- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:
Labor Party stays aloof
TEL AVIV Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna promised [on Tuesday] that he and his colleagues would not join a government headed by Ariel Sharon if the current prime minister forms the next government. "The dream of a unity government under the Likud is a nightmare. I will not join an a priori failure," Mr. Mitzna said. Mr. Mitzna's, and by extrapolation, Labor's, promise begins to draw the lines of proper political separation for a party that wants to provide an alternative to the political failure that characterized the outgoing Sharon government.
The Labor Party joined the Sharon coalition on the basis of a number of assumptions and expectations that proved to be false. Labor ministers did not manage to persuade Mr. Sharon to advance a political process, to present a worthy program that could be fulfilled, or even to discuss various political initiatives proposed by others.
Labor's representatives in the Sharon government, and its faction in the Knesset, were committed to coalition discipline, so they became a rubber stamp for Mr. Sharon's policies. Labor's policies, and its ideological platform, did not find any expression in that government.
Therefore, there's no basis for the assumption that if the Likud wins the elections, Mr. Sharon would agree to change his spots and now adopt, even partially, Labor's platform. That lost political horizon is vital for Israeli society, and only a renewal of the peace process with the Palestinians can bring security and prosperity to the two nations.

Le Monde
Europe is not convinced
PARIS Europeans are saying no. No to a war against Iraq, as things stand now.
Neither Tony Blair nor Jacques Chirac whose armed forces would likely participate in an operation can flout the polls taken day after day. Nearly 60 percent of Britons and more than 70 percent of French people say war against Iraq would not be justified with or without a green light from the U.N.
Europe is not convinced that Saddam Hussein is dangerous. It is up to [President Bush] to establish the existence and the peril from Iraq's arsenal before making a decision as drastic as war.
If the proof is indeed crystal clear, as Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair say, why hasn't it already been produced?
If Washington finds it possible to "contain" Pyongyang with diplomacy, isn't it conceivable to do the same with Baghdad? If the United States stigmatizes quite rightly a regime as cruel as Saddam Hussein's, why do they treat the criminal tyranny of Kim Jong-il with kid gloves?

Why a war now?
LONDON Not for the first time, [Cabinet Minister] Clare Short has spoken with admirable clarity. She is quite right to strip Prime Minister [Tony Blair]'s recent statements of their evasions and say that "the logic of the position" is that, if the United States decides to take unilateral military action against Iraq, the British government should not support it.
The problem is that Mr. Blair has never set out the conditions under which British forces should go to war. We know a lot about what a terrible man Saddam Hussein is, and how he has defied U.N. resolutions in the past. But we do not know what has to happen to make the use of military force necessary in Mr. Blair's eyes. All we know is that sticking with the U.S. was an article of faith with him, and that he does not regard a single country's veto on the U.N. Security Council as a bar to action.

Corriere della Sera
Guessing Bush's motives
MILAN, Italy The main declared reason for a war in Iraq is defusing the "Saddam bomb," although many people claim that George W. Bush may have other reasons.
Experts of advanced military technologies say that Washington could use the possible conflict to experiment with the Pentagon's most recent weapons, and many economic experts claim Mr. Bush believes that Pentagon war spending will help the U.S. economy.
The question is whether the dollar can bear the costs of the war.
One of Mr. Bush's possible reasons is his candidacy in the next presidential elections, which involves gathering a consensus from lobbies linked to Israel.

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