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German Press Review

DW staff (als)February 21, 2007

German papers on Wednesday reacted strongly to Britain and Denmark's announcement they would withdraw troops from Iraq.

Britain is to withdraw 1,500 troops from Iraq in the next few weeks, more thereafterImage: AP

Stuttgarter Zeitung took a tough line on Tony Blair's announcement he would reduce troops in Iraq. "…Blair will hardly be able to improve his image in history books," the paper wrote. "He said himself that he had wanted to lead Great Britain into the Euro zone, into the heart of Europe, but what he's ended up doing is turning the United Kingdom into an aircraft carrier for the United States," the paper wrote. It also pointed out that British voters will punish Blair's Labour Party just like American voters did with the Republicans in Congressional elections in November. "Democracies sometimes need a long time for their self-purification processes, but it's amazing to see that the democratic process works in the end."

The Obermain-Tagblatt got right to the point: "The signal from London couldn't be more embarrassing for Washington -- Tony Blair, the US' closest ally, disentangles himself from the circle of unity."

Irak USA Rede Präsident George Bush Reaktionen Bagdad Frisör
Iraqis listen to US President Bush promise more troops to Iraq in JanuaryImage: AP

Berlin's Tagesspiegel pondered the dilemma: "…Sir Richard Dannatt, the new, unusually upfront British Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, even believes that the mere presence of his soldiers in Basra triggers more violence than they prevent," the paper wrote. "….the Brits and war-weary Danes are sending out a signal of resignation with their announcement that they would withdraw troops." The paper said the US' most loyal allies were following on the heels of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have fled their country. "And that during a time when the US is trying to make one last attempt to turn the tide."

Braunschweiger Zeitung said withdrawing troops from Iraq is the right thing to do. The West has lost. That should be openly acknowledged," the paper opined. "The war against Saddam Hussein was based on lies, and the war is ending with lies," the paper continued. "Blair wants to go down in the history books as the prime minister who brought troops home. He doesn't want to leave that to his successor, Gordon Brown. Bush is going to end up doing the same."