- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Asahi Shimbun

President Bush’s speech Monday

TOKYO — The central theme of President Bush’s address was a request to Congress for a supplementary budget of $87 billion to maintain a troop presence in Iraq while the reconstruction process continues.

At the same time, Bush characterized Iraq as “the central front” in the fight against terrorism, and asked Japan and countries in Europe and the Middle East to provide financial assistance, which he characterized as a “contribution.”

It is just too much to ask other nations to provide financial contributions without specifying the anticipated future of Iraqi self-rule and discussing ways to achieve it.

There must be a clear change of direction to win wide international support, rather than have everything decided in Washington, and have the United States lead the rest of the world. Such a policy change will also strengthen the coalition against terrorism.

Japan should not simply agree to any request for financial assistance just because it comes from the United States. The precondition for Japan and other members of the international community to begin providing all-out help with Iraq’s reconstruction is that there be a clearly established plan from an interim Iraqi government.

New Straits Times

The Middle East road map

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The American-sponsored peace road map is now in greater jeopardy than ever before. Whether Washington and Tel Aviv like it or not, it is the Palestinians who decide on who becomes their prime minister and, consequently, their interlocutor in negotiations to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. … There is no reason a new Palestinian prime minister can live up to Washington’s expectations. In fact, he would be reluctant to act according to American or Israeli wishes, so as not to be seen as a puppet of either. The road map cannot hinge on the American perception of the Palestinian prime minister or [on] sidelining [Yasser] Arafat, who is after all the leader of the Palestinian struggle.

The Jordan Times

Rearming Iraqi political groups

AMMAN — Rearming the Bader Brigade, the military wing of the Shi’ites in Iraq, is troubling enough. But to give it the U.S. backing and blessing is doubly dangerous.

Iraqis of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds are armed to the teeth already, and extending this militarization of the Iraqis by institutionalizing the arming of Al Bader Brigade would set the stage for armed internal conflicts the kind of which the country has not seen. Instead of arming more Iraqis, efforts should be directed towards disarming those carrying arms already and towards ridding the country of weapons.

If that is not done, the ground might be paved for an all-out war between Sunnis and Shi’ites that would take the country back to another dark era in its history.

Admittedly, the situation in Iraq is a big mess brought about by an ill-conceived military intervention that did not contemplate how to fill the vacuum created by the defeat of the Saddam regime.

The time should be seized to put Iraq under U.N. trusteeship. Lest we should forget, one of the principal organs of the U.N. system is the trusteeship, which administers countries until they are ready to stand up on their feet.

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