04 February 1998
'SHOULD THERE BE A MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST IRAQ?'
While a few commentators judged that the U.S. is now left with no other option than to confront Iraq militarily, the overwhelming majority of foreign media observers favored a diplomatic solution to Baghdad's standoff with the UN over weapons inspections. A military strike, most writers concluded, would carry the most dire consequences: The U.S. could become even more isolated in the international arena and a regional war could break out in the Middle East. These were major themes: SADDAM EXHAUSTING THE WORLD'S PATIENCE--Though fearing the use of force in Iraq, analysts stressed that Saddam Hussein has exhausted the world's diplomatic patience and, because he represents a danger to his neighbors and to his own people, he cannot go unchallenged. In Saudi Arabia, Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina remarked, "Saddam Hussein always...misinterprets diplomatic efforts as signs of weakness in international resolve.... The Iraqi regime (may) lead the international community unwillingly to use force." Editorialists in Russia expressed astonishment at the "ease" with which Saddam Hussein "sacrificed Russia's prestige to his (own) political ends." Reformist Izvestia declared, "To win respect in the Middle East, you have to be either strong like America or proud like Iraq. Russia, alas, is neither." ANTI-AMERICAN BACKLASH; WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST?--Commentators sounded the theme that the U.S. risked an anti-American backlash, primarily in the Middle East, if it carries through on its threats to attack Iraq. In the Arab press, the perceived U.S. acceptance of Israel's nuclear capability was contrasted with sanctions against the Iraqi weapons program. A Qatari paper warned that "the double standards adopted by Washington will undermine its reputation and policies in the Arab world for a long time to come." Some writers raised the specter of a harrowing spiral of violence in the Middle East. Tel Aviv's mass- appeal, pluralist Maariv served notice that "if Saddam again fires his missiles on Tel Aviv...Israel's response will be lethal." Rabat's leftist, opposition Assiyassa Al-Jadidainsisted that "'Desert Storms' will snuff out not only Iraq, but the entire region as long as oil and Israel are still there." GLOBAL DISARMAMENT REQUIRED--In Europe, some writers judged that the focus on Saddam Hussein's recklessness and his deadly military cache has underscored the need for a global ban on all atomic weapons. Emphasizing that states requiring Iraq to destroy its arsenal of chemical and biological weapons have the same type of arms themselves, Budapest's influential Magyar Hˇrlap remarked, "The only solution would be a final and eternal ban and destruction of such arms. Negotiations continue, treaties are made but we have to walk a long way until we reach the final phase of full disarmament, and until then the threat is there, whoever imposes it on the others." The liberal Toronto Star stated, "No one is saying nuclear weapons will actually be used against Iraq. But the fact that their deployment is now part of the acceptable range of military options talked about in insider circles from the Pentagon to Davos breaks a dangerous taboo." This survey is based on 73 reports from 49 countries, January 29- February 4. EDITORS: Gail Hamer Burke and Kathleen J. Brahney
To Go Directly To Quotes By Region, Click BelowMIDDLE EAST IRAQ: "Al-Sabah Policy Harms Not Only Iraq, But Kuwait" Baghdad's official news agency, INA, reported that Arab socialist Baath Party paper Al-Thawrah (2/4) declared, "The sons of Kuwait must realize...that the policy pursued by Al-Sabah family harms not only Iraq but also Kuwait. By pursuing this policy, they do not add further weight to the U.S. position, or change the Arab and international public opinion. They rather create new grudges, waste the funds of Kuwait, and make their country subject to U.S. blackmail on a daily basis--a financial, political and psychological blackmail.... The sons of Kuwait are urged to view the situation from a different angle, preview the future, and reject the Al-Sabah family's policy which led to the August 1990 incidents. They should urge this family to pursue a new objective and realistic policy serving the interests of all." "U.S. Will Use Tel Aviv As Base For Aggression" An Iraqi newspaper, Al-Iraq, asserted in its editorial (2/3): "The deceptive tour made by Albright allegedly to activate the settlement process [Arab-Israeli peace process] is, in reality, meant to instigate others and garner support for the aggression against Iraq, (and use) Tel Aviv as a base.... The United States and those behind it have sought to conceal this base of aggression by various means, although the Zionist entity has been a party to the aggression and embargo against Iraq over the past years.... The U.S. administration created the current crisis and embroiled itself in a series of lies, thinking that it can deceive the world." ISRAEL: "Counterproductive Threats" Defense analyst Zeev Schiff opined in independent Haaretz (2/4): "Too many senior Israeli officials have taken to issuing threatening statements vis-a-vis Iraq and Iran.... Off-the-cuff Israeli nuclear threats have become a problem, even before the onset of the Iraqi crisis.... Washington may decide it wants to distance itself from Israel in order to avoid being accused of having conspired with us on an action we planned exclusively by ourselves." "Hitting Saddam" Nationalist Hatzofe editorialized (2/4): "Now that everybody agrees that Saddam is hiding large quantities of lethal biological materials and the missiles to deliver them, Israel is duty-bound to do everything in its power to thwart Iraq's ability to turn nonconventional weapons against Israel--even if the United States ultimately decides not to attack Iraq.... The elimination of Saddam Hussein and his military infrastructure must remain an objective even if the United States reaches an understanding with Baghdad." "America's Treachery" Columnist Nadav Haetzni opined in mass-appeal, pluralist Maariv(2/2): "As the fresh Iraqi crisis unfolds...we can still feel the wounds we suffered as a result of America's efforts to keep together the anti-Iraqi coalition in 1991.... Precious little has been left of that coalition...which should have taught the Americans a lesson and prevented them from ever again asking us to sacrifice our security for the sake of imaginary interests. However, the venomous leaks coming out of the State Department about Israel's refusal to move out of the West Bank which, the Americans say, is sabotaging efforts to form a new coalition...indicates that Washington has learned nothing .... Well, if Clinton's people don't like our manifestations of independence, they can always form an anti-Saddam coalition with Arafat's cronies." "The Lady's Visit" Mass-appeal, pluralist Maariv led with this editorial (2/1): "Albright is here primarily to see to it that Israel makes no move in case the United States and Britain attack Iraq. But if Saddam again fires his missiles on Tel Aviv...Israel's response will be lethal. Israel does not want to make a fuss about its nuclear option...but Jerusalem has probably made it clear to Baghdad what Iraq may expect in case of a nonconventional attack on Israel." BAHRAIN: "We Hope Iraq Does Not Miscalculate Again" Leading, semiofficial Akhbar Al-Khalij front-paged this editorial (2/4) by chief editor Hilal Al-Shaiji: "It seems that the United States is more serious this time about inflicting a painful blow on Iraq. Therefore, we hope that Iraq does not miscalculate again, as it did in the past, thinking that the voices from the East and the West calling for a political solution will cancel what the American administration, strongly supported by Britain, plans to do. Perhaps, and this what we think is more probable, this strike will be greeted by silence from the American allies in the West and the Arab world, because the United States has stated publicly that it will not cancel its decision even if it is forced to attack Iraq alone." EGYPT: "Arabs Reject The Use Of Force" Ambassador Abdel Raouf El Ridy observed in pro-government Al Ahram (2/4): "We naturally support the need for Iraq to cooperate fully with the inspection team. But Arabs reject the use of force. Albright will not find any support for military action from any country in the region. There is still room for an Arab initiative to stop this rush toward a military solution and allow for diplomatic efforts." "We Will Not Accept American Dollars Blotted With Iraqi Blood" Opposition Al Wafd maintained (2/3): "When she comes to Cairo, Secretary Albright should not expect to find sympathetic ears for the wicked American campaign to hit Iraq. Not a single Egyptian accepts the slaughter of the Iraqi people. We do not need Albright's lessons about national security, arguments that Iraq's weapons can destroy Tel Aviv, or claims that she obtained overwhelming support for the strike. Arabs cannot support a strike like the one which liberated Kuwait, because the circumstances and motives are different this time. Egypt is not ready to change its position even if Albright threatens to cut American aid, because we will not accept American dollars blotted with Iraqi blood." "U.S. Attack Would Be For Israel's Sake" An editorial in pro-government Al Ahram asserted (2/2): "President Mubarak was right in warning against the consequences of using force in the Iraqi crisis. Part of the crisis has been made up, due to (UNSCOM head Richard) Butler's unsuccessful statements. His involving Israel in the issue proves a premeditated intention to raise an American military reaction against Iraq. If the United States launches an attack it will be for Israel, not to gain implementation of the UNSC resolutions. The Arabs totally reject this action which will have bad consequences." JORDAN: "Attacking Iraq Hurts Jordan" Daily columnist Fahd Fanek opined in pro-government, influential Al-Ray (2/2): "Jordan is no longer an ally of Iraq as it was during the first American war against Iraq in 1991. Therefore, a strike against Iraq is going to direct a harmful blow to Jordan, which means that Jordan should adopt a role that attempts to avoid such a disaster.... If Iraq is hit, Jordan's oil resources will be cut off and its exports to Iraq will be stopped, not to mention the fact that Jordan will suffer economically and administratively from the evacuation of tens of thousands of Jordanians, Palestinians and Iraqis into Jordan.... Where is Jordan's long- talked about pivotal role in the region if it is going to stand silent with folded hands waiting for a military strike that is going to destroy a brotherly Arab people and harm Jordan at the same time? Why doesn't the Jordanian government act to prevent this disaster?" "Iraq" Daily columnist Sameer Kawar held on the op-ed page of pro- government, influential Al-Ray (2/2): "It is Iraq's right not to bow to the American will and desire and it is its right not to give in to the Zionists' dictates.... It is sad and regretful that all the powers in the world stand with folded hands watching this chaos, doing nothing." MOROCCO: "When Will Arab Countries Act Independently?" A front-page editorial in opposition, leftist Assiyassa Al-Jadidaheld (2/4): "Following the Cold War, the United States has monopolized the free world and taken it upon itself to stand up against any country attempting to oppose its political and economic order.... Whether or not the United States carries out its military attack against Iraq--the victims of which will be solely the Iraqi people--the Gulf area will be increasingly unstable. Arab countries, particularly the Gulf countries, should reclaim their sovereignty to defend their interests from a strong position. 'Desert Storms' will snuff out not only Iraq, but the entire region as long as oil and Israel are still there." QATAR: "Cohen's Task Easier If U.S. Abandoned Double Standard" According to the editorial on the upcoming Cohen visit in the semi-independent, English-language Gulf Times (2/4), "Cohen's task would be easier if Washington were seen as dealing with all countries on an equal footing. If it were as adamant in its support of UN resolutions concerning Israel as it is about those against Iraq, it would secure unequivocal backing for both positions, but that will not happen and the double standards adopted by Washington will undermine its reputation and policies in the Arab world for a long time to come." "Iraq Is Not A Threat" An editorial in semi-independent, Arabic-language Al-Rayah held (2/4): "The United States and Israel know that Iraq is not a threat. The frenzied distribution of gas masks...is aimed at creating the illusion of a dangerous Iraq in order to speed up the need for military strikes against Iraq and to provide a cover for increased U.S. (military) presence (in the region). The United States...was surprised at the refusal of pivotal Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to support military preparations.... We do not believe that it will be easy for the United States to strike Iraq if Baghdad changes its position and if there is broader Arab opposition to military action." SAUDI ARABIA: "Hopes For Diplomatic Solution To Iraq Crisis" Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazira's editorial had this view (2/4): "Despite American determination, supported by Britain, to launch a heavy military strike against Iraq to force it to comply with UN resolutions, there is a great optimism that it is possible to solve the crisis diplomatically. (This comes) after the high rate of rejection by Arabs to this strike." "Iraq May Provoke Use Of Force" Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina stressed (2/4): "Saddam Hussein always misreads positions and misinterprets diplomatic efforts as signs of weakness in international resolve.... The ruling gang in Iraq urgently needs someone to make them understand the purpose of ongoing diplomatic efforts to find a solution.... Without this understanding, the Iraqi regime will lead the international community unwillingly to use force." "What's Next?" London-based, internationally circulated Al-Hayat maintained (1/31): "There is a need to restore balance to the U.S. policy in the Middle East. It is dealing with Iraq in the way we see without considering the suffering of the Iraqi people, whereas it is lenient with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu." "Solutions?" Influential Al-Jazira held (2/1), "There is an international conviction that this military strike will increase the suffering and torture of the Iraqi people and will not solve the current crisis.... The best thing is to put more political and diplomatic pressure on the Iraqi regime in order to force that regime to implement international resolutions and relieve the Iraqi people by lifting the sanctions." "A Despot's Madness" Al-Youm, a local paper in eastern Saudi Arabia, declared (2/1): "It's obvious that the Iraqi regime is still thinking with the adolescent, revolutionary mentality prevalent in the '60s... The insanity of this mentality is (Saddam's) taunting the international community into striking Iraq militarily, although it knows that the first and final party to suffer will be the Iraqi people.... The Iraqi regime is only concerned with keeping power for as long as possible, regardless of the interests of the Iraqi people." SYRIA: "Where Is The Just Stand?" Sayyah al-Sukkni said under the headline above in government- owned Al-Thawra (2/4), "America is trying to apply international law on one hand yet ignore it somewhere else. This position does not match the high level of Washington's political and ethical responsibilities.... If Washington is keen to rescue the peace process and ease tension in the region, it should apply a rational and balanced policy. The United States should stop threatening Iraq and seek a political solution to defuse the crisis." TUNISIA: "Who Benefits From Intransigence And Stubbornness?" Editorial director Mustapha Khammari wrote in independent, French-language Le Temps (2/3): "Washington has shown its determination to do battle with the Iraqi leadership.... (But) this American determination is not finding the same response it found during the Gulf War.... The fundamental principle to be respected is the total transparency of the weapons inspections. Iraq can no longer be permitted to possess weapons of mass destruction.... By listening to the voice of wisdom, the Iraqi leadership could deprive the Americans of their justification for intervention.... The continuing stubbornness of the Iraqi leadership benefits, above all, the American military industry. Is the Iraqi leadership aware of this?" UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "U.S. Position Has Gone Too Far" Sharjah-based Al-Khaleej held (2/3), "Whether the Russian diplomacy towards Iraq succeeds or not, the American position against Iraq has gone too far from diplomacy.... We have two examples that took place in Davos last week. Cohen said in a press conference that 'in case of the use of power against Iraq, it will not be for one time only. Washington will use force using the most up-to-date technology, and it will be more lethal than any time before. The goal of any action will not be to topple Saddam but to destroy Iraq.' However, Richardson said on another occasion that 'Iraqis do not deserve the easing of sanctions. We do not want to give them any reward. They deserve nothing.'... This statement implies a major change in the American position. The United States always repeated that it differentiates between the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people. However, this time it talks about more lethal weapons and Iraqis who do not deserve any easing of the sanctions. We believe that the decision to strike Iraq has been made, and no Russian or French plans will be useful now." WEST BANK: "No To The American Wolf" Semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda judged (2/4): "The United States is preparing for a malicious assault on Iraq because it refuses to have its dignity, security and sovereignty stepped on. The United States knows quite well that no ruler can hide weapons of mass or even partial destruction in his headquarters. When Iraq announces that it will allow the inspection of its palaces in an unoffending manner, Washington refuses. All this coincides with Netanyahu's campaign against the signed peace agreements. His policies continue without a hitch from Washington.... It is high time that we all say to America: Stop it. You are not the symphony conductor of the world, nor the policeman. The military force that you have does not give you the right to enslave smaller countries that are richer in heritage than the 'kindergarten of your fifty states.' It is high time that Arabs prove they are not sheep for the American wolf." "Three Dimensions: Peace, War And Media" Independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam columnist Hussein Hijazi insisted (2/3): "President Clinton demonstrated the utmost rudeness when he allowed his administration to announce that the United States would go so far as to attack Iraq with nuclear weapons. Clinton has dispatched his secretary of state, Albright, to give us another 'dose' [of tranquilizers] to prolong our patience. Once again we are following Dennis Ross' strategy: 'movement' brings success; meetings and visits here and there, in Washington and in Ramallah. Talking about peace is trash." "Double Standard Policy!" Leading, independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Quds (2/2) said under the headline above: "Once again, the results of Secretary Albright's talks with President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu show that the United States still adopts a double standard policy when dealing with international resolutions and signed agreements.... Does the United States believe that inspecting presidential sites [in Iraq]...is more dangerous than the crisis faced by the peace process? Does the United States believe that striking Iraq, which has suffered enough and lost hundreds of thousands of children, women and old people, will solve the crisis?" YEMEN: "Give Diplomatic Efforts Time" Government Al Thawra stressed (2/2): "In spite of the escalation and tension which resulted from the renewed crisis about the inspectors and inspections, the arguments in favor of diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis are stronger than arguments for a military strike justifications. The Republic of Yemen is among those countries which favor a peaceful solution and giving more time for diplomatic efforts, which are in the regional, international and bilateral interests. If waging war against Iraq seven years ago received the broad support and participation of the international community, the situation now is different.... The Russian diplomatic efforts which seem to have achieved progress in narrowing the gaps deserve the necessary time required." EUROPE RUSSIA: "Baghdad Humiliates Russia" Konstantin Eggert said on page one of reformist Izvestia (2/4): "Clearly, Moscow has failed in its attempt to win another blitzkrieg. Even worse, Baghdad has publicly humiliated Russia's Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and President Boris Yeltsin by making them look like irresponsible blabbers.... Hussein is using Moscow. A shrewd politician, he makes his decisions with only his own interests in mind. Yevgeny Primakov misjudged the Iraqi leader, underestimated the Americans' determination, and misread the French position. He must have overlooked that countries in the Persian Gulf are tired of Baghdad's unpredictability. To win respect in the Middle East, you have to be either strong like America or proud like Iraq. Russia, alas, is neither." "Moscow Embarrassed" Aleksandr Shumilin held in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (2/4): "The ease with which Saddam Hussein sacrificed Russia's prestige to his political ends is stunning, indeed.... The Kremlin's policy on Iraq is under strong pressure from the leftist majority in the State Duma where the Communists and the Liberal Democrats yesterday drafted a statement threatening Russia's withdrawal from anti-Iraq sanctions." "Primakov's Objectivity Questioned" Konstantin Eggert stated on page one of reformist Izvestia(1/31): "Moscow is no longer considered an impartial mediator capable of keeping Baghdad from acting rashly....Baghdad, by acting the way it has been acting, has nullified that which took great efforts to gain in November. The Kremlin has been humiliated, having to play the savior when the Iraqi leadership wants it to. There is a sharp contrast between its resolve to avert a concerted UN military action via its veto power and its extreme patience with Baghdad. Small wonder, increasingly fewer people trust in Primakov's objectivity." BRITAIN: "Unfinished Business With Iraq" The independent Scotsman of Edinburgh told its readers (2/3): "The time for equivocation by the likes of France and Russia is long past. Those who would argue that there is no excuse for waging war must explain what alternative there is when we are dealing with a regime that is, in any useful sense of the words, mad and dangerous.... The West has been patient for long enough. To argue that the people of Iraq will suffer if military strikes go ahead is to miss the point: They, and their neighbors, will suffer far more if a barbarous dictatorship is allowed to go unchallenged." "Britain And U.S. March Towards A Battle Arabs Do Not Want" The centrist Independent's Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk maintained (2/2): "America and Britain march alone into a war against an Arab nation--much as Britain and France did against Egypt in 1956--with backing for their approach from Kuwait, the tight-lipped sympathy of France and Germany and the potential hostility of many Arab nations. If Mr. Clinton lets slip the missiles of war, it could be America's last punch in the Middle East." "Is It Sensible To Bomb Iraq?" The liberal Guardian's editorial observed (2/2): "Yes, Saddam is an evil dictator, Mr. Blair, but we knew that already. It does not get us closer to deciding whether it is sensible to bomb Iraq.... We need a much clearer picture than given so far on the nature and timescale of the Iraqi threat, and a calmer debate on the alternative options. UN Secretary General Annan's proposal for improvements to the food-for-oil deal with Iraq, though purporting to be unrelated, suggests a larger area for negotiation. To threaten military force has limitations anyhow in dealing with an evil dictator who has thrived upon war at the expense of his people before. The danger is that the threat will acquire an unstoppable momentum of its own." GERMANY: "Saddam's Final Word?" Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin observed (2/4): "Saddam is getting on our nerves.... More than seven years ago, Saddam attacked Kuwait and was defeated in the 'mother of all battles.' Since then he has acted as though it were improper for him to be prevented from launching similar attacks.... The Bosnia example taught us that aggressors will quickly give up their plans when they clearly feel the will of a superpower.... Saddam is on our nerves--hopefully for not too much longer." "U.S. Is Increasingly Isolating Itself" Right-of-center Saarbruecker Zeitung (2/2) held: "The Russian 'nyet' to military strikes is no substitute for a constructive proposal from Moscow.... As long as the Americans and the British are...the ones who push, while the Russians and the French are playing the role of the ones who block, the Iraqi dictator will take advantage of the division in the UN Security Council. But by doing so, the danger emanating from Saddam's biological and chemical weapons will not be reduced." "Bonn Government Shying Away From Its Role" Wolfgang Kramer commented on regional radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (1/30): "A country such as Germany cannot seriously say, 'we will wait until the United States carries out a military strike and only then will we say what we think of this strike.' The Bonn government should follow Sweden's example. The Stockholm government said that it advocates a strong and clear message from the Security Council to Saddam, and if the Security Council agrees on forced measures, Sweden would support them. The Bonn government, however, omits this extremely important reference to the role of the Security Council." FRANCE: "Gulliver With His Hands Tied" Charles Lambroschini opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/4): "Saddam Hussein is the enemy everyone loves to hate. Unforgiving toward his own people and dangerous toward his neighbors, nothing in him merits indulgence. Before this little tyrant, mighty America stands like Gulliver with his hands tied.... A military strike would unleash strong anti-American feelings in the Middle East.... Bill Clinton is discovering..that 'war is nothing more than the continuation of politics, but through other means.'" "Should There Be A Military Strike Against Iraq?" Michel Rocard, former French prime minister, said in left-of- center Liberation (2/4): "It is quite possible that there is no alternative to a military solution. This is, in fact, the conclusion of the situation as it stands. In that case, all major powers should support a military intervention and participate in it. If they let the United States strike alone, they will be giving the impression it is a revenge and not what it is, a sanction for not respecting the UN Security Council resolutions. The political and geo-strategic risks incurred for the future would be enormous." "Saddam Hussein--A Major Headache" Left-of-center Le Monde stressed in its editorial (2/1): "Saddam Hussein is a dangerous man.... Nevertheless, Paris is not ready to take part in a military offensive.... We cannot pretend either that a 'diplomatic option' has any chance of success.... The United States knows what the risks are: a deteriorating climate in the Middle East with a potential for civilian deaths. These are enormous risks.... It is time for renewed thinking on ways to control Saddam Hussein." "The Hero And The Martyr" Charles Lambroschini observed in right-of-center Le Figaro (2/1): "Bill Clinton wants to be a hero; Saddam Hussein a martyr.... But repercussions of a military intervention are so serious, that the United States could not be forgiven if it gave in." ITALY: "Not Taking 'No' For An Answer" Enrico Franceschini argued from Jerusalem in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (2/4): "The tour of the world by the U.S. secretary of state to seek support for military intervention against Iraq ended in sum with an almost total failure, having obtained an enthusiastic 'yes' only from Tony Blair in London. So much so that Albright, in the end, had to refer to the 'unanimity' in the search for a 'diplomatic solution' before other solutions are explored. That does not mean that the United States has renounced bombing Saddam Hussein, however." "Iraq Between The Stick And The Carrot" According to an editorial in provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio (2/4): "U.S. policy toward Iraq is beginning to yield the first results...(by) forcing...Saddam Hussein to make moves demonstrating that his position (is) aimed at exploiting the situation for his own ends.... The U.S. strategy...also contains an economic-humanitarian ingredient...evident in the proposal, made by the UN--with the indispensable agreement of the United States--to allow for a doubling of Iraqi oil exports to meet the problem of food supplies for the civilian population.... A rejection of this proposal would be counterproductive for Iraq, as was the denial of an agreement on inspections previously announced by the Russian diplomacy." BELGIUM: "High Stakes Game For U.S." In the editorial view of financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd(2/4): "With its threat to act militarily against Iraq, the United States is playing very high stakes. Washington is not only running the risk of strongly irritating Russia, China and France, but there is also a considerable chance that, in the long term, an American attack may have negative consequences for the peace efforts which were made in the aftermath of the Gulf War seven years ago.... "In the meantime, Washington's support for an expansion of the oil- for-food plan--which would allow Iraq to purchase more humanitarian goods--shows that an American action is, above all, directed against the Iraqi regime and not against the Iraqi people. In America's eyes, it is Saddam Hussein himself who is a threat to world peace and peace in the area." BULGARIA: "Moscow Performed A Well-known Iraqi Sketch" Centrist Kontinent observed (2/3), "It took only hours for Russia to prevent the war between the United States and Iraq which seemed almost inevitable, and in this way to make the deployment of both American and British military equipment in the Gulf region unnecessary.... For the second time Russia saved the situation and it was done at the last minute again. Perhaps, its goal was to make its diplomatic victory more sensational.... Now, after Saddam agreed to let the inspectors into some of his palaces, there's no reason for the United States to use military force. Moreover, it was denied the required support. However, if America does so despite all this, it should come up with a good explanation." CANADA: "World Can't Afford Any More Diplomatic Dithering With Iraq" Columnist Hugh Segal contended in the business-oriented Financial Post (2/4) that "The need to deal resolutely with Iraq, and to do so in a way that is not attenuated by Saddam Hussein's diplomatic dithering has never been more compelling.... What the world cannot afford is another bait-and-switch cycle where Saddam goes to the wire, then appears to relent, having used the hiatus in UN inspections to move the weapons to other secure sites.... While Iraqi compliance is to be hoped for and pursued, being ready for the alternative is the only option." "Pentagon Rattling Its Nuclear Sabre" World affairs columnist Stephen Handelman commented in the liberal Toronto Star (2/3), "The signals are getting nightmarishly clearer as the countdown to war begins: A nuclear strike is part of the battle plan.... No one is saying nuclear weapons will actually be used against Iraq. But the fact that their deployment is now part of the acceptable range of military options talked about in insider circles from the Pentagon to Davos breaks a dangerous taboo.... The world is now on two opposing tracks when it comes to these weapons of mass destruction. On one track, we are busily trying to expand and enforce the recently renewed nuclear non-proliferation treaty.... At the same time, the United States and other Western nations are anxiously trying to prevent nuclear materials or components from 'leaking' out of Russia.... But on the other track, we are willing to entertain what was once unthinkable: using the most potent weapons ever developed to achieve tactical goals in warfare. This contradiction may have been on the minds of the 117 former or current heads of state who released yesterday an astonishing statement calling for the elimination of atomic weapons.... Is anyone in the Pentagon listening?" "War Economy" Montreal's francophone liberal Le Devoir remarked (2/1): "Impatience is spreading against Saddam Hussein even among governments that are looking for a diplomatic out to this crisis.... The success of a military strike, which is said could be severe and massive, is nonetheless not certain. First, American bombs are a paradoxical ingredient in (establishing) the legitimacy of the regime in the eyes of the Iraqi people. Second, an aerial attack risks provoking the pure and simple disappearance of the UN inspection program which would give the Iraqi dictator the space to restart the development of arms of mass destruction.... Toward Saddam Hussein, the United States should simply show patience." CZECH REPUBLIC: "Attack: Pros And Cons" Prague's leading right-of-center weekly Tyden held (2/2), "Not only Iraqi rhetoric and threats [to use all possible wapons, including biological] argue against the attack on Iraqi targets. The list of arguments is long and convincing. Even hard-liners admit that the attack will hit Iraq, but not the real target-- Saddam Hussein. Dreams that the attack could prompt an anti- Saddam military coup or a popular revolt are coming back; they are an illusion as was proven once already in a more favorable situation.... The opposition of Paris, Moscow and Being among others means that the attack will lack a UN blessing and will be understood as a continuation of the old gunboat diplomacy. In the Islamic world, this will be interpreted as an aggression of non-believers against the true faith believers. Such an explanation can lead to terrorist attack against American or Western targets anywhere.... Everyone knows that military attack is not a panacea. The attack should not last longer than four days and it should be not only against places where weapons of mass destruction are being developed, but also against communication centers and bases of the Republican Guard. Baghdad can, however, easily hide the most dangerous thing--supplies of biological weapons. To do so, only a big room is needed--in a hospital, for instance. And despite this fact, and precisely because of these weapons, Iraq should be attacked." DENMARK: "Washington And London Deserve Our Support" Center-right Berlingske Tidende put forth this view (2/4): "It is important to remember that the current crisis is Saddam's fault.... He is a spineless dictator, who would not hesitate to use chemical and biological weapons.... It may yet be possible to avoid an attack, and a diplomatic solution is to be preferred, but not at any cost. Experience tells us that consideration for the civilian population does not play any part in Saddam's thinking.... If Saddam rejects the U.S. demands, an attack will not only be likely, but necessary. The world cannot live with a dictator who has shown such contempt for international norms. The United States and Great Britain are the only countries with sufficient strength and will power to confront Saddam. Therefore, Washington and London deserve our support." HUNGARY: Iraq: Nuclear Arms For A Good Purpose?" Influential Magyar Hˇrlap published this editorial (2/3) by historian Erzsebet N. Rozsa, special to the Hungarian Foreign affairs Institution: "To impose a threat on using nuclear arms is not in line with international legal codes and especially conflicts with principle of humanity. The Iraq affair, therefore, has to be considered from those treaties' point of view, which regulate nuclear arms and their ownership, the nuclear tests and further improvement of such arms.... What image and ideology would the leading liberal democracy of the world convey if it intervened in such a manner in a sovereign state's internal affairs? It makes the situation more complicated that those states push Iraq--and on what account?--to destroy its arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, when they themselves have the same type of arms. The only solution would be a final and eternal ban and destruction of such arms. Negotiations continue, treaties are made, but we have to walk a long way before we reach the final phase of full disarmament, and until then the threat is there, whoever imposes it on the others." THE NETHERLANDS: "Saddam Must Be Stopped But Will Bombs Do It?" Calvinist left Trouw published this front-page editorial (2/3): "It is probably an illusion to think that the use of 'structural force' against Iraq will resolve anything. Bombings will not force Saddam to his knees. The first reaction is to think that bombings will only make the situation worse for the Iraqi people. Neverthless, it is good that the United States rejected Saddam Hussein's recent offer...which provides for eight of the approximately 60 palaces to be inspected, but not the surrounding areas.... This is unacceptable.... The international community should insist on conducting effective inspections. If this does not work, then it would be appropriate to threaten military action. For the world cannot allow Saddam Hussein to continue what he is doing." "Little Taste For Another Gulf War" According to influential, liberal De Volkskrant (2/3), "There is less enthusiasm in the Gulf region for a new war.... Unlike seven years ago, there is now very little or no support for a punitive expedition against Iraq. Should the situation lead to an armed conflict, then that will be a war imposed upon the Middle East." POLAND: "Will Russia Stop America? Saddam's Debt To Moscow" Center-left Gazeta Wyborcza opined (2/3), "Moscow takes care to maintain the best relations possible with Iraq to ensure in the future--when the UN-sanctions are lifted--Russia will have a substantial share of the Iraqi market. A number of Russian oil concerns have already signed preliminary contracts on the reconstruction of wrecked oil rigs in Iraq. Russia, for years the primary arms supplier to the Saddam Hussein regime, is also trying to ensure that Baghdad finally begins to pay its debt [to Russia]." PORTUGAL: "Portugal And U.S. Against Iraq" S,rgio Borges wrote in centrist daily A Capital (2/3): "Portuguese and American views coincide on criticism of Iraq's behavior and on the need to press Iraq to comply with the resolutions of UN Security Council.... During (a) meeting with the media, Jaime Gama...confirmed that Portugal is with the United States in the struggle for the disarmament of the Iraqi regime." SPAIN: "What To Do With Saddam?" Independent El Mundo insisted (2/4): "Madeleine Albright reiterated in Cairo yesterday that if the diplomatic route goes nowhere, the use of force will become necessary...[but] it is more than likely that after another attack, Saddam will feel himself no longer bound by any post-Gulf War commitments.... The priority now is to release the economic vise. Kofi Annan's proposal to raise Iraq's petroleum export quota from $2 billion to $5.2 billion every six months is well intended but inadequate. The UN and United States would have more moral force with which to oblige Saddam to give up his last weapons of mass destruction once the embargo were lifted than by maintaining it indefinitely, as Clinton is inclined to do." "Iraq: An Endemic Crisis" Conservative daily ABC counseled (2/3), "Although military action should be the last recourse in resolving conflicts, especially at a time when Clinton's intentions in distracting attention from his own problems are suspect, and while a diplomatic solution is always to be preferred over the use of force, it would seem imprudent to discard the latter option out of hand, given what consequences a first attack by Iraq would have in the Middle East." SWEDEN: "The Alternatives Are Terrifying" According to Stockholm's independent, liberal morning daily Dagens Nyheter (2/2), "A new coalition like the one that forced Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991 is unlikely. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson are out of luck in their efforts to rally support for the hard U.S. line against Iraq. However, wide support will not be necessary. The key issue will be that the United States does not, by unilateral measures, cause hostility in the Arab world and deep rifts in the Security Council.... Unfortunately, it seems that the Security Council will not today be able to achieve its main task--to uphold international peace and security. Therefore there are all the reasons to support those who will take on the task. The alternative, that Saddam Hussein undisturbedly can continue the development of weapons of mass destruction and threaten his neighbors is terrifying." "That Is Why Sweden Should Support A Firm Stand Against Iraq" Stockholm's apolitical business daily Dagens Industri held (1/31), "Sweden does not exclude UN intervention against Iraq. This was the message by State Secretary Jan Eliasson after the talks between Swedish government officials and the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Bill Richardson. His statement should be transformed into a firm Swedish stand against Iraq.... Sweden should use its position in the Council to seek every possible option for a diplomatic solution of the conflict (between Iraq and the UN). If this fails, the use of military power will be the last resort, as it might be the only option which the Iraqi dictator understands. The alternative is a continued and highly dangerous situation to the surrounding world." TURKEY: "Bombing Will Make Saddam Stronger" Under the above headline, Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in mass-appeal Sabah (2/4): "The ongoing embargo against Iraq has made the Iraqi people believe that the whole thing is a conspiracy to destroy Iraq. Whether we like it or not, the people of Iraq are giving full support to their leader. This time will not be any different than before. Saddam will become stronger after each bombardment, and this will continue as long as Saddam remains in power." "Ankara Worried About Aftermath Of Possible U.S. Operation" Mehmet Ali Birand observed in mass-appeal Sabah (2/2), "Ankara is worried about the aftermath of a possible U.S. military operation: Will there be another influx of Kurdish refugees? Who will replace Saddam? What will be the possibility of a Shiite build-up in the region? How can the disintegration of Iraq be prevented? Turkey is obviously pleased by the UN policy of eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, but does not want disorder, especially in northern Iraq. Washington has not yet requested from Ankara the use of Incirlik--looks like they have already made sufficient military build-up in the region." UKRAINE: "If There Were No Saddam He Would Have To Be Invented" Analytical Ukrainian- and Russian-language daily Den (1/29) held, "If there was no Saddam Hussein, he would have to be invented. Saddam again gives France a chance to present its peculiar, non- Washington position. Baghdad gives Russia another chance to live by old sentiments: Moscow can again please itself with global illusions.... Saddam, finally, gives Great Britain an opportunity to emphasize its devotion to the strategic partnership with the United States. But the scenario of Iraqi isolation doesn't work. There is no talk about easily removing Saddam Hussein from power. The attempts to create an opposition in Iraq fell through. Opposition Kurds were defeated within a couple of days by the Kurdish forces loyal to Baghdad. Nothing came out of splitting the ruling clan in Baghdad. If America indeed wants to either get rid of Saddam, other scenarios should be at play. Proud and cunning Saddam Hussein cannot be treated like a tamed circus animal.... How would [Bill Clinton] counter the accusations that he wants another Desert Storm to draw the average American's attention away from the sexual misconduct scandal?" EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC AUSTRALIA: "Evil Dictator Must Not Be Appeased" The national conservative Australian's editorial (2/3) claimed, "While all sides, including U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, argue the diplomatic route is best, the possibility remains of force being used to reinforce the United Nation's writ. Diplomatic talks are all very well but there is no evidence that Mr. Hussein is prepared to honor Iraq's commitments.... It is clear that gaining Arab support for the move against the Iraqis has not been easy for the United States. Some regional governments fear that they will be the target of retaliation by Baghdad and that the U.S. attack on fellow Arabs will provoke outrage among their citizens.... Although Dr. Albright has said the purpose of her weekend trip to Gulf States was not to seek support, only to explain the U.S. position, she reminded them Mr. Hussein used chemical weapons against three neighbors during the Gulf War." CHINA: "U.S. Cannot Realize Goals Through Military Means" According to Dong Zhenbang in the official, Central Legal and Political Commission Legal Daily (Fazhi Ribao, 2/3), "The United States cannot realize its goals through military attacks.... The United States has not been able to win worldwide support on this issue. If both the United States and Iraq can respond positively to the international diplomatic efforts and exercise self-restraint, the seemingly touch-and-go Gulf situation might ease." "U.S. Will Not Be Supported By International Community" In the view of Gu Qi in the Shanghai Municipal Communist Party- controlled Jiefang Ribao (1/31), "If a military strike occurs, the United States will not be supported by the international community or the UN. Will the Clinton administration be willing to bear the cost?" HONG KONG: "War Clouds Gather In The Gulf" An editorial in Pro-PRC Ta Kung Pao said (2/2): "Resorting to military action can only frighten Iraq for a short period of time. It would however provoke nationalistic hatred...(and) incite long-term anti-U.S. feelings. Since the United States holds human rights' highly, its large scale massacre of the Iraqi people and destruction of the infrastructure would not be accepted by the international community. Hence, negotiations and constraints are still the mainstream ideas of the international community." INDONESIA: "A Stunning Arrogance Of Power" Independent Media Indonesia judged (2/4): "Albright's call on the international community to combat Iraq demonstrates a stunning arrogance of power. It stands to reason that most of the countries that were asked to join the United States rejected the call.... Even if the United States used the justification that this was meant to ensure that Iraq did not stockpile weapons of mass destruction...the question remains as to why the same standards do not apply to Israel. Isn't it obvious that Israel possesses 200 nuclear warheads and declines to pledge not to use them?" JAPAN: "Iraq Must Accept UN Site Inspections" Conservative Sankei editorialized (2/3), "It is vitally important for both the United States and the rest of the international community to prevent Hussein from possessing weapons of mass destruction. To do so, UN inspections are indispensable.... "Even if the United States were to use force against Iraq, it could not destroy all the sites where production or the stockpiling of arms of mass destruction are suspected. It would be even more difficult to overthrow the Hussein government. It is, unfortunately, necessary to apply such pressure on Hussein so that he gives up on his ambition of possessing weapons of mass destruction." MALAYSIA: "The United States Is Gearing Up To Attack Iraq" Chinese-language Nanyang Siiang Pau opined (2/3),"If the United States uses force without the approval of the Security Council, the credibility of the United Nations will be in question.... It is easy for the United States to attack Iraq. From observing the diplomatic and military action taken by the United States, it is likely that the United States will attack Iraq, but only limited to 'punishing' Saddam Hussein. On one hand, United States is making its economic sanctions on Iraq more flexible and trading 'food with oil.' On the other hand, it is pulling its military force to the Gulf. If Hussein does not accept the 'carrot,' he will have to receive the 'stick.' We will see how Hussein reacts to this at the very last minute." PHILIPPINES: "Making Sanctions Effective" Former Ambassador Armando Manalo noted the government-owned Philippine Journal (2/4): "Where sanctions involve a coalition and where the sanctions are defied by the accused country, the allies usually split along the lines of their national interests.... On the use of force against Iraq, the allies do not see eye-to-eye. The United States now says it is prepared to go it alone and bomb Iraq to break its will. For all practical purposes, the alliance will cease to exist.... Should no positive results issue from the (UN-Iraq) meeting and should the United States go on with its punitive air strikes...the consequences...will concern not the United States alone, but inevitably the entire Middle East. For this reason, it is to be hoped that the discussions will continue until positive agreements are reached. On the question of sanctions, a failure will prove, perhaps conclusively, the futility of sanctions. Sanctions are a substitute for war; their aim is to avert war. In the present case, however, sanctions may be a prelude to war." SOUTH KOREA: "U.S.-Iraq Standoff" Anti-establishment Hankyoreh Shinmun told its readers (2/4): "The U.S.-Iraq confrontation may continue, now that the Iraqi government has decided not to accept inspections. Iraq is conducting brinkmanship diplomacy in the hope that international opinion will not welcome a military attack. On the other hand, the United States is in an awkward position as it faces the international community's opposition.... Secretary Albright's trip to Europe and the Middle East has not produced substantial results. What raises further the prospect of a long standoff between the United States and Iraq is the winter Olympics, because all nations want to preserve peace during the Olympics." SOUTH ASIA BANGLADESH: "Iraq Has To End Its Intransigence" The centrist, English-language Independent's editorial pointed out (2/4), "Iraq has to end its intransigence for the sake of its people and for peace in the region. The sooner the ongoing negotiations reap a fruitful result, the better it will be for all." INDIA: "Might Is Right?" The independent Daily in Bombay expressed this view (2/3), "The Arab League has already warned the United States. But the United States has arrogated for itself the role of policeman of the world. The Indian government deserves congratulations for picking up the courage to caution America against any adventurist action against Iraq. But it is for the Arab countries to show courage and rise as one man against the might of thesuperpower. Today it is Iraq. Tomorrow it will be the turn of the other countries to fall victims of American arrogance. There are many ways to find a diplomatic solution to the problem. Russia and China are the only countries that can make America and Britain stop their sabre-rattling. The new Gulf crisis is a premonition of what is in store for the world. America has shown that it will not listen to any third party on matters it considers vital to it. Let the world take note of this development. It is time to tell the United States that force does not pay." "Albright Fails To Make An Impression" The centrist Hindu by Middle East correspondent Kesava Menon filed (2/3): "Initial reports suggest that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has failed to make much of an impression, with Saudi officials being quoted by the [news] agencies as stating that they will not allow their bases or soil to be used for attacks on Iraq. In fact, the overall impression is that the regional states are pulling in a different direction from the United States although Iraq's other neighbors have not as yet joined Turkey's initiative for a fresh effort at a diplomatic solution.... "The manner in which the U.S. administration's views on Iraq sticks out at odd angles from the views of those states which are supposed to be more directly concerned has been accentuated by the Turkish initiative.... Iraq has welcomed the Turkish initiative, the fact that Turkey (which also offers bases to the U.S. military) should launch a regional effort which runs contrary to the U.S. policy is significant.... Now the United States supposed regional allies are also showing the initiative to push approaches different from that of the United States. If nothing else, the Turkish initiative and the Saudi refusal appear to signal a new regional mood which challenges the predominancy of U.S. policy." PAKISTAN: "Gunboat Diplomacy" The lead editorial in Karachi's independent, national Dawn said (2/4), "The United States' stepped-up drive to drum up international support for military action against Iraq is the stuff of gunboat diplomacy at the worst. It is strange that at a time when a political compromise is possible, the world's only superpower should be working for a military solution of the crisis in the Gulf.... If the main objective of the United Nations' arms inspection operation is to ensure the demilitarization of Iraq to make the Gulf region safe for all countries in its vicinity, it is possible to do that by devising a procedure which is fair and honest and, at the same time, acceptable to all parties concerned. It does not necessarily have to involve America as the key participant in the team, especially when the Americans' motives and credentials are seriously questioned by the Iraqi government." "Giving Diplomacy A Chance" Karachi's independent, national Dawn (1/29) stressed, "Even Iraq's sworn enemy--Israel--does not wish to enter into a military confrontation in the region simply to serve American interests in the Middle East.... Saddam should be asked to open up the 'presidential' sites to the arms inspectors. However, in deference to his sensitivities, the composition of the arms inspection teams must be modified in such a way that the presence of the American personnel is kept to the minimum." NEPAL: "Diplomat Saddam Hussein And U.S. Superpower" The centrist Commoner remarked (2/3), "Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's latest statement that his country will fight back if attacked showed that he is not only a military leader but also a good diplomat.... His statement expressing (his) resolve shows that he is (able) to sow seeds of dissension in the opposite camp.... The situation created by the Iraqi statement will be particularly embarrassing to Saudi Arabia, whose ruling family claims to be defenders of the Islamic faith. Surely...Riyadh is expected to fall in line with Washington if and when the chips are down. But the Iraqi statements will make it more embarrassing (for the Saudis), which will create a political fallout in future. Meanwhile, the world will note with relief that Iraq after all is not guided by a war psychosis. And if American newspaper writing is any guide, Washington would prefer to solve the problem by any means (other than war) if possible. That also reinforces its superpower status." AFRICA BURKINA FASO: "Memories Of Gulf War Make Us Long For Peace" Government-owned Sidwaya insisted (2/3): "The arm-wrestling that currently pits the United States against Iraq will certainly experience a happy outcome. This is, in any case, the wish that predominates in spirits avid for peace, justice, and fraternity. And with good reason, in remembering that we still have in mind those thousands of bombs, mines, missiles and Scuds of the Gulf War, with its share of hatred, suffering, victims, orphaned children, embargo, and starvation.... Why have we reached this point? Simply because the warring factions did not believe in dialogue. And where dialogue fails, arms generally accept the challenge. So it's...'hello destruction!' again this time, the hope for a fruitful dialogue seems to fade in favor of an aggressive option. It is sad, because on the horizon are millions more bullets and victims. Let us hope the reason of dialogue overcome the passion of arms so that this Gulf War never becomes reality. A word to the wise is enough." SOUTH AFRICA: "Will Arabs Make Territories Available For Strikes?" Afrikaans-language, centrist Beeld (2/4) commented, "The main question...is...whether the Arab states will make available their territories and air space for strikes against Iraq.... The dilemma for the Arab countries is great--no Muslim country is enamored of the United States; also no one sees their way clear to support Saddam. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, in particular, will have to reconsider. If these countries remain firm [in their decision], the United States and Britain for sure will, sometime or other, breach their territorial integrity when attacks are carried out. This way the war will quickly spread-- with destructive consequences for the whole district." "U.S. Policy Towards Iraq: Incompetent" The liberal, independent Sunday Independent concluded (2/1), "Washington, its advocates say, prefers the status quo to total peace. A perpetually weak Iraq will pose a serious threat neither to the U.S.-Israel alliance not to Washington's oil- producing friends in the Gulf. And Saddam will keep Iraq intact to ensure that imponderables such as the Kurds or Iran-friendly Shiites do not capsize the boat. They say that if Saddam did not exist, he would have been invented by the United States. If the theory is true, one could hardly imagine a more cynical policy. And if it is not, then today's U.S. policy towards Iraq can only be described as incompetent. Threatening gestures and military strikes cannot be a substitute for a strategic foreign policy that should be geared to end the seven-year-old conflict, not administering it for eternity." LATIN AMERICA ARGENTINA: "Gulf: The Half Victory" Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst for leading Clarinpenned this op-ed piece (01/31) "The possibility that in almost seven years of defeat and extreme economic blockade, Hussein has been able to accumulate an arsenal of biological arms with great destructive power...speaks of the clumsiness of the victors of the Persian Gulf War and of the political architecture favored after the war.... Experts talk about a cooperative Iraq-Libya axis in the development of those arms.... If this were the scenario, one wonders how the combination of economic restrictions and commercial sanctions applied against Hussein and Qadhafi allowed them to create one of the most ominous forms of power ever known. And there are not too many reasons to believe that the superpower which allowed this new stage of the Persian Gulf crisis to appear now has a solution at hand." BRAZIL: "Rerun" Brasilia's Jornal de Brasilia stated (2/3), "The American drive to invade Iraq for the second time may be cooled by UN Secretary General Annan's [proposal to increase the country's humanitarian oil sales]. Another UN proposal, sponsored by the United States, motivates Americans to muster support from their main allies towards a new strike: Saddam Hussein's unwillingness to submit to U.N. weapons inspections increases U.S. resolve to remove the Iraqi leader from power at any cost. While the United States assesses conditions to Invade Iraq, the world's top leaders step up diplomatic contacts in favor of a peaceful solution.... Brazil sits by the sidelines in a more comfortable position than it had during the first U.S. invasion of Saddam's country. Unlike before, Brazil no longer depends on Iraq's oil because of the very conditions imposed after the Gulf War." ECUADOR: "Western Hemisphere Fears Iraq Conceals Terrible Weapons" In the view of the main editorial in Quito's centrist, leading El Comercio (2/3), "Western powers headed by the United States are facing a delicate commitment which involves complex international political maneuvers and, at the same time, a personal situation. Under these circumstances they need to use their best criteria and give the world the confidence that they have a totally responsible attitude.... The fantasy (movie) 'Wag the Dog' shows advisers to the U.S. president suggesting an attack on a certain country (Albania) to divert attention from a sexual accusation. At the core, this is an issue of security and the scant confidence that the world has in Iraq's leadership. The Western hemisphere, with the United States at the head, certainly fears that Iraq conceals terrible threats of a nuclear nature." HONDURAS: "Price Of Not Conclusively Ending Gulf War" In the words of conservative La Prensa (2/1): "The situation in the Persian Gulf has once again turned serious.... The drums are sounding once again. This is what happens when one does not finish the job. When the chore is left undone the results cannot be positive. Today and until who knows when, the price of not conclusively ending the Golf War will be paid." MEXICO: "Iraq, Clinton's 'Escape Valve'" Monterrey's independent El Norte carried this commentary (2/3) by Dr. Zidane Zeraoui: "During his administration, President Clinton has used Iraq several times as a 'escape valve' from internal pressure.... In the current circumstances, the White House chief must moderate his position due to the pressures generated by the powerful Jewish lobby in the country.... Nevertheless, the main worry over the scandal is that it will lead to a new military adventure in the Gulf, in spite of France and China's reticence for conducting any reprisals against Iraq." or more information, please contact: U.S. Information Agency Office of Public Liaison Telephone: (202) 619-4355 2/4/98 # # #
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