News




      DATE=02/19/98
      TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-10582
     TITLE=ON IRAQ:COLUMBUS DEBATE AND ANNAN'S VISIT
    BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE
 TELEPHONE=619-3335
  DATELINE=WASHINGTON
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS

CONTENT=



INTRO:  A POSSIBLE MILITARY ATTACK ON IRAQ FROM THE UNITED STATES
AND BRITAIN CONTINUES TO REMAIN THE FOCUS OF MOST OF THE WORLD'S 
EDITORIAL PAGES THIS WEEK.  IN THE WORLD'S MAJOR DAILIES, THE 
RAUCOUS PUBLIC MEETING AT OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY IN COLUMBUS, AT 
WHICH THE TOP U-S POLICY MAKERS TRIED TO EXPLAIN AND DEFEND THEIR
POSITION, IS A POPULAR TOPIC.  SO IS U-N SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI 
ANNAN'S LAST MINUTE VISIT TO BAGHDAD. 

JOINING US IN THE STUDIO NOW IS _________________ WITH THE LATEST
COMMENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD ON THE IRAQ-U-S SHOWDOWN IN THIS 
WEEK'S WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP. 

TEXT:  THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WAR OF WORDS REGARDING 
IRAQ'S FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH UNITED NATIONS AGREEMENTS IT SIGNED
AFTER THE GULF WAR ABOUT ALLOWING OPEN INSPECTION OF ITS WEAPONS 
PRODUCTION AND STORAGE FACILITIES, ARE FRONT AND CENTER IN THE 
WORLD'S PRESS THIS THURSDAY. 

 ONE EVENT DRAWING CONSIDERABLE ATTENTION WAS THE RANCOROUS 
PUBLIC MEETING AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL ARENA 
WEDNESDAY, AT WHICH TOP GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TRIED TO EXPLAIN AND
DEFEND THE POLICY.  THEY WERE MET WITH A SMALL, BUT BOISTEROUS 
GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO CHANTED 1960'S STYLE ANTI-WAR CHANTS AND 
ASKED DIFFICULT QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROPOSED ATTACK.

OTHER PAPERS ARE FOCUSING ON THE PENDING VISIT TO BAGHDAD OF U-N 
SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN WHO IS TRYING TO REACH A COMPROMISE 
IN A SCHEDULED WEEKEND VISIT WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN.

WE BEGIN OUR SAMPLING IN THE MIDDLE EAST WITH ONE OF THAT 
REGION'S MOST FAMOUS DAILIES, CAIRO'S "AL AHRAM" WHICH RAN THIS 
COLUMN:

VOICE:   IF [MR.] ANNAN SUCCEEDED IN FINDING A SOLUTION WITH 
         WHICH THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE SATISFIED, WHICH SEEMS 
         IMPOSSIBLE, IRAQ WILL GENEROUSLY RETRACT ITS POSITION 
         AND SPOIL THE U-S 'CHANCE TO CONDUCT THE STRIKE.  THIS 
         IS THE ONLY HOPE.  HOWEVER, WASHINGTON WILL PROBABLY 
         REJECT THE PROPOSALS. 

TEXT:  NEXT DOOR, IN ISRAEL, A LAW EXPERT AND COLUMNIST RUTH 
GABIZON HAD THESE THOUGHTS IN "MAARIV."

VOICE:   ONE VERY SENSIBLE AND EFFECTIVE WAY OF AVERTING AN IRAQI
         MISSILE ATTACK ON ISRAEL IS TO HAVE THE UNITED STATES 
         SCRAP ITS MILITARY PLANS AGAINST THAT NATION ..... A U-S
         WAR ON IRAQ IS CLEARLY INDEFENSIBLE.  A WAR WILL ACHIEVE
         NOTHING EXCEPT KILL IRAQI CIVILIANS AND MAKE THE LIVES 
         OF OTHERS EVEN MORE MISERABLE.  

                           /// OPT ///

TEXT:  TURNING TO JORDAN, "AL-DUSTUR" ONE OF THE LARGEST AMMAN 
DAILIES, NOTED:

VOICE:   IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, THE AMERICAN AIM IS TO ABORT 
         [MR.] ANNAN'S VISIT .... TIME IS NO LONGER ON 
         WASHINGTON'S SIDE.  IF THE IRAQIS MANAGE TO COME TO AN 
         AGREEMENT WITH KOFI ANNAN, WASHINGTON WILL BE THE LOSER 
         AND IRAQ WILL WIN. 

                         /// END OPT ///

TEXT:  FROM THE SAUDI ARABIAN CAPITOL, RIYAD, "AL-JAZIRA'S" 
EDITORIAL POSITION INCLUDED THESE THOUGHTS:

VOICE:   WE DO NOT SEE IN THE IRAQI REGIME'S ATTEMPTS TO COMPEL 
         THE UNITED STATES TO CARRY OUT DESTRUCTIVE MILITARY 
         STRIKES, EITHER UNILATERALLY OR WITH SUPPORT FROM 
         OTHERS, ANY POLITICAL GAINS ON DOMESTIC, REGIONAL OR 
         INTERNATIONAL LEVELS .... THE ARAB, ISLAMIC AND FOREIGN 
         WORLDS ARE AGAINST A MILITARY OPTION .... BUT .... 
         SADDAM HUSSEIN ... NEVER LEARNS FROM HIS MISTAKES.

TEXT:  TURNING TO EUROPE, AND FIRST IN LONDON, THERE WAS A 
REACTION IN THE BRITISH PRESS TO THE BOISTEROUS TOWN MEETING AT 
OHIO STATE FROM "THE GUARDIAN" WHICH NOTED:

VOICE:   SENIOR WHITE HOUSE FOREIGN POLICY MAKERS MET A BARRAGE 
         OF HOSTILITY WHEN THEY VENTURED INTO THE AMERICAN 
         HEARTLAND YESTERDAY TO RALLY PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR POSSIBLE
         MILITARY STRIKES AGAINST IRAQ: A SELF-INFLICTED DOMESTIC
         PUBLIC RELATIONS DISASTER WHICH COULD DISRUPT THE 
         ADMINISTRATION'S IRAQ STRATEGY .... PUBLIC CONTROVERSY 
         OF THIS KIND WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BE USED TO EMBARRASS THE 
         ADMINISTRATION AT HOME AND ABROAD AS IT STRUGGLES TO 
         CREATE A COALITION FOR FRESH MILITARY ACTION AGAINST 
         SADDAM HUSSEIN. 

                           /// OPT ///

TEXT:  ACROSS TOWN, "THE INDEPENDENT" SAID OF THE RAUCOUS 
MEETING, IN WHICH SECRETARY OF STATE ALBRIGHT, SECRETARY OF 
DEFENSE COHEN AND WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER BERGER 
ALL TOOK PART:

VOICE:   THE QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF A LARGE AUDIENCE PACKED 
         INTO OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY'S BASKETBALL STADIUM PROVED 
         MORE ENLIGHTENING THAN THE ANSWERS, FOR THEY REVEALED 
         THAT THE U-S PUBLIC ECHOES THE MISGIVINGS EXPRESSED BY 
         MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND A LARGE NUMBER OF MILITARY AND 
         FOREIGN POLICY SPECIALISTS IN WASHINGTON ABOUT A 
         MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST SADDAM.

                         /// END OPT ///

TEXT:  JUST ACROSS THE CHANNEL, IN THE HAGUE, ONE OF HOLLAND'S 
LARGEST DAILIES, "DE VOLKSKRANT"  RAN A STORY HEADLINED "YOUNG 
PEOPLE DO NOT WANT ALBRIGHT'S 'RACIST' WAR."  THE PAPER'S 
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT DESCRIBES THE DIFFICULT TIME SECRETARIES
ALBRIGHT AND COHEN HAD DEALING WITH A YOUNG CROWD WHO KEPT 
INTERRUPTING THEM, BUT ADDS:

VOICE:   .... THE OPPOSITION WAS A REFRESHING INTERRUPTION OF 
         WHAT HAD PROMISED TO BE A BORING EVENT.  .... THE ONLY 
         ONE [OF THE PANEL] WHO WAS UNDISTURBED BY IT ALL WAS 
         NATIONAL [SECURITY] ADVISOR SANDY BERGER.  BUT THEN, 
         [MR.] BERGER PARTICIPATED IN MANY DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE 
         SIXTIES HIMSELF.

TEXT:  IN FRANCE, THE PARIS DAILY "LIBERATION" SUGGESTS:

VOICE:   THE GHOSTS OF AMERIC'S DEEP DIVISIONS, AS DURING THE 
         VIETNAM WAR, REAPPEARED ... YESTERDAY ... AT OHIO STATE 
         UNIVERSITY .... IF THE AMERICANS ARE RELUCTANT, IT IS 
         BECAUSE THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE MODERATION [MR.] 
         CLINTON SHOWS ... THIS LOGIC OF WAR DOES NOT AROUSE A 
         WAR FEVER, NOT EVEN A REAL DEBATE.

TEXT:  IN ASIA, THE LEADING JAPANESE TELEVISION NETWORK N-H-K RAN
THIS REPORT FROM WASHINGTON ABOUT THE OHIO MEETING.

VOICE:    PERHAPS, THE U-S ADMINISTRATION TOOK THIS 'UNUSUAL' 
         STEP AFTER REALIZING THAT THE MILITARY OPTION IS NOT 
         GETTING AS MUCH SUPPORT FROM THE AMERICAN PUBLIC AS 
         EXPECTED.  .... ONE THING IS CLEAR.  OPINIONS EXPRESSED 
         AT THESE FORUMS ARE EXPECTED TO HAVE A CONSIDERABLE 
         EFFECT ON THE ADMINISTRATION'S FINAL DECISION-MAKING.

TEXT:  WHILE IN INDIA, AT LEAST ONE MAJOR DAILY, "THE HINDU" 
APPEARS TO BE RESIGNED TO A MILITARY ACTION. 

VOICE:   EVEN A LAST-MINUTE DIPLOMATIC FORMULA MAY ONLY POSTPONE 
         WHAT NOW APPEARS AN INEVITABLE DENOUEMENT IN THE GULF.  
         UNDERLYING THE HARDENED POSITIONS OF THE TWO SIDES IS 
         THE REALITY THAT THE STATUS QUO IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE 
         TO EITHER IRAQ OR THE UNITED STATES .... ONE THING SEEMS
         CERTAIN.  IF THE PRESENT CONFRONTATION ENDS UP IN A WAR,
         THE GEOPOLITICS OF THE GULF WILL NOT REMAIN THE SAME.

TEXT:   FINALLY, TO AFRICA, WHERE, IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA'S 
"CAPE ARGUS" WARNS:

VOICE:   THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE SHOULD BE FIRMLY DISCOURAGED 
         IN ANY SITUATION WHERE THE POSSIBILITY OF A PEACEFUL 
         ALTERNATIVE EXISTS.  EVEN THE THREATS OF STRIKES AGAINST
         IRAQ HAVE HAD UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCES.  AS CRITICS OF 
         AMERICAN POLICY HAVE POINTED OUT, THESE THREATS HAVE 
         ALREADY GREATLY DIMINISHED THE PROSPECTS OF ....KOFI 
         ANNAN SUCCEEDING IN HIS IRAQI PEACE MISSION, FOR HE NOW 
         FACES THE TASK OF PERSUADING A BELEAGUERED LEADER TO 
         BACK DOWN IN THE FACE OF AMERICAN SABER RATTLING.

TEXT:  ON THAT NOTE, WE END THIS SAMPLING OF THE LATEST WORLD 
WIDE REACTION TO THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE CONFRONTATION BETWEEN 
THE UNITED STATES AND IRAQ.

NEB/ANG/PLM



  





      

19-Feb-98 4:57 PM EST (2157 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
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