World Holds Its Breath

Rating: NNNNNForeign policy experts and the Middle East papers assess Bush's war on terror and U.S. plans to attack.

Rating: NNNNN

Foreign policy experts and the Middle East papers assess Bush’s war on terror and U.S. plans to attack Iraq a year after 9/11.

We need to get back to a working and friendly alliance, not stare at each other with sullen suspicion. It is the only way to resolve the region’s difficulties, but it is also good in itself: bitterness merely destroys he who is bitter. What better monument to those who died than a new constructive relationship between the U.S. and the Arab world?

– Arab News, Saudi Arabia

September 11 offered an exceptional opportunity for the U.S. to be more cooperative with the international community. However, in the past 12 months we have witnessed a most recalcitrant U.S. bent on following a unilateral policy, something that has not only caused a loss of international sympathy, but has alienated the world community and forced it into open criticism of the United States’ positions toward many issues of global importance, such as the environment and trade.

– Tehran Times, Iran

Most of us argued in 1991 that Iraq had one of the most educated populations in the Arab world, and by opening up the country you would get rid of Saddam Hussein. By closing it off, you made sure Hussein was there forever. That was the cynical calculation by the Americans. They didn’t want to break up Iraq because they were afraid the three parts (Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds) wouldn’t hold together. Who was the American Middle East ambassador sent to restore diplomatic relations and ensure Iraq was part of American Middle East policy in 84? Donald Rumsfeld.

– John Sigler, professor emeritus, Carlton University

I don’t think Saddam Husssein is an overt threat. I don’t buy into the notion that we need a regime change. As an interim step, the U.S. should go to the UN and ask for a reenergizing of arms inspections.

– David Rudd, Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies

Many commentators see the Republicans as trying hard to keep the political debate focused on security issues rather than the still fragile U.S. economy or corporate crime, where they are more vulnerable. Even First Lady Laura Bush made a rare television appearance, recounting how she called her mother for comfort after the attacks.

– Kuwait Times, Kuwait

If modern governments all say that violence is the real power in society, there’s nothing to prevent other groups that are not governments from accepting that assumption. If the U.S. decides to go into Iraq, there will be other groups who will conclude that September 11 was not terroristic enough. The events of September 11 call for a fundamental rethinking of the role of violence in politics and international relations.

– Gene Sharp, Albert Einstein Institution

More Americans are now opposing the U.S.’s overall strategy in the world, and specifically its plans to attack Iraq. They see their government deviating every day from the original principles of the country’s constitution, which is based on freedom, dignity and justice.

– Yemen Times, Yemen

Earlier this week the U.S. assembled a well-tailored group of anti-Saddam Iraqi exiles as a ready-made replacement regime, although they have no popular following inside Iraq. If Saddam is deposed, why should the new regime fare any better than that of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, who, as we have seen, won’t last a day without an American bodyguard and American funds?

– Dawn, Pakistan

(U.S. foreign policy advisers) have become consultants and advisers to American and oil-business interests and have dealings in the region. Bush will eventually go for a negotiated settlement on Iraq.

– The Star, Jordan

If such moral issues are what truly drive Washington’s agenda, then similar action should be planned against what the Arab world considers to be a rogue regime in Tel Aviv.

– Gulf News, United Arab Emirates

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