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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq; Africa

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 OTTAWA 002388

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; AFRICA


IRAQ
1. "Rebuilding Iraq remains crucial"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (8/21): "Horrific as
Tuesday's bomb attack was on Iraq's United Nations
headquarters, no one who has followed events in
that country can be surprised that matters have taken a
turn for the worse. From the moment the United States
attacked Saddam Hussein, it was clear that
handling the instability caused by his departure might
be as difficult as dealing with Iraq while he was in
power, if not more so. The question is what Washington
and the international community should do about it....
The bombing of the UN clearly marks an escalation of
anti-American and anti-Western tendencies in Iraq....
This too should come as little surprise. It was all but
inevitable that a host of anti-U.S. forces both inside
and outside Iraq would seize on any opportunity to
imperil the reconstruction effort, in order to make the
West look as bad as possible and to drive disaffected
Iraqis into the arms of the militant Islamist movement.
There are any number of countries nearby with
extremists to spare, including Syria, Iran and Saudi
Arabia. That is precisely why the United States and
others involved in the effort to rebuild Iraq should
stay the course, if not redouble their efforts to bring
about stability as quickly as possible. Any sign of
weakness - any sign, for example, that President George
W. Bush is wavering as a result of simplistic
criticisms that his country is in for 'another
Vietnam'...will only encourage anti-U.S. forces in Iraq
and elsewhere.... Rather than pull staff or troops out,
the United States needs to provide more of both, and
other countries need to help as part of a broad UN
effort.... Rebuilding countries - or, rather, helping a
beaten and starving populace to rebuild them - is not
easy. It took years in Japan and even longer in
Germany, and cost billions of dollars to finance. The
reconstruction is likely to take just as long in both
Iraq and Afghanistan.
American and international forces don't want to take
too much on themselves for fear of being seen as
occupiers. Yet if they don't do enough, quickly enough,
they will be seen as uncaring. More than anything, they
cannot give up."

2. "Sometimes it is 'us' and 'them'"
Columnist Marcus Gee observed in the leading Globe and
Mail (8/21): "If Tuesday's bombings in Jerusalem and
Baghdad did anything, they served to remind us what we
are up against. Any act of terrorism is savage,
senseless, cowardly - the past couple of years have
exhausted our language of condemnation. But these were
acts of particular barbarism.... The United Nations
says it will stay, despite Tuesday's attack, and that
is good. However, Washington has had trouble persuading
other countries to join a multinational force that
would help relieve U.S. troops. Those countries should
step up to help. The United States, in return, should
be more willing to share interim control of Iraq with
the UN and other international
partners. In the Holy Land, confronting terrorism means
taking a still harder line with countries in the region
that support violence, such as Syria, Iran and Sudan.
It means supporting Israel when it acts in its own
defence to combat terrorist organizations. It means
pressing the Palestinian leadership to crack down on
terrorist groups. It means encouraging both
sides to move toward a negotiated settlement that would
help undermine support for terrorism. Just as
important, confronting terrorists requires clear
thinking about us and about them. And, yes, sometimes,
there is an 'us' and a 'them.' This is one of those
times. The fight we are waging is nothing less than the
fight between civilization and barbarism. If Tuesday's
murderous bombings did not prove that, then they proved
nothing."

3. "A truckful of evil"
The conservative National Post editorialized (8/21):
"The ongoing guerrilla war against U.S. troops in Iraq
provides ample proof that, contrary to the Polyannish
predictions offered by some American officials, a
substantial number of Iraqis are bristling at the
presence of foreign troops in their land. But Tuesday's
truck bombing of the United Nations Iraqi headquarters
in Baghdad...shows that the United States is dealing
with something far more pathological than militant
nationalism. The function of United Nations
personnel in Iraq is to provide aid and alleviate
hardship. Yet the terrorists who struck on Tuesday were
willing to slaughter these good Samaritans merely so
they could discredit the United States and its ability
to maintain order.... Those who delight in skewering
the U.S. war effort have pointed out that Iraq is home
to more terrorists now, in the wake of
its liberation, than when it suffered under Saddam
Hussein's jackboot. That's true - but it misses the
point. The perceived threat from Iraq, as we
have noted often in this space, was not merely garden-
variety terrorism - it was the intersection of
terrorism, rogue power and weapons of mass
destruction.... Iraq is now a magnet for Arab and
Muslim terrorists worldwide.... Washington should warn
Tehran, Riyadh and Damascus that if they wage war
against the United States through terrorist proxies,
they will be treated accordingly. Another crucial
ingredient in any terrorist struggle is the support of
the local civilian population. Despite the terrorists'
best efforts, the United States must win over as many
Iraqis as possible by providing them with a better life
- which means food, clean water, dependable electric
power and as much security as circumstances permit. A
homegrown army and police force should also be trained
and deployed as soon as possible. In blowing up foreign
soldiers and aid workers, terrorists can hide behind
the conceit that they are martyrs and patriots. Once
they are forced to confront Iraqis in uniform, it will
become apparent to all that
they are merely murderous thugs bent on denying the
country a better future."

4. "Attack in Iraq must be answered by greater
international effort"
The left-of-center Vancouver Sun commented (8/20): "It
is a struggle to imagine what was going through the
minds of the terrorists who engineered the massive
truck bomb attack on the United Nations compound in
Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon. What did they imagine
they would accomplish by killing and wounding dozens of
civilians whose only purpose was to help to rebuild
an Iraq stricken by war and decades of brutal
dictatorship? The question may contain the seeds of the
answer. The purpose was perhaps a coldly conceived,
brutal act of terror against a soft target and aimed
with malign forethought at the vanguard of civilian
reconstructors. The message to the UN and to
countries contemplating involvement in the rebuilding
of Iraq is that they take their lives in their hands
undertaking such work.... Iraq needs a functional, not
necessarily perfect, level of security behind which the
work of reconstruction can go on. And essential to that
task must be a recognition by Washington that, like it
or not, it is in the business of nation-building in
Iraq. So far Washington has envisaged only a highly
restricted role for the UN in the work of
reconstruction. The attack on the UN in Baghdad should
give Washington stark forewarning of the quagmire that
awaits it if the terrorists succeed in isolating the
coalition from the international community. Equally,
the international community - Canada included - must
recognize this attack on it cannot be allowed to serve
the bombers' purpose."

5. "The tragedy of denial"
Under the sub-heading, "A truck bomb forces the United
Nations to confront terrorism," the nationalist Ottawa
Citizen observed (8/20): "In the weeks after the Sept.
11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the United
Nations Security Council passed various resolutions
calling on its members to cut off funding and support
for terrorist groups. Nevertheless, the 15-member
council could not bring itself to define terrorism. Now
that the UN itself has been attacked by terrorists,
perhaps it can.... The attack, like the one that
followed a few hours later in Israel, is to be
condemned, and, no doubt, there will be Security
Council resolutions to that effect. But will the UN
grasp its deeper significance and its lesson? It's a
sad irony that the UN has long been criticized as the
patron of illiberal Arab-Muslim regimes.... Why would
terrorists attack an institution that has been such a
self-abasing apologist for Arab dictatorships? It is
not hard to discern the 'mind' and the motive behind
the Baghdad bombing. On one level, this attack, like
the recent acts of sabotage on oil and water pipelines,
is intended to undermine the efforts of the U.S. and
its partners to foster a stable and democratic society
in Iraq. The terrorists want to show that the U.S.
cannot provide the security Iraqis need to feel before
they actively turn away from
Saddam's lingering hold on the country. But there is
also a deeper significance to this attack. Even though
the UN has become an instrument of Third World
appeasement, it is also regarded by Muslim extremists
to embody western ideas of pluralism, human rights and
cosmopolitanism.... The Islamists may have no rational
political program beyond nihilism, but blowing up the
UN headquarters, and killing a man like Mr. de Mello,
who was once the UN's human rights commissioner,
suggests a hatred for modernity, tolerance and
globalism. How should the UN respond to this
'rejection'? It can start by having the courage to
define terrorism.... The UN, for so many years, ignored
or minimized the crimes of states known to sponsor
terror. Perhaps the UN wanted simply to be an honest
broker. Instead, it became weak and ineffective, and
all the while still despised by the very people it
hoped to appease.

AFRICA
6. "No tears for a brute"
Under the sub-heading, "Idi Amin's legacy was to
entrench the cult of African strongmen," the
nationalist Ottawa Citizen opined (8/21): "...Uganda
was in bad shape when Mr. Amin took control, but he
took his country to new depths. In the process, he
entrenched a tradition that haunts the entire continent
to this day, the cult of African strongmen - strongmen
who plunder their countries' natural wealth for their
personal gratification, all the while repressing their
own people with sadistic, almost bestial glee.... Other
African strongmen such as Charles Taylor and Robert
Mugabe are spiritual descendants of Mr. Amin. Mr.
Mugabe in particular, through his persecution of
Zimbabwe's white farmers, has carried on Mr. Amin's
legacy of Afro-centric racism.... Today, Robert Mugabe
continues to confiscate white-owned farms and
distribute them to his cronies, just as Mr. Amin
confiscated property belonging to non-black Ugandans.
Mr. Mugabe is
condemning Zimbabwe to poverty, just as Mr. Amin did
Uganda. There is a lesson here, and some hope. Mr.
Amin's long exile was morally unsatisfying,
but the best thing for Ugandans. And last week,
Liberian dictator Charles Taylor surrendered power and
went into exile in Nigeria. Even Mr. Mugabe is losing
control, as his African neighbours begin to lose
patience with him. The developed world has done much,
and could always do more, to help Africa, but
ultimately it is up to Africans themselves to stop
producing military strongmen who plunder rather than
govern."

CELLUCCI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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