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Europe

European Press Review: Six Months after Saddam

The editorial pages of Europe’s newspapers on Friday focused on the six month anniversary of the ousting of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Six months ago the world watched as Saddam's statue toppled in Baghdad. But that hardly initiated a time of peace, the Tages-Anzeiger from Zürich wrote. On Thursday this week alone another twelve people died in Baghdad attacks. Unless there's some improvement, Iraqis aren't going to trust the Americans, opined the paper.

But it's too early to predict what will happen in the long run in Iraq, La Repubblica from Rome reminded. Often people make comparisons with Germany or Japan after the Second World War. But Hitler died in a bunker and Hirohito declared he wasn't a God, while Saddam Hussein just went missing, wrote the paper. The Iraqi armed forces were never decisively defeated. That must irk the Americans, according to the left-liberal Sega newspaper from Sofia, Bulgaria.

Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote there will be a power struggle in Washington, following President George Bush’s decision to pick National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, and not Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to head the Iraq Stabilization Group. When Rumsfeld gets back from a NATO meeting, it will come to a showdown, predicted the paper.

Another power struggle is happening right now among the Iraqi people, said De Volkskrant from Holland. They'll have to find a way to balance many ethnic interests in the new constitution. Some minority groups, for example, Kurds, Assyrians and Turkmenians, all want their own country, but they'd be happy to live in a federation. The Sunni minority, however, want a centralized Iraq. The Americans also need to weigh up their own security interests against good co-operation with the temporary government. What will come out of all of this, wrote the paper, is impossible to predict.