Current Events


Austria’s “Kleine Zeitung” published recently a challenging article, titled, “Where is Saddam Hussein? Where are the weapons of mass destruction?” It continued, “Central questions about the Iraq war remain unanswered.” The article pointed out that it is still unknown how many civilians died in the war; where any weapons of mass destruction are; who bombed the markets of Baghdad on March 26 and 28; what really happened in Mossul on April 15 and 16 (when the coalition forces shot at demonstrators); under what circumstances did three journalists die in Baghdad on April 8 (when the coalition forces shot at the Palestine hotel); where is Saddam Hussein; and whether “Chemical-Ali” is really dead?

In addition, Der Spiegel Online reported on May 11, 2003, that the U.S. “experts of the 75th Exploitation Task Force,” who were supposed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, “have given up.” The magazine continued that the Task Force is scheduled to leave Iraq next month, without having found any evidence for the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The American government realizes, of course, that the failure to find those weapons eliminates to a large extent the political and legal justification for a “preventive war” against Iraq. Therefore, according to the magazine, President Bush has announced that the Task Force is to be replaced with a new “Iraq Survey Group.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on May 10 that Iraqis celebrate their “new Khomeni” – “Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, religious leader of the Shiites.” He advocates the establishment of a Muslim state. The Americans do not want to permit this. However, according to Der Spiegel Online, the Bush administration is “very nervous when they realize that such a state might be established through democratic means – via elections. The Shiites comprise 60% of the Iraqi population.” reported on May 15 that, according to the U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, “remnants of Saddam Hussein’s defeated government… pose a greater threat to rebuilding the country than the persistent street violence that has plagued Baghdad… Mc Kiernan reported that ‘most’ U.S. military resources are being used to combat these groups… ‘Until these people are destroyed or captured, the security environment here in Iraq will remain problematic,’ he said.”


This week witnessed a terrible suicide terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, killing 34 people, including citizens from America, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Jordan, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Lebanon and Switzerland. The United States sent an FBI team to Saudi Arabia to “aid – not run – the Saudi investigation,” according to Yahoo! News of May 15. The United States had warned Saudi Arabia of a possible terrorist attack, but this warning had apparently been ignored. The U.S. has now issued a warning of future terrorist attacks in Malaysia and Kenya, according to Der Spiegel Online of May 15.


As Reuters reported on May 15, “Israeli forces killed a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, two gunmen and a youth on Thursday in a raid on a Gaza town that coincided with the Palestinians’ annual commemoration of their displacement during Israel’s creation… ‘No peace before the full Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian and Arab lands to the line of June 1967,’ Arafat said… All Israeli governments since the conflict have said that will never happen… The violence preceded talks planned for Saturday between Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas [a Palestinian refugee himself] and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. They are to discuss a new Middle East peace plan known as the ‘road map.’ The proposal, backed by the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia, calls for an end to 31 months of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed, reciprocal confidence-building measures and a Palestinian state by 2005… Israel has not accepted the plan. Sharon will voice his right-wing government’s objections at White House talks with President Bush on Tuesday… Israel rejects any right of return for the estimated four million Palestinian refugees to what is now the Jewish state, saying such an influx would be demographic suicide.”


The Washington Post reported on May 15 that the French government prepared a letter to the U.S. administration and members of Congress, alleging an “organized campaign of disinformation” from within the Bush administration, designed to discredit it with allegations of complicity with Saddam Hussein. Paris states in the letter, which is signed by French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, that false reports, including alleged French weapon sales to Iraq or the alleged issuance of French passports by French officials in Syria to escaping Iraqis, are part of “an ugly campaign to destroy the image of France.” Paris also charged the Bush administration with “little interest” to better the relationship between the two countries. Der Spiegel Online added in its report of May 15 that this letter “is additional evidence for the destroyed relationship between the two NATO partners.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on May 3 that the United States is not willing to forgive Germany quickly for their role in the Iraq war. Robert Zoellick stated on behalf of the Bush administration that the strained relationship between the United States and Germany would continue. In an effort to better the relationship, Secretary of State Colin Powell is visiting Germany on May 15 and May 16, after he had visited Russia and Bulgaria. Yahoo News stated on May 15 that Russia and the U.S. share concerns about nuclear activity in Iran. They did not come to an agreement, however, over lifting U.N. sanctions against Iraq. The article pointed out that “Russia wants assurances that Iraq’s alleged banned weapons – the main reason Bush gave for going to war – are not being hidden, before Moscow will support removing the sanctions. Also in dispute is the role of U.N. weapons inspectors.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, preceded Mr. Powell’s visit in Russia with unusually strong criticism. According to Der Spiegel Online of May 5, Gorbachev accused the Bush administration of “imperial conduct” and stated that a “democratic system has used totalitarian methods.” He continued, “America has violated international law, ignored the Security Council, and paid no attention to world opinion… It is wishful thinking to believe that the world can be ruled according to the will of the United States.” Mikhail Gorbachev was instrumental, together with (former) President George W. Bush and (former) German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in bringing about unification of West and East Germany.


While the world’s attention is mainly focused on war, terrorism and – now – diseases like SARS, Der Spiegel Online published a report on April 9, stating that over 40 million people will soon die in Africa because of hunger, unless help comes soon. 1.8 billion dollars are lacking to supply needed food. When reading such a report, and considering at the same time that billions of dollars have been and will be spent to wage war, one must ask the question, HAS THIS WORLD GONE MAD?

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