Ausgabe 9/2003

English Summaries

“Then Terrorism Will Threaten All over the World”

SPIEGEL interview with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak about the consequences for the Middle East of a war with Iraq and the mixed solidarity of the Arabs with Baghdad:

“None of us condones a war against Iraq. At the same time it’s also true that no Arab country approves of Saddam Hussein. Everyone insists that the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq must be destroyed. … We have always pointed out to Washington the need for making progress on the Palestinian question. This issue, not the Iraq crisis which is being pushed to the surface, is the true fundamental problem in the Middle East, it touches the psyche of our people. … You also have to look into the composition of the Arab peoples, which does in fact vary. There are very different social systems, for example some countries even still have tribal systems. As far as Iraq is concerned, I believe a democratic government won’t be successful there just now.”

“America’s Clocks Keep a Different Time”

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with UN arms inspector Mohammed al-Baradei about the possibility of still averting a war in Iraq, North Korea’s nuclear plans and the danger of a world-wide nuclear arms race:

“I still see a chance of peace. Most importantly, the Iraqi government seems to have understood how serious the situation is. … I’m in favour of maintaining the military pressure on Baghdad. That’s covered by the United Nations Charter too. But military pressure and concrete use of force – there’s a big difference there. … It would unarguably be a disaster for the world-wide efforts at disarmament if Pyongyang succeeded in manufacturing nuclear weapons. And it would also be a disaster if we were to apply two different yardsticks: North Korea must be forced to disarm just as unconditionally as Iraq. … We have to come up very quickly with some idea for how to expand and improve the world-wide nuclear arms monitoring system. And in addition we must not lose sight of the goal: the atomic powers must reduce their nuclear arsenals, they have all jointly committed themselves to doing so.”

“Backwards Ahead”

Corporate groups: The power struggle at Bertelsmann has finally been decided. The group’s new executive management team is the very old one: the family of the patriarch Reinhard Mohn. It is not so much a question of numbers and balance sheets, as of big emotions – and some now cemented contradictions.

“Masters from Germany”

Iraq crisis: Amer al-Saadi, Saddam’s chief negotiator in the discussions with UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, was once himself the head of the poison gas programme and used to have excellent contacts in Germany. His well situated family still lives in Hamburg. Germany had the technology, and it had manufacturers who didn’t ask why Iraq needed such big fertiliser plants, so al-Saadi sent his buyers to Germany. At one of the meetings the Iraqis remarked: “You have so much experience with using gas to kill Jews.” And asked bluntly: “How can we make use of that to destroy Israel?”

“Fighters for Uncle Sam”

After years in which lobbying against the dictator was primarily organised from America and England, and Germany was, for the exiled opposition, little more than the quiet abode of an estimated 70,000 Iraqis, those Iraqis in Germany are now also being mobilised for the approaching war. For months, leaflets have been circulating within the community of exiles, in which opponents of the regime can register to be deployed in an armed struggle. It is quite obvious that the US Pentagon is behind this recruitment.

“Stalin’s Shadow Empire”

North Korea: Pyongyang has withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and expelled inspectors. The US intelligence service is convinced that North Korea is building the bomb. Is the “Beloved Leader” driving his isolated, starving people into a war? Or is he trying to obtain help by means of blackmail?

“Ankara Playing with Fire”

Turkey: The Turkish gamble over billions of dollars for allowing US troops to pass through their country is blocking Washington’s scenario for the attack on northern Iraq. Above all, the Turks want to see cash, in the form of financial aid, loans and writing off old debts. They have declared that they will not be taken to the cleaners as they were after the last Gulf War. Back then, George Bush senior promised to pay damages to the tune of many billion US dollars. But it remained no more than a promise. Having lost its main trade partner, the Turkish republic was plunged into the worst recession in its history. The Turks were also largely left on their own with the resulting social problems. The 500,000 refugees who were flushed over the border by the war included many radical separatists. They contributed substantially to destabilising Turkey. The Americans know that they can trash their deployment plans against Iraq if Turkey is not available for transit. But Ankara’s war goals are different from Washington’s.

Angela Merkel, chairwoman of the opposition Christian Democrats, has caused an uproar in Germany with her remarks about German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the Munich Conference on Security Policy and in an article for the “Washington Post”. Her critical comments to a foreign paper represent a grave break with tradition in the view of many politicians.

“We Need Many Gods”

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with philosopher Odo Marquard about the German longing to thoroughly improve the world, the courage to be bourgeois, the importance of teddy bears, and his latest book:

“The place we start is never the beginning. … I speak as a sceptic, who mistrusts any absolute text, any sole possible interpretation of holy scriptures – that was the first lesson I learnt after 1945 from the exclusive history of the Nazis, a fundamental attitude of shock and disillusionment – a sceptic who, instead of the one freedom directed by reason, would like to see the many freedoms of different interpretations and different histories. … My key proposition, which is also aimed against the system philosophy of German Idealism, like that of Fichte, is this: We cannot delay living until we have been given permission on principle to begin and live it – because death will always be faster. … It’s a question of a balance between modernisation and preserving Islamic traditions. That’s true of Iraq too. Our government should have conferred with the other Europeans and with the UN from the start. And it should pragmatically follow the majority decision of the Security Council.”

“The Art Drug”

Crime: Stéphane Breitwieser is the most prolific thief of all time. Within just seven years, the part-time waiter stole 239 works of art from European museums – worth at least 20 million euros. He decorated his room with them in search of comfort and retaliation. Stéphane Breitwieser stole artwork for himself; he wanted to look at his loot, not sell it off. Later, he was to aver repeatedly that he never sold a single one of the works. Stéphane Breitwieser did not steal alone. Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus, three months older than him and also from Alsace, often went with him. They had fallen in love in 1992. In his room, Breitwieser lived under the illusion of being protected and touched by the things that portray human beings but do not replace them. He talked to the stolen items, wanted to be a part of them, he was fond of them, as he was of his lost father, who had shown him what art was and how to collect it. To this day, investigators don’t known whether the masterpieces were indeed destroyed by Breitwieser’s mother, as she claimed after her arrest, whether they are hidden somewhere or whether they have after all been sold.

“My Thoughts Are Aggressive”

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with geneticist James Watson about his momentous discovery, the burden of a stroke of genius at the age of 25, and fear as the driving force behind his creativity:

“It happened on a Saturday morning, some time between ten thirty and one. … Perhaps it wasn’t just luck. Perhaps there just had to be a solution, otherwise life couldn’t have started at all. … You realise: you’re never going to achieve something like this again. So you look for new challenges. I wrote a couple of books, for instance. … Far too many people judge genetics by means of religion. I don’t believe we are creatures of God. We are creatures of evolution. And that can be pretty cruel. We should do everything we can to escape that cruelty. … The real ethical problem faced by genetic research is that we are not applying our knowledge quickly enough in order to increase the happiness of human beings – and all this simply because people talk about religion, God and the sanctity of life. … Happiness is the reward for success. You have to fight for a few moments of happiness with many moments of fear.”

“Rockfall by the Altar”

Structural engineering: Damaged by bombs, suffering from dry rot and broken roofs, many churches in East Germany are a pitiful sight. The old city of Wismar, site of Germany’s largest church ruins, shows just how much work is needed. The tip of the steeple has broken off, grass is growing between the brickwork. In order to save the building, the team is working exclusively with traditional techniques. Concrete for stabilising the foundations or chemical additives such as cement oil or silicone are taboo in Wismar. All this is possible because the German Foundation for the Protection of Monuments is concentrating its funds on this particular project. The total cost will come to some 40 million euros. But Wismar is the exception, a bright light – while the rest lies in shadow. Elsewhere there is no money, because the federal government and the bishoprics in the West have withdrawn their direct funding.


© DER SPIEGEL 9/2003
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