Press Review: Atomic Sensation | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.11.2004
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Press Review: Atomic Sensation

European editorial writers on Thursday commented on Iraq and the killing of aid worker Margaret Hassan as well as Russia’s announcement to pursue a nuclear weapons system.

European editorials were still expressing their outrage over the murder of British aid worker Margaret Hassan by her Iraqi captors. Germany’s Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten wrote that she wasn’t a fighter but an unarmed woman who spent years helping Iraq’s poorest of poor. The paper added she never hesitated to criticize the United Nations sanctions against Iraq. The

daily remarked that even other rebel groups in Iraq had called for her release. The paper pointed out that the people who will mostly be affected by her death are those most in need because it’s now near impossible to imagine that aid organizations will continue to work in Iraq.

The actions taken by Islamist terrorists in Iraq and the strategy they pursue have nothing to do with morals, even if they quote the Koran, stated Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger. To prove its point the paper said unarmed men and women, Iraqis and foreigners, Christians and Muslims are all being murdered. Various terror cells are even fighting against each other and the daily felt the conflict in Iraq is becoming ever more blurred and incalculable. And, it added, thousands of civilians are dying on the front lines by terrorist attacks or from bombs tossed by the occupying forces. People like Margaret Hassan only wanted to help, the daily concluded.

The Paris daily Liberation couldn’t agree more with the idea that the terrorists’ strategy in Iraq has nothing to do with morals. The daily asserted that any kind of successful rebellion has to start with a battle of ideas thereby merging the population into the political fold. The daily reminded us that most Muslims are nauseated by the barbarity committed in the name of Islam.

Russian papers commented on President Vladimir Putin’s remarks that his country will in the near future implement new nuclear missile systems. The Moscow daily, Kommersant, wondered why Putin revealed the secret. Answering its own question, it said perhaps he wanted to speed up an agreement with the European Union on the issue of visas? But the paper thought that this issue is sure to become more difficult to solve now. Was this a simple slip of the tongue on Putins’s part? Hardly. The paper rather thought Putin wanted to flex his muscles. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, also in Moscow, took note that Putin made his comments ahead of his trip to Chile for an APEC summit. The world’s heavy weights like the United States, Japan and China are members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group and the daily pointed out that Putin will be meeting these heads of state. The most difficult talks the Russian leader faces is with his Japanese counterpart over the return of the South Kurile Islands and the paper thought his "atomic sensation" has certainly come at the wrong time.