions on their own interests rather than international law.  This conflict has destroyed the UN claim of being the highest authority in the world.  It will probably survive, however.  Some of the interests of the nations in this world do actually match the ideal task of the UN.  And where they match, the national interest is immediately promoted to a moral interest.  If you think that is just another way of describing foul double standards, you are right.  But that’s the world we live in.”


"United In Pragmatism"


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal Der Standard (5/23):  “The association is inevitable: on 11/8, the UN Security Council adopted the resolution 1441, which was supposed to give Saddam Hussein 'one last chance.' ...  The text was rightly applauded as a diplomatic masterpiece, a collection of creative ambiguities in dry legal wording, and it was signed by all 15 members of the Security Council, even by Syria.  The chaos over interpreting the text, which broke out immediately afterwards, led to the UN being pronounced officially dead by a lot of people.  Six months and a war later, the unity in the Security Council seems to have been at least formally restored....  There is no danger of anyone misunderstanding the ambiguities in the text this time....  Basically, nobody has any say in Iraq at all except the 'occupying powers,' coyly referred to as such in the preamble.  Later in the text, they are called 'the Authority.' which sounds better--The Authority, the only one.  And yet, let’s welcome this new resolution, which re-unites the fractious association of states in pragmatism, even if this happens under the auspices of the winners....  The question remains whether the resolution, which is supposed to bring a comatose UN back to life (even though this life might be slightly less meaningful than before), is actually going to have direct effects on the situation in Iraq.  The answer is negative.  The U.S. has to cope with the police tasks in the country immediately, and they will not listen to anyone when setting up an interim government.  The fact that the formation of a government was postponed for the time being is certainly not a good sign.”


BELGIUM:  "After-Effects"


Foreign editor Gerald Papy held in independent La Libre Belgique (5/23):  “The after-effects of the crisis between those who were in favor of the war and those who opposed it are not gone.  But the instability in Iraq and the will to appease the tensions led to this compromise solution....  Tensions might nevertheless surface again when the time comes to solve the difficult question of political leadership in Iraq or when the decision is made on how to use the profits from the sale of Iraqi oil.  But, on both sides, political realism prevailed and led to the end of the sanctions that, actually, hurt the Iraqi population more than the fallen regime.  For Washington, the recent discovery of the scale of the Iraq reconstruction job and the first problems encountered by the American interim administration--combined with the apparently sincere will of London to give a greater role to the UN--forced American diplomacy to make concessions without appearing to be retreating....  As far as France is concerned, it could not run the risk of another crisis with the U.S., especially on the eve of the G8 Summit in Evian, which French President Chirac cannot afford to let fail."


CZECH REPUBLIC:   "Sweeping Up The Broken Glass At The UN"


Adam Cerny noted in the leading business Hospodarske noviny (5/23):  "It was a question of time before the great powers decided to make up after their dispute over Iraq....  The key question was what position will be given to the UN....  The process of finding the compromise was easier this time, because it was not conducted by politicians but by professional diplomats who usually don’t resort to arrogant or offensive insults.  The new Security Council resolution gets the UN into the game. However, we’ll still need to see what kind of a game it will be and what will be its result."


"Sweet Reconciliation"


Frantisek Sulc observed in the center right Lidove noviny (5/23):  "Everything suggests that controversies caused by the war in Iraq are slowly but surely being smoothed over.  The abolition of the UN sanctions is a positive signal to the Iraqis, and the reconciliation [among the UN Security Council members] is no less positive.  All the great powers are tired out by the several-months of quarrels.  At the end, the British, and the Americans found out that they would need the UN because it will provide legal support for their administration of Iraq. And on the other side, 'the non, nein, nyet trio' needs to cooperate with the U.S. and Britain.  It discovered that the U.S. and the UK can do without it to a certain extent, and thus the trio would not gain anything in the long run by a boycott, on the contrary, it would lose."


FINLAND:  "UN Passes New Iraq Test"


Regional right-of-center Aamulehti editorialized (5/23):  "France, Russia, Germany and China joined the world's only hyperpower.  In the overall picture, this was a wise decision even though the four countries did not get all their wishes. Resolution 1483 gives the final say  word about Iraq reconstruction to the victors of the war, i.e. the United States and Britain, but also strengthens, somewhat, the role of the UN.  This is a compromise acceptable to all which provides a good basis for future work."


POLAND:  "A Chance For A Return To Unity"


Krzysztof Darewicz commented in centrist Rzeczpospolita (5/23):  “The new resolution is not just a promising signal that all sides want the resumption of sobriety in transatlantic relations, and cooperation under the aegis of the UN.  It is equally important that it validated Polish foreign policy, which consistently underscores the need to maintain balance on both sides of the Atlantic without forcing countries such as Poland to choose ‘between mommy and daddy.’”


"How Europe And USA Came To Terms At Last"


Bartosz Weglarczyk wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (5/23):  “Fortunately, everyone has come to their senses in the end.  The gravest conflict in years between part of Europe and America can be considered closed, but its repercussions will be felt, alas, for a long time....  Yesterday’s vote showed that a compromise on Iraq was possible since the very outset.  What impeded it was inciting rhetoric from some American politicians on the one hand, and unreal French and German demands on the other.  Poland did the right thing supporting America in the war in Iraq, but it was also right to demand a UN mandate for stabilization forces.  The vote in the UNSC showed that Poland’s stance was wise.”


SPAIN:  "Wiping The Slate Clean"


Left-of-center El País judged (5/23):  "As in Kosovo, the UN is legalizing the postwar situation without having entered the war.  Only in this case what is at stake has a much bigger economic, social and geopolitical dimension.  As a consequence,  the responsibility of the U.S. and Great Britain is huge....  We don't know if Iraq is an isolated case or the first step in a wider U.S. military campaign in the region.  If that were the case, the resolution approved yesterday would create a bad precedent.  Like it or not, the resolution means to wipe the slate clean."


"A Victory of Realpolitik"


Independent El Mundo observed (5/23)):  "Does the resolution approved yesterday by 14 of 15 members of the security Council legitimize the military intervention against Saddam?  The answer is no.  It is inevitable to feel a certain frustration respect to a resolution that ignores that the actual Alliance presence in Iraq has at its origin a blatant violation of international law.  But things are what they are and yesterday's resolution recognizes established facts, which one must face....  But that realpolitik has been put above principles does not mean one has to abdicate convictions.  The U.S. achieved a great political and diplomatic success yesterday...but that does not legitimize a posteriori the triumph of force over law and reason."


"Iraq Without Sanctions"


Centrist La Vanguardia contended (5/23):  "For historians and international policy analysts, the resolution approved yesterday introduces a new element of reflection into the inflamed controversy about the legality of the armed intervention in Iraq.  Although what was clear is that on the Security Council there wasn't a majority for approval of the use of force, what is less true is that the text approved yesterday blesses the occupation and, in practice, turns Iraq into an Anglo-American protectorate for an indefinite period."


SWITZERLAND:  "The Bechtel Resolution"


Walter Niederberger wrote in center-left Berner Zeitung (5/23):  "With the passage of UNSC Resolution 1483, the Bush administration has managed to cap its military victory in Iraq with a diplomatic triumph:  The resolution officially blesses the U.S. occupation of Iraq.  Although the U.S. agreed to about 90 changes in the text of the resolution, most of those concessions were purely cosmetic.  The central fact remains:  the U.S. will determine the composition of the civilian administration in Iraq, and will decide who is allowed to exploit the country's oil fields and modernize its infrastructure and industry.  No wonder that more than 2,000 firms, twice as many as expected, showed up at the first meeting called by the American construction company, Bechtel.  Thanks to the resolution, Bechtel will determine where and how the reconstruction of Iraq will proceed."




ISRAEL:  "U.S. Joining Occupiers' Club"


Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (5/23):  "The UN resolution isn't a roadmap for the political rebuilding of Iraq; neither does it set a calendar for ending the occupation or establishing an interim administration and a permanent government....  According to the spirit of the resolution, the UN is at most a guest of the occupying state, even if an envoy of the UN Secretary-General will be able to play an independent, if vague role in Iraq.  Thus, until an Iraqi government is established, every country that wants to conduct business in Iraq will have to negotiate with the U.S. and Britain--no longer with the UN."


LEBANON:  "Difficult Partnership In Legitimizing Occupation"


Rafiq Khoury commented in Al-Anwar (5/23):  "The Security Council gave the American-British occupation of Iraq international legitimacy...however, legitimizing the occupation is not the only face of the UN resolution....  The second face is the fact that Washington had to go back to the UN, and other nations, which originally rejected the war....  Every UN resolution is a deal--and this deal was imposed by the balance of power and the balance of interests that emerged following the war on Iraq....  This resolution is the beginning of a difficult partnership to build peace....  The real test is to work on removing this occupation and pave the war for a democratic Iraqi Government."


"The American Phase"


Aouni Al-Kaaki wrote in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq (5/23):  "The new UN resolution gave the U.S. and England a political victory.  In form, the UN resolution ended sanctions on Iraq, but in essence it gave the (American/British) occupation economic and political empowerment over Iraq....  All in all, the resolution legitimizes the looting of Iraq's treasures and fortune and gave America and England extraordinary powers that surpass the power that was given to occupation forces in the 1949 Geneva convention."


TUNISIA:  "'Legitimating' The Occupation"


Editor-in-chief, Abdelhamid Riahi commented in independent Ash-Shourouq (5/23):  "Finally the great forces agreed to exploit the Iraqi wealth and its political future, seeking their share of the cake of Iraqi oil....  The UN decision to lift the embargo on Iraq opens the way for the American-British forces to legitimize their status in Iraq and to change their position from colonizer to protector of the Iraqi people, which allows them to dispose of the Iraqi people's wealth and of its political future without any censor...since the big worry of the U.S.-British forces was the fact they had no legal cover for...the shame of their colonization....  The international community lost the opportunity to limit this new colonization that started with Iraq and will not stop there."




CHINA:  "Blueprint Of Iraq Reconstruction Has Emerged"


Ding Gang commented in the official Communist Party People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao) (5/23):  "The antagonism that has lasted for several months among Security Council members has finally ended....  Lifting the 13-year sanctions against Iraq is a choice of the Security Council in the face of the reality.  It mended the divergence caused by the Iraq war inside the Security Council, and facilitates the Iraqi people’s return to normal life.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "UN Marginalized As U.S. Plans To Abolish OPEC"


The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal stated (5/23):  "The U.S. wants both the international community's acknowledgement of the war's outcome and legitimization of its framework for post-war reconstruction.  Although the UN played a key role in supervising Iraq during sanctions, the new U.S.-sponsored resolution to lift sanctions effectively eliminated the UN's role.  The U.S. next wants to establish an 'overlord' status in Iraq.  The most important impact of the new resolution is its providing legitimization of the U.S. control of Iraq's oil.  To recover and export as much of Iraq's oil as possible, the U.S. has even more shocking plans for its next move:  the abolition of OPEC....  The resolution was even supported by anti-war member states, who were trying to 'put the interests of the Iraqi people first.'  The U.S.'s powerful foreign affairs influence has prevailed over the UN and other powers.  While no one knows whether or not the 'democratic reformation' of the Middle East will succeed, there is no doubt that U.S. regional influence there is unequaled."




NIGERIA:  "UN Regains Relevance"


Lagos-based independent This Day editorialized (5/23):  "It's a relief that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are finally coming to terms with the reality that they cannot go it all alone and sideline the UN in dealing with the Iraqi problem.  A silver lining seems to be on the sky for resolving the immense socio-political and humanitarian problems posed by the post-war Iraqi situation.  America and Britain have abandoned their attempts to secure a resolution strengthening their hands on military action in the face of French and Russian threats to veto it.  In the end, the role of the UN has been brought to the fore."




CANADA:  "Iraq's Clouded Future"


The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (5/23):  "Is an American occupier better than an Iraqi despot, or a United Nations trustee?  The people of Iraq will soon find out.  If U.S. President George Bush moves swiftly to end the chaos in Baghdad and other cities, to name a credible interim administration dominated by leaders from the Shia majority and to give Iraqis the chance to elect a truly representative government, his 'war of liberation' will be judged a success.  But he hasn't yet.  Bush did manage yesterday to win UN Security Council approval for his occupation, which confers much-needed legitimacy on it.  In a 14/0 vote with Syria absent, the UN also lifted the economic sanctions that have impoverished and embittered Iraqis for 13 years.  The Americans and British now have a legal mandate to run the country of 23 million as they see fit, indefinitely, with only secondary input from the UN and its agencies.  Companies can more safely invest.  And they can sell Iraq's oil without hindrance, and begin to rebuild.  The UN also has managed to patch up its ugly rift over Bush's unilateral drive to topple Saddam.  The cost is high: The UN has had to sanction the outcome of a morally dubious war.  But at least the global community speaks with one voice again....  Bush was determined to call the shots.  Now he will carry the can for his success, or failure."


ARGENTINA:  "The UN Grants The U.S. The Handling Of Iraq"


Alberto Armendariz, New York-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion commented (5/23):  "In a clear diplomatic U.S. victory, the UN Security Council approved, by an overwhelming majority, the lifting of sanctions that Iraq has suffered for 13 years. It also granted the U.S. and Great Britain extraordinary power to manage the country and its juicy oil resources while it leaves the UN with a limited role in the reconstruction process....  The U.S. obtained in this way much more power than the one set forth by the Geneva convention (1949) for an occupying force.  Washington did not obtain the consensus without making concessions.  During the intense process of negotiations, and faced with the pressures from France, Russia and Germany...the U.S. had to cede a more active role for the UN than the one it had foreseen in the reestablishment of Iraq's political institutions and in supervising oil incomes."


"An Attempt To Heal Injuries"


Jorge Rosales, Washington-based correspondent for daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (5/23):  "The European countries' and Russia's gesture to get closer to the U.S. position and the signs given yesterday by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that there will not be sanctions against the Chirac administration...pave the way for the European countries' participation in the reconstruction of Iraq, which only seemed to be reserved for U.S. corporations."


"The U.S. Is Green Lighted To Exploit The Iraqi Oil"


Marina Aizen, New York-based correspondent for leading Clarin took this view (5/23):  "The UN Security Council approved a resolution that not only legitimates the military occupation of Iraq, but it green lights the U.S. and Great Britain to control the Iraqi oil and gas.  Only Syria dared to boycott 14-to-0 vote, symbolically leaving its seat empty....  Undoubtedly, this is a great victory for Washington, which went to war without the UN Security Council's blessing....  France, Russia and Germany, the main opponents to the invasion, felt the need for restoring transatlantic relations and seeking a more important role for the UN in Iraq.  For its part, the U.S. would not have been able to legally sell the Iraqi oil if sanctions had not been lifted, and this is why it returned to the UN beyond its resentment due to the strong opposition of many of its members to the attack.  This is why, this is said to be a 'compromised resolution,' although in fact Washington got what it wanted, and it will be able to rule Iraq and control its natural resources with the whole world's consent."


BRAZIL:  "The Authority"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (5/23):  "The UN's new provisions for Iraq as approved by the UNSC were an overwhelming victory for the U.S.....  According to the new provisions, the U.S. and the UK will maintain strict control over Iraq and its oil until a representative government is established....  What prevailed was a fait accompli policy.  Even without the UN's authorization, Bush waged war against Iraq....  To accept Washington's terms opens for the anti-war nations the prospect of receiving part of what Iraq owned them....  It is not exactly a surprise to have it confirmed that interests, not principles, are the motivating factors in international relations."


"Diplomatic Success Brings Responsibilities"


International writer Marcio Senne de Moraes asserted in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (5/23):  "The adoption of the Resolution 1483 by the UNSC was an unquestionable diplomatic victory for the U.S.....  In less than two weeks Washington obtained the victory it was looking for without making major concessions....  Washington now has an even greater responsibility in regards to Iraq's future.  If its authority is a benign one, the international community will surrender to the facts--regardless of the opinion of the French, Russians and Germans.  However, if the U.S.'s intention is simply to give contracts to its companies and sell oil, its legitimacy will be questioned more than ever."























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