February 18, 2005
THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR--ENDURING 'CURRENTS OF HATRED'
** Complexity underscores the war on terrorism's "challenges and crises."
** Pro-Muslim media assert the "innocence of Islam."
** Terrorism feeds "the root of concern of the international community."
A complex issue 'in the post-September 11th world'-- Media commented on the worldwide "complexity of terror," citing examples from "North Korea's dangerousness" to former Guantanamo prisoner Abdullah Mehsud's boast that "he will continue his Jihad" and "struggle till eviction of all U.S. forces from Pakistan." Rafik al-Hariri's assassination in Lebanon was seen by some as a "terrorist act" while others preferred the word "crime," albeit one that "reflects the brutality of its perpetrators and their satanic scheme," with some "complexities involved." According to Saudi Arabia's Al-Riyadh, "specifying a concept of terrorism is not a complicated issue even if each country is trying to interpret things according to its point of view." Canada's Globe and Mail disagreed, noting: "The Arab world cries to the heavens when UN resolutions against Israel go unheeded, but Arab leaders have done next to nothing about the occupation of one Arab country by another."
'Islam is innocent'-- Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa declared that attacks in Saudi Arabia, "cradle of Islam," showed "the animosity terrorists have for Islam and Muslims." Italy's centrist Corriere della Sera observed now that terrorism hits "Baghdad, Riyadh and Kuwait City more, the Arab countries are repenting." Dammam's Al-Yaum stated that "the devil and evil of terrorism do not distinguish between race, color or religion." Many others, however agreed wtih the Kingdom's conservative Al-Madina: "terrorism strikes everywhere and takes different shapes, but in the end it serves the interests of our enemy, the Zionist program." India's pro-Muslim Dawat railed, "given the animosity of the U.S. against Islam and Muslims, it finds all ills only in the Muslim world." Pakistan's independent Statesman cited a resident militant who called for the U.S. ouster from Pakistan saying, "Musharraf and his colleagues are traitors and anti-Islam."
'Count on terrorism and resistance' to endure-- Western media pondered the West's role in "the engagement in the fight against terrorism." Some focused on the U.S. call for allied assistance in the GWOT. Germany's regional radio Südwestrundfunk noted that, "the Americans want NATO to be in charge of the fight against terrorism" in southern Iraq. An Irish daily represented outlets expressing concern that after 9/11, the U.S. GWOT "includes the goal of regime change and democratization in the Middle East." Panama's Critica, with an eye on Hariri and Syria, contended U.S. anti-terror doctrine is "awaking the monster of terrorism." Observers expect terrorism will continue to drive the global agenda. Argentina's moderate La Nacion noted that North Korea's nuclear admission concerned the international community and "stood as a threat to global peace and security."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: Rupert D. Vaughan
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 35 reports from 21 countries over 1 - 17 February 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed in the most recent date.
GERMANY: "Engagement In The Fight Against Terrorism"
Frank Wahlig commented on Stuttgart's regional radio Südwestrundfunk (2/10): "Germany says it plans to extend its engagement in Afghanistan to prevent some people thinking of asking Germany to increase its engagement in Iraq.... Defense Minister Struck announced that Germany plans to extend the presence of German soldiers and to intensify the engagement in the Hindu Kush. Struck does not need the approval of the Bundestag for this, for he has not yet fully exhausted the German troop contingency for Afghanistan. Struck now has a scope of action he wants to use…. The Americans want NATO to be in charge of the fight against terrorism in the southern part of the country. If this were the case, a new quality of the Bundeswehr mission in Afghanistan would certainly be reached. The area of operation would also change, but this requires the Bundestag's approval. The cultivation of drugs mainly takes part in the North of the country, the region where the Bundeswehr has deployed 450 soldiers. The Bundestag mandate allows 2,200 soldiers…. If the Bundeswehr assumes greater responsibility in Afghanistan, then there is still enough time to analyze and to talk about possible changes of the Bundeswehr' mandate."
"Senseless Violence And Rosy Pictures"
Jerusalem correspondent Thorsten Schmitz declared in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/9): "The intentions of the summit at Sharm el-Sheikh are honorable, but there have been many top meetings in the region in the past and a handshake between Sharon and Abbas has not yet put a stop to the senseless violence. Facts count--and courageous leaders. Abbas must dissolve terror groups and Sharon must do more than withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. However, the Palestinian leader does not plan to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Sharon still allows building settlements in the West Bank. This does not match with the rosy pictures from Sharm el-Sheikh.
ITALY: "Islamic Deluge After Assad"
Alberto Negri queried in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (2/16): “Why don’t Arab regimes change and why don’t they have the ability to reform? And above all, how and with what can they be replaced? The destiny of Syria, the last Baathist bulwark following Saddam’s fall, seems uncertain and hanging. With the demise of Tikrit’s leader, Damascus is again in the battlefield of the Middle East and...today the regime is caught between U.S. and Israeli military pressures. Syria is accused of harboring terrorist movements, of having WMD, of providing support to Iraqi insurgents. It’s a blacklisted country.... Something here reminds us of Saddam’s Iraq. Today, a wing of the secular Syrian Baath movement, opposed by Bashar, is asking that Islam be adopted in official ideology, just as Saddam did in Iraq, because Syria’s young people, increasingly unemployed and unsatisfied in a dead end regime, are turning to fundamental Islam. It is disturbing to ask ourselves what may come after 40 years of Baathist dominion in Damascus, but it’s a question we must ask.”
"Islamic Terrorism: Less fundamentalism In School Books"
Magdi Allam remarked in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (2/1): “When it was Israel and the United States protesting, calling for a radical revision of textbooks in Arab states, singling them out as one of the principal causes of a growing culture of hatred and murder, Arab leaders protested what they characterized as an unacceptable, unjustifiable interference in their internal affairs, and religious authorities claimed ‘a U.S.-Zionist plot’ against Islam.’ But now that terrorism hits Jerusalem and New York less, and Baghdad, Riyadh and Kuwait City more the Arab countries are repenting.”
"In Search Of A New Order"
Maurizio Molinari asserted in centrist, influential La Stampa (2/9): “Confident of the success obtained in Baghdad…American diplomacy is operating on a double track. It is quickly pushing the Middle East toward peace, reforms and democracy, as well as redefining NATO’s role well beyond Europe’s geographical boundaries. The goal is to turn the Euro-American alliance into a laboratory for a global democratic revolution to fight tyranny, terrorism, WMD, poverty and diseases like AIDS.... America considers Europe a fundamental partner in facing responsibilities tied to the war on terrorism.... In order to meet the challenge, Europe must demonstrate that it shares with America something beyond the common interest to put aside the rifts caused by Iraq. Behind the White House’s moves is the conviction that ‘history does not make itself’--as Rice said yesterday in Paris--‘it is made by men.’ The American bet on the possibility to change the status quo is what brought about the toppling of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat’s departure and the defeat of the armed intifada.”
RUSSIA: "It's More Than The Cost Of A Contract"
Boris Volkhonskiy commented in business-oriented Kommersant (2/17): "Basically, there is nothing wrong with wanting to sell more arms. Unless we sell arms, somebody else will, ousting us from the arms market. So we might by right brush aside U.S. and Israeli protests against our plans to supply air defense rockets to Syria. On the other hand, no one will deny that, given a global terrorist threat, we are in the same boat as the United States and Israel, with our co-travelers having cause to suspect the Syrian leadership of wanting to sink the boat. Surely, some might say that a portion of our military industrial complex top management still delude themselves, thinking Russia can regain its superpower status. The trouble with getting that status back is that forceful political action won't help. Instead, it takes raising this country's economic potential, which is hard and tedious work. The few dozen million dollars brought in by the arms deal won't change the situation, but the political and economic costs it entails may be very high."
Marianna Grishina said in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (2/16): "The terrorist act in Beirut can gravely affect the situation in the country on the eve of the elections. Many Lebanese with the memory of the civil war fresh in their minds fear that the fragile balance among religious communities and political forces may now be upset."
AUSTRIA: "Which Chance Does A Middle East Peace Actually Have?"
Senior columnist for independent political weekly Profil Peter Michael Lingens contended (2/16): “Until a short while ago, the Israeli position was undisputed: no negotiations with terrorists. However, the recent elections proved that a considerable part of the Palestinian population feels represented by Hamas. In short, Hamas is not just a terrorist but also a political power.... There are two possibilities to deal with this circumstance. The first is to negate Hamas as a political power by categorically refusing to conduct negotiations with them, thereby denying them success, in the hope that this will weaken their support among the population. The other possibility would be to try and integrate them into the peace process by acknowledging their position as a political actor. It seems that this second alternative has a somewhat greater chance of being successful since Abbas became Palestinian leader. Abbas, after all, is not Arafat:
"Complexity Of Terror"
Foreign affairs editor Christian Ultsch opined in centrist daily Die Presse (2/14): “Nowadays, the prospect of a nuclear holocost doesn’t seem to upset people any longer. It has simply been pushed out of the public awareness as if, with the fall of the Iron curtain, all nuclear weapons have dissolved into hot air.... In the meantime, there is no longer a balance but only the complexity of terror. The number of nuclear powers has increased, and with it also the likelihood of proliferation of nuclear material. In 1998, India and Pakistan joined the club. Now it is North Korea, and soon possibly Iran. The more actors there are, the more suppliers and the greater the risk that the radioactive goods will find their way into the hands of individual terrorists. Even if nobody takes notice: the danger of a nuclear war is greater today than ever before.”
"ETA Terror Instead Of Freedom"
Senior editor Erhard Stackl stated in independent daily Der Standard (2/10): “Wednesday’s terror attack has losers on both sides. Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero, who so far has indicated his readiness for compromise, now has no choice but to threaten the ETA terrorists and their supporters with tough prison sentences. Also, the Basques’ head of government, Ibarretxe’s project to achieve an autonomous Basque state with peaceful means seems now as good as dead. He had been trying to advertise this to the hesitating majority of the two million Basques, using the argument that it would enable him to bid good-bye to violence once and for all.”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "The Risks In Iran"
Jan Eichler commented in center left Pravo (2/10): "If the Bush Administration decides to punish Iran for its nuclear program by a military attack it would be very foolish to count on massive support of Iranians in the conflict. The opposite would be true and such an approach would only result in increased hatred against the U.S. throughout the Muslim world providing yet another cause for would-be terrorists. In this case the 'European' approach, which combines punishment with economic incentives, would prove to be much more effective."
DENMARK: "Rice Wants To Dance Cheek To Cheek With Europe"
Left-wing Information editorialized (2/ ): As expected, Secretary Rice invited Europe to dance when she spoke at the well-renowned, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris yesterday.... Rice was warm and friendly, but she did not drop the tough rhetoric that has characterized Bush's presidency. Rice noted fighting terror, the Middle East conflict, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the democratization of the greater Middle East as areas where the U.S. and Europe could cooperate in future. But everything is not rosy in the transatlantic garden, the U.S. is still more than skeptical about the Chinese arms embargo issue and unconvinced by France, Germany and Britain's efforts to engage Iran in discussions over the development of its nuclear program."
IRELAND: "Lebanese Vent Anger On Syria After Bombing"
Nuala Haughey commented in the center-left daily The Irish Times (2/16): “His assassination has raised fears that the country might once more be destabilized both politically and economically or be plunged back into an era of violence before it has even properly recovered from the last one. Lebanon's opposition parties hold their government and the power behind it--neighboring Syria--responsible for the killing of Mr Hariri, who was one of the main architects of the country's post-war reconstruction. Damascus has vigorously denied the charge. The conviction is certainly one shared by many Lebanese.... Although most suspicion has fallen on Syria or its supporters in Lebanon, it was clear the possibilities also might include rogue Syrian intelligence operatives, or even factions among the country's myriad religious groups. Syria has 14,000 troops in Lebanon as well as intelligence agents, and has effectively decided policy in the country since its troops helped end the civil war. Mr Hariri, a pragmatist, had largely tolerated the Syrian presence during his tenure as prime minister for 10 of the past 15 years. But recently he had increasingly supported the view that Syrian influence in Lebanon should be reduced, if not ended.... In the post-September 11th world, Syria has found itself under intense pressure from the U.S., whose war on terror includes the goal of regime change and democratization in the Middle East…..Syria was specifically cautioned in recent weeks by the U.S. and France not to interfere in Lebanon's elections. Mr Hariri's assassination has only intensified the pressure on Syria to quit the country, with the UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan saying yesterday he hoped there would be clear signs of a withdrawal of Syrian troops within the next two months.”
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO: "A Victory Over Fear"
The Belgrade independent weekly Vreme commented (2/3) : "Elections in Iraq will be remembered for the great courage of the Iraqi civilians. The orchestrated violent attempts to undermine the elections were unprecedented; the candidates were afraid to appear in public; organizers of the elections had to hide; foreign monitors 'monitored' the elections from a neighboring country; and voters risked their lives in order to vote. Now, the U.S. Administration is overwhelmed with satisfaction because the turnout was high in spite of all that, and so is President Bush, now that the war's many opponents have been temporarily silenced. In fact, with such a high turnout, President Bush has even strengthened his own election victory. Regarding the Iraqi elections results, it is already clear that the Kurds are the biggest winners. However, these elections are only an overture to the next elections. It will be necessary for the U.S. to stay in Iraq and keep helping for as long as it takes, because Iraqis have already done more than their fair share by managing to overcome fear and go to the polls."
TURKEY: "Who To Blame In Lebanon?"
Zafer Atay commented in the economic-political Dunya (2/16): “The Hariri incident seems to be an assassination with some complexities involved. Syrian leader Asad harshly denounced the assassination, yet it does not change the fact that all fingers are pointing at Damascus. And that remains a strong possibility.... There are various speculations in the aftermath of the Hariri assassination. Some Western countries, including the U.S. are accusing Syria of manipulating the terrorists close to Damascus. The majority of Beirut commentators believe that this incident will serve as an excuse for Syria to remain in Lebanon because of the elections coming in two months. Nothing is certain about this incident, and the organization which claimed responsibility for the assassination is another uncertainty, because no one knows anything about it.... In any case, time will show who is really responsible; an event of such magnitude cannot be left in the dark.”
WEST BANK: "Condoleezza's Line"
Former ambassador to the U.S. Prof. Itamar Rabinovich wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (2/16): "The recall of the U.S. Ambassador in Damascus for consultations in Washington has a four-fold significance: an immediate response to the murder of Rafiq Hariri; venting off accumulated anger over Syrian assistance to the Iraqi insurgents; a threat to further diplomatic sanctions and possible punitive military actions at a later stage; and the first expression of a change in style at the State Department following the changeover from Colin Powell to Condoleezza Rice. During the eight years of president Clinton's term, the United States' relations with Syria were shaped by an attempt to reach a peace treaty between Israel and Syria. The Clinton administration viewed such an arrangement as the proper basis for the Israeli-Arab peace process, as well as a way to push Iran from the center of the Middle East to its sidelines. The Bush administration has fundamentally reversed that attitude. Its more limited interest in Israeli-Arab relations has focused on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. It views Syria first and foremost as a terror-sponsoring state allied with Iran, and a partner in the 'axis of evil.'"
SAUDI ARABIA: "Foolish Accusations"
Dammam’s moderate Al-Yaum editorialized (2/17): "Interior Minister Prince Naif described the suggestion of a possible link between the Kingdom and the crime of murdering Al-Hariri as 'foolish.' Especially when it was justified as revenge for the killing of terrorist gangs in the Kingdom.... It also, once again, supports the views of the Kingdom on terrorist murderers, who attempted to disturb the security and stability of the Kingdom.... The devil and evil of terrorism do not distinguish between race, color or religion. Therefore, the crime of murdering Al-Hariri was an expansion of terrorism acts."
"A Scream In A Deep Gorge"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina editorialized (2/16): "Terrorism strikes everywhere and takes different shapes, but in the end it serves the interests of our enemy, the Zionist program.... Everyone agrees that the assassination of Rafik Al Hariri aimed to shake the stability of Lebanon. When we look at what has happened in Iraq and Palestine, it becomes apparent that the objective behind this is to undermine the peace and stability of the entire Middle East. The goal is to make us so weak that we will not be able to solve our internal problems... Are we going to be content with condemnations and abhorring these acts that triggered unrest in our region? The time has come for us to take a serious look at what is happening around us, and is being plotted against us."
"Islam Is Innocent Of The Terrorism Accusation"
Makkah’s conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (2/10): "What took place on the land of this country reveals clearly the animosity terrorists have for Islam and Muslims. Their blind criminal instincts made them commit crimes on the land that is the cradle of Islam. After all they have done, can we still describe them as Muslims? In fact, they are weapons against Islam and Muslims. But the truth always prevails. We watched how representatives of many countries declared the innocence of Islam from all the criminal and terrorist activities that have been wrongfully committed in the name of Islam. These terrorist acts and their executers have no home and no religion."
"The Antiterrorism Conference, The Idea And The Practice"
Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (2/8): "A very warm discussion on the issue of terrorism took place in Riyadh.... It was open to all ideas and contributions.... Perhaps specifying a concept of terrorism is not a complicated issue even if each country is trying to interpret things according to its point of view and interest.... Perhaps the comment of President Bush about his welcoming the efforts of Abu Mazen in fighting terrorism tells the opposite of what the Palestinian leader thinks about the legitimacy of the struggle of his people, but it has to be controlled in a way that brings peace into effect.... The United States and Israel do not want to admit that one factor of the spread of terrorism is the way that Israel treats the Palestinians or the U.S. way of dealing with it as a regional and Islamic issue...and that is one of the factors that blew a peace project that could have been a reality three or four decades back.... Riyadh created a suitable atmosphere for the conference and gave everybody the right to express points of view without any pressure since this isn’t a political interest but an issue of international security."
ALGERIA: "The Democratic Domino Effect"
The highly influential French-language daily Le Quotidien d’Oran commented (2/15): “The ‘democratic domino’ effect, sold as a mechanical explanation for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, has finally led to an almost funny consequence: a more or less controlled theo-democracy in this half country.... Bush, who wanted to democratize our geography, control its religious extremisms, correct the Jihadist trends, and exorcise the theocratic leanings liable to re-make a ‘September 11’ finally got his money’s worth--a soft and vegetarian cloning of the Iranian clergy on the ground of his laboratory. Bushism led to Shiism by going through ballot boxes.”
JORDAN: "Assassinating Lebanon’s Peace And Stability"
Chief editor Taher Udwan wrote in the independent, mass-appeal Arabic daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm (2/15): “When it comes to such a serious event with all these aspects that are prone to explosion, one cannot rule out the presence of foreign hands that seek to take advantage of the domestic crisis and make Lebanon another case like Iraq. Especially now that all accounts indicate that the losers in Iraq are going to lose the entire Middle East and that if there was no room for profit in Baghdad the disaster should be general and comprehensive.... If international terrorism is not responsible, then the perpetrators are countries, governments and intelligence rings. This means that terrorism is becoming active in the region and is developing through the entry of new official members who have decided, it seems, to exercise state terrorism in this conflict of the age that was inaugurated by the American-British invasion and the occupation of Iraq. What happened in Beirut yesterday is a serious indication of the future of the region that has been suffering from American military and political pressures for years. Assassinating Hariri definitely sends a strong message to Syria that its coming days in Lebanon are going to be very difficult. It appears Security Council resolution 1559 is not much different from the resolutions that targeted Iraq prior to the invasion, the occupation and the disaster.”
"This Is Terrorism"
Center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour editorialized (2/15): “The assassination of Rafik Hariri with such a despicable terrorist attack constitutes a real disaster, a resonating shock and a great loss. It is a crime that reflects the brutality of its perpetrators and their satanic scheme of targeting the security and stability of all Arab countries.... The most serious thing about the religious rhetoric of terrorist groups is the fact that it can be used by numerous parties. Its methods serve foreign schemes more than anything else, be it on the level of undermining stability, increasing domestic conflicts, creating sectarianism, or even using the war on terrorism to achieve other objectives. It is clear that the terrorist attack did not target the life of Rafik Hariri as much as it wanted to ignite a stage of chaos and corruption, whereby the Arab and Muslim world would become ripe ground for plans of hegemony and whereby the Arab nation loses itself and becomes void of all form, identity and ambition, burdened by challenges and crises, and thus fails to benefit or reap the fruits of its riches and resources.”
AUSTRALIA: "Bombers Fear The Ballot Box"
The national conservative Australian editorialized (2/16): “The murderous explosion that killed Lebanese political and business leader Rafik Hariri does not appear to have been the work of a simple suicide bomber, gulled into death by promises of martyrdom. Rather it looks like a carefully planned assassination, intended not to terrorize the people of Beirut, but to remove a popular politician. As such, it demonstrates how dark and deep run the currents of hatred in Middle East politics. Nor can this disgraceful killing be easily ascribed by apologists for terror as a response to Israeli and U.S. policy. No one knows for sure who is responsible for this attack. But it is Syria, which treats the government of Lebanon as a puppet, that has most to gain from Mr Hariri's death.... This killing may return Lebanon to internecine strife. But with luck it will be dismissed for what it is, an act of desperation by people who fear letting the Lebanese choose their own political future.”
INDIA: "Charges Of Terrorism Based On Animosity Against Islam And Muslims"
Pro-Muslim Urdu biweekly Dawat commented (2/7): "It is interesting to note that the U.S. accuses both Iran and North Korea of developing nuclear weapons and projects both the countries as a threat to global security.But, in order to resolve that issue, it prefers talks with North Korea and military invasion against Iran and, for that matter, any other Muslim country. North Korea's nuclear program has been an issue since a long time but military might was trained against Iraq which had no nuclear or any other weapons of mass destruction. North Korea had to be spared a similar fate because, it was not a Muslim country, it was armed with some real weapons and it had at its back powers like China, Japan and Russia. On the other hand, Iraq was not only alone, it was a Muslim country. Given the animosity of the U.S. against Islam and Muslims, it finds all ills only in the Muslim world, threatens only Muslim countries of its military action and imposes sanctions only against them while it has already launched a permanent campaign against them on the plea of fighting terrorism. In his State of the Union address too, Bush criticized Muslim countries but made no mention of the biggest hurdle in the way of peace and the springhead of terrorism Israel.... After destroying and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq, it has put Iran, Sudan, Syria and others as the next targets. Regardless of how firmly Iran and Syria deny and contradict the baseless charges against them, the U.S. is just waiting desperately the earliest excuse to attack them."
PAKISTAN: “Who Is A Bigger Dictator Than The U.S.?”
Abdul Qadir Hassan opined in mass circulation centrist Urdu daily, Jang (2/17): "The renowned U.S. daily Washington Times has published a list of 20 rulers, who have negated the basic human rights of their people. Seven of these rulers are Muslims including our honorable President Musharraf. The newspaper also analyzed about ten of these heads of states. This analysis is a clear evidence of the U.S. mindset.... The U.S. considers its rulers as the ideal rulers, and its country as the model state in the world. But, it believes that the others, especially the Muslims are ill mannered, narrow minded, backward, ignorant, and precarious people. They are terrorists, and pose a risk to the global peace. So it is essential to bully them, and intimidate them with military might. To annihilate their population is a service to humanity. The Americans consider other rulers as dictator, and tyrant. In fact, the U.S. President himself is the greatest dictator in the world. It is the U.S. philosophy, that to deal with a parliament, and a democratic government is a difficult and tedious task, but to make an accord with an individual ruler is relatively easy. We Pakistanis have a lot of experience of this U.S. strategy. The U.S. is itself a dictator, and sponsor, and benefactor of many dictators of the world, so no U.S. magazine has any right to term dictator other rulers. "
"Rice Says Iran Is Moving In Wrong Direction"
Daily Times noted (2/11): "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday that Iran’s support of terrorism, nuclear ambitions and lack of democracy are out of step with trends in neighboring nations, notably Pakistan.... Washington says it sees no move toward democracy in Iran and accuses Tehran of making nuclear arms. It wants Iran brought before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. 'Iran’s internal politics are not moving in a positive direction,' Rice said at a news conference on Thursday. 'The development of nuclear weapons in contravention of Iran's international obligations would not be a positive development.'”
"Abdullah Mehsud Says He Will Continue 'Jihad'"
Daily Times noted (2/10): "Tribal militant Abdullah Mehsud on Wednesday played down Monday’s peace deal between the government and fellow militant Baitullah Mehsud, saying he would continue jihad in South Waziristan Agency. He called the peace deal Baitullah’s 'personal thinking' and said he (Abdullah) had 'nothing to do with the deal' nor would he abide by it. 'I am not involved in this deal and will continue struggling against the government,' Abdullah told a local journalist working for a foreign radio. Abdullah was not being given amnesty by the government because of his involvement in the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers and the killing of one in October last year. 'The fight will continue and my struggle won’t be affected by the deal between Baitullah and the government,' he said by phone from an undisclosed location."
"Deal Not To Affect Armed Struggle: Abdullah Mehsud"
Pakistan's independent weekly Statesman remarked (2/10): "A tribal militant wanted for kidnapping of two Chinese engineers has said the government’s peace agreement with other militants would not deter him from continuing his armed struggle. In an interview with The Statesman by telephone from an undisclosed location on Wednesday, Abdullah Mehsud, who spent one and a half years in U.S. captivity in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, denied this meant differences among militants, believed to be linked with al-Qaida and Taliban. He said he would continue his struggle till eviction of U.S. forces from Pakistan and enforcement of Shariah in the country. 'Musharraf and his colleagues are traitors and anti Islam. We will continue our struggle against them.'”
"Unique U.S. Operation To Apprehend Usama; 15000 Afghans Recruited"
Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat determined (2/9): "The United States plans to undertake a unique operation in Afghanistan form March 1 for the search of Usama Bin Laden for which 15,000 Afghans have been trained while some five thousand women are also included in the operation. Sources said that the recruits, who have been provided with satellite phone, wireless and other gadgets, would launch an ‘infantry search’ of the Al-Qaida Chief."
NIGERIA: "Where Is Africa In Bush's World?"
Lagos-based independent daily This Day editorialized (2/10): "The impact of that (President Bush's) speech showed that in the next four years, the U.S. policy will be driven by Bush’s perception of the world after 9/11 terrorist attacks. The reasons for that paranoia are well-understood. But to us, the danger is that obsession with the fight against terrorism continues to push other problems in the world to the back-burner. For instance, there was nothing in the speech for Africa. The only reason may be that the United States does not see a threat to its interests in Africa. True as that may be, Africa is assailed by other problems whose implications and effects are far more than the victims and devastation of terrorism. If the Bush White House did not mention Africa, it can be read that the U.S. no longer considers Africa a partner in world affairs.... As regards to the matter of Bush’s speech, the concentration on terrorism means that Africa’s problems will continue to be ignored in the next four years. Going by the state of the world in the last four years, Africans can justifiably assume there is nothing for them in the next four years of the Bush White House. On a global level, there is no reason to sustain a continuation of the policies of the last four years. In fact, one reason against a continuation is that Bush's anti-terror policies made the world dangerous.... In this regard, we would urge caution. The mistakes of the last four years cannot be repeated without pushing the world to the brink of far more dangerous conflicts. That Europe failed to endorse the Bush terror policies is a signal to how much the world has changed. Bush and America can no longer continue to ignore that. This is without prejudice to its need to secure itself."
CANADA: "It's Time We All Said, 'Syria Out!'"
Columnist Marcus Gee commented in the leading Globe and Mail (2/16): "The United States, already unhappy with Syria over its consistent support of Middle East terrorism and suspected backing of Iraqi insurgents, is using the occasion to call again for Lebanon to be freed from foreign occupation. Paris, showing rare accord with Washington, is demanding justice for Mr. Hariri, who was a friend of President Jacques Chirac. But the loudest cries are coming from Lebanon itself. Anti-Syrian feeling has been growing since last summer when Syrian President Bashar Assad strong-armed Lebanese legislators into extending the term of President Emile Lahoud, a Syrian puppet. It was an unusually obvious exercise of Syrian dominance, and many Lebanese resented it. The murder of Mr. Hariri, a Sunni Muslim billionaire admired for helping to rebuild Beirut after the civil war, has ignited that resentment. 'Syria out!' was the cry on the streets yesterday from Mr. Hariri's admirers. The rest of the world should take up the cry.... As in so many things, the impetus for getting tough with Syria is falling on the United States, which has enacted economic sanctions against the Assad regime and sent envoys to Damascus to warn Mr. Assad that things could get hot for him unless Syria changes its behaviour. But this should not just be a U.S. push. The United Nations is on record against the Syrian occupation.... Arab nations, in particular, should put pressure on Damascus. The Arab world cries to the heavens when UN resolutions against Israel go unheeded, but Arab leaders have done next to nothing about the occupation of one Arab country by another. Arab governments that condemned Monday's attack were silent about Syria's malign role in the country, and Arab media made the unusual innuendoes about 'Zionist' responsibility for the murder--a shameful response to an illegal occupation."
The liberal Toronto Star opined (2/15): "In a savage blow to post-war hopes, former prime minister Rafik Hariri was murdered in a massive bombing by obscure extremists. The killing deprives moderates of their most influential leader.... Rather than be cowed by the bombers, the voters should honour Hariri by electing moderate leaders who believe in democracy, who can stand up to Damascus, and who are prepared to work together as he did for the common good."
ARGENTINA: "North Korea's Dangerousness"
Daily-of-record La Nacion editorialized (2/15): "Unluckily, laboratory reports have just confirmed that North Korea has provided Libya with uranium. Obviously, this increases suspicion that it could have also provided Iran and Syria with uranium. The dangerousness of this Asian state has considerably increased since its status as proliferating country was demonstrated... As a consequence, the need for facing the North Korean issue has significantly increased all over the world. The free world is already experiencing this threat as a dramatic career against the clock... There are countries (like Brazil, for example) that have the facilities required to enrich the uranium provided by North Korea and this has touched off concern in the free world. Enriched uranium, like plutonium, can be used in manufacturing nuclear weapons, and this is the root of the concern of the international community. With the talks on its WMD stalled, North Korea appears as a threat to global peace and security."
Andrés Ortega opined in leftist national daily El Nuevo Diario (2/10): "In Iraq, what the Bush administration is trying to do is to introduce a geo-strategic transformation in the whole region. It is not sure if it will work, rather the opposite might happen. But it implies that, if allowed, U.S. troops will stay a long time.... One must count on terrorism and resistance to go on for a long time. One always knows how these things start, but never how they end and if there are dividing tensions the U.S. military presence can be a guarantee against a breakdown, but their permanence can impede the stabilization of the country: The U.S. is part of the solution and part of the problem."
PANAMA: "The United States Public Agenda"
Carlos Acevedo commented in the tabloid Critica (2/12): “The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in the Middle East was, without a doubt, the opening of the American agenda for this distant region of the planet… The policy of the ‘big club’ for Latin America is now in its Middle East version and is threatening to extend to South America where there are vast oil reserves, specifically in Venezuela where president Hugo Chavez has felt the first warnings of the agents of George Bush’s second term. The new proconsul, Condoleeza Rice, started a tour through the Middle East region where the situation, specifically in Iraq, has all characteristics of a prolonged war.... In this new offensive, Syria and Iran are profiled as the next points of interest of American policy in the region...under even less convincing and confirmed arguments. The danger of this U.S. war’s escalation is not in extending its doctrine to faraway territories but in awaking the monster of terrorism that has caused at this time the bloodshed of many innocent people in the world.”
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