- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Svenska Dagbladet

A United Nations role in Iraq

STOCKHOLM — With representatives for Iraq’s different ethnic groups, the governing council may give the liberation a bigger domestic legitimacy. At the same time, power struggles and individual antagonism is anticipated, and it will take time before lasting results can be reached.

This underlines the importance of the United Nations getting a more marked role in Iraq. Saddam Hussein did clearly not follow the resolutions from the U.N. Security Council. This crime resulted in a punishment. Now, a window of opportunities has opened for the whole region (Iran vs. Iraq, Israel vs. the Palestinians). Besides, the Arab world in general and Iraq in particular has received a democratic impulse.

The provisional government is a first step on the road to democracy, but unfortunately this is not the only conceivable road.

Asahi Shimbun

A government of Iraqis

TOKYO — Three months after the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, 25 representatives of various religious, political and ethnic groups established a governing council as the first step toward a democratic Iraq.

This interim governing body wasformed as U.S. and British troops struggle to restore peace and security there, while people grow more restive about their continued presence. The council is an occupation reaction to the growing pressure to present the people of Iraq with guidelines for self-rule.

The council brings together a miscellany of leaders from the majority Shi’ites and Islamic fundamentalists to secularists and minority Christians. Unless this diverse assembly can work together as a group to shape the course of their nation, Iraq faces an unsettled and uncertain future.

The military side of the war liberated the people of Iraq from the yoke of Saddam Hussein’s regime. But the justification for the war has been questioned by the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found. The first order of business in cleaning up the mess left by the unfortunate war should be to bring the nation under the control of a stable government drawn from the people of Iraq.

Le Figaro

The risk of chaos in Iraq

PARIS — Installing peace in Iraq has proven to be more delicate than winning the war there. This is no surprise to anyone. Still, the difficulties have only started and no one knows today the magnitude and gravity that events will take.

The problem is, first of all, that of the Americans. The danger was known. Without doubt the democratic model can be installed through economic growth and fair sharing of riches. But, besides needing time, both require a sovereign political organization, which implies the establishment of public order.

The danger from now on is of seeing a situation deteriorate that should have provided a model. One can hardly see the Iraqi case serving other states of the region as a reference point. …

The danger is growing, as is the number of soldiers killed. … After having lied, George Bush and Tony Blair cannot allow themselves to fail.

La Repubblica

U.S. trials for Guantanamo prisoners

ROME — The suspension of civil rights in Guantanamo Bay creates a new internal crisis for President Bush.

The resort to military tribunals and the exceptional powers granted to the FBI for anti-terrorism investigations produced a political miracle. The opposition is strengthening, with Democratic presidential candidates condemning the Bush administration’s restrictions of individual freedom as a threat to American citizens.

The grave difficulties for the Americans in Iraq have dimmed Bush’s eyes, and facing a new Vietnam, national unity is being cracked. Since World War II, a U.S. administration has never dragged foreign combatants to face a military court.

On paper the principles will be the same as any American process — the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof on the accuser, but there are widespread doubts about the equality of the process.

In a country where privacy and individual liberty are traditionally more protected than in Europe … the changes have created a fuss. Now, if the FBI suspects spying, it can access personal data kept in computers, in the archives of schools, universities and hospitals.

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