- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan-Korea islets spat

TOKYO — South Korea should leave the long-standing territorial dispute over the Takeshima group of islets to be settled by the World Court, given the assurance expressed by President Roh Moo-hyun about his country’s claim.

Japan has twice proposed referring the controversy to the court, only to have the proposals rejected by South Korea. Seoul has not even acknowledged the existence of the dispute. This uncompromising attitude has prevented any attempt to resolve the controversy. The Japanese government should continue to propose, at every opportunity, that the problem be brought before the World Court.

The waters around Takeshima encompass areas claimed by both Japan and South Korea as their exclusive economic zones. Only a few days ago, Japan and South Korea came very close to starting a skirmish in the troubled waters due to a dispute over an attempt by Seoul to name seafloor topography near Takeshima and register such designations at an international conference in June.

It is important for Japan and South Korea to cooperate in resolving such problems as the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. … The territorial dispute between Tokyo and Seoul must be prevented from adversely affecting efforts to settle important problems unrelated to the controversy.

Financial Times

Iraq’s new prime minister

LONDON — Four months after Iraqis risked suicide bombers and reprisals to go to the polls, the country’s political class has finally seen fit to come forward with a government. All now hinges on whether this will lead to the national unity coalition Iraq so badly needs. On the face of it, little has changed.

The naming of a new prime minister designate, Jawad al-Maliki from the Shi’ite Islam Dawa party, to replace the inept Ibrahim al-Jaafari, also of the Dawa, does not substantially alter the uneasy balance of power, between the majority Shi’ite and the Sunni Arabs and Kurds, or within the triumphant but fissiparous Shi’ite bloc.

While winners and losers alike scrabbled for the levers of power and the spoils of office, Iraq has been not so much stuck in a vacuum as sucked into a whirlwind. Sectarian carnage and militia rule — especially after the destruction of a Shi’ite shrine in February — have advanced the demographic and geographic fragmentation of the country. The failure of the sectarian model fathered by the U.S. occupation points toward the breakup of Iraq.

The venal and violent incompetence of Shi’ite politicians has placed the Shi’ite clerical leadership — which has traditionally rejected a direct role in government on the Iranian model — at center stage. A hard-line Sunni Islamist is now the speaker of parliament. The secularism for which Iraq stood — and stood out in the region — has suffered eclipse.

Mr. al-Maliki has something of a reputation as a bridge builder. He will need to be. He will have to find a formula to share not only power but also Iraq’s oil resources, and to reinstate basic services ordinary Iraqis have been deprived of, such as electricity and water.

Jordan Times

Another blemish, more death

AMMAN — Another chain of deadly bombings, another day of carnage and mourning and another stain on the image of the Arabs were added Tuesday to a long list of similar painful happenings in our region. Not much seems to be known about the murderous perpetrators, and speculation moves around a possible local grouping or the pernicious al Qaeda.

What is known is that the barbaric crime targeted Egyptians and places where they make their livelihood. … This shows hatred and a base nature, and has little to do with any “ideological” belief. Not that any such belief should prompt murder of any kind. …

What warped mentality could guide someone toward such a vile act? What justification can anyone find for the murder of tens of people and injury of scores of others? For murder, period.

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