- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 16, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Le Monde
Puffing up Iraq
PARIS Washington and London speak of apocalypse: They claim Iraq a third-world country under a U.N. embargo for more than 10 years has [weapons] to make the planet tremble and is ready to let terrorist networks draw from its supplies.
A number of experts, among them the most neutral and most credible, are much more skeptical of the real danger posed by Iraqi stocks, and of the regime's willingness to hand them to Islamic terrorists.
[Now that Saddam Hussein has accepted the U.N. resolution on inspections] the Americans' intentions will be put to the test. The inspections will be daily opportunities for incidents and accordingly, pretexts for launching a military operation. The reality of America's objectives will be brought to light: Disarm Iraq, or topple Saddam Hussein? The specter of war haunts the Gulf more than ever.

The Irish Times
Saddam in the dock
DUBLIN Iraq stands accused of grave violations of international law following [Nov. 8]'s unanimous adoption by the United Nations Security Council of Resolution 1441 demanding that it disarm its weapons of mass destruction. Unanimous action by the council represents the highest form of legal sanction available in the international arena.
The resolution must therefore be taken with the utmost seriousness both by the Saddam Hussein regime and U.N. member-states. Unless it is adhered to, there is a grave risk of war in the Middle East, with potentially dangerous consequences for the region and the world economy.
The U.N. decision justifies the prolonged weeks of diplomacy necessary to reach this agreed outcome. The efforts of France, Britain, Russia, Ireland and other Security Council members have paid off in reaching an unanimity which affirms the U.N.'s central role in this crisis.
The next stages will see the arms inspectors deployed with a very clear mandate to seek out and destroy such weapons. If the Iraqis fail to comply they face the probability of military action.

Straits Times
Three weeks and counting
SINGAPORE The first cutoff date is Dec. 7. By then the world will know if Iraq's Saddam Hussein intends to comply with the United Nations Security Council's demand that he dismantles his weapons of mass destruction. It is thus really up to Saddam now. If he cooperates fully and unreservedly, he will lose his weapons but keep his head; if he does not, he will lose both.
But what if he half-cooperates? It is more than likely that he will make a show of cooperation, but try to run the clock out with half measures and evasions, in the hope that divisions among the permanent five in the Security Council will prevent the U.S. from invading.
Saddam and his crew should realize that whatever disagreements may exist among the big powers, they are merely cosmetic. Baghdad should also take seriously Mr. Bush's warning last Friday that the U.S. would be prepared to act alone if the Security Council, for some reason, failed to enforce its threat of "serious consequences" if Iraq failed to disarm.
Establishing an international consensus is difficult, as the past weeks have shown, but in the long run, the U.S. will benefit if it takes the multilateral, not unilateral, route.

S. China Morning Post
Afghanistan deserves better
HONG KONG Afghanistan's 21 million people are experiencing firsthand the reality of the divide between rich and poor nations After the trauma of 23 years of foreign occupation, civil war and a murderous regime, they deserve better than inaction and misplaced help from those who promised salvation.
Little of the (U.S.) $4.5 billion pledged in January at a meeting of donor nations in Tokyo has materialized. Reconstruction work has been limited and haphazard.
The warlords are still in power, and banditry and corruption remain rife. An estimated 5 million refugees have yet to go home. There is little or no sign of the promised electricity, roads and hospitals which are necessary for Afghanistan to move forward
The overthrow of the Taliban was a blessing for Afghans United States and allied soldiers have started shifting their focus from mopping up the Taliban and al Qaeda to building roads and extending security beyond Kabul. Their work will be limited without adequate funding Without help, Afghanistan will fail.

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