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Monitor: Opinion on the threat of US military action against Saddam Hussein

THE UNITED States bombing campaign should not be symbolic, but be designed to destroy as much of Saddam Hussein's capability to make and use weapons of mass destruction as possible. This is not a matter of the United States and other countries meddling without right in Iraq's internal affairs. Iraq began this by invading Kuwait. The United Nations authorised a US-led military campaign to reverse that aggression. Having defeated Iraq's army, the United States chose to accept, in place of Saddam Hussein's total surrender and relinquishing of power, his pledge to disarm. His failure after all these years to honor that pledge gives the United Nations every right to reconsider its merciful cease-fire terms.

The Washington Post, US

THIS GAME of cat and mouse must end. It has gone on too long and the only victim is the Iraqi people, strangled for seven years by sanctions. But how to stop it? The Pentagon plans successive strikes on military sites: the objective is to weaken the regime of the dictator with the aim of eventually taking it apart, while keeping civilian casualties to a minimum. For if we are really concerned for the good of Iraq and keen to put an end to this interminable crisis, we must put an end to Hussein. It is probable, therefore, that the first strikes will be nothing more than the prelude to what will be a long offensive.

Le Figaro, France

SADDAM'S CURRENT strategy takes full advantage of Clinton's expected decision to wage limited air war with its modest compliance aim. His ultimate purpose is to be able to credibly bluff the West into letting him dominate his part of the world. In 2002, he moves on Saudi Arabia; we threaten to invade Iraq; Saddam announces he is ready to risk national suicide by firing a nuclear missile at us. The US has no missile defense. Does a prudent President let him grab those oil fields, or will Clinton's successor be forced to gamble a US city on the hope that a homicidal maniac is only bluffing?

The New York Times, US