International Information Programs
December 10, 2004

December 10, 2004





**  Global outlets say that "political reforms are long overdue" in the Kingdom.

**  Iraq has "destabilized neighboring countries" by giving "new momentum" to Islamic terrorists.

**  Muslim writers demand the U.S. "re-examine its current role in the Arab-Islamic world."

**  Saudi outlets blast the "ruthless depravity" of the terrorists.




'A worrisome sign of destabilization'--  Papers saw a "very deep crisis" inside Saudi society, which is "fundamentalist by nature but pro-West by choice."  As the "fountainhead of Islamic fundamentalist unrest," meaningful steps to democratize the "rotting monarchy" are necessary, they concluded.  Australia's liberal Age prescribed "political reform rather than a despotic crackdown" to remedy the country's "deep, fundamental and contradictory flaws."  Analysts criticized Riyadh's "highly selective and severely flawed" anti-terror campaign.  A "sophisticated and secretive" al-Qaida "is still alive and kicking" in Saudi Arabia; Japan's moderate Yomiuri noted al-Qaida's strong "resolve to continue attacks on U.S. interests." 


The world is a 'more dangerous place'--  Liberal outlets blamed the U.S.' "cruel behavior" and "willful destruction" in Iraq for "aggravating the problems" of the Middle East.  Germany's Berliner Zeitung opined that the Jeddah incident shows how "the U.S.-led war coalition has intensified resentment towards the West," while Saudi Arabia's Arab News added that U.S. actions "particularly in Iraq have fomented, not reduced, terrorism."  Several papers called on the U.S. to put its "Middle East policy on a totally new foundation," describing Washington's consistent "mantra" that the world "has become safer" after the Iraq war as an "empty phrase." 


A 'deep well of anti-American sentiment'--  Papers in the Muslim world blamed "biased U.S. policies against Arab countries" for creating "deep hostile feelings" that lead to terror.  Pakistani dailies judged that the U.S. "is not welcome in Muslim countries"; the rightist Pakistan Observer noted that "bloodshed, discrimination, humiliation and brutalization is not the way to generate goodwill for the U.S. in Arab lands."  Writers referenced "growing anti-American feelings" in Saudi Arabia to explain the "attacks on American interests" there.  India's centrist Azad Hind judged that "Saudi people hate the U.S." for reasons ranging from the U.S.' "deliberate effort to destabilize the Saudi system" to its "anti-Islam policies." 


An 'aimless and barbaric' act--  The attack by "deluded maniacs" was "unfortunate and abominable," Arab writers said, with Qatar's semi-official Gulf Times accusing the terrorists of "destroying the image of Islam."  Saudi Arabia's moderate al-Bilad agreed that their "inhuman actions...are against our traditions, values and system" and "should be condemned."  Observers saw a "joint international responsibility" to "contain the fire of terrorism" because "Saudi Arabia and the U.S. alone cannot completely eradicate al-Qaida."  Others like Bahrain's pro-government Daily Tribune focused on the need to address the "root causes of terrorism."


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,


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.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  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 48 reports from 23 countries over 7 - 10 December 2004.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Democratic Iraq Will Seal Fate Of Islamist Terrorism"


The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (12/7):  "The operation in Jeddah, which resulted in the deaths of four Saudi guards and three terrorists, did not succeed in killing any American diplomats.  It was much less lethal than attacks last year and this on housing compounds in Riyadh and Khobar....  Some progress in the Arabian peninsula, the Indonesian archipelago and South Asia contrast with continuing high levels of violence in Iraq as it prepares for elections to a constituent assembly in January....  It must be hoped that, over the coming weeks, the prospect of the country's assuming democratic control of its own destiny will draw a large part of the Sunni community into a non-violent political process.  That would open the way to reducing the number of foreign troops and, thereby, the resentment that their presence inspires.  The emergence of a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Iraq would be a quantum leap in the struggle against Islamic extremism."


"Terror Hits Home"


The left-of-center Guardian opined (12/7):  "This audacious attack in normally peaceful Jeddah is the first large-scale incident since 29 people were killed in the eastern city of Khobar in May, amid signs of possible collusion between the perpetrators and the security forces....  The Saudi government, understandably jittery, argues that it has the situation well under control.  Any violence, it insists, is a last gasp rather than a new wave.  But pessimists warn that it is only realistic to expect future attacks on the mighty Saudi oil industry, the reason for the country's close relationship with the US.  The gloomy lesson of recent years is that the pessimists in the Middle East are all too often proved right."


"Lesson For Saudi Rulers"


The conservative Scotsman of Edinburgh editorialized (12/7):  "The fountainhead of Islamic fundamentalist unrest is not in Afghanistan, far less Iraq. Rather it is in Saudi Arabia. That is why yesterday’s attack in Jeddah is important. The Saudi elite, rich beyond Croesus on the proceeds of oil, is not the problem. It is pro-western. But to protect its wealth from popular envy, in a country where youth unemployment is endemic, the Saudi elite embarked on a high-risk strategy.  It funded Islamic fundamentalist schools as a way of diverting the masses, not only in Saudi Arabia but also in Afghanistan, Pakistan and even the U.S. Predictably, this Frankenstein monster turned on the Saudi ruling class. The result was not only 9/11, but a systematic attempt to destabilise the Saudi monarchy and drive out the westerners who sustain their rule--witness yesterday’s terrorist attack.  The Saudi authorities have a limited time-frame to rectify their mistakes. The rise in oil revenues should be used to train Saudi’s young men for a modern economy. Democratic institutions should be introduced to counterbalance the fundamentalist preachers. Women should be given full civil rights. The ruling family should admit that it has a major internal security problem instead of blaming rogue elements. And it should grasp that outrages such as Jeddah are not possible unless the security forces are turning a blind eye to al-Qaeda operations inside Saudi itself."


GERMANY:  "Breeding Ground"


Jacques Schuster judged in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (12/7):  "After months of relative calm, terrorists struck again in Saudi Arabia.  This crime is surprising only in one respect:  it took place so late.  The fact that peace prevailed for so long is a success of the Saudi government.  Long ago, it took drastic measures against terrorists.  It did not stop by taking simple police measures.  With treaties with neighboring countries it succeeded in reducing arms smuggling.  There are still many things to do. The flow of money from dubious organizations has not dried up, and there will be new attacks in the country, but, nevertheless, Saudi Arabia is on the right path.  Its goal is the victory over terrorism and the restoration of stability in the region."


"Putting The Screws On"


Markus Ziener argued in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (12/7):  "The bomb attack in Jeddah is transporting a dual message:  the U.S. continues to remain the main target of terror.  And, Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally, is unable to effectively protect U.S. facilities.  America is the object of hatred in the Middle Eastern region--and this also means for all who side with it.  This is not new, but this view is consolidating.  And it produces a considerable resonance.  For with the war against Iraq the basic anti-American mood has now even reached those circles who had previously a positive view of the U.S."


"In The Fortress Of The Enemy"


Peter Münch argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (12/7):  "With the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, the terrorists proved that they are able to hit the opponent in the heart.  They succeeded in forcing their way into the fortress of the enemy and take hostages.  And even though Saudi security forces succeeded in storming the the logic of the extremists, this action was a success.  Again the Americans had to expose themselves in the homeland of Islamic terror.  The mantra of the Bush administration that the world has become safer with the anti-terror war…has again been unmasked as an empty phrase.  In this asymmetric war, there can be no permanent winner, for, despite all its power, the Americans will always be the ones who will be driven.  With a clear message the attackers in Jeddah reported back:  If the smoke disappears in Fallujah and if, some day in the future, the bombs cease to go off, nothing will have been won.  Even a stable Iraq, which seems to be far away, would not change the explosive situation in the rotting monarchy of Saudi Arabia.  The U.S. Middle East policy that was based on grand delusions long before George W. Bush, is in a dead-end street."


"Successful Destabilization"


Roland Heine said in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (12/7):  "Bomb Attacks, taking of hostages, gun battles, there is hardly a day without such reports from Saudi Arabia....  The example of Saudi Arabia makes clear that the U.S. war of aggression plunged not only Iraq into chaos, but it has also destabilized neighboring countries.  Islamic terrorists, whom the United States allegedly fights, have not been pushed back, but got a new momentum across the entire region....  In the meantime, Al Qaida has set up a new front and this is directed against pro-Western Arab regimes like the one in Riyadh.  But t at the same time, Saudi Arabia illustrates to what extent the moves of the U.S.-led war coalition has intensified resentment towards the West in the entire Arab world."


"Fertile Ground For Violence"


Karl Grobe noted in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (12/7):  "The opposition in Saudi Arabia has no democratic means to express its views, there is no parliament, no legal party, and there are hardly any civil society institutions.  Growing unease over corruption of the Saudi dynasty, the luxury of the King's family and their protégées, an impoverishment of the politically lawless millions of international workers, and Saudi Arabia's religious state ideology is building up and breaks out by using force.  At the same time, complaints come from many mosques about the upper class, which does not obey to the commandments it imposed on the country....  The routine explanation that Al Qaida [is responsible] for the attack, does not explain anything, because it does not want to accept the reason why these violent groups developed and what is their relationship to the general opposition in the country.  If the Bush administration continues to simply condemn the attack and does not put its Middle East policy on a totally new foundation, it will risk not only its access to oil resources but also a general confrontation that will hit not only the U.S."


ITALY:  "Kingdom Hanging In The Balance"


Antonio Ferrari commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (12/7):  “The attack in the heart of the super protected U.S. compound is the most audacious challenge launched by Islamic terrorists in the Saudi Arabian Kingdom....  In fact, the risk of instability has grown exponentially in recent months....  Not only is the question of succession at stake, but also the network of international alliances and, of course, the fate of the huge assets, mostly invested abroad....  And then there is the alliance with the U.S....  In the past, Riyadh bought those who it could not convince. Now money is not enough, besides terrorists have enough money. The attack on the U.S. Consulate shows that there is no time to waste and the moment of decision has come. But is Saudi Arabia, with its brain in the west and the heart of portion of its citizens supporting the most violent fundamentalists ready to take the risk?”


"Riyadh And Its Pending Issues With Terror"


Maurizio Molinari stated in centrist, influential La Stampa (12/7):  “The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah by Islamic cells took place a few hours before Iraqi interim President Al Yawer was welcomed at the White House. The coincidence shows that al-Qaida has begun a military campaign against the Iraqi elections....  In the tug of war between George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden on the future of the Middle East, the Wahabi kingdom has a lot at risk; it is fundamentalist by nature but pro-west by choice....  Indeed, for Washington and its allies defending the elections in Iraq also means pushing Riyadh to solve its pending issues with terrorism at home.”


"A ‘Special Relation’ In Crisis"


Alberto Negri observed in leading business-oriented Il Sole 24 Ore (12/7):  “Is Saudi Arabia under control? And are those who control it still allied with the West? The attack on the U.S. Consulate raises these questions once again....  The close relationship with the U.S. over the last 60 years has been a pillar of the Saudi policy....  It was a special relationship, which was of fundamental importance for international stability. It lasted until last year, when, after the attack on Iraq, they announced the withdrawal of U.S. military from the kingdom....  If the West had made the effort to look beyond the oil in Saudi Arabia and the caricature of the sheiks with their pockets full of dollars, it would have discovered that this country has been going through a very deep crisis for a decade. There is a problem of leadership within the royal family...and there is a religious divide between the religious leaders....  However, even in the recent summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, when the Saudis and the Arabs tried to explain to the Americans how things are going out there, they were just given a document to sign, with no discussions. They signed it, but then they left with livid and unhappy faces. Should we be surprised if the attacks in the ME go on?”


RUSSIA:  "The Most Dangerous Country"


Ivan Groshkov said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (12/7):  "After Iraq, with its war being fought in the open, Saudi Arabia is the most dangerous country for Americans."


"No Peace For Foreigners"


Aleksandr Samokhotkin observed in reformist Vremya Novostey (12/7):  "As long as Saudi Arabia's al-Qaida can freely regenerate, the six million foreigners, including 35,000 Americans and 30,000 British, in that country will have no peace."


AUSTRIA:  "Unstable Iraq's Unstable Neighbor"


Foreign editor Livia Klingl wrote in mass-circulation Kurier (12/7):  "Since May 2003, Saudi Arabia has been in the headlines on account of terror. Terror that is directed mostly against institutions where foreigners live and work. Although these buildings resemble fortresses, numerous foreigners have fled in spite of very good pay on account of the insecure situation. This time, the terror hit the US-consulate in the port town Jeddah....  The criminal deed once more showed that there is no one hundred percent protection against those individuals who are inclined towards murder and suicide. And it shows how little success the Saudi kingdom has so far had fighting its enemies. To be fair, one cannot presume that the regime did nothing against its own, armed opposition. The rulers in Riyadh, however, acted too late and conveyed mixed messages:  Outside their palace walls they insisted on the strictest possible interpretation of the Koran, while inside they showed themselves inclined towards Western luxuries. The Bush family has close ties with the Saudis, but Europeans also see themselves facing two neighboring danger zones:  Saudi Arabia and Iraq--the 'West's gas stations.'"


BELGIUM:  "The Saudi Leaders’ Forced Alliance With The U.S."


Foreign editor Gerald Papy concluded in independent La Libre Belgique (12/7):  "Contrary to what some Saudi leaders believed after they killed prominent Al Qaeda leaders in Riyadh last May, yesterday’s attack indicates that Islamic terrorism has not been eradicated in Saudi Arabia, even if it took terrorists six months to mount a large scale operation. There are several explanations for this.  In Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabism is a State religion, there are a lot of Islamic fundamentalists who consider that Saudi leaders are abusing this ideology to make sure they stay in power. In their eyes, the leaders’ alliance with the U.S. is the most detestable illustration thereof. Yet, in spite of post-9/11 jolts, this historical cooperation--aimed at guaranteeing security to the Saudis and oil to the Americans--has been further reinforced these last months in the field of fight against terrorism. After yesterday’s attack, U.S. President Bush praised Saudi security services’ efficiency and Washington these last months has repeatedly saluted Riyadh’s efforts to combat terrorism.  It is clear that the U.S. has decided to maintain its confidence in the ruling Saudi Royal Family, which was quite criticized after 9/11 for being too soft on or even accomplice with Al Qaeda Islamic radicals. It is a question of survival for Saudi leaders who are too dependent on their American friend in the field of security, in spite of the announced withdrawal of most of the U.S. troops that had been deployed since the 1991 Gulf War.”


IRELAND:  "Instability In Saudi Kingdom"


The center-left Irish Times editorialized (12/7):  "Al-Qaeda's extensive Saudi connections are highlighted by this very determined attack on one of the most intensively defended US facilities abroad. Despite Saudi Arabia's close economic and political relations with the US, anti-Americanism is widespread there, arising from a deep resentment about the dependence involved. Al-Qaeda feeds into that frustration, but does not have widespread support as a result of it. Saudi longer has the resources to sustain the expectations of a growing middle class, whose standards of living have recently been affected by falling incomes, higher unemployment and the huge sums necessary to sustain the ruling families and a bloated military budget....  Bush sees the elections in Iraq as part of a much wider strategy to democratise the region. Such a perspective looks radical indeed as seen from Saudi Arabia. But Saudis and citizens of other Arab states insist that unless a start is made with finding a resolution of the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is no chance that it will succeed. This message is reaching Mr Bush from many different quarters....  The issues at stake are underlined once again by these Saudi events.”




The center-right populist Irish Independent declared (12/7):  "The murderous attack on the US consulate in Jeddah was far from the worst terrorist atrocity in Saudi Arabia in the last 18 months. But it is a warning that Islamic fundamentalists remain active and can strike in the best-guarded locations.  Yesterday the Saudi authorities blamed al-Qa'ida. This is their usual reaction and that of the U.S.  However, there are more worrying aspects than the possible role of al-Qa'ida or its Saudi-born leader Osama bin Laden.  Although bin Laden directed the most spectacular of all acts of terrorism, that of September 11 2001, his organization was always loose. Lately it has been assumed that from his hiding place he could not maintain contacts and exert personal control.  But the world has to face the reality of effective communications among Islamist groups and their capacity to strike with deadly suddenness....  How to combat them? Part of the answer rests in a second Middle Eastern country, with the hope of free elections in Iraq next month; part in a third, if progress can be made on the Palestinian question. It is far from clear that Mr Bush's government can discern the shape of the necessary regional strategy.”


SPAIN:  "Tension Increases In Saudi Arabia"


Independent El Mundo contended (12/7):  "The attack in Jeddah is a worrisome sign of destabilization in the region....  Far from pacifying the region, the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. has strengthened resistance and spread the germ of terrorism in the whole Middle East....  The mistakes made in Iraq, from the false justification of the war to the excesses of the occupation, have only aggravated the problems of a region that needs much more than Bush's unilateral and Manichaean policy."


"Al Qaeda And The U.S."


Centrist La Vanguardia averred (12/7):  "The attack against the U.S. consulate in Jeddah another step in the war by Al Qaeda to harass the U.S. in order to make it leave the Middle East....  Among Washington's hidden motivations in the war against Iraq is to get the control of the world's second-largest oil reserves in order to have an alternative to Saudi Arabia's supply...and be able to face the Saud family, who rules the country, and demand from them a serious commitment against Islamic fundamentalism....  The U.S. should perhaps start to think of changing its strategy, investing more in intelligence and diplomacy, and not only continuing to send more troops and tanks to Iraq, at the risk of prolonging a conflict that is spreading more instability in the whole region....  With the current climate of violence, there are problems organizing an election with guarantees, according to the UN.  But it seems probable that, even though it is held, it won't put a stop to the terrorism.  Anyway, the U.S. will still be stuck in Iraq without an apparent solution in the mid-term."




EGYPT:  "Attack On Jedda:  Causes And Results"


Aggressive pro-government Al-Akhbar advised (12/7):  "The attack on the U.S. consulate in Jedda calls for America to think deeply about its policies in the region and to review all its activities....  We totally reject and strongly condemn all forms of such acts....  However, we also urge the U.S. to look into the causes and factors which lead to such incidents....  There is no doubt that U.S. policies in the region, particularly since President Bush came to power in Washington, have created deep hostile feelings towards the only superpower in the world now. Such policies have led to the emergence of radical organizations such as Al-Qaida and others.  Moreover, the biased U.S. policies against Arab countries and its pro-Israel bias are some of the reasons for the 9/11 attacks against the U.S. and the subsequent attacks."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "The Objective Of Al-Qaida Is To Destroy U.S.-Saudi Relations"


Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (12/9):  "The targeting of the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah this week by Al-Qae’da confirms what many people were foreseeing--that this terrorist organization was planning and still plans to damage the U.S.-Saudi relationship.  This objective was very clear when Al-Qae’da selected 15 out of 19 terrorists to carry out the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.  Furthermore, Al-Qae’da has targeted American citizens and their residential compounds in Saudi Arabia....  But Saudi Arabia and the U.S. alone cannot completely eradicate Al-Qae’da.  Rather, it is a joint international responsibility; a noble human mission and all peace loving nations must subscribe."


"Defeating Terrorism"


Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina noted (12/9):  "Supporters of the extremist ideology argue that the objective of terrorist operations is to support just causes like the Palestine one....  But we must show is that such arguments are false....  In this regard, the role of mosques and civic organizations is extremely important in educating people and defeating extremist ideologies."


"Useless Terrorism"


Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad held (12/9):  "The young who are involved in terrorist actions have never enjoyed the sympathy of our society.  Moreover, they will not get any cover by our society for their inhuman actions, which are against our traditions, values and system.  Those outlawed groups will have no respect in this society."


"Murderous Assault"


The pro-government English-language Arab News maintained (12/7):  "Yesterday's attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah demonstrated once again the ruthless depravity of terrorists who are the sworn enemies of order and decency. However, the determined manner in which elite security forces quickly overwhelmed the attackers was a display of the resolution with which the authorities are prepared to act against this terrible scourge....  The murderous assault yesterday was well planned in that it managed to overcome part of the tight security that has been in place around all prime targets in the Kingdom. However, the terrorists clearly underestimated the swiftness and power of the response from the authorities....  The quiet determination here in the Kingdom that these deluded maniacs will not be allowed to succeed is greater than anywhere else....  Awful though these attacks are, every one of them provides invaluable new evidence to help track down the terrorists to the cesspits where they hide and breed....  From a political point of view it is easy to see why the Americans have again been chosen as targets. Their actions, particularly in Iraq have fomented, not reduced, terrorism....  An even-handed policy on Palestine would certainly wrest from the terrorists one of their loudest recruiting drums. Realistically, however, we know that justice for the Palestinians is not going to stop this disease....  International terrorism can only be removed by surgical operation, by the unremitting assault upon its practitioners and the tracking down of its sinister and shadowy supporters.  Yesterday’s despicable attack...was therefore another milestone in the long road we must travel to cut this cancer out of our system. It will not be the last terror strike but it will have shown the hidden killers that they are assaulting a decent society now fully alert and ready to match ruthlessness with ruthlessness."


"Cycle Of Terrorism"


Moderate al-Jazirah stated (12/7):  "Terrorist acts in any form will remain loathsome. It robs peace-loving people of their right to security....  Terrorist cells can only work in the dark. They exist where nobody expects them to be. They disguise themselves in different forms so that they may hide. What they are lack humane qualities that make it possible to recognize them....  Terrorism will continue harvesting disappointments....  Those supporting it have no future apart from death."


ALGERIA:  "Again The Target"


Influential French-language El Watan held (12/7):  "The Americans are once again the target of terrorists in Saudi Arabia.  Yesterday morning (December 6), Saudi activists struck the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah and fired on it before taking some of its employees hostage.  According to the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the security forces that surrounded the Consulate returned the attack for several hours and ended up killing three members of the commando, injuring and arresting two others....  The fact remains that the objective of the terrorist group operating in Saudi Arabia--if it really is a sole and homogenous group--that even if it succeeded in striking its adversaries hard, it will not succeed on the other hand in stirring up the population and rallying it to their call for a jihad." 


BAHRAIN:  "Address The Root Causes Of Terrorism"


The pro-government English-language Daily Tribune urged (12/8):  "The terrorist attack on the US consulate in Jeddah was an unfortunate and abominable act carried out by some misguided youth who believe that problems can be solved through violence....  It drives home the point, once again, that the world has become a more dangerous place and not a safer place...after the U.S.-led attack on Iraq and the following willful destruction of its cities and the colossal loss of life.  The Jeddah episode has demonstrated that extremists could still strike painful blows at their will.  The attack was ill-conceived and did not serve any purpose because innocent blood was shed....  Doesn’t it point to the fact that the terror network is much more sophisticated and secretive than previously thought?  Everytime such attacks take place, world leaders condemn them and rededicate themselves to the task of finishing off the terror groups. It is like curing a patient’s disease without knowing the symptoms of the disease....  The root causes of terrorism must be addressed to contain the terror and violence.  Everybody knows that the main causes of militancy lie in the unresolved situations in Iraq and Palestine. The use of double standards, double-talk and double-deal by the U.S. and UK in the Iraq and Palestine conflicts has played a vital role in creating restlessness in several countries and societies."


LEBANON:  "The Irony Of Death And Hope, And The Riddle Of Saudi Arabia's Future"


The moderate English-language Daily Star declared (12/9):  "Irony is no stranger to the Middle East, and, this week, irony visited the enigmatic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in no uncertain manner: On Monday, Islamist militants staged a deadly attack against the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah. On Tuesday, intellectuals and young Saudis participated in an open meeting in Dhahran to promote dialogue on reform....  Monday's tragic incident reminds us that Saudi Arabia has a long way to go before the threat presented by home-grown radicals is eliminated. And Tuesday's forum reminds us that the kingdom has a long way to go in socio-economic development....  Bringing the debate on economic, social and political reform out into the open, in the Saudi context, is refreshing. It has been done in the spirit of honesty, earnestness, cooperation and accommodation....  This is the path to security that will see the likes of those who assaulted the U.S. Consulate stripped of sympathy and support."


"A Long War Between Saudi Arabia And Al-Qaida"


Nizar Abdel-Kader remarked in independent, non-sectarian Ad-Diyar (12/8):  “It seems clear...that the terrorist groups that targeted the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah are seeking to shake international confidence in stability and security in the Kingdom.  They are also trying to plant terror in the hearts of all foreigners who work in Saudi Arabia.  If we look back at the methodology adopted by terrorists in carrying out their latest operations in Saudi Arabia, we note the following:  1) They are focusing on foreigners;...2) they are choosing difficult targets to show their ability...3) they are continuously challenging the Saudi authorities by proving that the authorities’ statements about their success in combating fundamentalists are inaccurate...4) Finally, we also notice that these groups are developing their operations...and changing them into an active war similar to urban gang wars.  Their operations depend on the element of surprise, speed, and avoiding clashes with official security forces.”


QATAR:  "Terrorists Tarnishing The Image Of Islam"


The semi-official English-language Gulf Times declared (12/7):  "Yesterday’s terrorist attack on the US consulate in Jeddah...was the first of its kind on a diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia, but was the latest in a series of bombings and shootings blamed on Al Qaeda network....  Three of the assailants were killed and two were arrested. That will help the Saudi authorities know exactly who was behind this deplorable attack, which should be condemned by all Arabs, Muslims and the international community.  It was an aimless and barbaric attack that killed innocent people....  The Saudi security forces moved in immediately, brought the situation under control....  The Jeddah attack yesterday was an act of crazy planning and madness, since the victims had nothing to do with the rivalry between Al Qaeda and the U.S....  This criminal act of terrorism has nothing to do with Arab and Islamic principles and values....  If the assailants meant to take revenge for the US war in Iraq, then Saudi Arabia, or any other Arab country are not the battlefield....  Al Qaeda...terror campaigns from Indonesia to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Spain had earned them condemnation and isolation in their own countries....  The Arab, Muslim and international community stands by the Saudi government in its crackdown on these outlawed elements who spread terror, fear and confusion among peaceful and innocent people. Their terrorist campaign lack support, they resort to destructive acts, harming their own people and undermining their country’s national economy. And moreover, they are destroying the image of Islam, the religion that has gained respect from non-Muslim nations over the centuries."




AUSTRALIA:  "Saudi Arabia And The Heart Of Darkness"


The liberal Melbourne-based Age noted (12/8):  "Saudi Arabia was recently likened by a long-time observer to 'a sort of oily heart of darkness' that has come to envelop all that is anti-American. In the U.S., a 70-year alliance with the kingdom is being reappraised as a ghastly mistake, a selling of the soul for oil....  The very country the U.S. cultivated as an important ally in the 1960s has become a deep well of anti-American sentiment, not to mention a major source of the wealth that is funding terrorism against the West and the manpower that delivers its deadly payload. The US has chosen often enough to look the other way when it came to deep, fundamental and contradictory flaws within the Saudi political and social milieu, including corruption and human rights abuses....  The kingdom has become a core element in the problem of global terrorism...the homeland of Osama bin Laden and the heartland of al-Qaeda.  The appalling attack on Monday upon the US consulate in Jeddah--for which al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility--left five consular staff dead, along with four terrorists....  Despite Saudi Government commitments to tackle the problem, it is powerless to do so other than through a program of brutal repression. Instead, the country has come to be seen as something of a sanctuary for those opposed to the U.S. and the West....  It has promoted a social milieu in which women are second-class citizens, as well as a harsh form of Islam which, rather than teaching the tenets of mercy and tolerance, promotes the view that Jews and Christians are infidels and heretics.  If the House of Saud is to survive--and many Saudis appear to prefer this option for the moment--then something must be done to alter the unique conditions it has created for the promulgation of terror in the kingdom. That means accelerating the pace of political reform rather than a despotic crackdown. Until the Saudi rulers embrace that notion, there will be no incentive for terrorists to deviate from their chosen path."


CHINA:  "U.S. Diplomats Escape Danger"


Li Dongfeng noted in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (12/10):  “After 9/11 the U.S. Embassy and Consulate have all escalated their security level....  Now every U.S. embassy and consulate is like a fort.  In this last terror attack, there were no casualties among U.S. diplomats because of seven security measures at the U.S. consulate.   First, concrete iron and stone mobile roadblocks had been positioned at the consulate's entrance; second, the outer cement wall is 3 meters high and consulate buildings also have thick, concrete walls; third, a large electronic monitor...issued a timely warning to the Consulate General and Marine Corps; fourth, local guards acted as the first line of defense outside; fifth, a helicopter positioned on the roof...carried away some diplomats; sixth, the consulate has a secret room with 1-meter thick steel doors...which connects to a secret passage going outside the consulate; seventh, heavy weapons were at the ready.  Security experts are not optimistic about whether or not increasing troops can really protect U.S. security.  They think that unless the U.S. can solve the terror threat during the War on Terror, then its embassies and consulates will not have any real guarantees of security."


"Inside Story Of Terror Attack"


Qi Shuimo and Wu Wenbin commented in official  international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (12/8):  “ one of Saudi’s Islamic centers....  This year, Jeddah has become the epicenter of Saudi terror activities.  Saudi extremists think that an ideal place to hide and take action....  Saudi opinion thinks that the attack may be the ‘final attack’ of Al Qaeda.  They chose now to mount the terror attack probably because a new leader appeared in their Saudi cell.  The Saudi government has taken major actions to intensify their efforts to fight against the terrorists....  Public opinion thinks that the attack may have been carefully planned by the new leader, aimed at building up his authority and showing his anti-U.S. and anti-government determination....  The Saudi terror attack also wanted to echo the call of al-Zawahiri....  One notes that the U.S.’ large-scale military action in Fallujah and Mosul, which killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians, have aroused the great anger of Muslims in bordering countries....  The Al Qaeda attack was obviously made to influence their comrades-in-arms in Iraq and earn the Arab people’s sympathy.”


JAPAN:  "Jeddah Attack Exposes Limitation Of Anti-Terrorism Operations"


An editorial in liberal Mainichi read (12/7):  "Yesterday's terrorist assault on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah illustrates Saudi Arabia's failure to mop up terrorists in the country.  Saudi terrorists fleeing from the U.S. military offensive in Fallujah are now rumored to be plotting attacks against their homeland.  The successful storming of the heavily-guarded U.S. diplomatic mission has exposed the limitation of Riyadh's anti-terrorism operations, said by many to ignore the issues of poverty and the pro-U.S. line held by the House of Saud."


"Al-Qaeda Demonstrates Anti-U.S. Stance"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri speculated (12/7):  "It is likely that terrorists associated with al-Qaeda carried out the latest attack in Jeddah.  The assault appears to be an attempt by insurgents, put on the defensive in the face enhanced anti-terrorism measures by Saudi authorities, to demonstrate their resolve to continue attacks on U.S. interests.  The fact that the terrorists were able to gain entry into the consulate is extremely disturbing."


INDONESIA:  “Occupation Of U.S. Consulate And Concern Of Saudi Monarch”


Leading independent Kompas observed (12/8):  "Although the occupation [of the U.S. consulate in Jeddah] did not last long, it was such a horrible incident because it demonstrated that the militants have the capability to launch lethal attacks. It was hard to imagine that five militants could break into a compound with such multi-layered security arrangement and launch attacks in broad daylight. This adds to the concern over the desperation and courage of the terrorists.  Moreover, terrorists recently have tended to use suicide methods....  The Jeddah U.S. consulate incident again reminds us how the militants have the ability to break up security barricades.  More surprisingly, the attack demonstrated that the Al Qaeda network is still strong.”


MALAYSIA:  "Bush Is The Reason Why U.S. Citizens Are The Target Of Terrorists"


Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian stated (12/8):  "The terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was a clear sign that terrorists were willing to take on even the heaviest-guarded sites. There is no doubt that these attackers were enemies to peace and are trying to create chaos. Thankfully the Saudi security forces were able to halt the attack and managed to capture two of the attackers. Their success shows their readiness to handle such a crisis.  This is not the first time an armed terrorist group has tried to attack a building or foreigners, especially American or British, based in Jeddah or Riyadh....  No doubt the U.S. staff of the consulate were the main targets for the attack. The U.S. military’s presence and cruel behavior in Iraq have enflamed the hatred of anti-colonialists. Bush should consider if attacks on civilians and on mosques should continue as part of the anti-terrorism campaign. His failure in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict merely adds to and provides reasons for militant groups to plan attacks and to target American citizens.  Honestly, terrorism from any group will not lessen the burden for the Palestinians or any Muslim minority group. Bush should have more resolve and get Israel to the negotiation table...and work at bringing peace to Palestine. This wishy-washy manner makes Israel braver at ignoring any UN resolution. The world will not see peace until the oppression in Palestine ceases."




INDIA:  "America, America" 


An editorial in nationalist Kolkata-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika read (12/8):  "Any violent attack is always condemnable but if any country becomes interested in taking on the role of  'policing' all over the world and assumes the responsibility spontaneously...then it should be no wonder if the spear of reaction is directed against it, no matter how violent and condemnable the attack is....  If recent history is examined it can be seen that immediately after 9/11, sympathy towards the U.S. practically swept through the world in the shape of a storm.  But it is President Bush himself who has been instrumental in thwarting the surge of sympathy and support to a great extent after the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, and subsequently on Iraq with false pretexts....  Common sense is enough to understand which way the U.S. attitude towards the Islamic world flows.  It will be welcome if the U.S. President, instead of reviewing the incidents of attack on American institutions on foreign soil on a piecemeal basis, looks at these from a wider perspective.  In fact, this wider perspective repeatedly points out that such incidents will recur if the U.S. continues to boss the world. Again, the incident is abominable but this is also the inevitable reality.  Will the U.S. not face this reality?  Will George W. Bush not take greater pains to deeply study the problem in his second term?  Presently, his worries about winning the election are over. So why is there a problem to put a leash on this militant outlook?"


"Bloodshed In Jeddah"


Pro-Congress Hindi-language New Delhi Hindustan maintained (12/8):  "The growing threat of terrorism is a matter of concern for all peace-loving countries and their people....  The terrorist attack carried out on the US Consulate in the port city of Jeddah [and] such attacks on U.S. interests are not entirely unexpected after the U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Al-Qa'ida leader Usama Bin Ladin and his right-hand man, Al-Jawahiri, have issued threats from time-to-time by releasing tapes that they would target the U.S....  The latest attack has proved that the arrest campaign run by the Saudi Arabian Government after the earlier attacks and steps taken to tighten security have not been effective....  It is clear that fundamentalist terrorist organizations are eager to target the U.S. and the West.  It would not be inappropriate to add here that following its open support to Israel and unilateral US policies against terrorism, the roots of terrorism are assuming greater proportions instead of being destroyed....  The U.S. never made any serious attempt at uniting the world community to fight promptly against this worldwide threat, to curb the extremist thinking in Israel and adopt a practical strategy.   As the lone superpower of the world, its initiative could have been successful....  The unfortunate aspect is that the U.S. has chosen to take arbitrary and unilateral steps in its war against terror....  Instead of taking stern action against Musharraf, the U.S. is obliging him by giving a large bag full of dollars and dangerous weapons.   This double standard is the root cause of all its troubles."


"Attack On The U.S. Consulate" 


Kolkata-based Urdu-language centrist Azad Hind declared (12/8):  "It is true that over the last few years the Saudi rulers' grip over the common people in their country has been loosened. The public is becoming more politically conscious, which the Saudi administration has also realized, and this is why the people in Saudi Arabia are becoming more involved in governmental activities....  But this step cannot satisfy the public...and they are not happy with their government's pro-American policy. The West's violent attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the reticence that the Saudi rulers have adopted have made the people more furious....  The Saudi people hate the U.S. due to its pro-Israel and anti-Islam policies.  As the Saudi rulers aspire to maintain close relations with the U.S. they (the rulers) have also become targets of attack....  The incident of attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah is related only to this situation."


"More Such Terrorist Attacks Will Occur In Saudi Arabia" 


Pro-BJP Kolkata-based Bengali-language Bartaman held (12/8):  "The incident of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia is the latest example of the worldwide jihad started by Laden.  Even if Laden dies tomorrow or the day after, it does not seem that the Islamic jihad against the western world will end....  Different investigations following the 9/11 attacks have revealed that despite the Saudi family's denial of maintaining direct links with Laden, al-Qaeda has been receiving help, including financial assistance, from some of the family members.  But this alone didn't satisfy them. They are still determined to overthrow the ruling Saudi family, an ally of the U.S., and they are receiving support from a large section of the common people.  That's why such terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia are growing each day....  Like America and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia is experiencing the consequences of utilizing religious fanaticism and subversive forces to fulfill its own motives."          


"Al-Qaeda Again"


The Bangalore-based left-of-center Deccan Herald editorialized (12/8):  "The attack by suspected militants with links to the al-Qaeda on the US consulate at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia indicates that contrary to claims by the Saudi government, the militant infrastructure and network in the kingdom remains in a position to strike even the most tightly guarded installations. The attack in Jeddah comes after several months of relative calm in the kingdom....  In November last year, the Saudi government in a rather belated move took steps to crack down on the al-Qaeda network in the country....  However, Monday's assault on the US consulate signals that al-Qaeda is still alive and kicking in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government's strategy to eliminate the terrorist network is highly selective and severely flawed. It has rounded up only the foot soldiers, not the patrons, many of whom belong to the Saudi Royal family itself. It has used the 'war on terrorism' to eliminate its opponents. Many of those who languish in jails today are not terrorists but secular democrats and moderate Islamists demanding democratic reform. Al-Qaeda has been able to regroup quickly because alienation of the masses is growing in Saudi Arabia and little is being done to address it. It is able to attract new recruits and find safe houses because of this mass anger with the government. Without taking meaningful steps to democratise and improve the economic well being of the people, strategies to eliminate the terror network will not be successful."


PAKISTAN:  "Attack On U.S. Consulate"


Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn opined (12/8):  "The attack on the consulate should serve as an eye-opener for both Riyadh and Washington.  Political reforms are long overdue in the kingdom.  The dissent can be stopped from turning to terror if it is offered democratic avenues for airing its views.  As for America, it has to re-examine its current role in the Arab-Islamic world, and realize the overriding need for pulling out of Iraq and finding a solution for the underlying problems that breed terrorism--Palestine and Kashmir, for instance."


"Attack On U.S. Consulate"


The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer commented (12/8):  "The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah seemingly represents growing anti-American feelings in Saudi Arabia due to its uncalled-for attempt to foist its own vision of democracy, deliberate effort to destabilize the Saudi system and pro-Israeli policies, besides unabated killings of Iraqi people....  The brazen U.S. interference in Saudi affairs on the pretext of democratization of its society has multiplied the intense hatred against the Americans that prevailed in Saudi Arabia due to its troops’ prolonged presence in the country....  Washington has despicably opted to undermine Saudi Arabia's system, based on its own tribal values, culture and customs.  The attacks on American interests and installations in Saudi Arabia in recent years are thus the accumulative result of its own follies and blunders.  The Saudi people genuinely feel betrayed by the U.S. and are, therefore, resorting to violence to vindicate their hatred against her since a growing feeling of exploitation is gradually overwhelming Saudi society....  Closure of Embassies and Consulates is not the answer to the upheaval that has overtaken the Middle East in general and Saudi Arabia in particular.  The U.S., therefore, needs to end its policies of injustice, discrimination, violence and occupation in the region with display of sincerity and commitment to resolve the Palestinian issue based on justice and fair play.  Palestinians’ right to statehood must be pursued vigorously and Arab people ought to be treated with respect by Washington....  Bloodshed, discrimination, humiliation and brutalization is not the way to generate goodwill for the U.S. in Arab lands.  It has to review its attitude."


"Suicide Attack In Jeddah"


Center-right Urdu-language Pakistan concluded (12/8):  "The attack on U.S. Consulate in Jeddah needs to be condemned in every respect.  If anyone considers this act a great Jihadi feat, they must get validation of their stance from the Muslim world first as Islam does not allow aggression against civilians at all.  While a few Ulema permit such acts in Palestine and Iraq on the grounds that those nations have no other option, there is lack of consensus even with regards to these countries as to whether non-military or civilian targets can be attacked....  President Musharraf has rightly said that the causes giving birth to terrorism need to be eliminated."


"Attack On U.S. Installations"


Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat said (12/8):  "No American was hurt in the attack on U.S. Consulate in Jeddah the other day in which twelve people were killed.  In his immediate response, President Bush is very right when he says that the attacks are aimed at driving the U.S. out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  This attack was aimed at expelling U.S. out of the kingdom.  Earlier too there have been attacks on U.S. installations in Saudi Arabia, which should make it clear to the U.S. that it is not welcome in Muslim countries."


IRAN:  "The Puzzle And The Solution" 


Pro-government Arabic-language Al-Vefagh remarked (12/7):  "Terrorism has once again proved that it can manoeuvre uninhibited. It has also proved that it works all over the world, with no barrier to check the danger it poses. Yesterday's incident witnessed in the Saudi city of Jedda is the best example. Despite all the prompt efforts made by Saudi authorities, the so-called terrorism managed to stretch its tentacles to the most secure areas and hit them. This is a dangerous situation....  Strengthening ties between regional countries, especially at this time, is the best kind of help to contain the fire of terrorism spreading on the face of the earth and to extinguish it. This is something that has become necessary and logical."




BRAZIL:  "Simplistic Analyzes Do Not Explain The Jeddah Attack"


Center-right O Globo opined (12/8):  "President Bush...has attributed the terrorist action against the American consulate in Jeddah to an Islamic extremist campaign to impair the Iraqi elections scheduled for January 30th. According to him those groups were trying to ‘obstruct democracy’....  Put like that, it sounds as if the Iraqi invasion is a legitimate front of fight against international terrorism--which is not true.  The action to overthrow Saddam Hussein was and continues to be an isolated Anglo-American initiative, which never had the support of the international community....  It’s inevitable that all radical groups in the Middle East today are against the American presence in the region.  One must not lose sight of the fact that the dispute between the al-Qaeda and the Saudi monarchy already existed before the Iraq invasion. One of the expressed objectives of the Saudi Osama bin Laden is to overthrow the royal family, which, with the US support,  allows the presence of foreign heretics in Islam's sacred soil...while elections in Iraq is a matter to be solved by the Americans, the Iraqi provisionary government and ethnic groups in Iraq....  Despite the American military success in Falluja, instability still persists and the obstinacy to fulfill, at any cost, the proposed electoral timetable may result in a disaster, be the Islamic campaign denounced by Bush imaginary or real.”



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