International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

July 25, 2003

July 25, 2003






**  "America is engaged in guerrilla warfare," but "Iraq is not Vietnam."


**  America is "paying the price" for pre-war "arrogance" and "inept" post-war administration.


**  Bush must drop the "tarnished role of conqueror" and accept a UN mandate.


**  Euros call for rapprochement with the U.S., arguing "America's failure is the West's failure."




The 'slow drip' of casualties is the price for the 'lame pretext used to disarm Iraq'--  Commentators cited the Bush administration's "failure" to provide basic services as the reason for the Iraqi "quagmire."  "Underestimating" resistance after Saddam's ouster, U.S. officials failed to "prepare themselves properly for the aftermath of the war."  Austria's liberal Der Standard remarked: "A Pandora's box is opening up here, of the kind that the war...was supposed to keep a lid on for good."  While conservative El Panama America opined that Iraq reeks of "the stench of Vietnam," others viewed Iraq as a unique problem.  Belgium's conservative Het Laatste Nieuws thundered: "The Americans don't understand a thing about a world that is different from their own.  They view an America-to-be."  Conversely, Arab papers hailed resistance to "foreign occupation" as a "sacred law of nature" and the "duty" of the Iraqi people.


UN involvement necessary to minimize the 'risk of chaos'--  Echoing general European sentiment, Britain's independent Financial Times asserted that "the U.S. cannot rebuild Iraq on its own" and called for greater UN assistance in "judicial and legal reform, police training and rebuilding the public administration."  International cooperation is "crucial" to establishing "long-term legitimacy" for the Iraqi Governing Council and winning "the fight against terrorism."  China's official Global Times challenged Washington to "return to the UN framework" to prove that the war wasn't fought for "oil interests."  Germany's right-of-center Die Welt cited the coming election as appropriate motivation for Bush to "reduce the burden" on the coalition.


Despite persisting differences, 'Europe still very much needs its American ally'--  European writers warned against "closing our eyes" to the events in Baghdad and forcing "the drowning man to rescue himself."  France's right-of-center Le Figaro noted that Europe's large Muslim population and proximity to the Mideast put it "on the front lines of terrorism," making involvement in the anti-terrorism campaign a matter of national interest.  Russian papers agreed, citing the potential to assist "our ally in the war on terrorism" and "determine the fate of [our] oil contracts."  German writers cautioned against feeling "Schadenfreude" in light of Iraq's "armed Intifada," and called on Europeans to join America on the path to "economic development and peaceful stability."




EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 66 reports from 30 countries, July 6-24.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "The U.S. Needs Help In Rebuilding Iraq"


The independent Financial Times argued (7/24):  "There are good weeks and bad weeks for the U.S.-led administration in Iraq--and this has so far been a good one.  Mr Annan's special representative, Sergio Vieira di Mello, told the Security Council on Tuesday that the Iraqi Governing Council provided a representative body for the international community to deal with.  But his discussions in Iraq had revealed unanimous support for a greater role for the UN, and for a stronger role for Iraqis in the country's administration.  Faster progress requires help from the wider international community.... The UN could help in judicial and legal reform, police training and rebuilding the public administration.  But it needs to be involved much more in the post-war reconstruction than it has been so far.  Mr Bush yesterday appealed for such international support.  But to get it, he must set out his timetable for putting Iraqis firmly in the driving seat.  Even when there are good weeks, the U.S. cannot rebuild Iraq on its own."


"The UN Must Have A Bigger Role In Iraq"


Lord Hannay advanced in the independent Financial Times (7/16):  "The UN announced on Tuesday that it would be sending a team of experts to Iraq to prepare the ground for elections.  Such an advance is to be welcomed.  Indeed, some observers see it as a sign that Washington now acknowledges the benefits of greater UN involvement in Iraq.  If there has been a change of heart, that too should be welcomed.  But the U.S. and UK are still a long way from giving the UN a 'vital role....'  If the transition to an Iraq governed by Iraqis democratically chosen is to be achieved, it is important that the process starts soon and also that that process should not be seen as emanating purely from the decisions and the choices of the occupying power....  Is it really wise to keep the UN at arm's length in the search for traces of Iraq's programmes for building weapons of mass destruction?  After all, the UN weapons inspectors know rather a lot about the subject....  Even implementing part of such an agenda would begin to move away from the emerging confrontation between occupiers and occupied, which it must be in the interests of the U.S. and Britain to avoid."


FRANCE:  “Iraq Back On The UN Table”


Eric Leser in contended in left-of-center Le Monde (7/23): “After having fought without and even against the UN, the U.S. now needs its help....  George Bush is faced with a dilemma: losing face by calling on the UN or losing public opinion and maybe the upcoming presidential election" 


“The U.S., The UN And Iraq”


Dominique Gerbaud noted in Catholic La Croix (7/22):  “We are at a turning point in the post-war period when the American forces may spend as much time protecting themselves from Iraqi attacks as working towards the reconstruction of the country.  The situation is a difficult one and the Americans now are openly asking for international participation....  It is not because the UN did not give the U.S. the green light for a military intervention in Iraq, or because France was clearly opposed that we should close our eyes to what is happening in Baghdad today and watch the Americans try to extricate themselves from this mess.  We cannot smile at what is taking place; the international community must help the U.S. find a solution.  In fact there are two solutions.  One, greater involvement of the UN in the post-war process.  And two, establishing a framework for the Iraqis to regain economic and political control of their country.  It is under these conditions that the U.S. will avoid being bogged down in Iraq.”


“Faced With A Guerrilla War, Washington Turns To The UN”


Gilles Biassette wrote in Catholic La Croix (7/18): “The tone used by Washington is changing.  The UN’s marginal role could change....  The door to negotiations is open.  But the discussions promise to be long ones, considering no one has forgotten the tension that preceded the war.  With his re-election campaign looming, President Bush does not want U.S. soldiers caught in a quagmire.  But at the same time he does not want to lose face after having criticized the UN as he did.  And the fact is that those on the side of peace are upping the ante, with France demanding that Iraq’s administration be placed under the responsibility of the UN: a sharing of leadership which the Bush administration has wanted to avoid from the start.”


“The U.S. And Its Allies”


Claude Imbert commented in right-of-center weekly Le Point (7/17): “While the war in Iraq was won much faster than predicted, the peace is stumbling over pitfalls that were predicted, yet neglected by the Pentagon’s overbearing euphoria.  America is having trouble securing Iraq.  Through a sort of western autism that ignores local customs, the U.S. is turning the liberator into the occupier....  Talk of having manipulated information in a country where lying is not easily accepted is boosting the opposition. In fact, America is paying the price for the lame pretext used to disarm Iraq. But France and Germany will not benefit from America’s debacle....   America’s failure is the West’s failure."


“The Risk Of Chaos”


Jean de Belot argued in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/16):  “It is no surprise that establishing peace in Iraq is turning out to be more difficult than winning the war.  And the difficulties are only beginning.  These problems are essentially America’s problems....  The danger today is that of seeing a situation going from bad to worse when in fact Iraq was supposed to serve as a model....  After having lied, President Bush and Tony Blair cannot afford to fail.  Paris is right to stay out of the game and wait until the UN is back in the picture.  But the fact that the pro-war coalition is getting in deeper trouble cannot provide the anti-war coalition with an after-the-fact feeling of victory....  France and Europe in general are on the front lines of terrorism and of any danger coming from the Middle East....  Europe still very much needs its American ally....  The situation in Iraq, in the Middle East and the war on terrorism are all becoming more complex for Washington.  But this statement of fact is not good news for anybody.  The main risk once again is the risk of chaos.”


“Getting The UN Back In The Picture”


Jean Levallois urged in regional La Presse de la Manche (7/16): “It cannot be helped: we always go back to President Bush’s original mistake of engaging without the UN in a unilateral operation.  If he does not want to be the only one responsible for maintaining order in Iraq, he has a very simple solution at hand.  He must give up his tarnished role of conqueror and put Iraq’s control in the hands of the UN.  France, Germany, India and many others will then contribute to help Iraq return to normal.”


“The Boomerang Effect”


Renaud Girard opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/8): “In Iraq, as administered by the Pentagon, things are not going as well as predicted by Washington’s hawks when they were justifying a unilateral military intervention....  All of this would not be very serious if on the ground the coalition forces had managed to improve the daily living conditions of the Iraqi people.  This unfortunately is not the case....  The American forces are faced with an armed Intifada which is everyday more worrisome." 


GERMANY:  "There Is No Panacea"


Joerg Armbruster commented on ARD-TV's late evening newscast "Tagesthemen" (7/23): "The U.S. has dangerously underestimated the situation in Iraq.  This is why we have the developments going in the wrong direction.  What will now help?  There is no panacea.  But one recipe could help:  the UN, not as auxiliary forces and U.S. 'sweeper' but as organization that decides on its own how to help Iraq.  If the Americans prevent this, then we will soon hear in Iraq: everything was better under Saddam.  Then the Americans won a war, but lost peace."


"Baghdad-New York"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/23):  "The U.S. government, whose plans for post-Saddam times were obviously insufficient, is almost driven to a point where is must decide on the future direction:  Should it adjust to a long-lasting presence in Iraq with respect to the military and personnel?  Should it include NATO?  Should it swallow the idea of approving a new UN mandate, distributing burdens and sharing responsibilities?  But even if Washington does not begrudge Paris, Moscow, and Berlin a belated triumph, there will be no way around an internationalization of the Iraq problem sooner or later.  But nobody should harbor the illusion that the excitement of the Shiites will calm only because UN flags are blowing in the wind.  And only time will tell whether the claim of blue helmets to create law and order towards Saddam's Fedajin is more than an allegation."


"From Triumphant To Petitioner"


Pierre Simonitsch concluded in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (7/23): "Not too long ago, President George W. Bush and his war minister Rumsfeld ridiculed the 'old' Europe.  But rarely before have claims to the nation disappeared so quickly as Bush's speeches in the preparatory stages of the Iraq war.  Less than three months after the U.S. president sounded off about a 'mission accomplished ' aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier, demoralized U.S. soldiers are stuck in Iraq.  The success stories about the hunt for Saddam's clique do not change this….  Since the last weekend, U.S. diplomats have been trying to narrow U.S. differences with the UN and the ridiculed nations in confidential talks on the East River.  The triumphant has turned into a petitioner." 


“Europe’s Money, Europe’s Soldiers”


Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung judged (7/22):  “Nobody should feel Schadenfreude in light of the situation in Iraq.  Even the passionate war opponents in Paris and Berlin must realize it is in Europe’s very own interest that calm and stability return to Iraq as soon as possible.  Only then can reconstruction begin, and only then is there a chance for the Middle East to find some kind of peace.  That is why the European countries have now declared their willingness to help with reconstruction.  The money they are willing to pay into a fund administered by the UN or the World Bank is a just contribution to controlling the most volatile region in the world….  It is now up to Washington to take a step in Europe’s direction.  It looks as if President Bush will soon ask his NATO allies to send soldiers as well as money.  But soldiers will not be as easily had as money.  Bush will have to accept UN involvement as the price for Europe’s sons.”


"Re-Discovery Of The United Nations"


Stefan Ulrich judged in Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung (7/21):  "The attacks of the guerrilla fighters and the skeptical attitude of the Iraqis towards the occupiers are nurturing doubts in the U.S. about whether four billion dollars are wasted months after month.  In this situation, Washington is discovering the UN again....  But nothing would be more wrong than the UN telling the U.S. that it should settle the problem all by itself.  First because Iraqis should not be punished for U.S. mistakes; second, because the world has an interest in a stabile Middle East; and third, because the UN founded to serve global peace.  If it now fails, it would betray itself....  But this assistance cannot be for free.  A precondition is that Washington tries to support a new resolution that gives a multi-national stabilization force a mandate....  A new resolution should not result in a legitimation of the Iraq invasion through the backdoor.  In addition, Annan calls for a clear timetable in which Iraq gets back its sovereignty.  But until this stage is reached, the UN should get more than a right to advice....  All this is delicate and also harbors the danger for failure.  But the UN should have better chances than the unpopular occupiers.  Nevertheless, Washington will have difficulty giving in.  But even for the UN it is not easy to be dragged into this Iraqi adventure.  If it strengthens the U.S. with its authority and its money, it must be certain to invest in a reasonable cause."


“Victims And Gestures”


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine remarked (7/18):  "That it is harder to win peace in Iraq than the war is a painful lesson for the Americans and British....  It touches the national trauma of Vietnam....  Doubtless all sides are interested in patching up the transatlantic differences of the last months.  Opponents of the war should wish America success in establishing peace in Iraq provided of course, and this is unwritten international protocol, that Washington gives up its intention to penalize old allies that pursued a different policy over Iraq.....  The Middle East is politically the world’s trouble spot number one; it lies within Europe’s neighborhood.  America and Europe remain dependent on each other especially in this region: only if they bundle their capacities, progress can be attained on the path to economic development and peaceful stability.”


“The War After The War”


Peter Muensch opined in Munich's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung (7/18):  “America is engaged in guerrilla warfare....  A credibility gap is slowly emerging.  The U.S. government must explain to its citizens and its increasingly demoralized soldiers why suddenly everything is other than planned, promised and announced....  The difference between fairytales and truth, however, lies in the body bags....  As painful as the attacks are for the Americans, these pinpricks in the so-called Sunni triangle around the Iraqi capital are neither qualitatively nor quantitatively a guerrilla war, which would indeed be a military challenge....  The existing scenario cannot be likened to Vietnam." 


“Mao In Iraq”


Alan Posener commented in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (7/18):  “The military said aloud the one word the politicians are most afraid of: there is a guerrilla war going on in Iraq....  Iraq is not Vietnam, though.  According to first independent opinion polls in Iraq, a majority welcomes the allied invasion and wishes the troops to stay.  The guerrillas can only win if it succeeds in transforming existing discontent into hatred for the occupiers...and in bringing war weariness into America’s living-rooms with the help of western media.  America will win if it sticks to its mission, restores law and order in Iraq, and at long last improves visibly living conditions for the Iraqi population.  This is all feasible, and the first step is to face uncomfortable truths."


AUSTRIA:  “Watch The Winner Lose The Peace” 


Viktor Hermann urged in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (7/18): “The biggest mistake of the victorious U.S. in Iraq is directly related to the overwhelming military superiority of the superpower.  When the gunsmoke had settled, Washington’s incapacity and unwillingness to reconstruct a new Iraq became visible....  The U.S. proved incapable of fulfilling even the most basic needs of the Iraqi population--water, electricity and safety.  The hearts of the Iraqis, already half won over, turned away from the allied soldiers....  Washington is now paying the price for the arrogance with which it treated its critics and skeptics before and after the war.  Nobody wants to lend a helping hand to the US troops now to support them in finishing the tiresome work of rooting out Saddam’s last followers in Iraq--not even the U.S.-led NATO.  It doesn’t look as if Iraq is going to be changed into a cradle of stability and democracy in the Middle East.  An important pillar of Bush’s Middle East policy is crumbling.”


"Pandora’s Box"


Gudrun Harrer opined in liberal Der Standard (7/6):  “Nobody, not even the most naïve visionaries of the pro-war camp, expected a honeymoon in Iraq immediately after Saddam Hussein’s disappearance act....  A painful transition period was to be expected....  All these difficulties were underestimated by the U.S. administration, and probably in part also played down, while the question of WMDs in Iraq was blown out of every proportion....  Now, observers of Iraq have the uneasy feeling that the assertion of resistance in Iraq being organized exclusively by Saddam loyalists falls in this category....  The fact is that anti-U.S. attacks are also happening in areas that are Sunnite, but in no way loyal to Saddam--one does not necessarily entail the other.  Especially in these areas, Sunnite Islam...has gained ground over recent years, aided by the slow religious transformation of the originally secular Ba’ath party.  A Pandora’s box is opening up here, of the kind that the war in Iraq was supposed to keep a lid on for good.”


BELGIUM:  "Support Under A Blue UN Flag"


Independent De Morgen commented (7/23):  "Washington realizes that it needs international help to solve the problem in Iraq and it wants to ask the UN and its UNSC for that help--two institutions that (Washington) ignored and even ridiculed when it launched its attack against Iraq.  Saber rattler Bush and his hawks in the White House and the Pentagon begin to realize that that international support must not come only in the form of money but preferably in the form of reinforcements under the blue UN flag....  It is also in Europe’s interest that there be peace and stability on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates soon.  It has become clear that a military standoff and lying to the world population are not the right methods.” 


“Talking About Democracy” 


Agnes Gorissen editorialized in left-of-center Le Soir (7/18):  “The U.S. was going to teach the Old Europeans a lesson.  The ‘Young’ America was going to show them what a democracy is, intervening in Iraq in the name of good, ousting one of the pillars of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ and liberating an entire country....  Technically, the U.S. has swiftly waged its war, wiping out the Saddam Hussein regime in less than a month.  But what came next leaves somewhat to be desired.  Convinced that they knew better, the White House strategists forgot to listen to those who were warning them against the fact that the U.S. is not the only country where patriotism and national pride mean something and against the fact that the world does not operate based on the principle that ‘dollars equal stability.’  Especially if dollars are not present!  For, if most of the Iraqis were delighted to see Saddam Hussein go, they have not seen anything else coming.  Facilities that were destroyed by bombings are still in ruins, there is still no water and no electricity in many places, and the political process that the Americans sponsor is still in its infancy and widely criticized.  In other words, the Iraqis have the damage of the conflict and an occupation, but nothing in exchange--not even security....  Bogged down, the U.S. Administration does not know how to come out of the Iraqi quagmire." 




Catherine Mommaerts commented in financial L’Echo (7/18):  “Today, the British-American scenario has turned into a nightmare for tens of thousands soldiers who are bogged down in a genuine quagmire....  While the U.S. its public opinion, and its elected officials seem to have waken up and to now assess what the situation in Iraq really is--with a hangover that had not been so bitter since Vietnam--the Bush Administration is being forced to call the UN for help.  Even help from France and Germany would be welcome--that says it all....  It is hard to imagine how Washington--that has just admitted that it was facing genuine Iraqi guerrilla fighters--could allow itself to impose its conditions.  Yet, one should not lecture the Americans and tell them: ‘I told you so!’  The French, the Germans, and the Russians are smart enough not to make that mistake.  Because, if the Iraqi page is far from being turned, the page of transatlantic disputes should be, in order to constructively and jointly address the future of a country and of a region that has so many assets but that is potentially so explosive for all.  Washington has apparently come to that conclusion. We must take advantage of this!”


"No Bombs To Solve The Problem"


Luc Van der Kelen urged in conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (7/18):  “It is slowly becoming clear that the Iraqis have switched to guerrilla warfare.  That is the only form of war that the Americans cannot deal with.  It was the case in Vietnam and, more recently, in Somalia.  In that kind of war, sophisticated weapons are worthless....  The Americans don’t understand a thing about a world that is different from their own.  They view Iraq or Afghanistan as an America-to-be.  Overthrow the tyrants and introduce an American system--and everything will be okay....  But that is not the case now.  Iraq can succeed only if it gets under the UN’s wings quickly.  Today, Bush is confronted with the problems that Europe predicted.  This time, there are no bombs to solve the problem.” 


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Failure Of The U.S. Administration"


Frantisek Sulc held in the center-left Lidove Noviny (7/22): "The situation in Iraq is far from becoming a second Vietnam for the U.S....  Nevertheless the administration of President Bush has failed in the strategy for Iraq.  However, this does not by any chance cast doubts on the rightness of the action against Saddam Hussein and his regime....  The Administration had to devote all its energy to defending its action in Iraq instead of carefully preparing the so-called withdrawal strategy.  The current state of affairs proves that the people from the administration did not listen to voices which warned against troubles connected not so much with the military action itself, but more with securing the peace and order as soon as possible to allow the creation of a functioning civilian administration and a political settlement in  Iraq."


"Americans Need The UN" 


Radek Khol opined in business-oriented Hospodarske Noviny (7/21): "International politics is not only a matter of military power to…change governments, but also a matter of a wider perspective of the legitimacy of how it is carried out....  The higher the degree of legitimacy, the higher the chance of acceptance of a given policy…and the cheaper its implementation....  The world has so far no better tool for establishing a long-term legitimacy for an interim government in Iraq [than the UN]....  Not even a superpower is able to create peace in Iraq on its own."


"Guerrilla War" 


Milan Vodicka commented in leading, centrist daily MF Dnes (7/19): "The real battlefield, which Americans must win, is the Iraqi street where ordinary people have a lower standard of living than they had before the war.  Electricity, supplies of all types, and health care must work again.  The Americans have been awfully slow in this.  But life in Iraq must be better than under Saddam's rule.  Only this will strip the attackers of their support.  And this is the real battlefield where it is necessary to win now." 


GREECE:  “Disclosures” 


Top circulation, left-of-center, pro-GoG Ta Nea wrote (7/21):  “Today, the situation in Iraq is much worse than what it used to be before the war.  International organizations, the UN and the EU included, not just NATO, as desired by the U.S., have to work out a solution providing for the departure of the Americans from Iraq before the situation gets out of control completely and peace and stability in the entire region are put in jeopardy.” 


HUNGARY:  “Vietnam Is Far” 


Influential business/political daily Vilaggazdasag commented (7/21):  "The expression ‘guerrilla’ has a more threatening meaning in the American interpretation of the word than in general.  It includes the synonym of failure.  The big bogie-man that lies behind [the terminology] is the memory of Vietnam.  But Vietnam today is way too far, both in time and in most of its characteristics.   What is going on in Iraq is, from the Iraqi point of view, mere waste, waste of ammunition, weapons and human life.  The ousted president’s calls for resistance has no sense.  It is though a different question that more is necessary for winning peace than simply a guerrilla-free situation.”  


IRELAND:  "The Empire Strikes Back"


The center-right, populist Irish Independent editorialized (7/23):  “The occupation power now stands at a crossroads at which it could all too easily lose the way as it did once already.   Progress towards restoring the economy and providing an acceptable civil administration has been wretched.  Basic services are in far worse shape than under the old regime.  The ill-named ‘governing council’ has little power and little public support.  And a stage has now arrived at which it is possible to see that the stupendous power of the U.S. has its limitations, in the matter of pacifying and governing Iraq--and world-wide.  The Bush Administration has conceded--up to a point--that it needs help.  It wants other countries to share in the military task in Iraq.  But it wants them to help on its own terms, meaning in essence under its dictation.  No wonder several of its allies have balked.  They want a better mandate.  And a proper mandate can come only from the UN, so deeply and so wrongly despised by Washington." 


"The U.S. Situation In Iraq Compares With Vietnam In One Alarming Aspect"


Tom Clonan argued in the center-left Irish Times (7/10):  “The longer U.S. troops do not achieve unchallenged control in Iraq the greater the side-effects they will suffer....  As Saddam's weapons of mass destruction remain undiscovered, U.S. troops in a classic example of ‘mission creep’ are becoming increasingly engaged in a guerrilla war--as an army of occupation....  The war in Iraq shows no sign of abating....  Some comparisons with Vietnam and even Afghanistan are being drawn in the U.S. and international media.  The current casualty rates bear no comparison....  For Americans the situation in Iraq does compare with Vietnam in one alarming aspect.  Media reports from Iraq speak of U.S. troops becoming more volatile while on duty at checkpoints and in their interactions with Iraqi civilians....  All of this is taking place against a backdrop of uncertainty as to the future of their mission in Iraq and the increased frequency of guerrilla attacks." 


ITALY:  “Powell: A Stronger Role For The UN In Iraq”


Leading, business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore argued (7/17): “An escalation of the guerrilla warfare is deeply affecting the morale of U.S. troops....  The complexity of that operation is proving...that these attacks...are well-organized actions of a guerrilla warfare...managed directly by Saddam Hussein, his sons and some of the old regime’s leaders....  The Americans want to prepare the ground so that a UN force could be [established] in support of the new [Iraqi] government....  If today President Bush, with great difficulty, is trying to find allies who are willing to share the burden of occupation as well as the reconstruction of Iraq, the UN flag, on the contrary, might be able to convince some countries to send their troops.”


"Bush: NATO Could Intervene In Iraq”


Enzo Alessio wrote in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (7/8): “Will Iraq become NATO’s war? It’s still unsure, but it is possible and it has become one of George Bush’s options vis-à-vis the deteriorating military situation in Baghdad and its outskirts....  But now that the ‘war is over’ the super bombs and intelligent missiles no longer suffice, just as the 145 thousand U.S. soldiers who are in Iraq fighting the guerrilla war--a type of conflict that they are not prepared for--are no longer needed....  Everything seems to indicate, however, that hostilities are intensifying in a good half of the country....  In this new, unexpected strategic-political framework, Washington has begun to perceive the usefulness and maybe the necessity that U.S. allies take on part of the burden of the military operations in Iraq.”


MALTA:  “The World Must Not Fail In Iraq”   


The independent, English-language Malta Independent on Sunday held (7/20):  "There is no doubt at all that while the military operation to oust Saddam Hussein and his regime was conducted in a brilliant and professional manner the same cannot be said for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq....  It is clear that the Americans, and to a lesser extent, the British, did not prepare themselves properly for the aftermath of the war....  One of the biggest mistakes the Americans made so far was to literally dismiss the entire Iraqi military--all 400,000 of them....  TAs a result of one single misguided act the U.S. made 400,000 new (unemployed) enemies in a country plagued by social unrest.  These former soldiers are certainly potential guerrilla fighters....  It is absolutely essential for as many countries as possible to send peacekeeping troops, backed by a UN mandate, to Iraq....  So security in Iraq must become a priority for the UN and the U.S. must admit that it cannot solve this problem on its own.  Furthermore, it would have also been far better had the UN been involved in the setting up of the new Iraqi governing council; this would have eliminated criticism that the council was simply a front for American interests.”


NORWAY: “Iraq Can Become A Quagmire For The U.S.”


Newspaper of record Aftenposten opined (7/22): “Quagmire is a real word of shame in the U.S. because it is related to the tragic Vietnam War and the political consequences it had....  Today the U.S. is stuck in something that is suspiciously similar to a quagmire in Iraq.  Such a bog has the sad character that the attempts to get out lead to one sinking deeper down....  With that the U.S. finds itself in the disgraceful position that many of the more moderate powers within the Bush Administration see that they are forced to return to the [UN] Security Council, an institution that the hawks in Washington many months ago just despised." 


“Must Be Successful In Iraq” 


Christian Democratic Vaart Land held (7/17):  “For every day that goes with the Iraqis experiencing that daily life has become better, with their mistrust against the occupying force increase.  Not least because the impression festers that large portions of the country’s enormous oil reserves are being lost out of the country....  In the U.S. one already begins to fear that Iraq is becoming a swamp one can’t get out of, with ever increasing new soldiers that are sent home in body bags.  It does not need to be this way, and much will be decided in the coming months.  No matter what, the U.S.--and the world community--cannot afford to fail with the democratization project in Iraq.  Therefore the pressure should be increased on the U.S. that the UN and other international players should get a more central role in Iraq.”


RUSSIA:  "Russia To Do The U.S.' Bidding" 


Yulia Petrovskaya opined in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/21): "Troops and energy resources are all Russia can use to influence events in 'hot spots....'  In Iraq, troops are the only option available to it.  The Russians' involvement in peacekeeping in that country will, in large measure, determine the fate of their oil contracts.  The U.S. seems to face a more prosaic task, getting its troops from under fire and having them replaced by other countries' [troops]....  That country has a large potential....  Iraq may not be the only country where our ally in the war on terrorism may want to share the burden of peacekeeping in return for salvaging the contracts and debts."  


"Return To Normal Life Problematical"


Reformist, business-oriented Kommersant-Daily expressed (7/18):  "One can occupy territory, but bringing normal life to it is problematical....  The guerrilla war in Iraq is partly due to the memory and the strength of the toppled Saddam regime that the new administration has nothing to counter with and partly due to the inept American administration in Iraq.  The latter shows an amazing inability to grasp the local mentality and local conditions." 


"U.S. Swaps Soldiers For Blue Helmets"


Alexander Reutov wrote reformist business-oriented Kommersant-Daily (7/18):  "According to Washington's thinking, the world community as represented by the UN should extricate the U.S. from the quagmire of the Iraq war....  [Russia's] coming to Iraq wearing a blue UN helmet gives access to a slice of the oil cake which the U.S. and Britain so far have been mainly dividing as they see fit.  But a different kind of sentiment may be equally strong.  Many in the world, especially in Europe, think that 'it is up to the drowning man to rescue himself.'" 


SPAIN: "Wrestling For The Future"


Left-of-center El País contended (7/23): "The U.S. is looking for foreign troops to pacify and stabilize Iraq.  It will not find them in sufficient number without a resolution of the UN Security Council that supports them....  If, in the last stretches of the road to war, Bush found that the UN had become an obstacle for his plans, he can now discover that he needs [the UN] urgently in order to win the peace, retracing then the path of criticism and contempt he started before and during the war."


"Can The Iraq War Be Lost?"


Conservative ABC questioned (7/22):  "The slow drip of casualties may become unbearable if it lasts over months without a clear solution in view.  And for the moment, the situation is far from improving....  Fight for life in Iraq is unbearable....  No one understands that the superpower is unable to restore electricity....  The recently created Governing Council tries to give power to lay Shiites, like Chalabi and Pachachi.  But the first one arrived to Iraq in a U.S. jeep; few Iraqis take him seriously.  And the second one is a respectable elder, with very little influence among popular sectors....  The possibility of a civil war if the occupation forces left hastily is not strange.  But, in view of the current situation, the immediate question is: can the Iraq war be lost?"


TURKEY: “The Mistakes Of The Hawks”


Cuneyt Ulsever commented in mass-appeal Hurriyet (7/24): “Hawks are good at military strategies, but fail dramatically when it comes to political planning and social order.  Their narrow-minded approach tells them to act with physical force at the expense of social and political factors.  Hawks not only lost in Iraq, but also managed to create seriously high anti-American sentiment in Turkey, which used to be staunch ally and friend of the U.S..  Hawks think and act unilaterally, which in itself is incompatible with societies that are changing in a dynamic way." 


“Turkish Troops To Iraq”


Fehmi Koru argued in Islamist-intellectual Zaman (7/22): “Sending Turkish troops to Iraq has once again been brought onto the agenda; this is like the resurrection of a big mistake.  The U.S. is trying to share with others the responsibility of being an occupying force in Iraq.  India and France have already said ‘no’ to Washington, and there is no reason for Turkey to act differently.  It seems that the U.S. has realized the emerging impasse with respect to its position in Iraq, and there is no need to make it more complicated.  The best thing is to arrange a calendar to schedule the departure of the occupation forces from Iraq, and hand over the responsibility to the UN." 


 "Can The U.S. Afford To Leave Iraq?"


Ferai Tinc commented in centrist mass-appeal Hurriyet (7/18): “Washington is now facing a guerrilla war....  On the other hand, there is no possibility that the U.S. will permit itself to lose this game.  Not only the U.S., but the whole region, including Turkey, cannot afford for the U.S. to lose.  If that were to happen, the threats of terrorism and instability for the region will be immense. … The U.S. should remain in Iraq, and should work together with others to achieve success.  This will only be possible if the U.S. abandons its unilateral approach.”




ISRAEL: "Iraq Needs Stability At The Expense Of Democracy"


Mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot asserted (7/24): "The worrying situation in Iraq apparently calls for new thinking.  Instead of representative councils and other unsuccessful democratic attempts, what is needed--even for an interim period--is an appointed president endowed with powers, who would see to stability, at the expense of democracy....  Toppling Saddam was relatively easy, but only now have the Americans started to understand how old and filled with bitter experiences the Middle East is.  Should they fail to develop a new thinking in Iraq, they will be forced out, as happened in other places in the world.  Who will be left in that tight spot?  Israel."


JORDAN:  “Why The Resistance?”


Semi-official, influential Al-Rai remarked (7/21):  “Every action has an equal reaction that is reversed in direction, and the reaction to a foreign occupation is national resistance.  This is a sacred law of nature, which cannot be weakened by some of those who are cooperating with the occupiers on the pretext that the occupation is a reality and must thus be acknowledged and cooperated with.  What applies to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza applies to the American occupation of Iraq.  Resistance is not only the right of the people who reside under the occupation, but is their duty....  We will likely soon see, under the impact of the resistance, an attempt to internationalize or Arabize the occupation by brining in mercenary armies that would implement the will and desire of the occupation and save the blood of the American soldiers.”


“Resistance, But…”


Center-left, influential Al-Dustour noted (7/17):  “The Iraqi resistance to the American occupation forces is legitimate resistance, but it does not enjoy the support of all the Iraqis....  We salute the Iraqi resistance and we love to hear news of operations [against American forces].  But at the same time, we cannot label someone a ‘traitor’ that does not choose this path, but rather decides to ‘go along with’ the status quo.”


LEBANON:  "The Iraqi America: A Revision And Not A Retreat” 


Centrist Al-Anwar opined (7/22):  “The simplest angle to the problem is that administering the situation in post-war Iraq requires a military force that is much bigger than the one which brought down Saddam Hussein’s regime.  That is because the American project of ‘change’ is not only bigger than the capabilities of the biggest power in the universe but also bigger than its desire to achieve the announced goals....  America has one of two options: Either to accelerate both the political process in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli peace settlement process, or to widen the scope of its military operations.  The balance is very critical between the two options and time is running short.”


“Will Bremer Listen To Dual Wake-Up Calls”


The english-language Daily Star argued (7/18):  "Sunday’s seating of the governing council in Baghdad was a good first step, but its long-term success or failure will be determined by the degree to which it is able to restore normalcy to the lives of the Iraqi people.  The only way it can do this is if Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) allows it both the leeway to make its own decision and the power to implement them.  Whatever other considerations it has, the CPA’s ultimate goal should be its own irrelevance, which would allow it and the U.S. military forces in Iraq to leave....  Each step that empowers Iraqis to govern their own country and get on with their daily lives also erodes the attraction of engaging in armed resistance.  That will reduce the bloodshed and hasten the day when the Americans are again where everyone wants them to be: back home.”


SYRIA:  "A Misguided Foreign Policy"  


Government-owned  Al-Thawra commented (7/20):  "In its misguided foreign policy, particularly towards the Middle East, the U.S. is making the same mistakes.  It is trying, in coordination with Britain, to divert attention from the embarrassing file of the war to the steps of the formation of a transitional government in Iraq....  Iraqis...firmly believe that the need for freedom and independence has priority over any other need.  They, supported by the international community, believe in their right to resist occupation.  The U.S. undoubtedly knows this very well." 




CHINA: “Will NATO Send Troops to Iraq or Not”


Xu Jun remarked in China Radio International sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (7/21):  “It is not hard to see that two camps have been formed within NATO on whether NATO will directly join the post-war peace keeping in Iraq or not....  It may result in the most serious crisis in NATO in history....  According to the current situation, it is impossible for NATO to make a decision to join the peacekeeping force directly, and chances are even slim for NATO to put forth the issue for discussion within NATO.”


“The U.S. Should Return To The UN Framework”


Li Xuejiang argued in official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (7/21): “There is only one easy way for the U.S. to get out of the Iraqi dilemma: to return to the UN framework....  If the U.S. didn’t fight for oil interests and geopolitical strategy, as is alleged, then it should discard its haughty manner as a power country and return to the UN framework.”


CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "A Conflict Of Interests"


The independent, English-language South China Morning Post put forth (7/22):  "Instead of asking personally, U.S. President George W. Bush should have instructed his Iraq managers to arrange for the new 25-member governing council to ask India to send peacekeeping troops.  Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee would then have obliged, claiming to be responding to a request from an Asian people, not their Western conquerors.  He would also have agreed if the UN had asked....  A division or two of Indian soldiers could have helped to bestow post facto legitimacy on Anglo-American actions.  Instead, Mr. Vajpayee's refusal might encourage other governments to be even more uncooperative....  Mr. Vajpayee has reminded Mr. Bush that traditionally non-aligned nations that are anxious for America's helping hand would be less uncomfortable with pro-western policies if the U.S. took the trouble of operating through a global consensus.  In short: Don't ignore the UN."


"U.S. Asks UN To Play A Bigger Role In Iraq"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (7/22):  "Faced with these difficulties, the U.S. should not ask the UN to increase its role in Iraq, hoping it can 'jump out of this swamp....'  The only way out of this situation for the U.S. is to let the UN lead post-war reconstruction and peacekeeping in Iraq.  Only under the leadership of the UN will other countries be willing to send peacekeeping troops.  Only then will the attacks on Americans subside and the social order in Iraq return to normal....  Although the U.S. wants the UN to play an expanded role in Iraq, the extent of that role is still in question--we are sure that the U.S. will not give away its position of power."


JAPAN: "Iraqi Governing Council Should Restore Order First"


The business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (7/18): "If reconstruction efforts are delayed, support for the council will drop, probably encouraging Saddam loyalists to try and regain power.  A rise in guerrilla-type attacks by elements believed to be Saddam loyalists are occurring in Iraq almost daily, killing or injuring many U.S. soldiers.  Another concern is the future relationship between the council and the Coalition Provisional Authority. If the two sides become discordant, anti-U.S. feelings may intensify in Iraq." 


 "Iraqi Governing Council Needs International Assistance"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri asserted (7/17): "The Iraqi Governing Council, inaugurated three months after Saddam Hussein's ouster, has a central role to play in rebuilding Iraq in close cooperation with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)....  The Council should give top priority to restoring peace and order by resuming administrative services and rehabilitating the tattered economy so as to ease rising Iraqi frustrations over their daily problems, including cuts in electricity and water supply and a high unemployment rate....  The absence of law and order in Iraq continues to hinder world efforts to reconstruct that nation.  Undoubtedly, the world community should never leave that task to the U.S. and Britain alone.  There are more tasks other countries can fulfill in achieving Iraq reconstruction."                


INDONESIA: “Real Iraqi Sovereignty”


The independent English-language Jakarta Post judged (7/18):  “The continuing violence in the streets of Baghdad and other major cities in Iraq have overshadowed a significant development in Iraq this week: the establishment of a governing council comprising representatives of the nation's various ethnic and religious groups on Monday. This is a major step in restoring the sovereignty of the people of Iraq....  As important as democracy may be to the people of Iraq, it is also important that they have real sovereignty.  In fact, the two must go hand in hand if Iraq is to have real and lasting stability and prosperity.....   At the moment, that task and responsibility is in the hands of the United States, but it is increasingly becoming doubtful whether Washington can continue to do this by itself without the help of other countries....  While many countries have agreed to help the U.S. to rebuild Iraq, including sending troops or police to oversee peace and order, most of them would feel much more comfortable if they were deployed under the UN flag....  A transfer of authority to the UN therefore, would achieve two goals: greater support from countries in the reconstruction of Iraq, and more widespread international recognition of the governing council as the legitimate representative of the people of Iraq.  The sooner the American forces leave Iraq, the better it will be all around.  Another way of looking at this is that the sooner the Iraqis regain their sovereignty, the better it is for them, and for the U.S.” 




INDIA:  “The Eagle Has Landed, With A Thud"


Centrist Asian Age commented (7/24): “This is America’s moment of truth. A hyperpower that gave itself the right to act pre-emptively and preventively to invade a country of its choice to pursue national foreign policy interests has met its match in Iraq....  The problems that have arisen after America’s short, sharp victory prove that it is easy for a hyperpower to win a victory over a weak adversary, but very difficult to win the peace single-handedly. And if a country is contemptuous of international norms and treaties, it cannot expect the rest of the world to line up....  At the very least, the Bush administration will think twice before launching another preventive war outside the structure of the UN Security Council....  The world is waiting to see whether the U.S. displays the stamina to remain in Iraq for the long haul." 




CAMEROON: "Guerrilla War Feared In Iraq”


Government-owned Cameroon Tribune held (7/23):  “To speak of a full-scale guerrilla war may be premature, but this rumbling, low-level conflict has a cumulative impact.  It undermines US and British efforts to restore normality....  It is evident that the U.S. in particular, planned poorly for the immediate aftermath of the war.  There are too few troops to impose order, instead tyranny has been replaced by a power vacuum."


MOZAMBIQUE:  "In Post-Saddam Iraq:  Guerrilla Warfare As A Method of Resistance"


Independent weekly Savana asserted (7/14):  "While the resistance continues, Bush and Blair seek to legitimize the reason for the invasion amongst themselves and with the UN without, however, presenting proof of the existence of weapons of mass destruction.  Meanwhile, Americans and the British cry over their sons (of war).  History shows that guerrilla wars are the most difficult to conclude.  Modern technology still isn't able to contend with classic guerrilla warfare."  


UGANDA:  "U.S. Men 'Paying' For Ignoring UN"


Independent Monitor declared (7/22):  "The allied troops have lost credibility and should let the UN take over.  It is right for other countries to refuse to contribute troops for peace-keeping operations in Iraq in the presence of allied aggressors.  The U.S. and Britain have two options: to withdraw tactfully, and two, secretly ferry weapons of mass destruction from their own countries (since they have them in plenty) to some location in Iraq and then claim they belonged to the ousted Saddam Hussein."


ZAMBIA:  "U.S. Far From Victory"


Government-owned Zambia Daily Mail editorialized (7/21):  "The killing of American soldiers by guerrillas in Iraq almost on a daily basis is an alarm bell for the American Government that the cost of unilateralism in today's world can be bigger than the might of that country's military....  They were not ready to understand that the conscience of any nation cannot be subdued by any amount of force....  As the U.S. now urges the United Nations to take a leading role...we want to caution the world body that the terms should be so clear that the war-mongering U.S. is not allowed to abuse the UN anymore....  The difficult task of financing the reconstruction of Iraq...squarely on...those who decided to destroy Iraq....  In today's fast moving globalization era...there never will be any imperial power that will ever dominate the world and get away without a backlash....  The right wing extremism in the US administration of the day is inconsistent with global consensus...there is need to moderate the aggressive US foreign policy."




BRAZIL:  "About-Turn"


Right-of-center O Globo asserted (7/23):  "The U.S. would not be a superpower if it were not able to defend its interests by force if necessary, in any part of the world.  But the simultaneous commitments the Bush administration has taken over lately domestically and abroad are looking excessive, even to the American Armed Forces....  Thus, through tortuous ways, the U.S. may be forced to abandon its unilateral arrogance and recognize that it needs to collaborate with other countries.  And they may return to the multilateralism is has been turning away from, at very high costs to itself and to the rest of the world."




Boris Fausto commented in liberal Folha de Sao Paulo (7/21): "Iraq has become a quagmire for the U.S.  No one knows its depth or how long it will take the U.S. to get out....  Although statistically irrelevant, the casualties have been a powerfully demoralizing factor."


"Doctrine In Check"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo opined (7/20):  "The current scenario in Iraq is one of rapid deterioration.  The U.S. command already recognizes that its troops are facing a resistance trained in guerrilla tactics....  In addition to the military reversals, it is difficult to establish some form of local government capable of ruling a destroyed nation....  And the specter of Saddam Hussein hovers over all of these setbacks....  As the first practical exemplar of the so-called Bush Doctrine--which urges 'preventive action' against nations supposedly capable of threatening U.S. security--Iraq can be seen as an increasingly difficult problem....  The U.S. certainly does not want or cannot, at least for the moment, leave Iraq.  But as he wants to be reelected in 2004, Bush will try to spread the blame so as to minimize the risks of a defeat."              


EQUADOR:  “15 Minutes For The UN”


Quito’s leading El Comercio editorialized (7/17):  “Following the institutional debacle created by the conflict in Iraq and a decision by several powers to disregard its authority, the winds of history are once again favoring the UN....  The first signs of recovery have appeared amidst the destruction in Iraq.  The reconstruction and guerrilla resistance represent a high moral and economic cost for the U.S. and to a lesser degree for its unconditional English ally.  Under these circumstances, it is difficult for the victorious powers to find another organization, however bureaucratic and slow this one is, to achieve what is impossible with force: bringing nations together for peace....  Hopefully, from the suffering of the Iraqi people and a weakened self-image created by Western leaders, an opportunity will arise for the restitution of the UN as protector of world peace.”


PANAMA: "The Stench of Vietnam"


Conservative El Panama America commented (7/23): “The last war in Iraq was another clash of high technology against conventional war machinery.  But two months after the conflict ended, the U.S. and British add more dead and injured soldiers by way of isolated attacks and ambushes....  The high command has just officially given it the feared name of ‘guerrilla warfare....'  Congress discovers that the alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction in Saddam’s hands was made up to justify the invasion, that Bush lied....  It smells like a presidential ‘indictment’ like the one that forced Nixon’s resignation in the middle of the bloodiest moments of the Vietnam War....  The similarities are too many to be ignored.”



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