Current Events


Austria’s Joerg Haider made news again this week when it became known that he had just visited Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. SPIEGEL ONLINE reported that Mr. Haider met with Mr. Saddam Hussein to assure him of Austria’s solidarity with the Iraqi people. Upon his return, Haider criticized the policy of the United States on Iraq.
YAHOO NEWS cited Haider as follows, “‘For the first time in my life I am in agreement with German Foreign Minister (Joschka) Fischer, which may surprise you… I share his view that you cannot portray any state as evil with unproven assertions in order to have a pretext for initiatives in arms policy.'”
SPIEGEL ONLINE confirmed that Mr. Joschka Fischer had indeed strongly criticized the United States in regard to their foreign policy on Iraq. But Fischer was not the only critic. During a meeting of the European foreign ministers, others, like the representative from France, shared Fischer’s criticism. Fischer specifically criticized the U.S. for pursuing their goals alone, against the wishes of the Europeans. (At the same time, the foreign ministers discussed a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state as a “starting point of a negotiation process”).
YAHOO NEWS reported that President Bush has decided to oust Saddam Hussein. Quoting the Philadelphia Inquirer, the article pointed out that the White House “was determined to act even if U.S. allies do not help… Escalating U.S. rhetoric on Iraq has alarmed Russia and America’s European allies in recent weeks, while causing concern among experts about the political and human costs of a lengthy U.S. military campaign in the Middle East.”
USA TODAY reported that a military action against the Iraq is unlikely before May. “Likely military options range from a limited intervention to help rebel groups to ‘Desert Storm lite,’ a reprise of the 1991 Gulf War that could involve as many as 200,000 U.S. troops, Iraq experts say.”
JERUSALEM POST Summary:  The past few weeks have witnessed unparalleled world involvement in the explosive Israeli and Palestinian quagmire.  Several ministers from Europe have traveled into the area–not the least being German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.  His call for “a shared international position” flies in the face of France’s recent call for a separate Palestinian State in spite of the ongoing terrorism of the various Palestinian factions.
At present, there is no unified European foreign policy as regards the region.  However, events will continue to funnel the national interests of Europe toward more and more entanglement in this area.  Most striking is the international power and prestige that is emerging from European nations that act as a check on what has, in recent years, been an American domain.

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