July 3, 2003
SAUDI MEDIA RECOGNIZE TERROR AS THREAT TO
** The Saudi editorial
consensus is that war against terrorism is "everybody's fight" and
that terrorism presents a real threat to the Kingdom.
** Saudi writers recoil at
the idea that Islam is being used as a cover for terrorism.
** The U.S. approach to
combating terrorism may in fact energize terrorist organizations.
'Condemnation is not sufficient' in the global fight against
terrorism -- Reflecting reaction to both the May Riyadh bombings and a plot
against the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi observers agreed that there is a
"collective" responsibility to send a clear message to terrorists and
their sympathizers that terrorism "is a crime [that] must be
punished." Conservative Al-Madina
asserted that Saudi Arabia will "not allow a handful of closed minded,
ignorant people to undermine its security, to threaten the safety of its
citizens or to corrupt its holy sites with their evil deeds." Several outlets, such as moderate Okaz,
supported the Saudi crackdown on terrorism and expressed satisfaction with
"the work, efforts, and accomplishments" of their security officals'
response to the Riyadh bombings.
Conservative Al-Nadwa emphasized that "starting now, every
social or Islamic activity must be directed at fighting extremism and
terrorism," stressing the influence of education. Other dailies including moderate Al-Jazira
favored heightening the "security awareness" of every citizen.
Terrorists not 'bound by religious or ethical restraints' -- Saudi editorials
asserted that the shootouts with terrorists in Mecca demonstrated that
"all places and all human beings" are potential targets of
terrorism. Conservative Al-Madina
emphasized that the terrorists proved that they "have no reverence for
Islam or any of its values" by using a "booby-trapped Qur'an"
and striking the two holy cities.
Moderate Okaz added that "no Muslim would have ever thought
of desecrating the Qiblah." Others
such as Al-Nadwa postulated that the "current threats facing the
Kingdom" aim to "split national unity" and "pure
doctrine." Conservative Al-Riyadh
called for close monitoring "inside our schools, mosques, debate rooms,
and vacation homes which have become a breeding ground for terrorists."
U.S. policy in the Arab world may add to the 'formula of
terrorism' -- Several outlets pointed to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East
as an impetus for the "resentment and anger" that fuels
terrorism. A columnist in Jordan's
center-left Al-Dustour cited the U.S. occupation of Iraq and its
"complete bias in favor of Israel's crimes" as motives for
"confronting [U.S.] policies with violence." A Saudi writer in moderate Al-Jazira
speculated that Riyadh's close governmental ties with the U.S. might have
motivated terrorists to choose Arab targets.
Other Arab writers however, asserted that the perpetrators of the Riyadh
bombings "have saved the enemies of the Arab cause" by providing a
pretext for foreign intervention.
EDITOR: Sandra Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 35 reports from 6
countries, May 15 - June 30. Editorial
excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
"Surrender Is Better"
Jeddah's moderate Okaz opined
(6/30): "No other options are
left. The country has had enough of this
criminal looting. There can be no more
tolerance of those who are fighting their own country. Crown Prince Abdullah said: 'We will strike
with an iron fist anyone who endangers the security of the country and
desecrates its holiness. We will uproot
the rotten tree and its planters.' Those
who have committed crimes against this country have no other choice but
surrender. Surrender for their own sake
and for the sake of our country."
"Terrorism Continues To Spread"
Jeddah's moderate Al-Bilad editorialized
(6/29): "Terrorism is a newborn
phenomenon; its members are an unknown and must be sought-out. We must search for the motives that lead to
the birth of terrorism and the sources that nurture its growth. International collaboration in fighting
terrorism is a crucial option and an alternative to the exchange of accusations
and floating of issues. It is very clear
that differences of opinion on the definition of terrorism remain the major
obstacle in the path of international cooperation. Truth has gotten lost amongst the different
theories, the solutions have been postponed, and terrorism continues to
"No Safe Haven For Criminals"
Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa commented
(6/28): "There is no place for the
fugitives to hide. Their only option is
to surrender. The criminals who executed
the latest bombings must give themselves up to face justice. Otherwise, they will be found, caught, and
brought to justice by the security police.
Security forces will continue to seek these criminals and are watching
their every move. They know all the
hideouts. There is [no] place to seek
refuge anymore. The number of suspects
remaining on the list of the most wanted has been reduced to less than a
handful, especially after the surrender of the Al-Faqaasi. Those who are still at large must realize
that their only option is to give themselves up and take advantage of Prince
Naif’s offer of mercy."
Jeddah's English-language Arab News
stated (6/28): "The arrest of one
of the two men suspected of masterminding the triple suicide bombings in Riyadh
in May is a significant victory in the fight against terrorism and a major blow
to the al-Qaida network.... The battle
against terrorism has to involve everyone.
We cannot be passive about this, thinking that it is the security
forces’ problem. It is our problem
because it is ordinary people...who are the victims of these murderous
barbarians.... The fight against
extremism is not just a Western fight; it is a Saudi fight, a Yemeni fight, a
Pakistani fight, an Indonesian fight and everyone’s fight."
"Comprehensive War on Terrorism"
Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (6/24): "The latest terrorist attacks in Riyadh,
Al-Madina, and Mecca confirm that the war on terrorism is going to be
long. Muslim organizations, scholars and
the educated have the important task of enlightening the youth and warning them
against slipping into the path of radicalism and vice.... Starting now, every social or Islamic
activity must be directed at fighting extremism and terrorism. The danger has reached the sacred land of
God, Mecca. Speakers at every podium
must preach against terrorism and violence.
Educators in their schools must intensify their efforts to protect the
safety of our future generations.... The
terrorist events were painful and hard, but they also made us vigilant to the
dangers that await our nation and threaten the development of the minds of our
youths. The upcoming phase is
crucial. Every member of society has an
obligation to rise and fight the destructive ideas. We must all work together to ensure the
safety and security of our future."
"The Biggest Lie"
Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina editorialized
(6/19): "The motives of these
terrorist groups have no relationship to Islam.
Islam has nothing to do with these renegades. How could they say that they fight in the
name of Islam and that their objective is jihad? This is the biggest lie. As a proof to what we said, these terrorists
used a booby-trapped Qur’an in their latest terrorist attempt. Targeting Mecca and Medina, the two holy
sites, is enough proof that these people have no reverence for Islam or any of
its values. These defectors could not be
"Who Is Behind Booby-trapping children and
the Holy Qur’an?"
Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh asked
(6/19): "Where is the defect; is it
the family, school or the society? How
could they succeed in kidnapping the minds of our young teenagers and use them
as mobile bombs? No doubt, our society
is penetrated because of our good intention and our faith in those who used
religion as a tool for hegemony and brainwashing of those young.... They have trapped even the holy Qur’an, which
we understand that no non-Muslim could touch or obtain. In other words, they used it (the Qur’an) as
[a] bomb intended for use against Muslims indiscriminately. And where?, in the heart of the holy sites of
Mecca and Medina.... Terrorists claim
that their weapons are directed against infidel foreigners, but we understand
that the holy two sites are not inhabited by non-Muslim foreigners.... We have to monitor the source closely, in
other words the instigator, inside our schools, mosques, debate rooms and in
our (desert) rest houses, which have become a breeding ground for terrorists."
"Terrorists And Apostates"
Jeddah's moderate Okaz editorialized
(6/19): "The terrorist crimes of
the apostates ignited a fire of rage and wrath in our hearts. We, and the whole Islamic world, got even
more furious when we learned that these outlaws were using a booby-trapped
Qur’an in their evil plans. None of the
other religions have ever thought of committing such terrorist crimes. No Muslim would have ever thought of
desecrating the Muslims’ Qiblah (the direction to which Muslims turn in
prayers.) Our hearts break when we see
young lads in their early youth being coerced into evil acts. This radical behavior gives us no other
choice but to retaliate with fierce force. Terrorism has no religion and no
nationality. We have to root it out of
our society and homeland."
Jeddah's moderate Okaz editorialized
(6/18): "The official effort to
fight the recent terrorist attacks has not been restricted to security
operations and policing. It is a battle
on three fronts: First, a diplomatic front, where the government is working on
projecting the true image and basic values of Saudi Arabia to the world;
second, an intellectual and political front, one that opens wide the means of
dialogue and debate for all to participate and present their view point; and
finally, a direct security front, where policing and security forces have been
working diligently to capture and foil the destructive missions of the
deviants. These fronts are the
protective shield of this country....
The May 12 events have been transformed in few weeks into a wake-up call
and this is just the beginning."
"Fighting Danger With Solidarity"
Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa opined
(6/18): "The words of the Crown
Prince and the Custodian of the Holy Mosques, at the Council of Ministers the
day before last, represent an invitation to people from all walks of life to
stand by their government and prove their solidarity in defending the Kingdom
against all dangers. Thank God, peace
prevails and our security systems are well prepared. We have always thought highly of the
abilities of our citizens to defend this country. Now the time has come to pay extra attention
to the core of society, the Saudi family.
We need to become more involved, cooperative and alert to the way we
raise our children. The intellectuals
also have a major role to play. They
need to engage in open dialogue, debates and enlightening forums through the
"Confronting Terrorism Is A Collective
Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazira editorialized
(6/18): "We hope that security
awareness spreads to every individual in this country in order to realize the
objective of every citizen is to become a guard.... Furthermore, in the long run, security
awareness must remain a major concern in confronting the phenomenon of
terrorism, and in eliminating its ideological roots through explaining the real
"Hunting Terrorism Everywhere"
Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum suggested
(6/18): "[The] Riyadh blasts may
possibly be repeated any place in the world, which confirms the importance of
the international community fighting this plague collectively, since it
threatens all of humanity. It is
necessary that the world's countries heed the Kingdom's call to set global
strategy to fight terrorism and root it out."
"Fighting the Enemy’s Attempts"
Makkah's conservative Al-Nadwa
pointed-out (6/17): "The current
threats facing the Kingdom aim at splitting national unity and its pure
doctrine. Those terrorists turned out to
be enemies not just to their country, but also to their families and
beliefs. Rooting them out of society becomes
a crucial matter to set an example for others.
Carrying weapons and terrorist equipment in this holy land and the
sacred territories requires a rigid deterrent response in confronting the
perpetrators as well as the plotters and funding groups, who are seeking to
make this stabilized country a place for breeding terrorism and
"Facing Up The Enemy"
Jeddah's English-language Arab News held (6/17): "Nor did the arrests and raids make the
human ostriches here pull their heads out of the sand. Instead of blaming Mossad and the CIA for
every terrorist bomb that is reported, face up to the reality that some of the
world's terrorists are in fact Saudis who have deviated from the true path of
Islam.... By taking such decisive action
in the holy city itself, we see clearly that the Saudi authorities are out to
destroy al-Qaida, not just the organization, but its sympathizers and anyone
who shares its deviant and corrupting beliefs.
But the war against al-Qaida cannot be won solely by police raids
against militants planning bomb attacks, vital though such action is. The authorities need to be radical as well,
going to the root of the problem. There
has to be action against those who promote terrorism, actively or
subconsciously.... The rise in Islamic
militancy needs to be studied, not just in the West, but here at home. That requires a change of mindset at every
level of society here.... Denial and the
assertion that everything bad that happens is one big anti-Arab, anti-Muslim
plot by foreign Islamphobes will not stop terrorists. Islamphobia is a noxious bloom, fed largely
on ignorance. Ignorance of the
non-Muslim world? Or that of those
short-sighted Muslims who refuse to admit that the rot is as much within as
without?... Saturday's raids were an
unambiguous statement that the government is deadly serious about crushing
terrorism, as serious as George W. Bush or Tony Blair. What is vital is that everyone else in Saudi
Arabia joins the fight. That way, denied
their hiding places, the terrorists can be hounded out of existence."
"An All-Out War"
Humud Abu-Talib commented in the pro-government Okaz
(6/17): "It began in Riyadh, and
then moved to Medina with the remnants of those involved in the attacks fleeing
in every direction. Then the unthinkable
happened. Last week tragedy struck
Mecca, Islam's holiest site, the sacred earth and the focus for millions of
Muslims worldwide. With the city and the
area close to the Grand Mosque being the target this time, a dangerous shift
has occurred in the strategy of those individuals who are no longer bound by
any religious or ethical restraints. To
them, all places and all human beings--without exception--are targets against
which any kind of violence can be used....
The other side is bent on pursuing a policy of killing and destruction
at any cost, even if this means self-destruction by suicide bombings. This presents a serious problem whose gravity
and devastating consequences must be recognized.... It must not be underestimated and no attempt
should be made to mislead the public into believing that defeating it is a
simple matter.... Now we know that
individuals from other nationalities are involved and that the types and
quantities of explosives seized indicate that the weapons could not have been
acquired easily by one or two persons or smuggled into the Kingdom in the usual
ways. A more serious situation that
demands close attention is that the armed groups managed to transport their
weapons from one place to another--and to regroup each time they were
targeted. Confronting these groups is a
battle that requires the involvement of every one in the country. This is a decisive moment in the life of
every one of us and a turning point in the country's history. It is a situation that calls on all of us to
work together by showing courage and decisiveness."
Terrorism Exposes Itself
Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina asserted
(6/16): "The ideology that incites
terrorism which invented motivations and trumped up justifications, deserves a
thorough handling to uproot it completely....
Our country will not allow a handful of closed minded, ignorant people
to undermine its security, to threaten the safety of its citizens or to corrupt
its holy sites with their evil deeds."
Security Breakthrough and National Awareness
Jeddah's moderate Okaz observed
(6/16): "An outstanding security
breakthrough presented itself in the proactive actions that thwarted a
terrorist plot and led to the arrest of the criminals who were behind it. The Khalediah group was captured before it
executed its terrorist attacks. However,
the high level of national awareness that we are witnessing is more important
than this breakthrough."
"Our Message To The Killers"
Abdulaziz Al-Jarallah declared in Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh
(6/16): "To raise weapons against
security personnel and unarmed citizens is a crime and must be punished. Those who show sympathy with those killers
have to stop their debates and excuses, because their targets have been
revealed to be the citizens and the country's safety and security. We have to be decisive and our message has to
be clear, not only to the outside world, but to the terrorists and those who
show sympathy with them. We have to
distinguish between what is going on in the world with the war against
terrorism and what is taking place inside our own cities in Mecca, Medina,
Riyadh, Hail, Qasim and Al-Khobar. We
have to treat them as criminals and killers who have no connection with other
organizations.... We have to develop a
clear media message that those terrorist cells are bloody destructive ones that
seek to murder others without justification."
"Let's Bear Our Share of Responsibility"
Jeddah's moderate Okaz opined (6/9): "Confronting the problem has to be
comprehensive. Terrorism does not
distinguish between one country and another.
The confrontation must take place on all fronts, social, intellectual,
and cultural. For example, a math
teacher who spends three quarters of the class time talking about jihad has
committed a double crime. First, he did
not teach the students the subject he was supposed to; second, he wasted his
time and got himself involved in something about which he knows nothing. Our battle against terrorism has to be fought
on all fronts, for the sake of our homeland."
"Combating Extremism By Education"
Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa asserted
(6/8): "Among the positive results
of the Riyadh terrorism bombings was the national unity...in denouncing all
actions of violence and terrorism....
Also among the positive results was the awareness of the need to develop
an educational strategy to combat extremism, which is considered the main
source of producing elements that spread fear and terror among individuals of
the society.... But it would be a
mistake to think that the educational strategy means amendment or change of
school curricula. Our school curricula are
not responsible for producing extremism but on contrary those curricula are
based on correct foundations.... Yet we
do not deny, as Interior Minister Prince Naif confirmed, that there are
extremists in our schools and perhaps they contribute in disseminating
incorrect concepts among those innocent minds and they are the ones the
educational strategy must address."
"Thanks to Mighty Men"
Jeddah's moderate Okaz editorialized (6/2): "We never [claimed] that we are a
perfect society...but when we compare the seven years it took U.S. authorities
to arrest the suspect of the 1996 Olympic games bombing and the less than 20
days that it took Saudi authorities to arrest 21 persons involved in the
bombings of Riyadh (May 12) we are not only confident in our security personnel
but also proud of their work, efforts and accomplishments.... If the U.S. Attorney General was right to
announce his pride in the arrest of a criminal who succeeded to remain at large
for seven years, we have to be proud as well."
"A Preliminary Examination of the
Dimensions of the 11 Rabi al-Awwal Events"
Saudi writer Fawziyah Abu-Khalid opined in
influential Riyadh Al-Jazirah (5/22):
"The young men who are the target of merciless vocal attacks, both
justified and unjustified, are our sons and brothers. They are the product of
our social conditions, our narrow educational opportunities, our fanatical
tribal loyalties--on the basis of which a person might be elevated or
degraded--and our job market that is teeming with unemployed citizens but full
of cheap expatriate labor.... They are
those young men who throughout the crisis represented by the humiliating U.S.
war found no outlet for their anger except through cellular telephone text
messages.... These young men sense that
they can have no social standing unless they embrace extremist positions that
'frighten' society. If we disagree with
the way they think and act, this disagreement can only be solved through
dialogue, not by adopting their own fanatical methods. Again I wish to point out that my words are
not meant to be a defense of the catastrophic bombings and our religious,
humanitarian, and security calamities but a revision of our collective
responsibility for these actions. My words are an attempt to handle these
actions by methods other than violence.
Using violence is like someone struggling when he falls into quicksand
and as a result only sinks in deeper."
"Deceiving The Individual: Terrorism Has No Identity Or
Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum opined
(5/21): "Those who are promoting in
the western media, to misinform the public view after every terrorism
operation, that the Kingdom is behind the phenomenon of terrorism and home of
the terrorists, are trying at the same time to deceive themselves, by ignoring
the fact that terrorism has no identity, home, place, and appointed time.... Terrorism is not limited to one country or
another, since several terror attacks took place in the western and [developed]
countries. Consequently, there is no
[reason] to accuse the Kingdom of supporting this phenomenon, even if there is
a group of radicals hiding under the umbrella of Islam, while Islam is totally
clear and away from them, in view of the fact that their beliefs are against
the interests of the human beings. On
the other hand, this phenomenon will never accomplish any of its dreams, since
they are deeply warped by deception, ignorance and hate."
"Condemnation Is Not Sufficient"
Abha's moderate Al-Watan commented
(5/21): "The terrorism operation in
Riyadh was widely condemned by citizens, officials and intellectuals. Denunciation is not enough and will not solve
the problem. It is vital to take serious
action, by thoroughly analyzing the problem, and finding the reasons and
motives behind the terrorism, provided that a narrow window of press and social
freedom should be provided, as well as setting up an appropriate environment to
allow the participation of all.
Officials in the kingdom’s emirates should go to streets and make
contacts with the citizens, in order to have a better understanding of their
concerns and come-up with appropriate solutions before it becomes too
"It Is Not A Security Issue"
Saudi journalist Dawood Al-Shiryan commented in
London's pan-Arab Al-Hayat (5/21):
"The arrest of the remaining members of the terrorist cell, which
carried out the suicide attack in the Saudi capital last week, was not the
problem.... Terrorism will not stop by
merely apprehending those youths because the ideology that warranted those
young to commit suicide still exists and is present in our society. Therefore we ought not to exaggerate the
security worry and to close our eyes to the root of the problem with its entire
religious, political, economic and cultural dimensions.... We have to address the following
question. Why [did] the Islamic role of
Saudi Arabia become under scrutiny? Why
are the Saudi charitable organizations and institutions under investigation,
their offices closed and their staff arrested?... If we address these questions in a
substantive and frank way they will reveal important things, above all we will
find the majority of the Islamic work, which the Kingdom undertook, was
diverted from its objectives."
"Steadfast Islamic Fortress"
Jeddah's moderate Okaz editorialzed (5/20): "After the terrorist explosions in
Riyadh last week some facts became clear to Saudis and to the whole World. Saudi Arabia is the home of the two holy
Shrines and the protector of Islam. It
is the country that took Islamic Shariah (Law) as its guidance in
governing. But was a victim to
terrorism. The terrorists' goal was to
shake the stability of this country. Saudis
realize that the terrorists will not spare any effort to strike this country
with any means of destruction and crime.
Their aim is to kill innocent Muslims and non-Muslims, and take the
lives of peaceful residents, women, and children. Vengeful sentiments blinded the eyes of these
criminals and pushed them to the rock bottom of vice. It is vividly clear that the Kingdom's
strategies and balanced foreign policies, its stances on many Arab, Muslim, and
international issues do not agree with the terrorist groups. Despite all pressures, the Kingdom will
remain the steadfast fortress of Islam, and the guardian of its law against the
wishes of those who hate us."
"A Bit Of Frankness"
Saudi economist Aziza Al-Manah contended in Jeddah's moderate Okaz
(5/20): "Many of our writers and
intellectuals blame religious curriculums and scholars and view them as
promoters of sedition [that have] brain washed youth and [driven] them into
darkness. In doing so they have endorsed
the American way of thinking, which confines the issue [of terorism] to
Islam's...intolerance of other religions.
What I want to point out here [is that] its purpose is not to justify
the criminal act which took place in Riyadh last week.... Wouldn't this hideous attack remind us [of] a
similar repulsive attack whose victim was a whole nation? Wouldn't we see in that crime, (Riyadh's
blasts) whose perpetrators announce that their aim is to drive the crusaders
out of the land of Islam, a similarity with the American crime, during which
Iraq was blasted up, destroyed and [lives] of thousands of its innocent
inhabitants [were] taken without discrimination between civilians, military
personnel, seniors or young on [the] pretext of driving Saddam Hussein out and
to liberate Iraq from his fist. Wouldn't
we see a clear similarity between the two approaches and arguments?... It was the same logic embraced by the
perpetrators of Riyadh's explosions, when they viewed their crime as [a] way to
expel crusaders and to liberate the land of Islam from them."
Alone Is Not Enough"
Khadyer Al-Anizi wrote in the independent Al-Qabas
(6/25): “A regional campaign to counter
terrorism must begin with severe punishment against those who exploit our
religion. It must begin by solving all
societal problems, and by thinking of comprehensive development. This can be achieved through a new
curriculum, the acceptance of different cultures, building of civil society and
establishing a state based on strong institutions and justice. Only then will extremists be defeated.”
JORDAN: “Riyadh Bombings
And The Formula Of Terrorism And Bias”
Bater Wardam argued in center-left, influential Al-Dustour
(5/15): “There are two major facts that
must be said before writing about the bombings in Riyadh. The first fact is that any act of violence
that targets civilians of any nationality is a terrorist act that is rejected
and condemned. The second fact is that
the sole reason for these terrorist operations and actions in general is the
U.S. policy in the Arab world. Thus we
write that we condemn terrorist actions, that we condemn the killing of
innocent civilians, and that we denounce American policies, and we are not
ashamed to say that. It is hard to shed
tears for the American victims...because we have seen thousands of civilians
die in Iraq by American weapons and have not seen the Americans overly
sensitive or emotional. Washington must
understand that its aggressive policies, its occupation of Iraq, its complete
bias in favor of Israel's crimes, its desire to control the Arab world will not
be welcomed with the applause and ululations of millions of people. In fact there are those who are so angry and
furious with American policies that they are willing to confront them with
“Operations That Serve The Continued Foreign Presence?”
Sultan Hattab asserted in influential, semi-official Al-Rai
(5/15): “These operations [Riyadh
bombings] might be, just as others were in the past, a tool for the foreigner
to seal his control, impose his conditions, and effect the change that he
wants. What was attacked in reality was
Arab security, Arab interests and the Arab image, before targeting a group of
Americans. The requirements of achieving
a peaceful political settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have Israel
cornered, and its rejection of the roadmap has been exposed. The Riyadh terrorist operations happened to
rescue Israel and get it out of the dilemma by turning the spotlight away from
it and relieving it from the demands of international pressures. Now, there is new rising terrorism that must
be dealt with and fought off, because it is a terrorism that hurts
Americans.... Those who perpetrated the
bombings in Riyadh have saved the enemies of the Arab cause, justified the
foreign intervention and the U.S. war against the region.”
"Questions And Self-Criticism In Riyadh"
Mouna Naim declared in influential,
left-of-center Le Monde (6/24):
"What was the aim of the terrorists...in Riyadh? Were they pure nihilists? Was this some kind of last-ditch stand on
the part of militants? Or were they
trying to destabilize the country and definitively to sever the kingdom's
alliance with the U.S., many of whose nationals were among the victims? Each of these theories has its adherents in
the Saudi capital, traumatized by an ordeal that it had not imagined in its
worst nightmares. The attacks claimed 39
lives, the vast majority of them foreigners, but according to the supporters of
the first theory, their authors are hostile not only to those whom they call
'the crusaders,' or Jews, but to anyone who disagrees with them. So it does not much matter that Arabs of
different nationalities--Muslims, moreover--perished in the attacks....
"What consequences have the attacks in
Riyadh had so far? Despite having lost
9 fellow citizens in the attacks and despite the fact that some 40 more were
wounded, the U.S. has not severed relations with the kingdom. True, Washington will, this fall, be
withdrawing from the Al-Kharj base the approximately 5,000 men that it has kept
there since the Kuwaiti liberation war of 1991.
But this withdrawal was announced before the explosions in Riyadh. Despite the tensions and difficulties that
have continued since...September 11--15 of whose 19 authors were Saudis--Saudi
Arabia remains a 'friendly' country, President Bush said again recently. The explosions in Riyadh actually seem to
have strengthened cooperation between the two countries, at least with regard
to the antiterrorist struggle. A team
of some 60 FBI men has based itself in the kingdom for as long as necessary in order
to help the investigators....
"If, moreover, the objective pursued by the
terrorists was to secure some degree of popular support, the opposite effect
seems to have occurred. Many Saudis fear
a possible sudden and massive departure of foreigners, whom the country still
needs in various sectors of the economy, pending the success of the radical
policy of so-called 'Saudization' of jobs, whereby most foreign personnel would
be replaced by locals. The virtually
total outrage at and condemnation of the killing of civilians has also provided
the authorities with grounds for defending its severe repression. Nevertheless, the leaders would be wrong to
regard this as an exoneration of all the shortcomings of their mode of
government, which the Saudi people indeed want to see revised in order to avert
the danger of excesses."
INDONESIA: "People Astounded By Bomb
Finding In Mecca"
Leading independent Kompas commented
(6/17): "Saudi Arabian and U.S.
officials are working together to find out possibilities that the Riyadh and
Mecca incidents were parts of al-Qaida’s activities. The efforts to uproot the al-Qaida network do
not seem easy. Undoubtedly, however, the success of the Saudi authorities in
capturing terrorists in Mecca was an important achievement in the campaign
PAKISTAN: "The Need
For Security Of Holy Places"
Karachi's sensationalist Ummat commented (6/19): "King Fahad and Prince Abdullah have
declared war on terrorism and pledged to deal with it with iron hands. Be it al-Qaida or any other terrorist organization,
none would be allowed to attempt to spoil the sanctity of the Holy Shrines and
the holy cities. Whatever be the
controversy about the Saudi leaders' personal lives, they deserve the
appreciation of the Muslim World for their fast actions to curb terrorism, as
they are the custodians of the Holy Shrines and cities."
The center-right national English-language Nation
editorialized (6/18): "The raids
conducted by the Saudi security forces in Mecca, following those in Medina, are
painful to all Muslims, and make all wonder whether there is to be any limit to
cooperation with the U.S. in its war on terror.
At the same time, the security forces' having to face armed resistance
makes it clear that there was a clear danger, and that those killed, wounded or
arrested were not ordinary peaceable citizens.
The King of Saudi Arabia is the Custodian of the Two Holy Places, while
al-Qaida and other such militant groups claim to be fighting for Islam. While the Saudi forces must use maximum
restraint while operating in the Holy Places, the militants must also play
their part in ensuring that the Holy Places are not disturbed."
"And Now In Mecca"
Karachi's center-left independent English-language Dawn
asserted (6/17): "Saturday night's
action by the Saudi security forces against terrorists hiding in a Mecca
apartment brought to the fore the dangerous dimensions of the simmering
conflict in the kingdom.... That two
Chadians, an Egyptian and two Saudis comprised the group of terrorists killed
in the raid points to a pan-Arab nexus, so that al-Qaida's involvement cannot
be ruled out. The American-led invasion
and occupation of Iraq were bound to cause resentment and anger in a region as
prone to conflict as the Middle East....
Coupled with the Israeli suppression of the Palestinians, this explains
a rising wave of Anti-Americanism sweeping across the Arab world.... As the U.S. goes about pursuing its interests
in Iraq, there is a growing need for the EU, Russia, China and the UN to assert
their positions more forcefully so as to restrain Washington from plunging the
entire region into utter chaos."