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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq; Serbia

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 000709

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN, WHA/PDA
WHITE HOUSE PASS NSC/WEUROPE, NSC/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KMDR OIIP OPRC CA
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ; SERBIA


IRAQ
1. "Diplomacy's last days"
The conservative National Post opined (3/14):
"...Barring some blockbuster discovery by the
inspectors, or an over-the-top sabre-rattling gesture
from Saddam, the United States and Britain have little
chance of convincing their opponents on the Security
Council to explicitly sign off on an invasion - and it
is only a matter of days before they give up the UN
procedure entirely. Given the stubborn pacifism of
France et al., such exasperation is understandable.
Still, Washington and London should make every effort
to bring the matter up for a vote at the Security
Council - even in a losing cause. If they can get the
minimum nine votes needed to pass the resolution,
either the French or Russians will be forced to block
it by exercising their veto power. It will then be
clear to all who is responsible for the United
Nations' slide into irrelevance."

2. "Bush, Blair must give Iraq time"
The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (3/14): "It's
amateur hour at the United Nations. If this is Friday,
U.S. President George Bush must be pounding home his
view that Saddam Hussein is 'evil' and needs to be
whacked. Or that he threatens New York with horror
weapons. Or that he's gearing to hammer Israel. Or that
he's thumbing his nose at the U.N. Security Council.
It's getting hard to keep track of Bush's restless
rationales for war.... Rarely have American and British
leaders looked so misguided, so ineffectual and so
isolated. Meanwhile, Saddam sits in
Baghdad, gloating. This is what comes of trying to
bamboozle, bully and bribe an otherwise united Security
Council into a wrongheaded, needlessly
rushed war.... Yes, Saddam is a dangerous criminal who
must be denied nuclear, chemical and biological
weapons. Security Council resolution 1441, passed
unanimously last Nov. 8, demands that. But it doesn't
mandate what Bush really wants: Saddam's ouster. Nor
does it require Iraq disarm by Sunday, as Bush has
demanded. And for good reason. Saddam has been held in
check for 12 years. He does not seriously threaten the
United States, Britain or any other country. He can be
contained.... Making war on Iraq must be a last resort.
It could cost $100 billion, result in tens of
thousands of deaths and create new recruits for terror.
That's a high price to pay for Saddam's head.
Especially if Baghdad can be disarmed within weeks
if the Security Council remains united and presses its
demands. But it's amateur hour. This farce isn't over
yet."

3. "UN must authorize war:"
In a CBC Radio commentary (3/12), international affairs
columnist for the leading Globe and Mail Marcus Gee
reflected that, "However the Iraq crisis turns out, one
good thing has already come out of it. Everybody is
talking about the United Nations. Suddenly, the U.N.
matters. Everybody on both sides of the Iraq debate
agrees on that.... Saddam Hussein has tried for 12-
years to get weapons of mass destruction, making his
country an international pariah, putting his people
through years of sanctions and allied bombing, and
foregoing tens of billions of dollars in oil
revenue.... An Iraq armed with weapons of mass
destruction, and bent on vengeance for its defeat in
the Gulf War, would present a risk not just to its
neighbours, but to the whole world. But have all means
short of war been tried? Again the answer has to be
yes. We've had 12-years of diplomacy and sanctions and
every other kind of non-military pressure. None of it
has worked. The anti-war camp wants more inspections.
But inspectors will never uncover Saddam's weapons if
he does not want to give them up. And once the threat
of war comes off, Saddam will simply stop co-operating
again. The United Nations Security Council has passed
17- resolutions demanding Iraq's immediate disarmament.
This week it's likely to vote on an 18th. This time it
must make sure its words mean something. If it misses
this chance to show it can confront real threats to the
world, the United States and other big powers will
simply ignore it next time and the institution will
become a global non-entity."

SERBIA
4. "Serb hope shot dead"
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press commented (3/14):
"...Since the fall of Mr. Milosevic, Serbs have been
politically apathetic. Twice they have failed to turn
out in democratic elections in sufficient numbers to
elect a president. Serbia now has an acting president,
an acting prime minister, an acute political crisis -
and a challenge to ensure that the good that Zoran
Djindjic accomplished is not interred with his bones,
that his dream of a free, democratic, prosperous Serbia
does not die with him."

CELLUCCI

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