IRAQ–AND NO PEACE IN SIGHT?
The pressure on Iraq increases. While President Bush gave a strong speech on Thursday to the United Nations, Germany’s position has been unrelenting against any military action.
Der Stern reported on September 5 that “the fight between Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and U.S. President George W. Bush involving Iraq has escalated to reach a serious crisis between the two countries.” While Chancellor candidate Edmund Stoiber, according to Der Spiegel, dated September 12, had tried to “wiggle himself out of the Iraq debate,” highly-respected former President Richard von Weizsaecker approved the position of Gerhard Schroeder’s government, according to Der Spiegel of September 10. On September 12, Bild reported, that Edmund Stoiber reversed his prior position, stating that he could not support an American military attack against Iraq. He also pointed out that Germany could not be involved, militarily, in any action against Iraq.
So far, Russia and China have also stated that they will not support a military attack on Iraq. Tony Blair of Great Britain, however, has announced that he will support President Bush. The positions of France, Denmark and Italy are less clear.
In the meantime, the German government clarified, according to Der Spiegel of September 10, that they will not support a military attack in Iraq, even if the United Nations were to agree to it, and that this would include even financial aid. The international constitutional legal expert, Professor Peter Schlotter, explained that an attack on Iraq would violate international law, as it does not allow a preventive military strike on other nations.
Previously, on September 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had pointed out, during the traditional televised Jewish New Year’s message on September 4, that Libya was close to becoming the first Arab and African country to join the nuclear club. He stated that Libya would have its atomic bomb by 2004, adding that the Libyan program was being carried out by Iraqi and North Korean nuclear scientists with Saudi funding.
Prior to President Bush’s speech on September 12, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan opposed any pre-emptive action without Security Council backing. But he also accused Iraq of continuing to defy mandatory Council resolutions, which allows the use of military force, according to Washington Post of September 12. Mr. Annan put Iraq “second on a list of four current threats to world peace… First on the list is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and after Iraq comes Afghanistan and the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir,” according to the newspaper.
Yahoo! News summarized President Bush’s subsequent speech in this way, “President Bush told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that ‘action will be unavoidable’ against Iraq, unless the United Nations enforced resolutions requiring Baghdad to disarm.” Der Spiegel commented, “U.S. President George W. Bush has clarified to the United Nations, that a military attack on Iraq is unavoidable, if the United Nations does not force Saddam Hussein to disarm.”
Iraq’s U.N. ambassador criticized President Bush, saying, “We don’t care about the position of the United States. If they are threatening, if they would attack, certainly we will be there for defending ourselves.”
In Germany, according to Der Spiegel, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer described President Bush’s speech as “very harsh, very clear, and unambiguous.” Finance Minister Hans Eichel warned that a military campaign on Baghdad was the only thing that could wreck Germany’s economic recovery, according to USA Today.
The newspaper also mentioned that the United Kingdom welcomed the speech, as did Norway and Romania.
The entire written text of Mr. Bush’s speech can be found on www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2002-09-12-bush-speech_x.htm
We are bringing the following excerpts from his speech:
“Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation… Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human rights found that Iraq continues to commit ‘extremely grave violations’ of human rights and that the regime’s repression is ‘all pervasive.’ Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating, burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands; children in the presence of their parents — all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state…
“In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the emir of Kuwait and a former American President. Iraq’s government openly praised the attacks of September 11th. And al-Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq… [T]he regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Saudi warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks… Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon… Iraq is building more long-range missiles that could inflict mass death throughout the region…
“Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1989, and Kuwait in 1990. He has fired ballistic missiles at Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians and 40 Iraqi villages. My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council on a new resolution to meet our common challenge. If Iraq’s regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately and decisively to hold Iraq to account. The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced — the just demands of peace and security will be met — or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power… We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. Delagates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand as well.”
THE RETURN OF JOERG HAIDER IN AUSTRIA
As the Washington Post reported on September 9, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel broke up his coalition with Joerg Haider’s Freedom Party, calling for new elections in November, after Haider had led a revolt within his party, forcing the resignation of party chief and Vice Chancellor Susanne Riess-Passer and Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser. The paper continued that these events “mark Haider’s return to the center stage of Austrian politics” and that “Haider was likely to lead the Freedom Party on a more radical course, including opposing EU expansion.” Der Spiegel and Der Stern reported on September 11 and September 12 that Haider, after certain unspecified concessions had been made to him, was recommended to become the party’s new leader, and that a close friend of his, minister Herbert Haupt, will be nominated as Chancellor candidate. Haider explained that he did not want to run for Chancellor in November, as he had promised to remain governor in the province of Carinthia until 2004, and that he “is used to keep his promises.”