March 11, 1998
U.S. AND POST-IRAQ POLICY: TIME FOR DIALOGUE?
With the Iraqi crisis no longer in a mode of escalation, the foreign press offered suggestions regarding U.S. policy in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf and detected trends that Washington should note:
NEW, COMPREHENSIVE POLICY FOR MIDEAST -- Commentators stressed the need for a new, comprehensive U.S. policy in the Middle East and Gulf region. Some said the U.S. should abandon "dual containment" and try to begin a dialogue, not just with Iran, but also with Iraq. On Iraq, most Arab journalists determined that international sentiment had swung in Iraq's favor to the degree that sanctions against it may be lifted in the not too distant future. While pundits saw Iran's re-emergence as a major player as inevitable, given its stated desire for more contact with the West and "the thick network of oil and gas pipelines underway in Central Asia," some nevertheless advised caution. Turin's centrist, influential La Stampa took issue with part of Foreign Minister Dini's remarks in the Herald Tribune and warned that "legitimizing the scholarly clout of Khatami while his country is signing deadly contracts with Russia sends dangerous signals to the rest of the world." Editorials on the Middle East peace process linked its success with U.S. pressure on Israel and a successful resolution to the Iraqi crisis. Both Israeli and Palestinian papers noted Washington's current "silence" in bringing forth its own proposals for peace. A Saudi editorialist made the point that the lack of a "balanced foreign policy" toward the region motivates the U.S. toward the use of force, while a Jordanian analyst stressed that allowing Israel "to do what it wants" only serves to intensify tensions in the region.
IRAQ MUST BE HELD TO ITS WORD--Observers worldwide, including those in the Arab world, insisted that it was up to Iraq to live up to its promises to allow access to suspected weapons sites. Lisbon's moderate financial Diário Económico warned that "nothing is more unreliable and dangerous in these situations than optimism and confidence. Madeleine Albright is correct when she warns that 'a paper signed by Hussein' is not a guarantee."
UNIPOLAR OR MULTIPOLAR WORLD?-- Most Arab writers continued to levy charges of U.S. "hegemonism" in the Middle East and urged that UN members formulate a "new order" stipulating that big powers must respect the sovereignty and self-determination of smaller states. This theme resonated in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where some observers argued that a U.S. military strike against a still-recalcitrant Iraq could possibly "shatter" the "fragile accord remaining in the Security Council" and thus reduce the possibility of effective world action on a range of important issues such as the environment, economic mismanagement and peacekeeping. Others judged, as did Cairo's pro-government Al-Ahram, that with Russia, France and China opposing the U.S. approach to Iraq, the crisis has demonstrated that the world has become "multipolar" and that "the theory of a unipolar world is a myth."
This survey is based on 60 reports from 29 countries, March 1-11.
EDITORS: Gail Hamer Burke and Kathleen J. Brahney
Middle East Europe East Asia and the Pacific South Asia Africa Latin America and the Caribbean
ISRAEL: "Who's Afraid Of A U.S. Plan?"
Senior analyst Zeev Schiff wrote in independent Haaretz (3/11): "Jerusalem is asking Washington to let the sides to the conflict manage on their own. Israel is positive it can discourage the Arabs from using force. Israel has been indicating to the Palestinians that violence will turn the clock back to the pre-Oslo era. However, there is no way Washington will agree to let the parties play games when American interests are at stake. To ask the United States not to play an active role in the negotiations is tantamount to asking it...to relinquish its superpower status and kiss the Middle East goodbye."
"The European Game"
Ben-Gurion University Professor David Newman wrote in the independent Jerusalem Post (3/11): "Netanyahu's visit to Europe was designed to play a form of one-up manship with the Americans. The message to the Americans was very clear: 'If you do not want to be part of the peace process, then perhaps we can find an alternative partner in Europe.'... But in the long run, Netanyahu is interested in the Americans. The Europeans are no more than a bargaining card in this tricky game of maintaining American support and interest while at the same time not allowing them to intervene over and beyond what is considered acceptable by the government."
"A Tour That Did Not Take Peace Process Anywhere"
Israel TV (3/8) described London as "the most difficult leg in the premier's (Netanyahu) European tour," and added that the Israeli and British prime ministers "rejected each other's proposals." Anti-Netanyahu Haaretz stated in its lead editorial (3/9): "The prime minister's lightening tour of Europe took him to four capitals, but did not take the peace process anywhere.... It is becoming increasingly evident that Netanyahu's strategy is to create an impression of diplomatic activity without any real results. With remarkable success, Netanyahu has weakened the public's awareness of the importance of a peace agreement. Demonstrations against the government's policy...have disappeared from the Israeli scene.... To make things worse, Israel is lacking a fighting opposition. The Labor Party and Ehud Barak bear some of the responsibility for the apathy which afflicts the Israeli street."
"Nothing Is Moving"
Anti-Netanyahu analyst Uzi Benziman opined in independent Haaretz (3/6): "It turned out this week that there was very little meat in the much publicized stories about overt and covert contacts with the Palestinians.... This also applies to the Syrian track.... In short, nothing is moving.... Netanyahu should be able to keep this kind of game going up to the end of his term. The events of the last few weeks even encourage him to do so. The United States has recoiled from coming forward with its own bridging proposals, proving that Netanyahu does indeed know a thing or two about Washington's soft points.... The Israeli premier may very well conclude that time is on his side and that just as he got away with doing precious little in his first two years in office, he would get away with doing much of the same in his last two years."
"Blair As Clinton's Proxy?"
Columnist Avinoam Bar-Yosef wrote in mass-appeal, pluralist Maariv (3/5): "Prime Minister Netanyahu would like to credit himself with having succeeded in making the White House think twice before issuing an ultimatum-like American program. Netanyahu mobilized American Jews and the Congress, making Clinton, who is rightly concerned about the political future of his loyal lieutenant, reconsider the political ramifications of a unilateral U.S. program.... Oddly, and entirely not accidentally, Europe has of late begun leading a pressure campaign against Jerusalem.... Is it possible that the United States has resorted to an old technique, i.e. using a
proxy, this time the UK, to lean on Israel?"
"Labor Lobbying U.S. Congress To Intensify U.S. Involvement In Peace Process"
Washington correspondent Yerah Tal noted in Netanyahu-critic Haaretz (3/5): "The Labor Party has launched a drive in the U.S. Congress aimed at encouraging the U.S. administration to intensify its involvement in the peace process and, if necessary, present it own 'peace saving' plan. These efforts are taken as a reaction to the prime minister's attempt to stop the Clinton administration from imposing its plan on Israel. Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak began the lobbying campaign during his visit to Washington last month. He met briefly with President Clinton and encouraged him to present a political blueprint that would break the deadlock in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. A while later, two Labor Party officials--Allon Pincus, Barak's political adviser, and Stanley Ringler, the head of the party's North American desk--paid a visit to Washington and met with a members of Congress and their aides. The Israelis emphasized that American involvement and initiative was necessary to salvage the peace process. They told the congressmen that the Israeli public wants peace and is prepared to pay a price for it. They added that the Israelis are also open to an American proposal, which is perhaps the only hope to save the process."
WEST BANK: "The People's Will Mightier Than All Military Machines"
Moderate, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Quds' Issa Salti asserted (3/11): "The United States has concluded that protecting its interests and imposing its domination over the Arab world and protecting Israel requires doing everything [to remove] threats to these goals, including the removal of the Iraqi government. The United States is adopting a stance that truly makes it look like the 'ugly American' because it considers that policing the world is its right. However, this arrogance means that the lessons of history have not been learned. How many big empires have made concessions to the will of the repressed? The greatness of a country is not measured by its military might or its technological and economic superiority but by its moral and ethical standards. The experts on whom America relies cannot predict the will of people, a will which is mightier than all military machines."
"What Is Behind U.S. Silence?"
Moderate, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Quds maintained (3/6): "Palestinian officials are saying that they are awaiting an American initiative.... Amid all these speculations, the official U.S. position remained silent, thereby encouraging extremist and right wing elements inside Israel to proceed in their actions. Israel is also trying to reinforce the current U.S. position of silence while it resumes its land confiscation and house demolition measures against Palestinians. Regardless of the current pressures on the U.S. administration by the American Jewish lobby, Palestinians, Arabs and the international community want Washington to make serious efforts to put an end to Israeli provocation."
BAHRAIN: "America Is Both Adversary And Mediator"
Al-Shura member Fouad Shehab commented in leading, semi official Akhbar Al-Khalij(3/11) that "the American peace sponsor...is simultaneously the adversary and the mediator, yet never ceases to remind us that its interests in the region tops its list of priorities. These interests...are continuing the flow of oil to itself and its allies at the lowest prices possible, and securing Israeli military superiority over the Arabs.... It is useless, I think, to ask the American judge, who does not really consider us true friends, to be fair with us.... The call for solidarity among Arab states...is now a matter of our continued existence."
"U.S. Protection Is Paid From Arabs' Dignity As Well As Our Pockets"
Leading, semi-independent Al-Ayam carried (3/1) the opinion of by Sawsan Al-Shaer that "the burning of the U.S. flag, seen every day in the newscasts...shows that the new world order has begun to revolt against its leadership...discussion of alternatives to U.S. leadership is the talk of the world.... Therefore, it is necessary that we too begin thinking of alternatives. The bill we pay to the United States for protecting us is very costly, and is exacted from our dignity as well as our pockets."
"Americans And British Compelled To Take Arab Public Opinion Seriously"
Omran Salman declared in semi-independent Al-Ayam (3/5) that "If there are any among the Arabs who will contribute towards lifting of the unjust blockade which has been imposed on Iraq, it will the Arab people.... There is no hope at all in (Arab) regimes. The Arab peoples emerged in the recent crisis as a force which should be taken into consideration. Even the Americans and the British, who saw their flags burnt and their envoys ridiculed and embarrassed in some Arab capitals, were compelled to deal with Arab public opinion seriously. As a result, we heard the American president addressing the people of the region and endured tiresome efforts by the State Department to explain its views on Iraq."
EGYPT: "Other Powers Should Play A Role In Peace Process"
Mohamed El Saadani, columnist for pro-government Al Ahram, said (3/11): "The recent Iraqi crisis has shown that the theory of a unipolar world is a myth. This is a multipolar world, which Russia, France and China have started to implement. The cards should be rearranged, and more opportunity should be given to other superpowers to play a role in the peace process, because peace is in the interest of all powers, not the American 'pole' only."
"Peace Process Must Proceed But Without U.S. Bias Toward Israel"
Mohamed Basha, contributor to pro-government Al Ahram, held (3/9): "Now the Iraqi crisis has been settled diplomatically, the peace process should return to the U.S. agenda. As the White House spokesman admitted that the peace process has not progressed recently and that President Clinton is 'very willing' to push the two sides toward implementing the resolutions, we can only hope that Clinton will remain 'very willing' to achieve this step and very willing to relinquish his double standard policy which is always in favor of Israel."
"U.S. Containment Policy Will Fail"
Mohamed Abdellah, columnist for pro-government daily Al-Ahram, insisted (3/5): "The United States, Britain and Israel exaggerated the spread of panic in order to prepare public opinion for the strike. But the spread of panic has not stopped, even after the agreement, which means that more rounds of crises are coming. The ball is now in the Iraqi court, and Saddam can make a score, especially when there is a positive international climate. Iraq is committed to proving to the world that it does not have weapons of mass destruction. If it does that, the sanctions will be lifted and the U.S. containment policy will fail."
JORDAN: "Netanyahu's Dangerous Statements"
In his daily column on the op-ed page of independent, mass-appeal, Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (3/8), senior editor Marwan Huzayyen had this assessment of Netanyahu's remarks in Europe rejecting the international community's contribution to the peace process: "Netanyahu's remarks express the true position of the Likud Party vis-a-vis the peace process and, therefore, should be dealt with seriously and firmly. These are dangerous statements that can only be interpreted as a rebellion against international resolutions, U.S. policies, European
efforts and Arab commitment to the peace process. Judging from the American silence, the U.S. administration does not intend to say anything about Netanyahu's outrageous remarks.... The way matters are, the Arabs should do all they can to diminish the U.S. bias in favor of Israel, so that Israel's arrogant and impulsive policies can be stopped."
"What U.S. Should Do"
In the view of daily columnist Marwan Huzayyen in independent, mass-appeal, Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (3/5): "The U.S. administration's mistake is that it believes that the Gulf region should fall under its power. By assuming that, it makes this region a center for tensions, making Gulf security difficult to guarantee. By ignoring the process of achieving comprehensive, just and lasting peace and allowing Israel to do what it wants, the United States also intensifies the tension in the region.... The U.S. administration must be more objective and more seriously committed to the establishment of a fair settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict."
"To Those Who Don't Want Iraqi-U.S. Understanding"
Senior editor Saleh Qallab wrote on the back page of independent, mass-appeal, Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (3/5): "In order for efforts to start a dialogue between Iraq and the United States that would spare this region the constant tension and conflict, Arab support and solidarity is needed.... Experience has taught us that some Arab countries do not want other Arab countries to have relations with a superpower like the United States, because they think that this will be done at the expense of their regional influence and international role.... Israel also cannot accept attempts to reconcile the United States and Iraq. The Israelis believe that restoring good relations between Saddam Hussein and Washington will be at its own expense."
Daily columnist Ahmad Al-Mislih, on the editorial page of pro-government, influential, Arabic-language Al Ray (3/9) contrasted the initiatives of Israel, Britain, and the U.S. on the peace process: "On the face of it, the Israeli prime minister carries a four-point plan that blows up the Oslo accords. On the European level, there is a British plan that bears in mind the European Union's position on the peace process, and which is based on the need for Israel to fulfill its obligations in the Oslo accords and to start the final-status negotiations as soon as possible. As for the United States, it appears busy trying to reconcile Netanyahu's initiative with that of Britain, in an American attempt to pull Europe closer to the American point of view, far removed from any pressure that Europe may apply on Israel to force it into serious negotiations with the Palestinians which, in turn, may lead to tangible and positive results."
"America's Foreign Policy"
Columnist Abou Yazan (pen name) expressed this view on King Hussein's initiative for direct U.S.-Iraqi dialogue in center-left, influential, Arabic-language Al-Dustour (3/9): "If the Jordanian initiative/ideas are the result of consultations with Baghdad and Washington, then it (the Jordanian position) is understandable and we should pursue it to the end. If, on the other hand, we are merely expressing our own point of view and our personal outlook on what ought to be, then we should not make it the axis of our action, as if we were an involved party. Moreover, if we had misread the American position, or if Washington has backtracked on some previous signals that it had given us, then we should hasten to close that file."
QATAR: "Israel Has Not Complied With International Resolutions"
Semi-independent, Arabic Al-Sharq opined (3/9): "With continued confirmation regarding Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions and the agreement with the UN on inspection teams, the (GCC)
foreign ministers...highlighted the imminent Israeli danger. Israel has not complied with international resolutions and has not implemented agreements concluded with Palestinians. Israel has also refused to sign international agreements, especially the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The international community should...force Israel to implement agreements it has signed...to pave the way for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital. Israel should also be forced to return to the negotiating table with Syria and should comply with UN Resolution 425 regarding unconditional withdrawal from southern Lebanon."
"U.S. Should Abandon 'Dual Containment'"
Semi-independent, English-langauage Peninsula (3/8) held, "'Dual containment' as a policy objective of the U.S. government in the Gulf region is undoubtedly in recession.... One of the more obvious shortcomings of this policy has been the equation that it seeks to establish between Iran and Iraq. The containment of Iraq has for many years now ceased being a solely U.S. or Western goal, because President Saddam Hussein defied international law by overrunning a neighboring nation in 1990.
"Iran, though, has committed no such crime.... Qatar's emir...has been among the Gulf leaders who have publicly called on the U.S. to abandon its 'dual-containment' policy. There is little to indicate that recent political shifts in Iran have been the result of the sanctions or that punitive measures will eventually force Tehran to see reason. The U.S.'s Western allies have shown much more pragmatism than Washington, which, like Khatami, has endorsed greater people-to-people contacts. In the current context, the containment policy as it applies to Iran is self-defeating and fails to recognize the new message that is coming out of Tehran."
KUWAIT: "Time For Kuwait-Iran Dialogue"
Shafeeq Al-Ghabra expressed this view in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (3/11): "Now is the time for upgrading Kuwait-Iran relations and initiating a policy that would examine the basis of this relationship. Iran is Kuwait's neighbor and both countries have trade relations that date back to the pre-oil era. Also, Iran and Kuwait have Iraq in common. Recent Iranian developments reaffirm that it is time to open a dialogue with Iran on all levels."
LEBANON: "Implementation Of 425 And American Troops In The Gulf"
Several commentaries in the Lebanese press have been written trying to anticipate what may happen if Israel decides to implement a unilateral withdrawal from the south. George Saliba commented in conservative Christian Al-Anwar (3/3): "What is not known in Beirut until now is whether the American administration supports implementation of UNSCR 425 or prefers resumption of negotiations between Israel and Lebanon within the peace process framework. Whatever the American position may be, it is believed that there is a link between the current focus on implementation of UNSCR and the increase in the size of American troops in the Gulf."
"Assad May Surprise Everybody"
Sarkis Na'um asked in in mainstream An-Nahar (3/3): "what happens if Netanyahu decides to implement a unilateral withdrawal?... President Assad may surprise everybody by taking a stance that accepts and understands a complete Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon if he feels that consequences of refusal will be bad. Obviously, such a stance will affect the issue of the Syrian presence in Lebanon."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Mideast Reality U.S. Should Understand"
Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina said (3/9): "A reality Washington should address and understand very clearly is that its occasionally dealing with the Middle East peace portfolio, in order to cushion Arab frustration due to delays in the process, will not bring about the changes the United States wants to see in Arab streets towards the American method of dealing with the Iraqi-UN crisis.... The real purpose of Netanyahu's European tour is not to market a new Israeli peace project, but rather to thwart any European peace project.... The purpose of the current American effort to push the so-called peace process is to block any possible European role to reactivate the process.... If Washington wants to achieve a real peace, it should give up its method of crisis management in its dealings with the Middle East peace portfolio."
"Summit Needed To Work Out A New Order"
Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh said in an editorial (3/5): "The tough debate among the members of the UNSC (over Iraq) demonstrates the need for an international summit for UN member states to work out a new order that stipulates that big powers must respect the sovereignty and self-determination of nations--and that no single world authority can unilaterally pass a decision or impose it, even in cases where the other party must be punished by the use of force. No decisions (should be adopted) unless unanimously approved by members of the UNSC, (a body) which needs to be expanded by inclusion of new members."
"Iraq, Middle East Peace Are Linked"
An editorial in London-based, pan-Arab Al-Hayat held (3/5): "It is neither correct nor accurate nor honest for Washington to assert that it does not link the question of Middle East peace and Iraq.... Furthermore, the crisis has revealed two facts: Firstly, the need to review UNSC resolutions to make them more relevant for implementation, without going easy on or pardoning the Iraqi regime. Secondly, the lack of a balanced U.S. policy toward the region might always motivate Washington to brandish the use of force."
SYRIA: "Failure Of Netanyahu's Tour"
An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen commented (3/9): "Throughout his European tour, Netanyahu was exposed to heavy criticism.... In the face of this criticism, Netanyahu proposed an offhand initiative that did not contain anything new but (was) a manipulation of words and claims on peace so as to raise optimism. What increased Netanyahu's frustration was a message that was signed by 1,500 senior Israeli military leaders and officers who called on him to choose the course of peace and to relinquish settlements and occupation.... The European peace efforts will not get credibility unless the European capitals strongly pressure the U.S. administration to halt its support of Israel and to make her abide by the Security Council resolutions and the 'land for peace' formula."
TUNISIA: "Innocent...But Accused!!"
Co-editor in Chief Fatma Karray maintained (3/8) in independent Arabic-language daily Ash-Shourouq, "The UN decision to continue the embargo on Libya even after the International Court of Justice announcement...pushed Libya--supported by the Arab League, the OAU and China--to call for lifting the sanctions or even holding them till the final decision of the International Court.... (But) American supremacy shows how international legal decisions can scorch Arabs, Iraq and Libya...while having the opposite effect on Israel. The policy of double standards caused an inequality in international relations...which in turn leads to an inequality interests.... In the United Nations, dealing with both Iraqi and Libyan files... (this inequality) made powerful countries like France, Russia and China look for ways to decrease American supremacy and to reestablish the missing balance in international relations.... (But) America is not ready to see its 'new world order' collapse."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Encourging Signs"
Dubai-based Al-Bayan said in an editorial (3/11): "Washington's retreat from resorting to a military strike against Iraq in case Baghdad's violates the agreement with the UN is very encouraging and would relax the Iraqi crisis, which continues to pose grave consequences. The American statement, which implied Washington's approval to consult with other Security Council members before any military options, should urge the Iraqi leadership to understand the sensitivity of the situation. Iraq's full compliance with the accord denies America any justification for continuing to mobilize its troops in the region and, more importantly, will speed up the steps towards the lifting of UN sanctions on the Iraqi people. The Iraqi leadership must understand that the time of illusionary heroism has gone forever. This has become an unacceptable product in the markets of our time."
BRITAIN: "Don't Link Israel With Iraq"
An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph remarked (3/9): "There is much to be said for attempting to revive the moribund relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. But the motive should not be appeasement of Arab opinion after the latest confrontation with Saddam Hussein.... The timing of this (British-U.S.) activity leaves the impression that the United States and Britain, shaken by Arab criticism that they are too hard on Iraq and too soft on Israel, are seeking to enhance their reputation in the Middle East by linking the two problems.... Any attempt to link the two would be a diplomatic gain for Saddam. Each issue should be handled strictly on its own merits."
"Cook Initiative To Push Europe Into Middle East Process"
In the view of the centrist Independent (3/6): "Britain is launching what looks an uphill attempt to propel Europe to center stage in the Middle East, with initiatives to revive the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and to speed up the expanded UN oil-for-food program for Iraq.... Foreign Secretary Robin Cook pays his first visit to the region later this month.... Although the Foreign Office denies it, the onus is placed clearly on the Israeli side."
"Cook Promotes Dual Policy For Middle East"
The liberal Guardian's diplomatic editor Ian Black pointed out regarding the EU plan unveiled by Britain (3/6): "Arab governments, angry at what they see as the application of double standards to Iraq and Israel, are unlikely to be convinced that Britain is doing more than blindly supporting American policy."
"Israel Under New Pressure To Compromise For Peace"
The independent Financial Times had this commentary by David Gardner (3/5): "Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been pushed onto the diplomatic defensive by Syria's shrewd maneuvering.... In negotiations with the previous Israeli government, Syria came close to getting back its land in exchange for peace.... About 18 months ago, President Hafez al-Assad of Syria was a lone voice calling for a united Arab front against further concessions to Israel. But the virtual collapse of the Middle East peace process, Arab perceptions that the United States is unwilling to push Israel to honor existing agreements, and hostility throughout the Arab world to American threats to bombard Iraq, have all led to a regional regrouping around Syria's position.... By contrast, it is now Israel which appears intransigent and the obstacle to a comprehensive peace settlement in the region. And the United States stands widely accused--even by its Arab allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia--of double standards in insisting
on absolute compliance by Iraq with the UN, while tolerating Israel's serial flouting of Security Council resolutions over 30 years."
RUSSIA: "Washington Desperate For Success"
Aleksandr Reutov commented on page one of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (3/5): "Swamped in failures abroad, Washington is desperate for success. So it may focus on the Arab-Israeli affairs which are more predictable than the wayward Baghdad."
GERMANY: "U.S. Needs Convincing Answer On 'Double Standard'"
Cairo correspondent Heiko Flottau concluded in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/6), "The American loss of authority in the Arab world developed a long time ago. So far, the United States has not given a convincing answer to the argument we can hear from Baghdad to Algiers as to why only 'Arab' Iraq, but not 'Western' Israel, has to comply with UN resolutions."
"Speaking Frankly To Netanyahu"
Hubert Kleine Stegemann remarked in an editorial in centrist General-Anzeiger of Bonn (3/6): "The Israeli government does not show any consideration for the fact that it was its policy of a strong hand, the blockade of the industrial projects or the continuation of the Jewish settlement policy on occupied territory that created the dangerous disappointment which prompts the Palestinians to take to the streets and protest in favor of Saddam....
"This subject, including Israel's policy towards Syria and Lebanon...should be the main items of discussion during Premier Netanyahu's meeting with Chancellor Kohl in Bonn today.... In Bonn, too, Israel's premier cannot expect an uncritical approval of Israel's policy, which the Bonn government also considers to be dangerous."
"France Against The Rest"
Kurt Kister had this to say in an editorial in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/5): "The Iraq crisis is still causing political distortions. One of its consequences is a new deterioration of the tense relations between France and the United States and Britain. In Brussels, this controversy has now come to the fore...where France prevented a resolution on Iraq.... It is true that NATO's Secretary General Solana afterwards said that NATO supports the UN resolution, but this is no more than the attempt by the supreme Alliance official to gloss over the rift among the most important NATO members.
"In foreign policy, the Paris government considers NATO, but increasingly the EU, too, as a background against which it can play an independent and selfish role. There are enough examples of this attitude: They reach from the controversy about AFSOUTH to the torpedoing of the EU candidate for the European Central Bank and to rows in connection with the Iraq crisis. The French wantonly accept the fact that they are turning to outsiders. As long as a common foreign and security policy does not comply with French wishes, the Paris government does not really want it."
"What Should Be Done If...?"
Washington correspondent Uwe Knuepfer noted in centrist General-Anzeiger of Bonn (3/5): "The next Iraq crisis is preprogrammed.... Economic sanctions have failed. They hurt the people but not the Iraqi government. If Saddam breaks his word, Saddam and his vassals should be ostracized. An accusation against Saddam as war criminal is overdue. It should be easier to win Iraq's Arab neighbors for a policy of a consistent ostracism than for bombings."
FRANCE: "Israel Looks For A Way Out Of Lebanon"
In the editorial view of right-of-center Les Echos (3/6): "The way Netanyahu is treating the Palestinian side of the peace process is not about to lead Beirut, and Damascus even less, to an agreement with Jerusalem.... Israel considers, with reason, that France can be heard by the Lebanese, and that with its European allies France could serve as a mediator in this delicate phase of the peace process. But Hubert Vedrine was very clear: It is not possible to convince France's Lebanese friends to accept an arrangement they do not want. Paris has always pleaded in favor of a 'global' peace, and therefore refuses to accept to deal with Lebanon's occupation, while forgetting the occupation of the West Bank."
"Chirac's Message To Saddam"
Mouna Naim opined in left-of-center Le Monde (3/5): "President Chirac's need to clarify his position publicly and in his message to Saddam has a double goal. He wants to make clear to Saddam Hussein France's unshakable position regarding full compliance with the legitimate demands of the international community. He also wants to dissipate any doubts that might exist about France's commercial interests or its alleged pro-Arab or even pro-Iraqi position; doubts which are expressed especially by the United States whenever France does not systematically align with the U.S. position."
"Prince Tatal Of Saudi Arabia On U.S. Policy In The Middle East"
Philippe Gelie interviewed Prince Tatal in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/5): "Until today, there has been no solution to the different crises in the Middle East. The problems are merely postponed.... The reason for this is the lack of a global agreement on a joint policy for the region.... I believe that Washington's policy for the region is the wrong policy.... The only thing to do is to get rid of Saddam Hussein's regime. Make it disappear from the face of the earth. But I don't think this is what the Americans want.... The West's position in this region is linked to oil and Israel's interests."
ITALY: "Dini Blazed On His Way To Tehran"
A commentary by Fiamma Nirenstein in centrist, influential La Stampa made this point (3/11): "Last weekend, the world saw Italian foreign minister Dini's interview in the Herald Tribune.... There is nothing wrong if Italy believes...in the good will and the power of Khatami to change the course of things (in Iran). It would indeed be a good idea....if Iran were ready to become a less ideological power and prepared to use its force to settle the differences between the West and Islamic world. We do not know whether this can really happen.... Dini has produced typically Italian justifications for his confidence: Khatami is a scholar, a cultured man...and his interview with CNN was interestingly promising.... Dini's ambitions are much bigger than it appears. If Italy succeeded in making the United States and Iran talk with each other...this would be a strong message from Italy and Europe to Russia which, because it just sold two nuclear reactors to Iran, is risking the sanctions of the U.S. Congress.... Legitimizing the scholarly clout of Khatami while his country is signing deadly contracts with Russia sends dangerous signals to the rest of the world.... Dini also accepted the distinction that Iran makes between terrorism and the Hezbollah liberation movement. Actually, Hezbollah has no right whatsoever to be identified as a liberation movement. They are funded by Iran through Damascus. They de facto protect the Syrian presence in Lebanon and have not moved a finger to free their own country.... Italy should at least have a better informed and more doubtful attitude toward history."
"Albright Is Coming Back And This Time She Blesses Dialogue With Iran"
Provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio held (3/5): "Unlike a year ago...when Secretary Albright landed in Rome...and rebuked Romano Prodi and Lamberto Dini on their 'critical dialogue' (with Iran)...now the scenario has changed.... Albright is doing her best to encourage the Italian policy of dialogue with Tehran and arrives in Rome next Saturday to meet with Dini and Prodi (and the pope).... Of course, there are many interpretations of this turn, which is considered a success for Italian diplomacy. But analysts in Washington...simply note that the White House and the State Department want to move away from 'dual containment' policy...and maintain it--in an even tougher form--only with Baghdad. And in the present scenario...nothing would stand in the way of bringing Iran back into the center of the thick network of oil and gas pipelines underway in Central Asia."
"Iraq Cannot Escape"
According to a commentary in provocative, classical-liberal Il Foglio (3/5): "The new UN resolution on Iraq...states that if Baghdad continues to oppose inspections...this will imply the 'severest consequences.' According to President Clinton this gives a green light to military action against Saddam Hussein if he opposes inspections. This interpretation is contested by Russia, China and France.... The U.S. line is clear and logical. Once again, it now behooves Europeans, and in particular Italy, to assume an equally clear position: This has nothing to do with economic issues, on which each country can mind its own business, but this is a fundamental issue of security and coherence with alliances. Another move like the joint declaration with Yeltsin would be inadmissable this time."
BELGIUM: "Hitting Iraq Would Be Counterproductive"
Independent Le Soir published an op-ed piece by Yves Rogister, researcher at the CAPRI (Center for Political Analysis of International Relations, Liege University) (3/11): "Thanks to the positions advocated by Paris, Moscow and Beijing and against Washington's will, the text of the resolution does not mention any automatic military strikes in case of non-enforcement of its terms by Iraq. From the onset, however, the Clinton Administration retains the right to resort to force.... By so saying, U.S. diplomacy remains faithful both to its 'instrumental' view of the UN and to its policy of 'selective resort' to the organization. At best, the UN is seen as a legal framework justifying interventions motivated only by the United States' 'national interest.'... Of course, moral considerations and respect for international law are supposed to be incompatible with the defense of the 'national interest.' However, the latter is not better served by a cynical policy for the only reason that it is...cynical. President Clinton should remember this as he tries to rally U.S. public opinion behind an intervention against Iraq, by pointing to Saddam Hussein as to a '21st-century predator.' Otherwise, the present U.S. administration could soon be termed a 'short-sighted predator.'"
"France Intends To Increase Its Influence"
Pierre Lefevre stressed in independent Le Soir (3/5), "France intends to increase its influence in international organizations because negotiations which they harbor are often of major importance for its interests.... Indeed...France resorted to an uncommon method to increase its influence. It obtained a watered-down version of the UN Security Council resolution on Iraq. The English version, in English, threatens Iraq with the 'severest consequences' in case of violation of the latest agreement on disarmament inspections. This made it possible for the U.S. ambassador to crow and for President Clinton to promise strikes without notice in case of repetition of the offense. However, in the French translation demanded by Paris, the warning is less severe.... The nuance introduced in the French version announces nice debates if this Resolution 1154 is ever to be enforced."
SPAIN: "Netanyahu's Hour"
Barcelona's centrist La Vanguardia editorialized (3/5): "After a respite provided by the Iraqi crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to the international political stage today in Madrid where he begins a tour of European capitals.... Europe's role in the search for peace is somewhat ambiguous: It leads in financial support for the process, but its political influence is not in keeping with the amount of its investment. Netanyahu would be ill-advised to underestimate Europe's role in the Middle East, however. Although European countries--and Spain is one--are Israel's friends, they, as well as Israel's principal ally, the United States, view the stagnation of the peace process as counterproductive, not just for the Palestinians, but for Israel as well. Netanyahu will now be called upon to explain in Europe his vision of the peace process initiated seven years ago, coincidentally, here in Madrid."
PORTUGAL: "Honor And Paper: From Hitler To Hussein"
Duarte Ivo Cruz, weekly columnist for moderate financial daily Diário Económico wrote (3/10): "In any case, Kofi Annan's diplomatic intervention has for now [merely] postponed the war. We shall see how the objective conditions are different. But beware: Nothing is more unreliable and dangerous in these situations than optimism and confidence. Madeleine Albright is correct when she warns that 'a paper signed by Hussein' is not a guarantee."
PAKISTAN: "Iran--A New Role, A New Image"
An op-ed column by Humayun Akhtar in the Karachi-based independent national Dawn said (3/10), "After the drama involving Iraq, the United States' economic blockade against its other archrival in the Persian Gulf--Iran--is no longer being seriously implemented. In fact Washington and Tehran are cautiously inching toward a detente and their relationship is soon to follow the pattern of the China-America love-hate affair. The oil economy is forcing the regional powers and multinational energy corporations to build pipelines from Central Asia and the Caspian Sea region....
"On the one hand, Washington wants the newly independent states in the Caspian and Central Asian regions to reduce their dependence on Moscow by building pipelines to replace the existing ones, all of which go through Russia, while on the other the United States would not like Iran to benefit from this bonanza.... On the whole, it is indeed an interesting scenario. Iran is definitely emerging as a regional power, moderate and pragmaticin approach. Iran is no longer a country, where America was 'satan'. Retaining an Islamic flavor, its endeavor, it seems, is to protect an Islam, which teaches peace and compromise with other religions; confrontation and enmity with other countries is no longer its policy."
"The Clinton Doctrine"
An op-ed column by Maqbool Ahmad Bhatty in the Karachi-based independent national Dawn (3/10), "The Clinton Doctrine, the latest proclamation of American global concerns, reflects the vision of the United States as the 'indispensable nation,' without whose active involvement no major international problem can be resolved. In the post-Cold War era, there is increasing apprehension that whereas nations and governments are amenable to respecting norms of conduct, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons can be assembled by terrorists (a definition that can be extended to regimes which act in support of purposes defined to be 'terrorist' in intent). Under the Clinton Doctrine, Washington will use its power and resources to stem the threat of weapons of mass destruction....
"Regrettably, the United States has tended to project its power and to criticize or punish violations of international norms on a discriminatory basis. Washington's practice of securing
UN backing for intervention abroad is to be welcomed. However, the relative indifference of the 'indispensable nation' to the enforcement of past UN resolutions on such issues as Kashmir and Palestine creates doubts whether turning a blind eye toward violations by 'friendly' powers can inspire confidence in the role it has assumed.... In the ultimate analysis...Americans cannot take the place of a system of global checks and balances to ensure a just world order. A peaceful and stable world order can emerge only on the basis of respect for the UN Charter, rather through the fiat of a single player that is not always even-handed in enforcing respect for the fundamental principles of interstate relations."
"The Adventures Of CIA's George Tenet"
An op-ed piece by Jassim Taqui in Islamabad's sensationalist, anti-U.S. Muslim (3/7) held, "Reportedly, the CIA is also creating confusion within the UN inspection team on the Iraqi programme of mass destruction weapon. For the last seven years, whenever the UN team was about to finish its inspection mission, the CIA spies within the team, disguised as weapons inspectors, come with some new ideas to prolong the mission and the siege imposed by the United Nations against the people of Iraq."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Review Of 'Bay Of Pigs' Incident Aimed At Persian Gulf"
Li Guorong observed in the official, Beijing Municipal Beijing Daily (Beijing Ribao, 3/5), "Any attempt to overthrow another country's government is an extremely dangerous game. Anyone who attempts to do so will draw fire. Will the American CIA, which is particularly good at interfering in other countries' internal affairs and overthrowing other countries' governments, repeat such folly?"
JAPAN: "Iraq Must Implement UNSC Resolution"
An editorial in regional Hokkaido Shimbun observed (3/4): "Now, the ball is in Iraq's court. The Iraqis have no choice but to allow UNSCOM officials immediate, unconditional, and unlimited access to presidential palaces and other suspected weapons sites. We urge Baghdad to implement the inspection accord immediately.... Interpretations differ, however, over whether the 'severest consequences' includes approval of the use of U.S. military force against Iraq. At any rate, Iraq's 'quibbling' or 'juggling' is no longer acceptable. Secretary General Annan said there is no second chance in diplomacy. If Iraq obstructs UNSCOM inspections again, the international community will be inclined to give immediate support to military action against Baghdad."
THAILAND: "Path To Peace Littered With Traps"
Largest circulation, moderately conservative, English language Bangkok Post opined (3/7), "While the Security Council, reluctantly, unanimously endorsed a motion threatening the 'severest consequences' should President Saddam not live up to the accord, there is absolutely no agreement on what that means.... For their sake, and for the cause of world peace, we can only hope that the inspections in the next week and beyond will proceed calmly. But if they do not, every possible pressure must be placed on the United States to ensure it does not overreact. A military strike could not eliminate all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, end its capacity to make more, and would be highly unlikely to unseat President Saddam. It would shatter any fragile accord remaining in the Security Council, returning that body to the two-camp, impossibly divided model of the Cold War era, and thus greatly reduce the possibility of effective world action in a range of urgent areas, including environmental action, economic mismanagement and peacekeeping.
"The UN inspectors in Iraq may never be able to prove beyond all doubt that all weapons of mass destruction are gone. But for the sake of the Iraqi people, for Middle East and future international harmony, the best possible result could be a quick, sensitively organized pattern of inspections, offering the minimum possibility of Iraqi grandstanding, followed by carefully-worded reports offering a final path for ending the failed policy of sanctions. The United States in the meantime might direct its attention toward the many other world problems where its intervention could have positive effects."
BRAZIL: "Kofi Annan, A Revolution?"
A byliner in center-right daily O Estado de Sao Paulo judged (3/9), "After many years in which the General Assembly was kept, in practice, out of international decisions, it has begun to exist again since Kofi Annam acted...as its representative and not as a puppet of the famous Security Council.... The international order has been ruled by the pure and simple law of the big stick, without the international media emphasizing a fact so crystally clear and irrefutable.
"All the decisions taken by those who defend the symbolic big stick are presented as if they were taken by all the UN members. The abuse has been practiced with such agility that in the Group of Five itself has prevailed against the hegemonic power which is militarily the most powerful.... Thanks to the leadership and success of Kofi Annan, the General Assembly acquired a new notion of its power, dignified for being put at the service of peace, harmony and life."
NIGERIA: "Annan's Triumph Shows The UN Remains Relevant"
Lagos-based independent daily National Concord (3/10), "Kofi Annan's success in preventing the outbreak of yet another round of military hostilities in the volatile Gulf region has served to reinforce the importance of the organization he leads to a world that has grown increasingly unsafe--not safer--since the end of the Cold War. Rather than disappear into oblivion and irrelevance in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent unchallenged domination of the United States in world affairs, the organization that was established primarily to ensure world peace and stability had proved it is essential to the continued sustenance of these noble principles in our increasingly volatile universe."
BURKINA FASO: "And Iraq Won The War"
Independent weekly L'independant opined (3/10), "Nobody could say exactly what he [Saddam Hussein] is preparing. But what is sure is that Saddam will not abandon certain of his ideas as long as he remains in power.... Trying to destabilize him only pushes him to take measures of protection, or as the saying goes: 'The best defense is a good offense;' but the Iraqi president himself, after several decades of war and permanent tension, will have all the difficulties of living in a nation of peace. These kinds of habits cannot be changed. His enemies know that. And all their current actions are intended only to kick the powerful man of Baghdad out of his seat. That war will take time for Washington to win. Will they win it one day? Maybe. But not with an armada, star wars, bombings and the embargo."
SWAZILAND: "U.S. Farce Over Iraq"
Under the above headline, Mandla Mkhwanazi asserted in the independent Times (3/8): "What Iraq does within her boundaries is surely her own business and nobody else's.... To any right-thinking person, the Americans have no business being embroiled in the Middle East. That America should now seek to occupy the higher moral ground of protecting the world
against the wickedness of Saddam has about it a shallow ring and, to say the least, is abhorrent and damnable."
ZIMBABWE: "Netanyahu Should Get The Message"
An editorial in the government-controlled Sunday News (3/10) urged British Prime Minister Mr. Tony Blair and other European leaders to be uncompromising with the Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, during his crusade to Britain, Spain, Germany and Norway: "With the echoes of the crescendo of thundering condemnation of President Saddam Hussein that emanated from Washington and London in recent weeks still ringing, it would be the height of hypocrisy and double standards for Mr. Blair and the other European leaders to treat the Israeli leader with kid gloves and allow him to gloss over...serious issues during his tour. If the proposed British-led initiative to rein in Israel is to succeed, Mr. Netanyahu should be told with the same fervor and vehemence employed against President Hussein that he cannot flout peace agreements with impunity. What is sauce for the goose in the case of Iraq should surely be sauce for the gander in relation to Mr. Netanyahu."
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