- The Washington Times - Friday, July 7, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Telegraph

NATO and Afghanistan

LONDON — At the end of this month, NATO is due to assume overall command of all coalition forces in Afghanistan from America. The shift poses a huge challenge to the alliance’s credibility as an organization with a global remit in the fight against terror. It is operating in a narco-state with a weak central government, threatened in the southern provinces by a resurgent Taliban.

It is struggling to reach the desired strength of about 16,000 troops and is further hampered by the refusal of many members to operate in the volatile areas bordering Pakistan. The brunt of the action is being borne by America, Britain, Canada and Holland.

In the past three weeks alone, five British soldiers have been killed. … The deaths … [are] a sharp reminder that the road to stability in the south will entail a good deal of direct action.

For that, more combat troops, transport aircraft and helicopters are required to provide a permanent presence in all the main towns and to enhance mobility. Iraq should have taught the coalition the danger of trying to put a wrecked country on its feet again with inadequate resources.

Egyptian Gazette

Kidnapping of Israeli soldier

CAIRO — Apart from Egypt’s efforts, almost no other country has lifted one finger to stop Israel’s deliberate bid to pour oil on the flames with the Palestinians.

Israel’s intensified attacks on Gaza and its seizure of a dozen Palestinian officials and lawmakers have drawn no reaction from the international community. For several days now, the Palestinians and their civil facilities have been the target of relentless Israeli onslaught, which imparts an unequivocal message to the Palestinians and to the outside world.

The Israelis have apparently taken advantage of the abduction of a 19-year-old soldier in order to write the death certificate for the Hamas-led government.

The world’s silence is widely seen as a license to Israel to continue its wanton rampage with impunity.


The Darfur crisis

STOCKHOLM — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has described the situation in the Sudanese province of Darfur as “one of the worst nightmares in recent history.” Almost 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict and 2 million have been forced to flee.

Despite this, the international community is unable to act — just as during the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Srebrenica [in Bosnia-Herzegovina]. The inability to stop the killing has considerably weakened the U.N. authority.

As long as the [Sudanese] regime refuses to let the United Nations into the country, a peace mission is impossible. Sudan’s government would view that as an invasion by the West and in such a case threatens to create a “new Iraq.”

But in a case of genocide, the U.N. could intervene against the government’s will. But this is hardly politically possible. The war in Iraq is enough for the United States. China has big oil interests in the region.

The Hindu

Tariffs and farm subsidies

MADRAS, India — The failure of trade negotiators, who met at Geneva recently, to narrow their differences on the modalities of compiling detailed cuts in tariffs and agricultural subsidies is no doubt a setback to multilateral trade negotiations. After missing the April 30 deadline, member countries were exhorted to negotiate with a “heightened sense of urgency.” But as the rather abrupt termination of the talks showed, differences have remained, and even widened in certain cases. The draft texts on modalities for agriculture and industrial products circulated ahead of the Geneva meet merely reiterated the differences. Among the major impediments to a possible deal has been the reluctance of the United States and the EU to climb down from their fixed positions on farm subsidies and nonagricultural tariffs.

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