US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's departure has cheered critics around the world who saw him as a symbol of a failed war in Iraq, while supporters of the military mission pledged to work closely with his successor.
"The US has to get out," declared Chandra Muzaffar, president of the International Movement for a Just World think tank in Malaysia. "The occupation will have to end. There is no other way."
Rumsfeld resigned on Wednesday after Democrats won a narrow majority in the Senate and regained total control of Congress, dealing a powerful blow to the government of Republican US President George W. Bush.
Rumsfeld was both reviled and grudgingly respected around the world for his stance on Iraq and support for controversial Bush administration policies like the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
On the streets of Baghdad, critics blamed Rumsfeld for mounting bloodshed in Iraq and crimes they said were committed by American troops.
"Rumsfeld's resignation is not enough," said Osama Ahmed, 50, an Iraqi Higher Education Ministry employee. "He should be put under investigation for his responsibility in the ... killings and rapes carried out by US soldiers against Iraqi citizens."
Reaction was triumphant in other parts of the Middle East. In Lebanon, the English-language Daily Star newspaper called Rumsfeld "a casualty of the war he launched in Iraq." The Syrian state-run Tishreen newspaper said he was "the first of the drowning hawks."
Turkey, a US ally that neighbors Iraq and rejected a US request to participate in its invasion, greeted Rumsfeld's resignation with hope that it would bring about a change of strategy in the conflict across the border.
The Zaman newspaper branded Rumsfeld the "chief architect of the war and chaos in Iraq," while the Islamic-leaning daily Yeni Safak called the recent US elections "a democratic coup against Cowboy Bush."
Jordanian lawmaker Mahmoud al-Kharabsheh, head of the legal committee in the Lower House of Parliament, called for Rumsfeld and other Bush lieutenants to be "be put on trial as criminals of war."
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was giddy as he read aloud a report of Rumsfeld's resignation.
"Heads are beginning to roll," Chavez said during a news conference on Wednesday. "It was about time he resigned. The president should resign now."
US allies, meanwhile, pledged to work closely with Bush's chosen replacement for Rumsfeld, Robert Gates, a former CIA director.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.