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European Press Review: Battlefront Iraq and Chechnya

European newspapers on Thursday commented on two purported fronts of the so-called war on terrorism: the situation in Iraq, the US and the Chechen conflict.


The Independent of London cited “private monitoring groups” as suggesting that the war and occupation have killed 10,000 Iraqi civilians. The paper suspected that this may or may not have been exaggerated, but that there was simply no public account of the fate of many of the ordinary civilians in whose name this war was fought, the paper concluded.

Politiken from Copenhagen pointed out that the number of attacks on US forces had increased from 700 per month in the spring to 2,700 in August.The violence in Iraq the paper wrote, “is growing and growing” and the paper second the opinion of US Presidential candidate that 1,000 was “tragic milestone.”

La Republique des Pyrenees from France wished Kerry would say where, when and how he wanted to lead the war, because US President George W. Bush had the advantage of living up to what Americans expected of him. The paper thought that after the pictures of the school massacre: “Americans, full of anxiety, would choose the wrong answer over no answer.”

L’Independent du Midi, also from France, was not surprised that Bush’s "preventive war doctrine" would inspire other countries like Russia. The paper worried that terrorism could be a welcome smoke screen "for Russia to intervene in Georgia or any other country in the region that wouldn’t conform to Russia’s political line.”

Nezavisimaya Gazeta from Moscow listed the countries which the US has labelled as containing “the central nodes of international terrorism: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the south of Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.” The paper opined that Moscow “doesn’t have the power” to deal with all these countries.

The Financial Times of London took to task Washington and Moscow’s whole approach to terrorism. It accused Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin of “creating an utterly unrealistic public perception of what needs to be done to defeat terrorists in all their many forms: both dignifying the enemy, and implying that ultimate victory can be won.”

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