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European Press Review: Attack Highlights Failed U.S. Policy

European newspapers on Wednesday focused on the attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad saying it highlighted America’s inadequacies in rebuilding postwar Iraq.


Does the ghost of Vietnam haunt the American intervention in Iraq?

London's the Independent summed it up in the headline: "Massacre of the Peacemakers" placed above a photo of the wreckage of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. The target was not the occupying powers but the civilian officials of the U.N. Some 50 percent of the Iraqi people depend on the world organization for food distribution, without which the misery of the population would undoubtedly increase and therefore their resentment at the occupiers, the paper theorized. The obvious answer is to internationalize the security forces by bringing in troops from a much wider range of countries including other Arab states and to hasten the handover of control to the Iraqi people. Yet Washington has so far set its face firmly against giving power or authority to the United Nations, the paper commented.

Parisian daily Liberation agreed saying the tragedy emphasizes the need for more international engagement in Iraq. The Iraqi terrorists wanted to achieve two things: to show that the occupying forces have no strategy to avert the chaos and to shock the international community into resisting U.S. calls for support in Iraq. According to the paper the only hope rests with international intervention and that's why despite the murder of Sergio de Mello the U.N. must not pull out, the paper concluded.

The tactics of the Iraqi resistance are obvious, pointed out the Austrian paper Die Presse. It wants to target the Iraqi infrastructure and increase the sense of resentment among the population towards the occupying forces and target international organizations to prevent other countries from coming to the aid of the United States. Every attack highlights the weakness of the U.S. policy in Iraq, the paper maintained, and the failure to come up with an adequate concept for after the war.

The Spanish daily El Mundo wrote that it's not the ghost of Vietnam that haunts the American intervention in Iraq but Lebanon. Western military intervention could not solve the conflict in Lebanon, and the paper observed that the U.S. troops are reliving the same situation in Iraq, where the population is growing to hate the foreign invaders. At the same time the U.S. is giving Islamic fundamentalism a platform. Washington and its allies have created a situation that is ten times more threatening for the world community than before the war in Iraq, the paper warned.

Rome's La Repubblica believed the attacks and the mounting corpses are a daily warning that Baghdad's regime has not been overcome and that it's still operating underground under the leadership of Saddam Hussein.

Berlin's Die Welt also maintained that the deposed Iraqi President and the remnants of his Ba'ath party are continuing the war underground and their attacks on Iraqi infrastructure are delaying the reconstruction of the devastated country. But this latest tragedy should not detract from the fact that there have been many positive changes to Iraq from the fall of a dictatorial regime to the freedom of opinion in the new Iraqi administration, the paper wrote.

The Guardian of London said the solution to the violence can only be achieved by the coalition forces and Iraq working in tandem in policing, in intelligence and eventually in military action. In it's efforts to expand the Iraqi police and lay the basis for a new Iraqi army, the occupation regime has recognized this truth, said the paper, and unfortunately there's a long way to go.

Even though Washington is spending one billion dollars each week in Iraq, the country is not doing well under the administration of the Americans, commented Le Figaro. It was never an easy thing to plant the seeds of democracy, the Parisian daily noted, and the U.S. is slowly recognizing that that the surgical invasion of a foreign country is a more complicated task than the Americans realized.