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The Press : The Gulf War on the World's Editorial Pages

January 22, 1991

"The Gulf War is not only about Kuwait. Iraq has a huge military force and if Saddam Hussein is not stopped there, the danger exists that he will try to occupy the rich oil fields throughout the region in order to rule it politically and economically. (He tried to invade Iran earlier). It is not enough for the Allied forces to chase the Iraqi army out of Kuwait, because the Iraqi leader will find a new area to attack after failure in Iran and Kuwait."

--Nepszabadsag, Budapest

"It would be paradoxical if the Master of Baghdad--once beaten--became the moral winner of the conflict in the eyes of Arab masses, and transformed himself into a martyr inflaming the whole Middle East. Before the end of the conflict, we will have to consolidate our links with the Arab world . . .

"Europe, a dwarf in this major conflict, without any real military voice in this war so important for our future, doubtless has a significant role to play by consolidating the threads between the international community, the United States and the Arab world."

--Le Soir, Brussels

"So the Gulf War has begun. And not in the recent history of the world has there been a more justified battle . . .

"If we let one Saddam Hussein get away with robbery and murder, how many other two-bit dictators will start to pop up all round the world? God speed, lads. Our thoughts are with you. We know you will emerge victorious."

--The Sun, London

"The invasion of Kuwait represented in practice the first challenge to the new international order resulting from the end of the Cold War. With the usual rules of bipolarity left behind, with the redefinition of the role of the ideological blocs that prevailed until then, it was thought that the world was mature enough to choose between order and anarchy. . . .

"All this is precarious when dealing with unstable personalities such as Saddam Hussein, who changes behavior and policies as events unfold: Now he stirs up the question of 'artificial frontiers,' now he tries to ignite the region with the Palestinian question. In truth, he committed robbery in Kuwait. There is no world order that can endure the anarchy of the narrow interests of narcissistic leaders elevated to regional power. Perhaps the American psychiatrist was right who said Saddam Hussein is "now, for the first time, where he thinks he should be: with his hands metaphorically squeezing the world's throat."

--Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro

"Since the armed strikes relentlessly unleashed by the largely Christian United States on Muslim Arab land are not simply punishment for invasion, but are regarded as part of an oil strategy supporting the interests of developed countries, might not the assault incur deep wrath from Arabs? Even supposing that successful strikes on Iraq will please affluent Kuwaitis and Saudis, there is a danger, as we saw in the Vietnam War, that the Americans might lose the hearts and minds of the Arabs.

"The confrontation has brought to light the Palestinian question, which is difficult to solve due to historical grudges harbored by Arabs. This must not be repeated."

--Asahi, Tokyo

"Kuwait was an excuse. In the midst of a power vacuum created by the crumbling of the Soviet Union, the United States saw a threat to its vital interests: military control of a zone of conflict and a guaranteed supply of cheap oil. And it acted accordingly. . . .

"The predictable outcome of the war will be to strengthen the United States. This will infringe on Mexico's sovereignty. With what country will Mexico negotiate a trade integration agreement? With a superpower that reconfirmed its strategic interests in the key moment after the Cold War."

--El Financiero, Mexico City

"According to Perez de Cuellar's words, now is not the time for diplomacy. 'I can do but very little,' he said on . . . the first day of the war in the Persian Gulf.

"It is a paradoxical situation really: the United Nations, an organization created as a mechanism for securing and protecting peace, is acting in the role of an outside and unbiased observer of a war, which has already transcended the Persian Gulf borders--remember the Iraqi strike on Israel?--and can spread further beyond the Middle Eastern confines. . . .

"The insufficiently high level of mediatory activities by the U.N. will not be without consequences, no matter how or when the conflict ends."

--Izvestia, Moscow

"Now it's happened. For five months Saddam Hussein provoked the world. He mugged and robbed a country, he has kidnaped and slaughtered people. Never has anyone had so much time to change. He didn't want to . . .

"Getting rid of Saddam Hussein is not about 'No Blood for Oil.' It is about--whether Arab, Christian, Jew or atheist--whether we want to live on this Earth in peace with each other or whether we want to be threatened."

--Bild Zeitung, Hamburg

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