- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat

Where the U.N. money goes

LONDON — I [editor’s note: columnist Fahmi Al-Huwaidi] call for caution before expressing optimism and joy [regarding] the outcome of the donors’ conference for the reconstruction in Iraq, held recently in Madrid, which mobilized $37 billion for the next four years. The commitment of the “donors” to Afghanistan stands before our eyes, and it has accomplished little for reasons that are worth considering.

The absence of security has been the principal reason for slowing the reconstruction efforts. Moreover, 60 percent of the contributions made by the donors were channeled to nongovernmental organizations, which were preferred by the United Nations apparatus operating in Kabul in view of [the United Nations] lack of confidence in the capacity of the Afghan government. But these organizations have used the major part of the money to pay high salaries to [their] employees ranging between $3,000 and $10,000 a month, and for buying and furnishing their offices as well as buying the most modern Jeeps.

I have heard from Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan foreign minister, that only 29 percent of the amount paid by the donor countries is channeled for development, and half of this amount is distributed between humanitarian activities and salaries to government officials.

(Translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, www.memri.org)

Bangkok Post

Continuing violence in Iraq

BANGKOK — The suicide bomb attack on the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baghdad on Monday was outrageous and indefensible.

Like the earlier assault on the United Nations headquarters, the attack on the ICRC has undermined the confidence of workers who believed the humanitarian nature and neutrality of their work protected them. …

The response to the attack on the ICRC and the other continued violence in Iraq shows that a growing number of governments, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations are hearing and acting on the message that Iraq opposes foreign occupation and wants to take charge of its own destiny.

It is not clear where this message is coming from as the country remains under insurgent threat six months after the end of the formal U.S. war on Iraq, but the extent of the violence demands attention.

The United States … must be among the first to address the growing violence.

France … has a point when it stresses the need to restore sovereignty to the Iraqi people as soon as possible and its calls for a political process toward this end.

Egyptian Gazette

Israel’s nuclear weapons

CAIRO — Although it has neither denied nor confirmed suspicions about its unlawful activities, Israel is widely believed to have 200 to 300 nuclear warheads. The Jewish state has not ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Likewise, it adamantly refuses to open its nuclear installations to international inspections. Nonetheless, no tough warning has been made to Israel to come clean on its nuclear program. The United States, which is spearheading a high-profile drive for global denuclearization, has yet to pressure its protege to fall into line. Nor has the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has apparently done Washington’s bidding over Tehran, been so firm with Israel.

Allowing Israel to keep the lid on its highly suspicious nuclear program and spurn bids to uncover it confirms the rife notion in the Middle East that the Jewish state is a law unto itself. The Arabs, who more than a year ago declared readiness to forge normal ties with Israel in return for the handover of occupied territories, must capitalize on the U.S.-led pressure on Tehran to demand that similar attention be accorded to the Jewish state’s nuclear misbehavior.

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