British, European Newspapers Unanimous in Condemnation of Iraq

Leading British and Continental newspapers were unanimous today in condemnation of the Iraqi regime for the hanging of 14 men Monday on what they regarded as trumped-up charges of espionage for Israel and anti-state activities. The Times of London described the action as “a coarse barbarity” and said it” would, indeed, be a blessing for Iraq and the whole Middle East” if the Iraqi regime were overthrown.”

The Guardian described President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, the Iraqi dictator, as “the most vicious of all Arab rulers” and said he had “surpassed even his own villainous record.” It said the Iraqi action would harm prospects of a Middle East settlement and declared that if Israel struck in retaliation, Iraq would pay the price for having “a reckless, barbarian Government.”

In Paris, the widely read daily L’Aurore published an editorial on its front page denouncing “the world’s silence” in the face of Iraq’s “unspeakable crime.” The paper said the Iraq action showed how little influence France had in the Middle East despite its Government’s imaginings. “The world’s voices have remained silent,” the paper declared. “Where are the cries that were heard over the destruction of the Lebanese planes at the Beirut airport? What as France done? What has the United Nations done?” The failure of the world to speak out, the paper said, was “more disturbing than the screams of the demented Baghdad mobs.” The influential Paris daily, Le Monde, in a front-page editorial, expressed the hope that the people of Iraq will realize one day that “the day of the execution was not a day of ‘glory’ but a day of shame.”

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