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German Press Review: Changing Course in Iraq

German newspapers on Friday again devoted a good deal of space to the situation in Iraq. They also examined the controversy surrounding construction of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung thought Iraq’s future – and perhaps a number of other things – will be decided by the security question. Therefore, the troops that came as liberators but are still occupiers will not be able to be

exonerated of this responsibility. It won’t be easy to find a way out of this dilemma, the paper said. It pointed out that the French government now also seems to realize just how much is at stake. If France’s offer of comprehensive

cooperation is not watered down into a sterile demand to place Iraq under UN control, it would be a step towards reviving the lost partnership with the USA.

Die Welt in Berlin was equally philosophical about the significance of Iraq. It recalled that the Europeans fell out over the diplomacy and strategy of the Iraq war. Now that the American war plan is entering a crisis both at home

and in Iraq, it’s time for the Europeans to restore their foreign and security policy, the paper said. It added that the Berlin government must understand that the future of the Atlantic alliance and Europe’s role in the world will be decided in Iraq.

According to the Lübecker Nachrichten newspaper, by changing course the Americans are giving in to pressure to put reconstruction into the hands of the Iraqis. But it questioned whether that will work at the present time without

involving the United Nations more closely. In addition, the daily said with a view to next year’s presidential elections in the United States, there is a sensation of last-minute panic.

Several papers also commented on the planned Holocaust memorial in Berlin. The discussion about the involvement of chemicals company Degussa shows that Germans still cannot have a relaxed relationship with Jews, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung wrote. Almost 60 years after the end of World War II, the country's Nazi past will continue to cause heated discussions during the construction of the memorial.

The Financial Times Deutschland agreed, saying there are bound to be more intense debates about the Third Reich and German guilt. And Degussa, the paper added, will not be washed clean of its past just by participating in the

memorial’s construction. The company will face critical questions even though it has for years dealt with its role during the Nazi era and set up a compensation fund for former slave laborers.