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From the March 2003 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 50, No. 3)

Iraq

The United States Moves Closer to War

Views from Beirut, Beijing, Sydney, Bangkok, Århus, Nairobi, Mexico City, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Auckland, Paris, Singapore, Glasgow, Havana, Oslo, Johannesburg, Bridgetown, and Dublin

American tank in Kuwait
A U.S. Marine Corps M1-A1 tank conducts live-fire exercises at Camp Grizley, in the northern Kuwaiti desert near Iraq (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP).
Beirut
The Daily Star (independent, English-language), Jan. 10: Developments on the ground in Iraq do not seem to point to war....However, a contrary message is being sent with the continuing U.S. military buildup against Iraq....If Saddam Hussein does not provide a pretext for military action... [Washington and Israel] will...accuse Saddam Hussein of deception. And if necessary, they will seek to manufacture a pretext for war, a not too difficult task.
—Patrick Seale

Beijing Outlook Weekly (Communist Party), Jan. 13: I think the United States is determined to open fire. First, in order to coordinate with the implementation of its global strategy, the United States will definitely launch a war against Iraq no matter what the latter does. Second, the United States has basically completed the military buildup in the Gulf area. Third, a material breach is left open to interpretation as [grounds for] war at any time.
—Li Yousheng

Sydney Sun-Herald (centrist weekly), Jan. 19: John Howard must review his government’s unquestioning support for an American attack on Iraq....The Sun-Herald has found that a vast number of highly respected Australian organizations—from churches to unions to business groups—are deeply concerned about the prospect of Australia acting without a U.N. mandate.

Bangkok Nation Sudsapda Weekly (centrist), Jan. 19-25: The war on Iraq would turn the whole world into a natural alliance of international terrorists. In addition, since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. government has turned blind eyes to democracy and human rights violations in dictatorial countries in exchange for their support for the ongoing counterterrorist campaign. Putting all these factors together, the Muslims and non-Muslims, the so-called common folks, will turn against the United States, which is losing its moral authority really fast.
—Kavi Banthai

Århus Jyllands-Posten (independent), Jan. 11: Naturally, the Bush administration hopes that a smoking gun will appear soon....If a smoking gun is not found, then [the administration] will not receive the approval of the U.N. Security Council to decide on war. And if it does not get a mandate from the Security Council, the United States will stand alone—also in its relationship to Europe.
—Ralf Pittelkow

Nairobi Daily Nation (independent), Jan. 14: The Iraqi leader need not worry. World opinion is on his side. Should Mr. Bush order an attack, he will face massive demos right at the doors of the White House and in major world cities.
—Henry Uwuor

Mexico City El Universal (conservative), Jan. 10: As this new episode of irrational violence unfolds, we will see if the United Nations functions as a legal, political, ethical authority, or if it will be necessary for nations to organize themselves in a different way, in view of an umpteenth failure of that organization.
—Rodolfo Echeverría Ruiz

Dar es Salaam Mtanzania (privately owned, Swahili-language), Jan. 16: It is hard to rule out the fact that the chief agenda of the United States is to spread its political hegemony all over the world.
—Joshua Mkuu

Kampala The Monitor (independent), Jan. 8: With Korea, the U.S.A. is saying that the matter can be resolved peacefully through diplomatic means, but in Iraq the U.S.A. is still insisting on a military invasion....This smacks of double standards.

Auckland Sunday Star-Times (conservative weekly), Jan. 12: The suspicion remains that war with Iraq has something to do with oil and that it is personal. [North] Korea has no vital oil supplies and is not embroiled in the family feud. This does not mean war against Iraq would never be justified.

Paris Le Monde (liberal), Jan. 14: If Washington judges it possible to “contain” Pyongyang by means of diplomacy, is it not conceivable to do the same for Baghdad?...Why are they handling the even more criminal tyranny of Kim Jong ll with kid gloves? Without an answer to these questions, European opinion will be entitled to continue asking itself about the real motives for Bush’s Iraq policy.

Singapore The Straits Times (pro-government), Jan. 16: Asian governments, especially those closely allied to the United States, face the possibility of a popular Muslim backlash. This may not amount to revolutionary upsurges in Asia, but in multiethnic societies of Southeast Asia, governments could face heightened internal opposition for their silence or support for a U.S. strike on Iraq.

Glasgow Sunday Herald (independent), Jan. 12: We have said it before, and we will say it again: There can be no lasting peace in the Middle East until the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is settled. That is just as important and equally demanding as disarming Saddam.

Havana Juventud Rebelde (Communist Youth Union), Jan. 15: [By] allowing the inspections to con-tinue, the United States is only buying itself more time, because its military strategists say that more soldiers will be needed....All this belligerent madness is a detriment to justice and morality worldwide, even if Mr. Bush still cynically claims that war against Iraq will be his “last choice.”
—Juana Carrasco Martín

Oslo Dagbladet (liberal), Jan. 14: It is disquieting that the absence of proof of the link to terrorism or of a new, comprehensive program for making weapons of mass destruction seems not to be influencing the Iraq policy that President Bush has been persuaded to follow by Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. This is hardly reassuring.

Johannesburg The Star (liberal), Jan. 16: If weapons of mass destruction are really the issue (and not image and oil), then why isn’t Mr. Bush attacking Israel, India, the Ukraine, and/or the People’s Republic of China? The real threat to the U.S. homeland could, for various reasons, come from one of those countries....But politics and power corrupt—so why shouldn’t a superpower be super-corrupted in its morality?

The Oil Connection

Bridgetown Barbados Daily Nation (independent), Jan. 16: Two events in the world are coalescing to bring about a profound change in the world economy: the escalating strike in Venezuela and the military buildup in the Middle East for the very likely war against Iraq....Although the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries voted last week to increase oil production to offset the shortfall from Venezuela, there is no doubt a war with Iraq would affect the flow of oil from the Middle East, with severe consequences for the world economy, particularly that of the United States.

Dublin The Irish Times (centrist), Jan. 13: The threat to oil supplies also highlights the need for the industrialized countries to be much more active in energy conservation and in developing alternative—and more environmentally friendly—energy sources. It is surely ironic that the fallout from war in Iraq is more likely to focus policy attention on this than is the compelling evidence of environmental damage through global warming.

Mexico City La Jornada (left-wing), Jan. 12: At first glance, it may seem absurd that the oil-producing countries don’t want the oil price to go too high, since higher prices bring more income for those countries. But oil prices tend to behave in cycles, and if today’s high prices are not controlled, they will translate into low prices tomorrow....Precisely, what we’re seeing today is, to a large degree, the result of what has been learned from past experiences.
—Antonio Gershenson

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