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Europe

German Press Review: The UN in Iraq

Thursday’s German papers continued to focus on this week's deadly attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad and the bus bombing in Jerusalem, which broke the cease-fire declared two months ago by Palestinian militants.

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The UN building in Iraq was totally destroyed.

Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung said the only way change the disastrous situation in Iraq is for the United States to start sharing responsibility with the Iraqis. The Bush administration chose the wrong road into war, and now it’s on the wrong road out, it commented. America has to learn that its domineering behavior only exacerbates discontent, and increases the danger of terrorist attacks. According to the paper, the U.S. must bring in other countries, and hand over more responsibility both to Iraqis themselves and to the United Nations.

In Hamburg, the Financial Times Deutschland suggested that a good solution would be for Iraq’s neighbors to be put in charge of the police and the military. For many Iraqis, Arab faces beneath the helmets would be easier to accept than European ones, it wrote. Iraqis are only going to shake off the feeling of being occupied when the people in charge of law and order in the country are people who speak their language.

The eastern German Leipziger Volkszeitung criticised the resolution passed by the Security Council last week, in which the United States agreed to a give the UN a greater role in reconstruction, but rejected a stronger political and military presence. This can surely no longer be tenable, the paper wrote. It commented that Tuesday’s attack was particularly painful in that it was directed against those who had gone to Baghdad to help make Iraqis’ everyday life more bearable. In this sense, the paper commented, the Iraqi people are also

victims.

Some German papers commented on the announcement by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas that he was breaking off contact with Palestinian militant groups following Tuesday’s bus bombing in Jerusalem. Finally - hopefully not too late - the Palestinian leadership is starting to drain the swamp of anti-Israeli terrorism, wrote the General-Anzeiger in Bonn. But the paper suggested that, if he acts against the terror groups, Mahmoud Abbas risks an outbreak of civil war. And it commented that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is hoping he can win back more influence if Abbas should fail.

The Berliner Zeitung, meanwhile, had plenty of questions. How can the Israeli prime minister negotiate with his Palestinian counterpart when a terrorist blows up a bus in the center of Jerusalem, it asked. And how can Mahmoud Abbas ask his military police to shoot the militants? This would mean either civil war or chaos in Palestine. The paper commented that it’s going to take considerable diplomatic skill to save the roadmap, and with it the last faint hopes for peace in the Middle East.