June 4, 2004
KHOBAR ATTACKS: 'FAR FROM AN INTERNAL SAUDI
** The Khobar attacks in
Saudi Arabia threaten "global economic stability."
** Arab and right-of-center
Euro dailies urge "solidarity and support" for the Saudi government.
** Muslim writers blast the
attackers for desecrating Islam's "deep-rooted values."
** Euro and Asian outlets
note Riyadh's "increasing vulnerability."
Al-Qaida sought to attack 'stable oil prices'-- Papers stressed "terrible
consequences" if al-Qaida is able to jeopardize the global economy by
threatening the "West's main oil supplier." Brazil's center-right O Globo
explained that "there is no target more attractive to the enemies of the
West...than the gigantic Saudi fuel tank."
Numerous dailies urged Riyadh to "beef up its counterterrorism
measures," because these "fundamentalists endanger
everybody." Japan's moderate Yomiuri
noted that "the Japanese economy, as well as the global economy, would
likely stall" if Saudi oil production is threatened.
'The international community must support Riyadh'-- "Saudi Arabia deserves all manner of
support," said the elite Jordan Times, adding that it is not
"time to turn the ratchet on Riyadh."
Conservative French and British observers held that the kingdom's
"survival is preferable to any of the plausible alternatives"; France
Soir saw a "pressing need to protect the oil fields as well as the regime
that controls them." But Philippine
and Israeli papers hoped the U.S. would consider "economic and diplomatic
sanctions" on the "single biggest spawning ground of terrorism in the
world." Manila's liberal Today
concluded the U.S. "invaded, occupied and punished the wrong country in
the Middle East."
The terrorists 'committed the worst act' any Muslim can-- Saudi dailies pledged to remain "united in
our war to eradicate" the terrorists and their "blind hate and
madness." Moderate Al-Bilad,
promising "Islam will remain the oasis of peace and security despite all
these waves of paganism," joined others in urging educators to instill
"true values" and prevent the rise of "deviant
groups." Business-oriented Al-Iqtisadiah
stated there will be no "negative impact on investments" and that
Saudi Arabia will "remain the world's leading oil supplier." A few anti-U.S. dailies blamed the U.S.'
"undeclared war on the Muslim world" for the attacks; India's Quami
Awaz cited U.S. policies as being "responsible for the growing
Riyadh must 'change from within'--
the kingdom created the conditions in which extremism could flourish" due
to the "zeal with which it spread" Wahhabism, according to many
observers. Britain's conservative Times
said Riyadh cannot reconcile its "two contradictory policies: appeasement of puritanical Islam and alliance
with America." Other dailies saw
"growing dissatisfaction" towards the "shocking corruption"
among Saudi rulers and expressed "no confidence in the political
health" of a government "riven by internal dissension" and
dismissive of even the "mildest encouragement for democratic change";
Hungary's liberal Magyar Hirlap termed the nation a "ticking time
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
64 reports from 35 countries over 30
May - 3 June 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
SAUDI ARABIA: "A New
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad contended (6/2): "No two people can disagree about the
vicious nature of the criminal attacks by terrorists on Khobar, Yanbu, and
Riyadh. All the well-known faiths have condemned
these crimes. Islam is a religion of
justice and mercy. These terrorists have
committed the worst act that anyone claiming to be Muslim can perform. Islam will remain the oasis of peace and
security despite all these waves of paganism.
Islam over the years has fought these criminal and terrorist movements
and has come out victorious on every occasion."
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina editorialized (6/1): "To get rid of terrorism in this
country, we need to confront it from within and fight the deep-rooted
ideologies that gave birth to such criminal thoughts. We also have to free the podiums from the
occasional speakers who often unintentionally promote terrorism and provoke
violent behavior. These people have
strengthened the beliefs that some people have about classifying others as
unbelievers and taking action based on that wrong conception."
"Not Distract Us"
Jeddah’s moderate Okaz opined (6/1): "The battle against terrorism and
unveiling those who are harboring them will not distract this country from
other major development projects.
Despite the recent unrest in the kingdom, the leadership has not
forgotten about women’s issues and the important role they play in this
country’s progress. The Council of
Ministers has on its agenda the task of finding additional job opportunities
for Saudi women. The Council is also
discussing the procedures that are required to open branches of international
financial institutions in Saudi Arabia.
These examples demonstrate that our fight against terrorism will not
prevent us from planning for the future that our citizens deserve."
"Soldiers Protecting This Country’s Gates"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan observed (6/1): "There is no doubt that the hand of
terrorism will be amputated, thanks to the conscientious efforts of our
security forces. But, like never before,
we are all responsible for being watchful, diligent and responsive to our
surroundings. Security force personnel
are our brothers, sons, fathers, and this country’s soldiers. They protect our country and defend its
peace, security and economic growth.
That is why we need to work with them hand in hand and shoulder to
"Combating Terrorism Is Everybody’s Responsibility"
Dammam’s moderate Al-Yaum held (6/1): "Fighting terrorism is based on two
simultaneous factors. Resorting to
strong force in dealing with those who try to undermine the country’s security
and stability, and killing innocent citizens and foreigners, is the first
factor. The responsibility of intellectuals and educational institutions to
educate youth about our true values, to prevent them from falling in the lap of
deviant groups, is the second factor."
"Our Country’s Cause Is Right"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina editorialized (5/31): "The terrorists this time have exceeded
every limitation and gone overboard with their criminal activities. They raided stores, killed innocent
civilians, inflicted pain upon citizens and residents who have come to this county
to help us develop it. They targeted
economic facilities thinking that they could cripple our economy. Well, they are wrong. Their actions will only increase our
commitment to eradicate the terrorists.
With their crimes they have given us the reason to go after them and
those who harbor them. With God’s will
we will win, because our country’s cause is right, and they are wrong."
"Our National Principles And Commitments To The World"
Jeddah’s moderate Okaz contended (5/31): "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia confirms
once again that it has fundamental political, security, and economic principles
upon which this country was built. The
safety of citizens and residents is top priority. All those who live in this land and help
build this country will be protected.
Those who want to shake this solid foundation must remember that Saudi
Arabia has stood steadfast in the face of many threats. Not long ago, Saudi Arabia increased an
additional two million barrels of oil a day to stabilize the price of oil in
the international market. These are
examples of the moral and ethical principals of this country towards its
citizens, residents, and the whole world during crisis."
"The Law Of Murders And Criminals"
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad observed (5/31): "We do not need to think more about how
to deal with those criminals. We must
stand united in our war to eradicate them.
These criminals have desecrated our deep-rooted values, and they have
found joy in the killing of innocent people.
Wherever they go they bring disasters with them. We must not open dialogue with those who have
put themselves on the list of organized criminals. We must strike them with an iron fist, and
have no mercy on them. Because they have
removed any kind of mercy from their hearts, and their minds have been filled
with blind hate and madness."
"Standing Firm Against Terrorism In Khobar"
Riyadh’s business-oriented Al-Iqtisadiah commented
(5/31): "Despite several wars and
political problems in the region, Saudi oil continued pumping to support
international market demands. Saudi Arabia has gained tremendous experience in
dealing with crisis. Foreign investors have carefully evaluated their
investments in this country, and they understand that temporary events have no
negative impact on their investments.
The economic and investment wheel will go forward and the kingdom is
likely to remain the world's leading oil supplier for the foreseeable future.
Development programs will not be affected by irresponsible acts committed by
deviant groups. Development is carried
out by the joint efforts of citizens and foreign brothers from all over the
"Desperate Terrorist Attempt"
Makkah’s conservative Al-Nadwa opined (5/30): "The purpose of the recent armed
terrorist attack at Al-Khobar was to attract media attention and mere
propaganda after they lost the capability to coordinate or carry out major
terrorist attacks. It was also an
indication of their collapse.... The
terrorists used new tactics in Al-Khobar and Yanbu attacks to directly target
vital economic and government interests.
It was also an attempt to deceive expatriates here that they are no
longer protected. Nonetheless, this
tactic is condemned to failure under the tough and close security monitoring of
ISRAEL: "Saudi Arabia
Hasn't Stopped Cheating"
Guy Bechor stated in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (6/3): "A wave of
terrorist attacks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, followed by arrests and pursuits,
has created the impression that the fight against Islamic terror in that
country--and its export to the entire world--has finally begun.... But an in-depth investigation reveals that
the Saudis are deceiving the world....
Clerics are still inciting the population against the West and
globalization.... It is also doubtful
whether there has been a change in direct Saudi funding of terrorism.... Therefore, for the sake of its own interests
and of those of the rest of the world, Washington must crack the Saudi nut,
even at the level of diplomatic and economic sanctions. However, this is a tough task for the U.S.,
in light of Saudi control of the world's oil taps. In the future, the U.S. should also consider
direct control of the Saudi oilfields.... Washington must make clear to the royal Saudi
household that the time has come to act, first of all by changing the social
order in its country. If it doesn't do
so, [Saudi Arabia] could become the most dangerous foe of the U.S.--and of
world stability--which should be fought accordingly."
BAHRAIN: "Another Dark
Chapter In War Against Terror"
The English-language pro-government Bahrain Tribune opined
(6/1): "It is a thorn in the side
of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But it is by far a thorn for everyone in the
region and the rest of the world as well. The terrorists had struck anew and
this week’s incident, which ended with 22 dead adds another dark chapter to
this global war against terrorism....
The terrorists in their usual fashion have time and again laid down
their agenda of extremism and absolutism sacrificing the lives of innocent
people whose agenda probably is nothing but to live simply, work simply and be
left in peace.... Definitely this all
leads to a losing game--whether for the terrorists, for governments, for
innocent people. Acts of violence lead to nothing and no amount of violence can
be justified as a means for a better end. The terrorists’ claim that they are
targeting only Westerners holds no ground for any civilised society. Whomever
they are targeting is not the issue here--the issue that remains is that they
intend to harm human beings and destroy societies.... The world is aligned on the side that
condemns terrorism. Yet this is not a
time to be soft to these terrorists. The mere savagery of those who carried the
Al Khobar attacks should be left with no room for negotiations.... The terrorists deserve no extensions. Their
deadline has long been overdue. It is sad that some of the killers had managed
to escape but the message is clear to all of them, that their acts will not be
tolerated. And all of them will someday have to face the court of justice. The world is one in sharing grief with Saudi
Arabia over these spate of attacks. In the Al Khobar massacre, at least 10
nations have their own citizens killed by the terrorists, most of them ordinary
guest workers. Countries and governments across the world are one with Saudi
Arabia in condemning another cowardly deed by this treacherous but largely
JORDAN: “Who Is Behind
This Disarray And Violence?”
Mohammad Amayreh wrote in semi-official, influential
Arabic-language Al-Rai (6/1):
“Why is this phenomenon of disarray and violence overtaking the Arab
countries these days? Who is behind this
killing and destruction that is taking place everywhere? Saudi Arabia witnessed a number of
bombings.... Syria suffered from such
actions...and Lebanon is now witnessing some cases of violence and unrest.... All this gives the impression, or is meant to
give the impression, of the presence of an atmosphere of instability,
insecurity, worry, tension and protest!
All this is designed to indicate that there is a need to fight so-called
terrorism, so that the American and Israeli occupations are no longer the only
reason for instability and the absence of security and peace in the
region. In addition, all this is
designed so that political regimes would respond positively to the
manufactured-in-America calls for reform and democracy.... If Washington is really serious about its
democratic project, then why does it not start with the real reason for this
violence, oppression and instability in the region, namely the Israeli presence
and the Israeli occupation of Palestine?
How can citizens believe America’s claims when they see America’s
‘democratic’ experience play out in Iraq?
Is the Abu Ghraib prison not the best example of this democracy?"
"Undeterred, But Needing Help"
The English-language elite Jordan Times
editorialized (6/1): "Like the
attacks which occurred earlier this month, the slaughter of 17 people in Khobar
yesterday was another vicious act aimed at disrupting Saudi Arabia's stability
and economy. By the accounts of those
who escaped the carnage when Saudi forces stormed the housing compound where
the terrorists were holding around 50 people hostage, the perpetrators seemed
to spare Muslims but not without advising them towards their ill-guided version
of piety. The 'masterminds' of such
attacks may have deluded themselves into believing that their senseless actions
can force the disruption of oil supplies from an area which is close to the
core of the Saudi oil industry.... But
despite the current of tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia, the top crude
oil exporter had promised to increase production.... In 1996, Al Qaeda tried to destabilise the
US-allied country by killing 19 American soldiers at the same compound. These
attacks are not new. But they are now more frequent. Therefore, Saudi Arabia
deserves all manner of support from the Arab and international community. The situation also demands that Washington
take better stock of everything that is happening in Saudi Arabia before
lobbing accusations of negligence and bad governance. This is no time to turn
the ratchet on Riyadh from within and outside the country. There are both
political and economic implications of a continued campaign to discredit the
country or destabilise it. There is also a pressing need for regional
cooperation in the efforts to combat the threats from terrorism. With the Iraqi and Palestinian conflicts
raging, strengthening the resolve of Saudi Arabia to fight off Al Qaeda
requires the full support of all sides."
Faisal Al-Qenai wrote in independent Al-Seyassah
(6/1): "Arab satellite channels
have played a big role in inciting people against America. In addition, some Arab newspapers and
magazines are playing a direct role in fanning the culture of violence against
America and the West at large, and are issuing an almost open invitation to
kill non-Muslims. It is only by
fostering anti-terrorism sentiments in peoples' minds and ending all sorts of
incitement, that terrorism can eventually be eradicated. Americans and Westerners live and work in our
countries at our invitation, to help us develop and to defend us. They are neither enemies nor occupiers, but
they are friends whom we must protect and respect in accordance with the
teachings of Islam."
"Denying Al-Qaida Space In A Modernizing Saudi Arabia"
The moderate, English-language Daily Star
declared (6/2): "A sitting duck
makes an easy target. This is one lesson
the Saudi royal family can learn from the latest bout of violence which visited
the eastern city of Khobar on Saturday.
It is a lesson that should have been learned before now.... Al-Qaida whose excesses apparently know no
bounds, is taking advantage of the fissure in Saudi society that has been
created as a result of the brisk modernization and development processes that
kicked into overdrive with the 1973-74 oil boom. The changes that Saudi society has undergone
in a few short decades are phenomenal--a life colored by mud brick huts,
subsistence agriculture and trading by camel train is, for example, still in
living memory. Now, modern
infrastructure that is the envy of many Western countries is well
established. Along the way, however,
some problems were created which have not yet been resolved. An older generation of princes, perhaps, has
not quite kept pace with the changes over which they have presided, while a
sense of reality appears to elude some of the younger generation. This must change. The undeniable talent and resources residing
in the kingdom, and the courage, must be mustered to press ahead with a renewed
development drive. There is no reason to
shy from continuing the modernization process that is the legacy of visionary
members of the royal family such as King Faisal, himself a victim of radical
reaction against change. Young Saudis face
many non-traditional problems which require non-traditional solutions. The initiative must be regained; an easy life
based on oil revenues cannot be relied on indefinitely, and the forces of
instability are, as we have seen, hard at work."
"Everybody Is Against Terrorism"
Government-run Arabic-language Oman noted (6/1): "Terrorism in all its forms is against
all peaceful means available to solve social ills. In a statement issued by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Oman clearly condemned the al-Khobar terrorist attack in Saudi
Arabia. Terrorism has become a dangerous
phenomenon, a phenomenon that threatens the stability of the region. What is happening in Saudi Arabia has a
negative impact in the region and in the world.
Thus, we all must stand united against terrorism.”
"Al Khobar Crime And The Necessary Support"
Semi-independent Arabic-language Al-Watan commented
(6/1): "Again, innocent people were
killed in the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The crime was committed by an ignorant group
of extreme terrorists who think they have the legitimate right to kill; yet
they kill by the law of evil. A
statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned this terrorist
act sacrificed innocent people. The
Sultanate assured the government of Saudi Arabia of its solidarity and support
for Saudi efforts to fight terrorism or any act that might threaten the
stability of the region.”
"Saudi Claim Of Success Surprises"
The expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf
News held (6/1): "The loss of
life in Saudi Arabia's hostage drama in Al Khobar may prove to be a turning
point for the kingdom to put more substantial resources into its fight against
terrorism in the country. The operation in Al Khobar succeeded in releasing many
of the hostages, and the large number killed might have been hard to prevent,
but the escape of three of the four terrorists was a substantial blow which
should have been prevented. The
brutality and ruthlessness of the hostage-takers gave the Saudi authorities a
very tough assignment, but despite their best efforts they did not achieve full
success. In order to prepare for the future, the Saudi forces must go through
more extensive training. Terror attacks have been growing over the past year
and it is only reasonable to prepare for more, while hoping that they never
happen.... It is not an easy skill for
security forces to master, but it is essential that the Saudis, backed by their
GCC allies against terror, get ready to be able to deal successfully with such
an event. What occurred in Al Khobar
this week may never happen again. But that is more likely if the authorities
act to encourage preventative measures, such as good intelligence and sound
intelligence work, public awareness campaigns, as well as better guards and
surveillance arrangements on likely targets. The last GCC summit agreed that
the alliance should take on greater responsibilities in fighting terror. Now is
the time for all GCC states to pool their skills to be able to act effectively
in the future as required."
The conservative Times opined (6/3): "The attacks in Saudi Arabia over the
weekend do raise legitimate questions about the possible impact of continued
instability in that country. Although
the U.S. had reduced its dependence on Saudi oil in recent years, it still
relies on the kingdom for 18 per cent of its needs.... Terrorists would have to hit important
pipelines in only a few sensitive places to reduce Saudi output for up to two
years. And it appears that this is their
intention.... Yet even if a new regime
were to take power in Saudi Arabia, it would not inevitably cut off oil
supplies to the West.... In the absence
of any other substantial industry, political expediency may well trump
ideological distaste for certain customers."
"Fuelling The Crisis"
The left-of-center Guardian maintained (6/3): "The deeper fears arise not from a
current shortage of oil but from the nightmare scenario in which Saudi oil
production (10% of world output) is taken out by a terrorist attack or a regime
change. This has moved from being
fanciful to quite possible."
"West Must Do All It Can To Keep The House
Of Saud In Power"
Patrick Bishop maintained in the conservative Daily Telegraph
(6/2): "It may be hard to love the
Saudis, but it is in our interests to carry on supporting them as they try to
weather what is looking like a particularly bad patch.... The need for reform has been admitted by the
rulers themselves. Yet their cripplingly
cautious approach to change, as well as internal family tensions, means that
progress has been minimal.... From our
point of view, their survival is preferable to any of the plausible
"The House Of Saud Is Doomed By Its
Michael Binyon editorialized in the conservative
Times (6/1): "There have been many other challenges and the House
of Saud has so far survived them all--by sticking together, tactical compromise
and paying off enemies. None of that will work any more. The ruling house is
old and disunited.... The ruling family has little room to maneuver. For its
own existence, it cannot jettison either of the two contradictory policies:
appeasement of puritanical Islam and alliance with America.... The ruling
family hopes to ride out the crisis, al-Qaida is making that all but
Philippe Gelie wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro
(6/2): “In the moving sands of the Arab
peninsula, President Bush has no more important and no more uncertain ally than
Saudi Arabia: proof that oil can join in unholy matrimony U.S. democracy and
Wahhabism.... But how long will the
union last? The relationship between
Washington and Riyadh involve complexities that go beyond America’s foreign
policy and touch upon domestic interests.”
"Al-Qaida Hits Where It Hurts the Most"
Arnaud Dingreville stated in right-of-center France Soir
(6/2): “For those who still had doubts,
here is proof that al-Qaida’s terrorists are expert strategists.... With the attack in Saudi Arabia, they have
hit a nerve center.... With tension at
its highest and the price of oil ready for a hike.... It was the worst possible time for an attack
against foreigners in a leading OPEC nation....
The reassuring comments by U.S. and Saudi officials cannot hide the
pressing need to protect the oil fields as well as the regime that controls
them...but without a guarantee of success.
And so the threat continues to hover and to hinder the economy,
including in the euro zone.”
“The Weak Link”
Jean-Michel Helvig commented in left-of-center Liberation
(5/31): “For Islamic terrorists, the
real WMD are located in Saudi Arabia, where Mecca and oil co-exist.... This is also where the best opportunities for
destabilization are offered to these same terrorists.... While police operations are needed to combat
them, the Arab-Muslim world needs more: a change in its political and religious
system of governance, more democracy and more religious tolerance. Nothing that
is being said and done in Washington appears to be feeding this meager hope.”
“Islam’s Soft Belly”
Charles Lambroschini said in right-of-center Le Figaro
(5/31): “There are two reasons why Ben
Laden is determined to assail Saudi Arabia. First, because Saudi Arabia is a
strategic target, but also because it offers a ‘soft belly.’ A revolution in
the Saudi capital would give Al-Qaeda’s leader major strategic, religious and
financial assets in his fight against the American Satan.... Conquering Saudi Arabia is the first step to
establishing a Caliphate that would unite, under the same green banner, the Muslims
of the world.... Saudi Arabia’s leaders
believed they could reconcile the American shield of protection against Iraq
and Iran with Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism. Today, the U.S. no longer accepts Saudi
Arabia’s ambivalence and Ben Laden is pointing a finger at Saudi Arabia for
becoming Washington’s vassal.... And so
the escalation of terror is turning into a war of attrition. Because President
Bush has lost the lead, on the Iraqi front as well as in Saudi Arabia, he has
no choice but to persevere.”
Centrist Abendzeitung of Munich contended
(6/3): "The price of oil has not
stabilized at its currently high level.
There is still the chance that it drops. But the terrorist attacks in
Saudi Arabia show that the region in the Persian Gulf will not be pacified for
a long time to come. On the contrary, it
is this unease that, in addition to the high demand for oil in the U.S. and
China, is pushing up prices. The high
price of oil is also pushing inflation.
The inflation rate in Europe has already crossed the two-percent
level.... If it stays that high, the
European Central Bank must react and increase interest rates. But this would be poison for the
"Fire At The Gas Station"
Clemens Wergin said in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin
(6/2): "The Khobar attackers have
achieved their goal: the price of oil
rose considerably on Tuesday.... But
those make a mistake, who want to take away the pressure for reforms from the
Saudi regime to avoid any danger for the rulers. The widespread view that Saudi Arabia remains
a stable dictatorship or Islamic chaos will be looming is false. If the Saudi monarchy falls, then not because
it has opened, but because it will drive too many frustrated young men into the
arms of radicals. And the reverse is
also true: the more leeway moderate
opposition forces will get to articulate their views, the fewer sympathizers
al-Qaida will get. But the regime has
obviously not understood the challenge, since otherwise, so many human rights
activists would not be imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Pressure must be increased, not only from the
U.S.... The Europeans must do more than
selling power plants and arms. If the
Saudis fail with their project 'Modern Times,' the gas station of the world will
blow up in everybody's face."
"The Domino Strategy Of Terrorists"
Martina Doering noted in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung
(6/1): "It is no coincidence the
that most recent terror attacks occur in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi monarchy announced that it wants to
increase the export of oil. In view of
the skyrocketing price of oil and a few days before the beginning OPEC
conference, this is a signal to the United States. The message is that we stabilize the price of
oil on the global markets by producing more oil. As a partner we remain indispensable. The message is: with a higher production of oil, we stabilize
global prices. We do not need a
conspiracy theory to explain the moves of Al Qaida cells. They do not have better strategies than the
Bush administration or a leadership that develops domino theories or orders
action. It is enough to know that there
are a few constants in U.S policy. The
United States needs more and more oil, and this is why the Saudis are necessary
to create an acceptable price. Because
this so, we must fear that the terrorists continue to attack the United States
and its allies."
Center-right Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung argued (6/1): "Much too long the partners in the
West...preferred a stable, allegedly mild dictatorship over uncertain
consequences of political changes--with the foreseeable consequence that
radical forces will see this strategy as a of the regime. This development has now been sped up by the
developments caused by the Iraq war....
This is the field on which bin Laden can sow the seeds of terror and
where his prospects are good to reap in a good harvest; the real theater is not
Afghanistan or Iraq, but Saudi Arabia.
If bin Laden and his brothers succeed in ousting the regime in Riyadh,
gain control over the Holy Sites and the oil fields, the Mideast will get a
face that will cause nightmares not only in Washington."
ITALY: “A Reign On A Sword
Marco Guidi declared in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero
(5/30): “Saudi Arabia has become a
territory that is no longer safe from al-Qaeda’s attacks. As everyone knows, Saudi Arabia monarchy has
allowed...for years, that big amounts of money be transferred from Saudi Arabia
to...Usama bin Laden and his organization.
That means some kind of ransom to keep terrorism away from that
country. However, the fact that Saudi
Arabia was one of al-Qaeda’s main targets...was already quite clear.... Saudi Arabia is facing one of its most
difficult, complex moments.... One thing
is certainly clear: al-Qaeda terrorists are not only getting support from Saudi
society, but likely also from its military forces. The fight is bound to consolidate, and a good
portion of Saudi Arabia’s future, as well as the world’s future, depends on the
outcome of that fight. It should, in
fact, be considered that Saudi Arabia is the major oil producer in the world
and the country is placed in a vital strategic position.”
RUSSIA: "Terror Starts
Vyacheslav Tetekin stated in nationalist opposition Sovetskaya
Rossiya (6/1): "It is doubtful
whether blaming terrorist acts on al-Qaida is justified. As we said on more than one occasion,
al-Qaida is increasingly seen in the world as a CIA unit. It is common knowledge that Usama bin Laden
is a CIA agent. But the world is only
beginning to realize that al-Qaida (reportedly called enemy Number One by the
United States) continues to carry out delicate (that is, dirty) missions it
gets from the 'world government,' which relies on the U.S. Finding al-Qaida's involved in a terrorist
act is like finding a CIA officer's ID at the scene of a crime. But Americans can't do without this
bugbear. Millions and millions of
dollars have gone into painting the specter of 'global terrorism.' There is no time for creating another one
just as horrible.... The current wave of
terrorism in Saudi Arabia has to do with the United States' Middle East policy
and undeclared war on the Muslim world.
President Bush, as he speaks of his greater Middle East plan, implies installing
regimes totally controlled by America.
A similar policy may later be spread to countries in Central Asia and
"Using Terror In Power Struggles"
Mikhail Zygar said in business-oriented Kommersant
(6/1): "The terrorist acts in Khobar
and a crisis in Saudi Arabia's oil industry may gravely affect the political
situation in that country. There have
been more rumors lately of intensified power struggles inside the royal
AUSTRIA: “Role Model Iraq”
Gudrun Harrer commented in liberal Der
Standard (6/1): “In spite of the
measures taken by the authorities, extremism in Saudi Arabia is on the
rise.... Following recent events in
Khobar, analysts were quick to stress that current upheavals on the oil market
would be short-lived only. Nevertheless, the attack was a success for al
Qaeda.... Stability in Saudi Arabia has
been jeopardized by the Iraq war and the hopelessly botchy transition
attempts.... The U.S. strategy to
withdraw some troops from Saudi Arabia and thus to take pressure off the Saudi
rulers...has not resulted in an increase in stability there.... Although Cassandra-like predictions may be
somewhat premature, for the first time there are concerns about the reliability
of Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Proof that the Saudis are taking the issue
pretty seriously themselves came from the country’s oil minister, who
immediately reached out to Western companies, trying to pour oil on troubled
waters.... Washington’s plan to free
itself from its dependence on Saudi oil via Iraq has failed miserably.... In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, military power
won’t suffice to defeat the phenomenon of bin Laden’s ever-growing flock of
followers, as has been proved by the steadily increasing number of attacks in
the past year.”
Erik Ziarczyk maintained in independent
financial De Tijd (6/1):
"The attacks (in Saudi Arabia) are causing unrest in the West. That has much--if not everything--to do with
the importance of oil. The fear of
terrorism has pushed the price of oil this month to the highest level in twenty
years. There is a means (for countering)
higher oil prices: higher output levels.
However, every new attack neutralizes higher output levels. The uncertainty on international markets is
too high. Furthermore, the attacks in
Saudi Arabia send an particularly negative signal. It is virtually the only country that can
afford higher output levels. Of course,
there is also Iraq, but not everything is running smoothly there either. The continuous violence there renders the
reconstruction of the oil industry virtually impossible.... Osama bin Laden is confident that he can win
'the domestic game.' Al-Qaida leaders also
cleverly exploit growing dissatisfaction in Saudi Arabia over the authoritarian
regime and the shocking corruption of the ruling class. Despite all the promised political reforms,
nothing has changed yet. Additionally,
the Saudi regime is the victim of the zeal with which it spread its strict
Islamic ideology for years. That ideology--Wahabism--is
an extreme interpretation of Islam. With
its scrupulous worldwide promotion of Wahabism--with oil dollars--Saudi Arabia
has boosted Muslim extremism. Today,
Osama bin Laden is exploiting that gratefully."
Gerald Papy asserted in conservative Catholic La
Libre Belgique (6/1): "Until
recently, the attacks in Saudi Arabia were directed against the American troops
that had been dispatched there after the end of the Gulf war in 1991 and
against the Saudi security forces.
However, after the end of the war in Iraq, Washington announced an
official end to its military presence in the Saudi Kingdom. With the attacks in Khobar--a change in the strategy--the
target has become economic.... The
attacks are impregnated with cruelty to influence the minds of employees of
Western companies.... A boomerang effect
has turned the Saudi monarchy into a target of a movement that it nourished
during the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Today, the monarchy seems to be engaged in a
resolute war against terrorism--with failures as the attacks in Khobar have
shown. For the monarchy, too, it is a
question of survival."
"Warning From Khobar"
Pavel Masa commented in center-right Lidove noviny
(5/31): "The terrorist attack in
Khobar is a cruel reminder of the strategy of the fundamentalists from
al-Qaida. In the last few years, Islamic
terror in the subconscious of the world’s statesmen and the public has been
connected with the struggle of Muslim fanatics against the U.S.... This is a mistake. The goal of al-Qaida remains the creation of
a Muslim empire, a Caliphate from Indonesia across the Middle East to Morocco.... In their plans, Saudi Arabia is the Islamic
pearl of their dreamed about Caliphate....
The action in Khobar combined at once three tactical aims: undermining of the power of the Saudi ruling
family, scaring away the West, and attacking world economic prosperity that
depends on stable oil prices.... While
the once united Western front has come apart and assistance to Muslim states
has remained only as a thought, al-Qaida continues in its coordinating
activities. At this point to argue about
who carries the blame for this situation is moot. One thing is clear--the fundamentalists
endanger everybody: Americans, Europeans
and Arabs. European help in stabilizing
Iraq and the entire Middle East should in this situation stop being one of the
options and become a necessity."
"Saudi Arabia Feared To Waiver"
Leading centrist Helsingin Sanomat
contended (6/1): "A key motivation
for the U.S. attack against Iraq was probably U.S. fears that Saudi Arabia's
stability might be endangered. Washington wanted strong foothold in a
neighboring country, which was also an important oil producer. But the war in Iraq only seems to have
increased unrest in Saudi Arabia, and Iraq's own internal situation remains
very unsettled. Uncertainty on oil
markets is likely to continue for a considerable time. There is no confidence in the political
health of Saudi Arabia. There is no
confidence in Iraq's political development--and most importantly, there is no
confidence in the United States' ability to control the increasingly complex
Middle East situation."
Endre Aczel wrote in leading Hungarian-language Nepszabadsag
(6/2): “The soul and structure of a
‘body’ [of a country], like Saudi Arabia becomes really interesting to study
only if there is any kind of problem with [crude] oil. And right now there is a
problem. And not only for one, but for two reasons. One is that the price of
[of the crude oil] is going up. The other is that al-Qaeda has taken aim at an
‘oil-target’ on the south of the Saudi kingdom.
Crude oil is an especially valuable commodity. A disruption of
oil-supplies jeopardizes the world’s economic stability. It would have terrible
consequences if the clones of the Taliban took over power in Saudi Arabia. I
regret to inform [the public] that the Saudi kingdom already 'smells’ of the
Taliban, a fact that the so well educated West has come realize a bit too
late. The U.S.' grand Iraqi adventure is
about democracy, right? Democracy is meant to have a disintegrating effect on
the Middle East countries. The Saudi monarchy has successfully resisted even
the mildest encouragement for democratic changes so far, which is a smaller
problem. The bigger problem is that, although promised, Saudi Arabia has not
yet done anything with its own terrorists.”
“Shaky Saudi Throne”
Liberal Hungarian-language Magyar Hirlap editorialized
(6/2): “Saudi Arabia, a monarchy known
before as a stable country, is today an instable spot in the Middle East. It
can explode at any time. Should that
happen, the world’s largest oil-exporting country will suspend production. The
number of Osama bin Laden’s younger generation of supporters is
increasing. If the attacks become more
massive and serious [against Saudi Arabia’s oil -reserves and oil-industry],
the U.S. won’t have any other option but to intervene in Saudi Arabia. Although no information has been leaked from
circles of the Saudi royal family so far, there are still signs, such as
tightened security, that there is a crisis and everybody is scared. Saudi
Arabia, the embodiment of Islam, is a ticking time bomb today.”
The center-right, populist Irish Independent stated
(6/2): "The spectre of petrol
crisis and economic slowdown inched closer yesterday with oil reaching an
incredible $42 a barrel. We're a long way from the doomsday scenario yet. But
just how vulnerable we are is evident from the soaring price, already at a
21-year high in the US last week. The
weekend attack on a major oil hub in Saudi Arabia has been minimized by the
Saudis in an attempt to calm international markets. But the reality is that the
very exposed nature of oil production makes protecting all the pipelines from
attack virtually impossible. We are all at the mercy of the terrorists.”
"Instability In Saudi Kingdom"
The center-left Irish Times remarked (6/1): "Strategically and economically Saudi
Arabia is more important than Iran or Iraq.
These attacks raise the question of how vulnerable the ruling regime
there is and what the consequences for the rest of the world would be if it is
undermined. The question is inseparable
from the wider issue of peace and stability in the Middle East--especially
between Israel and the Palestinians and the future of Iraq. The political inter-connectedness of these
issues is starkly revealed by these latest atrocities, as are their potentially
dangerous economic consequences....
Saudi leaders say they are determined to destroy the Islamic
fundamentalist organizations responsible for the series of attacks on such
targets over the last year and are capable of providing a continuing reliable
supply of oil. But quite aside from
these extremist groups, there are many sources of instability and popular
dissatisfaction in the desert kingdom.
It is ruled by an archaic system of interlocking families which no
longer have the resources to meet growing demands for employment and political
reform from a more and more sophisticated population. The rulers are divided between reformist and
repressive wings. A prolonged Islamist
insurgency combined with rising political conflict opens up a prospect of
indefinite uncertainty. President Bush has called for democratic change in the
Middle East harnessed to a democratic transformation in Iraq. But the actual policies he has followed have
weakened the potential agents who could deliver such an objective and
intensified the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Saudi Arabia is now joining this dangerous cocktail of regional
instability that endangers the rest of the world.”
NORWAY: "Terror And
Independent VG argued (6/2): "The terror in Saudi Arabia is far from
an internal Saudi problem. International
experts on terrorism predict that it is most probably only a matter of time
before terrorists with connections to al-Qaida try to carry out a spectacular
attack targeted directly at the country's oil industry.... One thing is that Saudi Arabia is in severe
need of political reforms.... However,
also among Saudi Arabia's most important partners in the West there is a strong
sense of uneasiness, of a somewhat different kind though. They do not stand together in the battle
against international terror like they should; they have no common political
agenda that will prevent fresh recruits from joining the ranks of terrorists."
POLAND: “Oil Price,
Joanna Przyjemska wrote in right-of-center Zycie
(6/3): “One again Bin Laden masterminded
an attack so it could affect the global economy, including America.... Terrorists made a mockery of politicians,
market analysts, terrorism experts and all sort of pros. [The terrorists]
demonstrated they are unpredictable...and their actions have long-term effects.
The March 11 attack in Spain resulted in the unexpected success of a
[political] party that immediately withdrew [Spain’s] troops from Iraq. The
Khobar attack made many car owners pay more for gasoline.... How much this will cost George W. Bush is
something we will be able to assess only in November.”
SWEDEN: "Terrorism Has
Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet held
(6/1): "The recent terrorist attack
(in Saudi Arabia) clearly shows that al-Qaeda is making serious its treat to
open a new front in Saudi Arabia. The attack was the second one in a short time
and was targeted against oil industry interests. This is not a coincidence. The
Saudi oil is the grease of the world economy. However, the Saudi Royal House is
also regarded an enemy (of al-Qaeda)....
Hopefully this outrage can help increase understanding of the U.S.
actions in the wake of 9/11, when the terrorist attacks changed the world. But
in Europe there is a tendency to forget that a war is going on. Instead of
showing solidarity with the U.S., which is bearing the heaviest burden,
anti-Americanism wallows in faultfinding, and elements of complacency are
considerable. Global terrorism is creeping
closer and closer to our borders, but in Sweden there is a sentiment that we
will not be affected...that this cannot happen to us. The fact is that it
already has, and it is naïve to assume that it will not happen here.”
AUSTRALIA: “Heart Of War On
An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald read
(6/1): "Those responsible for the
weekend attack in the oil port of Khobar were inspired, if not directed, by a
fellow Saudi, Osama bin Laden. If there is any one person identified as the
enemy in the United States-led war on terrorism, it is him.... Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist
network--or, more aptly perhaps, franchise--will survive him if he is caught or
killed tomorrow. That is true as long as the abnormal situation in Saudi Arabia
lasts. The privileged elite in charge in Saudi Arabia rule by a system that by
its actions ensures its own fate as a constant target of attack from desperate
extremist opponents. The West is locked in as an equal target of this extremism
in direct proportion to its support for the present Saudi rulers. “
JAPAN: "Attacks In
Saudi Arabia Part Of Global Problem"
Leading moderate Yomiuri editorialized
(6/1): "A weekend rampage by
terrorists in Khobar, Saudi Arabia's eastern oil hub, ended after Saudi
commandos neutralized the situation, but a sense of insecurity remains. The most remarkable feature of the latest
terrorist attack...was that the militants targeted the oil industry upon which
Saudi Arabia depends for its very survival....
Some observers say the latest attack has further clarified one of the
goals of the terrorists. Saudi Arabia is
the largest oil-exporting country in the world, and a very important ally for
Japan, as one-fourth of our imported crude oil comes from there. If crude oil production in Saudi Arabia is threatened
by terrorists, the damage will be not limited to that country. The Japanese economy, as well as the global
economy, would likely stall. The
terrorists are apparently trying not only to topple or undermine the Saudi
royal family, which rules the country, but also to destabilize the
international community.... The latest
incident took place as world oil prices remained at high levels, partly due to
the recovery of the global economy and a subsequent increase in oil demand in
the U.S., China and other countries....
The effects of the attack in Saudi Arabia were already being felt Monday
as gasoline futures prices rose to their upper limits.... Meanwhile, the Saudi government must beef up
its counterterrorism measures.... It
needs to take tougher steps than before, including finding terrorist bases and
cutting off their financial support....
A backdrop to the incident is the fact that the Saudi public is
frustrated by a domestic political system that has seldom seen reforms and an
unemployment rate for younger Saudis that is reported to be more than 20
percent. Along with reinforcing
counterterrorism measures, the Saudi government may have to stabilize the
domestic situation through political and social reforms. The terrorist problem is not one that Saudi
Arabia can handle alone. The
international community must support Riyadh by further expanding the global
coalition against terrorism."
INDONESIA: “Danger Behind
The Hostage Taking In Saudi Arabia”
Leading independent Kompas concluded
(6/1): "The taking of dozens of
expatriates as hostages in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, still leaves a deep sense
of fear although the drama ended on May 30 in a liberation operation. The threats of violence and terror are not
yet over.... Apparently, the militant
groups were using momentum from world
panic due to the skyrocketing oil prices to launch their action at the main
source and supplier of oil, Saudi Arabia.
The effects of the incident were very high. Regardless of the economic
factor, the taking of hostages constituted a terrorist act because it created
deep fear.... Although all the
information and explanations about the activities of Al Qaeda are never very
clear, the violence in Saudi Arabia during the past year is believed to have a
direct correlation to Osama bin Ladin’s dream and obsession.”
"Stand Firm In Saudi"
The leading left-of-center New Zealand Herald
declared (6/1): "Al Qaeda's latest,
and bloodiest, attack in Saudi Arabia has prompted the U.S. to urge its
citizens to leave the kingdom. The reaction is as regrettable as it is timid.
It pays no heed to the resolve and efficiency of the Saudi anti-terrorist
response at Khobar. More fundamentally, Washington, even if unwittingly, is
fuelling al Qaeda's belief that the Western world has a soft underbelly; that
it will cut and run when the fire is at its hottest.... It is vital to the smooth functioning of the
world economy that the six million expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia remain
there. Essentially, they run the country's oil industry and other sectors. An
exodus would lead to disruptions to oil supplies in months, if not weeks. With
prices already soaring, that is a dire scenario. This is one reason the kingdom is such a
magnet for terrorist activity. The Khobar assault was the second in less than a
month on the Saudi oil industry. Al Qadea's ultimate ambition, however, is to
overthrow the House of Saud and replace it with Muslim fundamentalist
rule.... The House of Saud is riven by
internal dissension, widely disliked, and undoubtedly fragile. But under its
rule Saudi Arabia has prospered enormously from contact with the West. Many of
its best and brightest have been educated in the U.S. and could be expected to
favour the forces of modernisation over those of fundamentalism. Somewhat
paradoxically, they live in a country that continues to expound an austere
version of Islam. This has always been a form of protection for the House of
Saud. Whether it is now serving to aid and abet extremist violence has become a
subject of debate.... Al Qaeda is always
probing for weak points. It knows the White House is distracted by events in
Iraq. There, the U.S. is promising to stay the distance. America cannot afford
to be anything other than equally tough-minded in Saudi Arabia."
"Saudis’ Faustian Deal Backfires"
Independent, English-language The Nation observed
(6/1): "The hostage drama in the Saudi
Arabian oil city of al-Khobar has not only exposed the failure of the kingdom's
anti-terrorism strategy but is testimony to a serious need to put an end to the
activities of the radical establishment that helped make possible al-Qaeda's
version of political Islam. Until last
year, the ruling Saudi family consistently dismissed any suggestion that Muslim
insurgency was taking shape in the kingdom, which often boasts about its
generosity to the Islamic world but failed to detect militant Islamic activities
in its own backyard. Instead of taking
decisive action when the warnings were first sounded, the royal family chose to
turn a blind eye, thinking that somehow these militants would just
disappear.... The country's leaders
chose to ignore the fact that the real battle is between them and the radicals
and that Western countries, particularly the U.S., were caught up in somebody
else's civil war.... While they will not
be able to wipe the slate clean overnight, it is not too late to do anything
about it. Riyadh can still turn up the
heat on the radical clerics and permit Saudi civil society to prosper and have
a bigger say in the way the conservative kingdom is run.”
The liberal Today opined (6/1): “The weekend massacre in Khobar once again
confirms the suspicion that the U.S. invaded, occupied and punished the wrong
country in the Middle East. Saudi
Arabia was, is and will continue to be for many years to come the single biggest
spawning ground of terrorism in the world today. That 11 of the 15 known hijackers involved in
the September 11, 2001, attacks were Saudi nationals should have been clue
enough that Islamist radicalism could not have evolved into the global threat
that it is today without Saudi support....
That al-Qaeda operatives seem to have been able to run rings around
Saudi authorities gives rise to yet another suspicion: the terrorists have a
sufficient number of sympathizers in the Saudi government and ruling elite.... Swimming in mind-boggling riches, the Saudi
ruling elite has grown indolent and insensitive to threats, not just to the
foreigners who enriched them, but more important to their own survival. While Filipinos, Egyptians, Americans,
Britons and other expatriates made up most of the casualties at Khobar last
weekend, no doubt the terrorists also struck to bring down the Saudi royalty.”
INDIA: "Hostages Rescued
Centrist Hindi-language Yashobhooomi concluded (6/1): "The hostage crisis in the city of
Khobar, which lasted for almost 25 hours, came to an end when Saudi commandos
rescued fifty people. Twenty-two people
were killed by the terrorists which included eight Indians. The shocking incident brings to light that
the terrorists were linked to the al-Qaida.
However, it is even more surprising because Osama bin Laden, who is a
resident of Saudi Arabia, is inflicting terror on the country of his
residence. At present Osama is the enemy
of the US and Saudi Arabia has friendly relations with America. It seems that Laden's actions are a result of
Saudi Arabia maintaining friendship with the enemy country (U.S.).... The U.S. is unable to apprehend Osama bin
Laden and this raises serious questions about the safety and security of the
nations supporting the U.S. in its war against terrorism.... The incident in Khobar serves as a warning
that such episodes may occur in the future."
"Terror In Saudi Arabia"
An editorial in Urdu-language Qaumi Awaz read (6/1): "The recent bloody incident in the Saudi
oil city of Al Khobar in which about a dozen people have been killed reminds us
all once again of the deteriorating situation in the country. Not only the militants responsible for such
reckless attacks, targeting innocent people, must be brought to book but
effective measures must be undertaken to prevent such tragedies. However, the U.S. policies in the Arab world
are also responsible for the growing militant activities and the overall
restlessness in various Arab countries.
Countries where the governments are closely affiliated with Washington
and have either supported or remained indifferent to U.S. invasion and
destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan have especially been the targets of what is
commonly referred to as al-Qaida attacks.
The international community has to seriously address the question that
who is really responsible for the menace to become a global threat. The only way to stop the current wave of
terror is to make the U.S. to end its aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan and
change its imperialistic policies."
"Killing The Innocent"
The centrist Hindu held (6/1): "Saudi Arabia's security forces
demonstrated some tactical expertise in rescuing expatriates held hostage by a
group of terrorists in a residential complex in the city of Al Khobar.... The Saudi forces are still green and
unpractized in this game. They were caught off guard by the attack four weeks
ago at the Yanbu petrochemical complex. But this time they had been warned for
terrorist groups had openly pledged to target foreigners working in the oil
facilities.... The Saudi public knows
very well that the extremist groups have a wider range of objectives including
the overthrow of the royal family that they portray as a stooge of foreign
interests.... Paradoxically, the kindgom
created the conditions in which extremism could flourish by aligning itself
with a fanatical Wahabi sect that preaches bigotry and stifles all attempts to
foster liberal thought and education. These xenophobic tendencies have only
strengthened after the U.S. demonstrated through its invasion of Iraq that it
is hell-bent on imposing its will on the Arabs.... A website claiming to speak for Al-Qaeda
declared that the Indians were killed in retaliation for the 'murder of our Muslim
brothers in Kashmir.' Since Al-Qaeda is
a very nebulous organization and since Arab extremists have seldom attacked
Indians before, it is difficult to believe that this is an authentic version of
the views of the Saudi extremists. However, New Delhi will have to ascertain as
quickly as possible whether these extremists now consider Indians to be
"Warning From Khobar"
The nationalist Hindustan Times declared (6/1): "The weekend hostage crisis in the city
of Khobar, Saudi Arabia, is a brutal reminder of just how vulnerable the world
has become to terrorism. It is not likely to immediately affect the oil production
of Saudi Arabia, but it has worrying implications for the future because of the
ease with which the terrorists hit at the expatriate workers. India has reason
to be concerned because as many as eight of those killed in the 24-hour-long
nightmare were Indians. Till now, Indians were never really singled out by
international terrorists and even the Al Qaeda, but in the Khobar incident,
they were apparently targeted because of what the terrorists said were India's
policies in Kashmir.... The terrible
events in Khobar suggest that the Al-Qaeda has now expanded its hit lists to
include as many foreigners--read non-westerners--as they can.... The Al-Qaeda never made any bones about
targeting Saudi Arabia.... The terror network
obviously aims to topple the Saudi government and create fear and spread
terror. This is bad news, not just for Saudis, since their country has the
world's largest exportable surplus of petroleum."
The center-right national English-language Nation commented
(5/31): "Al-Qaida's latest attack
in Saudi Arabia shows a distinct shift in strategy.... Politically, the American conquest of Iraq
was supposed to bring into the market its huge production potential, which had
previously been restricted under the food-for-oil programme. However, that has
not happened, and so long as the American occupation continues, international
oil markets will remain unstable.... If
an Al-Qaida attack succeeds on a major oil facility anywhere in the world,
prices could go through the roof. For an oil importing country like Pakistan,
that would be disastrous."
BANGLADESH: “A Vulnerable
The independent English-language New Age noted (6/1): "The innocent have been paying a high
price in such disparate places as Afghanistan, Iraq and the occupied West Bank
and Gaza. The finger of blame points in all directions and when those who
sanctimoniously inform the world, as men like George Bush and Tony Blair have
been doing, that civilized people cannot stand by and allow brutality to go
unchecked.... They may not have realized
that the extremists who run organizations like al-Qaida have also in their own
way been staying the course. Any regime
seen to be friendly to the West is today in danger of being targeted by
terrorists, such as in Khobar. For the Saudi monarchy, the risks today are much
greater than they have at any time been in the recent past. It is not merely
the issue of Saudi cooperation with the West that has added to the militancy of
opposition groups in the country. There is the growing feeling among many that
the Saudi political system will need to change from within. While terrorism
itself is reprehensible, it is also true that the increasing vulnerability of
the Saudi royals is a wake-up call for change. Political liberalization as well
as a recasting of foreign policy to make it appear independent of the ties
which have linked it to the West, are called for."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Bloody
The liberal Daily Dispatch held
(6/3): "U.S. terror operating under
the guise of the 'war against terrorism'--unleashing war, violating human
rights and humiliating captives--has this past weekend yielded a bloody
harvest.... Al-Qaeda hit back and killed
22 people. Al-Qaeda grew around the
former citizen of Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden. In the face of the increasing
McDonaldisation and Coca- colonisation of the Islamic world, the influx of more
than six million foreigners to Saudi Arabia, and the presence of American
troops in Riyadh, many Saudi men have come to perceive this as an infidel
invasion.... He has developed a fluid
but effective terrorist network....
Since 9/11 the world has witnessed the emergence of a standoff between
economically aggressive neocon-liberals and radical Islamists bent on carrying
out 'Allah's revenge'.... The world has
become a more dangerous place. The
capture of Osama will not make it safer. By personifying the issues in him, the
U.S. has encouraged the vitality of his legend, his promise of martyrdom, and
his emulation.... A long line of
mujahedeen (holy warriors) stand ready to fill his sandals. Confronting them with the crude instrument of
war is bound to lead to more terrorism.
Let the world instead fall back into the multi-lateral and pluralist
approaches of before--detente, summits, debates in the UN--or else the
tit-for-tat spiral in the Middle East will continue and it will get
CANADA: "Assault On
The leading Globe and Mail opined (6/1): "The latest terrorist attack on foreign
workers in Saudi Arabia underlines not only the growing vulnerability of the
Saudi regime but the increasing risks this poses to the world's oil supply--and
with it, global economic stability.
There is no doubt that this was precisely the goal of the militants who
shot up oil company offices Saturday in the Persian Gulf oil center of Khobar
and then seized hostages in a supposedly well-guarded resort complex.... The Saudi regime is in many ways the author
of its own misfortune. Leading members
of government have long vowed to crack down on the terrorists operating in
their midst. Yet members of the royal
family funneled money to known terrorist organizations and belong to a
fundamentalist sect preaching its own extremist form of Islam.... The regime has failed its people in other
important ways. The House of Saud could
have blunted the appeal of the militants to disaffected young people if it had
used its vast oil wealth to develop a healthy, diversified economy capable of
providing good job opportunities. It has
also resisted social and political reforms that could starve the extremists of
fuel for their hatred. Worried U.S.
officials have been prodding Arab regimes toward reform, but too gently. As a result, as a recent meeting of the Arab
League showed, there has been far more talk than action on the reform
front. And now it may be too late."
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press editorialized (6/1): "The al-Qaida terror network showed the
world that it was still in business on Saturday when an armed band stormed into
an oil company office and residential compound in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. During a 25-hour standoff with Saudi police,
they killed four Saudis, an American, and workers from Asia, Africa, and
Europe.... The Saudi government and the
oil companies should improve the defenses of their office and residential
compounds so they can assure decent security to their employees. They should not yield to the demands of the
terrorists by scaling back oil production or by removing foreign workers. That would teach al-Qaida that terrorism
works, inviting it and its imitators to repeat these tactics elsewhere.... The Saudi Arabian government should stand
firm where the electorate and the rulers of Spain flinched. They should intensify their efforts to arrest
and imprison local terrorists and they should step up measures to defend the
oil companies from terrorism. Security
for Canadians, who are also on al-Qaida's target list, lies in defeating
Marcelo Cantelmi asserted in leading Clarin
(5/30): "The blow on Saudi Arabia
is a clear demonstration of force. There
is neither naiveté nor mistakes in the operation. This country is bin Laden's land, the
scenario of the final battle, also for the oil, to be waged among that formerly
loyal partner of Washington, the Saudi kingdom and the empire itself. It is clear that al-Qaida is not what is said
to be. It has no central
organization. It is composed of
autonomous groups that use al-Qaida's name as a banner of war. One or several of those groups are located in
said Arab nation that has the largest oil reserve in the world but with its
people harassed by poverty. This
characteristic provides them with a lot of allies. There have been two other attacks launched on
Western targets during this month. But
yesterday's is a major challenge."
"The Real 'Axis Of Evil'"
Claudio Uriarte observed in left-of-center Pagina
12 (5/30): "Yesterday's triple
al-Qaida attack in Al Khobar has the virtue of refocusing the attention on the
place where everything started--Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the place where Osama bin Laden is from. It is in Saudi Arabia where he obtains part
of his money.... Saudi Arabia is the
West's main oil supplier, and, therefore, it is the channel through which the
oil voracity of the U.S. and other Western economies funds terrorism that will
then turn against them, and it wages an endless fight to expel them from the
Middle East. This oil dependence is the
real 'Axis of Evil'.... Al-Qaida's
purpose is not only to obtain Bush's defeat in November but the departure of
all Western corporations and armies from its own region, and the destruction of
Israel.... There will be no truces or
“The Saudi Ghost”
Center-right O Globo remarked (6/1): "Everything indicates that the wave of
attacks in Saudi Arabia is a byproduct of the war in Iraq, just as napalm is a
byproduct of petroleum. It’s easy to
prove the cause and effect relationship between President Bush’s disastrous
military adventure and the terrorist campaign to destabilize the neighboring
Saudi kingdom. It’s enough to imagine that, if in fact the American forces
really controlled the situation in Iraq, the opposition displeased with the
excessive centralization of the House of Saudi would very unlikely have the
audacity to plan and execute spectacular actions such as last weekend’s attack
on a residential condominium in Khobar....
Based on research in the region, the respected London institute, the
IISS, asserts that the war in Iraq has diverted precious resources from the
fight against terrorism, and strengthened Al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden’s organization today has a
greater number of activists than before the invasion, and operates in over 60
countries. As expected, the organization
has taken responsibility for the attacks in Saudi Arabia. Thus it has fulfilled the sinister warning from
those opposed to the intervention--nearly the whole world--that an unstable
Iraq would contaminate the whole Middle East. Saudi Arabia is one of the nerve
centers of the world economy. The Saudis
have no rivals in petroleum exports and they are the owners of one third of the
world’s reserves. Thus, there is no target more attractive to the enemies of
the West, such as Bin Laden, than the gigantic Saudi fuel tank. This explosive reality, created in part by
Bush’s blindness, is added to the increase in consumption--by thirsty expanding
economies, such as the Chinese--to put pressure on prices. It will be a relief if Saudi Arabia can
convince OPEC partners in Beirut, as has been promised, that an increase in oil
production is also in the interest of the cartel.”