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From the February 2003 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 50, No. 2)

Got Weapons?

Viewpoints: Baghdad's Dossier

Views from Sydney, Edinburgh, Singapore, Stockholm, Paris, Kampala, Berlin, Dublin, Moscow, New Delhi, Bangkok, Taipei, Colombo, Tokyo, and Havana

A Baghdad mural depicts Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
U.N. experts stand under a portrait of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Ibn al-Haytham missile factory after conducting a search on Dec. 25, 2002 (Photo: AFP).
Sydney
The Australian (centrist), Dec. 14: Well-informed sources suggest that the voluminous Iraqi weapons declaration...seemed heavy in kilograms but somewhat light in substance....With the presentation of the dossier we have certainly reached a new and critical stage in the Iraq drama.
—Greg Sheridan

Edinburgh Scotland on Sunday (independent), Dec. 8: [If] the United States concludes that Iraq’s declaration is...false, it may hand its counterevidence to the weapons inspectors to verify discreetly and then announce that Saddam has been caught red-handed. Or it may go straight to the Security Council to present it as proof of a material breach of Resolution 1441.
—Ian Mather

Singapore The Straits Times (pro-government), Dec. 10: If Mr. Saddam continues to deny, in the teeth of all the evidence, that he has weapons of mass destruction, then the United States must prove he is lying....It is no use arguing, as some U.S. officials do, that the burden of proof is on Mr. Saddam....[Washington] says it has a case. It must make it.

Stockholm Aftonbladet (left-wing), Dec. 11:The U.S. administration had its reply ready well before the dossier was presented....The United States will as quickly as possible subvert the credibility of Hans Blix and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission.

Paris Le Figaro (conservative), Dec. 7: Are U.N. resolutions meant to apply to weak nations and be ignored at will by the powerful?...To date the Iraqis have complied with the U.N. resolution to the letter....One might have expected that such cooperation from Iraq would have lessened the tension in the region. Strangely, this is not the case.
—Renaud Girard

Kampala The Monitor (independent), Dec. 9: If [Iraq] is to be believed, the Bush administration demanded the declaration in the vain hope that Iraq would not be able to comply in time, giving the Americans a pretext to attack. But the Iraqis delivered a day early!

Berlin Die Tageszeitung (left-wing), Dec. 11: Bush can wage war on his own; he doesn’t need yes men for that. But Bush is a peculiar sort of character: He actually wants to be urged to war by all the nay men of the world....The Security Council has now understood how to delay a war by putting all possible obstacles in the way, only to let one happen...when Bush wants it.

Dublin The Irish Times (centrist), Dec. 9: The U.S. government insists Saddam Hussein possesses such weapons [of mass destruction] and in support is likely to offer evidence from its intelligence services. But that must be verified through the U.N. arms inspectors, not by...belligerent assertions from those who are intent on forcing a regime change to replace the Iraqi ruler.

Moscow Izvestiya (centrist), Dec. 10: It looks like Washington does not have any incriminating evidence against [Saddam Hussein]. If the inspectors report that they did not find any trail of weapons of mass destruction, it is possible that Russia will demand to extract the inspectors—for six months or more. That, in turn, will cause disunity in the Security Council.
—Vladimir Dunaev

New Delhi Hindustan Times (centrist), Dec. 10: Since Washington is doing its best to be both player and umpire, expectation lingers that it will find a reason to strike. But the going might no longer be easy because Iraq has abided by the rules of the game.

Bangkok Krungtep Turakij (center-left, business), Dec. 7: Iraq has followed a well-calculated strategy to prove that it does not have weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein does not want to give any excuse for George W. Bush to start a war....Conversely, Bush will continue to express doubt over Saddam’s motives. Like it or not, war against Iraq is inevitable.

Taipei New Taiwan Weekly (liberal newsmagazine), Nov. 21: The five standing members of the Security Council, especially the United States, are the biggest manufacturers of nuclear and biological weapons. What right do they have to criticize others?
—Luyao

Colombo Daily Mirror (independent), Nov. 29: Mr. Blix at the end of his first day’s work in Iraq said the operation went smoothly but warned Iraq of terrible consequences if it tried to obstruct his mission. “There is a strong power behind us,” he said. The reference was obvious....Is the present weapons inspection an attempt to gather a bit more vital intelligence before the real war begins?

Tokyo Mainichi Shimbun (liberal), Dec. 10: [G]iven that Iraqi officials have...attempted to thwart inspections in the past, the international community clearly does not trust them. And that is why the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1441.

Havana Granma International (Communist Party weekly), Dec. 12: At this point it seems nothing can prevent a war whose only justification will be the arrogant expansion of imperial domination and the domestic agenda of the Bush administration...in its effort to maintain a climate of fear at home.

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