German Press Review: Terror in Iraq Reaches New Dimension | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 03.03.2004
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German Press Review: Terror in Iraq Reaches New Dimension

Germany’s papers on Wednesday examined the implications of the devastating series of bomb attacks in Iraq. There was also comment on the successful launch of the European spacecraft “Rosetta”.

The terror in Iraq has achieved a new dimension, wrote Munich’s tz newspaper which pointed out that such an horrific attack on one of Shia Islam’s holiest sites during one of the Shiites’ main festivals had huge symbolic significance. It quoted one Iraqi politician as saying "Today, war has been declared on Islam". The paper came to the conclusion that, whoever was behind the series of attacks, the objective was clear. Iraq’s Shiite majority population, which has so far been largely peaceful, is to be driven into a civil war. In that way, the USA would completely lose control of the situation and the gloomy visions of the "second Vietnam" for the US occupiers would become reality.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also thought a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites would have devastating consequences not only for Iraq but for the region as a whole.

According to another Frankfurt daily, the Frankfurter Rundschau, terror follows every political success in Iraq like an ominous shadow. Even before the interim constitution was signed, the perpetrators in Baghdad and Kerbala detonated their bombs among the pilgrims taking part in the Ashoura festival. The paper concluded that the more successful the representatives of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds were in overcoming their differences in Iraq’s Governing Council, all the more desperate would be the reactions of those who benefited from instability.

The Dresdener Neueste Nachrichten argued that a radicalization of the offended and humiliated Shiites would have dreadful consequences. It recalled that the Shi’ites make up nearly two-thirds of the Iraqi population, and had been brutally suppressed by Saddam Hussein. Now, it said, they were demanding their share of power. The fact that they agreed to concessions in the drawing up of the interim constitution, mainly because of pressure by the USA, was the pre-requisite for a functioning community in Iraq – between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. But that, the paper pointed out, was exactly what the terrorists wanted to prevent.

After a 13-month delay and two launch postponements, a billion-Euro European spacecraft, the Rosetta, on Tuesday began a decade-long quest to hunt a comet in the depths of the Solar System and shadow it around the Sun in a bid to find out how life began on Earth. Commenting on the launch, the Coburger Tageblatt expressed the hope that Rosetta would be just as successful as the Mars rover, which has now discovered proof of past floods on the red planet – thanks to the use of German instruments. The Bavarian daily declared that, in view of these achievements(and also the fact that the world’s attention will focus on the European-built landing equipment when in the summer the NASA probe Cassini-Huygens reaches Saturn), Europe is now playing a leading role in space exploration.