Dailies and periodicals” “

A Security Council “divided” on the war, and an America ever more determined to mount an armed attack on Iraq (with or without a new UN resolution): that, in essence, is the current scenario of the international crisis, which continues to monopolize the attention of the main dailies . “No vote yet on Iraq, but Bush is foundering”, is the headline carried by the Herald Tribune of 12/3, over an article signed by Timothy L. O’ Brien in which the columnist points out: “ Abandoning its plans to seek a vote in the Security Council on Tuesday on a first draft resolution that would have opened the way to a military attack on Iraq, the White House has insisted it wants to secure a vote in the course of this week, even though the support of its position seemed to be in decline”. “Chirac says no to the American war against Iraq”, is the front-page headline in Le Monde (12/3), which comments on the French opposition to any proposal for a new UN resolution against Iraq. The French daily also cites, as an example of “counter-current” information, the position taken by the New York Times, which as in the times of Vietnam is strenuously opposing the war. The French Catholic daily La Croix (11/3) also dedicates a good deal of coverage to the Iraqi crisis, and speaks of “France’s option” in favour of peace; one of the articles carried inside the paper tries, among other things, to reply to the question as to the legitimacy, or not, of the International Penal Court if it were to “try Saddam Hussein” for crimes against humanity. Another columnist who reflects on the “collateral effects” of the crisis is Massimo De Angelis ( Avvenire, 12/3), in an editorial dedicated by the Italian Catholic daily to the Iraqi crisis: “If Bush is a solitary leader today, there’s another leader even more solitary than he: Tony Blair“, declares the journalist, who argues that “If Blair wanted to reinforce the role of the UNO and give a reformist image to the management of the Iraqi crisis, he has had to witness the disintegration of European reformism and perhaps will see a momentary eclipse of the UNO”. “A brain-twister”: that’s how the alternative between peace and war is defined by Giovanni Sartori, in the Corriere della Sera (12/3), who argues that Chirac, no less than Bush, “strikes fear”, because “he may delegitimize, but he certainly cannot stop the USA. He can only open a second front, that of his own ideological and diplomatic war against America”. The discussion on the Iraqi crisis now raging in the UNO is also at the centre of comments in the German press: “ What links the three powers with the right of veto [in the Security Council], who have been engaged for months in a fierce diplomatic struggle against the Americans on war and disarmament in Iraq?“, asks Die Welt of 9/3. “ The answer is as simple as it is banal“, the paper continues: “ The fact that a lot of money is at stake. If the USA and Great Britain emerge victorious, Russia, France and China would be weakened both economically and strategically. The leaders of many Iraqi opposition groups have already announced that after the fall of Saddam Hussein they will refuse to forge economic contacts with states that supported the dictator’s regime“. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 10/3 comments as follows: “ It seems improbable that this Security Council can survive the weeks that follow. For the debate is now no longer about the right position to assume against Iraq: (…) it’s about the power of the USA in the world. That’s why the quarrel will have repercussions of this intensity. No matter the final result: the total damage will be high“. In the edition of the same paper on 11/3, Nickolas Busse declares: “ The fact that the government in Washington is being obstructed by even its closest allies, will be considered with attention by dictators throughout the world. If even someone like Saddam Hussein, who has been running rings round the United Nations for years, may count on the fact that important European states continue to grant him more time to stonewall, why should not other dictators of his calibre be afraid of procuring prohibited weapons?“. Writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of 12/3, Stefan Kornelius comments: “ American foreign policy has lost its most valuable asset: the legitimacy of its leadership“. “ Never before has US foreign policy been so under pressure as it is now on the eve of a war against Iraq. Never before has the imbalance between ambition and attention been so disturbing as it is with George W. Bush“, observes Rolf Paasch in the Frankfurter Rundschau of 12/3.

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