July 25, 2005
LONDON BOMBINGS TRIGGER SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
** Global outlets search for "roots" of terror after London bombings.
** Liberal papers highlight need for "improved understanding."
** Some commentators fear an erosion of basic rights amidst calls for "urgent legislation."
** Media urge Muslim moderates and leaders to play a "vital role" in the "battle of ideas."
'The great and so-far unanswered question'-- While many writers linked the Iraq War and the bombings, most writers posited that the "dark forces" of terror were engendered by factors such as Islamist ideology and the "major failure" in integrating Muslim populations into Western communities. Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Watan claimed that "terrorism is based on a deep-rooted ideology" which, Britain's left-of-center Guardian asserted, "predates and goes beyond Iraq." Many dismissed poverty as a root cause, instead viewing terrorists as "the privileged children of an unlikely marriage between Wahhabism and Silicon Valley."
'An attempt to understand'-- Several outlets advised isolating "the jihadis" from society and banning extremists, demanding that terrorism be "crushed from the roots," but liberal outlets called for an "improved understanding of cultural and religious beliefs." This, according to Norway's paper-of-record Aftenposten, "could be more effective...than laser weapons" in preventing terror. A British tabloid held that "only by knowing why the seemingly incomprehensible happens can we begin to stop the killing," while a conservative Venezuelan paper hoped for "an understanding between the Christian religions [and]...Islamic civilization."
Weighing security against 'central democratic values'-- Britain's conservative Times favored acceleration of "new proposals" to prevent the creation of "fertile ground" for European terrorism and feared the "commitment to Iraq" has made Britain "less able to police" domestic threats. The center-left Irish Times also backed new "security measures," claiming it is "right to concentrate on those who incite hatred." Norway's social-democratic Dagsavisen noted that "some of the measures are easy to understand and defend," but worried "people and opinions" might "get framed," and that by compromising civil liberties we will become "eternal hostages of terrorism." A Belgian editorialist opined, "democracies have reacted too strongly to terrorism."
Letting 'the soil that nourishes terror dry up'-- Muslim religious leaders were cast as "front-line soldiers in this battle," responsible for fostering "all that is good in that great religion." Centrist and liberal papers urged leaders to "convince those aiming to kill...of the senselessness of their acts." Singapore's pro-government Straits Times declared that efforts of non-Muslim statesmen will be in vain "if Muslim political leaders...do not also play a vital role," and Holland's independent NRC Handelsbad stated, "Muslims cannot just blame the West for extremism but should take action." Austria's centrist Die Presse believed the "silent majority of Muslims that has so far stood by and watched the radical...minority...seems prepared to reconsider."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: Erin Carroll
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 94 reports from 40 countries July 17-22, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Nothing Will Change Until Musharraf Closes Pakistan's Militant Madrassas"
Pakistani author and journalist Ahmed Rashid commented in the conservative Daily Telegraph (7/22): "The failure of the West since September 11 has been to conduct its entire relationship with Musharraf in secret, as though that would give him the time and space to do the right thing. What is needed is a heavy dose of public diplomacy that would force the military to act rather than to deny and fudge. At the same time, Britain needs to wake up to the new post-July 7 world in which it will have to do far more to integrate its Muslim minority than it has done so far."
"In The Name Of God: Blair Has Appeased And Prevaricated. Now, As The Death Cult Strikes Again, He Must Oust Religion From Public Life"
Columnist Polly Toynbee commented in the left-of-center Guardian (7/22): "It is time now to get serious about religion--all religion--and draw a firm line between the real world and the world of dreams. Tony Blair has taken entirely the wrong path. He has appeased, prevaricated and pretended, maybe because he is a man of faith himself, with a Catholic wife who consorts with crystals. But never was it more important to separate the state from all faiths and relegate all religion to the private--but well-regulated--sphere."
"Aftershock: An Echo Of The July 7 Attacks On London"
The conservative Times (7/22) editorialized: "There must be an unremitting campaign against the preachings of nihilist fanatics winning converts among young Muslims. And there must be a better understanding of who is most vulnerable to these intolerant teachings. Furthermore, there must be better intelligence on the link to extremists in Pakistan. And, for years to come there must be sustained vigilance by police and public alike."
"Suppose That Invading Iraq Has Made Us More Vulnerable--What Then?"
Columnist Gerard Baker commented in the conservative Times (7/22): "The right way to deal with anti-American and anti-British sentiment in the Muslim world is not to pull out our troops from Iraq and beg forgiveness, but to continue to fight there on behalf of the majority of good Muslims for the kind of country they need and deserve."
"It's Not Only About Iraq"
Jonathan Freedland commented in the left-of-center Guardian (7/20): "On one side stand Tony Blair, Jack Straw and a good chunk of the media. On the other Chatham House and, according to yesterday's Guardian/ICM poll, two-thirds of the British people. The issue that divides them is, once again, the Iraq war.... Blair could try to wave [the report] aside, noting that the geniuses of Jtac had also concluded that no group in Britain had the 'intent and the capability' to mount an attack. More tricky are the 64% of Britons who told our pollsters that they see the PM's decision on Iraq as bearing some responsibility for the London bombings; they can't all be fellow travelers of Usama Bin Ladin.... So Iraq is central. But it is not the whole story. For, as Taylor explains, al-Qaida is not like ETA [Basque Fatherland and Liberty] or the IRA--organizations with a clear, single goal.... Its aims are rather different. Central to its ideology is the reintroduction of the caliphate, an Islamic state governed by sharia law that would stretch across all formerly Muslim lands,.... In other words, al-Qaida has a program that predates and goes beyond Iraq. It seeks to end all western presence in those lands it deems Islamic. This is the ideology that defines al-Qaida and which explains why it was in business from 1993 and not just 2001 and after. Tellingly, those who monitor Islamism in Britain say the big surge in growth of extremist groups came not after 9/11 or Iraq but in the mid-1990s--with Bosnia serving as the recruiting sergeant. What it adds up to is a more mixed picture than either Blair or the anti-war movement has allowed.
"These Men Are Fanatics And Must Be Beaten"
The conservative Daily Telegraph (7/20) editorialized: "It is surely undeniable that Iraq and Afghanistan have contributed to the radicalization of Muslims across the world, adding a new pebble to the mountain of grievances that militant fanatics have erected. But those conflicts have stimulated an attitude which existed quite independently of them. The Islamist rationale lies in medieval theology and its application to 20th-century power-politics.... The fact is that the Islamists will not be satisfied with the American withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Iraq, the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, or the Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. To the Islamist, these are merely restitutions, the recovery of what is deemed to be rightfully Islamic.... The fanatics must be defeated. This will require a security operation of great organization and boldness, though we are hopeful that it will not require the sort of infringements of liberty envisaged by the Government (internment without trial, identity cards and so on). What is required is a far bolder, but less illiberal measure. The Prime Minister must follow through on his rhetoric, distinguishing between those who believe that Islam is compatible with liberal democracy and those who do not. Individuals such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who may be coming to the UK next month, must be banned summarily. And those who blame Britain for the tragedy of 7/7 must be anathematized."
"A Largely Bourgeois Endeavor"
William Dalrymple commented in the left-of-center Guardian (7/20): "It is estimated that as many as 15% of Pakistan's madrasas preach violent jihad, while a few have even been known to provide covert military training. But it is now becoming very clear that producing cannon-fodder for the Taliban and graduating local sectarian thugs is not at all the same as producing the kind of technically literate al-Qaida terrorist who carried out the horrifyingly sophisticated attacks on the World Trade Center. Indeed, there is an important and fundamental distinction to be made between most madrasa graduates...and the sort of middle-class, politically literate, global Salafi jihadis who plan al-Qaida operations around the world.... The French authority on Islamists, Gilles Kepel, has arrived at a similar conclusion. The new breed of global jihadis, he writes, are not the urban poor of the third world--as Tony Blair still claims--so much as 'the privileged children of an unlikely marriage between Wahhabism and Silicon Valley.' Islamic terrorism, like its Christian predecessor, remains a largely bourgeois endeavor.... Bush has fulfilled Bin Ladin's every hope. Through the invasion of secular Ba'athist Iraq, the abuses in Abu-Ghurayb, the mass murders in Al-Fallujah, America--with Britain's obedient assistance--has turned Iraq into a jihadist playground while alienating all moderate Muslim opinion in the Islamic heartlands and, crucially, in the West.... Unless we attempt to understand the jihadis, read their statements and honestly analyze what has led these men to blow themselves up, we can never defeat them or even begin to drain the swamp of the grievances in which they continue to flourish.
"The Iraq Connection"
The left-of-center Guardian had this to say (7/20): "There were many warnings that invading Iraq would divert attention and resources away from tackling terrorism and stabilizing Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban and al-Qaida, which enjoyed wide international and domestic backing. It is also reasonable to assume that British Muslims might have been more cooperative in helping the authorities monitor extremism had it not been for Fallujah, Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay."
"Dangers Of Denial"
The left-of-center tabloid Daily Mirror remarked (7/20): "Many young Muslims, including British ones, have a deep sense of grievance at the death toll in Iraq, for which they blame the U.S. and Britain in particular. Of course that does not excuse the atrocities in London. But Mr. Blair needs to understand what drives some young Muslims to fanaticism and mass murder. Only by knowing why the seemingly incomprehensible happens can we begin to stop the killing. Here and in Iraq."
"The Damaging Legacy Of An Ill-Advised Invasion"
The center-left Independent (7/19) editorialized: "Britain would certainly have been a target for fanatical Islamic terrorists even if we had refused to co-operate with the invasion of Iraq. Our support for the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, which deposed the Taliban regime would have been enough to guarantee that.... But this is something quite separate from arguing that the invasion of Iraq has made us safer. The effect of the U.S.-led operation has been to stoke terrorism around the world."
"With The Chatham House Report, The Period Of Denial About The Iraq Connection Is Over"
Columnist Steve Richards wrote in the center-left Independent (7/19): "Britain's vulnerability is not a reason in itself for withdrawing support from the United States, but the cause of the alliance must determine whether the risks are worth it. In this case, the cause has led to a greater terrorist capacity, a diversion of attention away from Afghanistan and a fractured international community.... Mr. Blair deserves praise...for the way he has encouraged leaders of the Muslim community to become part of the political response to the London attacks. But his reluctance to accept that Britain's foreign policy is a key factor in the current appalling tension limits his ability to lead us towards a less scary future."
"Time For Right Debate On Iraq And Terrorism: The Goal Should Be To Defeat Jihadism, Not Score Points"
The independent Financial Times (7/19) commented: "While nobody could have anticipated how badly the U.S. would bungle the occupation, it was perfectly possible to anticipate the huge boost invading Iraq would give to the jihadis, and the strong likelihood it would set off a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia, that now risks sucking Iraq's neighbors into a regional civil war.... To say that then, and reiterate it now is not...to make 'excuses for terrorism.' It was and is to try to reach clarity and consensus on how best to defeat it--especially since we are pursuing policies that proliferate it.... All policy now should be aimed at separating the jihadis from the Muslim mainstream--the necessary precondition for crushing them."
"Showing Conviction: The Government Should Accelerate Its New Proposals To Counter Terrorism"
The conservative Times (7/19) editorialized: "Terrorism is not an area where parties should seek cheap advantage. It is a genuine threat and must be confronted as swiftly as can be with the widest possible agreement. All parties must be kept fully informed of what the Government's terror advisers suggest are effective responses and, in turn, should not seek to delay sensible measures unnecessarily.... Even if passed, the new laws will not be effective until the end of the year. This is too late. On those matters of general agreement, the legislation should have a speedy passage. This is not a moment to play petty politics."
"Terror: The Parable Of The Builder's Bathroom: While We Were Diverting Ourselves With A DIY Invasion Of Iraq, Al-Qaida Was Free To Construct Carnage"
Columnist Martin Samuel in the conservative Times (7/19) commented: "The argument advanced by the Royal Institute of International Affairs that Britain was made a priority terrorist target by war in Iraq, while plainly correct, also misses the point. Had the West and this Government done the right thing by pursuing al-Qaida to the end, protecting its borders...and criminalizing the spread of hatred through religion as it now will, Britain would still have irritated enough people to be under some form of threat.... What is undeniable, however, is that our intelligence and military commitment to Iraq has made us less able to police that threat, that the threat has grown as a result of the diversion and that our overstretched foreign policy has left us playing catch-up."
"Use And Abuse Of Intelligence: Tony Blair Takes Advice From His Security Experts When It Fits With His Foreign Policy, And Ignores It When It Doesn't"
Security Affairs editor Richard Norton-Taylor in the left-of-center Guardian (7/19): "The limitations of intelligence were amply demonstrated in London on July 7. The security and intelligence agencies have said they will learn lessons. Is it too much to hope that Blair and his foreign policy makers will too?"
FRANCE: “To be in Iraq Or Not To Be In Iraq: That Is The Question”
Marc Semo in left-of-center Liberation (7/22) wrote: “This replica of the tremor that shook London a week ago poses a political challenge to the leader of the Labour Party. Today, just as was the case a week ago, British public opinion and political leaders are united. But it will not take long for the debate on the UK’s military presence in Iraq alongside the U.S. to resurface.... and the anti-terrorist measures that have been implemented in London of late, namely the expulsion of radical imams, will do little to calm public opinion on the issue of Iraq.”
"When Iraq Settles Scores"
Yves Threard editorialized in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/18): "Promoted by the British empire, and omnipotent under the former regime, the Sunni minority cannot accept having lost the reins of power to the Shiites, and to a lesser extent the Kurds. It accuses them of collaboration with the occupying forces. Champions of an Arab nationalism fostered by Saddam Husayn, many Sunnis also suspect the former of being the henchmen of Tehran, and the latter of nurturing separatist ambitions. This shows the extent to which politics is the prime motive behind the violence, even though religious considerations, which play into the hands of the al-Qaida nebula's groups, are never far away. As for the Sunni terrorists, their aim is also to make the United States realize that the democratic 'Greater Middle East' dreamed of by the Bush administration is a chimera. Any challenge to the established order is considered interference. No solution can be imposed separately from a political dialogue. However, the latter seems difficult to launch, in the absence of solid interlocutors. The western temptation to explain the Iraqi chaos in terms of Islamist fever and the activism of Bin Ladin's devotees is great. But jihadist barbarism's main sources lie in the past and many people's rejection of others' wish to decide on their country's future for them.
"Limits Of British Cynicism"
Antoine Basbous, director of the French Center for the Study of the Arab Countries, wrote in
right-of-center Le Figaro (7/18): "The fact that London continues its tradition of offering asylum to the persecuted of the world is entirely to its honor. The fact that it harbors Islamists sentenced by tyrannical regimes or driven out by repressive governments that have little respect for human rights is justified. However, to turn London into the ideological base for Islamist terrorism, where self-proclaimed leaders of the 'Islamic clean conscience' publicly preach hatred and holy war while calling on 'infidels' to covert to Islam, cannot be justified. Such people as Abou Katada, Abou Hamza, and London's other 'Abous' have enjoyed undue freedom to preach jihad and intolerance. By so doing, they transcended the framework of natural expression of political refugees respectful of the values of the country that has granted them asylum. By decreeing holy war and mobilizing members of the Islamic 'ummah' to come to their brothers' aid on all fronts, they have crossed several red lines and turned London into an ideological sanctuary that has enabled them to call for hatred and violence with impunity. The presumed deal--to grant Islamists sanctuary in London as long as they did not attack Britain--fell apart with the emergence of al-Qaida's destructive force. The violent sermons of London's imams, relaying the arguments of Bin Ladin and al-Zawahiri, have penetrated and indoctrinated the minds of a youth willing to 'satisfy' God and to gain paradise.... Thus Saudi Wahhabism, of which al-Qaida is the most genuine vector, will have spread its cancer."
GERMANY: "Psycho II"
Clemens Wergin asserted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/22): "It becomes clear that Britain does not so much pay the price for the Iraq war, but for pursuing one of Europe's most liberal asylum and immigration policies. Nowhere else were so many radical Muslims allowed into the country in the 1980s and 1990s, who fled from oppressive regimes in the Middle East to the hated but safe West. Nowhere else could they spread their words of hatred so freely. It is also clear that these ideologists of Islamic fascism successfully communicate their ideas among children of immigrants in the second and third generation. We are talking about people who are neither at home in the traditional culture of their fathers and mothers, nor in the culture of their guest country. It is time to admit that Islamic terrorism, which is probably also to blame for yesterday's attacks, also has a genuinely European face."
"Lessons From London"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (7/22) observed: "The background of the explosions has not yet been cleared up, but the defiant slogan that was given out two weeks ago continues to be valid: to return to the everyday agenda. The West must learn to force itself to continue with everyday life. Thus far, [Western governments and intelligence services] expected a breather…but the current events have, even though they resulted in minor damage, got a new temporary quality. The much quoted 'everywhere' and 'at any time', which has characterized the vulnerability of our free cities, has now made itself felt.... This stands in contrast to the breath-taking pace with which such attacks can be cleared up.... The frequency of strike and counter-strike improves without the fight against terror being won. That is why Great Britain should continue the path of modest but hopeful approaches initiated over the past few days: the critical analysis: what has happened to the Muslims in our own country, the dialogue among communities, and the marginalization of extremists."
"Terrorists' Goal: Division"
Stefan Kornelius had this to say in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung (7/20) of Munich: "Of course, the phrase of the researchers [of the Royal Institute for International Affairs] is right: the Iraq war increased the danger of terror. Iraq has turned into a breeding ground for this form of violence. Fanatics have found enough reasons, ranging from the British and U.S. occupation of the country to the excesses in Abu Ghraib, to hate the United States and Britain even more. But if Iraq intensified terror, then it is not possible to argue that there would be no terror without Iraq. In this respect the Blairists are right: 9/11, the attacks on embassies, the USS Cole, all other attacks, the Islamic terrorists struck before even without Iraq.... The Iraq war multiplied terror, it has not made the world safer contrary to Blair's argumentation. But it is not the only reason for the hatred of Islamists. In contrast, the terror does not spare those who subject themselves and criticize the war. As a matter of fact, terror wants to divide and plunge societies into arguments. And those politicians are unwise who have not yet understood this, irrespective of whether they are members of the appeasement or the warmongers faction."
"The I Word"
Peter Sturm observed in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/19): "The study of the research institute Chatham House said that the Iraq war fueled international terrorism. We might doubt whether this is also true in regard of the ideological motivation of the Jihadists. However, Iraq is more suitable as a training ground than the far-off Afghanistan. It also appears to be a fact that London could not distinctively influence the decision-making of its American ally although it supported it. The policy of the British government is unclear. On the one side it stands by its Iraq commitment, but on the other side it desperately tries to hide it. It would make sense to face the result of the researchers. They also write that the British authorities have ignored the danger of militant Islamists for too long. The acceptance of many preachers from Islamist countries could be seen as an attempt to get their approval. That has gone totally wrong."
ITALY: “The War Continues”
Paolo Guzzanti wrote in pro-government center-right Il Giornale (7/22): “The enemy we have before us is not generic international terrorism, but the tip of an emerging body...formed for the most part by peaceful immigrants, among whom...are young militants recruited by Islamic terrorist cells. While 9/11 was carried out by a command operation that landed in America, in Europe everything occurs like a sort of spontaneous combustion.... It is an enemy with whom one cannot deal or negotiate, that requires an elaboration of new strategies that are culturally original, not only restrictive measures.... The stricken West must not be limited to defending itself like a wounded giant...but must think up a counter-attack that is not only military.... It is too easy to say that we do want a clash of civilizations: it is typical of our society to not want a clash of civilizations, but it is typical of their civilization to unleash a war against ours.”
“The Danger Just Outside Our Doors”
Siegmund Ginzberg wrote in pro-Democratic Left Party (DS) L’Unita (7/22): “What happened yesterday confirms our concerns that we have been engaged in the wrong wars.... After 9/11, we had an extraordinary occasion to unite the entire world against al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden. Instead, the wars following 9/11...disrupted ‘friendships’ and...unified ‘enemies’ that had little do with each other. Which country should we wage war against after London?.... Against the pampered Pakistan, where the suicide attackers came from? Or against Saudi Arabia, where it seems 8 out 10 Iraqi suicide attackers come from? They speak of ‘war on terrorism,’ and instead they were distracted by another.... They promised an all-out war against Islamic fundamentalism, but the regime that replaced Saddam in Iraq risks resembling and allying itself with the worst fundamentalism of nearby Iran. The objective seemed to be nuclear arms containment, but the opposite was achieved. Bush now gave the green light to nuclear technology in India, but experts say that he did this because he is already thinking of a future conflict with China. The natural allies against Islamic terrorism would be the great majority of Islamic Muslims that would never like to have anything to do with it. And instead it appears that we have done our best to put them against us.... If you truly want to defeat the ‘enemy,’ the first requirement is to utilize all means at hand to detect and isolate it.... and to unite all those who are threatened by it, Muslims included. Otherwise, you risk the truly unthinkable, a victory for terrorists.”
“Dialogue And Holy War”
Boris Biancheri in centrist, influential daily La Stampa (7/19) wrote: “There is something fearfully sinister in the casualness with which Islamic terrorism seeks, causes, and loves death. Not the death of a real enemy nor of a symbolic enemy, but the death of their own militants, or people who are completely unaware and insignificant, often Muslim themselves. But they are also London commuters, or Iraqi children that gather together to collect candy.... It is therefore probable...that this terrorism is above all demonstrative, that it strikes namely distant enemies, the United States and Europe, while still aiming at the nearby enemy, namely the moderate Islamic states; [this terrorism] wants to...mobilize the masses against governments that it judges corrupt and blasphemous, to promote the terrifying example of blood and the myth of a regenerated Islam.... Frankly, it is therefore irresponsible...to try and persuade ourselves that the origins of terrorism are in the war in Iraq, or in world poverty, or in anything besides itself. It is wrong to believe that with dialogue one can prevent this conflict from becoming a Holy War, because terrorism already conducts a Holy War.... The only way we can contrast it is by making no concession, identifying and eradicating the evil where it recruits its adepts, in the Arab madrasa in Iraq, and in many European Islamic centers, by acting with awareness and without ceding to alarmism nor sacrificing our ordained, unchanged civil way of life.”
RUSSIA: “What’s Behind New Attack”
Sergey Karaganov of the Foreign and Defense Policies Council said in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (7/22): “Yesterday’s terrorist acts in London, like the previous ones, basically are not related to the demand for troop withdrawal from Iraq. They are a demonstration of the terrorists’ will and an attempt to sow fear and destabilize the situation in another civilization, with London as one of its centers. The demand for troop withdrawal is just an excuse and formal justification. Were the coalition to pull out its troops from Iraq, thousands of terrorists would spread from that country across the world. That would make things even worse.”
"Most Europeans, Americans Feel Protected By Law”
Sergey Yuryev wrote in youth-oriented Komsomol’skaya Pravda (7/22): “It is common knowledge that al-Qaida grew up in the Afghan mountains on the CIA’s money. You can’t but marvel at how shortsighted Western strategists were in the days of the Afghan war, when they sponsored Islamic extremism, ‘having no idea’ of the jinni they let out. Now they have to pay for it with human lives and democratic freedoms.... Noteworthily, an absolute majority of Europeans and Americans treat restrictions on their freedoms, inevitable under the circumstances, with understanding. After all, they have their basic rights guaranteed and protected by law and court. Russia has tightened its antiterrorist legislation, too. But given this country’s legal system, it is important that the new measures serve the purpose they are designed for. Otherwise, society will not support them.”
“Lack Of Unity”
Sergey Chugayev commented in youth-oriented Komsomol’skaya Pravda (7/21): “As the world wages a war on terror, each country on its own, many seek political gains from the fighting. Calling the killers of innocent people in Madrid and London ‘barbarians and terrorists’ and referring to the killers of children in Beslan as ‘rebels’ is a case in point. This is a graphic illustration of double standards. There is no unity, not even when it comes to concepts. The lack of unity doesn't make for an effective war on terror. Speaking in parliament after the London bombings, Prime Minister Tony Blair had to admit that terrorists were acting on a wide front, with the same people have had their hands in the Beslan and London tragedies. Shortly afterwards, Blair addressed a gathering of half a thousand Muslim leaders in London with compliments and offers of cooperation. He would have done better to present them with an ultimatum. According to some experts, Blair courts Islamic leaders, hoping to bring pressure to bear on continental Europe, which has gotten out of hand. As you fight terror, stick to your politics is what they call it.”
AUSTRIA: “Dangerous For Europe”
Commentator for independent provincial Salzburger Nachrichte (7/22) Willi Germund opined: "Usama bin Laden’s al-Qaida has its origins in the Arab world. However, it took chaos in Afghanistan and the militant policy of the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ for Islamic terror reach the dimension of global danger. After all, the guerilla training camps in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir that are conducted by Pakistani security forces are breeding grounds of violence. It is also the place where the London assassins found their spiritual home and possibly got their training as well. Now, Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf has, for the first time, acknowledged this. The mass arrests at the Indus this week affect most of all those radical foster children that Musharraf’s generals held their hands over for years.... The generals still believe that the extremists can be controlled and are, above all, useful. Therefore, religious fanatics are being trained at the weapons to fight against the archenemy India in the Indian part of Kashmir. Therefore, Islamabad’s authorities are still leting parts of the Taliban militia go about their business undisturbed. The link between the London assassins and like-minded persons in Pakistan proves that the generals’ assessment of the situation is thoroughly false--and extremely dangerous for Europe.”
"The Message Bearers of Terrorism"
Foreign affairs editor Christian Ultsch for centrist daily Die Presse (7/19) declared: "Blaming the terror evil solely on the Iraq war is insufficient. Such genealogical twisting leads nowhere. Security needs dictate a separation of criticism of a misguided war on the one hand from the investigation of the motivation that fuels Islamic terrorism on the other. Otherwise there is the danger of becoming intellectual messengers for terrorists, issuing a tax-free justification of their crimes. Putting attacks into a rational justification context is also a way of heightening the terror threat.... Americans and British invade Iraq and the logical consequence is that young Muslims sooner or later have to place bombs during London's morning rush hour: That's a fatal equation that goes a long way towards doing Usama bin Laden's propaganda work for him. The fight against terror will be won in the minds of people or not at all. It must be unmistakably clear among Muslims that there will be no tolerance for terrorism. The rhetorical condemnation of the deed must no longer be followed by a litany of justifications. It is high time to let the soil that nourishes terror dry up. The silent majority of Muslims that has so far stood by and watched the radical Muslim minority seems to be prepared to reconsider, as current debates in the Arab world are indicating. It would be necessary for Western pundits to abandon their tolerance for terrorists as well."
BELGIUM: “In Dignity”
Christophe Lamfalussy in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (7/22) commented: “There isn’t any doubt anymore that small radical groups have decided to wage a total and unpredictable war. Their determination is huge and their madness defies common sense. Faced with such terrorists, we should not lower our guard and we should punish them. We should also isolate them, i.e. fight them on their ideas and show that they are imposters. There isn’t anything worse than a murderer who claims to be a victim.... At the same time, our societies must also protect the values on which they were founded. Terrorism creates a climate of fear--it is its nature and its vocation. Yet, fear can lead one to make wrong decisions. On many occasions, democracies have reacted too strongly to terrorism, bypassing some laws and creating other unnecessary ones. Making a distinction between what is necessary and what will affect the foundations of democracy is the real challenge that terrorism poses. And so far, the United Kingdom has shown a remarkable and dignified restraint.”
Foreign editor Jean Vanempten in independent financial daily De Tijd (7/22) opined: “According to London Mayor Ken Livingstone the West is co-responsible for the wave of terror because it has dealt the cards in the Middle East for years with only self-interest in mind. Naturally, those obvious double standards feed the frustration and hatred against the countries that apply such standards. Blair’s party member said again loudly and clearly what Blair does not like to hear: the invasion of Iraq is one of the motives for the 7/7 attacks."
“At The Holy War School”
Christophe Lamfalussy in conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique (7/19) editorialized: “What is disturbing is the fact that young Brits felt the need to go back to their roots and to return to the country where their parents were coming from. One is not sure whether this was, indeed, just a simple need to go back to their roots or a failure of their integration in British society.... The ideological leaders of al-Qaida and of the Jihad are exploiting these young Muslims who are torn apart between two cultures. They try to bring them back into an archaic Islam in order to use them politically and turn them into kamikaze bombers.... The occupation of Iraq by the U.S. Army has legitimized many theories of these fundamentalists. But it is not the cause of the terrorist attacks that have been shaking the world since 9/11. These attacks are the result of a totalitarian ideology, which is based on hatred, propaganda, and disinformation. The United States’ tragic mistake is that it failed in securing the after-war in Iraq. With the complicity of Saddam Hussein’s services, the networks that had thriven in Afghanistan and that the international coalition had ousted in late 2001 have found a new training field in Iraq.”
CROATIA: “How Many Minutes Of Silence For Victims In Iraq?”
Mass-circulation Jutarnji list (7/19) carried a commentary by Inoslav Besker: “It has been proven that the headquarters of terrorism were not located in Iraq, and it is obvious that the Anglo-American operation has significantly contributed to terrorism moving into Iraq, and to its unhindered practicing on civilians as ‘cannon fodder,’ as well as to the fact that terrorism is being exported from there.... If the headquarters were not located there--they were obviously located somewhere else. Somewhere where neither American nor British intelligence operatives could find it, or, what's even worse, where they could not identify it.... So that they don't displease friendly regimes of various kinds, from the closed Saudi regime, to the seemingly open Egyptian one.... And small people pay for all of this, those whose daily transportation prices have gone up, and who also have a chance of becoming terrorism victims: namely, when their transportation means explode. Who cares about them?”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "The West At Gunpoint"
Viliam Buchert observed in the leading, centrist daily MF Dnes (7/22): "It takes only several thousand fanatics or terrorists to throw the western countries into chaos. This sophisticated evil, backed by ample money and modern technology, cannot be countered even by a war.... Politicians may endlessly repeat that they will defeat the terrorists and that we will win this war, but their words will never reach the ears of the pupils of the religious Islamic schools, where the opponent is clearly specified and named. As a result, it will always be an uneven struggle between the world of tolerance and freedom and the world of fanaticism, orders, prohibitions and hate-mongering. And the West will constantly be surprised, shocked and made nervous by newer and newer attacks. Nevertheless, we cannot accept the strategy of this heinous enemy, even if going to bed with a gun at one's head will not be anything pleasant."
"Do Muslims Present A Danger To Europe?
Lubos Kropacek, a professor at Charles University specializing in Islam, commented in the mainstream MF Dnes (7/21): "Such a broad question calls for qualifications.... Of course, Muslims live among us, in the EU countries--it is a consequence of economic immigration during the second half of the 20th century. The London bomb attacks, committed by young men of the second immigrants' generation, stirred up discussions about how much Muslim radicalization is a threat with serious security implications. Whereas the knowledgeable Brits discuss it relatively unemotionally, in the CR, extreme opinions have appeared, for instance, that the Muslims should be moved out.... In his newest book, the French islamist G. Kepel described the current situation of the Islamic world as a climate of tension and disagreement. He called the English version of his work: The Battle for Hearts and Minds of Muslims. And that is what it is really all about--in Asia, Africa, even in Europe. Peaceful believers, people of good will, absolutely deserve our support.... To find a key to a dignified solution can be so simple: today it is necessary to pick up from all the faiths' treasury primarily the respect for life and to treat others as you would want them to treat you.... However, there is still the ongoing problem of declining European population and of pressure from the Muslim part of the world. Together with the issue of multiculturalism, the situation invites further discussion."
DENMARK: "Free Us From Totalitarian Excuses"
Left-wing Information (7/16) commented: "Some people believe that if Western troops are simply brought home from Iraq, the threat from Islamic terrorist cells will vanish like dew before the warm summer sun. Such simple solutions are indeed very tempting. But why did an Islamic terrorist cell want to blow up the European Parliament and the cathedral in Strasbourg as long ago as 2000? And why did a Islamic cell want to strike against Real Madrid's soccer stadium and the Spanish High Court in the fall of 2004, even though the socialist government had withdrawn the country's troops from Iraq? A farewell to Iraq will not mean a farewell to Islamic terrorism. Western influence--economic, cultural, and military--and even globalization could be made the scapegoat. Some left-wingers believe that the world's "ocean of injustices" is producing a new and desperate class of the marginalized who are recruiting new terrorist cells.... Millionaire bin Ladin and the university-educated and resourceful young men who were behind the mass murder of civilians in New York, Madrid, and London are not the children of poverty. They misuse the Koran and make use of modern technology to liquidate civilians in mass attacks that even the most starving proletarians would never dream of carrying out.
GREECE: "Truth And Lies"
The lead editorial of popular pro-government Eleftherotypia (7/22) argued: “The British Prime Minister insists on turning a blind eye on the causes of the terrorist attacks and confines himself to the assertion, 'terrorists want to change the way we live.' Terrorists do not want to and cannot change our lives. They take revenge for the imperialist attacks against them and are doing their best to stop them. Mayor Livingston's remark that if what is going on in countries that are under occupation occurred here, 'we would have also produced suicide bombers' is significant. This piece of truth runs counter to the propaganda of the imperialistic terrorism. Yet, it shows the way out of the vicious circle of violence."
Commentator Richardos Someritis opined in influential pro-government To Vima (7/19): "Al Qaeda’s globalized terrorists are not waging a war of freedom.... They serve the most extreme internationalist Islamism, whose main goals are the conquest of power in the oil-producing Arab peninsula, rebirth of the Caliphate, Allah’s triumph, the defeat of the ‘infidel’, and the imposition of the ‘most reactionary’ theocracy. Who's saying this? Bin Laden.... It is vital for the West to change policy towards the Third World. Yet, this should take place in parallel and regardless of the measures aimed at combating terrorism. Terrorists are indifferent to Iraq, Palestine, and famine. They are only interested in achieving their own goal, which is our defeat. But our surrender to Bin Laden is beyond our realm of reason!"
HUNGARY: “The Name Of The Weapon Is: Reason”
Liberal Magyar Hirlap (7/22) opined: “It is hard to weaken terrorism in the short run and to eliminate it is impossible. Terror can only be forced back--in the long run--with only one thing it can not protect itself against: reason.... It is not the leaders of the terrorist groups who have to be convinced, because this is impossible: some of them are fanatics, for others the maintenance of aggression literally secures existence. Instead their hinterlands have to be targeted, which gives support to the promoters of aggression--if needed with money, if needed even with programs slowly becoming successful but in the first place with dialog. For example, by convincing spiritual leaders to convince those aiming to kill others by committing suicide of the senselessness of their acts.”
IRELAND: “Return Of The Bombers”
The center-right Irish Independent (7/22) editorialized: “The timing and placing of yesterday's bombs in London--particularly the device on the bus--clearly was not accidental. It was deliberate, designed to echo the original horror.... It will increase fears that what happened two weeks ago was not a one-off spectacular, to use the IRA's term, but the start of a planned campaign. This makes it doubly important that we ensure that this country is not used as a staging post for either the bombers or their materials. It has been the view of the American security services for some time--probably reiterated earlier this week during the FBI chief's visit here--that we have been far too lax in our attitude to people living in Ireland who are suspected of links to the al-Qaida support network. Our growing immigrant population, including many students from the Middle East and further afield, means that we should be adopting stringent security and monitoring measures at this stage. Our proximity to Britain and the ease of travel there places a special responsibility on us in this regard. We need to do this now, to be as sure as we can that any future bombers in London or elsewhere are not found to have come from this country. We have a duty to our neighbors which we must not neglect.”
"Latest Attacks On London"
The center-left Irish Times (7/22) commented: "London is facing a continuing campaign of terror against its mass transport systems was confirmed.... These frightening incidents will deepen the debate on security preparedness and intelligence resources which has arisen from the first round of attacks. It is extraordinary that such a provocative attempt should be made during such a high state of alert. And yet an open mass transport system cannot be made as secure as air travel without utterly disrupting its function.... There will be mounting demands for more effective security co-ordination as a result. Already the organization of these services is coming under intense debate, as is the relatively poor intelligence about the presumed domestic sources of such hatred. Mr. Tony Blair has been widely and deservedly admired for the calm leadership he displayed after the July 7th atrocities--characteristics which were also in evidence yesterday.... The government has steadfastly refused to relate the attacks in any way to the invasion and war in Iraq, even though security chiefs have warned repeatedly that such attacks are inevitable because of Britain's involvement. To make this connection is not to make excuses for terrorism or arguments for appeasement. It is to recognize the central political reality that the war has enormously boosted the platform for such extremism.... These further attacks will intensify the debate on security measures to counter such threats. It is right to concentrate on those who incite hatred and terrorism and to move against organizations promoting them. A civilized society will be able to harness the overwhelming majority of moderate Muslims to this task. And a mature democracy must address the political conditions which give such extremism its dangerous appeal.”
MALTA: "Al Qaida Has No Problems Recruiting"
Center-left L-Orizzont (7/21) commented: "[The] anti-imperialist mission still motivates people to take up arms and die. And the actions of some soldiers of various ranks in Abu Ghraib, Falluja and Guantanamo certainly helped as a means 'of recruitment' for al-Qaida and other groups."
NETHERLANDS: “War Without Result”
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad (7/21) editorialized: “The occupation of Iraq by Western troops is not the cause but the result of terror acts by Muslim extremists. The September 11 attacks were reason for the invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq.... This war against terror, however, is not won by President Bush and his allies. Quite on the contrary.... Unlike what PM Blair says, there is a link between terror and the war in Iraq.... Nevertheless, a possible withdrawal of all Western troops from Iraq would not end Muslim terror. Terrorists are also being trained in Pakistan and one should not forget that this is done in Europe too.... Terror in the West is a symptom of the difficult integration of Muslims in Europe. Most of the Muslims reject terror but one could wonder why these young Muslim males are susceptible to committed these horrific acts. Muslims do have a point when talking about discrimination and neglect they experience in Europe but they are not the only group suffering from this. Extremism comes from anti-Western movements within Islam. Muslims cannot just blame the West for extremism but should take action when they encounter it.... If Muslim leaders were to participate they could from their side have a stronger point to urge the European governments to take measures against discrimination. Muslims deserve a better place in European societies. Fighting terror is not a war with tanks and fighter jets, but it is a complicated social, legal, and international diplomatic project.”
NORWAY: “The United States Changes Its Defense”
In the newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (7/22) commentator Kjell Dragnes held: “President Bush wants to hunt terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere. But his military representatives are in the process of radically changing the U.S. strategy of defense.... The debate is taking place internally in the Pentagon, but not so surreptitiously that [details] haven’t leaked out to the U.S. press.... The revisions are far from done, but what is already clear is that a large part of the assumptions for a defense system based on high technology and small battle groups is about to change. This has been Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s great idea. But if it fails, and the world’s by-far-strongest military power has to change assumptions and arrangements, this will also be of significance to other countries. Most of these countries have a tendency to copy U.S. solutions and the U.S. way of thinking, although on a vastly smaller scale.... The current U.S. military strategy is being turned up-side-down, partly as a result of the challenges of terrorism both in the Unites States and in the rest of the world. It is possible that initiatives for something else than mere military measures could yield better results. For example, intelligence and an improved understanding of, and insights into, cultural and religious beliefs could be more effective than new laser weapons, computer-controlled artillery systems, or helicopters that cannot be spotted on radars. The result of the revision [to the U.S. strategy of defense] is not known, but no matter what it becomes, it will be significant also for Norway.”
”Urgent Legislation Against Terrorism”
The social democratic newspaper Dagsavisen (7/20) commented: ”Tony Blair is getting his new legislation against terrorism in place, and it is happening fast. The opposition's serious objections vaporized completely after the terror bombs hit London. Now everybody agrees on tighter legislation in addition to all the other measures that have already been introduced. Some of the measures are easy to understand and to defend.... It is more problematic to explain the prohibition against ‘indirectly encouraging’ terrorist actions.... It goes without saying that direct encouragement to terrorism should be forbidden. But the concept of ‘indirect encouragement’ lends itself to unclear limits and diffuse definitions. People and opinions that should never be affected might get framed. The fight against terrorism is not just about prohibitions, surveillance and more control. If we are to win the fight, we must first and foremost change basic attitudes. Terrorists [count on] sympathy and support from those around them.
What's important is that people who support terrorism and fanaticism are met by abhorrence and contempt, and not by the slightest bit of understanding or explaining excuses. But above all, we need to avoid anti-terrorism legislation that puts aside central democratic values, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of movement. If we do that, we will at the same time become the eternal hostages of terrorism.”
"Goodless Suicide Bombers”
The newspaper of record Aftenposten (7/19) commented: ”The CIA and Western analysts view Iraq as a hatchery for terrorists with a hatred for the United States. Even though the United States rid them of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqis want to be their own masters. We can understand that, and therefore it is also of utmost importance that the National Assembly manage to present a draft Constitution in August, according to the time-line, and that there can be elections for a new National Assembly in December. The U.S. occupation is the chief reason for Iraq's problems, the Shiite-leader Muqtada al-Sadr said to BBC. Sunni Muslim analysts and politicians agree. There is no doubt that it is important for [Iraq's] long-term development that President Bush find a way out of a--in all senses of the word--costly and rather unsuccessful project. But when the United States finally does get out of Iraq, the fact will remain that the national, domestically-oriented terrorists who [today] direct their attacks at the occupational forces, will be ready to continue their city-guerilla warfare in our part of the world. That is also the CIA's conclusion. To prevent the creation of fertile ground for further terrorism in Europe, both Muslim immigrants and we Christians need to work hard in the name of tolerance to live together in a natural community. This has so far been lacking in Europe.”
Independent newspaper VG (7/16) commented: “The largest investigation in British history is yielding results.... The investigators say the ties [of the London bombers] to the al-Qaida network are becoming more and more obvious.... The great and so-far unanswered question is what dark forces drove the terrorists. Why did four seemingly normal men choose to face death and to bring down as many as possible with them? What measures of power are the men behind the terrorism in possession of? These are the questions that both the police and the common Brit want answered. Today it is plainly incomprehensive. A small glimmer of light might be shed by a large international survey that the Pew Research Center in Washington has released. The survey was conducted in May--i.e. before the London attacks--and shows that the support for Osama bin Laden and for terrorism has decreased in large parts of the Muslim world. But the picture is in no way unilateral. There are still a considerable number of people who talk about bin Laden and his viewpoints in positive terms”
Independent newspaper Dagbladet (7/19) commented: ”The security of Iran and Iraq are closely connected, and Teheran will do anything to contribute to a stable Iraq. This is what Iran's President, Mohammad Khatami, stated during the visit of a large Iraqi delegation this weekend [to Teheran].... Just during the past three days, 150 people have lost their lives in suicide attacks in Iraq.... We should not compare deaths, but it is a fact that the number of deaths after the terrorist bombings in London on July 7 is far smaller than the almost endless death lists in Iraq. The world's terror front is not in Europe. It runs through Iraq, where 40 suicide attacks have killed 269 people so far in July.... The paradoxes are many in Iraq. Liberation turned into Western occupation, which in turn made Iraq the world's largest greenhouse for international terrorism. The latest major paradox is that Iran is becoming the hope and stabilizer for an Iraqi government protected by the United States, Iran's main enemy. This must be a painful view for George W. Bush. One of the most important reasons that his father resisted occupation of Baghdad after Saddam Hussein was thrown out of Kuwait in 1991 was the fear of Iranian influence in a fragmented Iraq. Today this is becoming a reality. The result may be as dramatic as Daddy Bush feared. For what are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey and Syria going to do if Iran is seriously pulled down into the Iraqi quagmire?”
POLAND: “Waiting For Islam To Help”
Jerzy Haszczynski wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (7/22): “Everything must be done to make sure terrorists have the fewest possibilities to realize their policy of intimidation. Above all, extremists of all shades--political and religious ones--may not spread freely the ideology of hatred, recruit future attackers, and train them.... To a large degree, this concerns Muslim fundamentalists. While Islam is not a religion of terror, it is, alas, the religion of a substantial number of terrorists who attack the West. The help of religious leaders of Islam is needed to fight this. If they want people of the West to believe that Islam is a religion of peace, they should condemn terrorists with determination.”
ROMANIA: “And Yet Iraq –"
The middle-of-the-road Cronica Romana (7/22) carried an editorial signed by journalist Razvan Voncu saying: “The London attackers must be understood in the context of the radical mentality of an increasing segment of Britain’s Islamic population. This mentality is the result of both the internal contradictions of British society (economic, social and civil contradictions between natives and immigrants), and of British foreign policy, which has become violently anti-Islamic. This is the ‘hothouse’ that grew Islamic youth, perfectly integrated young people who make an honest living in Great Britain, but who have increasingly hostile feelings towards the country and their fellow citizens. The existence of these groups has unfortunately been systematically denied or trivialized due to the politically correct policies of the British leaders.”
“Malraux, The Zionists And Others –"
The intellectual weekly Dilema (7/22) carried an article by Magdalena Boiangiu: "For Western left wingers, there no mystery in that: the empire-like politics of the US, the war in Iraq, and oppression in the Palestinian territories are the cause and the justification of terrorism.... The idea of taking a harder attitude towards Muslims is growing. By this, we generally understand the expulsion of those who cannot be arrested for real crimes. And since it rarely happens for the propagandists of radical ideas to actually get down to work, and those who do are difficult to be identified before the criminal act itself, then the benefit of the doubt should be extended. A concrete model of this idea is the Guantanamo prison. The protection of democratic values by their systematic violation might be too difficult an exercise for those who undertake it.”
Gungor Mengi wrote in the center-right mass appeal Vatan (7/22): “The remarks of the London Mayor were very interesting, and they serve to put al-Qaida terrorism into a context. After the first bombings, Livingstone emphasized that the Middle East policies pursued by Western powers have caused an increase in radical Islamists and helped al-Qaida to grow. A rebellious soul who cries out against perceived injustice and humiliation can easily end up turning to violence. Ignoring this fact will bring more disasters. Yet it is equally true that more disasters are ahead if there is no change in the mentality that only terrorism can open the eyes of modern societies.... Western countries are moving toward a vicious circle. Their insecurity due to terrorism has encouraged them to take even more rigid steps. In the event that this insecurity results in a view that all Muslims are potential terrorists, there will be more pressure and more feeling of alienation. In that case, al-Qaida will find it very easy to recruit new bombers.”
“The Fight Against Fundamentalism”
Erdal Safak noted in the mass appeal Sabah (7/22): “The civilized world is on the verge of a crucial decision in the fight against fanatical religious terror. The options are either to carry out an armed struggle against the enemy, as George Bush has proposed, or to eliminate the fundamentalist elements in Islam, as suggested by Tony Blair. The second option seems the right one, and it is the only way to invalidate Samuel Huntington’s theory on the ‘clash of civilizations.’ A long-term study with international participation can invalidate this argument. If Blair manages to convene such a conference, the essence of the issue will become perfectly clear: this is a social crisis in the Muslim world that has both cultural and economic dimensions, but it is not a war of religions. The political dimension of this issue includes the situations in Palestine, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Iraq. The cultural dimension is about ongoing western efforts to impose their values as global values.”
“Al Qaeda’s Drive For Power ”
Erdal Guven commented in the liberal-intellectual Radikal (7/22): “The occupation of Iraq is only one of many reasons for the increase in al-Qaida terrorism. The invasion of Iraq alone cannot explain the al-Qaida terror attacks in London and other western cities. Al-Qaida is not looking to achieve a well-defined and limited goal.... It will not consider its job as done even if the U.S. and UK completely withdraw from the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan. On the contrary, al-Qaida will then be able to start its real job. If there is a withdrawal, al-Qaida will start targeting Islamic regimes which it considers to be antithetical to its extremist ideology. Al-Qaida’s struggle is about power, and it started before 9/11. It reached its peak on 9/11, and has continued to this day. Al-Qaida terror did not start with the occupation of Iraq, and will not end if and when this occupation is terminated.”
“Terror Will Continue As Long As Invasion Continues”
Mete Cubukcu wrote in the pro-Kurdish/leftist Birgun (7/20): “Al-Qaida breaks out like a virus. There are three fronts for such growth: The ideological ground, which they claim to have from the Koran, and the Internet, which they use widely to spread this ideology. Secondly, al-Qaida uses Iraq as a training ground. Europe is now used as the operational ground for ‘jihad’ actions.... Those who believe in working for ‘jihad’ are fed by anger and fury due to inequalities worldwide, aggressive policies, invasions and the inhuman practices in Iraq, Palestine, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. The entire world faces a growing danger that may terrorize all of us for many years to come. Yet one thing is clear: The invasion of Iraq has provoked the mentality represented in al-Qaida. Every situation brings its anti-thesis. The terrorism will continue to harm humanity as long as the situation in Iraq continues.”
Foreign News Editor Arik Bachar wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (7/22): "This time, London paid a cheap price. But reports from Her Majesty's capital are starting to smell the foulness of the Middle East, perhaps fitting a city whose Mayor feels such empathy for suicide bombers.... Judging from Britain's responses to the lethal bombings two weeks ago, the British are going to harvest much more experience, because it is not certain that they have grasped what hit them.... Even before Britain was able to bury all the casualties of the series of attacks, after a few days of national unity, its politicians started to argue over who among them was responsible for the terror. They are beating one another up, while talking in unison, extremely tactfully, about peace-seeking Islam, in which the West's great cleverness and irresponsible policy succeeds in planting seeds of terror. Everybody is guilty, except the sheikhs who are welcomed in the West with pampering hugs, while they preach the enormity of its rot to their faithful."
WEST BANK: “Iraq: Window To American Strategy In The Middle East”
Imad Musa commented in independent Al-Quds (7/21): “The American voices demanding withdrawal from Iraq are being welcomed at Arab and international levels both officially and publicly. Nonetheless, some Arab and international sides see that early withdrawal of American forces and ending of the occupation there will leave Iraq a victim of chaos and [will lead to] an eruption of civil war.... It’s worth noting that the withdrawal idea encourages the Iraqi resistance more than ever to escalate its quality operations aiming at strengthening the position of American voices that demand withdrawal, which brings the two parties’ interests together, and in the meantime encourages some resistance parties to carry out strikes outside Iraq so as to stir public opinion to exert pressure on their governments to pull out their troops from Iraq just similar to what happened in London.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "Destroying Terrorism Through International Cooperation"
Jeddah's conservative Al-Nadwa (7/21) editorialized: "It is not impossible to overcome terrorism if the international community collaborates under the umbrella of the UN to fight it. The Kingdom was the first to call for anti-terrorism cooperation. Freezing the assets of Saad Al-Fagih and his organization by the UN is a good step. Terrorism is threatening everybody and everywhere. It does not have an identity or a religion; it should be crushed from the roots."
Jedda's pro-government Saudi Gazette (7/20) commented: "Inayat Bungawala, a representative from the Muslim Council of Britain one of those attending the Downing Street session said in a television interview that there had been a clear increase in disenchantment among young in the UK. Muslim youths are generally underachieving with high rates of unemployment, he said.... It's fair the Government should ask itself whether policies such as those involving the Iraq war have contributed to this. We need a partnership between government and Muslims to show people they are not being ignored and that their concerns will be heard.... Mr. Bunglawla is right to highlight the sense of disenchantment amongst young British Asians, many of whom find themselves marooned between a first generation community with roots in foreign lands and a largely unsympathetic host community that in many instances responds to people by the color of their skin. What needs to be made clear, however, is that disenchantment among young Asians predates the events of 9/11 and the London bombings and is based on discrimination across the social spectrum especially is areas such as housing and jobs. This has left them exceptionally vulnerable to the blandishments of those who would exploit them for their own ends. To pretend otherwise would be to misunderstand a situation that has much to do with common or garden racism as anything else."
"Avoid Mistakes First"
The conservative Al-Madina editorialized (7/20): "There are facts in the report issued lately by The Royal Institute of International Affairs that should not be ignored. It says the UK is at great risk because it is the closest ally to the U.S. in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The war against terrorism can be won by force of arms, bring Bin Laden to justice, chase the roots of al Qaida in Afghanistan, push the peace process forward, and state a withdrawal timetable from Iraq."
"The Saudi Media Voices In London And The Ignorance About Terminology"
Dr. Madawi al-Rashid editorialized in London-based Arab nationalist Al-Quds al-Arabi (7/18): "The London bombings, similar to the other bombings, have proved that political violence today vacillates between globalization and privatization. Although the jihad rhetoric promoted by specialized quarters on the internet is a global rhetoric to which people and writers with unknown identity everywhere contribute, this discourse is adopted by very local groups of youths. Preliminary investigations by the British security agencies have pointed to British suicide bombers of Asian origin who live in northern Yorkshire, not Arabs brainwashed at the hands of instigators of violence, particularly Arab preachers. The global rhetoric of al-Qaida is viewed favorably by youths who share the same concerns and who are divided by borders.... So far, al-Qaida has proved that its strength lies in the fact that it has no base in Afghanistan, Londstan, Bridstan, or Zulfistan [names as posted]. However, the logic of 'terrorist cells' and the need to uncover them continues to control the media commentators.... The acts of violence and bombings have also come to expose the flimsy arguments linking violence and advocates of violence on one hand and poverty and unemployment on the other. The acts of violence also prove the failure of the arguments based on the logic that a stranger comes to Iraq, Kashmir, London, Riyadh, or Jeddah to brainwash people.... These experts forget, or pretend to forget, that each global ideology, be it jihadist, communist, Ba'thist, Islamic, or otherwise, has a local engine that absorbs and digests this ideology in its own way, gives it a local flavor, and promotes it in its own style. The local outcome might or might not be similar to the origin. After all, the local environment leaves its mark on the product. The violence seen in many capitals today is a local violence that identifies with an ideology that has no base or cell to embrace it. This ideology travels without crossing known borders. It has no specific passport or identity card. It is a product generated by international relations that have entrenched the hegemony of a specific group at the expense of a vast majority that feels that its rights are compromised and its land is occupied. Al-Qaida is different from other global currents, such as communism for instance, in that it has imposed on the Muslim communities the principle of a privatized jihad. Jihad has become a personal duty undertaken by youths everywhere without an imam or an amir. These things are now obsolete."
"What Is Happening In Al-Zulfi's Educational Directorate?"
Maha Fahd al-Hujaylan commented in moderate Al-Watan (7/17): "Describing the terrorists as "ignoramuses" is totally unacceptable in view of the fact that Mr. Muhammad Bin-Shazzaf al-Shihri and other terrorists were well educated and knew very well what they were doing. One cannot really say that they did what they did because they were ignorant persons. No, they were murderers who killed and terrorized peaceable people on purpose.... The real cause is that terrorism is based on a deep-rooted ideology that is more serious than being a transient emotional disturbance like envy or a grudge from which one might recover.... Some parents gave the following account to Al-Watan, which it published in its issue number 1747: 'The educational atmosphere which is controlled by some hard-liners has contributed to this outcome...' They said that some schools invite extremists as speakers to deliver speeches to the students. What kind of educational establishments are these? What is the Education Directorate doing about the events occurring in its schools?.... We urge the Education Ministry to post on the Internet the school plays and other intellectual activities that are performed in the schools on the websites of the education directorate in each province to let the citizens and officials know what is going on. The names of those who organize these school functions should be given. Today we need to follow up what is going on in our educational establishments and question everything that is done there. The trust that we have placed in those education officials have brought us calamities and turned some of our students into violent, reckless persons who sometimes become terrorists. The events daily prove to us that Saudi citizens are involved in terrorism in the United States, Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and other countries under certain ideological pretexts.
ALGERIA: "Axis Of Evil, Ideology Of Evil"
The independent, economic La Tribune (7/17) commented: "The struggle against al-Qaida is, certainly, 'a worldwide struggle, a battle of ideas, of hearts and spirits, within Islam as well as outside' of this religion, as Blair said, but it consists, also, of pulling the rug out from under those using and abusing their fundamentalist doctrine and who do not respect any human rights as soon as possible and within the respect of human rights. In sum, those who compose the axis are fed on the ideology brought up by Blair and Bush: The evil itself."
"Report On Iraq"
Influential, French-language El Watan had this to say (7/19): "An exhaustive report published...by the Royal Institute of International Affairs established a direct link between the attacks, which struck on Thursday, July 7 metro lines and an imperial bus causing the death of 52 people, and the invasion of Iraq. The report therefore gives credit to the thesis supported by political personalities and specialists that the attacks are a direct consequence of the situation in Iraq."
SYRIA: "Will Blair Disengage [from the US Policy]?"
Hanan Hamad, a columnist in government-owned Tishreen (7/21), wrote: "British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's rejection of the link between the London attacks and Britain's relations with the United States does not change the fact that the unqualified British subservience to the American policy is turning into a heavy burden not only to the political future of Prime Minister Tony Blair, but also to the British people themselves.... The fact is that the war on Iraq has turned the country into a fertile ground for terrorism.... Straw's rejection of a link also conflicts with Tony Blair's admission that terrorism has reasons that need to be addressed. Yet, it is interesting that the British policy is still far from distancing itself from the flaws and evils of the U.S. Administration's policies, and from learning the lessons of this unconditional connection, although the U.S. President was careful to stress that he would not reward Blair for following his policy, and translated that into action when he unambiguously and unashamedly refused to respond to Blair's requests in the G-8 summit; namely, increasing developmental aid to the poor countries, confronting the environmental deterioration, and resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict."
"It Is A Democracy Of Abolition"
Muhammad Ali Buza wrote this editorial for government-owned Al-Thawra (7/20): "An example of the democracy President Bush is promising the peoples of the region can be seen in Iraq, where more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of the invasion and the state of lawlessness under the umbrella of the occupation and its flagrant violations.... The fatal mistakes of the American policy are pushing the world towards a real disaster and endless confrontations and wars.... We do not exaggerate if we describe this situation as the most serious threat to the future of mankind and peace after the first and second world wars.... The U.S. administration must contain this danger by correcting its policy and leaving the world to exercise its full sovereign rights away from the language of threats and pressure. Otherwise, the United States will become the number one enemy of nations."
OMAN: "To Influence, Or To Be Influenced"
Pro-government Oman (7/12) also published an op-ed by Abdullah al-Alyan: "There is no doubt that we are living in an age in which economic forces have opened up cultures to one another. The Internet, the revolutions in information technology, and the omnipresent media have created a global society, and the resulting connections have profound implications for the upbringing of today's youth. Technology will shape the identity of youngsters around the world; it will affect cultures and states on many levels. Indeed, there is a danger that strong cultures will interfere with other societies, and foreign influences will try to control our lives. This interference will lead to larger problems that will endanger the process of cooperation between cultures."
UAE: "Suicide Operations: The Largest Moral and Intellectual Crisis Encountering Islam"
Saudi intellectual Jamal Khashoggi wrote in semi-official Abu Dhabi-based Arabic daily al-Ittihad (7/19): "Muslim leaders in Britain immediately condemned the latest suicide attacks, with some leaders admitting their inability to stop these atrocities due to the frequent display of killings and humiliations of Muslims in Iraq and Palestine on the internet and television. The latter feeling is often shared with Muslims outside of Britain, who tend to view U.S. and British policies as responsible for inspiring angry Muslim youth to become terrorists. This means one thing: suicide bombings will continue in London and elsewhere. Nothing on the horizon indicates that Britain will decide to include Kashmir in Pakistan or that the U.S. will abandon Israel. Some may say, let them pay the price for their erroneous policies. The problem is that this is a catastrophic mistake, for which we pay a dear price. Such suicide operations are in conflict with our religion and ethics. Britain and the U.S. are strong enough to boost their security, strengthen their stand, and condemn anyone they believe to be foreign to their nature. It is high time that clear and decisive positions are taken at the highest levels, that clearly ban all kinds of suicide bombings. Not because the West wants this or because the Arab nations will pay for it, but simply because these bombings contradict the spirit of Islam and many salafi ulamas support this view."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "Innocents Under Fire In Iraq And Britain"
The national conservative Australian (07/19) editorialized: "The Western self-blamers have talked about the London bombings as blowback for the thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq since April 2003, but their macabre calculus overlooks a simple point: coalition troops are not behind the slaughter in Iraq. The attacks on soldiers and, increasingly, civilians are being perpetrated by the same people--loosely speaking, Islamist fanatics opposed to the spread of democracy and enlightenment--who organized and executed the London bombings.... This is an insurgency by Saddamite holdouts, jihadist ring-ins, al-Qaida franchisees and sections of the Sunni minority embittered by their loss of privileges; it is a direct assault on the idea of an Iraq governed by majority will and the rule of law.... Amid all the wild claims of the self-blamers, it must never be forgotten that Iraq has a legitimate, democratically elected Government that welcomes the toppling of Saddam and has called on coalition troops to stay put."
CHINA: "U.S.-Style Democracy Is Not A Miraculous Cure"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked in an editorial (7/22): "In the eye of Arabs, the biggest supporter of an autocratic government is the U.S. administration. In order to divide up the oil market in Arab countries, the U.S. draws in corrupted kings and chiefs of tribes by allowing them to rule their people autocratically.... If the U.S. really wants to resolve the issue in the Middle East and take Iraq as an experimental place for democracy, it must be psychologically prepared that the real democratically elected Iraqi government will be an anti-U.S. government in the next ten years.... To take a step back, even if universal suffrage and democracy are seen in the Middle East and their economics are restructured, will al-Qaida automatically disintegrate?.... Democracy is not a miraculous cure for terrorism because no one really knows what kind of power drives the young Muslims to sacrifice themselves for the Holy War to fight against the West. No one knows after encountering Western democratic ideology and style, their anger will be removed or will they be more determined to fight the Holy War. It is almost sure that the bombings in London were launched by British people born locally. Now these young people become the new blood for the al-Qaida group."
"Don't Be Naïve, Mr. Blair, Iraq's A Factor In Terror"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post commented in an editorial (7/21): "On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair met a group of British Muslim leaders to appeal for their help in rooting out radical Islamists who may be ready to strike again. He told them it was their collective responsibility to confront the evil ideology of Muslim extremists. Mr. Blair's approach, alas, is too crude. While wanton killings in the name of their religion ought to prompt intense soul-searching within the Muslim community, it is disingenuous for Mr. Blair to pin all the blame on Islamist fanatics. The British government should give more thought to the root causes of extremism.... The Blair administration emphatically denies any link between the London terror and the war in Iraq, arguing that al-Qaida operatives have been active around the world well before the 2003 invasion. This is true. But it is fooling itself if it believes all the negative news coming out of Iraq has had no effect on Muslim sensibilities, especially among hot-blooded youngsters. It is also obvious that there has been a major failure in integrating the 1.6 million Muslims living in Britain--many of them poor--with mainstream society."
"Of West's Double Standards & Its Supporters' Forked Tongue"
The official pro-PRC English-language China Daily (7/21) Hong Kong edition commented in an editorial: "The West and its supporters in Hong Kong are making a habit of speaking with a forked tongue. A million people took to the streets in London alone to oppose the impending invasion of Iraq in April 2003, but the British parliament took no notice of them and sided with Tony Blair to approve the invasion. About 16 million people around the world protested similarly and yet George W. Bush's hawks railroaded them to go ahead with the invasion. They now live to regret it.... Their double standards are evident, too, when it comes to defining terrorism and setting the terms of combat. The Bush administration criticized a PLA major general for his personal opinion that China might have to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if it intervened in a conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Everybody knows about the PLA officer's statement given to a team of visiting Hong Kong reporters on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the first testing of the atom bomb and the subsequent U.S. reaction. But does anybody remember the term 'balance of terror,' meaning mutual nuclear threats, coined by the West during the Cold War years? What's the difference between balancing the terror of aerial bombing and strafing by the U.S.-led coalition and the terror of suicide bombing by the Islamic/Arabic jihadists? The weaker side in a conflict cannot afford to be dictated by the terms of combat of the stronger. The same goes for the IRA bombing campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s.... So would it be asking too much of China's (and Hong Kong's) detractors to first set their house in order?"
MALAYSIA: "World Should Also Condemn Israel, US Terrorism"
One Malaysian writer wrote in government-influenced Utusan Malaysia (7/11): "Western leaders should unite against Israel's terrorism towards Palestine or the Anglo-American and their allies' attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan, which cause thousands of people in those Islamic countries to be killed and hundreds of thousands of others to be injured. Is the terrorism perpetrated against the people of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan not more terrible, more horrible and more inhumane than bombing an underground train in London, which only caused the death and injury of a few innocent Londoners? Why do Western leaders and other world leaders like Japan and a number of other European countries fail to condemn terrorism perpetrated in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan by the state of Israel, the US and its allies?
"A Lesson From The London Bombings"
Government-influenced Berita Harian (7/9) opined: "The British people must draw a lesson from the London bombings so that the mistake committed by U.S. citizens after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks should not be repeated. The time has come for the strategy of the U.S.-initiated war against terrorism to be reviewed so that it appears fair. The British people have the best opportunity to alter and remedy the mistakes made by their government."
"Islam The Scapegoat"
Government-influenced Utusan Malaysia (7/9) commented: “Islam continues to be linked with such activities and has been made the scapegoat. This is because we are afraid that innocent people will have to suffer from speculation of groups responsible for these dreadful events.”
SINGAPORE: "Battle Within, Not Between"
The pro-government Straits Times (7/20) editorialized: "Terrorism cannot be defeated by military means alone. Every society has the right to take defensive measures against it--measures that may often be onerous--but they would not be enough. In the final analysis, this has to be a battle for hearts and minds--within the Muslim community. The stakes are enormous: If there is no battle within Islamic civilization--with moderates, progressives and traditionalists taking on and defeating the extremists in their midst---this will, slowly but inevitably, become a battle between civilizations. Non-Muslim statesmen like Mr. Blair may bend over backwards to ensure that this does not become a 'clash of civilizations', but their efforts will be in vain if Muslim political leaders, opinion-makers and clergy do not also play a vital role. Far more than the armed forces and intelligence agencies of numerous countries, they are the front-line soldiers in this battle."
INDIA: “Iraq Link”
The centrist Asian Age (7/21) editorialized: “British Prime Minister Tony Blair rightly observed on Tuesday that 'nothing, but nothing can justify terrorism.' There can, indeed, be no justification for the mindless mass murder of innocent civilians. But searching for the reason and motivation behind Thursday's inhuman atrocity should not be equated with justification of the patently unjustifiable act. That is precisely what the Blair administration has been doing since July 7. Just as in post-9/11 America, anybody who tried to see any link between the terrorist attacks and the United States’ foreign policy in West Asia, was dubbed a traitor, in Britain today, anybody who utters the word "Iraq" becomes a persona non grata.... The poll results coincided with the release of the leading British think tank Chatham House's report which said Mr. Blair’s support for the U.S.-led Iraq war made Britain a more high-profile terrorist target. And now an authoritative intelligence report prepared by the Joint Terrorist Analysis Center has described terrorist activities in Britain a direct result of violence in Iraq. Just as in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Blair had deceived the anti-war Britons by raising the specter of non-existent WMDs, he is again trying to mislead them by his constant denials of the truth. He realizes that admission of a connection between 7/7 and Iraq will be an indirect admission of his own responsibility for the mayhem in London. When a doctor informs a patient that his lung cancer is the result of his excessive smoking, he is not justifying cancer. He is merely talking about cause and effect. Those right-thinking academicians, political commentators and intelligence officers who can see the obvious link between London bombing and Iraq, which is for obvious reasons not so obvious to Blair, do not become apologists for terrorists.”
"Slips That Cost”
Pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer (7/21) editorialized: “Major disasters that visit a nation invariably lead to acrimony as post-mortems to find out what went wrong trigger apportioning of blame as well as attempts to deflect it.... In Britain's case, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, an influential private research organization, has held that the country's participation in the Iraq War and involvement in counter-insurgency operations there, were factors in the bomb attacks.... It is undoubtedly a bit of both. While the war in Iraq has certainly helped the al-Qaida and allied organizations to recruit people and has given them greater cause to strike at Britain, the terrorist threat to it goes much further back in time.... It is in the area of implementation that Britain has slipped up. In spite of the revived Treason Law it did nothing to stop three of the four bombers who last year, visited Pakistan.... Nor did it do enough to keep suspected terrorists and terrorist groups under surveillance. At least two of the suicide bombers had come under the scanner of the police in 2004 when the latter were investigating an attempt to manufacture a huge fertilizer bomb to strike in London and arrested a group of men plotting to attack buildings of financial undertakings in New York, Newark and Washington DC. Equally surprising is the action by the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre, Britain's apex multi-agency body for assessing and acting upon terrorist threat, which, less than a month before the attacks, had lowered the threat assessment by one level. While its reasons for doing it needs to be investigated, Britain must seriously ponder whether it can persist with the present state of affairs where Islamist fundamentalists preach hatred and organize violence without any hindrance."
PAKISTAN: “Musharraf’s Speech Hurts Religious Sentiments: MMA, His Claims Are Baseless: ARD”
Popular Ausaf (7/22) commented: "All the opposition parties including MMA (alliance of the religious parties) and ARD (Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy) have strongly criticized the President Musharraf’s address to the nation. The leader of the opposition in the Parliament Fazalur Rehman has said that President Musharraf was inciting the people for a civil war. The people of Pakistan are intelligent; they don’t need any dictation from Musharraf. Raja Zafarul Haq, the Chairman of Muslim League (N) has said that Gen. Musharraf was harping on the same old tune. Liaqat Baloch, the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, said that the President’s speech would create discord, conflict, extremism, and hatred among the people of Pakistan."
"This Is Musharraf's Last Chance To End Extremism"
The liberal Daily Times (7/22) commented: "Syed Kabir Ali Wasti, Vice President of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), said that in the aftermath of the July 7 terror attacks in London, President Musharraf had his last chance to take concrete measures to set things right in the country. According to a press release, Mr. Wasti said that, 'Ideologically, the nation is standing at a crossroads. If people fail to support President Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to overcome the prevailing extremist crisis, the situation could spiral out of control.' He said that the carnage in London had brought into focus the fate of thousands of overseas Pakistanis. He added that the future of these expatriates depended on how the current administration responded to the threat of terrorism, stressing that extremism had to be rooted out from the country."
Major Operation Expected Against Illegal Weapons; Threats Increase For British And American Embassies"
Editor Imtinan Shahid in the populist Urdu daily Khabrain (7/22) analyzed: "Following the London blasts and the British government's allegations against Pakistan, rapid measures are being taken in Pakistan.... The President has also announced that a special cell has been formed to deal with the extremist groups, which signals that the time for mere verbal claims has passed. In reaction, it is feared that these [extremist] outfits would carry out an operation to harm law and order in the country.... Hence if there is an operation in Pakistan, it would have an effect in other countries, especially the U.S., Britain and Spain--countries on the forefront in the war on terror. There could be New York or London-style attacks in these countries; most threatened are the Embassies of these countries operating in different states.
"'Evil Ideology' Of Extremism"
An editorial in the pro-Muslim Urdu Pakistan (7/18): "The British Prime Minister is trying to understand this problem [of terrorism] and then find a solution. Similarly, the Muslim countries should also look into this problem and find their own solution to it. By using force against terrorism, America has only increased the scope of terror. There is a fear that this blind use of force might destroy world peace totally."
IRAN: "Al-Qa'ida Angered By US 'Hegemony' Not Western 'Democracy'"
Conservative Tehran Times (7/20) opined: "While al-Qaida and its allies (if this is the network that is guilty of 7/7) may be opposed to various aspects of Western civilization, it is apparent from their strategies and their pronouncements that what has angered and incensed them is not Western democracy or Western freedoms as such, but Washington's hegemony, reinforced by its close allies, and its adverse impact upon the Arab and Muslim world. Even before the 9/11 episode, al-Qaida's bombings in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1996; in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; and in Yemen in 2000 were all targeted against U.S. interests.... The hegemonic control that Washington exercises over Arab oil through what al-Qaida regards as U.S. client states is yet another issue which the network focuses upon. It is an issue which resonates with the masses. And since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 and the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq beginning in March 2003, the truncated sovereignty of both states has become an important item in the Usama agenda. Besides, the death and destruction that occupation has wreaked upon Iraq in particular has galvanized Arab and Muslim sentiment right across the globe. This is why, while the overwhelming majority of Muslims regard the tactics employed by al-Qaida as abhorrent and repugnant, the community nonetheless empathizes with many of the issues which the network claims to champion. All the more reason why the British, American and other Western governments should make an attempt to resolve these issues--especially in relation to Palestine and Iraq--with sincerity and honesty, guided by a profound sense of justice."
NAMIBIA: "Rights And The War On Terror"
Independent center-left English-language daily, The Namibian (7/22) carried: "The recent bomb explosions in London have again heightened fears, primarily in Europe and the United States and even in Africa, about renewed terror attacks. This in turn has precipitated governments to look afresh at preventative measures in order to withstand and deter such attacks. We do not want to argue with the necessity for all countries to protect themselves against such events, but we do need to keep in mind the fact that such measures should always take into account basic human rights, or we risk doubling the dangers of terror onslaughts.... [But] one of the best ways of combating terrorism is certainly for people to feel that they belong. Where they don’t, this acts as a trigger for possible terror activities.... These so-called first world countries, in their rush to combat terror, are also likely to make inroads into fundamental human rights eroding them faster than they can win the war on terror.... We condemn attacks on innocent civilians wherever they may occur, with all the means at our disposal, but we do emphasise the need for countries to look closely at both their foreign and domestic policies and adjust them if they hope to ‘win the war on terror.’ To hope that legislation and tighter control on who enters their countries will do the trick, will lull them into a false hope that such attacks will not continue.”
"We Are Heartened By London Mayor’s Stance"
Government-owned New Era (7/22), commented: "Following the bombings on UK train stations a fortnight ago, London mayor Ken Livingstone has done the honourable thing--to refuse to stick to official stereotyping, unlike his country’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who blames religious teaching as opposed to politics for the actions of the London bombers, and Islamic extremism in general.... The city’s mayor, Ken Livingstone suggests that decades of British and American intervention in the Middle East motivated the bombers. He says the attacks would not have happened had Western powers left Arab nations free to decide their own affairs after WWI.... The British leader has been told so many times by so many, including this newspaper, about the real cause of extremism and so-called terrorism, that the problem lay with U.S. and British foreign policies and the conduct thereof.... While we condemn the killing of innocent people even by those who feel politically aggrieved, we cannot help but also condemn those governments that pursue imperial policies that breed conflict and terror, such as in Iraq and other Middle East countries.”
UGANDA: "Tony Blair Was Wise To Talk To Muslim Clerics"
Independent English-language Monitor (7/20) hailed: "Blair, by deciding to use diplomacy to handle the tense situation has clearly showed his charismatic leadership style and skills, even though this was not used in March 2003 in Baghdad.... Likewise, if Tony Blair teaches this kind of thinking to his staunchest ally the American president George W. Bush to apply such charismatic lines to the Muslim insurgents in Iraq as well as applying that tactic in the course of fighting the U.S.' so-called 'global war on terror,' the world will be sure to see fruitful results.... I wish the whole world would join me in crediting the British premier for dealing with the situation in an understanding fashion, in the aftermath of the historical London bombings that left over 56 people dead. The British prime minister's handling of the after-attacks situation should receive much praise from the world because it hasn't put the world on tension of any likely retaliation like it was on 11 September and if any retaliation is to happen, it will be after concrete evidence has been acquired to assure the international community that the retaliation is genuine and necessary at the right time and in the best form. Should the necessary reprisals be meted out to the culprits, the world will now have to view the West through the real picture it preaches, that is; democracy, justice, respect for human rights, a civilized, bureaucratic, and non-practioner of double standards.
CANADA: "Bush, Blair spinning fantasy tales on Mideast"
National affairs columnist James Travers observed in the liberal Toronto Star (7/21): "A superpower that vacillates between isolation and policing the world would be wise to pull back and let locals--and Allah--sort it out. Apart from pulling poison from the test of wills now dominating headlines, hasty retreat holds little appeal. In finishing the work his father wisely left undone, George W. Bush created a power vacuum in Iraq that now must be filled. As for Afghanistan, it would be grossly irresponsible for anyone, including Canadian troops now prepping for a dangerous Kandahar mission, to scuttle away before restoring stability.... More troubling still, the moderate majority dwindles and radical cohorts swell with each new atrocity. When the consequences move from over there to over here the response is confusion and anger. Singular causes from militant Islam to pan-Arab nationalism are blamed and comforting stories told about the steadfast defence of values against evil and freedom's relentless march forward. Suspending disbelief won't make those stories true. They only move beyond fantasy when engagement is tempered with more sensitivity than self-interest. So far, that's not a compelling part of the narrative."
"End The War By Winning It"
Columnist Tom Oleson commented in the centrist Winnipeg Free Press (7/16): "Some people think that the British got exactly what they deserved because they took part in the war in Iraq and are now trying with the Americans to build a peace there. Members of the European Parliament said as much this week and many Canadians think so as well--letters to the editor and radio talk shows feature such opinions regularly. If Osama bin Laden makes good on his threat to attack Canada because of this country's participation in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, some Canadians will think we got what we deserve, too. That prospect looms larger every day.... We might ask why the Americans and the British and the Australians and all the other members of the Coalition of the Willing cannot control the violence in Iraq.... The real question is: Why is saving the children of Baghdad only the responsibility of the Americans? Under the leadership of George Bush, the Americans have done something great in Iraq. They have toppled one of the most brutal and bizarre dictators in history, liberated an entire nation and introduced the reality of democracy to the Middle East. Not just Iraq, but the Palestine Authority and Lebanon have now had free elections because America was willing to go to war, willing to sacrifice its own children. So as innocent civilians die in the tunnels of the London Underground, as children are blown to bits in the streets of Baghdad, where is the rest of the world? The Canadian military is stretched thin, but even a few soldiers would help to give the Iraqis hope. The French and the Germans have large armies almost wholly undeployed. Those countries may have opposed the war, but how now can they oppose the peace? Rather than do something to help Iraq, Ottawa, Paris and Berlin prefer to enjoy the Americans' difficulties. We may not care about the dead kids in Baghdad--that's also left for George Bush to care about--but the bombings in London should have been a wake up call for us all. We can fight the war against Islamic terrorism over there now, or we can fight it here soon. The choice is ours."
ARGENTINA: "Who's Responsible"
Claudio Mario Aliscioni opined in leading left-of-center Clarin (7/19): "In fact, the report disclosed by the Royal Institute of International Affairs destroys the hypothesis that the attacks in London result from a mysterious 'Islamic evil crusade'--some sort of reincarnation of the warlike spirit with which Saladin expelled the Christians from Jerusalem in the XII century. The fact that this metaphysical resource is now being quoted by Tony Blair was clearly visible during his speech this weekend, when he said his country is now facing 'devilish and malevolent groups' determined to destroy Great Britain. But earthly matters are quite different and those responsible for the growing insecurity in the world have clear and defined names. What London's experts suggest is, precisely, that Blair's name is among these names."
MEXICO: “A Paradoxical Struggle”
Academic Farid Kahhat writes in independent Reforma (7/20): “British Prime Minister Tony Blair has tried to deny any link between the (terrorist) attacks in London and the invasion of Iraq--a denial that the Bush administration has also voiced.... The point is that the invasion and occupation of Iraq were not part of the international anti-terrorist fight, but their existence has added fuel to the fire.... Against the somber horizon of spreading terrorist actions, the only positive development is Donald Rumsfeld’s admission that the new Iraqi government is carrying out negotiations with a segment of the Iraqi insurgents so that they join the political process--with the U.S. consent.... However, the success of this process lies in solving the only issue that brings all insurgent factions together: the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Paradoxically, it is true that an immediate withdrawal of the occupation forces would worsen the security problems that their own presence has created. Nevertheless, the U.S. would do well in acknowledging that its military presence in Iraq is part of the problem not of the solution. The U.S. should make known in a clear and unequivocal manner that it does not want to maintain an indefinite military presence in Iraq, and that as a proof of its commitment, it would begin a progressive withdrawal of its troops.”
CHILE: “The Scourge Of Terrorism”
Business and financial daily Diario Financiero (7/21) carried a column by international commentator Leonidas Irarrazaval: "The terrorist attacks in London have once again disconcerted the world, bringing fear and incredulity.... What has the West done to create such hate and such a desire for revenge? The answer cannot lie only in Iraq. There is no question the reasons go back centuries, perhaps to the first crusade. But why now? Perhaps because we have looked down on those who are not Christians, especially in the Middle East, for far too long. It’s now time to amend things and open up...to all peaceful religions and, in the case of Islam...keep all that is good in that great religion.... The task won’t be easy and will depend on how we address it. Brute force will resolve nothing and the equivalent of adding more fuel to the fire.”
“Bush’s Failure In Iraq”
Boris Yopo wrote in center-left Diario Siete (7/19): “The strategy followed by Bush’s foreign policy team (in Iraq) was wrong from the beginning. The intervention was illegal from the viewpoint of international law...and has generated greater insecurity at the global level, proof of which are the recent bombings in Madrid and London. The intervention has also added credibility to the belief in the Muslim world that the U.S. is the ‘great Satan’ and that there is a 'new Christian crusade’ against Islam.... Perhaps the main lesson from all this is that, regardless of U.S. technological and military superiority,...small groups cannot only plan attacks in their own land (Afghanistan and Iraq), but can also attack the centers of power of the U.S. and its close allies.... The fight against terrorism calls for a joint, long-term international effort...but also an end of those elements that give these groups legitimacy: unilateral interventions, the enormous social inequity that persists in many parts of the world, and support the creation of a Palestinian state and promote civilized dialogue to strengthen moderate Islamic sectors.... The situation in Iraq will take a few years to stabilize. However...it is in the interest of the international community to avoid a civil war there...by contributing to the creation of institutions and the election of authorities who have sufficient legitimacy to propose a new national project, giving room to social and religious diversity."
Former Venezuelan president Rafael Caldera wrote in leading conservative daily El Universal (7/20): “The situation of the world has changed with the activity of terrorism. The fall of the Berlin wall gave humankind a great hope. The stark reality is that after the fall of the Berlin wall, and when peace has prevailed over the Cold War, is when serious and unprecedented conflicts take place. Many people feel that terrorism derives from Islamism. Those who know the situation do not agree with this interpretation. Terrorism in Iraq is the fight of an exacerbated organization after the U.S. invasion. And it is meant to ‘punish’ the invasion, not only the U.S. but also the allied countries that contributed with military contingents. Of course, an understanding between the Christian religions, which dominate the Western civilization, and the Islamic civilization, gives hope for a substantial reduction of the terrorist movement. John Paul II clearly understood this situation and made efforts to reach a peaceful understanding between Islam and Christian religion followers. This has been followed by the current Pontific. This is, undoubtedly, very important. “
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