UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Office of Research
Issue Focus
Foreign Media Reaction

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

February 6, 2001

6, February, 2001

Iraq: A New President Bush Confronts Same Old Saddam

The conjunction of George W. Bush's presidency and the 10th anniversary of Desert Storm evoked editorials on what many saw as a festering and potentially destabilizing clash of wills between Washington and Baghdad. Columnists in the Middle East, Europe and Asia worried about the consequences if the new administration, frustrated with Iraqi intransigence, "launched a military operation against Iraq in a bid to break the stalemate." Editorialists saw the U.S. as being diplomatically isolated in its steadfast support for the UN economic sanctions regime. While American policies on economic sanctions and on the maintainance of the no-fly zones has long been criticized editorially, the emergence of the depleted uranium controversy in Europe lent apparent credibility to Baghdad's oft-repeated assertions that the use of DU ammunition in the Gulf War has caused a cancer epidemic in Iraq. Support for the U.S. came from disparate quarters, as editorials from Kuwait, Israel, Iran, Britain and Australia advocated a tough stance on Iraqi compliance with the terms of UNSCR 687. London's conservative Times was one of the few voices raised in support of a firm stand: "If sanctions are eroded at no cost to Baghdad, then the resources that are released will be diverted once more to [weapons] projects." Highlights follow:

ONE ON ONE REMATCH-A Beirut paper typified those who thought that a new Bush administration with Colin Powell on board "left the gate open for a wide-scale military operation against Iraq." Observers, like Milan's classical liberal Il Foglio predicted that the U.S. would have to go it alone in a confrontation, because "ten years after the war, the alliance against Saddam no longer exists." Commentators urged both parties to temper their positions in order to avoid conflict. While Tokyo's moderate Yomiuri advised that "the U.S. should map out a new strategy toward Saddam Hussein," a writer at Cairo's pro-government Al Ahram, advised conversely, that "the solution depends on...Iraq's ability to open a new slate with Washington." RETURNING TO THE FOLD-The Arab media generally maintained its enthusiasm for the lifting of sanctions, depicting it as setting the stage for Iraq's "return to the Arab fold." Not suprisingly, Kuwaiti writers were the most adament about withholding legitimacy from the Baghdad regime until it "pays the price for the war crimes." Other Arab commentators, however, were more than willing to let bygones be bygones if only Iraq would "abandon once and for all any political provocation, including its recognition of Kuwait as an independent state."

DEPLETED URANIUM-Widespread European media speculation over the disease-causing potential of DU ammunition led a Saddam-supporter in Jordan to assert that, "the consequences of depleted uranium bombs that were used in the war are now evident." A Tunisian journalist asked: "Is there a difference between dictators who use chemical weapons against their own people [read Saddam Hussein] and the French and American...leaders who ordered the use of bombs containing depleted uranium?"

EDITOR: Stephen Thibeault

EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 65 reports from 25 countries January 11 - February 6, 2001. Editorial excerpts are grouped by region; editorials from each country are listed from the most recent date.

Middle East

IRAQ: "UN Gets More From Oil-For-Food Program Than Iraq Does"

Republic Of Iraq TV (2/4): "Trade Minister Dr. Muhammad Mahdi Salih said...that since the implementation of the oil-for-food formula, Iraq has exported oil worth $40 billion. The UN deducted $13.6 billion to cover its activities and for compensations. Meanwhile, Iraq received $9.617 billion; that is a quarter the value of the amount of oil exported by Iraq."

"UN Should Halt U.S.-U.K. Agression Against Iraq"

Republic Of Iraq TV (2/4): "Iraq has called on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UNSC president to shoulder their responsibilities to stop the continued U.S.-UK aggression against an independent, sovereign state and ensure that it will not be repeated.... Two letters sent by Tariq Aziz, deputy prime minister and acting foreign minister...regarding the combat air sorties carried out by U.S.-UK planes...said the logistic support extended by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey...made them accomplices in the aggression against Iraq and fully responsible under international law."

"The Futile U.S. Escalation"

Sabri Hammadi wrote in official Baghdad Al-Thawrah (2/4): "The new U.S. administration has chosen to pursue the method of escalation and threats against Iraq. Not single day passes without this U.S. minister or that make a statement or threat against Iraq.... What is the point of the U.S. escalation or threats against Iraq since the American-British aggression against our people and country is [already] going on daily?... We believe that this escalation is first and foremost aimed at influencing the stands of the Arab and foreign countries that support and back Iraq and these are the same countries that were the allies of the United States in the early 1990s and stood against Iraq. By its escalation and threats against Iraq, the U.S. administration wants to tell these countries that it is unhappy with their stands and that they are required to go back to supporting the U.S. stand in order to renew the old alliance."

"Iraqi President Saddam Hussain On 10th Anniversary Of The Gulf War"

Official Iraqi News Agency transmitted (1/17): "Do you still remember the number: 33 states, 28 armies, taking the first place in the aggression upon Iraq, and more than 40 states taking charge of supporting the direct aggression in addition to world Zionism and its freak and accursed entity? As for the Arabs...Oh, you Arabs, you who are our pride, our honour, our wound, our wound, alas! Shall I count? How can I give names and count?"

BAHRAIN: "Terrorist Advertisements"

Faisal Al-Shaikh commented in semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij (1/14): "'Help us combat terrorism.' This is part of an advertisement placed by the U.S. Department of State. What is funny about it is that America forgets that it practices international terrorism itself. The tragic images of suffering that Iraqi people are experiencing are vivid images of terrorism. Washington excels in practicing terrorism because it does so with full international support. Therefore, I suggest that the American administration adjusts the advertisement to say: 'Millions of dollars await whoever guides us to a more terroristic country than ourselves!'"

EGYPT: "Iraqi Wishes And American Readiness"

Abdel Moeti Mohamed stated in pro-government Al Ahram (1/30): "There is a rising Iraqi wish to resume economic relations with the world...while the new U.S. administration is adopting a hardline stand to decide the Iraqi issue.... Supposedly, the Bush administration will take a military step against Iraq in the future to compensate for the failure of trade sanctions, this will certainly abort all current Iraqi efforts to get out of the economic and political isolation as well as aborting al efforts to respond to these efforts. If Washington retracts the military option, Washington will remain the international party that holds the political key to the Iraqi issue. The solution depends on the Iraqi position toward the Bush administration and Iraq's ability to open a new slate with Washington, if it seeks success for its efforts to end its isolation."

"Will Bush Strike At Iraq?"

Mohamed Salmawy write in pro-government Al Ahram (1/29): "The world has changed much in the past ten years after the real motives behind American policy against Iraq were revealed.... The question is, will the new American administration rule out a military operation against Iraq due to these international changes?... It is difficult to answer this question unless the motives are determined. If the aim is to pursue a strong American policy and confirm U.S. supremacy in the international arena, there may be other, more reasonable means to achieve this purpose [than a military operation]. If the aim is to obtain rapid public support at any price for any of the new president's policies, then the American administration may brush all the international changes aside.... Since the possibility exists, is it not time that Kuwait and Iraq hasten towards reconciliation?... This may be the only way to abort the scary American possibility...which may throw the region into a new war for which only the Arab side will pay."

"The Bush Administration And Iraq"

Salama Ahmed Salama wrote in pro-government Al Ahram (1/25): "The new American administration team should realize a few facts. The unanimity that enabled the United States to launch the Gulf War against Iraq no longer exists.... More importantly, the majority of Arab countries that supported the United States' intervention to stop the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, now strongly oppose American military intervention against Iraq, and even the unwarranted intensive American military presence in the Gulf.... Most of the Arab countries, including Egypt, Jordan and Syria, have resumed relations with Iraq.... Therefore, those childish statements coming from Baghdad against Kuwait are not taken seriously. Everyone knows that these statements respond to antagonistic American statements that aim to divide the region once again. The new Bush administration must realize that the Arab division about Iraq is no longer a card for American policy to play."

"Oil And U.S. National Security"

Sanaa Al Said commented in independent weekly Al Osboaa (1/22): "Bush was prepared for Iraq even before he stepped in the White House.... The Washington Institute for Near East Policy advised further containment of Iraq.... The reason for all this commotion about Iraq is that Iraq will remain the pretext for American presence in the region to monopolize Arab oil. That is why the United States will never think of lifting the sanctions, because this would threaten its national security that is basically its control over Arab oil forever."

"Priority Of Iraq In The New American Administration"

Pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (1/17): "Iraq remains under the blockade which impartial observers agree violates international law. The Iraq issue remains ripe with new cards dealt every day, the latest of which is the American and British use of uranium missiles.... There are many reasons to ask the new American administration to review its policy toward

Iraq.... Primarily, the new administration should bring its positions into line with international resolutions.... It is in the interests of the United States, Iraq, and the entire Gulf region that Iraq re-joins [the international community] and sanctions are lifted [for the sake of] regional stability in the Gulf and the Middle East."

IRAN: "UN Responsibe For Combating Mojahedin-e Khalq Terrorism"

Seyyed Moohsen Hakim commented in Tehran's Jomhuriye Eslami (1/15): "One of the most inauspicious phenomena which threaten the lives and psychological security of the people of our Islamic homeland is the Hypocrite [pejorative term for Mojahedin-e Khalq] Grouplet.... From time to time, the grouplet announces its presence on the international scene by playing the role of a source of moral support for the Baathist regime in Iraq.... After the second Persian Gulf War...Clause 32 of UN resolution 687 stated: 'The [Iraqi] regime will not be a perpetrator or supporter of any act of international terrorism; that it will not give permission to any organization which commits terrorist acts to be present on its soil;...and will distance itself from them.' Now that the United States has put the Grouplet on its list of terrorist organizations and all the European countries...have declared it a terrorist organization, the UNSC is obligated to make the effort to implement this resolution (including clause 32).... This resolution is a prerequisite for the lifting of international sanctions against Iraq.. Until all the demands are met the Security Council does not have the right to revoke the sanctions."

ISRAEL: "An Iraqi-Syrian Signal To Israel"

Senior analyst Zeev Schiff wrote in independent Ha'aretz (1/24): "A concentration of Iraqi troops near the Syrian or Jordanian border would be a balm for Palestinians. When they threaten a regional 'earthquake' they actually are alluding to an intervention by Saddam Hussein in coordination with Hizbullah setting Israel's northern border on fire. From Assad's perspective, his consent to a concentration of Iraqi forces adjacent to his country's border has served other purposes. It was Assad's way of presenting a threat of his own to counter the Israeli threat to Syria. Recently some key figures in Israel have begun to declare openly that if Hizbullah heats up the Lebanon-Israel border again, or if northern Israeli communities come under fire, Israel will--as Prime Minister Ehud Barak has warned--come up with a very tough response.... Granted, neither the GOI nor the IDF are interested in a military confrontation. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that if such a showdown did materialize, Israel is not thinking in terms of massive responses. Assad's consent to the concentration of Iraqi troops on the Iraqi-Syrian border could be interpreted as a Syrian signal to Israel. In effect, Assad is saying to Israel: 'If you are contemplating launching any strikes against Syria, you should realize you will be getting more than you bargained for. If you strike Syria, the war that develops will go beyond a military confrontation between Syria and Israel.' In the event of a major clash between Israel and Syria, the military involvement on behalf of Syria would be extensive, even if relations between Damascus and Baghdad are presently far from idyllic."

"A New Policy On Iraq"

The independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (1/16): "The Bush administration should revive the goal of disarming Saddam the only way left to do so: supporting his removal from power.... The task of the incoming Bush administration is to transform the means of enforcement of Security Council Resolution 687 from inspections to a transfer of legitimacy from Saddam Hussein to his democratic opponents.... According to Sunday's Washington Post, however, Powell expressed 'deep skepticism' about the opposition's capabilities. Though it is obviously responsible for the United States to question the viability of an opposition movement before leaping to support it, those resisting support for the INC generally argue what amounts to a self-fulfilling prophesy.... Powell should be urged to put his considerable talents and experience toward making the emerging new Bush policy toward Iraq work, rather than burying it in internecine American policy divisions."

JORDAN: "Free Trade With Suspended Implementation"

Fahd Fanek wrote on the back page of semi-official, influential Al-Ra'i (2/6): "Egypt signed a free trade zone agreement with Iraq and so did Syria and Jordan is expected to follow suit. All of a sudden we see that Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan are forming a free trade area. This is on paper, but in reality practical implementation is another thing. We do not know how the a free trade area among the four Arab countries is going to work if Egypt, Syria and Jordan continue to abide by international sanctions imposed against Iraq. Instead of these bilateral free trade agreements with Iraq, why do the four Arab countries not agree on establishing a free trade area among all of them and officially declare the end of sanctions, since trade would then be internal trade? Such arrangement may not be to the liking of and may anger the United States. Yet, the United States is certainly not going to launch war against Egypt, Syria or Jordan and will not punish them for their action that is dictated by Arab brotherhood and pan-Arab ideology."

"Hints Of Power In Bush's Policy Towards The World"

Rakan Majali wrote on the back page of center-left, influential Al-Dustour (1/23): "It is clear that the military option and the revitalization of the dual containment policy against Iraq and Iran are prominent in the policy of the new U.S. administration."

"Uranium Against Iraq"

Chief Editor Taher Udwan declared in mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (1/15): "The issue was raised only because it happened in Europe. The U.S. Air Force use of depleted uranium bombs against Serbian forces in Kosovo is no longer Iraqi propaganda as the Pentagon used to say. It is a major part of a humane and moral issue strongly applicable to the Iraqi situation.... Baghdad had wanted to direct world attention to the crime that is being perpetrated against its people when it raised this issue (depleted uranium).... The Arab and international reaction was as expected: silent and indifferent."

"Ten Years Of The Thirty-Country Aggression"

Center-left, influential Al-Dustour editorialized (1/16): "It is the 10th anniversary...of the U.S.-led 30-country barbaric aggression against brotherly Iraq under a pretext that covered up U.S. objectives related to controlling the oil region and serving Israel.... We look with bitterness upon the unjust siege that the United States insists on continuing after ten full years despite the lack of justifications.... This crime that took place against Iraq ten years ago seems more ugly than ever before, not only because the sanctions continue but also because the consequences of depleted uranium bombs that were used in the war are now evident. We hope that the Western conscience would wake up and would put an end to this aggression. We also hope that the Arab countries would work together to immediately put an end to this horrible tragedy."

"The Iraqi Seige And The American Conscience"

Mohammad Naji Amayreh noted in semi-official, influential Al-Ra'i (1/15): "Ten after the aggression, the siege and the sanctions imposed against Iraq, the picture seems somewhat different. The number of countries adhering to the siege and its continuation is going down and the popular sympathy with the Iraqi people around the world is rising.. The conscience of the American and European people is awake and is aware of the tragic repercussions of the siege on the Iraqi people. When will the conscience of the government do the same?"

KUWAIT: "Kuwait And The American Administration"

Yacoub Al-Sharrah wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (2/4): "Kuwait's liberation from the Iraqi invasion is a reflection of strong Kuwaiti-American relations. A new American administration does not change such strong ties. The Gulf region continues to be threatened by Iraq and the possibility of aggression is likely. Therefore, we call on the new American administration, as a world leader with major interests in the Gulf, to put an end to the (region's) instability."

"The Iraqi File And The American Administration"

Shafeeq Al-Ghabra wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (2/2): "The general inclination within the new American administration stems from the belief that Iraq seeks to evade the implementation of UNSC resolutions and to declare its victory. This represents danger and thus requires a confrontation. This does not mean that a broad military clash between the United States and Iraq is inevitable."

"American Policy Unveiled "

Khaldoun Al-Naqeeb wrote in independent Al-Qabas (1/30): "With regard to Iraq, there is a possibility the Bush administration will replace the policy of containment by one of direct intervention. This intervention may lead the Iraqi regime to commit irrational actions which may escalate the situation inside Iraq, thus leading to the division of the country.... Arab and Gulf countries must not assume that President Bush's policies will be an extension of his father's policies."

"They Can Neither 'Erase' Us Nor Can We 'Disregard' Them"

Ibrahim Behbehani declared in independent Al-Qabas (1/30): "I support lifting the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people. Every time these sanctions are discussed, the Iraqi regime finds reasons for maintaining them because they serve its interests. The problem lies with the regime and no one else. Therefore, we must make an example of the Iraqi regime and its leaders. They have to pay the price for the war crimes committed in both Iraq and Kuwait. Despite our support for lifting the sanctions, this does not mean we relinquish our rights."

"The Necessity of Defense Agreements"

Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Seyassa (1/28): "Defense agreements (between Kuwait and its allies) serve first and foremost the strategic interests of American foreign policy. National sovereignty, however, includes a nation's right to provide maximum security for its people. Therefore, Kuwait and fellow Gulf countries are not relinquishing their national sovereignty by seeking to renew their defense agreements with the West. The Iraqi regime's actions have helped to maintain a foreign presence in the Gulf and have provided America with a golden opportunity to strengthen its economic and military hold in the region."

"Suspend Monetary Grants"

Faisal Al-Qanai wrote in independent Al-Seyassa (1/28): "The Iraqi regime is using millions of dollars in oil revenues to win over the Arab countries. Since we possess this financial weapon, why not use it to serve our interests and to support our cause. Why can't we take a decision to suspend financial grants offered by the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development for five years whereby the granting of these loans will be conditional to each country's political position."

"Iraq: What Can Be Done"

Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Seyassa (1/27): "The United States has a vision for

a new world order. In its vision for the Arab region, the United States wants security and stability. It seeks to perpetuate democratic systems and to impose economic competition. Therefore, we do not expect that Iraq could win America's approval as long as it maintains its system of governance and undertakes no initiative to improve the country's human rights record."

"The Constants Of American Policy"

Abdullah Al-Hadlaq wrote in independent Al-Anba (1/23): "War against the Iraqi enemy is very likely. It is perhaps more likely under the Bush administration than it was under the Clinton administration.... This possibility includes use of force on a larger scale against the Iraqi enemy, if the opportunity arises and if the enemy shows signs of rebellion or recklessness. The new American administration is known for being hawks not doves. This administration will seek a way for a military confrontation. The new American administration will not tackle the Middle East peace process until it settles the issue of Iraqi threats."

"Why Is It Always Kuwait?"

Ahmed al-Jarallah, editor-in-chief, wrote in independent Al-Seyassa (1/23): "Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have nothing to do with Iraq's position with the UN. If Iraq wants a conflict then it should turn to the United States, its direct enemy. Let Iraq try to attack it if it can. America wants Iraq to implement international resolutions. Let Iraq test its credibility by implementing these resolutions."

"We Want The Truth To Be Revealed"

Ali Salem al-Dokbasi had this to say in independent Al-Anba (1/23): "Among the common mistakes prevailing in the Arab world are the beliefs that Kuwait carries a grudge against the Iraqi people, that it is behind the imposed sanctions, and that it does not welcome Arab reconciliation. We want the picture to be perfectly clear to Arab public opinion. We are for Arab reconciliation. Yet, in return we are asking for nothing more than the implementation of international resolutions that include release of all POWs, payment of compensation claims, cessation of harassment, and public apology for the invasion."

"For the Sake of Iraq...Endure"

Ayed Al-Manaa wrote in independent Al-Watan (1/16): "We say to those rushing toward Baghdad, slow down and reconsider. Observe the conduct of the Iraqi government toward Iran and Kuwait, and remember what happened to them at the hands of the Iraqi government. Since Iraq's adventures into internal and external conflicts have not altered the regime's political conduct toward its people, the Iraqi people have the right to seek help and world democratic powers must help them. Despite the harm which is inflicted upon the Iraqi people as a result of the economic sanctions, it prevented the Iraqi regime from developing WMD."

LEBANON: "Iraq And Its Position In American Priorities"

Nizar Abdul-Kader in pro-Syria Ad-Diyar asserted (1/23): "It will be interesting to follow...the new strategy that will be adopted by the new American administration regarding Iraq, particularly since Secretary Powell and Vice President Cheney assisted Bush the father in leading the attack against Iraq in 1991.... Those two people have returned to power when Saddam is still in power challenging the world.... It appears that Secretary Powell...is leaving the gate wide open for a wide-scale military operation against Iraq.... However, this time the Americans would have to confront great international and Arab opposition.... Iraq is no longer considered a dangerous country.... Furthermore, the international community can no longer tolerate the impact of sanctions against the Iraqi people and against the interests of some great

countries like France and Russia.... The United States really needs to rethink its view and position on the peace process first...and on Iraq and its people."

QATAR: "Iraqi Undersecretary In Doha"

The semi-independent, English-language Gulf Times reported (2/3): "Hamdoon said that his visit to Qatar came within the context of the excellent relations between the two countries and was not linked with initiatives aimed at normalizing inter-Arab relations."

"Facilitating Rapprochement Between Iraq And Kuwait"

Semi-independent Al Raya (2/3) cited sources in the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "Confirming that Qatar would respond to the resolutions of the 9th OIC Summit by meeting with the two undersecretaries in order to facilitate rapprochement between Iraq and Kuwait."

"DU In The Gulf"

Qatar's Al Jezira satellite channel--widely followed in the Arab world--dedicated its "More Than One Opinion" talk show (1/26) to the use of depleted uranium in Iraq and the Balkans. Guests included John Moberly, former U.K. ambassador to Iraq; Paul Sarhal, head of genetic diseases unit at London University Hospital; Nadim Al-Nahas, head of the scientific and military affairs section at Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper; Huda Ammash, head of the Iraqi Association For Medical Laboratories; and Eyptian professor Ashraf Bayyumi, former head of the UN team for food distribution in Iraq. Ammash linked the increased rate of cancer in Iraq to the use of depleted uranium in Desert Storm. Bayyumi supported this view. Some participants expressed doubts about these claims. An Israeli Arab Knesset member phoned in to allege that Israel had used depleted uranium. A caller from Norway claimed to be a former Iraqi air defense fighter and said that the spread of cancer was not caused by depleted uranium, but by enriched uranium that was used in a reactor 50 km north of Baghdad. He said that the reactor had polluted water used for drinking by 5 million Iraqis. Most of the callers to the program believed that the use of depleted uranium in weapons caused the spread of cancer.

"Will The WHO Investigate DU In Iraq?"

Between January 26 and 29 the Al Jezira satellite channel website featured an unscientific poll that asked, "Will the World Health Organization (WHO) be concerned and investigate the use of depleted uranium in Iraq, as it has in the Balkans?" Of the 11,239 who responded, 9 percent thought the WHO would be concerned and investigate. Ninety-one percent thought the WHO would not.

"Giving Washington Free Rein"

Commenting on Uday Hussein's recommendation to the Iraqi parliament to include Kuwait in the map of greater Iraq, Arab nationalist Al-Khaleej anguished (1/16): "All we fear is that Baghdad will give the Bush administration free rein to implement its plans. Uday's recommendation yesterday is enough to create suspicion and doubt that Baghdad continues to behave as if it is in the year 1990 and not in 2001. This is political madness, which does not serve Iraq and is not helpful in lifting the sanctions.... It adds fuel to the fire, and Washington, which does not need a justification for its aggression, will view this as proof that the Iraqi regime has not changed during the last decade."

TUNISIA: "A Conspiracy Of Silence"

Mustapha Khammari wrote in independent, French-language Le Temps (2/3): "Every day new information comes to light that reveals the scale of the humanitarian disaster caused by the use

of depleted uranium in Iraq and Kosovo.... Is there a difference between dictators who use chemical weapons against their own people and the French and American military and political leaders who ordered the use of bombs containing depleted uranium?... The conspiracy of silence that surrounds the effects of depleted uranium should be denounced and the UN should investigate the issue in order to confront the criminals and make them pay a high price for their acts of barbarism.... A new international court of justice should render a verdict on these war crimes and punish the individuals guilty of causing so much suffering."

"Detestable Warrior Logic"

Editor-in-chief, Mustapha Khammari, noted in independent, French-language Le Temps (2/4): "The new American president's first political decision was to order the bombing of an Iraqi village near the Saudi borders.... Even if the aftermath of this war still persists, such as the Kuwaiti prisoner issue, notable progress has been made concerning Arab-Iraqi relations since then. The untimely declarations of certain Iraqi leaders are considered as an expression of anger toward the continuation of the embargo and not a real will to repeat what happened in Kuwait. Washington should not in any case throw oil on the fire by re-establishing the war atmosphere that prevailed in the region ten years ago."

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Iraq-Syria Trade Ties"

Sharjah-based, Arab nationalist Al-Khaleej editorialized (1/30): "By concentrating on their bilateral relations, Arab nations are shifting from the unrealistic perception of Arab unity on the basis of history and civilization to a more rational perception based on economic development. Economic ties are given precedence over the political ties which have in the past led to estrangement (among the Arab states). What this means is that Arabs have begun to get involved in a network of economic activities which go a long way towards improving permanent political ties. The European market, which features an open market, unified currency and the free transfer of people, commodities and capitals, must be the model for the Arab nations to follow."

"Improved Relations Between Egypt And Iraq"

Sharjah-based, Arab nationalist Al-Khaleej observed (1/28): "The Egyptian move, regardless of its importance, does not exempt Iraq from the required gesture, to abandon once and for all any political provocation, including its recognition of Kuwait as an independent state.... Iraq will be the main beneficiary of its return to the Arab fold, whither it may immunize itself against any American plans to intensify the sanctions or to help it face the economic situation the Iraqi people are suffering. Egypt is the party most eligible to re-open the doors to an honorable Iraqi return to the Arab fold. Many have sought to lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq and end the tragedy of the Iraqi people. Will the Iraqi leadership back these efforts this time or will it support the new American president against itsself?"


BRITAIN: "Facing Down Saddam"

The conservative Daily Telegraph argued (1/19): "Among those waiting to take office in Washington, two trends are discernible. One, espoused by Colin Powell...would revive sanctions by focusing on critical areas such as financial controls on oil revenues and the banning of imports.... The other, backed by Don Rumsfeld...favors much greater support for the Iraqi National Congress (INC).... Which course the United States takes will depend on whether the president-elect gives the lead role in dealing with Baghdad to the State Department or the Pentagon. If Iraq is to be contained, the latter would be preferable.... The INC has yet to prove that it can transcend its internal divisions and organisational weaknesses.... But, properly

backed by American air power, it could be a means of tightening the screw on Baghdad in the absence of weapons inspections and a watertight sanctions regime. Saddam, cock-a-hoop, has dared George W Bush to defy him. Mr Rumsfeld's proposal offers the most promising way of doing so."

"Saddam Ready To Put Bush To Test"

The independent Financial Times stated (1/17): "The Iraqi strongman...has perpetuated his absolute rule over a country ravaged by a decade of United Nations sanctions. The Gulf war coalition is in tatters and support for the sanctions has been diluted.... Despite the obvious shortcomings of the embargo, however, articulating a more effective strategy will be difficult, complicated by the fact that Mr Bush's foreign policy advisers appear to favour different approaches.... Mr Saddam's behaviour in the coming weeks could influence the policy review. He has been preparing for the new administration over the past year by challenging the embargo. At the same time, however, he has left a small window open for possible resumption of ties with the UN, if Baghdad perceives a softening in the U.S. attitudes--in particular a willingness to lift sanctions."

"Over A Barrel: Abandoning Sanctions Now Would Simply Strengthen Saddam"

The conservative Times editorialized (1/17): "Iraq believes that sanctions will wither in the near future without intrusive inspections of its weapons. But the Bush Administration is unlikely to underestimate Saddam's ambitions. The United States will insist, correctly, that neither sanctions nor the no-fly zones can be compromised until a sweeping and sustained inspection effort is put in place. Opponents of present policy towards Iraq contend that it must have 'failed' because Saddam is still in power. This ignores the inconvenient fact that it has succeeded in its explicit objective, namely obstructing the deployment of biological, chemical and nuclear arsenals. If sanctions are eroded at no cost to Baghdad, then the resources that are released will be diverted once more to all these projects."

FRANCE: "Agreeing On The Goals"

Jacques Beltran of Ifri (French Institute for International Relations) maintained in left-of-center Liberation (1/22): "France's attitude in the operation 'A Flight For Iraq' made things worse and raised U.S. doubts on France's position, while the usefulness of the operation was highly questionable. Just when transatlantic tension could intensify, this French act of rebellion appears rather inopportune. But the United States should not accuse France of breaking up the coalition. France has the support of China, Russia and other world nations. One must also not forget that a coalition is a forum for permanent negotiations to uphold a common position. In the case of the Iraqi sanctions, America's refusal to take into account the French position is just as questionable.... To resolve the Iraqi situation, the West needs to review its goals.... When one listens to American declarations, it seems that the objective is not only to disarm Iraq, but also to get rid of its leader."

"A Heavy Inheritance"

Pierre Rousselin declared in right-of-center Le Figaro (1/16): "Ten years later, and the war is not over. Saddam Hussein is still there. British and American fighter jets continue to patrol the Iraqi skies to protect useless no-fly zones. The embargo continues, even though everyone knows it punishes the Iraqi people and reinforces the Iraqi dictatorship. This is the absurd situation that George W. Bush will inherit... The son will have to put an end to a policy that resulted from the father's failure. But will he be able to...in ten years, many things have changed in the Arab world...and Saddam is no longer the devil everyone fled from. In the oil world, a world close to Bush, Iraqi oil fields have their own power of attraction. And in Washington, international sanctions are no longer considered a panacea to resolve world

problems. France has taken its distance from the United States on the Iraqi question...with the sole purpose of putting an end to a situation that weighs on the Iraqi people and that the United States continues to accept. George W. Bush, who is in favor of a certain U.S. disengagement, must make Americans understand that U.S. policy in Iraq does not serve their interests."

GERMANY: "Hostile Brothers Still?"

Wolfgang Guenter Lerch wrote in right-of-center Frankfurter Allgmeine (2/1): "It appears to be only a matter of time before Iraq rejoins the circle of Arab states. Ten years after the 'second' Gulf War and the imposition of international sanctions, which have severely affected the country, but not the regime, one of Iraq's former enemies, the regime in Damascus, is trying to achieve a normalization of relations with Saddam Hussein. The ties between the two countries have become closer since the fall, especially in matters of security policy and oil transport.... In light of the recent wave of unrest in the Middle East, this cooperation between two former arch enemies has special significance.... According to officials, Damascus and Baghdad plan to exchange military attaches in March. The agreed-on cooperation between the two countries' secret services is aimed not only at observing Turkish-Israeli cooperation, but also at collecting material on the activities by the United States and Western countries in the region. This kind of close cooperation between Iraq and Syria is of growing importance against the backdrop of the ongoing intifada."

"Daddy's Legacy"

Washington correspondent Dietmar Ostermann observed in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (1/17): "Even if Saddam cannot be thrown out of his palace, the new U.S. administration appears determined to use its Baghdad opponent in order generate political support for its plans. The end of arms inspections and the uncertainty in connection with Iraqi armament programs are Bush's major arguments in favor of NMD.... With respect to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Bush wants to emphasize the United States' role as protector in order to speed up the production of pumps in the Persian Gulf and help the declining U.S. economy gain access to cheaper oil."

"The Teflon Dictator"

Rudolph Chimelli maintained in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/17): "The sanctions are crumbling, and Saddam is far from being considered an outcast in the Arab-Islamic world.... The West thinks of Saddam as the archfiend, a new Hitler, an unscrupulous tyrant, and Arab governments tend to reiterate such assessments for reasons of political pragmatism. The Arab peoples, however, are fond of everyone...who opposes the United States, the hated protector of Israel. And there are very, very few Arabs who consider Kuwaiti independence holy and its violation a sacrilege."

ITALY: "Ten Years After The War, The Alliance Against Saddam No Longer Exists"

Provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio stated (1/16): "Two days ago, President Clinton approved aid for Iraqi opposition forces. During his campaign, Bush Jr. said he favored that bill, but, at the moment, his staff did not comment on the new Clinton initiative, while Colin Powell reaffirmed the need to strengthen sanctions and defined Saddam as a dictator. In the past, some commentators noted the possibility that the new Republican administration might take an exemplary initiative to get rid of Saddam.... But, today, it is very unlikely that Washington will gather support and unite its allies and the Near and Far East on such a plan.... We cannot imagine that a new great alliance against Saddam, similar to that created by Bush's father could be born today."

GREECE: "The Monstrousness Of The New World Order"

Pro-government Eleftherotypia (1/11) reached a rhetorical pitch unequaled since the '99 Kosovo campaign in its main editorial. It also ran a photo of a deformed Iraqi baby on its front page under the headline "Here Is The 'Innocent' Uranium." (The term for "Here is" in Greek is "Nato.") (1/11): "Today, we speak about Kosovo and Bosnia, but we ignore what the future has in store for us. Until now, we have turned a blind eye to what had happened [to DU victims] in the Gulf War...but from now on we shall live with the anguish that we shall die in the horrible manner depicted in these photos.... It is high time the Europeans stood up and rallied against these destructive weapons, [which are used] just because some leaders of the 'free world' want to build their one and only empire on our souls."

SPAIN: "NATO Syndrome"

Center-left El Pais commented (1/10): "The World Health Organization was morally obliged to send study teams to Iraq and Kuwait to determine if, as Baghdad alleged, there has been a sharp increase in incidents of cancer, and in that case to take appropriate measures--there and in the Balkans. Weren't both military actions supposed to be humanitarian interventions?"

TURKEY: "Toward the End of Dual Containment"

Fikret Ertan opined in religious/intellectual Zaman (1/31): "The Bush administration seems to treat the 'dual containment' strategy against Iran and Iraq in a different style. First of all, dual containment is not going to be an official strategy for the new administration. Secretary of State Powell noted that one-sided sanctions are not as influential as intended. And he stated the need to review the strategy based on imposing sanctions.... The U.S. administration has already given positive signs of changes on the Iranian part of the sanctions regime. Yet on Iraq, there does not seem to be any significant change.... The Bush administration, in a very cautious manner, is trying to turn dual containment into single containment."

"10 Years Later"

Zafer Atay averred in economics/politics Dunya (1/25): "The assessments on the 10th anniversary of Gulf War are made according to what Saddam has been doing. The focus is on 'how Saddam is still powerful' and it has some truth in it. This is all about 'those who managed to endure.' Yet there is something not be missed: what about 'those who came back?'... The new U.S. president is actually tougher than his father, and it is quite possible that Saddam will face some big troubles. Colin Powell, who was the Chief of General Staff, is now the Secretary of State. Powell is prepared for teaching a bitter lesson to Saddam if he does not behave. Since Powell, immediately after his assignment, asked for allocation of funds to be given to anti-Saddam groups, this should be interpreted as sign of how he is involved in Iraq issue... Hope for peace was not available 10 years ago, and today that has not changed at all."

"New Era With Iraq"

Serpil Yilmaz argued in mass-appeal Milliyet (1/17): "The economic rapprochement between Turkey and Iraq is matched with the United Nation's softened protocol on Iraq.... The embargo against Iraq has softened as well as of the end of last year.... A visit to Baghdad proves that despite the reasons for political tension, including planes taking off from Incirlik airbase, the people of Iraq have friendly feelings toward Turkey.... Turkey cannot continue to ignore its neighbor Iraq which has the second largest oil reserves in the world. Turkey does not have the luxury to evaluate its Middle East policies through U.S. lenses."

East Asia

JAPAN: "Bush Administration Needs New Strategy Toward Iraq"

Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri's Washington correspondent Hayashi observed (1/16): "The U.S.-led the Gulf War and hoped to topple the Iraqi government 10 years ago. In spite of this, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein continues to maintain his government, creating a situation that could bring the U.S. into international isolation. Against such a background, the Bush administration needs to revamp U.S. strategy toward Iraq.... During his campaign speeches, Bush called Clinton's Iraq diplomacy 'weak-kneed.' Cheney disclosed plans to 'reestablish' UN inspections of Iraq and to strengthen U.S. ties with the Gulf states. In light of discord among UNSC members and hollowed-out UN sanctions against Iraq, however, the U.S. should map out a new strategy toward Saddam Hussein. Should the United States become isolated over such issues as UN inspections, sanctions and subversion of the Iraqi government, the Bush administration might launch a military operation against Iraq in a bid to break the stalemate."

AUSTRALIA: "Saddam, Sanctions And Futility"

An editorial in the liberal Canberra Times (1/18) read: "The will to maintain sanctions is eroding. Within the United Nations Security Council, France, Russia and China are lobbying for sanctions to be softened or removed.... Still, sentiment is not unanimous. The United States is determined to maintain sanctions against Iraq. Not only is incoming President George W. Bush the son of the president who went to war against Saddam Hussein but his secretary of state will also be the man who was military chief during the Gulf War, Colin Powell."

"Sanctions Still Needed To Stop Saddam"

An editorial in the conservative, national Australian (1/18) maintained: "Falling during the same week as the inauguration of president-elect George W. Bush, the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War is an opportune moment to question the efficacy of sanctions against Iraq. The score card is not good. The sanctions regime is meant to be tough, but it is now so porous it resembles--to use Mr. Bush's own words--Swiss cheese and needs to be revised. Maintaining a tight economic and military embargo on Iraq remains the best way forward."

VIETNAM: "Why Are They Still Going Upstream?"

Hoang Lien wrote in Nhan Dan, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Vietnam, (1/15): "That the U.S. government passed a $12 million plan to assist opposition groups in Iraq is an action that totally goes against the aspiration of the community of peace-loving people in the world.... For a decade already, the United States and the United Kingdom have been pursuing a hostile policy on Iraq, abusing their rights to veto at the UN Sanction Committee to bar a large number of contracts between Iraq and its foreign partners in the Oil-for-food program.... The visits to Iraq by American, British and Jordanian activists and tens of relief flights to Baghdad in just less then 6 months affirm that it is time to end the irrational imposition of an unreasonable and inhumane embargo against Iraq."

South Asia

INDIA: "Afraid To Be Free"

Former West Bengal Finance Minister Ashok Mitrain observed in the centrist Telegraph (1/31): "Thanks to the American dispensation, Iraqis are being starved of food, medicine and other essential commodities for the past several years. In the circumstances, they have made an alluring offer to our government. If only we agree to sell them a substantial quantity of our foodgrains, in the production of which we claim to be comfortably surplus, the Iraqis, the special

offer suggests, would be willing to send us an unspecified, but negotiable, quantity of petroleum.... It is a dream offer...but in this matter we are apparently not our own masters.... It will need the prior approval of the United States. This is where the snag arises. China cares not one whit for the so-called UN sanctions, nor does France, nor does Venezuela...and the United States has not been able to act as a spoiler. We, are, however, different. Our government takes pride in the special relationship it has established with the American administration. We are in fact busy jostling against a handful of other countries for occupying the slot best described as the number one lackey of the United States.... Here then lies the irony. By tying ourselves to American apron strings, we are not furthering, but hindering, free international trade."

"Saddam Lives On"

Kesava Menon observed in centrist Hindu (1/14): "If the incoming Bush administration is able to shake off its hubris and its desire for revenge it will be able to perceive the one undeniable achievement of the 'get Saddam' policy. Ten years ago even many Arabs might have been inclined to look on Saddam Hussein as a crazy man. Today, he is the foremost hero for the Arab street. For the ordinary Arab, it is Saddam Hussein not the Bushies who is the dragon-slayer."

PAKISTAN: "Reduction In Sanctions Against Iraq"

Leading, mass-circulation, Urdu-language Jang declared (1/16): "The taking of relief goods to Iraq by a delegation of U.S. citizens, notwithstanding being an unofficial step, is also reflective of the fact that now there is some loosening of the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq. It is high time that such steps are further re-ensured so that the problems being confronted by the Iraqi people for the last ten years are mitigated."

"U.S. Delegation's Iraq Visit"

Second-largest, Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt asserted (1/16): "The arrival in Baghdad of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark at the head of a 50-member delegation in protest against UN sanctions against Iraq is a welcome symbol of the American public's sympathy with oppressed and innocent people.... Now if Ramsey Clark and innumerable persons like him want to make America known for humanity rather than cruelty, they should pay attention to Afghanistan, as presently American wrath is aimed against this country."

Western Hemisphere

CANADA: "Bush Has Few Options In Dealing With Saddam"

George Jonas opined in the tabloid-style Ottawa Citizen (1/28): "I think anyone who considers the Gulf War futile has looked at it with the wrong expectations. Wars can't solve the problems of the world, or even a region. Obviously, Operation Desert Storm didn't make the Middle East 'better.' It wasn't meant to do that; it was meant to prevent the Middle East from becoming worse.... Saddam ought to have been dethroned at the end of the Gulf War, of course. At that time the international forces were in the field, the U.S.-led coalition was intact, and Saddam's Baathist regime was a couple of weeks (or a couple of days, according some analysts) away from destruction. The situation is different today. Reviving the coalition's armies is politically impossible, while lobbing a few missiles at Iraq will do nothing to shake Saddam's grip on power. It's hard to unseat or re-educate tyrants by periodically dropping things on them from the air. Throwing the odd projectile is good only for killing Baghdad hotel receptionists and getting bad press at home and abroad. Yet, Bush pere's team having managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, throwing things may be all Bush fils can do, unless some new circumstance allows George II to finish the job George I left undone."

"What Doesn't Kill Him"

Contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis wrote in the conservative Ottawa Sun (1/22): "America's ferocious punishment of Iraq has brought hatred of the United States in the Muslim world and provoked attacks against its interests. Thanks to the Gulf oil war, and the Clinton administration's total policy alignment with Israel, the United States is increasingly seen by many of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims as a determined enemy. Meanwhile, Saddam keeps thumbing his nose at the United States and now faces the son of Bush, who, in turn, may end

up facing the sons of Saddam. No matter who rules in Baghdad, Iraq will remain, to paraphrase Churchill's assessment of Germany, 'either at your feet or at your throat.' So long as nuclear-armed Israel and populous Iran are enemies, Iraq will strive for weapons of mass destruction and dominance in the Gulf. The Clinton administration tried to assassinate Saddam, then, in frustration, dropped concrete-filled bombs on Iraq. Washington couldn't decide whether to kill or keep Saddam. Meanwhile, Iraq has become America's sixth largest source of imported oil."

"Life After The Gulf War"

The liberal Toronto Star (1/16) editorialized: "Saddam Hussein still rules Iraq with a murderous hand. He has ousted United Nations weapons inspectors, and could be rebuilding nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Moreover, support for sanctions is wobbly. These grim truths, plus the appalling suffering of Iraq's 23 million people, must be acknowledged, as U.S. President-elect George W. Bush prepares to assume the messy legacy of an inconclusive war launched by his father 10 years ago tonight.... Today he poses less of a risk to the Persian Gulf's oil-rich states. He has lost control of Iraq's airspace, and much of its land mass. His military can't move without being pounded. His deadliest weapons have been smashed.... The Middle East is safer. And the UN has shown that it has the capacity, when it chooses, to strike back at strong countries which attack weak ones. That power is used only fitfully. But it is there. Dictators who ignore it, risk heavy consequences."

BRAZIL: "The Gulf War May Pass To History As A Conflict Without Winners"

Conservative O Globo commented (1/23): "Spared by Bush (Senior) and by Clinton's two mandates, Saddam will now have to deal with Bush (Junior)...[and] Bush may have to start dealing with him soon, [in view of] recent official reports published in the Unite States yesterday that Iraq has already re-constructed its military infrastructure.... The syndrome and political problems associated [with the Gulf war] added to Saddam's perpetuity in power and may lead one to think that this might pass into history as a conflict without winners."


Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list