April 27, 2004
'A NEW TWIST' IN THE TERRORIST THREAT TO SAUDI ARABIA
** The bombings in Riyadh
signal the start of a "horrible open war."
** Saudi papers urge
citizens to "stand together with security forces" to fight terror.
** The perpetrators cannot
"hide their terrorist attacks behind the Islamic faith."
** Non-Saudi critics of the
U.S. link the blasts to "anti-American sentiment in the Middle East."
These 'crimes have nothing to do with heroism'-- Arab observers assailed the "cancerous and
destructive" bombings in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Watan blasted the "radical and
extremist ideologies" of the "misled" terrorists, whom moderate Okaz
begged to "wake up from...sick illusions." The UAE's expatriate-oriented Gulf News
acknowledged that the "pernicious and indiscriminate" attacks aimed
"to effect a leadership change," but dailies in the kingdom
emphasized the weakness of the "deviant group" that committed the
bombings. One moderate Saudi writer
declared a "small insect cannot challenge a deep-rooted tree."
'Every one of us is a security officer'-- Saudi outlets urged unity and "cooperation
between citizens and security personnel."
Writers called for a "public uproar and an institutional uprising
at every level" in order to "combat this deviant and abnormal
faction"; one moderate paper sought an end to "gray areas and vague
words." Conservative Al-Madina
held that "extending a helping hand to security forces is a noble
act," while the English-language Arab News advised citizens to
report "suspicious activity" because "we are all in the security
'A believer must not kill his fellow believers'-- Several dailies were "stunned" that
"any Muslim would undertake such carnage against another
Muslim." Kuwait's independent Al-Seyassah
criticized the killing of "innocent Muslims, slaughtering them like
animals." Other papers rejected the
bombers for "taking innocent lives" of any religion while hiding
under the "umbrella of Islam."
London-based Asharq al-Awsat stated that the bombs "had
nothing to do with Islam, and the attacks should be described as
terrorism." Another Saudi
editorialist agreed that "he who kills innocents is not a believer."
The Riyadh explosions are a 'reaction to U.S. policies'-- Pakistan's pro-Taliban Islam blamed
the blast on the "so-called U.S. war on terror and American support for
anti-Muslim" policies; Jakarta's independent Suara Pembaruan said
terrorists are not just targeting the U.S. "but also countries considered
allies of the U.S." Several writers
saw a "American media campaign against Saudi Arabia," alleging that
the "American media minimized the terrorist attack" so as to
"maintain a negative image of Saudi Arabia." The U.S. media mistakenly blamed "Muslim
radicals" for the blasts, said Lebanon's pro-Syria Ash-Sharq, but
in truth whoever sponsored the attackers "only wants to dismantle the
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
22 reports from 8 countries over 22 - 26 April 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
SAUDI ARABIA: "Which
Of The Two Ways Are You Taking?"
Jeddah’s moderate Okaz editorialized (4/26): "To the misled group we say, wake up
from your sleep and your sick illusions that control your minds. Listen to what the Minister of Interior has
said. He asked you to surrender
yourselves. You now have two choices;
you either surrender yourselves, or you will be killed. If you chose the first
you will be put on trial and judged in accordance to God’s law. Remember that a small insect cannot challenge
a deep-rooted tree."
"They Chose The Worst Destiny"
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad declared
(4/25): "The dark destiny that the
terrorists have chosen is not new to them.
They are well aware of what awaits them.
But they are deceived in thinking that what they are doing is an act of
heroism. Their crimes have nothing to do
with heroism. A believer must not kill
his fellow believers. He who kills
innocents is not a believer. Security
forces today have a heavy burden on their shoulders. They are protecting this country and
defending its citizens. The Cooperation
between citizens and law enforcement will ease the pressure on security
personnel. If at least we do not harbor
these terrorists and do not provide them with shelter where they can hide, then
we would be doing our part. Property
owners should check the identity of tenants before they offer them housing
"The Symbols Of Terror Are Falling"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina opined
(4/25): "The cooperation between
citizens and security personnel in this critical period is very crucial. The danger threatens everyone without
exception. Extending a helping hand to
security forces is a noble act. This is
the least we could do for those who are risking their lives to protect this
country. The symbols of terror are falling and we must not procrastinate in
fighting this evil, to uproot its claws from our society."
"That’s Why They Do Not Name Things By Their True Names"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan said (4/24): "Anyone who has monitored the U.S. press
during the last two days would conclude that the American media minimized the
terrorist attack in Riyadh last Wednesday....
The U.S. press failed to describe the incident as a terrorist attack. It only mentioned it as a blast that occurred
in the Saudi capital in front of a police headquarters building.... The U.S. press wants to maintain a negative
image of Saudi Arabia among Americans.
The U.S. press was fully aware that the recent bombing last Wednesday
demonstrated that Saudi Arabia is a victim of terrorism, not a supporter of
it.... But to name things by their true
names would undermine their unfair allegations against our country."
"Time Is Up...No To Terrorism"
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad declared (4/24): "It is time for every citizen, resident,
and every honorable man to say no to terrorism.
The hands of terrorists have reached our sons and brothers; we cannot
remain quiet any longer. Every one of us
is a security officer and a policeman.
The terrorists have not spared anybody.
It is time that we all have watchful eyes and become vigilant to every
move of this group of people who have lost every sense of guidance. We all denounce these ugly crimes in our
peaceful country. We are all committed
to fighting these extremists to uproot them from our country."
"More Than Just A Trend"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina maintained (4/24): "The terrorist attacks that have hit the
kingdom cannot be described as anything less than a horrible open war. This is
a war against the government, the people, the citizens, the officials, the
moderates, and the radicals. There is no
time to sit back and try to analyze or dissect the reasons that led to this
terror. Now it is time for action. Now we need a public uproar and an institutional
uprising at every level. We have to
stand by security forces in their war against the terrorists. Our awareness of our surroundings is key at
these critical times. A national
organized strategy must be established to fight these criminals and to get rid
of those who are sympathetic with them, or those who legitimize their criminal
Riyadh’s conservative Al-Jazirah editorialized (4/24): "Just one day after the Riyadh car
bombing, the reply from security forces and citizens was prompt and strong
against the terrorists who carried out the bombing under the umbrella of Islam,
taking innocent lives and spreading panic in Saudi society. Security could not
exist without the help of the public. The public can stand together with
security forces to combat this deviant and abnormal faction, to root it out of
our society. The police officers, because both of them are defending the
"Atrocious And Evil Crimes"
Conservative Al-Jazira editorialized (4/23): "The hideousness of this crime [attack
in Riyadh] has stressed how important is the support of all society, the
security bodies and the citizens, in confronting this bitter reality."
"A New Twist"
Youssef Abdullah Dini wrote in London-based pan-Arab Asharq
al-Awsat (4/22): "Wednesday's
explosions in Saudi Arabia represent a new twist in the country's terrorist
threat.... Undoubtedly the bombing did
not aim to pressure 'Crusaders or infidels'--as Muslim fundamentalists dub
Westerners--to leave the country. Instead...the attacks targeted the Saudi
security organization itself. The
incident came only days after Saudi authorities raided the hide-outs of
Al-Qaeda operatives and found several cars that were packed with
explosives.... The attackers should stop
trying to hide their terrorist attacks behind the Islamic faith. The bombs had nothing to do with Islam, and
the attacks should be described as 'terrorism.... Saudi clerical schools should instill in the
minds of the younger generation a love for their country instead of false
religious ideologies.... Political and
religious reformists should condemn these acts outright, and make their
homeland of Saudi Arabia their No. 1 cause."
London-based pan-Arab Al-Hayat opined
(4/22): "The terrorist attacks in
Saudi Arabia predate the Iraqi issue. However, the aim of yesterday's attack
and the way it was carried out cannot be isolated from the overall programme to
"The Truth About Killers Has Been Exposed"
Jeddah’s moderate Okaz editorialized (4/22): "The terrorist bombing in Riyadh that
targeted the General Administration of Traffic building enraged citizens and
residents alike. This attack also
revealed to everybody the truth about this deviant group that has strayed and
their cancerous and destructive ideology.
The explosion in Riyadh undermined the belief that terrorist activities
in the Kingdom only target Americans.
However, attacking foreigners who live peacefully amongst us is a crime
forbidden by our Shariah, Islamic Law."
"No More Excuses, The Masks Have Fallen, And It’s Time For
Straight And Honest Positions"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan commented (4/22): "Every scholar, scientist, thinker, and
knowledge seeker needs to take a stand against this extremist ideology and
those who stand behind it. There is no
room for gray areas and vague words. At
this critical time in which our country is living we need to be exact and
describe things as they are. We have
heard those who referred to the executioners of the attack on Al-Muhaya
compound in Riyadh as our sons who strayed and that they need guidance and
self-discipline. We also listened to
people saying that these attacks were ‘incidents’ and refrained from describing
them as terrorist and/or suicide bombings.
Every writer, thinker, and scholar must be accountable and responsible
for every word they say or write. We
need to call things by their names. We
also have to clearly define our position against these radical and extremist
ideologies. Now that our sons’ blood has
been shed, we must take a position and stand steadfast to defend our
"Long Battle Against Evil"
Pro-government English-language Arab News declared
(4/22): "The car bomb attack on a
police buildings in Riyadh yesterday must leave no one in any doubt that we are
all confronted by a great evil, and that the struggle against it will not be
won in a matter of weeks or months. On the contrary, the war against terrorism
will be long and difficult. The
terrorists have another enemy--the ordinary man or woman in the street in whose
midst they seek to conceal themselves and their evil activities. It is thus imperative
that everyone in the Kingdom remains alert to anything that seems unusual. As
Crown Prince Abdullah said again this week, we are all in the security forces
now. The police must be informed of any suspicious activity. The terrorists are
not supermen. They are not invisible. Preparing car bombs behind closed doors
may seem safe enough, but all the elements to make those deadly devices have to
be bought from somewhere and then assembled. Alert members of the public may
have more opportunities than they imagine to spot a small part of these deadly
preparations, either in the busy daytime streets or in the middle of the night.
And finally, though it is inevitable that decent people will be worried by what
is happening, we must remain calm and utterly resolute."
Jordan's semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai
observed (4/22): "The bomb
explosions in Riyadh have come immediately after the Saudi authorities
announced they had succeeded in arresting a car containing explosives, which
the authorities had been following since last month, and after [claiming] they
had foiled several attacks.... It is not
enough to issue statements of condemnation. Instead, serious practical
mechanisms and methods should be put in place immediately so that terrorism can
be eradicated once and for all....
Silence in the midst of what is happening is unacceptable.... All Arabs are bound to get exterminated in
the terror war and they should not shift blame to others, because the fire did
not break out in their neighbour's house, but in their own houses. Will they
Tariq Id al-Ubayd stated in Kuwait's independent Al-Seyassah
stated (4/23): "Those who are
messing up with the Saudi security say they wanted to drive away Saudi Arabia's
non-Muslim visitors, but today they are killing innocent Muslims, slaughtering
them like animals."
LEBANON: “Why Is Saudi
Arabia Being Targeted?”
Aouni AL-Kaaki held in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq (4/22): “It is not true that what is happening in
Saudi Arabia is within the framework of Islamic-Islamic conflict between
radical and moderates. This is only what
the U.S. is trying to circulate. What is
truly happening in Saudi Arabia has to do with efforts to shake the stability
in this country, which along with Syria and Egypt is the center of Arab
decision-making.... American media
outlets claimed that Muslim radicals perpetrated this crime in Saudi Arabia,
however, this is not true. These
criminals are only terrorists and have nothing to do with Islam and Muslims. Whoever is behind them only wants to dismantle
the Muslims.... In any case, what is the
reason behind this American media campaign against Saudi Arabia?.... This crime only serves Israeli interests and
American plans in the region.”
UAE: "Bombs Will Only
The expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf News remarked
(4/23): "The devastating bomb blast
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia shocked all Muslims, not only Saudis, for the audacity
in carrying of the attack in the birthplace of Islam. A group calling itself Al
Haramain Brigades claimed responsibility; the group is allegedly connected to
Al Qaida, which has cast its evil-doings worldwide for any misguided cause they
aver to have an interest in. What stunned Muslims, and they find difficult to
accept, is that any Muslim would undertake such carnage against another
Muslim. The non-acceptance of this is
not confined to Saudi Arabia but arises where violence and killings occur. This
is especially so in Iraq where Iraqi security forces are reluctant to act
against their fellow citizens. Yet
gradually governments in the region are forced to the sad conclusion that
extremists in their midst are intent on causing havoc and, through revolution
and murder, to effect a leadership change. While there may be those who want
change in the processes of governance, the majority recognise the way to win
the support of the people is through discussion and compromise. The usage of bombs to enforce an argument is
particularly pernicious and indiscriminate. As has been seen in recent years in
other countries, bombs in public areas will kill a greater number of innocent
people than any intended target, assuming there is one and the intention is not
to murder haphazardly. In Saudi Arabia,
it is clear terrorists were intent on causing mayhem and undermining the
security efforts there. The attack can be viewed as a warped form of vengeance
against all the measures Saudi Arabia has been taking and will continue to
take, against terrorists. What those who perpetrate such acts will come to
realise, though, is they do not deter the government in any way, but only
reinforce their resolve."
Haunts Saudi Arabia”
Independent Suara Pembaruan commented
(4/23): “While after the Gulf War I
(1991) bomb attacks were targeted at U.S. forces in an air base in Dahran,
after September 11, 2001, bombings have also targeted Saudi citizens. This
means terrorists do not only target the U.S. and its interests but also
countries considered allies of the U.S...
In the broader sense, the terrorist attacks in Madrid before the
elections in early March coincided with the early warnings about attacks by Al
Qaeda against supporters of the U.S. and its coalition in Iraq. For example,
they will target elections in Italy, Britain, Poland, Ukraine, the Netherlands
and Denmark from May through July 2004.
The FBI has even warned that Al Qaeda might attack China, and Asian
countries, including Indonesia.”
Islamic-oriented Pelita observed
(4/24): "It is indeed difficult not
to link suicide bombings with the anti-American sentiment in the Middle
East. In addition to the resistance
against U.S. occupation in Iraq, the sentiment has recently been triggered by
President Bush’s sidedness with Israel on the settlement of its conflict with
Palestine. Bush’s endorsement of Ariel
Sharon’s plan has apparently prompted resistance against the U.S. and countries
considered supporting the U.S. The bomb
attacks apparently have been aimed at warning the U.S.”
"Two Explosions In A Single Day"
Independent Urdu-language Inquilab
editorialized (4/22): "There are
separate reasons for each of the two destructive explosions at Basra and
Riyadh, but the two episodes at these places are enough to cause dismay to the
Islamic world. Incidents of this kind
are becoming a permanent cause of anguish to Muslims all over the
world.... The present explosion is the
third of its kind and constitutes a challenge to the Saudi rulers. The security of the land of Arabia is the
responsibility of those in power there on two counts. For one thing, it is their responsibility as
rulers. For another, Muslims inhabiting
every nook and corner of the world have not only an emotional and mental, but
also a spiritual relationship with this part of earth. If this land comes within the range of
terrorists' activities, Muslims, to whichever part of the world they may
belong, cannot live in peace. In
tracking down the forces at the back of any subversive activity, no external
power should be allowed to exert its influence. But it has been often observed that as soon
as an incident takes place, the needle of suspicion and then the trend of
investigation are steered toward a particular direction. Earlier, soon after the bomb blasts occurred
in Riyadh, it was stated that Al-Qai'da was behind them. It is purely a U.S. way of looking at
things.... It is possible that Al-Qai'da
might not be involved.... What we are
driving at is that unless investigations are conducted on right lines, it will
be difficult to trace the real culprit.
After last year's bomb explosions, the Saudi security arrested some
people who had been reportedly linked with Al-Qai'da. But thereafter, there was no news about where
the investigations had led to."
"A Reaction To Washington"
The Peshawar-based business-oriented Express
held (4/22): "Ten people have been
killed and 130 injured in a bomb blast outside Saudi Arabia's security
headquarters. We believe that this is a reaction to US policies and the usage
of the term crusade war by President Bush, as a result of which even a peaceful
country like Saudi Arabia cannot now remain safe from terrorist
"The U.S. Is To Blame"
Pro-Taliban Urdu-language Islam thundered
(4/22): "We think the main reason
for the explosion in Saudi Arabia is the so-called US war on terror and
American support for anti-Muslim drives across the world, including in