International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 21, 2003

August 21, 2003





 **  The bombing of the UN headquarters was an attempt to "wear out" the U.S.,  make outside support for the Coalition "impossible" and increase resentment of the occupation.


**  The violence confirms the "importance" of the UN and the "failure" of U.S. reconstruction.


** The U.S. must reverse its policy of "exclusion;" it is time for a new UN mandate


**  Critics say attacks confirmed predictions that a "unilateral" occupation would be a "disaster."




'Murderous attacks' reveal weaknesses in U.S. occupation-- The increasingly violent and "deliberately targeted pattern" of terrorism was intended to intimidate the international community and discourage outside help for the Americans in Iraq.  Dailies worldwide echoed the liberal Sydney Morning Herald's words that the "audacious act of brutality" was designed "to portray the Americans as incapable of securing Iraq" and delivering "promised peace and freedom" to the Iraqi people.  Arab dailies condemning the "blind terrorism" argued that the attacks "serve no purpose" other than to keep Iraq in a "cycle of violence" which could extend the occupation.  European dailies viewed the tragic attacks as a reminder that the U.S. "cannot control the situation" and a sign that chaos is growing.  The priority must now be, concluded Sweden's liberal Dagens Nyheter, "to restore the tattered and torn country."


UN must 'continue its mission,' withdrawal is 'not an option'--  Insisting that the U.S. will have to revamp its reconstruction strategy to include greater Iraqi and international participation, editorials around the globe were nearly unanimous in calling for a broader UN mandate.  In a "horrific way," noted London's Financial Times, the bombers "confirmed the importance" of the UN.  No matter "how much they disagree," the U.S. and UN now "need each other."  Even those who blamed the Coalition for the lack of security agreed that a withdrawal would be "a disaster" and pressed the U.S. and its allies to "stay the course."  The incident, as Indonesia's Christian-oriented Sinar Harapan observed, made both those who opposed and supported U.S. policy in Iraq "agree that such terrorist action must be faced together." 


'Condemnable attack' confirms U.S. lacked 'post-war agenda'-- Critics, particularly in the Islamic world, suggested that the Coalition was "responsible for the attacks" by failing to guarantee security.  Warning of more resistance, Arab and Muslim papers claimed the U.S.-UK "invasion" caused nothing but "instability and chaos."  Dailies in Turkey and the Middle East contended that the power vacuum and "fragmentation" in Iraq had "created a very suitable atmosphere" for terrorists.  They judged the situation "reminiscent of Lebanon in the 1980s or Yugoslavia in the 1990s."  Capturing the prevailing bitterness in the Brazilian press, business-oriented Valor Economico said the "barbaric" attack and death of Vieira de Mello had confirmed the worst predictions about the "unilateral occupation," adding that the "mystifying arrogance with which Bush and Blair justified the invasion is being contradicted every day." 

EDITOR:  Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This report is based on 83 reports from 42 countries, August 20-21.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:   "The Dilemma Of The UN In Iraq"


The independent Financial Times editorialized  (8/21):  "The appalling carnage in Baghdad on Tuesday is primarily an attack on Iraq's future.  But it also faces the UN and its member states--one of which, of course, is the U.S. --with the problem of how to retrieve the situation before Iraq becomes some appalling amalgam of Lebanon during its civil war and Afghanistan under the Taliban....  In their horrific way, therefore, the bombers have confirmed the importance of an organization that many in the Bush administration had all but written off as an irrelevance...a united Security Council should issue a broad new UN mandate, to give political cover to countries such as India and France, and Muslim nations such as Pakistan and Turkey, to come in and internationalize the attempt to rebuild Iraq.  The Security Council must, however, hold out for a clear multilateral legal framework and UN role.  The bombing has sharpened the instinct to work together but that should not lead to a dilution of the UN's legitimacy."


"Bloodshed In Baghdad"


The left-of-center Guardian editorialized (8/20):  "If there is any organization in Iraq about which it can be said unequivocally that it is there to help, it is the United Nations.  The bombing of its Baghdad headquarters yesterday is thus doubly a tragedy, both for those who lost their lives--including the UN's most senior envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello--and for the people of Iraq, whose future was as much a target in the attack as was the world body....  The ultimate solution, however, has to be an Iraqi one.  Real security can only be achieved by the coalition forces and the Iraqis working in tandem, in policing, in intelligence and, eventually, in military action.  In its efforts to expand the Iraqi police and lay the basis for a new Iraqi army, the occupation regime has recognized this truth, but there is unhappily a long way to go....  Yet there is another side to these events.  They are not likely to lead to a general repudiation of the occupation, and may even stiffen Iraqi support for the Americans and British, albeit in a despairing way.  Whatever the imperfections of the project to bring stability and normality back into Iraqi life, it can be presumed to be still preferable to the chaos and bloodshed which is all that the spoilers have to offer."


"This Is The Time To Strengthen The Role Of The UN In Iraq"


The center-left Independent took this view (8/20):  "It is precisely the importance of the UN to the daily life of the Iraqis that gives this act its own perverse logic....  It seems to be part of an increasingly violent and deliberately targeted pattern of terrorism aimed at making the outside administration of the country more and more impossible.  The object is to increase the misery of the population, and therefore their resentment at the occupiers, and raise the cost in blood and money to the occupiers, thus discouraging others from joining their effort....  If anything constructive is to come from this bloody act---then it should be in a reversal of this policy of excluding the UN."


FRANCE:  "In The Middle East, The Lords Of Chaos"


Baudoin Bollaert observed in right-of-center Le Figaro (8/21):  “A truck loaded with explosives in Baghdad, a suicide attack in Jerusalem: in a single swoop the lords of chaos have impacted on the ambitious U.S. plan to remodel the Middle East.  America’s plan to turn the region into an example of democracy, peace and progress is now seen in a different light: at best it becomes a risky wager; at worst a diabolical utopia.  President Bush and his advisors are often accused of arrogance and clumsiness.  The same goes for PM Sharon.  Much of the criticism is well-founded.  But what of this blind terrorism that aims to destroy every glimmer of hope that rises in the Middle East?...  The lords of chaos can be proud of their achievement: wasted effort in Iraq and a step backward for the 'roadmap'....  Nevertheless the solutions are known: Iraq must be placed under a legitimate international mandate, diplomatic relations must be re-instated between the U.S. and Iran and Israel’s security must be guaranteed while forcing Israel to fully withdraw from the occupied territories.  To that list we must today add recognizing the full authority of the UN and its values.”


"Avoiding A ‘New Saigon’"


Pascal Riche in left-of-center Liberation (8/21): “President Bush cannot afford to let the situation in Iraq drag on, especially if Islamic fundamentalists use it as a theater for anti-American operations… Until recently he still had a way out: the UN.… By refusing to hand over the administration of Iraq to the UN, President Bush has burned his bridges and is now compelled to stick to his solitary strategy.”




Patrick Sabatier wrote in left-of-center Liberation (8/20):  “With this attack the terrorists aim was twofold.  First they wanted to demonstrate that the Anglo-American occupation forces are incapable of opposing the terrorists’ strategy of chaos.  Second they wanted to terrorize the international community to keep it from helping President Bush.  We may be at a turning point....  The Americans, through lack of preparedness, ignorance or arrogance have missed the chance to conquer the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Iraqi people....  The number of coalition soldiers present is insufficient to guarantee the country’s security....  The U.S. budget cannot cover the cost of the reconstruction....  Every day that passes brings a Vietnam-style quagmire closer....  There is the risk that President Bush might give up.  But abandoning Iraq to civil war, a dictatorship or chaos is the worst possible solution....  Washington’s defeat would have serious consequences for the Middle East and the world.  The only solution, although uncertain, is a massive involvement of the international community under the auspices of the UN.  But first President Bush needs to recognize his own failure before it is too late.”


"The Iraqi Chaos"


Gilles Bridier contended in centrist La Tribune (8/20):  “The Iraqi guerrillas are sending a clear message to the international community...saying loud and clear that they do not want any foreign power, particularly a western power.  The perpetrators, former Baath members with the probable help of al-Qaida, are becoming increasingly daring....  Their objective is to halt Iraq’s reconstruction....  But yesterday’s attack on the UN may well serve to cement the international community.”


"Growing Chaos"


Jacques Guyon remarked in regional La Charente Libre (8/20):  “This tragic attack is a reminder to the U.S. that it cannot control the situation and that chaos is growing. The attack will not encourage America’s traditional allies to participate in the international force which Washington has been asking for… The model of peace and prosperity that the Americans wanted to promote in the Middle East is pushing the Iraqis into growing despair. And as everyone knows such despair is the best possible source for recruiting terrorists.”




Stefan Kornelius opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung (8/21):  "Following the explosion, the UNSC members...can no longer pretend that Iraq is solely a U.S. problem....  With its invasion, the U.S. has called up the demons that it pretended to fight….  There is only one chance to reverse this ominous development:  the U.S. must share power, and the Iraqis must assume responsibility.  The Bush administration chose the wrong path for this war and now it is choosing the wrong path out of it.  America must learn that it will even increase unease with its dominant behavior.  The only thing that remains is a radical change of course: for greater Iraqi and international participation, for greater UN role.  The UN must be freed from this unacceptable state that has so far characterized its mission in Iraq....  If the U.S. government wants to break this vicious circle of sabotage and attacks, it must withdraw, pass responsibility to the Iraqis and bring the UN as a broker into the play.  The longer Bush hesitates, the higher the price."


"Bomb Attack"


Jochen Thies commented on national radio station DeutschlandRadio of Berlin (8/20):  "The only conclusion can be that the Bush administration realizes the seriousness of the situation and is creating the political preconditions that would allow cooperation of the entire civilized world in reconstructing Iraq.  If the supply of water and electricity does not work in the long run, everything will be destroyed, paving the way for fanatics who are obviously gathering in Iraq for the battle between cultures, the final fight against the hated West....  This also means a German and European involvement.  If there were ever a need for a special meeting of the UNSC, that time is now."


 "Logic Of Anarchy"


Stefan Kornelius opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (8/20):  "The attack has a double effect on the political level.  The United States can no longer claim that Iraq is only its problem.  No, the United Nations has now also been dragged into the maelstrom of violence, it carries the same risks and distributes not only food packages in its attempt to de-anarchize the country.  And the UN must bid farewell to the idea of its presence having a pacifying effect.  The attack made clear that the UN would not automatically be accepted by the Iraqis if the United States gave the UN a stronger role in the country....  The attack against the UN building, which obviously was clearly targeted against UN envoy de Mello, must now be interpreted even by the war opponents as a direct challenge....  It is undisputed that the United States will be unable to demonstrate the political legitimacy to deprive Iraq of anarchy.  And the UN will not have the military power to assert its authority.  The time has come to end this blockade.  The United States and the UN need each other, because they have the same interest: to stabilize and pacify Iraq.  A second truck bomb should not go up before this simple understanding gains the upper hand--in the White House but also among the former war opponents in Paris and Berlin."



"Perfidious Strategy"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg held (8/20):  "Despite this murderous attack, the UN must continue to remain present in Iraq.  A withdrawal would be a disaster for political and economic reconstruction.  The UN did not support the U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein, and that is why it is very credible in the eyes of many Iraqis and war-skeptical Muslims.  Only the UN has the long-term legitimacy to manage the transition period from an occupation zone to a democratically and economically strengthened country.  The attackers pursue a perfidious strategy.  They know that the UN does not play a military role....  It is the calculation of the bomb plotters to force the UN to withdraw and to wear down the U.S. occupation force in a permanent confrontation with the population.  The consequence would be an Iraq that would go down in chaos and would end up as a breeding ground for terrorists.  The United State and all responsible states in the UN must resist such a development."


"A Bomb Against The Iraqi Population"


Martina Doering editorialized in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (8/20):  "It may be possible that, with the attack, the extremists achieved they opposite of what they wanted to achieve.  The United States will now appeal to the international community.  Washington will say that not only its forces and installations have now become a target but the entire international community has been hit...and together one has to fight Iraqi and other extremists in the country, restore security, and reconstruct the country....  The United States is right in all aspects, but the conclusion must differ from the one from Washington.  The U.S. and British forces must see to it that security is restored in the country they attacked--in cooperation with the UN, which must get the leading role in reconstructing Iraq right away.  Iraq does not need more troops, no German and French soldiers.  The downtrodden country needs democratic institutions, a functioning water and electricity grid, well-trained judges and police officers, trade unions, and teachers.  The Iraqis do not need an internationalized occupation force but the feeling that they get assistance--on their path to independence.  Then they will do everything to stop such attackers on their own."


ITALY:  "Europe’s Duty"


Sandro Viola commented in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (8/21): “It is no longer the time to discuss who was right and who was wrong on the war on Iraq.  Now we have to deal the issue of security.  Security of civilians in America, Israel and Europe, which this wave of terrorism is putting at risk every day.  And here we have the issue of international relations and the divide between Europe and America.  Because this divide is one of the breaches through which the bombs of the martyrs go and will go.  We need to gain a better understanding of and a closer cooperation with the there is no other pillar around which we can organize an effective defense besides the military and economic power of the U.S.”


"A Yugoslavia In The Middle East"


Alberto Negri opined in leading business Il Sole 24 Ore (8/21): “Today’s Iraq is a powder keg.... There is an occupation force, that of the world’s most powerful army, which is organized to fight against an army, but which is not ready, at least from a psychological point of view, to deal with guerrilla warfare and terrorism…. It is clear who wanted this war: a tiny group of neo-conservatives in the Bush Administration that had been systematically leaving out the UN and the NATO…. Indeed, the U.S. in Iraq is in a dead end road…. In this Balkanized Iraq…the U.S. is getting ready to make another mistake, that of considering Iraq only a problem of security, to be dealt with by possibly sending more troops and trying to set up some Iraqi forces ready to work with the occupiers. This is a tactic…not a strategy…The real issue is a political one. The Bush Administration should make a step back and give back the UN and its allies a role. It should also make its best to talk with the Arabs with dignity and respect.”


"Iraq And Saddam’s Ghost"


Bernardo Valli held in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (8/20):  “By striking at the UN representatives, they wanted to show that the Americans are inept occupiers.  They are not able to grant public order, they cannot ensure people water and electrical energy, and they are not even able of protecting their guests....  We cannot rule out that the attack was an indirect, bloody, insult by the invisible Saddam on George W. Bush.”


"The Massacre Might Speed Up Reconstruction"


Andrea Nativi opined in pro-government, center-right daily Il Giornale (8/20):  “The attack against the UN headquarters...might help internationalize the reconstruction effort....  Those who oppose the new Iraq as it was designed by the U.S. need convince people that the change does not bring any concrete advantage.”


"Blind Terrorism"


Boris Biancheri remarked in centrist, influential La Stampa (8/20):  “It is very worrying that the UN is identified with the West, or even, with everyone who has some power.  Indeed, the attack is an extremist and irrational action, which, perhaps, was also targeted against those moderate Arab regimes that are strengthening their domestic security.”


"Enough With Divisions"


Stefano Silvestri observed in leading business  Il Sole-24 Ore (8/20):  “This latest attack reaffirms the need to develop a wider and more open international debate on the future of Iraq and the management of the difficult political transition of this country and its reconstruction....  Today, at stake there is not only Iraq, but the whole Middle East region.”


 "What To Do For Iraq"


Elite, classical liberal  Il Foglio editorialized (8/20):  “We are all very good at telling the Americans and the British what to do in Iraq....  But, what should we, the Europeans, do?  Italy should raise this question to our EU partners and it should convene an extraordinary EU foreign ministers’ meeting.  Indeed, there is only one answer....  We need to develop a political and military union, beginning with Iraq.”


ARMENIA"  They Do Not Forgive The UN"


Radical oppositionist Haykakan Zhamanak commented (8/21): "It is not ruled out that Usama Bin Laden's Al-Qaida organization stands behind this terrorist attack.  It is noteworthy here that there has never been such attack on the UN in the world over the past twenty-five years.  It should also be underscored that UN representative Sergio Vieira de Mello was a strong opponent of the Iraqi war.  He has saved many Iraqi lives from starvation by means of the UN's 'Oil for Food' program.  It is unclear to many political analysts why the terrorists decided to target UN employees.  Most probably, the terrorists decided to attack the UN building because the latter recognizes the legitimacy of the Iraqi Governing Council.  It is obvious that supporters of Saddam Hussein and regional forces who are not interested in building a stable and democratic Iraq are doing their best to create chaos in Iraq."


AUSTRIA: "Determination, Not Cynicism"


Senior foreign editor Anneliese Rohrer argued in centrist Die Presse (8/21):  “Gloating and cynicism often cloud the world’s vision.  However, we should see clearly the vicious circle the U.S. administration is finding itself in and that it must break out of--however, it does not have that much time: Without strengthening the role of the UN in Iraq, it will be impossible to recruit the help of other states, especially in the Arabic world; without the support of other countries, the U.S. will have to increase the number of its own troops in Iraq in order to establish some kind of order in the chaos--this would be an extremely difficult measure in terms of U.S. domestic politics....  Those who rejoice in the fact that U.S. foreign policy lies in pieces among the rubble in Baghdad...should consider the consequences of all this.  If the tight network of Islamist extremists...will indeed find its  ‘ideal place’ in Iraq and its ‘ideal enemy’ in the U.S., and continues with its bloody work in the country, there will be a lot more at stake than just Washington’s image.”


"The UN, Agents Of The US"


In liberal Der Standard, foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer wrote (8/20):  “The stunned question that remains open is:  Why the UN?...  Because the concept is: chaos and terror always and everywhere, de-stabilization at any cost.  If somebody dies in Iraq, it is damaging to the Americans, and therefore welcome....  These people--and they are not predominantly Saddam loyalists--don’t want the UN in Iraq instead of the U.S.; they want nobody in Iraq at all.  They have their own agenda with the UN....  For the radicals, the UN is the institution that kept Iraq under murderous sanctions for years, and lets Israel, which has violated several UN sanctions, off scot-free.  Today, the UN assists the U.S. in carrying out its plans in Iraq.  It refused to legitimize the war, but it has sanctioned the occupation, most recently with Resolution 1500 in the Security Council.  So, what is the UN?  The UN is nothing without the U.S.; the UN is the U.S....  It is a terrible realization that the radical forces in Iraq seem to have been much better prepared for the post-war period than the Americans.  They were the targets of the war, but in reality, the war has given them an enormous boost.”


BELGIUM: "UN and U.S. Need Each Other in Iraq"


Diplomatic correspondent Mia Doornaert remarked in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard(8/21):  “No matter how much they disagree, the UN and the U.S. will have to work together if they want to prevent Iraq from sinking deeper into chaos....  It's not just the lack of security that has made the occupying troops unpopular.  Their inability to restore water and power and restart services have caused anger.  UN teams with expertise in nation building would probably have performed better....  A leading UN role in Iraq would solve a number of judicial problems that slow down the reconstruction of Iraq.  For instance, the World Bank and other institutions hesitate to grant loans to a regime whose status and international recognition are questionable....  A withdrawal from Iraq is an option neither for the UN nor for the U.S.  The UN has a positive image in the eyes of most Iraqis.  The U.S. has not.  That is why an increasing number of Americans believe that it is in their country’s interest to work together with or through the UN in Iraq and elsewhere in the world.”


"Vietnam On The Euphrates"


Bart Sturtewagen observed in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (8/20):  “It is almost incomprehensible that the UN has come in the line of fire.  The United Nations are playing only a limited humanitarian role in occupied Iraq.  The UN did not give a mandate for the war.  And a short time before he was killed in the attack UN representative Sergio Vieira de Mello even said that the occupation was ‘humiliating’ for the Iraqis....  [T]he most likely explanation is that there are forces at work that want to create chaos at any price so that the ‘infidel Westerners’ are dragged into a mortal quagmire:  Vietnam on the Euphrates....  The participation of NATO as a peacekeeper in Afghanistan was a first step on the road towards a more multilateral approach through existing stable alliances.  The reconstruction of Iraq will be much more difficult.  The earlier the Bush administration realizes that it needs help, the better.”


"Will We Ever Know Who Hit The UN?"


Foreign affairs writer Frank Willemse held in conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (8/20):  "President Bush has the choice now.  Either he restores order with a firm hand, learns to live with ‘incidents’ and ignores the body bags with ‘his boys’, or he finally does his utmost to establish a really independent transitional government under UN supervision--while limiting his own activities to electrical power in his own country.  The second option seems to be the best--for both the United States and Iraq."




Jan Rybar wrote in the centrist MF DNES (8/20):  "Yesterday’s explosion in Baghdad was among the worst news coming from Iraq in the past three months....  The attack was of a new category [and] was clearly aimed at all that is newly growing in place of Saddam’s tyranny....  The Americans and the British are viewed here as the rogues....  The Iraqis’ explanation is: They made a deal with Saddam, bought him, hid him and got access to our oil....  Yesterday’s attack was not just a warning to diplomats, it also brought bad news to the Iraqi people [because] it was aimed against their dreams of a better future."


"New War May Be Germinating In Iraq"


Martin Novak wrote in business  Hospodarske noviny (8/20):  "Many said...that the world became a safer place after the fall of Saddam.  No doubt that a majority of Iraqis...have a better future than they did under the former regime.  Unfortunately...[this positive fact] is being overwhelmed by the uncertainty of what will follow....  The last attacks show that Iraq has become a battlefield for many extremists that seek to fight their Western enemies, a new venue for jihad."


GREECE:  "They Must Leave"


The lead editorial in second in circulation, left-of-center, pro-GoG Ta Nea (8/21) said:  “The Americans can’t convince that they control the situation or that their policy can lead to a democratic Iraq....  The terrorist strike against the UN indicated that as long as there are occupation forces in place it will be impossible for international organizations to contribute to Iraq’s reconstruction.  Consensus is needed from all sides for the UN to intervene and secure peace.  Yet, in Iraq there is only one side, the Americans, and apparently they can legitimize no one.  The sooner the U.S. occupation ends, the more one can hope that things may likely improve


FINLAND:  "Everything Is A Target"


Leftist Kansan Uutiset editorialized (8/21):  "All hell is breaking loose in Iraq.  Terrorists target anything that hurts the U.S. or Iraq reconstruction.  As an occupying power, the U.S. is responsible for Iraq's internal security.  This is a responsibility that the U.S. is not able to shoulder.  The number of American troops is likely to be upped but even after that soldiers will not be able to stop attacks against themselves, not to mention guarantee overall security in the country.  The U.S. wanted a free hand to take care of Iraq....  The U.S. will have to ask for help from the rest of the world in order not to let terrorists achieve their goals because that must not be allowed to happen.”


"UN Has Only Bad Choices Left"


Right-of-center regional Aamulehti editorial (8/21):  “If the world organization pulls out of Iraq, the mindless attackers will be able to celebrate victory.  If the UN decides to stay, it will risk the lives of its workers. If the UN stays, security must be upgraded significantly.  So far, UN workers have opposed building heavy fences around the Baghdad headquarters wanting to show the Iraqis that the UN works transparently and unarmed.  If the building of fences begins, the reconstruction will begin to look increasingly like continuation to like the military operation launched by the US.  The situation is also new for the United States. It will have to start sending additional troops to Iraq, and prolonging the occupation. "


IRELAND:  "UN Role After Baghdad Tragedy"


The center-left Irish Times observed (8/20):  “It is difficult to see who can profit from such chaotic disorder.  Criticism has been increasing of how the U.S. occupation forces have been running the country after the war, along with their allies....  Resentment of the U.S. occupation authorities is mounting....  The rapid military victory last March did not prepare the U.S. for the peacekeeping and reconstruction tasks involved in the occupation.  The Pentagon-dominated administration running Iraq is presiding over an inefficient and ineffective post-war regime; but the Bush administration is loath to broaden its political base with a new mandate from the UN which would allow the involvement of states with more experience of reconstruction like India, Turkey and even France.  Despite this attack on the UN, such a broadening of the mandate governing the post-war occupation is increasingly urgent if Iraq is not to disintegrate.  President Bush once again denounced terrorist enemies in his statement yesterday on the atrocity.  But resistance is being bolstered by the growing failure of the occupation to tackle the most elementary tasks, as well as by those opposed in principle to the United States presence in Iraq.”


NORWAY:  "War’s Brutal Consequences”


Social democratic Dagsavisen  commented (8/21):  "The U.S. has failed as an occupation power. The Americans need all the help they can get.  A strong UN engagement in Iraq is probably the only solution to bring back civilization to the unhappy country....  There weren’t many tears shed in Baghdad when the UNHQ was blown up.  For the Iraqis the UN and the U.S. have become synonymous.  Unfortunately.”


"The Brutal Power Of Terrorists"


The newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (8/20):  "Through the attack against the UNHQ in Baghdad yesterday the unknown men behind it have attained two things: They have marked that the U.S., UK and the rest of the coalition does not have control over the country that they defeated militarily during only three weeks this spring....  And also because the UN envoy to Iraq, the Brazilian crisis veteran Sergio Vieiro de Mello, was among the suicide bomber’s victims, yesterday’s terror attack gets an especially tragic and symbolic weight....  The extra tragic [fact] that one of the UN’s most highly respected men is among the victims--and notably a man that had encouraged the U.S. and UK to take the Iraqi’s more into consideration--contributes to make the chaos even worse."


POLAND: "Order Is Needed"


Liberal Gazeta Wyborcza stated (8/21):  “For the time being, postwar hardships do not push the Iraqis into the arms of terrorists....  This does not mean, however, that chaos and poverty will not ultimately nourish terror.  The Americans must institute order in Iraq, and do it faster and better.  And to make this happen, they should cooperate on a larger scale with other countries, including those against the war in Iraq.  In turn, those countries should now understand that the leftovers of Saddam’s forces and Islamic terrorists in Iraq are not just the Americans' problem.  Washington and Paris, London and Berlin must assist Iraq together--and together fight against terrorists.”


"Terrorist Logic"


Bronislaw Wildstein wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (8/20):  “The terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad seems to make no sense.  The UN did not agree to sponsor the U.S. intervention in Iraq.  After the war, it is handling humanitarian assistance to the Iraqis.  However, we see the same terrorist logic in the terrorist attacks both in Baghdad and in Jerusalem, which can be summarized by the formula: the worse, the better....  Terrorists sacrifice their own lives in the name of an idea, so they don’t care for the lives of others.  The worse the situation for the people, the bigger the odds their stance will become radicalized, so the easier to put the blame on ‘others’--which increases the terrorists’ chances.  Americans promised better living conditions, so they are blamed for not improving the situation as fast as the Iraqis want.  Terror results in chaos and increases problems--an ideal situation for revolutionaries.”


PORTUGAL:  "The Last Victory Of Sérgio Vieira de Mello"


Bettencourt Resende, director of influential, center-left Diario De Noticias noted (8/21):  "It is probable that the authors of the attack that killed Sérgio Vieira de Mello committed a tactical mistake....  The main objective of the attack seems obvious: send a strong signal about the risks that all who become involved in the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq run....  The first reactions of Kofi Annan, as well as those of George W. Bush and Tony Blair point to the conclusion that the sacrifice of Sérgio Vieira de Mello may not have been in vain.  Now there are conditions to transform the controversial circumstances surrounding the removal of a detestable tyranny into a concerted operation by the International Community, guided by multilateralism and the search for peace that characterized the life of that friend of Portugal who was brutally murdered last Tuesday in Baghdad."


SLOVENIA:  "Attacks Prove No One Is Safe"


Boris Jausovec in left-of-center independent Vecer (8/21):  "The entire world was shocked by the attack.…[T]he question is what the...attackers...wished to prove. Above all [they wished to prove] that the American occupational forces in Iraq are not capable of protecting anyone....  On Tuesday, the attackers proved that nobody was safe in Iraq: neither the Iraqis, nor the foreigners or occupiers. How can one even think that the American occupation might bring any progress to Iraq?  Bush’s terminator-like adventure in the Middle East is becoming more and more complicated.… After 9/11/2002, Bush swore to provide for security of the U.S. and consequently of the entire world.  The method he chose has been proving more wrong day after day.… A war against the method.  Whoever chooses war should not be surprised when he gets war in return. The attack on the -- in an obscure way -- just collateral damage of such a choice.”


SPAIN:  "A Spanish Victim In Baghdad"


Conservative ABC editorialized (8/21): "When countries take responsibilities with the international community and they involve themselves in their actions, assuming all consequences, the possibility of suffering pain and getting injured increases considerably....  Spain has involved itself politically and militarily in the normalization of Iraq...and in the midst of all critics the government chose to be on the side of the allied power.  This compromise had and has many risks; among those, the material and human costs, an inevitable consequence of all armed conflict."


"Phyrrhic Victories"


Centrist La Vanguardia commented (8/21):  "It is not the lives of the soldiers or those of Western world civilians that is in focus.  It is the renewal of the war that continues on various fronts making it clear  that the taking of Baghdad and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime perhaps were only pyrrhic victories for Washington and its allies."


"Qualitative Attack"


An editorial in leading left-of-center El Pais asserted (Internet version, 8/20):  "In Iraq, the era of general destabilization is rapidly turning into one of well-planned attacks, using sophisticated means, capable of terrorizing the international community and creating the impression that the U.S. is still not in control of the country that took only three weeks to defeat.  The scale of yesterday's attack against UN headquarters in Baghdad...indicates there are qualified, organized elements with access to explosive weaponry....  The target of the war of longer is just the United States, but rather anything that can demonstrate to the world the incompetence of the superpower, with its 140,000 troops, in its occupation of Iraq.  Nothing has more of an effect on world opinion than the sense of chaos in Iraq....  Instead of rhetoric, Iraq urgently needs a new framework, backed by a UNSC resolution, that transforms the U.S. occupation into a collective, international enterprise that legitimizes the physical, economic and political aspects of reconstruction, with no time to waste." 



SWEDEN:  "The UN Must Not Give In"


West Sweden's major, liberal Goteborgs-Posten editorialized (8/21):  "To counter ruthless terrorism it is of the utmost importance that the U.S. and the UN widen and deepen cooperation in Iraq....  To the Americans, the Baghdad bombing attack constitutes a new challenge since the Bush administration from the beginning did not want troops under UN command in Iraq....  President Bush has ended up in a dilemma. To preserve peace in Iraq requires many more troops than first calculated...but deploying additional American troops in unruly Iraq would (quickly) become a political impediment to the President in the White House."


"The New Threat In Baghdad"


The independent, liberal Stockholm Dagens Nyheter editorialized (8/20):  "The fact that a bomb was set off in Baghdad on Tuesday is in itself not very surprising.  Acts of violence have been common; the occupation force has not managed to uphold law and order.  But what is surprising was the choice of target.  'The UN symbolizes the international solidarity with the Iraqi people and the willingness of the international community to help in the rebuilding of Iraq,' as the Swedish Prime Minister said in a comment....  There are many views on how the Iraqi war was carried out....  What resulted in criticism and opposition was how it was accomplished.  The U.S. pursued its policy without taking much consideration of others, and the Security Council members really had no choice....  However, setting aside the various opinions on the war, its initial diplomatic phase, and the U.S. arrogance, the priority must now be to restore the tattered and torn country....  Should peace have a chance, basic public functions must be reestablished...which was exactly what the UN tried to do....  The bombing attack against the UN headquarters in Baghdad, therefore, is a threat against the vital rebuilding process and, in a wider context, security."


TURKEY: "The Terrorists Were Created By Bush”


Soli Ozel argued in mass appeal Sabah (8/21):  “The attack against the UN headquarters is atrocious and treacherous.  It was an assault against an international organization that stood against the Iraq war.  It was also an attack against the whole world.  This incident will only mean more suffering for Iraqis....  But the Bush administration, through its aggressive stance around the world following the U.S. declaration of war against Islamic terrorism after 9/11, has created suitable conditions in which its enemies can operate....  At the current stage, the best solution is for the UN to assume more responsibility in Iraq.  There should be an international force, and authority should be gradually given back to the Iraqis.  These issues also require an internal debate in Turkey before making a decision on a possible deployment in Iraq.”


"Iraq Is Turning Into Lebanon"


Yalcin Dogan observed in the mass appeal Hurriyet (8/21): “Unfortunately, Iraq has become hospitable ground for fundamentalist terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida and Ansar-al Islam.  The UN headquarters bombing seems to be the first in a series of terrorist attacks designed to create an impact around the world....  There is a power vacuum in Iraq, which has created a very suitable atmosphere for these terrorist organizations.  But the fact of the matter is that the vacuum is being perpetuated by the Iraqi people themselves.  Iraqis are not only standing against the U.S. presence, but against any other foreign presence as well.  They appreciated U.S. forces at the beginning, because the U.S. ended the cruel regime of Saddam.  However, the current image of American soldiers in the eyes of Iraqis is that of an ‘occupation force,’ not a liberator.  This mentality creates a very high risk for Iraq’s security, and has made Iraq into a place where terrorists are supported by the locals....  Due to the ongoing possibility of more terrorism, Iraq is rapidly moving towards fragmentation.  Terrorism and division is reminiscent of Lebanon in the 1980s or Yugoslavia in the 1990s.”




ISRAEL:  "Baghdad And Jerusalem"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (8/20):  "There are two simple lessons from the suicide bombings yesterday in Baghdad and Jerusalem: no one is safe and there is no turning back.  Suicide terrorism is the plague of this century.  It cannot be escaped, denied, or appeased.  It must be defeated.  So far, the terrorists have successfully played divide and conquer. They have first succeeded in convincing the world that terrorism against Israel, while condemnable, is somehow understandable, and that it can be addressed by delivering on supposed 'root causes,' such as the call for a Palestinian state.  They have also lulled the world into thinking that only those who stand up to them, such as the U.S. and Israel, will be attacked, while those who are willing to resist the war against terrorism will be spared.  Terrorism will be beaten when these twin myths are dispelled....  All it takes is three, perhaps four countries -- the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany -- to agree for the war against terrorism to finally become effectively universal and serious....  Now is a time for unity and determination.  The UN must prove that it cannot be bowed or beaten."


"The U.S. Administration Will Not Put Up With Many More Days Like This"


Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (8/20):  "One cannot rule out the idea that the perpetrators of the [Baghdad] bombing had in mind the 1983 bombing of the Marines HQ in Beirut, which killed 241 Marines.  That attack managed to remove the United States from Lebanon.  Therefore, Bush's primary desire Tuesday was to convey one message: the U.S. is not deterred and it will not withdraw.  Baghdad is not Beirut....  It is clear to Bush that his current test is to show determination to stay [in Iraq] while pursuing the persons behind the bombing.  At this time, he has no difficulty doing so.  Although American public opinion isn't enthusiastic about the way the U.S. runs the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, it is still early too talk about a popular demand for a pullout."


EGYPT:  "Absence Of Agenda And Sound Vision”


Morsi Attallah wrote in leading pro-government Al Ahram (8/21):  “The impasse the U.S. currently faces in Iraq is reinforced because it lacked a post-war agenda....  It is a mistake for America to deny its impasse in Iraq because surrendering to the stubborn orientations of Pentagon hawks will lead to one thing: the continued desire of these hawks to prevent American decision-makers on Iraq from having a sound vision....  The world has now realized the invasion was not for liberation, but rather the Americans are adopting the practices of a foreign occupying force, violating human rights, and being disrespectful of international laws and pacts.”


"The Cycle Of Blood From Palestine To Iraq"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram held (8/20):  “Matters have grown more complicated in Palestine and Iraqi than those responsible for the shedding of Arab blood realize.  Obviously the widening deterioration approaches and the cycle of blood is broadening for clear reasons.  Americans, with all their military power, could not tighten their iron grip on Iraq as is demonstrated by the growing resistance....  America tries to run the hellish wheel of blood in Iraq with the same viciousness as Israel in Palestine.  Americans may also succeed in deceiving the world and in tempting several countries to support them under the pretext of reconstructing Iraq just as Israel deceives the world about [its] destroying the terrorist Palestinian structure....  America, the greatest superpower in the world and the strongest military power in history, will never succeed in subduing the Iraqi people and in imposing the occupation."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Who Perpetrated The Bombing Crime In Iraq?


Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (8/12):  "Was it a message to the international community represented in the UN to give up its role in Iraq and its assistance to the Iraqi people?...  Was it a message addressed to anyone who tries to help the people of Iraq in order to prevent and deter him from providing the desired assistance.  The the major international body that helps Iraq and its people now....  Demolishing the headquarters of the UN in Iraq and murdering its staff will certainly reduce its activities there....  This criminal bombing is definitely not in the interest of Iraq and its people."


SYRIA:  "The Goals Of Baghdad Crime"


Mohamed Khair al-Jamali commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (8/21):  "The goal of this crime is to harm the Iraqi resistance.  The power that masterminded this scheme aimed to pin this crime on the Iraqi resistance so as to categorize it [the resistance] as terrorist--just as Israel categorizes Palestinian resistance as terrorism--to justify the continue Anglo-American occupation of Iraq under the pretext of combating terrorism."


QATAR: "The UN And The Iraqi Test"


Semi-independent Arabic Al-Sharq declared (8/21):  “The attack on the UN building in Baghdad shows once more...that the American-British invasion caused nothing but instability and chaos.  The UN played a very negative role from the beginning of the war.  Many Iraqis believed that the UN legitimized the war against them and consider the UN occupiers like the Americans.  On the other hand many Iraqis believe that the UN presence and role in Iraq will limit the American role and minimize their control of the day-to-day situation in Iraq.  This condemnable attack should not force the UN to leave the Iraqi arena for the Americans to toy with.  This would perfectly suit the Americans and anger both Arabs and Iraqis.  The UN should take a firm moral stance and play its required role.”




AUSTRALIA: "The UN Must Not Be Cowed"


The liberal Sydney Morning Herald stated (8/21):  “The primary target in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad was not the world body....   It was first and foremost the U.S. occupying force in Iraq.  By perpetrating such an audacious act of brutality on a civil organization, the formless anti-U.S. forces in Iraq are clearly determined to foment anarchy at any cost....  The new attacks, though not directed at U.S. interests, seem designed to portray the Americans as incapable of securing Iraq and delivering to the Iraqi people the promised peace and freedom which justified the U.S.-led invasion....  A blind, brutal campaign of terrorism can't be effectively countered without considering the consequences of the global military and economic dominance of the U.S. and Western nations, and how such power is perceived elsewhere.”


CHINA:  "The August 19th Bombing: What it Means for Iraq"


Mu Fangshun commented in the official Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 8/21):  “The terrorist attack sends at least three messages: first, someone is dissatisfied with the UN’s stance and policy; second, they are warning the UN not to assist in the coalition’s reconstruction plans; third, they will use every means to drive the coalition troops out of Iraq.  This shows the failure of the U.S.’ intention to export democracy by force and to reshape the Middle East.  It is also a major frustration to its dream of building a ‘global empire.  There is only one way for the U.S to settle the Iraq issue.  That is to withdraw its occupation troops and completely and thoroughly return the leading role to the UN.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "UN Must Be More, Not Less, Engaged In Iraq"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (8/21):  "It is a calculated and brutal assault on an institution which had been welcomed by many Iraqis and was doing its best to help get the country back on its feet....  The question now is whether the international community's sense of outrage will mark a turning point in the approach to rebuilding Iraq.  The attack has, tragically, demonstrated the weakness of U.S. claims to be making progress in restoring security and stability to the country....  But if any good is to come of the attack, it will take the form of a renewed and more united effort to put Iraq back on the road to recovery.  Sidelined and divided by disagreements over the invasion, the UN must now demonstrate its determination to play a more prominent role in the rebuilding process....  The U.S. must be prepared to commit itself fully to the task and do whatever is needed to improve security and to provide the basic services that people need.  It must also build support among Arab states for what it is trying to achieve....  Bringing peace and stability is the best way to counter the brutality of the terrorists."


JAPAN: "Terrorism Vs. World Community"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai observed (8/21):  "We regard the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad as a terrorist attack on the world community.  The incident will further delay Iraq's reconstruction work, lengthening the Iraqi people's suffering from the negative effects of the war.  The question is how the U.S. can take the initiative in improving the security situation in Iraq where acts of terrorism are on the rise.  President Bush will find it necessary sooner or later to revamp U.S. policy toward Iraq.  In doing so, Mr. Bush should seek greater cooperation from the international community, as Germany, France and Russia still refrain from sending their troops to Iraq.  Although Japan has enacted the Iraq law which authorizes the dispatch of SDF troops to Iraq, it is unable to send even a fact-finding team to study the security situation there, a requirement to be made before the actual dispatch of SDF personnel, because of the deteriorating security situation in that country.… As things stand, there is no immediate need to send SDF troops, whose activities are restricted because of constitutional restraints, to Iraq on a logistical and reconstruction mission."


"Iraqis' Hatred Also Directed At UN"


United Nations correspondent Igarashi observed in the liberal Asahi (8/20):  "Media reports on the deadly explosion at the UN office in Baghdad sent shock waves through officials at the UN headquarters in New York....  The latest bombing dashed hopes that if the UN takes the place of the U.S. in Iraq reconstruction, it would ease feelings among those hostile to the U.S.  There are clear signs that anti-U.S. groups view the UN as siding with the U.S."   


"Rising Acts Of Terrorism A Major Blow To U.S. Strategy"


The business daily Nihon Keizai published this view by Istanbul correspondent Kibe (8/20):  "Tuesday's fatal explosion at the UN office in Baghdad clearly showed that resistance forces in Iraq are directing their guerrilla-style attacks not just at the U.S., but also at U.S. allies and international organizations.  The deteriorating security situation in Iraq will further delay the war-devastated nation's economic reconstruction.  A rise in anti-U.S. feelings will not only give moral strength to the resistance forces, but also deal a crushing blow to the U.S. occupation strategy in Iraq."


INDONESIA:  “Noble UN Mission Should Continue”


Christian-oriented Sinar Harapan  commented (8/21):  “One must admit that the UN mission in Iraq is not very clear and is forced by the U.S. and its allies and overwhelmed by the problems after their aggression in Iraq.  The UN presence there poses a dilemma.  On one hand, the U.S. and its allies continue their military occupation.  On the other, the UN role is limited to a humanitarian mission without an accompanying peacekeeping force.  No matter what, we should see the UN presence as a symbol of the victory of multilateralism over [U.S.] unilateralism....  But the incident has made both those that opposed and those that support a [U.S.] attack on Iraq agree that such a terrorist action must be faced together and the UN should continue its mission.”


THAILAND: "The Baghdad Incident"


Makowsky S. Kras (pseudonym) commented in sensationalist, business-oriented Thai language Phujatkarn (8/21):  “The horrible bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad was an extraordinary sabotage or terrorist attack.  On one hand, it was not only a defiant declaration that groups opposing the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq will not lower their degree of violence, but also signaled that guerilla warfare and suicidal terrorist attacks have taken root in Iraq.  On the other hand, the UN headquarters bombing was tantamount to a declared objection to ‘the mediator’ who will rebuild Iraq in accordance to the West’s way.… Paul Bremer has stated the likely perpetrators were fighters from bin Laden’s al-Qaida and those who have clandestinely entered the country from Syria.  Seemingly, the statement is aimed to project an image that opposition comes from outside.”




INDIA:  "Attack On U.S., Not UN"


Centrist Navbharat Times asserted (8/21):  "The attack on the UN office in Iraq is condemnable.  The question, however, is why expect law and order when an invading force continues to occupy Iraq after overthrowing a regime?...  Even after four months of the war, the American attempt to win over the Iraqis have clearly failed....  These attacks demonstrate that the U.S. continues to be an unwelcome authority in Iraq....  The U.S. is talking about vacating Iraq after stabilizing it, but will it do so, when so much oil is as stake?  The Iraqis have obtained some representation in the governing body, but how much authority they have is anybody's guess!"     


"Baghdad Backlash"


The centrist Times of India stated (8/21):  “Iraq is going desperately wrong for the U.S. and nothing illustrates this as starkly as...the suicide bomb attack on the UN mission....  And yet, it is not as though the U.S. has been caught unawares by any of this. Large-scale Iraqi resistance was inevitable given the way the U.S. went about the war.... The attack on the UN building is a moment of truth for George Bush....  A commanding role for the UN in Iraq is now all the greater.  So long as the U.S. labors under the delusion that Iraq can be managed by its central command, the situation on the ground can only get worse.”  


PAKISTAN: "There is Still Time For America to Stop"


Karachi's Urdu-language Ummat judged (8/21):  "The explosion in UN office...indicates that Iraqis shall not tolerate any foreign occupation and will continue resistance.  When America could not control Iraq alone it requested other institutions like UN and countries for help.  Thus Iraqis started attacking them also.  Americans consider Saddam the center of evil but they could not trace him so far.  But they have killed thousands of Iraqis.  By doing this, America is not only putting its army in danger but also its other allies.  Iraqis, by attacking the UN office has given a message that UN failed to give protection to humanity and especially to Muslims.  Since the UN failed to provide justice and peace to the world it cannot be trusted anymore.  The way America is targeting Muslims and Muslim rulers are quietly tolerating this, it will result into more suicidal attacks against their enemies."


"Iraqis Reject UN Role"


The Islamabad rightist, English-language Pakistan Observer stated (8/21):  "The bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad is despicable....  It, however, seemingly represents the indignation of the Iraqi people against the world body's recent act of legitimizing the U.S. occupation of their country.  The U.S. had cleverly manipulated the legitimization of its occupation of Iraq through the world body....    If the UN Headquarters is not safe in the process of their liberation struggle, the forces operating under the UN banner too will be equally vulnerable in Iraq.  It's also an unambiguous message to Pakistan not to play any role in consolidation of U.S. control over Iraq by contributing its troops in the name of peacekeeping  in Baghdad."


IRAN:  "Baghdad Bombing"


Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio 1 commented (8/20):  "Regarding the nature of this operation, as stated [by others], it was a terrorist operation, because it was carried out at a non-military location and against civilians.  As to the motive of the perpetrators, it has to be said that their intention, before anything else, is to prevent the stabilization of the situation in Iraq and to perpetuate insecurity in that country.  As to the consequences, it has to be said that this operation will have different consequences.  For example, it will create problems for the provision of UN aid in Iraq.  It will also harm the process of boosting the UN's post-war political position in Iraq.  The operation will also have political and military costs for America, and it will mean that other countries will act cautiously in joining the coalition forces and, at least, raise their demands in their bargaining with America.  However, at the same time, experience has shown that the Americans try to create opportunities on occasions like this, especially so in view of the fact that the second anniversary of the 11 September incident is approaching.  And it seems that they will try to use this operation to strengthen the axis of combating terrorism under their own leadership. "




MOZAMBIQUE:  "As for the Attack"


Salvador Raimundo commented in the Independent daily fax sheet Expresso da Tarde (8/21):  "Today we cry most over the death of Vieira de Mello.  I also cried.  But it's strange that the people who cry most today over the victims of the truck bombing ignore the millions of children, pregnant women and helpless men who have been affected by the enemy bombs....  Isn't the UN being used by the U.S. in this battle?  Wasn't the UN forced to be in Baghdad to legitimize the Anglo-American occupation?  The UN bombing in Baghdad was intentional.  Its perpetrators aren't crazies, they knew what they were doing."


UGANDA: "Wrong Target"


The government-owned New Vision editorialized (8/21):  "Iraq has been plagued with sporadic incidents of violence in the months since Saddam Hussein was defeated by a U.S.-led coalition.  There have been roadside ambushes, suicide attacks and acts of sabotage as what increasingly looks like an internal resistance against foreign occupation takes root.  But the UN is not an occupying force.  The international body is a non-ideological organization mandated by the world community to make non-partisan intervention in places in crisis.  Iraq, evidently, is one such place.  The UN should desist from scaling back its operations, because this would not only be giving in to the terrorists, but also undermining the well being of many more well-meaning and needy Iraqis who had nothing to do with the attack.  It should take the bombing in its stride, more conscious of the urgency to return Iraq to normalcy."


ZIMBABWE: “Will America Learn From Its Past Mistakes?


Billet Magara noted in the pro-government weekly Business Tribune (8/21):  "If only America could prick the big bag of misplaced pride it has in itself, if only it could suture the wounds on the body of its own troubled conscience, if only the desire for revenge was not a national policy, if only America could learn to view its neighbors without suspicion, earth would be a wondrous planet to live on and leave behind for our children....  Iraq is a mirror reflection of past American campaigns....  It would not be too much to ask from the world’s most powerful President, for him to pray to the most powerful force in the universe, to teach him the only word missing from his vocabulary, ‘peace.’”




CANADA: "Rebuilding Iraq Remains Crucial"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (8/21): "Horrific as Tuesday's bomb attack was on Iraq's United Nations headquarters, no one who has followed events in that country can be surprised that matters have taken a turn for the worse. From the moment the United States attacked Saddam Hussein, it was clear that handling the instability caused by his departure might be as difficult as dealing with Iraq while he was in power, if not more so.... There are any number of countries nearby with extremists to spare, including Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. That is precisely why the United States and others involved in the effort to rebuild Iraq should stay the course, if not redouble their efforts to bring about stability as quickly as possible. Any sign of weakness - any sign, for example, that President George W. Bush is wavering as a result of simplistic criticisms that his country is in for 'another Vietnam'...will only encourage anti-U.S. forces in Iraq and elsewhere.... Rather than pull staff or troops out, the United States needs to provide more of both, and other countries need to help as part of a broad UN effort.... Rebuilding countries - or, rather, helping a beaten and starving populace to rebuild them - is not easy.... American and international forces don't want to take too much on themselves for fear of being seen as occupiers. Yet if they don't do enough, quickly enough, they will be seen as uncaring. More than anything, they cannot give up."


"A Truckful Of Evil"


The conservative National Post editorialized (8/21): "The ongoing guerrilla war against U.S. troops in Iraq provides ample proof that, contrary to the Polyannish predictions offered by some American officials, a substantial number of Iraqis are bristling at the presence of foreign troops in their land. But Tuesday's truck bombing of the United Nations Iraqi headquarters in Baghdad...shows that the United States is dealing with something far more pathological than militant nationalism. The function of United Nations personnel in Iraq is to provide aid and alleviate hardship. Yet the terrorists who struck on Tuesday were willing to slaughter these good Samaritans merely so they could discredit the United States and its ability to maintain order.... Despite the terrorists' best efforts, the United States must win over as many Iraqis as possible by providing them with a better life - which means food, clean water, dependable electric power and as much security as circumstances permit. A homegrown army and police force should also be trained and deployed as soon as possible. In blowing up foreign soldiers and aid workers, terrorists can hide behind the conceit that they are martyrs and patriots. Once they are forced to confront Iraqis in uniform, it will become apparent to all that they are merely murderous thugs bent on denying the country a better future."


"Mideast Carnage Tests Our Resolve"


The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (Internet version) (8/20):  "The limits of American power were on raw display yesterday in the smoking rubble of the United Nations headquarters in Iraq, and in the mangled wreckage of a bus in Jerusalem.... The heavy-handed American occupation in Iraq is fast becoming the tragic shambles the critics predicted....  The murderers' aim?  To persuade Iraqis chafing under American occupation and privation...that Bush is losing control, and 'resistance' is intensifying.  To gain converts to Saddam's appeal for a war of attrition.  To draw the U.S. into a Vietnam-style quagmire.  To drive out the UN.  They must not succeed.  Whatever the rights or wrongs of American policy in Iraq, the UN is there to restore civilian rule after Saddam's criminal rule, and to rebuild....  If the UN is driven out, ordinary Iraqis will suffer most....  In Iraq, Bush should recognize that American military rule cannot stretch out indefinitely.  He should begin to extricate the U.S. by seeking a new Security Council resolution putting the UN in charge of a truly empowered Iraqi interim regime, replacing the Pentagon's fumbling provisional authority."


BRAZIL: "Iraq's Future"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo commented (8/21): "The worst attack ever suffered by the UN has given rise to more doubts about Iraq's future. The Pentagon's idea of a short war followed by a short occupation seems to be ever more distant. It is very unlikely that the U.S. will yield political command of Iraq to an Iraqi administration before minimal security and infrastructure conditions are reestablished. Preventing the resumption of this minimal network is exactly what groups that oppose the U.S. military occupation have been working to achieve. Paradoxically, due to the acts of this resistance, the U.S. has been constrained to prolong its military presence in Iraq and so postpone the only thing that could end the attacks: the establishment of a civilian Iraqi government. The current wave of violence in Iraq is another side effect of the major mistake, which was an invasion without the UN's support.... Both the UN and the U.S. are obliged to help ensure that the most dire predictions about the war's aftermath are not confirmed."


"Disastrous Adventure"


The lead editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo held (8/21): "Although no American soldier was killed or injured in the terrorist attack against the UN in Baghdad, the attack was the most devastating blow suffered by the U.S. since the invasion.... Among the many developments resulting from the war that the Americans were unable to predict or face effectively, one that was clearly expected was the fact that Iraq might become a kind of Mecca of Islamic terrorism.... These potential murderers represent an incomparably greater danger than the Baathist guerrillas who miss Saddam.... In strictly military terms, suicidal terrorism is impossible to eradicate. What can be done is to make the environment for its agents inhospitable. The Americans seem to have done the opposite in Iraq.  Terror is fed by popular revolt resulting from the U.S.'s inability to meet the basic needs of personal security, public order and utility services. The dimension of the challenge the U.S. faces is frightening.... The blind alley that the Bush administration finds itself in results from its inability to predict that Saddam's overthrow would be just the first and easiest stage of this disastrous adventure."


"Vieira De Mello's Death And The Chance Of Peace In Iraq"


Business-oriented Valor Economico commented (8/20):  "The death of diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello has confirmed predictions that the unilateral occupation of Iraq by U.S. and UK troops ran major risks of becoming a disaster.  The mystifying arrogance with which Bush and Blair justified the invasion is being contradicted every day by the facts....  The barbaric and despicable attack against the UN in Baghdad punished some of the Iraqi people's strongest allies....  This terrorist act has shown that contrary to the White House's optimistic view, the situation in occupied Iraq is increasingly unstable....  The Bush administration may react to yesterday's disgrace either with its usual despotism or with political sensitivity.  [If it chooses the first course of action,] we might see the sending of more U.S. troops to Iraq as well as an extension of their stay there, with repeated and intensified combat between them and their enemies."


"It's Not Vietnam; It's Worse"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo political columnist Clovis Rossi opined (8/20):  "Since yesterday's attack against the UN's headquarters in Baghdad, it has been more tempting to think that the U.S. (and the West) has become involved in another Vietnam by invading and occupying Iraq.  It is a tempting idea, yes, but also an inaccurate one.  There is no similarity between the two.  It is even possible to say that Vietnam was better for the Americans. There were defined armies, although one of them was not a regular army, but a guerrilla group....  That is not the case in Iraq, where only one army is defined and has been transformed into a mobile target....  The battlefield has been extended from Baghdad to Bali, but also includes New York, Washington and God knows where else....  There is not the slightest chance that the U.S. will be defeated and forced to hastily abandon Baghdad, as it did Saigon, by the attacks that have been occurring since the formal end of the Iraqi war....  Terrorism today is anonymous.  Not even the authors of history's greatest terrorist action--that of 9/11--have claimed responsibility.  Those who define its authors are the victims, not the criminal....  Isn't it frightening?"


"New Shock"


Right-of-center O Globo editorialized (8/20):  "The death of Sergio Vieira de Mello is a loss Brazil shares with the UN, which held him as one of the most dedicated, capable officials of peace....  The circumstances and moment in which the attack took place yesterday make it clear that the Iraq's problems are getting worse everyday.  Despite the death of Saddam Hussein's sons and the capture of an important minister yesterday, not even the most optimistic observer would say an Iraqi democracy is visible on the horizon.... Iraqi patriots would like mainly to get rid of Anglo-American forces through weariness.  Fatigue would end up by forcing Bush and Blair to take their exhausted soldiers back.  This seems to be an optimistic scenario.  The attack that killed the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights demands that the international community begin to have a much more significant presence than has been allowed so far by the Americans and English."


CHILE: "Attack In Baghdad"


Leading-circulation, popular La Tercera declared (8/20):  "This was not just an attack against the U.N., it was against the work conducted by the Bush administration in the region....  The Pentagon must now determine who is behind this subversive act....  The scenario would perhaps be simpler if the Pentagon were to point its finger at Saddam Hussein's 'long arm,' because Hussein's capture...would end the attacks.  But if violence is coming from isolated groups who oppose the occupation or--worse yet--is the result of veiled action by other regimes, there are other implications for stability in Iraq and the region.  If that is the case, Bush will have to reassess the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq and face greater accountability in his country for this military invasion."




Financial El Diario (8/20):"The nations directly involved in the war...well know that pacifying Iraq has been a very difficult task....  One of the immediate effects of the conflict is related to increased oil prices, which concerns the entire global economy.  Thus, instability in the Middle East is far from resolved and continues to be an element that must be taken into consideration when making estimates on the recovery of the global economy."


COLOMBIA:  "Attack On UN As Military Objective Strikes Essence Of Body"


An editorial in leading El Tiempo asserted (Internet version, 8/20):   "The unprecedented attack yesterday against the UN Headquarters in Iraq, that cost the lives of special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello along with 19 others...does not only reflect the prevailing chaos of that country, but also demonstrates that the Iraqi resistance is also directed against even those, considered neutral, that would appear to be immune to terrorism.  That the UN has become a military target is something that strikes the very essense of this world organization....  This is paradoxical because the UN was only carrying out humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, due to a mandate approved by the Security Council a month after the invasion.  The attack confirmed that this mandate was interpreted by the elements of Saddam Hussein's regime as an implicit legitimization of the U.S.-UK occupation, entangling the organization deeper into the post-war conflict....  In addition to provoking international outrage, yesterday's attack underscored the enormous difficulties facing the occupying forces in maintaining order, restoring governability and advancing the reconstruction of Iraq.... The insurgents are creating an atmosphere of insecurity that is affecting reconstruction efforts....   U.S. authorities estimate they will need some 140 billion to put the country back on its feet.  But before that it will need to have a country that functions, a government that maintains order, and a society that supports it."


ECUADOR: “Despicable Attack Against The U.N.”


Center-left Hoy held (8/20): “The suicide attack against the UN headquarters in Baghdad is a despicable crime because the truck loaded with explosives was aimed at the organization that represents the international community at a time when it is helping Iraq recover from the damages caused by the war and the blood-thirsty regime of the former Iraqi dictator....  Despicable crimes like this one will not deter the work of this international organization in Iraq, where, however, is it imperative that the occupation be concluded and the path for elections be opened so that the people are given the opportunity to chose their own authorities.”


GUATEMALA: "Blood In Baghdad"


Leading Prensa Libre ran the following commentary (8/20):  “This occurrence is another demonstration of the necessity of defending the civilized world against terrorist attacks. Any attempt to explain or justify an action of this nature is ridiculous.  This evil act demonstrates the seriousness of this curious situation: the war was won, but the peace could be lost. To sustain it, the work must continue, especially through humanitarian efforts…International support for the UN should be strengthened, never weakened, and that means increasing the military and police presence of the highest global organization, that, even though it could not prevent the war, is an undeniable force in securing peace.”



PANAMA:  "We Must Prepare For International Threat Of Terrorism"


Leading-circulation tabloid Critica Libre (8/20):  "We can now say we are in a world war against terror, where no armies or military forces can deal with those followers of religious radicalism or conservative ideologies that were forgotten in the last century.… It is imperative that we prepare ourselves to face the threat of international terrorism.”


"Attack On UN 'Ironic'"


Independent La Prensa stated in a front-page editorial (8/20):  “The attack on the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad is tragic and at the same time ironic.  The UN did not endorse the Coalition military operation against Saddam Hussein, and today, while the UN was developing a humanitarian response, those who supposedly would have been the beneficiaries [instead] killed the officials [of the UN]… Although the UN’s objective is to provide a peaceful environment, during its existence it has seen wars and genocides that it hasn’t been able to avoid, control or end.  The United Nations is today more of a museum piece than a world institution; it is very little is facing the dilemma of restructuring and adjusting to the times, or just disappearing.”



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

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

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home