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January 9, 2003
IRAQ: WEIGHING 'LOOMING' WAR'S JUSTIFICATION AND CONSEQUENCES

January 9, 2003

IRAQ: WEIGHING 'LOOMING' WAR'S JUSTIFICATION AND CONSEQUENCES

KEY FINDINGS

** Observers worldwide view a U.S.-led war with Iraq as "inevitable," regardless of Blix' findings, but most remain unconvinced that a sufficient casus belli has been established.

** Writers in all regions are increasingly resentful of perceived U.S. "imperial ambitions" and the argument that the U.S. is motivated by oil interests is gaining currency.

** Writers in Europe and Asia warned of potential consequences of regional destabilization; African and Latam papers denounced the U.S. position on regime change as "hypocrisy."

** Arab and Muslim outlets censured Arab regimes for bowing to Washington pressure.

 

MAJOR THEMES

Too late to turn back now-- Most observers concluded that given the extent of U.S. military mobilization, the Bush administration had invested too much in an Iraq operation to do a "turnaround" and risk "losing face." As Mexico's far-left La Jornada put it, "Bush seems unstoppable in his decision." Others echoed Paris's right-of-center Le Figaro which asserted that "George Bush will not stop half way like his father in 1991." A number shared Madrid's conservative ABC's observation that "the sword which has been drawn must kill." Only a coup or Saddam Hussein in exile, some reasoned, would forestall a U.S. military attack.

Potential 'unpredictable' consequences outweigh expected 'dividends'-- While none disputed that Saddam Hussein was a "brutal dictator" "unacceptable to the democratic world," a majority maintained that a U.S. war would be a "reckless" undertaking neither "necessary" nor "justified." Many European and East Asian observers repeated warnings that a U.S.-led attack would destabilize the region and cultivate an "inexhaustible recruiting ground for anti-Western terrorism" and might turn Saddam into a "martyr of the Arab street." Some joined a liberal South African daily in asking whether "the cure proposed by Messrs. Bush and Blair was worse than the disease." Meanwhile Arab and Muslim writers charged that an American war on Iraq was "aimed at dominating the entire region" and was a "cover" for Israeli long term interests.

Chafing at the 'monopoly of a single power'-- Critics worldwide reiterated complaints that the U.S. was "ignoring" the concerns of allies and insisted that the UNSC should make the "final call" on peace or war. A growing number suggested that Washington was using the WMD threat as a "pretext" for war, but was really angling, as a Lisbon financial columnist put it, "to get its hands on Iraq's oil and to stay close to the oil wells of Saudi Arabia." Analysts also lamented a lack of multilateral resistance to U.S. "unilateralism." A number of Arab and Muslim writers dismissed the official Arab position as "fragile and weak." A former Jordanian minister of culture admonished Arab states that "neutrality" is neither "justified" nor would it "spare them the consequences" of U.S. aggression. Similarly, London's independent Financial Times faulted the EU's lack of cohesion, asserting that "without a common policy" a divided Europe is "being dragged into a war it does not want."

EDITOR: Irene Marr

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This analysis is based on 107 reports from 54 countries, Dec. 24-Jan. 9. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.

 

EUROPE

BRITAIN: "A Warning From America's Friends"

The independent Financial Times stated (1/9): "Despite frequent jibes, in the UK and across Europe, that he operates as an American 'poodle,' Blair has stuck to a practice of discussing policy differences with Washington only in private, the better thereby to influence Bush and his administration.... This approach appeared vindicated when Bush elbowed aside unilateralist colleagues and took his case against Iraq to the UN. What then should we make of Blair's public call for Washington to start listening to the foreign policy concerns of its allies.... It would be easy to dismiss the prime minister's remarks as a first sign of cold feet as a showdown over Iraq nears.... But that would be altogether too facile.... [Blair's comments] probably reflect alarm at the rising international tide of anti-Americanism. But it also expresses frustration at U.S. failure to take its allies into account--on issues such as global poverty and global warming but, above all, over Middle East peace.... Blair is right to highlight how a lack of 'evenhandedness' and 'real energy' in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is feeding 'a sense of double standards' in the Muslim world. It is no doubt not the first reflex of any European to go to war over Iraq. Yet it is not even the second or third reflex of this U.S. administration to deal urgently with Israel-Palestine--a conflict it increasingly sees in black and white terms, rather than as an issue of security and justice critical to stability and change in the Middle East. Bush should listen carefully to what Blair (and Mr. Solana) are saying."

"Why Europe Needs A United Foreign Policy"

Quentin Peel, wrote in the independent Financial Times (1/7): "As the clock ticks inexorably towards a Security Council decision on military action in Iraq, the EU has no excuse for failing to have a big influence on the exercise. That, at least, is the theory. But in practice, the chances of seeing a combined EU team all pulling in the same direction are slim...when it comes to a really divisive issue--particularly one in which the United States is the most important operator--the EU partners cut and run in a host of different directions. Iraq has always caused problems for the EU.... As long as [the UK and France] could not agree, there was no common European policy.... Neither Britain nor France is prepared to compromise on ultimate national control over foreign policy and security.... European policy towards [Saddam] is in an extraordinary muddle.... If there were a common European policy on Iraq, it would almost certainly be opposed to any military intervention.... Without a common policy, Europe is in danger of signing up for war for lack of an alternative and regardless of popular opinion. Each country is too anxious about its relationship with Washington.... For Europe, it is a sorry situation. United, the EU might have been able to restrain the United States. Divided, it is being dragged into a war it does not want."

"Saddam Won't Run"

Nick Cohen commented in London's center-left The Observer (1/5): "The hope that irrational people will act rationally is a perpetual delusion of the level-headed. Last week you could hear the note of yearning in the voices of briefers from Whitehall to Riyadh as they invented a future in which Saddam Hussein was a reasonable guy.... Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia.said he hoped 'there would be an opportunity given to Arab countries to mitigate the situation' before fighting began.... The Americans would agree to hold their fire. Saddam would go into exile.... The Middle East would avoid war. A new regime would take over Iraq and everyone would be happy.... If Saddam were a sensible chap, he'd save himself and everyone else a lot of unnecessary grief by scarpering.... Saddam is a coward who has spent decades hiding from Iraqis. Nevertheless the evidence suggests he would prefer to take Iraq down with him than cut a deal. He may scuttle, but I wouldn't put money on it."

"War With Iraq Would Not End The Dangers"

Douglas Hurd, former UK foreign secretary (89-95), wrote in the independent Financial Times (1/3): "A serious debate is under way about the justification of a pre-emptive war against Iraq. But justification of war is not everything; its consequences must also be weighed. A pre-emptive attack could be justified on moral and intellectual grounds but would be unwise because of the likely consequences.... The greatest danger might not arise in the fighting with [Saddam's] forces...but the aftermath of a war across a region that would see itself unmistakeably under the domination of the U.S., the protector of Israel.... The United States has put into abeyance any serious effort to bring about a peace settlement that would guarantee the security of Israel but create a valid Palestinian state.... By this mistake, the Americans make more difficult their task, and ours, in the rest of the Middle East. I do not envy the British cabinet or the Bush administration their choice. They have to weigh the undoubted benefits of [Saddam's] overthrow against the risk of turning the Middle East into an inexhaustible recruiting ground for anti-western terrorism."

FRANCE: "The Countdown"

Jean-Paul Pierot wrote in communist L'Humanite (1/7): "While the UN resolution opened the way to a compromise modestly preserving the chances for a peaceful settlement of the crisis, it would be dangerously naive to assume that President Bush's goals have changed. The American President was forced to maneuver in order to pacify his allies.... Anti-war demonstrations have played a role in the new vocabulary and the semantic precautions used by the proponents of war who must move forward partially disguised.... Is war truly avoidable? The interpretation that the U.S. will make of the inspectors' report will depend to a large extent on the international climate.... Much will depend on the reaction of public opinion. The demonstrations scheduled throughout France for Saturday January 18 will be a first test."

"Will There Be War?"

Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (1/6): "In fact, the war started a long time ago in the heads of all the players in the region.... The military means deployed by the U.S., while officially meant to convince Saddam to disarm, will give Washington the possibility of getting rid of him.... Only one thing could stop the war, and that is a political coup leading to the end of Saddam's regime.... One thing is certain: George Bush will not stop halfway like his father in 1991.... For months now, President Bush has been hammering away that his goal is to get rid of Saddam Hussein's regime. He has convinced the Americans of the usefulness of a 'preventive war' against Iraq and Congress's green light makes it difficult to stop Washington's logic of war."

"The Point Of No Return"

Pascal Riche commented in left-of-center Liberation (1/4): "The White House continues to say that the confrontation 'could still be avoided.' But America's deployment of troops is such that a turnaround by Washington at this point is hard to imagine.... Only a miraculous coup or a dramatic change in policy from Baghdad could change the prospect of war."

"The German Government Divided Over Iraq"

Jean-Paul Picapier observed in right-of-center Le Figaro (1/6): "When it comes to the war against Iraq, Schroeder's political friends would like him to adopt a less evasive attitude more in keeping with his election promises.... Germany has decided to side with France. Over the weekend Schroeder and Chirac agreed to consult with each other closely about Iraq. Berlin would prefer that Saddam Hussein throw in the towel. Another solution would be if war did not require another UN resolution. But America's strategy doe not appear to be going in that direction."

GERMANY: "Straight Talk"

Matthias Rueb noted in a front-page editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/9): "History has confronted President Bush with a fundamental security policy question: How can the world be kept safe in light of asymmetrical threats from international terrorism and the growing proliferation of WMD? That this task cannot be accomplished without U.S. political and military leadership is the obvious answer given by Bush's first term. Now, on the verge of the president's second term, a number of new foreign and security policy problems should make Washington realize that it cannot do everything alone. The North Korean nuclear crisis and the ongoing Middle East conflict reveal, despite the optimism displayed by the Pentagon...that the preparations for a possible Iraq war tie up a large share of U.S. military and political energy. By involving the UNSC and agreeing to a new round of weapons inspections, President Bush has begun to move the United States out of its self-enforced isolation. All of this makes it difficult for Washington to find the 'casus belli' without the support of the Security Council and its most important allies.... There is no ignoring that even the resources of the superpower are limited."

"British Mediator"

Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (1/9) maintained in an editorial: "The more immediate the threat of war becomes, the more important is London's role as mediator between the Americans, who tend toward unilateralism, and the international community.... PM Blair never left any doubt that he agrees with President Bush in principle, but his mediation led the U.S. to accept an Iraq resolution and kept the country from starting a war without international backing.... Blair was right to distance himself from U.S. allies and demand that, despite the Iraq crisis, other international conflicts must not be forgotten. The Americans would take a step toward multilateralism if they understood that even the closest ally has the right to his opinion."

"Kirkuk And Mossul"

Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine maintained (1/7): "Turkish Foreign Minister Yakis announced that his government is currently checking whether international agreements following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire grant Ankara rights to the Kirkuk and Mossul oil fields in Iraq. Ankara has declared its opposition to an Iraq war and would like to avoid the stationing of U.S. troops on its territory. Nevertheless, the country wants to be prepared for war. Another issue complicating the situation is Turkey's long-standing support for the Turkoman people living in Northern Iraq. In light of all these issues and the continuing erosion of power in Baghdad, one gets the impression that post-World War I instability is making a comeback."

"Out Of The Country"

Martin Gehlen observed in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/6): "The U.S. wants Saddam and his family go into exile. If he gives up his power voluntarily, the offer goes, he and his family will remain unharmed and will not be held responsible for their atrocities. Washington has already discussed the matter with governments in Europe and the Middle East. Such a solution would mean avoiding war, and Iraqi reconstruction could begin under more favorable circumstances. However, it is unlikely that the plan will work. Washington would have a hard time finding a country willing to take in Saddam.... After all, times have changed even for toppled dictators. Out of sight, out of mind--this motto of the seventies and eighties does not work any longer. The international community's pressure to hold dictators responsible has grown considerably...and people like Saddam might find themselves in front of the International Criminal Court. That is why he will not leave Baghdad voluntarily."

"Peace Is The Highest Value"

Hans-Christof von Sponeck, former UN coordinator for Iraq, judged in a guest editorial in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (1/3): "It is important to call into question the justification for a war against Iraq. The country cooperates with the weapons inspectors, and Baghdad does not represent an international threat. Preventive war is a violation of international law. If the United States decides to go it alone, the Security Council would become increasingly meaningless, and the world would have to learn what has happened to the idea of democracy and human rights not only in Baghdad, but also in Washington. Europe still has the option of reining in the 'American friend' and keeping Washington from attacking. A common political statement from Europe is necessary in this situation."

"The Wrong War"

Michael Naumann noted in a front-page editorial in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (1/2): "According to Foreign Minister Fischer, a military strike against Saddam's regime would be the quickest way of making the few reformers in the Middle East switch sides and join the anti-western Mullahs and their recruits. That is why the German government should stick to its 'no' to an Iraq war. Being an ally does not require turning off one's ability to reason.... Another paradoxical outcome of an Iraq war would be the end of nonproliferation. Countries in the process of developing nuclear programs would not slow down their efforts in case of war; they would speed things up because they would be better able to weigh the risks of a U.S. intervention. This is precisely what is happening in North Korea right now. The British, German, and French governments have so far failed to join forces and push for a multilateral Middle East peace conference that tries to find a last-minute solution to the growing crisis. Blair, Chirac, and Schroeder would have nothing to lose but President Bush's friendship."

ITALY: "Paris Asks Washington For Secret Data (About Iraq's WMD)"

Washington correspondent Ennio Caretto wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (1/9): "Today will likely be a crucial day at the UN regarding the possible developments of the Iraqi crisis. According to UN sources, in an interim report to be issued before the January 27 final report, UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and IAEA Director El Baradei will say that the documentation handed in by Baghdad 'may be either inaccurate or incomplete.'... And Paris sent a letter to the UNSC urging the U.S. and Great Britain to provide inspectors in Iraq with the secret data they claim to possess on Iraqi chemical and biological weapons.... The White House has not made any commitments in this direction, but has, instead, stepped up military preparations by sending to Qatar a huge contingent of high-level officials who would lead the war."

"Iraq Will Become A U.S. Protectorate"

Alberto Pasolini Zanelli observed in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (1/7): "There is no Karzai in the future of Iraq. There is an American general.... Day after day, the 'leaks' about Bush's plan for the future of Baghdad become official policy line.... The plan.goes ahead without paying attention to the fact that inspections are still underway...and that theoretically the UNSC should make the 'decisions'.... It is likely that Bush's general will be a close aide of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld or his mentors Wolfowitz and Perle.... Accordingly, the Iraqi oil fields will be administered by American administrators who would regulate sales according to their own interests, including the use of export revenues for the 'rebuilding' of Iraq, of which they would also occupy its seat at the OPEC Board of Administration.... Indeed, no Arab neighboring countries would like this solution...but their objections will not be too bothersome. What is underway is a direct, open-ended 'administrative effort.'"

"A Coup In Baghdad To Avoid The War"

Berlin correspondent Salvo Mazzolini wrote in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (1/3): "Even though the White House is speeding up military preparations, not all signals indicate that the war against Saddam Hussein is inevitable. The clash between Washington and the Iraqi dictator, in fact, could be resolved through other means, less expensive and less traumatic ones: for example, with a coup that would topple the Iraqi dictator and replace him with a leadership created by the Iraqi opposition and supported by America. The White House is currently examining such an option, which is reportedly getting increasing support by Bush's advisors, at least according to what German Foreign Minister Fischer allegedly said during a phone conversation with his Tehran counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, as reported in an Iranian daily. Obviously Berlin hastened to deny the report.... But the denial was not totally convincing."

"Bush: My Commitment Is To Avoid The War"

Anna Guaita filed from New York in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero (1/2): "George Bush brakes and promises to seek, in 2003, peaceful solutions to the crises which grip America. From the UN, Secretary General Kofi Annan reminded him that, in any case, as things are now, there are no reasons to wage a war on Iraq and that it is necessary to wait for the inspectors' report, on January 27th.... It will then be up to the UNSC to decide if what the inspectors found on Iraq really represents an 'effective violation' of resolution 1441. One must remember that Germany has just entered into the group of ten countries that sit on the Council on a rotational basis and it is well known that the German government holds a very different position on the war. Its presence would strengthen France, which is a permanent member of the UNSC, which also opposes the war.... Although Bush promised to seek peace, he has not stopped preparing war and some 11,000 soldiers left for the Gulf, while some aircrafts bombed a radar site south of Bassora."

"Guns Between Saddam And Democracy"

Former Italian ambassador to Washington Boris Biancheri commented on the front page of centrist, influential La Stampa (12/31): "Many believe that what Bush is pursuing in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf is not an ideal of democracy, but the defense of his own interests. This is true and false at the same time: by exporting democracy, in fact, the United States would defend its own interests as well, including that of creating a stable and safe international community. America, in fact, no matter what Italian pacifists may think, does not need wars in order to get richer, and knows how to get richer even in peacetime. But it also knows that it can get richer if it is surrounded by free and democratic countries. After all, it is with this two-fold strategy that the United States fought and won, luckily for us, in WWII and in the Cold War, without fighting. Within this same framework--and the additional objective of defending America from terrorism--Bush's ultimate goal is that of reconciling such diverse terms as Islam and democracy."

RUSSIA: "Bush's Oil Hawks Strive To Get Iraq"

Vyacheslav Tetekin presented the Communist Party's view in neo-Communist Sovetskaya Rossiya (1/9): "After the world (including Russia and China) had swallowed the aggression against Yugoslavia and then against Afghanistan, an attack on Iraq will mean that the UNSC (and the entire UN) will turn into an branch of the U.S. State Department. Russia, China and France may as well take their UNSC veto to a museum as an exhibit because this critical instrument of peace maintenance will no longer have practical value. If America is allowed to attack Iraq now, the U.S. will not request UN permission in the future. By the way, the U.S. has already refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court because the latter has the power to try Americans for war crimes."

"In March Saddam Hussein Will No Longer Be Around Or Won't He?"

Andrei Stepanov reflected in the centrist Trud (1/5): On the whole, the recommendation to the Russian leadership is not to oppose the strivings of the current U.S. administration (and at the same time not to approve them). The use of force, now in preparation, is fraught with unpredictable consequences, will create for the U.S. so many difficulties in Iraq itself, in the region and in the world that they may eventually outweigh all the expected dividends. And when the present administration is faced with the task of getting out from just another (following Afghanistan) quagmire, its leaders will get down to looking for those who 'helped' it into this. In this case in Washington they will probably remember Russia and its interests and will manifest a readiness to give up the monopoly on resolving conflict situations."

"U.S. Uses Carrot And Stick Tactics With Regard To Iraq"

Georgy Mirsky wrote in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (12/31): "It seems to me that Washington's doggedness and persistence have in many ways played a positive role by forcing Hussein to meet almost all the requirements of the international community. The United States has played the part of an 'angry' investigator allowing the UN and especially Russia, China and France to play the role of a 'kind' investigator."

AUSTRIA: "Hope for Peace"

Senior columnist Ernst Trost opined in mass-circulation tabloid Kronen Zeitung (1/2): "The creepiest thing about Washington's near-hysteria regarding Iraq is the almost obscene lack of concern the United States has shown in the last few months when contemplating a possible war in the Gulf. It does remind you of the olden times, when sovereigns because of some territorial dispute willfully gave their soldiers marching orders, but cared little or not at all about the people's suffering."

BELGIUM: "Greens Undermine Strategy Of Deterrence"

Chief editor Peter Vandermeersch argued in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (1/6): "'Even if the UN gives the green light for an attack against Iraq, Belgian participation is out of the question,' the French and Dutch language Greens say. In that manner, they undermine the strategy of deterrence.... Of course, it is clear that Belgium - like all other countries in the world - must do everything to avoid a new war. Of course, the Americans are not totally innocent when they apply double standards - cf. their attitude vis-à-vis North Korea. Of course, the Middle East oil reserves play a role in a possible war. But, if there is a UNSC decision on January 27, if the UN approves a new resolution that allows the use of force, and if Belgium has sufficient evidence about the violation of resolution 1441, Belgium must take its responsibility. In that case, it must not remain on the sidelines with naive pacifism or electoral opportunism. Since WW II, the world has become a more viable and safer place thanks to institutions like the UN. Claiming all the time that the UN is the forum where international conflicts must be solved and turning away from the UN when its decisions do not please us is not very courageous. As a matter of fact, it is very sad."

"Bush's Real Motive"

Foreign affairs writer Evita Neefs observed in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (1/4): "After heavy pressure from almost the entire world, Washington agreed that the UN would carry out a new round of inspections. However, the elimination of those weapons--which (Washington) itself partly provided as recent documents show--has never been the only goal of the Bush administration.... In the eyes of the current U.S. government, Iraq is a domino in a larger strategy--in which oil plays a key role. After Saudi Arabia, Iraq has the largest oil reserves in the world. Immediately after he entered office, VP Dick Cheney warned in a remarkable report that oil imports would have to increase by 50 percent some twenty years from now. The Gulf area is the most obvious area. In the meantime, however, the Americans also have taken initiatives in Africa; they are active in Venezuela and--it is no coincidence--there are American troops in Central Asia. Military advisers have been dispatched to Georgia, too."

"Bush Has Blown Hot And Cold"

Pascal Martin opined in left-of-center Le Soir (1/2): "U.S. President Bush has blown hot and cold, stating that he is willing to try to find a peaceful solution in Iraq, whereas American troops continue to arrive in the Gulf.... Can one still reasonably believe in peace and dismiss what some are denouncing is the American determination to wage war no matter what? The visit to Baghdad of UN chief inspector Hans Blix at the invitation of the Iraqis -- visit which has been announced but for which no date has been given -- leads one to believe that the die has perhaps not been cast yet. January 27 will be a decisive date, when the inspectors will submit their report to the UN Security Council. That is when one will see whether the Americans have opted for the military option."

"The Preventive War's Vicious Circle"

Chief editor Jean-Paul Duchateau wrote in independent La Libre Belgique (12/27): "[W]ashington seems to be increasingly committing itself every day, probably too much to content itself with Iraqi concessions without losing face.... This war appears increasingly unavoidable, and its results increasingly hypothetical. Indeed, there are many examples, even in recent history, of ousted dictators who were replaced by even worse leaders.... The very principle of a preventive war poses a fundamental problem as far as international law is concerned. Will this principle be efficient thanks to the deterrence that it inspires, or will it lead the world to the vicious circle of a constant state of war? We are tempted to believe in the second option.... Except if it were explicitly asked by the UN to do so, Belgium should therefore not--even in the name of Atlantic solidarity--participate in a war that Washington would have unilaterally decided."

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: "An Offer"

Edin Krehic commented in Sarajevo's Oslobodjenje (1/9): "An intelligent individual, regardless of different prevailing standards, would abandon the helm, if that meant saving their own people. Such an offer was explicitly given to Saddam. Will he accept? During the war with Iran, Saddam Hussein personally killed the messenger who delivered a similar offer."

"Report Based On Saddam's Formula"

Antonio Prlenda commented in Sarajevo oldest paper Oslobodjenje (1/7): [regarding the report on the investigation of illegal arms trade with Iraq and violation of UN embargo that the authorities of Republika Srpska] "It seems that the public will have to wait for real answers until the international representatives translate and study the report. This will take several weeks, they say. Since Dragan Cavic (president of Republika Srpska) did not reveal all he knew about the report it is only logical to wonder if the president of Republika Srpska is buying political time as was Saddam Hussein when he loaded the UN inspectors with thousands...of pages of a report about his arms."

CROATIA: "Liberator Bush"

Split-based Slobodna Dalmacija carried a commentary by Vuk Djuricic stating (1/7): "Regardless of who thinks what about Saddam Hussein and his regime, and it is completely clear that we are talking about a dictatorship unacceptable to the democratic world, the American-British invasion against Iraq would be a reckless move with immeasurable consequences not just for the region, but also for the entire world. In addition to numerous human victims, and it's obvious that American 'liberators' do not care about that, the attack against Iraq would completely humiliate the U.N., and bring under question reasons of its existence, it would shake up the world economy, and open a new era in terrorism development."

CZECH REPUBLIC: "Building A Fragile Bridge"

Adam Cerny stated in leading business daily Hospodrske Noviny (1/8): "UK PM Tony Blair has a reputation as the closest European ally of the U.S. However, propinquity doesn't mean identity; few have noticed that Blair is not only seeking to maintain the UK-U.S. relationship, but also U.S.-Europe ties. He is a good advocate of U.S. foreign policy because he conveys the American message in a way comprehensible to European ears. He also keeps pointing out to the U.S. that it will only make the world listen if it listens to the world. In short, the UK is trying to lower the risk of the U.S. losing its allies, but the bridge will be of very fragile construction."

"Iraq - The Fight For Public Opinion"

Jiri Roskot stressed in the left-of-center Pravo (12/31): "The Iraqi crisis will escalate next year....The Iraqi ruler is by no means a nice guy. However, from the perspective of public opinion...it is more important now for the White House to prove that statements about hidden Iraqi arsenals are true than to organize media (and PR) campaigns. This will be the cornerstone of the question about moral correctness of an invasion. Clear evidence that Saddam cheated the U.N. once again can be of stronger support in critical phases of the invasion than a mandate of the U.N. Security Council."

GREECE: "Iraq Is Dangerous, But There Should Be No War"

On private Antenna Radio's program "Taking Off,"On well-known Greek political scientist and commentator Thodoros Kouloumbis commented on Iraq policy (1/2): "It is important that Iraq not gain access to WMD. Having said that, should the U.S. attack Iraq? No. If the general goal is to stop proliferation and the specific one is to make sure Saddam Hussein doesn't get them, then the most effective course of action is what we have now, with the UN inspections regime. But I fear we will have war. And the only plausible explanation for this war is to get American control over the flow of oil, and to get access for U.S. oil companies in Iraq. There's also a fair amount of hubris and revenge involved: for the last twelve years, since the days of the previous President, Saddam Hussein has resisted heavy diplomatic pressures and sanctions. The Americans want to show the world that those who continue to resist them are, in the end, forced out."

HUNGARY: "Dilemmas Of A War"

Foreign affairs writer Ferenc Kepecs stated in leftist Nepszava (12/27): "We have no reason to feel sorry about Saddam Hussein. But every reason to do so about the average Iraqi who are likely to become victims of a war in large numbers, and even about the American soldiers, should things fail to go as smoothly as they did in 1991. The biggest problem with the 'American solution', however, would be if Saddam became the martyr of the Arab street, a figure whose memory terrorists could swear on. The Iraqi dictator ought to be annihilated not physically, but morally. But that could only be achieved by a revolution of the Iraqi people."

IRELAND: "What Is The Casus Beli?"

Kevin Myers expounded in the liberal Irish Times' daily column "An Irishman's Diary" (1/7): "Does anyone outside Washington really know why the U.S. is going to war with Iraq?... So he (President Bush) now seems to be about Osama Bin Laden's work, perpetuating violence and using war not as diplomacy by other means, but as an end in itself.... Even if the U.S. goals are not globally revolutionary, and Iraq alone is the target, what is the casus belli? That was provided by the expulsion of the UN weapons inspectors during the cretinous and morally infirm presidency of that Clinton creature. Then was the time for the U.S. to act with clear authority; but not, dear God, after the weapons inspectors had been allowed back in. There are no arguments about the evil of Saddam Hussein: he is the devil incarnate. That is not the issue.....So we come to the question: Why now? The answer can only be 9/11. Osama Bin Laden sought to drag the U.S. into a global war, and George Bush, the alcoholic who lives in awe of his father, is responding as required.... To be sure, there is no moral contest. Saddam is a monster. Moreover, we are free because of U.S. arms and U.S. lives, and once there is a war, though I am against it, I shall nonetheless wish swift success to U.S. arms as the least evil of all available outcomes. Yet then we have to ask: if the U.S. is successful in Iraq, where does the process of improving the world by force of arms stop?... Suddenly we're looking at a very busy and a very unnerving future indeed."

NORTHERN IRELAND: "White Lies From The White House"

Left-of-center Belfast Telegraph ran an op-ed by Eamon McCann stating (1/2): "The revelations in the Washington Post of U.S. complicity in the crimes of Saddam Hussein appear, so far, to have made not a whit of difference to supporters of the proposed war on Iraq. There was nothing in Monday's Post which hadn't previously appeared in radical journals. But the fact that the information has now been put into the mainstream should stiffen the resolve of those among us who don't want war. Reagan, his Vice-President George Bush, snr.; Rumsfeld, etc., had decided to back Iraq against Iran out of fear that a victory for Teheran in the Iran-Iraq war would spur Shi'ite militancy across the region and thereby threaten western oil interests. When, in 1986, Rumsfeld launched a futile bid for the Republican nomination in the 1988 presidential election, he cited his role in helping 're-open U.S. relations with Iraq' as evidence of his competence in international affairs. This is to say that all of the evidence, including evidence from official U.S. sources, suggests that Rumsfeld, Bush, jnr.; etc. are lying when they say now that the reason they want war against Iraq has to do with the abhorrent nature of the Hussein regime. The proposed war on Iraq is, in essence, an exercise in old-fashioned imperialism. The main question arising is whether we will raise our voices high enough and mobilise effectively enough to stay the hands of the war-mongers".

NORWAY: "Respect For The UN"

The independent Dagbladet (1/6) commented: "To cooperate with the UN means also to respect the UN's work in Iraq, the report that Hans Blix will present and the decisions that a collective Security Council decides. Unfortunately George Bush seems to be more occupied with drawing his own conclusions than to listen to the UN."

"The Bigwig Of The Evil"

In the independent Dagbladet former correspondent to the US Anne Thurmann-Nielsen judged (12/30): "Not only the political left and the politically correct America haters have reasons to be concerned in the last days of this year. During the Christmas days the Bush Government has activated the Axis of Evil in Asia, North Korea.... Dialogue seems to be a foreign word among Bush's warmongers. The world is a scary place these days.... The Bush administration has painted the USA darker blue than the country has been in a long time. The President has let a small group of neo-conservative cold warriors form the political agenda far beyond the borders of the U.S. Isn't it time to proclaim the rich and mighty U.S. to the bigwig of the evil and encourage the Americans to rid themselves of the Bush regime by the next election in 2004?"

POLAND: "A Spectacle And History"

Bronislaw Wildstein wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (1/6): "All signs in the sky and on earth indicate that there will be an American intervention in the Middle East. Both sides are intensively preparing for a war. The rifle hanging on the wall will finally fire. This has been bound to happen for a long time.... Hussein produces and stores part of the banned military potential in underground storage rooms impossible to find, and part of it he constantly transfers in mobile laboratories. This was well known when a demand was voiced that the Security Council pass another resolution, even though the one passed 12 years earlier would be sufficient for U.S. intervention.... The spectacle with the Security Council resolution, Iraq's response, and the [UN] inspectors' mission has come to an end. Now history will begin."

PORTUGAL: "Getting Hold Of Iraq's Oil"

In his weekly column in leading financial Diário Económico, pundit Miguel Sousa Tavares asserted (1/9): "I think the U.S. is going into Iraq to get its hands on Iraq's oil and to stay close to the oil wells of Saudi Arabia.... They started by saying that the pretext was the presence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Nothing has been found so far. Then, it was necessary to overthrow Saddam and overthrow the regime. Now, the New York Times writes that...the Pentagon's plan is to name a civil administrator as if it were a company on the edge of bankruptcy, occupy the oil wells and stay there for a year and a half. So this really is a war of conquest."

"The Rules Of The Game"

Mário Bettencourt Resendes, editor-in-chief of respected center-left Diário de Notícias, commented (1/6): "The apparent American option for multilateralism and the jurisdiction of the UN has so far done nothing more than fill up the time needed to move up to the edge of the war zone the complex machine needed to guarantee success within an ideal timeframe--that is, two-three weeks.... The world will certainly be more secure with Saddam Hussein thrown out of power. But at the point at which things stand, it is important that the U.S. does not mortgage its credibility as a great power that declared it wanted to play by 'the rules of the game.'"

SLOVENIA: "Preventive War For Peace And Freedom"

Mile Setinc held in left-of-center independent Dnevnik (1/9): "Who can determine the existence of 'a direct threat' coming from an enemy which uses weapons that can easily be hidden and can attack without warning? Does only George W. Bush have this historic right, the Bush who brags about using 'gut' instincts for making major decisions?... The U.S. does not renounce international organizations...however, the President can consult, but does not have to obey."

"Last Wills Are Ready"

Vojislav Berck opined in left of center, independent Vecer (1/6): "In three weeks, Hans Blix...will answer the question of WMD. The answer may persuade the members of the Security Council, but it will less likely persuade American President George W. Bush.... There are many indications that the United States is determined to attack Iraq. America's 'editing' of...Iraq's report may be the most outstanding among them.... The accumulation of America's military in the countries neighboring Iraq, sending additional troops to this territory and additional aircraft carriers to this part of the world indicate that a war is unavoidable. With UN approval, or without it; this seems to be just a cosmetic detail in Bush's eyes. Soldiers in American military bases are writing their wills.... Why would they write their wills if the U.S. president really wished a peaceful resolution of the problem as strongly as he emphasizes? American and British propaganda machineries have functioned with full power for several months.... The Iraqi opposition.is ready to assume power.... Who can persuade President Bush against finishing what his father began twelve years ago. It can hardly be done by the Security Council or the United Nations."

SPAIN: "From The Cockiness Of Saddam Hussein To Bush's Fait Accompli"

Independent El Mundo declared (1/7): "Saddam Hussein has chosen the path of the harshest rhetorical confrontation in his last speech. The Iraqi leader knows that he has very little opportunity to escape unscathed from this crisis.... Especially when the very well prepared U.S. plans start to be known.... All this is a fait-accompli that responds only to Bush's own interests, and seems to overlook the fact that the reason for the conflict, the famous WMD, haven't been found yet."

"The Iraq Invasion, [Already] Designed"

Conservative La Razon wrote (1/7): "The Iraqi President must be convinced that an American attack is inevitable or he is simply a fool who adds fuel to the fire at such an inopportune moment. When he could have opted to prolong the process, to take away legitimacy from George Bush by opening facilities to the inspectors, (Saddam) has been resistant and with that (attitude) has provided an argument to those who support the American President's desires. The attack plans are perfectly designed...United States has no more... to hide. The decision is taken."

"The Cost Of War"

Conservative ABC opined (1/2): "There is a certain ritual nature in the beginning of this war. The sword which has been drawn must kill. The world must know who leads here. No matter what the Iraqis decide...the war will start.... One cannot help being astonished that a modern nation, having a great diplomacy, with intelligence services, and sophisticated resources for foreign action, must appeal to this infernal formula to explain who leads and who must obey.... Possibly the worst formula for addressing the terrorist problem is to initiate a war against Iraq. Anti-American feeling in many Muslim countries...will probably need 50 years to be absorbed and disappear.... If this war cannot be won in hours, everything could spiral dangerously for President Bush, from the cost of the conflict...to the price of oil. And that is not even counting the deaths."      

TURKEY: "U.S. Implicitly Threatens Turkey"

Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in mass-appeal Milliyet (1/9): "Turkey's decision to wait for the UN report before determining the extent of its cooperation with the United States has caused a potential problem between the two countries. Washington is disappointed both in Ankara's current Iraq policy as well as the decision to send a Turkish trade delegation headed by State Minister Tuzmen to Baghdad. Officials in Washington note that this disappointment could be reflected when Congress takes up the issues of economic, military, and commercial aid to Turkey. A US diplomatic source warns that 'the degree of US cooperation with the Arab world seems to becoming more significant than with Turkey.'... Sources close to the Washington administration comment that due to Ankara's reservations and 'wait-and-see' attitude, the goal of creating a deterrent show of force against Iraq has not been achieved. It seems that the visit of General Myers to Ankara will play a determining factor for Washington in deciding whether or not to include the northern front in the war scenario."

"What Kind Of Policy?"

Sami Kohen criticized in mass-appeal Milliyet (1/9): "It is quite possible to believe that the AKP government does not have an Iraq policy. There are many conflicting statements from various official bodies, and it is mind-boggling to try to figure out which is the real policy.... On the other hand, we should also see that developments related to Iraq have caught the government in a helpless position. The 'great advantage' of Turkey, its geo-strategic location, has now become a painful liability for Ankara. Because of Turkey's location and political ties, as well as its current economic situation, it is not possible to define Turkey's role with a 'yes-or-no' kind of clarity. Thus Ankara is trying to shape its policy based on developments, keeping its options open and maintaining flexibility.... Turkish officials note that Ankara does not want to hurry, but that the plan for a front in northern Iraq will be taken into consideration 'when the time comes.' Reacting to Washington's complaints about Turkey's position, one Turkish official said that the problem stems from the definition of time limits. Ankara wants to shape things in the course of time, while Washington is asking for an immediate answer."

"Saddam Hussein Waits For War"

Mehmet Barlas opined in mass appeal Aksam (1/7): "Saddam Hussein's message for the Army Day celebration clearly defies the U.S. and calls for a holy war.... He accused everyone, including the UN inspectors now in Iraq. The gist of this 'army day' message is as follows: Iraq is ready for war. Saddam knows that war is imminent, thus his propaganda position is to welcome it. If only PM Gul were visiting Baghdad instead of Syria and Egypt."

"Saddam Has Hurt Gul's Campaign"

Ilnur Cevik wrote in the English-language Turkish Daily News (1/7): "The remarks of Saddam Hussein that the UN weapons inspectors are spying has come as a blow to those who wanted to find a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis. The efforts of PM Gul to rally support for his peace crusade in Syria, Egypt, and Jordan have actually gone down the drain. Saddam Hussein is notorious for misreading reality and taking the wrong steps. You just have to look at how he waged a war against Iran, and how he invaded Kuwait and then refused to withdraw.... Whatever the reason, the Iraqi leader has only strengthened the hand of the Americans, who are already massing troops and military hardware in the region."

"The Reason For Saying NO To War"

Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (1/2): "The drawing of borders in the Middle East and the regimes that were put in place there all resulted from the demise of the Ottoman Empire and decisions made by the Western powers. The western powers defined and designed the status quo in the region based on their interests. Today they are once again trying to redesign it based on their current needs and interests. Turkey has been the loser from the last century's imperial plans. And today once again the western powers want Turkey to fall into this trap. This is exactly why the people of Turkey are loudly saying NO."

YUGOSLAVIA: "Why Now?"

Commenting on U.S. policy in Iraq and the Near East, leading Politika foreign commentator Bosko Jaksic claimed (12/28): [Washington's plan has] only one, short-term marketing goal: to tranquilize and sweet-talk the Arabs who are revolted by the uncritical U.S. support for Israel with the preparations for the occupation of Baghdad.... But help in the transformation of the Arab world has to be sincere and have credibility.... The Americans have been considered the champions of the noble ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights. Those ideals have corroded in the past years, due to the U.S. racing for hegemony, a one-sided approach to the Near East crisis, and because of arrogant leaning on its power."

MIDDLE EAST AND MAGHREB

ISRAEL: "Facing Iraq For Round 2"

The Director of the Interdisciplinary Center's Global Research in International Affairs Center, Barry Rubin wrote in conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (1/7): "Saddam understood that the U.S. could not fight a war if it could not win fast, keep casualties low, and get out quickly. Contrary to Saddam's expectations, [former U.S. president George] Bush was able to fulfill these conditions in defeating Iraq. But the same need to keep the war short, losses low, and bring the troops home soon also meant that the U.S. lacked the willpower and staying power to bring the Iraqi dictator down. Now we are facing Round 2: to achieve with much greater difficulty what might have been more easily done back in 1991. But have no illusions: in all the same circles it was no more popular then. And whether or not [President George W.] Bush should attack Iraq now, it is quite clear that those who opposed strong action a decade ago bear a lot of responsibility for the current situation."

WEST BANK: "Countdown for War Against Iraq: Pre-War Deception"

Abdullah Awad opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/9): "The picture is getting clearer and clearer by the day regarding the decision by Washington and London to launch a war against Iraq, even though an exact date has not been set. Consequently, the Jewish state will start thinking of the policy that it will follow during the war. It is possible that Israel will wait until the war on Iraq flares up before escalating its own war against the Palestinians. There are indications that Israel may invade and reoccupy Gaza, imposing more restrictions and measures against the Palestinian leadership. Prohibiting Palestinian officials from traveling abroad is just the beginning."

"An Ounce Of Prevention"

Talal Okal commented in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (1/6): " The U.S. is determined to go ahead with its war in spite of the fact that the issue of North Korea exemplifies the United States' double-standard policy. Also, this American stubbornness emphasizes that the entire region is a target for its war and that such a war is an end as much as it is a means. This war is aimed at intimidating and controlling other countries through dominating the entire region and turning it into an American military base in order to take over its resources."

"Double War"

Hafez Al Barghouti opined in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (12/31): "It seems that the American war against Iraq will be used as a cover for an Israeli war against the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria. Israeli officials have already begun to leak news regarding Israel's intention to terminate the Palestinian cause and carry out decisive attacks against Hizballah and Syria.... These destructive ideas...by Israeli officials are a result of the White House's support for the Israeli extreme right that opposes security and peace. Moreover, the American war against Iraq is serving Israeli interests more than those of the United States."

EGYPT: "Saddam's Stepping Aside Is Not The End Of The Story"

Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar contributor Assem Abdel Mohsen predicted (1/9): "I will not shed tears about Saddam's fate. However, I am not one to deceive myself that, if Saddam decided to step down...the Iraqi problem would end.... Saddam's departure will realize for America some of its wishes without a bloodletting of its soldiers, but it will not result in a diminished American military presence in the region.... In fact, this presence in the region may grow...according to preexisting plans.... America may treat Saddam as it did the president of Panama... Truly, Saddam is a hated model, but it is also true that changing him is the responsibility of his people alone, not the U.S.... Saddam's departure, willingly or by force, is not Washington's principal concern. The American agenda for the region is its people, its wealth, its brains, its values and other goals which are unknown."

"Turkey's Role"

Leading pro-government Al Ahram's senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama wrote (in the Arabic Al Ahram and in the English-language Al Ahram Weekly) (1/9): "Recent meetings between Turkey and various Arab states may mark the first time Ankara has initiated consultations with its Arab neighbors to foster regional coordination and to avert a war in the region.... It appears that Turkey has a strong interest in avoiding a war; but many questions remain unanswered. What are the practical suggestions, which would convince the U.S. not to use military force against Iraq? It is not clear whether the U.S. wants to make use of this [Turkish-Arab] cooperation if it decides not to attack Iraq...or whether it will ignore it completely and press ahead with military operations."

"Half Truths"

Leading pro-government Al Ahram's columnist Abdo Mubasher held (1/1): "Suddenly the Turkish prime minister announced that Turkey will not participate in an attack on Iraq. Definitely this is a cover or a maneuver. The man did not say the whole truth. Everyone knows the intense presence of American troops are intensely present in Turkey and...about Turkey's role in NATO.... He may have wanted to pressure the U.S. to obtain a larger part of the Iraqi cake.... Among the lying leaders also was Sharon, who said that Iraqi weapons were transferred to Syria and Lebanon. He knows that Iraq is under siege and everything is surveyed through satellites."

SAUDI ARABIA: "An Attempt To Damage The Position Of The Kingdom"

Riyadh's moderate, Al-Jazira editorialized (12/31): "In the midst of tense American preparations for war against Iraq, the New York Times decided to contribute, in a campaign of lies, against the Kingdom and to claim that it had informed U.S. officials of its readiness to assist in war efforts against Iraq, although the Kingdom had confirmed several times that it will not contribute to a war on Iraq... The Kingdom's commitment to a peaceful solution is a firm and solid position... therefore, the one who seriously seeks a peaceful solution cannot participate in military action. Although these are announced positions by the Kingdom in this respect-- which are well-known to the whole world-- the lies of the New York Times aim to create confusion and to show others position's as baseless."

JORDAN: "Israel's Enthusiasm For War On Iraq"

Center-left, influential Al-Dustour (1/5) editorialized: "Israel seems to be the only country in the world enthusiastic about launching the more than likely American war against Iraq. This Israeli enthusiasm stems from Israel's desire to destroy what is left of any Arab military power than could deal a blow to Israel, and to crush what potential strength and power there could be in an Arab land. Therefore, we believe that the American war against Iraq is being waged to serve Israel and Israelis, who seem to be the only beneficiaries of this war. Our conviction that this war is designed to serve Israel's long-term interests is further strengthened by viewing the U.S. double standards in dealing with the Iraqi and the Korean issues. The Bush administration is leaning towards a peaceful solution with North Korea, that has an official program for producing nuclear weapons, but show inexplicable determination to invade Iraq, destroy it and take over its oil, despite the cooperation that Iraq has shown with the U.N. inspectors."

"The New Formula: War Or Banishment"

Urayb Rintawi wrote on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Al-Dustour (1/5): "We are moving in vicious circle where the war seems to be imminent. Breaking this circle is probably impossible without a dramatic development such as the banishment of the Iraqi President."

"Where Is The Arab Position On The Plans For War On Iraq?

Former Secretary-General of the Ministry of Culture Mohammad Naji Amayreh wrote in semi-official influential Al-Rai (12/31): "We say to the Arab states that their neutrality regarding the planned aggression against Iraq is not justified, and it will not spare them the consequences of this aggression. We do not expect them to line up with Iraq, because this would be beyond their political and military capabilities, or their political will. But we expect them to use their influence with the U.S. Administration to limit the nature of the aggression."

MOROCCO: "On The Margin: America And The Crisis of Aggression Against Iraq"

An inside page column by Hassan Yassamini in government coalition Istiqlal party Al Alam (1/9): "U.N. inspectors have ended their marathonian trips in Iraq investigating for WMD which exist only in the imagination of U.S. officials and their allies.... The countdown for aggressing Iraq has now started since America has mobilized a tremendous military build up.... International public opinion is asking many questions about the real drives/intentions behind the strike against Iraq after the U.S. has created all kinds of pretexts for such an action.... The reality is that America is eager to safeguard its economic and military interests it has in the area. How can the U.S. pretend to defend legitimacy by attacking a country located thousands of miles away from it while its ally, Israel, owns sufficient weapons to destroy the entire Middle East."

"No To War Against Iraq From Arab Territories"

A front-page editorial by Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Zaki in government coalition, French language Al Bayane asserted (12/31): "The U.S. is desperately looking for pretexts to launch its war against Iraq. We all know that the U.S. aim is control over Middle East oil.... We are witnessing a true abdication of Arab regimes in the face of American pressure which on the other hand continues to support massacres perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people.... In the face of these dangers that are threatening the Arab world, it is necessary and urgent to react to thwart the U.S. administration's aggressive plans. We call on the popular forces in the Arab countries to mobilize public opinion and demand their governments to take part in this movement to reject the plans of American aggression."

SYRIA: "The Language of Interests"

Ahmad Dawa opined in government-owned Al-Thawra (1/7): "In contrast with many regional and international positions, the official Arab position rejecting a possible American war against Iraq is fragile and weak, and is not commensurate with the grave dangers such a war would pose to collective Arab national security. Some Arab governments are linking their final positions on the war (against Iraq) to deliberations at the UNSC. These governments will oppose war if it is a unilateral American decision, but these governments will act as spectators or be indirectly involved if the UNSC passes a resolution legitimizing it. Most Arab positions vis-à-vis a probable American war against Iraq are limited to appealing to the world to prevent such a war; Arabs have failed to play a principled and effective role in this regard. This is futile, since the final word will be couched in the language of interests and not reflect the value of friendships. We hope Arabs realize this fact before it is too late."

"Legitimate Rage"

Bashar Satti commented in government-owned Syria Times (1/6): "The U.S. Administration should have given aid to Arabs and not to the Israelis who want to harm the Arab region beyond repair. Iraq has already abided by UNSC resolution 1441 and shown that it has no weapons of mass destruction. Israel should be forced to do the same since it is the only country that constitutes a real threat to the whole region. The U.S. Administration is strongly urged to revise its hostile stands against Iraq as well as other Arab and Muslim countries."

"From One Day To Another"

A front-page daily column in government coalition, Arabic-language Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki asserted (12/31): "Yes, there is a big wave of criticism against U.S. foreign policy by both intellectuals and politicians, and there is anger and protest, whether inside or outside America, against what threatens world peace from this policy. However, America, which is now controlling the world alone, believes only in the logic of power and interests and does not care about world peace... President Bush (has stated) openly that 'the overthrow of Saddam is in defense of our freedom.' Of course, any reasonable person cannot understand the meaning of this American freedom or what this freedom is going to do in Iraq. There is no doubt that the American freedom does not recognize borders or the freedom of others."

TUNISIA: "Logic Of War?"

Editor Brahim Oueslati commented on the front-page of ruling party-owned French-language Le Renouveau (1/3): "January will be a crucial month for Iraq.... The Chief of the UN inspection teams and the Director General of the IAEA will be invited to present a report. This report will determine to a great extent the outcome of the conflict.... But the good will of Iraq and its spirit of collaboration do not seem to be enough for the moment. Everything is still possible, including the most apocalyptic scenario. Even if the last declaration of President Bush about Iraq can be interpreted as aimed at calming the situation, the consequences of a possible war are strongly feared by American public opinion, which is more and more reticent about any intervention against Iraq, fearing terrorist reprisals."

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "U.S. Imposes Principles On Arabs"

Algerian writer Dr. Khairul Deen Al Ayeb asserted in business-oriented Al Bayan (1/6): The truth is that the U.S. wants to isolate any countries defying its principles before the international community. Furthermore, it (the U.S.) wants to impose these principles on Arab societies, especially conservative ones like Saudi Arabia.... Any sane person comprehends the build up of armies is not to strike Iraq.... The equation is simply either countries adapt to the new world order, or they will be besieged and paralyzed until they yield by force to U.S. orders.... All Arabs must make a quick decision, as our destiny and existence become a subject to bargaining. The fear is that we end up at the margin of the arranged new world order. The real fear is that, one day, we perish in the same way as previous civilizations."

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

AUSTRALIA: "Keep Us Out Of Bush's War On Iraq"

An op-ed in the national conservative Australian from Labor party member Laurie Brereton, recently the parliamentary representative with Australia's delegation to the UN, asserted (1/7): "U.S. policy toward Iraq is less about the threat of weapons of mass destruction than it is about redrawing the strategic map of the Middle East. 'Regime change' is about installing a pro-American regime in Baghdad. It's about changing the regime that controls Iraq's oil wealth. It's about putting in place a regime supportive of the U.S. military presence in the Middle East.... Having recently returned from the United States, I must say I'm appalled by the poverty of debate on this issue.... The Howard Government will support whatever action the U.S. takes. The old phrase 'all the way with LBJ' once again has resonance.... We should be wary that Iraq does not become Australia's new Vietnam War. A substantial element of the Australian media, led by Rupert Murdoch's pro-U.S., pro-war The Australian newspaper, has failed to ensure effective scrutiny of the Government's gung-ho diplomacy.

"The Case Against War With Iraq"

An op-ed in the liberal Age by General Peter Gration, chief of the Australian Defence Force during the Gulf War stressed (1/2): "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator heading an unsavory regime that probably does possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the world would be a better place if they were removed. Nevertheless, there are insufficient grounds for war, which is unnecessary and may lead to unpredictable and potentially disastrous consequences. It is not in Australia's interests to take part in such a war. I stress that this is not a call for inaction, since better alternatives are available.... That alternative is to continue to pursue the present course of action through the UN inspectors already in Iraq, even in the face of some Iraqi intransigence. This is likely to be a prolonged, frustrating and probably messy and untidy business, but in the end should be effective in removing the WMD and preventing their further development. It will not in itself achieve regime change, nor will it deliver other possible U.S. strategic objectives in the region, such as control of Iraqi oil, but it will avoid the dire consequences of a war."

"Case Already Made Against The Iraqi Regime"

An editorial in the national, conservative Australian asserted (1/2): "[S]uggestions that President Bush is a warmonger intent on attacking innocent Iraq remain little more than an exercise in whining-whimsy.... If the United States was exclusively driven by a thirst for Iraqi oil the easiest way to slake it would be to simply renew its former friendship of convenience, however distasteful, with the Iraqi dictator and this is manifestly not on the U.S. agenda. The opponents of the Americans' desire for regime change in Baghdad appear on firmer ground when they argue that reasons for war do not exist and that the United States is seeking to coerce the world into supporting an attack. However, this is equally incorrect.... The fact that the United States continues to stay its hand and leaves room for Saddam to extricate himself from the crisis of his own making by co-operating openly and honestly with the UN demonstrates that if it does come to war it will not be one launched by the United States for any other reason than to end an outlaw regime."

CHINA: "Why Did Saddam's Attitude Suddenly Become Tough?"

Yu Dong commented in the official popular newspaper Beijing Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnianbao, 1/7): "Saddam suddenly showed a tough attitude for the following possible reasons. First, Saddam may be disappointed or desperate, because war is inevitable. Second, Saddam, by giving such a speech, may want to see whether or not the U.S. and the U.K. have determined to launch a war against Iraq. Third, as the speech was given on an occasion for celebration of the Iraqi army day, it was necessary for Saddam not to be too gentle. Otherwise, it would have been a speech encouraging the U.S. and the U.K. so that the two countries would win a psychological war against Iraq before taking any military actions. Fourth, it may be Saddam's nature to be tough if he is under pressure and desperate."

"Bush Adopts Every Possible Means To Oust Saddam"

Ren Shujun held in official Communist party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao 1/6): "According to some critics, if Bush succeeded in forcing Saddam to resign and disarming Iraq through military pressure and diplomatic persuasion, so that casualties were avoided and military expenses were saved, Bush's achievements would surpass his father. This would be very conducive to Bush winning the presidential election in 2004."

"Return Peace To The Gulf"

Huang Peizhao commented in the official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 1/3): "War is not helpful for resolving conflict. War will only destroy people's lives and property for all parties involved.. Preventing possible war in Iraq is the common will of people all over the world.. Most countries stress resolving difference through political means, especially within the framework of the United Nations, instead of settling the dispute by one country or a few countries."

HONG KONG SAR: "The U.S. Can Do What It Wants--But Not Legally"

Chun Bong-fung, a legal commentator, wrote in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (1/3): "There is no evidence that Iraq will attack the U.S. any time soon. Even assuming that Iraq has WMD, there is absolutely no evidence that Saddam Hussein intends to use them on the U.S. Iraq may intend to use them against other countries, but until those countries invite the U.S. to help, it is simply not the business of the U.S. to intervene.... Iraq may not have a pristine record, but it still deserves the protection of international law like any sovereign state. Attacking Iraq may be good domestic policy for the Bush administration, but doing so would create irreparable damage to the fabric of international law."

JAPAN: "Baghdad Increasingly Concerned About Washington's Hard-Line Stance"

The liberal Asahi's Cairo correspondent Kawakami observed (12/27): "It has been a month since UN weapons inspectors started probing suspected WMD sites in Iraq. So far, they have investigated more than 150 such places. Although Baghdad at first tried to check the movement of UN inspectors, calling them 'spies for the U.S. and Britain,' Iraqi officials have since become more accommodating to the investigators, while even 'inviting' U.S. intelligence officials to join in the ongoing investigation. Despite this, the U.S. is already showing moves to use force against Iraq irrespective of the investigation's outcome - even if Iraq is found to not be in violation of UN weapons resolutions. Baghdad's accommodating move is indicative of a rising sense of crisis in Baghdad over the hardening of the U.S. stance that could lead to the use of force."

INDONESIA: "The U.S. Tempted To Act Beyond UN Mandate On Iraq Crisis"

Leading independent Kompas held (1/3): "The Iraqi people cannot help but wait for their fate because the whole world seems to be unable to stop this U.S. ambition. Attacks by the U.S. and the U.K. would certainly bring about a painful tragedy. Disappointment would be widespread as the world has, from the outset, opposed the plan to attack Iraq.not only because there is no clear reason, but also because the world does not want to see a new human tragedy. While the reason for the Gulf War in 1990-91 was to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait, it also caused a human tragedy.... U.S. action would only sow seeds of vengeance, frustration, anger, and aggressiveness that would be released one day like a time bomb."

PHILIPPINES: "Who Is Pulling Whose Leg?"

Retired Court of Appeals Justice Jesus Elbinias noted in his column in the conservative Manila Bulletin (1/7): "President George W. Bush-- facing a triple threat, such as a defiant Iraq, a nuclear-ambitious North Korea, and a U.S. economy that refuses to spark--has delayed his war on Iraq. Bush is waiting for UN arms inspector Hans Blix's report to start the war. Bush knows that even if Blix presents his report to the UN Security Council on January 27, it can show no chemical, biological and nuclear weapons could be found. Blix can only report Saddam's denial that Iraq has such weapons, and he could not give up any of those weapons. As Bush is still temporizing, Saddam is ready to use the UN negative inspections to expose the American claims as lies. Who is pulling whose leg?"

"Bush Has Done The World A Disfavor"

Augusto R. Bundang wrote in the independent Business World (12/27): "Bush's preoccupation with bringing down Saddam Hussein's regime...is perceived as an arrogant stand by an overbearing nation that thinks its sublime duty is to police the world.... Bush's preemptive war doctrine...presumes that the U.S...is unerring and faultless in determining who are the enemies of the world that need to be crushed...before they could act.... Bush's...itch to strike hard at Iraq...and his threatening remarks against North Korea appear to bring the world into another crisis.... That is why Bush has done the world a big disfavor by sowing fear and trouble into the hearts of many instead of bringing goodwill and joy for the coming new year."

"Not A Just War"

An opinion piece bylined Renato Redentor Constantino in the independent Philippine Star (12/26) said: "The looming war in Iraq is not a just war; it is an ugly war fueled by America's imperial ambitions to control Iraqi oil,...and impress on everyone the costs of defying the world's remaining superpower.... Unless we add our voice in opposition to American aggression, it will be the Bushes and the bin Ladens who will speak for us."

THAILAND: "Chance For Peace Worth The Wait"

The lead editorial in the top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post read (1/5): "Even if Saddam is determined to stay in power, Mr. Annan is correct in saying that, based on the findings of the current weapons inspection team and the amount of cooperation from Baghdad, there is no justification for rushing to war. There is little doubt that an American-led attack would be able to topple Saddam's regime, but there are no guarantees that a war would be quick and easy. Possible ramifications are a large number of civilian and military casualties, destruction of oil fields, drawing Israel into wider, possibly nuclear, war and increased terrorism worldwide. Even if it all goes according to the best-laid plans, there is still a big moral and ethical problem with choosing war except as a last alternative. As long as there are more than 100 inspectors in the country who are allowed unfettered access to any suspected weapons site in the country, there is hope for peace.... Clearly the world will respect a decision that is just and based on the realities of the situation, but will condemn a war that is not necessary."

SOUTH ASIA

 

INDIA: "Coalition Of Interest"

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray opined in the centrist Telegraph (1/4): "Kofi Annan's gravelly voice announcing that he did not 'see an argument for military action' against Iraq was the best news that the television broke on New Year's day. It offered welcome assurance that the United Nations has not quite degenerated into a subcommittee of the U.S. Congress, and that its secretary general, who has sometimes unkindly been called the Uncle Tom of international diplomacy, does not only echo the White House Spokesman.... Annan's view that no military action should be considered until the inspectors report to the security council...drew attention to the inherent conflict between an imperial power's determination to treat the UN as the instrument of national statecraft and the UN's own respect for due process. The UN chief executive's tactfully muted tone was also a reminder that the UN is only as strong as UN members dare to be.... Some feel that only the International Criminal Court can decide whether Saddam is a serial aggressor who encourages world terrorism while stockpiling mass-murder weapons."

"War Will Break Out, Terrorists Too Will Expand Their Violent Acts"

An op-ed in pro-BJP Calcutta Bengali Bartaman by Editorial Advisor Pabitra Kumar Ghosh said (12/26): "The New Year will start with a war. But it will end with terrorist violence worldwide. America will start its war against Iraq.... However, the result of the war will not remain confined within the U.S. and Iraq.... However, not a single Muslim country has cared to stand by Iraq in need. This cowardliness and submissiveness of the rulers of Islamic countries as well as their tendency of becoming American collaborators have virtually infuriated the Muslim milieu at large. Islamic terrorists consider this situation as a golden opportunity coming their way.... There would be such a big unrest in the Islamic world that terrorist organizations would then easily get both new recruits and money at random.... They are dreaming of conquering the whole world on the behalf of Islam. The challenge that Washington, Moscow, Delhi, and others are encountering is not new.... Usama wants to represent this tradition. If Saddam lays down his life in the war he would become an icon of that legacy."

PAKISTAN: "Protest Today Against Possible American Attack On Iraq"

Taliban mouthpiece Islam asserted (1/3): "Majlis Amal warned the government that it should not cooperate with America on Iraq, otherwise the whole nation will go into the streets against the government. Clouds of war on Iraq are coming nearer day-by-day. Though President Bush has confirmed that Iraq does not have atomic weapons, he is considering that military action against Iraq necessary. This shows America's emnity against the Muslim world. The Pakistan government must clarify to America that it should not expect any help from Pakistan in case of war against Iraq."

"America Is Pushing The World Towards A World War"

Karachi based, pro-Taliban Islam declared (12/27): "Once again, apprehensions of American action in Iraq are increasing, and it is becoming quite obvious that Iraq will be a target of atrocities. The UN inspectors are religiously searching for atomic plants and other weapons, but so far nothing has been found. President Bush's statements show that he is adamant about attacking Iraq. Iraq's oil and its strategic position as a buffer to some of the rich Arab countries are reasons enough for America to get hold of Iraq. Another possibility that seems obvious is that America plans to deal with Iraq and North Korea simultaneously, which would eventually trigger a world war, and this would aggravate the hatred that has fully developed towards America throughout the Muslim, as well as non-Muslim world."

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

CANADA: "Conscripting God into battle"

Editorial writer Gordon Barthos commented in the liberal Toronto Star (1/9): "Presidents and rogues have always invoked the Deity when heading into battle, to galvanize their people, demonize the enemy and excuse violence. To be fair, Bush is a long-time Christian who prays daily, and who genuinely believes that God has blessed his nation. Saddam by contrast is a Muslim of convenience, a brutal despot and two-time warmonger who has a million deaths on his conscience. Yet both risk stoking a broader Christian/Muslim clash as they stake absolutist and mutually exclusive claims to a moral high ground that is questionable at best. This is something the rest of us should be wary of. Every religion-couched broadside from Baghdad and Washington reinforces the case for letting the UNSC make the final call on peace or war, without appealing to any Higher Authority.... If the UNcomes to the view that Saddam poses so great a threat that he must be toppled, its decision will rest on practical, not theological, grounds.... Cloaking politics in religious rhetoric is unnecessary, and unhelpful."

"War On Iraq Is Just The First Step"

Editor emeritus Peter Worthington commented in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (1/3): "Here's a theory of what's going on in the world right now, and what's likely to happen in the coming year. After the terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George Bush made it abundantly clear in every speech, interview and press conference that he was determined to lead a war against international terrorism.... Iraq's Saddam Hussein is next, which some find odd because Saddam poses little threat to the U.S., now or in the foreseeable future.... Saudi Arabia is a greater terrorist threat - not the Saudi Royal family, per se, but Wahhabi religious militants and perverted Islamic purists obsessed with a holy war mentality.... The goal of Bush's war is to curb rogue regimes; to starve terrorists of funding, deny them sanctuaries and material support - which is why Iraq is a vital first step, and why it is now surrounded by U.S. troops."

"We've Seen This Plot Before"

Riad Saloojee, executive director of the Ottawa-based Council on American-Islamic Relations offered in the conservative Montreal Gazette (1/6): "The Iraq weapons verification process headed by Hans Blix is anything except redundant immaterial, really - to whether Iraq will be in material breach of Security Council Res. 1441.... Daniel Ellsberg...lists oil as the main reason for the coming war and anticipates an 'incident' will be used as rationale for the first U.S. strike... Maggie O'Kane, European journalist of the year, reminds us that just before the Gulf War, the Pentagon insisted that Saddam was poised with 265,000 more troops on the border. Satellite photos were conveyed to the Saudis to bring them onside. The ruse worked....The images were false... Another forgotten, and gruesome, revelation included the testimony of Nayirah al-Sabah... the daughter of Kuwait's Ambassador to the U.S... Lastly, who could forget the transcripts of that fateful meeting between April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein...The CIA's former head of counterterrorism recently informed us that 'cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements' regarding Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.... As you read this, UN weapons inspectors continue their work in Iraq while U.S. troops are amassing in distant theatres of the world... We've seen this plot before."

ARGENTINA: "Two Wars At The Same Time"

Gustavo Sierra, international columnist of leading Clarin wrote (1/7): "George W. Bush is attempting not to stumble on the same stone as his father did. Two decades ago, the then president Bush won the First Persian Gulf War, but he lost the war on economic recession. After this, he lost elections. Bush Junior is launching almost at the same time a plan to occupy Iraq..., and a plan to boost economy based on tax cuts. With this simple combination he is sure of winning his reelection in 2004... While the outcome of his plan to occupy Iraq is at least uncertain, the Bush administration seems to be sure it will turn this war adventure into a conclusive success. This is why it launches its other war, the economic war, which it is less certain to win... If Bush manages to win the two wars at the same time, he will not have any rival who could grab from his hands the opportunity of a second term in office as of January 2005, but the risks he runs in this move are huge. Not only is the success of a post-war occupation of Iraq uncertain, but economists of different ideologies believe tax reduction will only bring larger deficit and recession."

BRAZIL: "Bush Approaches To Iraq And North Korea Radically Different"

Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo's correspondent Gilles Lapouge reported from Paris (12/27): "The U.S. is very worried about what it calls "the axis of evil": Iraq, Iran and North Korea. With Iraq, Washington has employed an aggressive strategy. Aggressive and slow, since every morning, for months, the U.S. has announced to the world that it will attack and exterminate Saddam Hussein.... Bush's approaches to Iraq on the one hand and North Korea on the other are radically different. For Iraq, [the approach is] is absolute intransigence. North Korea has adopted an attitude diametrically opposed to Iraq's: it practices provocation above all. North Korea not only violates disarmament agreements, but declares to the world that it violates them. One can censure North Korea [for many things], but not for hypocrisy.... The Americans have made it clear that they can conduct two wars at the same time - one against Iraq and another against North Korea. But they have said so with subtlety and nuances. If they appear offensive in relation to Iraq, they appear immobilized before North Korea."

CHILE: "Chile In International Politics"

An editorial in popular, conservative, afternoon La Segunda held (1/3): "Chile's accession to the U.N. Security Council has ignited a domestic debate on the role our country should play in light of a possible military conflict and the eventuality of becoming a target of terrorist actions.... Our history has been characterized by the strong defense...of international law.... This link to law has been our best shield, especially in regard to our neighbors, and must continue to guide our foreign policy.... It would be insane to yield...to pressure and ignore these judicial and ethical principles merely because we are now on the Security Council.... It is urgently necessary that we reach an internal consensus before consummated events take us by surprise.... Not only experts, but citizens in general must ask themselves what must be done, for example, if the U.N. yields to U.S. pressure.... Chile's message must reflect its position without ambiguity."

MEXICO: "Iraq"

An editorial in sensationalist Milenio asserted (1/8): "The United States prepared a plan for the occupation of Iraq. President Bush's National Security team is putting the final touches on a plan to administer and democratize Iraq after the anticipated overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In addition to the fact that there will be military trials for Iraqi leaders, let's not forget the icing on the cake: the immediate takeover of Iraqi's oil facilities to pay for the expenses of the reconstruction! What do you think about this and a few concentration camps? Bush is betting most of his political capital, if not all of it, regarding his chances for reelection on the outcome of this conflict."

"2003 Begins"

Leon Bendesky asserted in far-left Jornada (1/6): "The global scene is dominated by the chance of a war against Iraq, and Bush seems unstoppable in his decision. February could be the starting date, and the consequences of this war will be felt in various realms. It is noteworthy to point out the asymmetries between the war powers of each party, as well as the convergence of factors similar to what occurred in Afghanistan recently, which led to the outbreak of a conflict in areas where anti-U.S. sentiments are widespread."

"Zero Hour/The Political Agreement"

Roberto Orozco Melo states in Monterrey's conservative independent El Siglo de Torreon (1/6): "A regional war, in the Middle East, could turn into the Third World War. The wolf's motives are economic interests, specifically the control of petroleum. Currently, on this day, tens of people die in the conflict areas without knowing the cause of their sacrifice. The majority vote in the United Nations, in favor of the most powerful country in the world, wants us to believe that reason is on their side, but the inference is false. In similar historical processes, it has always been the small and weak countries that have reason and justice on their side within a moral compass. In a menacing world environment Mexico has become a pawn that moves in favor of the United States. This is due to its geographic location, its condition of weak neighbor, lately subordinated by the multiple economic and political engagements agreed upon during the presidency of Miguel de la Madrid and the presidencies following it. If during the Second World War President Avila Camacho was forced to commit himself in favor of the western allies, now Vicente Fox is compelled, by a survival instinct and national convenience, to do the same.

"Hope For Peace"

An editorial in business-oriented Financiero asserted (1/2): "U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's statements, calling for a calm resolution of the crisis between Washington and Iraq, is a hope for peace at the beginning of 2003. Annan said that it is necessary to hear by the end of the month the results of arms inspections-chemical, biological, and nuclear-being conducted by Hans Blix since November, which clearly was a sign by Annan for the White House to halt its bellicose stance. The United States should also modify the parameters of its war against terrorism, which has only provoked political and economic uncertainty in the world up until now, instead of concrete results."

PANAMA: "Comparing Possible Iraq Attack With Operation Just Cause"

Conservative El Panama America ran a piece by Washington correspondent Jilma Prada's (1/9): "The general feeling in this city [Washington D.C.] is that war against Iraq is imminent ... Several defense analysts have expressed their opinion that this plan of attack looks more like the 1989 invasion of Panama than to the Persian Gulf war in 1991.... The plan of attack tries to obtain its goal by causing the least possible harm...by quickly attacking specific areas with a relatively reduced number of troops.... It the first phase of the operation, the U.S. armed forces would move towards the desert and underpopulated part...more or less at the same time, the 101 Air Transport Division would move its unit to Northern Iraq where the kurdos are and where no opposition is expected."

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: "Dread Shadow Over This Festive Season"

The conservative Trinidad Guardian carried this article in its "Opinion" column (12/24): "As feared, the American 'war on terror' has evolved, in international understanding, into the war to achieve regime change in Iraq. And who knows what new world order, or disorder, will ensue?... Out in the Arabian Gulf, unless what is being planned is history's most elaborate war games, the U.S. and British build-up of ground troops, air power and naval forces portends a single outcome.... Death and destruction, doubtless on a large scale, will have been called into being as means justifying the ends. The clearest identifiable ends are two: First, changing how and by whom Iraq is ruled; and, second, sending to terrorists an intimidatory message of what lies in store for them."

AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA: "Bush's Axis Of Double Standards"

Pro-government, afro-centric Sowetan held (1/3): "Throughout the year, Bush has shown total disregard for diplomacy. However...a spanner was thrown in the works; North Korea, which the American government has tried to bribe into co-operating, did the unthinkable... Unlike Iraq, North Korea is much more dangerous. The North has nuclear arms. Which makes its action on Tuesday a clear provocation of an attack by Bush, the world's self-appointed sheriff. Instead of attacking North Korea, Bush is now talking diplomacy. That is stuff for the weakling! Hawks, like Bush and...Rumsfeld...do not have such words in their vocabulary. Quite clearly his dovish response makes him guilty of double standards. The key question, though, is: what will he do next? Will he attack North Korea or follow his predecessor...Clinton...in bribing North Koreans to behave well?"

"New Year, New War?"

Member of the municipal council Colin Gardner held in liberal Natal Witness (1/2): "The argument against Saddam Hussein is, of course, in many ways a strong one.... But the big question, it seems to me, is this: is the evil generated by Saddam Hussein as great as the evil that is likely to be produced by a military assault upon him? Is the cure that is being proposed by Messrs. Bush and Blair worse than the disease?.... I do not say that Saddam should be let off the hook. If the UN decides that he is guilty then appropriate ways must be devised to tie him down diplomatically and economically. But fighting a major highly publicized war against Iraq can, I believe, only be counter-productive. Indeed, a sad irony of such a war might well be that, in an attempt to counteract and 'deal with' the problem highlighted by the terrible attack on the twin towers in New York on 9/11, the United States might end up by performing precisely the kind of aggressive act that al-Qaeda always claimed that it was capable of."

CAMEROON: "The Strong Will Always Beat The Weak

The Yaounde-based opposition, French-language Mutations editorialized (1/7): "What Bush and his principal hawks are doing on the so-called Iraqi crisis is simply astounding. After a lot of jugggling, the U.S has succeeded in wrapping up the UN in a 'personal affair' while remaining insensitive to the experts' declarations who, after 40 days in the field have found nothing blameful. Nonetheless the U.S keeps sending war material and personnel to the region. This is even more incredible because on one hand Israel continues to massacre Palestinians with the support and blessing of the U.S.. And on the other hand, North Korea admits loudly that it is running nuclear programs and yet no one is paying attention.... To cut short the U.S. hypocrisy and their allies' embarrassment, it would be simpler to bomb Iraq right now."

GHANA: "A License To Kill"

Konrad K.Djaisi asserted in the features column of the state-owned, national Ghanaian Times (12/30): "Today, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, and son of George Bush (sr), who was one time head of the CIA, is calling for 'regime change' in Iraq on the grounds that his administration has the potential to manufacture nuclear weapons. To the ordinary mind, that should pass off as the biggest hypocrisy of our era considering the fact that America has the largest arsenal of nuclear and chemical weapons on the planet.... Just because a sovereign nation's political philosophy is at variance with that of a powerful nation, does not give it the moral authority to interfere with that country's internal affair."

KENYA: "U.S. Should Disarm Itself First"

Ken Ramani, wrote in the independent, pro-business Standard (12/26): "Even before the weapons experts analyze the report, the world is holding its breath not knowing when the United States and its die-hard and traditional ally, Britain, will unleash terror on Iraq.... It is evident that even the U.S. allies are reluctant to wage war on Iraq. According to a recent Daily Telegraph opinion poll, 68 per cent of Britons believe that Britain and the United States would become more isolated world-wide if they attacked Iraq. 90 per cent believed that such an attack would lead to an increase in terrorism targeting their interests the world over.... Isn't the United States the one which detonated atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 whose effects are still seen 46 years later? Isn't the United States the one that has researched, developed, stored and used more weapons of mass destruction than any other country on earth?"

NIGERIA: "Concluded War Plan"

Lagos-based independent Comet (1/7): editorialized: "In what looks like a military build-up for war, the United States last week deployed her 3rd Infantry Division to the Gulf region.... This is a war over which the United states must exercise extreme caution so that the action does not boomerang with catastrophic consequences. Certainly, a case has not been convincingly made. What the build-up and pronouncement by Mr. Bush indicate is that no matter the findings of the UN inspectors, America would go to war."

UGANDA: "Goodwill To All Mankind"

The government-owned New Vision observed (12/24): "'Peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.' The sentiments of Christmas seem tragically distant at this moment in time. Globally the United States is rushing headlong into an invasion of Iraq in case Saddam Hussein one day develops nuclear weapons. War fever has blinded the USA to its involvement in the 1980s in the Iraqi invasion of Iran and its use of chemical weapons. Saddam is indeed a tyrant but we are creating a dangerous precedent that regimes can now be removed at will. The American and British governments should look inwards this Christmas."

ZIMBABWE: "Under The Specter Of A Third World War"

The pro-government weekly Sunday Mirror commented in an editorial (1/5): "As the world waits anxiously for January 27, the date on which the UN weapons inspectors are required to report on their progress to the Security Council, the threat of war hangs ominously in the air. For, any report within the January 27 deadline that the inspectors' work is being obstructed could lead to an infliction of the 'serious consequences' on Iraq, as spelt out in resolution 1441. Complicating this already war-charged atmosphere is North Korea's New Year's Eve expulsion of U. N. inspectors and its threats to withdraw from the non-proliferation treaty, under which it promised not to acquire nuclear weapons.... America's insistence that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear program before any talks could resume may have to soften in the face of certain recalcitrance by the Koreans. Otherwise, a rigid approach to resolving this stalemate may likely lead to war."     

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias