Dailies and periodicals” “

“The other America”: that’s the title of an editorial in Le Monde (25/2) dedicated to the anti-war demonstrations which “brought together millions of people throughout the world” on the previous weekend; the paper recalls that there “exists another superpower apart from the United States: public opinion”. Meanwhile the divisions with the UN Security Council are growing, as pointed out by the same French daily on the following day (26/2), when it summed up the Iraqi crisis by speaking of two opposing parties: the supporters of a “resolution for war” (USA, UK and Spain) and those of a “memorandum” for peace (France, Germany and Russia with the support of China). An “anodyne test”: that’s how Corine Lesnes, in the article in question, defines the proposed new UN resolution wished by the USA, Great Britain and Spain. A Security Council “visibly” split into two opposing tendencies represents “the remotest hope of leading Iraq to engage in peaceful disarmament”: that’s the analysis of the Herald Tribune (26/2), according to which “it seems inconceivable that without the impetus of this last resolution Iraq will be converted to disarmament. That is, in any case, the presupposition that lies at the basis of the latest proposal of France, Russia and Germany. In response to the obstructionism of Baghdad, the Council has a need to meet and go beyond the firm warnings it issued last time”. “Will the huge demonstrations of 15 February against the American war in Iraq – asks Bruno Frappat in La Croix (25/2) – have reduced the risks of the conflict or will they have served no other purpose that gaining an extra breathing space of three weeks?”. The 7 March, according to the French Catholic daily, is the new “crunch date… From that day, America could embark on a legitimated war or do so without making any further requests to the UNO”. The German press also devotes its front pages to the unfolding Iraqi crisis. Commenting on the negotiations between the USA and Turkey on the use its territory as the base for a possible attack on Iraq, Cristiane Schlötzer writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of 21/2: “ Turkey is hesitating to give its permission to the US army because it fears that Washington may not keep its promises of a political and financial nature, as happened in 1991 after the Gulf War. That’s why Ankara now wants a written guarantee to underwrite the billions of dollars in aid to cover the economic damage [that the war may cause]. But that’s not the only consideration”. The Erdogan government must offer something to Turkey’s Islamic population, 95% of whom oppose war as a solution to the crisis, to convince them of the fact that the strategic arguments must override their own conviction”, adds Rolf Paasch in the Franfurter Rundschau of 22/2. The differences between Bush and the policy of former US president Clinton are analysed by an editorial in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 24/2: “Bush… has forced the international community to concern itself with Iraq, even though many are of the view that it’s a mistaken strategic priority. Now he intends once again to oblige the Security Council to take a decision with a new resolution, which not all the members want to accept. It is this lack of union that is urging the hawks in Washington to act outside the Security Council. All those who want to prevent a war in the Gulf must place Saddam with his back to the wall”. “Disunited Nations”, headlines Die Welt of 26/2 on the opposing positions that are splitting the UNO. “Weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, crimes and wars of religion threaten the world order – comments Michael Stürmer -. Despite its shortcomings, however, the UNO remains the necessary watchdog for weapons control”. The weekly Der Spiegel of 24/2 contains an interview with the head of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, Mohamed El Baradei, who discusses the situation and the chances of avoiding a war: “I still see a possibility for peace. The most important thing is that the Iraqi government seems finally to have grasped the gravity of the situation… The return of the inspectors is to be attributed to the atmosphere of military threat created especially by the USA”, although – he says – “we are not yet fully satisfied by Baghdad’s willingness to cooperate”.

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