November 18, 2005
JORDAN BOMBINGS: 'END OF THE AMMAN OASIS?'
** Media assert Amman bombings are a "side effect" of U.S. occupation of Iraq.
** Dailies condemn al-Qaida, debate purported Zarqawi/al-Qaida leadership split.
** Mideast papers say attacks put al-Qaida in "direct confrontation" with "Arab street."
** Asian outlets call for increase in "international cooperation" to fight terrorism.
'Iraqi evil is extending'-- Papers argued the Amman bombings were the result of the "odious occupation" of Iraq. Writers observed that Iraq is now "among the biggest exporters of terror" and is a "special training center" for terrorists planning attacks outside Iraq. The pro-PRC Macau Daily News said the "spreading of terrorism...is closely related to the U.S. Middle East policy." A Saudi analyst claimed the bombings were the "side effects of a lethal cancer called the U.S. occupation." Mexico's left-of-center La Jornada added, "The invasion and occupation of Iraq" has "only fed animosity against the West."
Zarqawi, once a 'hero,' now a 'villain'-- European sources speculated about a "split" between Zarqawi and al-Qaida's leadership. The center-right Irish Independent argued that Zarqawi's popularity in Jordan, based on his "rabid anti-Israeli rhetoric," faded in the wake of the Amman hotel bombings. An Italian writer claimed that Zarqawi's tactics in Jordan are part of a "strategy" that al-Qaida "not only does not support but publicly opposes." Other outlets condemned al-Qaida without specific reference to Zarqawi. Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Watan stated the bombings have put al-Qaida "in direct confrontation with the Arab street" and Canada's nationalist Ottawa Citizen held that "suicide terrorists are as much the enemies of Muslims as they are of anyone else."
'People who stood as one in the face of terrorism'-- Mideast commentary focused on several related issues. A Saudi commentator praised the resoluteness of the Jordanian public in condemning the hotel bombings, and Jordan's independent Al-Arab Al-Yawm concluded that a public united against terrorism "deserves to have a better place in the political process." An Israeli writer expressed outrage that some Arabs suggested Israeli involvement in the bombings, and Jordan's semi-official influential Al-Rai conceded, "there is a level of wishful thinking that such atrocities were managed and executed by Israeli parties."
'Bombings are our mutual problem'-- Asian editorialists demanded that the "international community...do further soul searching" to fight terrorism. Numerous sources highlighted the need to "strengthen cooperation" and fight terrorism "with a united stance." Indonesia's independent Suara Pembaruan remarked, "The issue of bombings now cannot be seen as a problem of one country." Another Indonesian daily called terrorism a "phenomenon faced by all nations." One Asian observer concluded that in "tackling the global threat...no country can maintain its own integrity," while Hong Kong's pro-PRC Ta Kung Pao added, "all countries should give up their old thinking of geopolitics."
Prepared by Media Reaction Division (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Sarah S. Reed
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 41 reports from 20 political entities over 10-17 November, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
FRANCE: "Why Jordan Is No Longer Spared"
Nicolas Henin in right-of-center Le Journal du Dimanche (11/13): "People said it was the 'Jordanian miracle'.... Next to her neighbors, Jordan’s safety record in terms of terrorism was almost insulting...it was partly due to the effectiveness of its intelligence services, but also to an implicit pact among jihadists not to attack their mother country.... After 9/11 that pact was blown apart...later there was the war in Iraq and the collaboration between Amman and Washington in security issues: Jordan opened up part of a disaffected military base in southern Jordan, Al-Jafr. The base was lent to the CIA which turned it into a secret prison. Many al-Qaida detainees have transited through the prison...this was known in Jordan...the date, nine eleven, or November 9, recalls another 9/11."
ITALY: "Thus, Al-Zarqawi Is Supplanting Usama Bin Ladin"
Italian Defense Review editor-in-chief Andrea Nativi editorialized in pro-government center-right daily Il Giornale (Internet version 11/12): "Once again, a burst of attacks carried out by al-Qaida, or better put, by the terrorist cells that report to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is causing a slaughter among Muslims, innocent civilians. It is the latest act of a strategy that al-Qaida itself not only does not support but publicly opposes. A split is thus being created between the most extremist fringes of the international terrorist organizations, while the civilian population itself of the Islamic countries rejects such brutal and indiscriminate methods of conducting the struggle against the infidels.... This new episode will lead to a further severe repression by the Jordanian authorities, sincerely worried over the apparent inability--despite this summer's attack and the signals that arrive copiously from the friendly and allied intelligence agencies--to identify and neutralize the cells active in that country. And the increased pressure is not welcome, because it also cements popular support around the young sovereign, a friend of the West. So dissension [sic] is growing between the al-Qaida leadership and Al-Zarqawi. Already in the recent past the differences between the two factions became public knowledge, with letters from Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Ladin's standard-bearer, addressed to the Jordanian-born terrorist, who replied practically accusing the old guard of having given up the fight.... Al-Zarqawi is placing himself as an alternative to and competitor with al-Qaida, but his policy of aggression against the Iraqi Shiite population, against moderate Islamic countries and governments, through symbolic targets and the civilian population, is highly risky. He has created enemies for himself in Iraq, and also in Iran and in all of Islam. A terrorist and guerrilla movement needs popular support to find help, collusion, new recruits, and to act freely in the theater of operations.... Rival terrorist groups that find themselves operating in more difficult conditions, facing the negative reaction of the civilian populations, sooner or later may oppose their adversaries directly or indirectly. And all that only increases the pressure on Al-Zarqawi."
AUSTRIA: "Enlargement Of The Battle Zone"
Wieland Schneider penned in centrist daily Die Presse (11/14): "The assassins of Amman have sent a horrible message to the U.S. and its Western allies: You want to isolate us in Iraq, but we have enlarged the battle zone. 'We must face the terrorists in Baghdad so that they will not come to us,' President Bush once argued. What this means is that as long as al-Qaida is busy slaughtering Iraqis and U.S. soldiers, it has no capacity for larger attacks outside Mesopotamia. However, this argument is flawed: Today, Iraq is among the biggest exporters of terror. Jihadis from all over the world are flocking in to learn the terror trade and then return to their native countries--to Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, and Jordan. Despite this, an American withdrawal is no alternative. Al-Qaida would see this as a victory, a wake-up call for a large offensive in the entire Middle East."
"Another Friend Of The U.S. In The Firing Line Of Terror"
Livia Klingl opined in mass circulation daily Kurier (11/14): "Jordan is a small country without oil reserves of its own and thus depends on its potentially rich neighbors. In spite of its pro-Western stance, it had to deal with Saddam Hussein and his countless opponents as well as his countless spies. And now it has to get along with tens of thousands of Iraqis--a mixture of war refugees and former Baathists who settled in Jordan. It might sound cynical but the most astonishing thing about the concerted attacks in what used to be a calm area for people traveling to Iraq was the fact that they hadn't happened before now. After all, the terrorists' goal is not just the complete destruction of Iraq, but also the destruction of its surrounding region. The West can only counteract this strategy by continuing to travel to Jordan."
"A Task For The King"
Markus Bernath asserted in independent daily Der Standard (11/14): "The biggest attack so far in Jordan has demonstrated two facts: The internal vulnerability of this state that the British Empire constructed after the First World War and the enlargement of the terror zone in Iraq to its Western neighbors.... Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, jihadist and offspring of the large Bani-Hassan tribe in Jordan, who was released from prison in the wake of a general amnesty on the occasion of King Abdullahs's ascension to the Throne in 1999, has a terror program that goes beyond Iraq: He wants to topple the Hashemite kingdom that has worked so closely together with Washington in recent decades and that concluded a historic agreement with Israel in 1994. The man who comes from the small town of Zarqa has proved several times over that he is able to recruit radical Sunnis from among Jordan's youth.... Closely connected to the Islamic threat is the monarchy-loyal Bedouins' persistent fear that their state will be taken over by the Palestinians.... Zarqawi always finds willing helpers among the young Palestinians in Jordan. However, in a political system like Jordan's, where criticism of the King is a taboo, political parties are still not accepted, and only individual candidates can participate in elections, religious fanaticism does not have political freedom as a counterweight."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Attack In Amman Targeted Against Alliance Of Jordan With West"
Jehuda Lahav commented in the center right Lidove noviny (11/11): "Iraqi terrorist organizations see Jordan as the center of activities directed from the West and its government as an ally of the current government in Baghdad that they view as 'the protracted/elongated hand of Washington'.... The news of the attacks in Amman is particularly bad news for Israel, which has always looked on Jordan as a reliable neighbor.... Now it seems that this trust may be overestimated, especially in view of the 300,000 Iraqis living in Jordan, most of which sympathize with the Iraqi opposition. Moreover, the Jordanian authorities will have to be very careful in their crackdown against the terrorists, so as not to irritate this part of the Jordanian public."
"End Of The Amman Oasis?"
Alexander Tolcinsky noted in the mainstream MF Dnes (11/14): "Amman has been considered as the oasis of rest and peace in the turbulent Middle East. The Wednesday terrorist attacks targeted its three hotels for just that reason.... We can only hope that the terrorists will not succeed in scaring tourists away from Jordan. This would force the country into isolation with dire economic consequences. Let us hope that the Jordanian authorities will not be intimidated and will manage the situation appropriately...and that checkpoints, barbed wire and endless shooting and explosions will not become the order of the day even in Jordan."
IRELAND: "Jordanians Turn On Zarqawi After Suicide Attack Carnage"
Tim Butcher argued in center-right Irish Independent (11/12): "Sympathy for al-Qaida's leader in Iraq turned to hatred in his home town yesterday as clan members and ex-neighbors dismissed the justification for the Amman bombings. The terrorist who chose his nom de guerre, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to honor his birthplace, used to enjoy wide support on these tatty, rundown streets because of his rabid anti-Israeli rhetoric. The strong backing continued when he took up the struggle against the American military in Iraq and did not waiver when his followers began beheading kidnapped aid workers and contractors. But Wednesday's hotel attacks that killed 57 innocent people, mostly Jordanian civilians and all Muslims, appeared to have quickly transformed him from hero to villain."
SPAIN: "Amman And Baghdad, The Same Terror"
Conservative daily ABC editorialized (11/11): "Al Qaida is not a simple threat, but a destructive reality on a world scale. If there really is a will to end this aggression, the persistence of fundamentalist terrorism should cause coincidences of greater significance than its unanimous rejection, and not only in the field of joint police, and in some cases military, actions.... It makes no sense to call those who attack in Amman terrorists while calling those who murder thirty people in a restaurant in Baghdad insurgents or rebels.... This difference of terminology--which shows European prejudices towards U.S. hegemony- contains a whole abyss of attitudes for radically delegitimizing the objectives of terrorism, because it results in different treatments that only favors the terrorists.... The attacks in Amman, like the ones in Baghdad or Bali, show the scarce reliability of those analysis who speak of poverty and oppression as the causes of this particular fundamentalist terrorism.... It is essential for democracy to settle down in Iraq and for fundamentalist terrorism to fail in its attempt to lead this country (Iraq) to a failed state, which would abort any possibility for a democratizing movement in the region. From a moral and political point of view, a common perception of fundamentalist terrorism as an aggression to the world's stability by totalitarian fanaticism cannot be postponed either.... Western societies should change the fault complex they have with regard to international terrorism...and show greater confidence in their social values and democratic system of freedoms and rights."
"The Iraqi Evil Extends"
Independent daily El Mundo judged (11/12): "The terrorists, who have been resisting the U.S. invasion for two years, are trying to punish those (countries) that help its enemy.... Far from controlling the situation, the White House is seeing how the Iraqi evil is extending.... In principle, the fanaticism of these groups...should find few followers, but when its message of religious extremism is mixed with 'heroic' resistance to foreigners and with nationalism.... Bin Laden, Al Zarqawi, or their emulators can connect with parts of the population of depressed countries...this is the dangerous powder keg that the U.S. decided to stir up in 2003, when started an invasion that lacked previous reflection and a sensible plan for the future."
ISRAEL: "The Arab Version Of The Amman Terror Attacks"
Veteran columnist Yaron London wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/13): "About half of those killed in the Amman terror attacks were Palestinian Jordanian citizens and Palestinians from the West Bank.... I hoped that the blind murderousness that had hit them would arouse in the Palestinians questions about the justice of suicide bombing attacks, but this hope was dashed.... The most prevalent protest [in the Arab world] was over the fact that Muslims had dared to murder Muslims, and not that innocent people had been killed. The implication of this is frighteningly clear: terror in and of itself is not an act to be condemned. The mistake has to do with the religious identity of the victims.... This denial is that of the masses and of the intellectuals. The contention that it is impossible that Muslims would commit such a heinous act and therefore those who did it were not Muslims, was understood by the masses of Jordanians in its simplest meaning: if Muslims didn't do it, then obviously others did, and these others are those who aspire to weaken the Arabs, in other words--the Jews.... The [West Bank] villagers are incapable of containing the thought that the mentality motivating the shahids that come from their midst is the same that motivates the suicide bombers sent by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to murder their relatives. You don't need to be a psychologist to realize that admitting this would lead them to the mouth of a dark pit, where the awful realization resides that those who committed the murder in Amman are not 'the others,' 'the Israelis,' 'the Zionists,' 'America,' the CIA, but rather the victims, in other words, the deniers themselves."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Joy Will Triumph Over Terrorism"
Abha's moderate Al-Watan noted (Internet version, 11/14): "The terrorist attacks in Amman were no more than a new desperate attempt demonstrating that those who advocate the takfiri ideology [those who hold other Muslims to be infidel] are floundering. They persist in following the path of killing and destruction even if the victims are innocent people. Their latest victims were innocent people who sought to flee the atmosphere of big sorrow surrounding their nation to a little joy in a hotel in the Jordanian capital Amman. There was no Israeli or U.S. officials [in the hotels] for the al-Qaida to justify its crime (although the presence of Israeli and U.S. officials is not a proper justification for killing in the first place). Those in the three Amman hotels were either Palestinians, who crossed the [Jordan] River to celebrate a wedding which the Zionist occupiers prevented them from consummating in their homeland, or innocent Jordanians seeking to earn a living among their Saudi, Egyptian, and Iraqi brothers, who came to Jordan as tourists or for business, unaware that some criminals will blow themselves up in their midst, claiming they are following the teachings of the true religion.... The latest attacks have placed al-Qaida and its supporters in direct confrontation with the Arab street. The Arab street has now realized that this organization does not aim to change regimes or expel occupiers. Rather, it seeks to shatter hope in the hearts of people, prevent joy from entering the hearts of innocent people, and liquidate those seeking to defend the nation's causes with the weapons of the modern age, let alone its effort to foment sedition among the sons of the nation, using some people from one Arab country to attack their brethren in other Arab countries.... As for the Jordanian people, their dealing with the incidents has been splendid indeed, demonstrating a remarkable unity in condemning terrorism and regarding it as a danger threatening them all. More than that, they continued to lead a normal life showing that life must continue and that joy will triumph over its enemies."
"Jordan's Bombings And Their Significance"
Chief Editor Abd-al-Bari Atwan argued in London-based Arab nationalist Al-Quds Al-Arabi (Internet version, 11/15): "The bloody bombings that targeted three tourist hotels in the Jordanian capital Amman, killing 60 innocent people, are an additional confirmation that Iraq has turned, thanks to U.S. President George Bush, into a stage for exporting terrorism to neighboring countries, not democracy. It was the United States that brought Al-Zarqawi to Iraq and created the right environments for al-Qaida organization to establish his empire and training centers and recruit thousands of suicide bombers to spread terror in Iraq and neighboring countries. The Arab governments that colluded with this U.S. invasion and opened their territories and bases for launching it bear a large part of responsibility for this phenomenon and its resulting waves of terror and the targeting of innocent civilians, both inside and outside Iraq.... There is nothing easier than accusing Al-Zarqawi of terrorism and murder and writing articles about the ugliness of the hotels' blasts.... Hence it is not surprising for public opinion in Jordan to turn against al-Qaida organization at present in reaction to these bombings, just as public opinion in Saudi Arabia changed after the bombing of the residential compound in Riyadh's Al-Muhayya neighborhood. The most dangerous thing that could result from these bombings is the Jordanian Government's exploitation of them to impose more repressive security measures on the pretext of confronting terrorism, exactly as what happened in Britain after the 7 July bombings.... The terrorism that Sharon is talking about is different from the one that Jordan is facing and there is absolutely no connection between the two. Sharon considers the Arab Palestinian and Islamic resistance terrorism and wants Jordan, and the other Arab governments, to stand with him and fight it. Sharon presents himself as the victim, exactly the same as the victims of the Radisson SAS Hotel victims, when he is the biggest practitioner of terrorism and in the ugliest form on the face of earth. Sharon's offer to cooperate with Jordan in fighting terrorism is the biggest danger to that country and to its security. His friendship with Jordan is the most dangerous recipe for terrorism.... The bloody bombings in Jordan are the side effects of a lethal cancer called the U.S. occupation of Iraq.... We sympathize strongly with the victims of Jordan's bombings and have among them friends and relatives. All of them are in fact our relatives. But we believe it is our duty not to issue statements of denunciation and condemnation, like the Arab regimes, but analyze and explain and put the complete image before the reader because we know very well where these statements of denunciation and condemnation have brought us and our causes."
"Jordan Bombings: An Analytical View"
London-based Arab nationalist Al-Quds Al-Arabi commented (11/12): "The bloody bombings in Amman that targeted three large hotels and killed almost 60 persons and injured hundreds point to an extremely serious development, namely, that al-Qaida organization has decided to carry out the second part of its strategy, that is, widen the circle of its attacks to include neighboring Iraq and specifically Jordan.... If we ponder al-Qaida's three latest attacks in Taba and Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt and the third in Bali, we can see that the common denominator here is the bombing of tourist resorts and the killing of the largest possible number of innocent tourists. This is totally identical to the recent three attacks in Jordan.... Al-Qaida organization adopts the destructive anarchy as its response to the theory of constructive anarchy that the neo-conservatives in the United States adopt. Both sides want to destroy the existing Arab regimes though the reasons and intentions differ. Al-Qaida organization relies on anarchy to topple the existing regimes and replace them with Islamic ones that confront the U.S. and Israeli plans while the neo-conservatives in the United States want to change these regimes but replace them with ones that bolster U.S. hegemony and Israeli supremacy. The use of violence and terror and the murder of the innocent is the two sides' common denominator.... Jordan is facing a major tribulation and being targeted in this bloody way that is condemned with the strongest and clearest words creates many problems for it. It is unfortunately the ordinary people and the innocent living in the poor belts of its cities, and specifically its capital, who will be affected negatively by turning it into a bloody battlefield."
IRAQ: "What If The Bombings Were Baghdad Hotels?"
Tariq Al-Haris penned in politically unaffiliated Kurdish Sawt Al-Iraq (Internet version, 11/13): "If these attacks had taken place in Baghdad hotels, most Jordanians would have supported the 'heroic' Iraqi resistance against U.S. occupation forces and Iraqi collaborators, while Jordanian political parties would have hailed the 'heroic' operations of the 'mujahideen' in Iraq. The majority of Jordanians, both native and of Palestinian descent, educated and non-educated, religious and secular, have all spoken out in support of what they call the Iraqi resistance, despite the images of brutality. Furthermore, they went as far as justifying the killings of thousands of innocent Iraqis during the previous regime.... Perhaps the Amman hotel bombings are only the first episode. Reports have indicated that the three suicide attackers were Iraqis from the 'honorable Iraqi resistance.' We would like to see the opinions of Jordan’s political parties and clerics who hailed their 'martyr' who killed Iraqis in his 'heroic' attack in Hilla. We sympathize with Jordanian families and we feel their sorrow for the loss of their loved ones and hope that they can sense the pain felt by Iraqi mothers who lose their children everyday in crimes committed by the 'mujahideen.' With all that we have said about the Jordanian people, we should pay our respect to the minority of them that support us now and stood beside us during the dark era of the previous regime."
JORDAN: "The End Of The Justification And Acquittal Approach"
Jamil Nimri remarked in independent, centrist Arabic daily Al-Ghad (11/17): "The previous empathy with al-Qaida did not mean that the Jordanian people are extremists and support violence or terrorism.... [Yesterday’s IPSOS opinion] poll showed that the absolute majority of Jordanians does support peaceful means to effect change. The matter simply is that the majority of the citizens, who are very much influenced by what goes on in Iraq and Palestine, were showing empathy with those seemingly more brave and defiant in the face of the enemies who have humiliated the nation a great deal. The problem is that the majority of the people did not have the correct idea about the agenda of this trend that presented itself as a Jihadist trend representing Islam and the will of the nation.... The largest part of the blame, however, falls on political figures and writers who turned a blind eye to the reality of this trend's project for Arab and Muslim societies, and who did so under the pretext of maintaining public support against the 'enemies of the nation', and thus came desperate justification for attacks against civilians as being the fruit of foreign aggression! And, in worst-case scenarios, when it was impossible to justify an operation, the enemies would be held responsible by claiming that they want to distort the image of resistance and Jihad! Yes, this extremist trend has won political and media coverage that contributed to maintaining its popularity, be it by justifying some of its actions or acquitting it of others."
"About Accusing Tel Aviv And Others Of What Happened"
Mahmoud Rimawi noted in semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Rai (11/17): "Attributing the latest criminal explosions in Amman to Israel and others deserves a closer look. For one thing, there is a level of wishful thinking that such atrocities were managed and executed by Israeli parties. One finds oneself sharing wishes that no Arab or Muslim party had anything to do with planning for and executing these crimes. But this wishful thinking does not change anything, especially since those responsible declared their responsibility. A second thing is that the style by which these crimes were committed and the chosen targets and their timing clearly bear the imprints of the party that declared responsibility. A third thing is that, although the Israeli occupation does commit all forms of atrocities, including the demolition of homes and the killing of children, suicide operations are not its style. The same goes for the United States that does not need to pass the Greater Middle East project through the gates of a hotel! The fourth thing is that leveling such baseless accusations only serves Israel and the extremist American circles. Why? Because when accusations are leveled haphazardly and wrongfully, they could be used by those parties who perpetrated such crimes to cast doubt on actual crimes committed by them. So, when it is easy for some of us to level accusations arbitrarily only to turn out later that they are superficial and silly accusations, it becomes easy for the enemies to use this superficiality to claim that the crimes committed in reality by the enemies are simply made up fabrications or at best exaggerated stories. The Israelis are expert in employing other people's mistakes to their advantage.... We do not need to attribute the Amman terrorist explosions to the Israelis or others in order to harm their reputation. The actions of these parties speak for themselves in Palestine and elsewhere, but there are mistakes that our own people make that need to be acknowledged and rectified."
"Terrorism Yielded Counter Results"
Fahd Fanek opined in semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Rai (11/17): "In the past twenty five years, the age of modern terrorism, no terrorist action has managed to achieve the aspired results. Terrorism in Afghanistan that had managed to oust the Soviets did not establish a progressive and democratic regime, but rather brought the Taliban gangs to power only to establish a regime that is much worse that the Communist regime. Destroying the WTO towers in New York and the killing of three thousand civilians led to the destruction of Bin Laden's bases in Afghanistan and made of him a wanted fugitive. Occupying Iraq by the Anglo-American forces did not turn Iraq into a friend of the west, but rather into an incubator for terrorism. The political assassinations committed by the Syrian nationalist party in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan led to dissolving of the party and eliminating its chances as an organization with a future.... In Jordan, some sources claimed that there is a percentage of Jordanians that sympathizes with al-Qaida and Zarqawi in defiance of the American occupation of Iraq. If this was true before the Amman terrorist attacks, this sympathy has now turned into condemnation and denunciation. Who could sympathize with them after their evil action? Al-Qaida's actions in Iraq do not count as part of the resistance against the occupation. They kill innocent Iraqi civilians by the numbers, which only serves the occupation and tarnishes the image of legitimate resistance. When we try to figure out the losers and the winners from the ugly hotels attacks, we find the opposite of what the terrorists wanted: the first winner is the leadership and the security apparatus around which the people rallied, and the first loser is Abu Mos'ab's terrorist organization itself."
"New Laws For Combating Terrorism: Legitimate Concern, But..."
Fahd Kheetan editorialized in independent, mass-appeal Arabic daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm (11/17): "Unofficial information indicates that the government is preparing eight new temporary laws to face up to the security and legal requirements that ensued following the November 9 terrorist attacks.... The proposed draft laws have not yet been announced but the opposition has already voiced its concern that passing such laws could restrict freedoms and punish anyone who supports the resistance in Palestine and Iraq. The concerns of the opposition are legitimate but too early. After the attacks, the King clearly said that the Amman terrorist attacks will not turn us into a police state. Opposite these assurances about the future of freedoms in Jordan, sufficient security and political measures must be adopted to guarantee that those heinous actions would not be repeated.... The political and national response to terrorism requires bold decisions that entrench the path towards democratic change. The people who stood as one in the face of terrorism deserve to have a better place in the political process. With participation, loyalty and belonging are strengthened. On the other hand, we want an explicit and balanced stand from the opposition, particularly the Islamic opposition, distinguishing between the resistance and terrorism. Condemning the terrorist attack in Amman for instance must be accompanied by a direct and clear condemnation of al-Qaida organization as a terrorist organization and of its line of thinking and actions in Iraq, Madrid, London and Amman. This matter must not be ignored because it is not subject to partitioning. A clear stand like that vis-à-vis al-Qaida would put the opposition and the Islamists in a stronger position when they demand the government of a clear stand on, say, the Iraqi people's right to resist the American-British occupation and the Palestinians' right to resistance."
Columnist Fakhri Kawar theorized in semi-official, influential Arab daily Al-Rai (Internet version 11/16): "Since the violent attacks against three hotels in Amman were done by Abu Mos'ab Zarqawi's group that belongs to al-Qaida, and since we do not know the objective of these attacks, we go back in time to when al-Qaida was established. The Arabs then supported al-Qaida against the Soviet Union, which had entered the Afghani territories, to escalate the Cold War and to attempt to bring about the victory of the western camp over the eastern camp. Thinking about it today, and keeping in mind that the Zionist entity has killed a large number of the people of Palestine, that there is a known alliance between the American party and the Zionist party, then what al-Qaida is doing in terms of violent actions against innocent people...confirms the fact that there are 'secret' liaisons between the leadership of al-Qaida and the leadership of the Mossad."
"Who Is Responsible?!"
Saleh Qallab, former Minister of Information, wrote in independent, centrist Arabic daily Al-Ghad (Internet version 11/16): "It is not true at all that the American occupation is the reason that Jordan was targeted, although we do reject and condemn this occupation and demand its speedy end. The Jordanian hotels that were targeted last Wednesday were targeted in 2000 and that was when Saddam Hussein was still moving about in his many fancy palaces and when there were no American soldiers in Iraq...holding the American occupation in Iraq responsible for the crime against the hotels is a mere justification for what happened, and shifts away condemnation for these terrorists who killed our children and our women. There is no debate that the American occupation is one of the main reasons behind the terrorism that is bleeding Iraq.... But for this occupation to be the cause of the attacks on the three hotels last Wednesday, that would be as good as justifying what happened, conspiring with the terrorists who perpetrated this heinous crime, and eliminating their condemnation."
"Two Kinds Of Madness"
Ya'qub Jabir wrote in center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustur (Internet version, 11/15): "The world finds itself dealing with two kinds of madness, the madness of the terrorists who found in Iraq all that they needed to carry out the basest type of terrorism and the madness of the theoreticians of U.S. hegemony, a madness that has proved to know no limits.... Both the madness of the terrorists and the madness of the neo conservatives are responsible for what has taken place. We are not saying that they share the same responsibility. However, we would like to confirm that the United States needs to urgently review its policies in the region in a manner that will make it respect the Iraqi people and their right to get rid of the occupation."
"Liquidate This Odious Occupation"
Nahid Hattar opined in independent, mass-appeal Arabic daily Al-Arab al-Yawm (Internet version, 11/14): "On the political level, we must face the fact that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is the direct cause for the arrival of the terrorists to the region, giving them a safe haven and a platform for launching their activities in the occupied country. It is obvious that the efforts to liquidate this odious occupation and the balanced support for national reconciliation and reconstruction in Iraq directly serve any successful operation to liquidate terrorism in the region. If efforts are not exerted to stop the U.S. adventure in Iraq and check it from spreading to Syria too we will continue to be exposed to terrorist and regional threats, no matter what we do."
"Adhering To Rational Thought"
Elite, English-language Jordan Times editorialized (Internet version, 11/13): "The bombings in Amman on Nov. 9 are the latest in a series of heinous crimes that have engulfed this region to such an extent that they are now part of a sad reality. Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Morocco have all suffered from the unconscionable acts of those who believe that indiscriminate violence can help further whatever causes they may be propagating. Iraq and Palestine are under belligerent foreign military occupations; the only possibilities apparently open to those suffering them are to fight or roll over. Everywhere the only answers that are offered as solutions to people's plights come in blood red.... Al Qaida in Iraq claims to be acting in the name of Islam and for the greater good of Muslims everywhere, and to this end, it claims responsibility for killing Muslims in Jordan, Egypt and, everyday, in Iraq. Washington claims to be acting in the name of freedom and democracy, and to this end, the U.S. occupies Iraq and directly supports the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The only way to bring peace, stability and prosperity to this troubled region, these people are saying, whether they are neo-conservative or retro-Islamist, is through brute force and a violence that spares no one, least of all ethical consistency. It is the law of the jungle dressed up in moral imperatives.... But since guns and bombs are always louder than rational argument, for all those eager to return to an age of reason, only obstinacy can win the day. Stubborn adherence to rational thought may not stop the suicide bombers or the F-16s in the short run, but without faith that in the long run they can, there is nothing to look forward to but the transformation of a sad reality into a tragic future."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "From '9.11' to '11.9'"
Official Beijing News observed (11/13): "In the last four years, as the counter-terrorism momentum of the big powers led by the U.S. grows stronger day by day, global counter-terrorism has given rise to a situation where the more terrorism is fought, the more terrorism there is.... Although the results of global counter-terrorism cannot be called pessimistic in the last more than four years, it is also hard to be optimistic. Perhaps using purely traditional means of state violence cannot solve the problem of terrorism, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already proved this point."
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "Suicide Bombers In Jordan"
Antonio Chiang opined in mass circulation Chinese-language Apple Daily (11/16): "The Jordanian people are in general against the United States, whereas their government is pro-U.S. The recent suicide bombing was thus perhaps a price that the pro-U.S. Jordanian government has to pay. Terrorist activities like this have enraged the [Jordanian] people, who vowed to fight the terrorists. This sort of battle against terrorism happens to coincide with Uncle Sam’s anti-terrorist position and therefore creates an awkward situation. Even though Iraq is still at war now, it is also becoming a special training center for terrorist organizations. Various [terrorist] groups were trained in Iraq and they started to look for targets to attack both inside Iraq and in neighboring areas. Countries that have suffered terrorist attacks gravely, such as Jordan and Egypt, are now facing a tough choice between the fight against terrorism and whether they should take a pro- or anti-U.S. position. If Jordan also turns out to be a major target of terrorist attacks, no other Middle East countries will be spared [from the attacks]."
"Jordan's Bombing Shows That Mission For Countering Terrorism Is Tough"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News editorialized (11/13): "The global counter terrorism alarm has struck again. Experts believe that the repeated terrorist attacks since the beginning of this year show that a new round of terrorism is spreading around the world. The spreading of terrorism in the Middle East in recent years is closely related to the U.S. Middle East policy, as well as U.S. behavior. It is very likely that U.S. allies in the Iraqi war may continue to be attacked. Although Jordan did not participate in the Iraqi war, it provided assistance to the U.S. when the U.S. launched the war. Jordan is one of America's most important allies in the Middle East. It is also one of the two Arab countries that have signed a peace treaty with Israel. It is obvious that these bombings are revenge on Jordan.... In tackling the global threat as terrorism, no country can maintain its own integrity. Every country must actively cooperate with the international community and seriously look for a new international security model based upon cooperation."
"HK Must Keep Terrorist Threats To A Minimum"
Independent English-language South China Morning Post commented (11/11): "The suicide bombings in Jordan on Wednesday were not unexpected, given the country had sided with the U.S.-led military force fighting insurgents in neighboring Iraq. Nonetheless, security officials were not prepared for the attacks on three American-owned hotels favored by foreigners.... Complacency cannot be blamed, because without specific forewarning it is difficult to prevent terrorism. That has been shown time and again in the many attacks since those in the U.S. on September 11, 2001, including those in Bali, Casablanca, Istanbul, Madrid and London, as well as the lesser, but no less vicious, attacks in between.... It is a lesson Hong Kong must pay heed to, no matter how slight the threat is perceived to be. With the World Trade Organization meeting in the city next month and representatives from many of the world's governments attending, we are potentially a target. We may consider ourselves sufficiently far removed from Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, but when it comes to the unpredictable mind of a terrorist, nothing can be guaranteed."
"Should Heighten The Effort In Countering Terrorism"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao opined (11/11): "Facing the spreading of terrorism and the grim reality of more and more terrorist attacks, the international community should do further soul searching to find more effective ways to eradicate terrorism. First of all, the international community should strengthen cooperation in countering terrorism. They should establish and further improve a mechanism for countering terrorism internationally.... Secondly, if the international community wants to achieve a better global result in countering terrorism, all countries should work in full cooperation and with a united stance.... Thirdly, in countering terrorism, military force is necessary. However, military force is not the only means.... Fourthly, all countries should give up their old thinking of geopolitics. They should establish world cultural diversity. They must foster mutual respect between different cultures and different civilizations and foster real equality between states so as to eliminate soil for terrorism."
INDONESIA: "The Story Of A Terrorist, Mrs. Rishawi"
Leading independent daily Kompas stated (11/16): "The story of Mrs. Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, who unsuccessfully tried blow herself up as part of the suicide bombings in Jordan, has bewildered and chilled people. Many people could not understand why this woman was motivated to commit an absurd suicide bombing. Rishawi’s statement was so dramatic and incited feelings of horror because the suicide bombing was committed together with her husband, also an Iraqi... Until today, efforts to get a rational explanation about the motivations of suicide bombers have never found satisfactory result. The [motive of] action is shrouded in mystery although intellectuals since Plato era have continuously discussed suicide bombing as a life phenomenon."
"Amman’s Bomb And The World’s Security"
Independent afternoon daily Suara Pembaruan commented (11/15): "Terrorism is the world’s major and mutual enemy. It’s not an exaggerated statement; the world now already experienced terrorists’ acts. Indonesia is one of the countries that has suffered most as a result of terrorists’ attacks.... We again were shocked when Jordan’s capital, Amman, was attacked with suicide bombings last week.... Suicide bombings in Amman confirm that the world should unite together to fight terrorism since terrorists’ victims are clearly innocent people.... Such tragedies not only take place in Jordan, but also in other parts of the world, from Asia to Europe and the U.S.... The issue of bombings now cannot be seen as a problem of one country. Bombings are our mutual problem and should be tackled together."
"Jordanians Protest On Terrorism"
Leading independent daily Kompas commented (11/12): "The attacks on the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Radisson SAS, and Days Inn in Amman, victimized innocent people, including Indonesian citizen and jazz musician Perry Pattiselano, two U.S. citizens and three Chinese citizens. Most of the victims were Arabs. This fact is not intended to categorize the victims but to show that terrorists act without choosing their targets. The mastermind of the attack is allegedly Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born terrorist who acts as Iraq’s Chapter of the al Qaida network. The background and motive for the attack could vary, but such an act of cruelty is a phenomenon faced by all nations and will have a huge impact."
MALAYSIA: "The Gathering Critical Mass Against Terror"
English-language New Sunday Times (Internet version, 11/13): "What consoles Jordan's friends in their fear of a wider outbreak of terror is the failure of the al-Qaida attempt to further its fantastical aim of religious rebellion.... As we grieve for the ending of Amman's innocence, there is more than condolence in the certainty that the blasts have added to the gathering critical mass against terror in the domains of Islam."
"World Community Must Strengthen Counterterrorism Cooperation"
Government-influenced Chinese-language daily Nanyang Siang Pau editorialized (11/11): "In the past, many observers held the opinions that although Jordan was very close to Iraq and Israel, its capital Amman was considered as a safe and secure city. Yet, the bombings in Amman have shown that terrorists would not rule out even Muslim countries for attack. Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia have all been attacked by the terrorists. Although terrorists will usually choose targets with foreign elements or visitors to launch their attack, the past bombings have shown that majority of victims were in fact innocent people. The Jordanian authority has named al-Qaida strong man Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on whom the United States has put a high tag of $ 5 million leading to his arrest. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has already claimed responsibility for the attempted rocket attack on the U.S. fleet in the Red Sea in August. The bombings in Amman only confirm that the al-Qaida network has penetrated deep in the Middle East and that any Middle Eastern countries can easily become their targets. With news coming from Washington that some international hotels in Beijing might also become target of attacks during President Bush's official visit to China, we feel that the global counterterrorism war led by Bush has indeed achieved very little. Facing such global terrorism threat, all nations must further strengthen cooperation to fight this terrorist war."
SINGAPORE: "Al-Qaida's Muslim Targets"
Malay-language daily Berita Harian commented (Internet version, 11/14): "One by one, Arab countries have become the target of terrorist movements.... It is clear that the terrorist networks of al-Qaida and its accomplices do not care who their targets are.... Therefore, the governments of Muslim majority countries need to rise soon to counter terrorism before the image of this holy religion is tarnished further."
THAILAND: "Jordan’s Pain Is The World’s"
Independent, English language Nation editorialized (11/11): "But over the past two years, it has appeared the tables have been turned against Muslim states, which are now increasingly becoming the targets. In fact, it is the governments of these Muslim countries that have long been the ultimate targets of al-Qaida. The West, many have argued, is caught up in somebody else’s civil war. Eventually, Muslim governments must come to their senses and set the record straight with their citizens if they do not want to see them swayed by the rhetoric of militants who see the world as simply in terms of Muslims and non-Muslims. Frustrated, violence-prone populations that have been kept down by repressive Arab regimes are fertile breeding grounds for al-Qaida. Terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and now Jordan have set off loud alarm bells. Islamic militancy and its culture of hatred must be vanquished before it grows into an even larger threat. Democracy, along with its attendant virtues of civil liberties, rational public debate and political empowerment of the individual, is the best defense against the menace of Islamic radicalism."
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
INDIA: "Jordan Jolted"
Pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer editorialized (11/11): "Wednesday night's synchronized bomb explosions that rocked three luxury hotels in the Jordanian capital of Amman killing at least 56 people and injuring 300 others, while being reprehensible, are immediately reminiscent of the blasts at Sharm el-Sheikh on July 24 this year.... With Amman becoming the latest target of the jihadis, and al-Qaida claiming responsibility, it is conclusively established that Osama bin Laden's terror brigade, who have long threatened to unseat the monarchy in that country, far from fighting with their backs to the wall are busy engineering ways and means to take their perverted war with the free world to the next level.... An attack of the kind that Amman witnessed has long been feared; that al-Qaida could carry out its threat with such apparent impunity is what must exercise the leadership of Jordan, as indeed, of all the countries which are engaged in the war on terror.... Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi has been working in close association with Osama bin Laden, providing the al-Qaida with indoctrinated Islamists willing to blow themselves up for the cause of jihad. With the latest instance of bloodletting in Amman, the two frontline Arab states engaged along with the U.S. in the war on terror, have now both been 'punished' for siding with the 'infidels.' The al-Qaida's brand of terror, however, is not intended to cease with a bombing or two; its various cells, even at this moment, are engaged in plotting their next attack--whether in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq or elsewhere beyond Arabia.... The jihadis have also targeted India--Delhi witnessed serial bomb explosions on October 29.... No quarters must be given to bloodthirsty groups of fanatics who hold peace and development of the entire human civilization to ransom. Countries facing clear and present danger from misguided Islamist zealots must at once overhaul their security apparatus and, working in cooperation, must devise methods to outsmart, outflank, defang and destroy the terrorists and their cowardly, hidden masters."
CANADA: "Terror Spreads"
Centrist Winnipeg Free Press opined (11/12): "Bin Laden's brand of death may appear to be indiscriminate, but it is not. It has a very specific target; it is just that the target itself is huge, consisting of anyone, Christian crusader, Jewish Zionist, Muslim heretic, Chinese Communist or a Canadian tourist sunning himself in Bali--anyone, anywhere in the world, who refuses to accept Osama bin Laden's version of Islam. There is no room for compromise here, and, in the Islamist view, nothing to negotiate. The price for peace is either final submission or eventual victory in a long, difficult war. Canada has so far escaped being specifically targeted by Islamic extremists--some Canadians would argue, with some justification, that Canada has suffered more at the hands of the other side. But in Jordan on Wednesday, in Australia Tuesday, in Britain in July and almost every week somewhere in the world, we are reminded that this war is real, and we, however reluctantly, are part of it."
"The Real Enemies Of Islam"
Nationalist Ottawa Citizen held (Internet version, 11/12): “The co-ordinated hotel bombings in Jordan this week demonstrate that suicide terrorists are as much the enemies of Muslims as they are of anyone else. It's inspiring to see the people of Jordan take to the streets to denounce Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his faction of al-Qaida in Iraq, telling the world that they, Jordanians, reject terrorism committed in the name of Islam. For the last several years, many analysts have held that the West is at war with Islam. These bombings, and the reaction to them, support a more subtle view. The conflict is actually within Islam."
MEXICO: "Jordan: Fruits Of Blindness"
Left-of-center La Jornada condemned (11/10): "The terrorist attacks in Amman further demonstrate the negative consequences of the 'war against terror.' Fundamentalist violent Islamic sectors have not been reduced, on the contrary, they have expanded, diversified and reinforced themselves. The invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by British and U.S. troops have only fed animosity against the West, which fuels the most belligerent Muslim groups.... In summary, there is not a speck of doubt that yesterday’s attacks in Amman and the terrible perspectives for Jordan as a nation have been caused by the blindness of the U.S., British and Jordanians."
CHILE: "Attack Against Jordan’s Rear Guard"
International analyst Raul Sohr opined in government-owned, editorially independent La Nación (11/11): "This last series of bombings has two messages. The first is that no place in the Middle East is free from attacks and terrorism.... The second is directed at the Arab world, and it is that the Jihad has the will to fight against Western allies."
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