- The Washington Times - Friday, May 7, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Cape Times

Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Robert Mugabe marked World Press Freedom Day in typical fashion: he ordered a privately owned weekend newspaper that was critical of him and his regime to shut down.

The Zimbabwean president has little time for the niceties of democratic practice let alone media freedom. He has illustrated this in many ways, including repeated assaults on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law itself. His thugs in the army and police — not to mention the so called “war veterans” — have simultaneously terrorized the people of that country.

And all of this after a highly dubious 2002 election.

Today, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, is disputing that election result in court. As part of his case Tsvangirai has taken steps to get President Thabo Mbeki to hand over a report by two South African judges on that poll. …

The South African observer team declared it legitimate but much of the rest of the world remains skeptical.

The answers to questions sparked by Tsvangirai’s request will reveal whether that attitude is informed by fact, or by the same sort of sentiment that gave rise to a rapturous public reception for Mugabe when he arrived for Mbeki’s April 27 inauguration.

Expressen

Iraq prisoner-abuse scandal

STOCKHOLM — How widespread the atrocities are in the Iraqi penal complexes is of course impossible to say. U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at first that it was all about a handful of bad apples, but later conceded that he does not know the extent.

A secret report that has been leaked to the New Yorker magazine talks of systematic atrocities against the prisoners in Abu Ghraib. If you add to this that the United States has nothing against letting security services in countries like Jordan, Egypt and Morocco handle the “interrogations” of reluctant terrorist suspects, or the handling of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, a picture is looming large of a superpower that is compromising with its morals in the war against terrorism.

This is a prescription for disaster in Iraq.

Daily Star

The potential for peace

BEIRUT — As the Middle East region suffers continued stress, conflict and stalemate, Arab leaders over the next eight weeks have a rare opportunity to do a rare thing: take the initiative and “sell” to the world their vision of a Middle East that is considerably better off than it is today.

To move this vision forward, it is time to look back and relaunch the Arab Peace Initiative, which was presented to the world at the Beirut Arab League summit of 2002. The formula was, and still is, simple: full Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state based on the land Israel has occupied since the 1967 war. …

To get this vision off the ground, Arab leaders must build on the current diplomatic movement in the region and abroad, and consider holding an international conference to promote, indeed push, the peace initiative as a viable plan that should be put into action by the international community. Why now? Because the “Quartet” [the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia], which designed the “road map” for peace between Israel and the Palestinians met Tuesday at the ministerial level for the first time in nearly a year. This year’s Arab summit, already postponed once, is scheduled for later this month; June will see meetings of both the G8 group of industrialized nations and NATO. …

It is not often that so many important international gatherings take place in such a short space of time — indeed, it is akin to a certain alignment of the stars. When an opportunity such as this one occurs for presenting a vital international issue to the world community for resolution, it must not be missed.

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