- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Telegraph

Continuing crisis in Darfur

LONDON — The American Congress and State Department and the European Parliament have declared that the Sudanese government’s military campaign in Darfur amounts to genocide. The United Nations begs to disagree, accusing Khartoum and its allied militias of atrocities that fall short of that crime as defined by the 1948 convention. It is probably true to say that the government did not embark on operations in the western region with the intention of eliminating its sedentary population.

It was, rather, doing what it has done in many other parts of the country: seeking to crush an insurgency. … Whatever the truth, the escalation of the conflict is rapidly pushing up the [casualty] total. …

Daily Star

Trumpeting victory

BEIRUT — To hear President George W. Bush’s triumphant speech on Sunday, after Iraqis had cast their ballots in that country’s historic elections, one could be forgiven for concluding that victory is at hand — victory in the struggle to remake Iraq in the mold of a Western democracy, and victory in the war against the insurgency.

Despite statements such as “Terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy” and “There’s more distance to travel on the road to democracy,” the tone came across as a vindication of U.S. policy and the speech as a whole came across as a quick fix to anyone who knows a little more about the situation in Iraq than what White House spin doctors would have the world believe. There was, in fact, more than a hint of peacock feathers and puffed-out chest in the speech.

While Iraqis braved their way through a tough and lethal situation and took risks for their country, it was against the odds that they did so. It was against the odds created by the history of tyranny in Iraq, and by that tyranny carried into the present day by the vicious thugs who would kill hope and all who believe in a better future for Iraq. It was also against the odds of U.S. blundering.

The United States took dictator Saddam Hussein out of the equation, and that was a good thing. However, everything since then has been mismanaged, mishandled and bungled. Today, the world waits … for the next American blunder. Once again, it will be the Iraqis, principally, who will pay the price of Washington’s foolishness. It would be comforting to think the road ahead is so clearly defined as Bush would have us believe. It will not be. There would also be a measure of comfort in the thought that Iraqis can take their future into their own hands, but that too is a little optimistic at this stage. At the end of the day, though, the measure of U.S. success in Iraq will be to what extent Iraqis succeed in their own street.

Asahi Shimbun

The Iraqi election

TOKYO — Upon hearing an explosion apparently caused by terrorists, a middle-aged man in Baghdad headed for a polling station, saying: “I will challenge the criminals.” In Mosul in the northern part of Iraq, a Sunni leader went to a polling station earlier than anybody else, declaring that casting a ballot was a citizen’s duty, and thus moving his fellow citizens to action.

In Kirkuk in an oil-producing region, the Kurds celebrated the election with an ethnic dance. In Basra in the south, Shi’ite women in black chadors formed long lines around polling stations.

News media sent reports to the world about the eagerness of the Iraqi people to build a new nation with their own hands in the face of violence by insurgents. …

Arab TV stations, which are often heavily tinged with anti-American and anti-occupation sentiment, reported on the enthusiasm of voters who went to polling stations. Their reporters were amazed by the free election — a rarity in the Arab world — and highly praised the process in their reports.

The Asahi Shimbun has criticized the Iraq war. … But we have wished the Iraqis great success in the election. …The question now is how to harness such a will to build a stable nation.

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