- The Washington Times - Friday, June 4, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Helsingin Sanomat

Oil and terrorism

HELSINKI — After the bloody weekend terrorist attacks, officials in Saudi Arabia asserted that the country’s oil production and its ability to provide crude to world markets had not been jeopardized. They said the terrorists attacked housing areas of foreign workers precisely because the “hard” targets of oil production plants are so well protected.

… Nonetheless, the successful attack was a serious blow to the ruling Saudi monarchy whose inability to safeguard its own homeland from terrorism was again evident. For the United States, the situation is almost as distressful.

Washington wanted a strong foothold in the oil-producing country. But the war in Iraq seems to have increased restlessness in Saudi Arabia. And Iraq’s own domestic situation remains extremely shaky.

Instability in the crude-oil market is likely to continue for a long time. One has no faith in an improvement in the Saudi state of affairs or political developments in Iraq. And, more important, there is no confidence that the United States is able to control the increasingly complicated situation in the Middle East.

Egyptian Gazette

Allawi as Iraq’s premier

CAIRO — … The U.S.-installed Interim Governing Council named Iyad Allawi, a member of the IGC, to head the government that takes over on June 30. Mr. Allawi’s selection could be seen as a pre-emptive bid to consolidate the council’s grip on power and turn the transitional government into a U.S. puppet. It is a slap in the face for the United Nations as well.

The IGC is unpopular with most Iraqis for comprising Iraqi exiles. Even Lakhdar Ibrahimi, the U.N. envoy to Iraq, was taken aback by the announcement of Mr. Allawi as the new prime minister.

Neither Iraq nor the United States stands to benefit from this skullduggery. Washington is widely perceived as meddling in the formation of Iraq’s new caretaker administration. Being the occupier, the United States, should be acting in good faith to help Iraq become an example of democracy in the Middle East — as President Bush has promised on several occasions. Mr. Ibrahimi’s efforts are being stymied by the United States’ surreptitious tactics and insistence on retaining its massive army and firepower in Iraq.

Le Figaro

D-Day 60th anniversary

PARIS — Women and men of today have discovered the atrocious nature of this period. The soldiers stacked up in rowboats throwing themselves toward concrete walls spitting fire, the young men from America and Great Britain who are often poorly understood on this side of the Atlantic, the incessant bombings that razed towns — Caen, Saint-Lo, Cherbourg and so many others. …

Sixty years later, this is the last moment to reunite the survivors. And for the first time it is possible to invite the Germans.

… The history of today is conducted with the Germans of our time. The generations who from now on inhabit our neighboring country consider themselves innocent of the crimes of their fathers and grandfathers. As a result, June 6 has turned into a celebration of freedom.

Times

European Parliament elections

LONDON — … In the short term, the results of the electoral contest for the European Parliament could be crucial. If those associated with Jacques Chirac endure a heavy beating, then Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the affable but hapless prime minister, may swiftly join the ranks of the unemployed. Mr. Chirac contemplated sacrificing him after his supporters were routed in the March local elections but apparently determined it might be handy to maintain the option of offering his head to the mob at a later moment. That point might well be reached before July 14.

Policy too could be transformed after the votes have been counted. Mr. Chirac is playing his cards very close to his chest as the final stages of negotiations over the EU constitution come into sight.

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