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September 24, 2001

FOCUS ON AMERICA'S RESPONSE: COALITION-BUILDING; BUSH SPEECH

PAKISTAN: News stories in mass-circulation, Urdu-language dailies continued to spread disinformation, contending that a U.S. official has stated that Usama bin Ladin and Al Qaeda "were not involved" in the WTC and Pentagon attacks and that the U.S. is considering using chemical/biological weapons against UBL. Many Urdu-language dailies were also replete with the notion that the U.S. was in "great haste" to make war against UBL and Afghanistan. These writers held that any military action launched by the U.S. would lead to a "catastrophic" "clash of civilizations" between the West and Islam. Notably, from Peshawar--one of the two border cities most affected by the influx of refugees into Pakistan from Afghanistan--the independent Frontier Post blamed the Taliban for "not knowing how to play their political and diplomatic cards" from "the very beginning." The paper also criticized the Pakistani "security establishment" for not having realized sooner that, "because of UBL, the Taliban [have been] on a collision course" with the U.S. and the international community "for quite some time."

 

EUROPE: Observers assessed U.S. efforts to build an international coalition, focusing on two fronts: Europe and the Arab world. Conservative analysts in Britain and Spain were optimistic, particularly with regard to the EU's recent actions at its emergency summit last Friday. Madrid's ABC noted that "the most important thing is that the Fifteen regarded the attacks against the U.S. as if it were an aggression against their own democracies. It was nothing less." But others in leftist to centrist papers in France and Italy saw more "divergence" than agreement and cooperation, contending that reaction in Europe and among Gulf countries is, in fact, hesitant and cautious. Paris's left-of-center Liberation joined others in pointing out a major obstacle facing the White House: "In the Gulf, Saudi Arabia is...standing apart.... While Riyadh is the alpha and omega of Washington's Middle Eastern policy, the U.S. has yet to convince Saudi Arabia to break diplomatic relations with the Taliban regime." At the same time, there was increasing focus on Russia's potential role. London's conservative Daily Telegraph offered a warning: "There are allies and there are allies.... Russia has no love for the Taliban.... It obviously wants the current Kabul regime to be vanquished. But it does not want to do so at the expense of an expansion of American influence in the area.... While Russian support is obviously desirable, it cannot be allowed to be the arbiter of the American presence in the region." Meanwhile, available reaction on Bush's speech last Thursday night continued to be very positive. Centrist Italian papers held that the president has "erased all doubts" about his ability to lead America. Turin's nfluential La Stampa concluded: "George W. Bush has conquered the American nation."

 

cont. ...

 

 

 

 

OIC NATIONS: While the president's visit to the Islamic Center in Washington continued to play well in the Arabic and Muslim press, his speech before Congress renewed nervousness about a wide-scale military operation that could take the lives of innocent civilians. Worries in the media in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Indonesia and Malaysia centered on the perception that an imminent U.S. retaliation is still too murky to warrant unstinting Arab-Muslim approval. Commentators called for more deliberation and "evidence" that UBL and his Taliban allies are the culprits in order to avoid a hasty and unfair targeting of Arabs and Muslims. Editorials that addressed UBL's culpability ranged from generalized condemnation that the terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the "enemies of Islam" to disinformation--in a government Malaysian daily--charging that the WTC attack was an Israeli conspiracy to discredit Arabs and Muslims. Many suggested that in order to gain credibility, the anti-terrorism movement must appear to be more comprehensive in scope. Saudi Arabian and UAE editorials argued that Israel's conduct is also a form of terrorism.

 

ELSEWHERE: Observers in Canada and Australia rallied around the "battle cry" issued by the president last Thursday evening. While acknowledging that Mr. Bush has a "tough balancing act ahead," they nonetheless concluded that he had struck the proper, forceful tone in his address. Beijing's official, English-language China Daily, which is written for foreign consumption, ran Foreign Minister Tang's statements expressing China's willingness to "cooperate with the U.S." in the fight against terrorism.

 

[Ed. note: Due to technical difficulties, media reaction from Germany, Russia, Israel, West Bank, Egypt and Jordan--among others--was not available.]

EDITORS: Gail Hamer Burke, Diana McCaffrey, Kathleen Brahney

 

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey is based on 55 editorials from 14 countries, September 22-24.

Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.

 

EUROPE

 

BRITAIN: "Layer Upon Layer"

 

The conservative Times opined (9/24): "In the past ten days, the Bush administration has built a diplomatic fence around Afghanistan that leaves the Taliban without recourse to backing from any other country. America's diplomatic footwork has been as astute as anything its allies could have wished.... Allies have been consulted, doubters reassured and longtime opponents won over to tacit, if not open support.... The coalition has already sent a message to those trying to whip up opposition to any American response: This war on terrorism will be waged in every capital, on every front and with whatever allies are willing to take part.... America's interest is to include all who volunteer for the American terms So far it has put together a formidable global army. What matters now is how, and where they are directed to fight."

 

"Russia's Not So Great Game"

 

The conservative Daily Telegraph offered this view (9/24): "There are allies and there are allies. Tony Blair has touched the hearts of many in America with his robust response to the recent atrocities in the United States.... Superficially, the expressions of solidarity emanating from Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, have been equally expansive. But scratch a bit deeper and one finds that Moscow has been playing a murkier game. Russia has no love for the Taliban. Indeed, in Chechnya, and elsewhere, it has been pursing an increasingly extreme anti-Islamist agenda. It obviously want the current Kabul regime to be vanquished. But it does not want to do so at the expense of an expansion of American influence in the area. Russia thus wants to ensure that any action against the Taliban be on its own terms. It at least want to be seen to have set its tamp of approval on any military operation. But while Russian support is obviously desirable, it cannot be allowed to be the arbiter of the American presence in the region."

 

"European Solidarity"

 

The independent Financial Times observed (9/24): "Two vital signals were given by the leaders of the European Union at their emergency summit on Friday. First they spelled out their total solidarity with the United States and American people in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Second, they ordered urgent and long overdue measures to make the struggle against terrorism more effective. It is essential that the EU should now show practical as well as moral solidarity in the struggle ahead. That means being realistic, no just rhetorical. It also means exploiting Europe's connections in building a broad international alliance against terrorism, including in as many states as possible in the Arab and Muslim world. This is a common struggle to defend universal values of tolerance, openness and justice. The challenge is to wage an unstinting war on global terrorism without harming those values. Force is unavoidable. But also essential are solidarity, trust and the broadest possible coalition of allies."

 

FRANCE: "Divergence"

 

Gerard Dupuy wrote in left-of-center Liberation (9/24): "The 'new type' of war promised by President Bus remains without a face. All we know is that it will not look like past wars. Washington's desire to rally the widest possible coalition has overcome the trend not to reveal its game plan. Hence reactions in Europe and in the Gulf have been similar: a general agreement to cooperate militarily against 'clear objectives' but no blind solidarity.... Once again, Europe's lack of military unity has become apparent: Great Britain is once more Washington's companion in arms, contrasting with the rest of the continent's cautious attitude.... In the Gulf, Saudi Arabia is also standing apart, but at the opposite end of the spectrum: While Riyadh is the alpha and omega of Washington's Middle Eastern policy, the United State has yet to convince Saudi Arabia to break diplomatic relations with the Taliban regime.... Since September 11, Washington is divided between the reeling of cashing in on this enormous outpouring of international solidarity and building a wide-scale coalition, and the desire to act independently.... This dichotomy is putting America's allies to the test."

 

"Eleven Years After Iraq, A Difficult Coalition"

 

Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/24): "Eleven years ago, Bush senior was able to rally the support of the Arab world because he promised to put all his efforts into the peace process after Kuwait's liberation.... This led to the Madrid conference and the Olso accords.... America's allies in the region put their trust in Bush senior. Today, they feel they were misled and do not trust in Bush junior."

 

ITALY: "International Anti-Crime Operation"

 

Stefano Silvestri opined in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (9/23): "No 'crusade' against Islam. That has certainly reassured European nations and has helped reinforce their decision to explicitly support the American response, both on the political and military levels.... There is clearly a common interest on the part of Europe and the United States in softening regional tensions in order to strengthen the largest possible political coalition with Arab and Islamic nations, and to focus efforts on the fight on international terrorism. From this point of view, the political beginning of this war seems to be positive, since it has somehow added a new element in local conflicts, allowing for a redefinition of strategic priorities and alliances which, if pursued with due attention and far-sightedness, could open new prospects for handling the Middle East crises and perhaps, in the longer run, new peace prospects. That is why the analyses of those who try to compare the present situation with the one that preceded the beginning of WWI seem totally inappropriate and uselessly pessimistic.... This is not the time to be afraid, but, instead, to show a calm determination."

 

"Saudi Arabia Denies Use Of Bases For Attack"

 

Maurizio Molinar commented in centrist, influential La Stampa (9/24): "The anti-terrorism coalition is facing its first problems: Saud Arabia has denied the use of the command center for air operations, Egypt has asked to postpone any decisions until the United Nations agrees on a resolution, and U.S. efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in the Middle East have been unsuccessful, so far. The Pentagon fears that these diplomatic problems may lead to a weakening of the military pressure on Osoma bin Laden, and is taking the lead in the diplomatic offensive by warning terrorists: 'We do not rule out the sue of nuclear weapons.'... The White House is at a crossroads. Faced with the problems involved in building coalitions and risks of new attacks, but strong with sky-high popularity at home, President Bush has to make a decision: Either to take more time to improve political agreements and military preparation, or to launch an attack shortly, thus putting hesitant allies vis-a-vis a fait accompli. But time does not seem to be playing into his hands, and NATO sources in Brussels assure that the countdown has already begun."

 

"Powell Meets Ruggiero, Italy To Mediate Between The U.S. And Iran"

 

Marco Ventura wrote in pro-government, leading center right Il Giornale (9/24): "Italian Foreign Minister Ruggiero is leaving for Washington with a suitcase full of solidarity for America and advice on how to dialogue with moderate Islam.... Ruggiero is the first EU foreign minister to visit America after the Brussels summit and he will be sort of the informal 'ambassador for Europe.' He will explain to his U.S. interlocutors that Europe fully and strongly supports the U.S. military initiative, and yet he will encourage a strategy of targeted actions and stress the need to not humiliate any country--but instead, to defeat international terror in the interest of everyone."

 

"There Was All Of America In That Congressional Hall"

 

Ennio Caretto wrote on the front page of centrist, top-circulation Corriere dell Sera (9/22): "For the second time in ten days, events have shown to the world how strong and vital America is.... America responded with a declaration of war on terrorism, an enemy of the United States and an enemy of democracy.... There is a grandiose sense of rituality in American culture. In its most painful moments, the American superpower has drawn from its by offering the best of itself.... Until the day before yesterday, many doubted that the inexperienced Bush would be able to lead America--let alone a large coalition--in a complicated international campaign against terrorism that could last for years.... But Bush erased all doubts, he buried the contradictions and the unilateral approach of his first few months in office.... The United States and its allies are venturing into unexplored territories. But the values of U.S. democracy, mainly tolerance and the sense of law, so effectively outlined by Bush with noble words, will prevent the conflict from turning into either a witch hunt inside each country, or a crusade by the West against the East on the international scene."

 

"Bipartisan Applause For The President"

 

Augusto Minzolini observed in centrist, influential La Stampa (9/22): "Often it is history htat makes men. Circumstances forge personalities, changing them for the better in some cases, or for the worse in others. This time, in the case of George W. Bus...the metamorphosis is offering to the United States, instead of a 'lame' president, a president who is not only capable of speaking to the nation, but who even seems to have the ability to lead it in the worse crisis in its history.... George W. Bush has conquered the American nation.... The new Bush has already become part of the iconography that is typical of all wars. Perhaps his popularity outside America will continue to be low, perhaps his policies will continue to raise some doubts, and some will continue to see him as a warmonger or an ineffective leader--but he does not care about that. What counts for him at present is the fact that he is liked by a majority of Americans."

 

SPAIN: "The EU Gives Its Blessing To A U.S. Military Operation"

 

Independent EL Mundo said (9/22): "The EU Summit responded to George W. Bush's request for concrete backing with a promise of clear support for the anti-terrorist fight as long as it is 'selective'.. However, they have made sure that their support to the military operation is framed within the United Nations Security Council's 1368 Resolution.. Bush's words have raised some questions. In a generally balanced speech there were some imperative...expressions that would justify some worry in Europe about Bush's true intentions. The 'with us, or with the terrorists' words sound like a kind of ultimatum perhaps a subconscious one."

 

"The Upcoming War"

 

Left-of-center El Pais underlined (9/22): "The military aspect is only one of the faces of the monster. An attack against the Taliban will bring about the proclamation of a jihad by the Afghan fundamentalists.. The consequences for neighboring Pakistan could be devastating.. The United States cannot control an outburst of religious passions in an unstable country where a significant part of its population does not agree with the decision made by its leaders.... Despite the evident dangers, the September 11th attacks cannot go unanswered.. The global dimension of the assault planned by the United States could have unforeseen consequences, but avoiding a confrontation that could impact us all would send the underground world of terrorism a clear sign of Western inability to protect ourselves from its threat. Besides the failure of the superpower's intelligence services, besides the death of so many innocent people, the attacks have brutally shown that a handful of psychopaths can shake the foundations of the least bad system that we know."

 

"Bush's Prudence"

 

Independent La Vanguardia noted (9/22): "Bush's address to the Congress and Senate was a relentless plea against the plague of terrorism and a confirmation that the world's premier power is absolutely committed to eliminate, at any cost, the inhuman and beast-like variant of war that is terrorism. In such a difficult, dangerous yet unavoidable war Bush must not lack the support of those countries of the world that hate terrorism.. Globalization is today more certain than ever, but it is a negative globalization that poses the threat of a worldwide recession.. Now the time has come to choose between trying to recover the lost prosperity or to reform the international economic system to put it on more austere, yet more stable grounds."

 

"Europe Commits itself"

 

Conservative ABC observed (9/22): "The most important is that the Fifteen regarded the attacks against the U.S. as if it were an aggression against their own democracies. It was nothing less.. There is no doubt that we are dealing with a clash between democracy and a political-religious tyranny. Europe must regard its alliance with the U.S. as self-defense as there is a duel of principles and values that can only be won if we protect, without complexes, the model of Western, democratic society."

 

TURKEY: "Terror Cannot Be Destroyed Via Terror"

 

Fehmi Koru argued in pro-Islamic Yeni Safak (9/24): "Responding to terrorism with counter-terrorism is a matter of primitiveness. The world cannot give up the essential principles of law like no one is guilty until proven otherwise, and the right of defense for the accused. Everyone has the right to a fair trial, including those terrorists.. George Bush and his allies unfortunately do not see that they are destroying international law."

 

"Turkey Has Chosen Us"

 

Mass appeal/sensational Posta writer Mehmet Ali Birand dedicated his 9/22 column to an interview with A/S Grossman, and concluded: "We have to turn our face toward future. The coming era is very important for Turkey, and will provide new opportunities. We better work on helpful projects rather than trying to beat Europe and praising ourselves for combating terrorism. We better seek ways to increase cooperation with the United States in the fight against terrorism. NATO is preparing itself for a brand new mission. It is becoming an organization that will coordinate the fight against terrorism. Turkey should be upfront with the United States on this matter. This is a time for good work and intensifying efforts. We should focus on deeds rather than empty talk or complaints."

 

"The Way To Combat Terrorism"

 

Emin Kazci wrote in ultra religious/fundamentalist Akit (9/24): "The United States is trying to redesign the world under the guise of fighting terrorism. This is either because of ignorance or cruelty. The way to make terrorism ineffective is to eliminate the results that the terrorist is seeking. There will be even more terrorism if he feels that he has gained his objective.. We are entering into an unfortunate period where terrorism will gain more from the fight against it. Terrorists now see that their expectations are happening one by one."

 

"Ecevit's proposition to Bush"

 

Fikret Bila wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (9/22): "PM Ecevit's views underlined the governments proposals to President Bush: Cooperate with Afghans in northern Afghanistan, opposition forces in Afghanistan can be supported to oust the Taliban regime, and foreign intervention in Afghanistan will prove unsuccessful, as was the case in the past.. Considering that an uncontrolled military intervention in Afghanistan will yield negative results, focusing on Ecevit's proposals and warnings will be useful."

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

SAUDI ARABIA: "Between Afghanistan And Israel"

 

London-based, pan-Arab, moderate Al-Hayat opined (9/23): "The absence of Israel from the international coalition against terror reflects an embarrassing aspect of U.S. administration policy toward the 'Jihad' concept of the coming war in the Afghan mountains.... Whether this was an American decision not to irritate the feelings of the Arab and Islamic countries or a pre-arranged statement, nevertheless the result is that it serves Israeli interests, and that the coalition will do what Israel cannot do alone.... If the war were in fact against terror and its roots, with no distinctions, then Israel would be classified number one on the list of terrorist countries."

 

"The Arab's Image Corrected By Al-Omari"

 

Jeddah-based, moderate Al-Madina opined (9/23): "The Saudi pilot, Abdulaziz Al-Omari, who was hosted by CNN yesterday and to whom the FBI intends to apologize, is one of those who have been irritated because of the rashness of the American investigating bodies.... These bodies may be ready to apologize to him, but it is not only Mr. Al-Omari's case, it is also the state of the image of Arabs in the American media. This image cannot be corrected unless the American media itself focuses on it, and until the victims of baseless accusations stand before the American justice system, demanding to be compensated for what has been done to them and to their families and homelands."

 

"New Realities"

 

The London-based, moderate English-language Arab News held (9/23): "Sept. 11 seems to have brought about a number of unexpected changes in the way countries view each other. The marked adjustment in Beijing's attitude to the United States is just one such example. From initial shock and sympathy, the Chinese government has progressed to broad support for Washington's planned war against international terrorism.... The Bush administration would do well to take care of how it handles this rapprochement.... There are those who wonder if perhaps longer term, prudent considerations are being slung aside for the vigorous and immediate advancement of the Bush war on terrorism.... Is it possible that Americans have been shocked to discover that they too are now in the front line of world violence...? Cruise missile diplomacy has perhaps divorced America from too many tough international realities.... There is a lot more at stake than international terrorism, and the Bush administration needs to demonstrate that it knows this."

 

Afghanistan's Last Chance"

 

London-based, moderate, English-language Arab News carried this op-Ed column, "Arab View." by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid (9/23): "The poor Afghans. No other people have endured such ordeals as they have. (After the Russian and Mujahedeen occupations) what remained was a land in ruin both metaphorically and actually. The Taliban...closed all avenues leading to progress and reconstruction.... Overnight the country has become the focus of international attention, as the most powerful nation in the world deploys all its might to finish off what is arguably the weakest and the poorest.... On the other hand, Afghanistan can possibly emerge from its woes as a new country.... It might gain a new government committed to the welfare of the country."

 

KUWAIT: PRESS TREATMENT

 

Embassy Charge William Monroe's op-ed--"Out of Our Tears: An Opportunity to Rid the World of Terrorism"--seeking continued support in the war against terrorism and emphasizing the president's statements that the U.S. campaign does not target Muslims or Arabs ran in all Kuwaiti newspapers September 24. The piece also urges continued Kuwaiti support for the U.S. war on terrorism and expresses gratitude for the many messages of sympathy and condolence received by the embassy. The op-ed was placed either on the front page or as the lead piece on the editorial page. In general, opinion pieces by liberals and pro-government figures strongly support the United States and the U.S. military presence in Kuwait, while pieces by conservatives and Islamists remain skeptical of the identity of the perpetrators and fearful of tarring all Muslims and Arabs.

 

"Bin Laden And His Accomplices"

 

Former minister and former MP Ali Ahmad Al-Baghli wrote in independent Al-Qabas (9/25): "Although Bin Ladin opposed the presence of American forces in Saudi Arabia, he never told us how he planned to evict the Iraqi oppressors who occupied Kuwait killing, looting, and raping. This is something we have never seen the American and foreign 'occupiers' do.... This is the difference between the American 'occupiers' and Bin Ladin, who horrified the world with bombings in Africa, Khobar, Aden, and now finally Washington and New York."

 

"Is Terrorism An Arab Trademark?"

 

Ayed Al-Manaa wrote in independent Al-Watan (9/24): "There has been no clear cut evidence that the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania are Arab terrorists. We wonder why suspicions and investigations other nationalities and races? We are not claiming Arabs or Muslims are not members of terrorist organizations. This, however, does not mean that our terrorists are the sole enemies of the United States.... Has terrorism become an Arab trademark?"

 

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "The Enemies Of Islam"

 

Semi-official Abu Dhabi-based Arabic-language Al-Ittihad (9/22) drew upon accounts from the early Islamic era to condemn terrorism. Citing the Caliph Abu Bakr's command to his army chief "not to kill a child, an elderly man or a woman; not to abort a palm-tree, burn land or cut down a fruit tree, or kill a sheep, a cow or a camel except for food," the editorial stated: "In this command...the teachings of Islam are clear.... Islam, even in wars with its enemies, has defined limits and laid foundations which cannot be overstepped. How, when we live in a world which seeks to spread reassurance, stability and the spirit of solidarity among nations for the sake of a civilized world, can we see some sick souls who have made laws against religion, which have nothing to do with religion, using destructive methods against innocent and unarmed people? No one can classify the bloody events in America as anything but terrorism or criminal acts, which no mind or logic can accept. This behavior indicates that those who did this are the enemies of Islam, and in fact stand with those we classify as racist gangs, whose only goals are occupation and bloodshed.... Do not believe, and let no Muslim think, that what these people did came from their imagination. Rather, it was motivated by a disease which the world must uproot and eradicate."

 

"A War--Against One Man!"

 

The media reported the UAEG's 9/23 decision to sever diplomatic ties with the Taliban government. Commenting on President Bush's speech to Congress, Sharjah-based pan-Arab nationalist Al-Khaleej held (9/22): "If we suppose for the sake of argument that what the United States says is true, and that Usama bin Ladin is behind the explosions which targeted New York and Washington, this means that one person stands accused, with a group of associates, although the American accusations lack until now proof and evidence... Bush's speech to Congress yesterday reveals something truly dangerous: He has committed all the military and economic potential of his country towards an 'unprecedented long-term war' and threatened to bring all the necessary war weapons to crush the network of world terrorism.... This is the source of the fear overwhelming the world due to the American preparations, because the title, 'The War against Terrorism' is different for Americans than for others. According to America, it includes nations, peoples and individuals, some of whom practice terrorism while others exercise their natural right to self-defense.... What sort of war is the United States preparing and seeking an international coalition for, when the warring parties do not know their enemy or the battlefield...? It is undoubtedly not a war against one man, called Usama Bin Ladin, but an American war which (the U.S.) wants the world to launch under its flag, to Americanize the world by force under the slogan of combating terrorism."

 

"Bush: Islam Is A Religion Of Peace"

 

Semi-official Abu Dhabi-based Arabic-language Al-Ittihad's editorial (9/20) praised President Bush's visit to the Islamic Center in Washington: "Islamic countries and the Arab nation received President Bush's remarks with satisfaction, especially since the (coalition)...extends to many Arab and Muslim nations and touches them with its fire. Islam is a religion of moderation which does not know extremism and bloodshed. This is why all Muslim nations support the world coalition to uproot terrorism, whether in Afghanistan or other nations that host terrorists and provide them money and facilities to impose its will. Terrorism has no homeland; it adopts a one-track logic. This is not only the logic of terrorists, but also of countries such as Israel that follow the same line of terrorism and violence.... The international coalition is therefore required to follow one standard in fighting terrorism, so that the campaign will achieve its goals in support of stability and world peace."

 

SOUTH ASIA

 

PAKISTAN: Media Play -- Headlines From Urdu-Language Press

 

Sample headlines from (9/24): "No Concern on Pak Nuclear Program, Pervaiz Government to remain stable, No Plan for Immediate Attack on Afghanistan: America," mass-circulation Urdu Jang; "American and British Spies Enter Afghanistan; Hundreds of Warplanes Arrive in Nearby Countries," front-page AFP story in sensationalist Khabrain; " Musharraf Calls Hosni Mubarak and Saad As-Sabah; Allegations Against Bin Laden Are Insufficient, Pakistan Must Seek Evidence from the U.S., Says Egypt," front-page news, popular Din "U.S. Plan To Occupy Five Cities, Including Kabul," sensationalist Ummat "Mysterious Flight Of U.S. Fighter Plane In Karachi," sensationalist Ummat

 

"Al-Qaeda Not Involved In U.S. Attacks: FBI"

 

News story in popular Urdu-language Din (9/24): "Washington/Islamabad (Net News, Special Reporter, Monitoring Desk). After investigating 5 groups of the Al-Qaeda, the FBI has concluded that Usama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda group were not involved in the attacks in New York and Washington, but were the work of someone else underground. U.S. government authorities have revealed that links between the two hijackers of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon and Usama Bin Laden have not been established.... An American official has said that a group named 'cell' has been in the United States legally for the last several years but has never been involved in any illegal activity. According to the Washington Post, an American official has said they do not know why members of the Al-Qaeda cell were there."

 

"America May Use Biological Weapons"

 

A news story in the Peshawar-based independent Frontier Post claimed (9/24): "War strategists at the Pentagon are contemplating the use of chemical biological/weapons in their war against Usama bin Laden, diplomatic sources confided to "The Frontier Post" late on Saturday night."

 

"U.S. Should Admit"

 

An editorial in sensationalist, Urdu-language Ummat (9/24): "If the United States is still adamant about believing that the World Trade Center incident was carried out by Usama Bin Laden, despite his lack of resources, then it should also admit that it would not be able to achieve anything by the folly of launching a war against Afghanistan. The loss and damage caused to the civil population and Muslims of Afghanistan and Pakistan will create a wave of resentment against the United States in the Islamic world. The result will be that no city or citizen of the United States would then be safe."

 

"Resolution Of Afghan Shoora--U.S. Must Review Again"

 

An op-ed by Irshad Ahmad Haqqani in leading, mass-circulation Jang (9/24): Quote: Keeping in view the catastrophic outcome of a possible military action [in Afghanistan] the U.S. attitude could not be termed as farsighted and prudent. It is right that that the U.S. ego has been hurt and it has the capability and strength to punish its opponents but depending entirely on one's might is not wise all the times. Without fully examining whatever little opening the decision of the Afghan Ulema has provided and going ahead with the use of force would not a wise decision."

 

"Military And Diplomatic Moves"

 

An editorial in the Peshawar-based, independent Frontier Post underscored (9/24): "If the Taliban had known how to play their political and diplomatic cards, they would not be in the mess they find themselves in. Equally, had the Pakistani security establishment that has run the Afghan enterprise from the very beginning, not allowed its overweening ambition to over leap itself, the military government would not have had to swallow the bitter pill of a reversal of its previous policy. It had become obvious for some time that because of Usama, the Taliban were on a collision course with the United States and the rest of the international community. But the establishment chose to ignore all the tell-tale signs in a blinkered pursuit of its goal of a 'friendly' government in exclusive control of the whole of Afghanistan."

 

"Need Of The Hour: Demonstration of Exemplary Solidarity On Thursday"

 

An editorial in mass-circulation Jang insisted (9/24): "The nation needs to openly demonstrate solidarity with the decisions President General Musharraf and his team has taken last week because a few elements, despite being in minority, are struggling to promote their narrow-mindedness for their interests and objectives. These elements are those who have a history of opposing the creation of Pakistan. On the other hand, more than 85 percent of patriotic Pakistanis are playing their role as the silent majority. The need of the hour is that this silent majority should be fully alive to the situation and participate in the September 27 walk in great numbers, for the security and solidarity of Pakistan and in order to reject the ideas of a handful of elements busy undermining national interests."

 

 

"Afghan Shoora's Resolution: America Should Ponder Once Again"

 

According to an op-ed by Irshad Ahmed Haqqani in mass-circulation Jang (9/24): "Every passing moment, step by step, the world is inching towards another destruction. Only a miracle might stop that.... If America extends its actions to committing ground troops and trying to target Iraq and Libya besides Afghanistan, than it would be a far graver tragedy than September 11th. In such an eventuality, the danger of the clash of civilizations would become a reality."

 

"U.S. Designs And Our Deeds"

 

An editorial in second-largest, Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt emphasized (9/24): "What benefit will we get by providing bases to America? Our debt, we wanted to get rid of, would stand where it stands now. By saying no we will not be described as those who sold the nation and that, at a price so cheap. In this situation, Pakistan should at least match the courage Saudi Arabia has demonstrated by refusing to give air bases to America for its attack on Afghanistan.... We should not stick to a decision that is wrong and in conflict with the national interests. God forbid if America attacks Afghanistan, the war will have a direct effect on Pakistan."

 

"Kashmir Liberation And Terrorism"

 

An editorial in pro-Muslim League, Urdu Pakistan argued (9/24): "Secretary Powell responded in affirmative when during an interview with a BBC correspondent who asked him if America's war against terrorism includes the Irish, Kashmiri and Basque terrorism.... Until and unless concerted efforts are made to stop the massacre of wretched human beings in Palestine and Kashmir, no campaign against terrorism would be worth trusting.... Colin Powell should have clarified that the Kashmir liberation struggle and terrorism are two different things."

 

"War is No Solution"

 

An editorial in popular Urdu Din stressed (9/24): "America's haste to wage a war is creating the impression in some Islamic circles around the world that it actually aims to annihilate the world's only 'Islamic emirate,' using terrorism only as a fatade."

 

"Pakistan's Cooperation is Against Terrorism, Not The Afghan Nation"

 

An editorial in sensationalist Khabrain insisted (9/24): "The United States must make evidence against Usama Bin Laden public so that the world is satisfied. It is not right to punish Afghanistan on the basis of mere suspicion against one person."

 

"The Pay-Off"

 

An editorial in the centrist News (9/24): "It is doubtful that the U.S. will open the cornucopia of plenty for Pakistan as participation in the anti-terrorism coalition is mandatory, not voluntary.... The United States, which is preparing to undertake political and strategic engineering in Afghanistan, has a poor record of clearing up the debris after completing its task. This should not be allowed to happen and Islamabad must extract an assurance that there will be no pieces left to be picked up."

 

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

 

AUSTRALIA: "Even Vietnam War Protesters Think President Is Right"

 

Gay Alcorn, Washington correspondent for the liberal Sydney Morning Herald, remarked (9/24): "Bush has perfectly captured the public mood that this is a defining moment. His address to Congress on Friday was proclaimed as his best ever and compared with the great war speeches of Churchill and Roosevelt. It is obvious that Bush sees the struggle against terrorism as the mission of his administration, even the mission of his life. Bush is a religious man, and there is a sense about him now, an easygoing man suddenly serious, an accidental president now with a purpose, that he sees the defeat of terrorism as God's cause.. Everything that was irritating about the United States before September 11 continues to be irritating, not least the assertion that God is on America's side.... The United States needs its skeptics, now more than ever.... American foreign policy is flawed, often deeply so. The United States is as annoying as it ever was. But the dissenters have to move beyond the usual bashing of America. Because, this time, there is something at stake."

 

"Now, U.S. Must Act On Forceful Words"

 

Paul Kelly, international editor for the national, conservative Australian, opined (9/22-23): "Bush's speech was dramatic, uncompromising and inclusive. He put on notice every leader on earth: they must decide whether they are for or against terrorism and if they decide for terrorism, then they are America's enemies.... The struggle invoked by Bush, as he said, will be long, daunting and complex.... This is the epoch changing event for the U.S. people. Their sense of security at home has been violated.... It was impossible to watch Bush without thinking of the previous generational appeals made by Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. Yet this struggle is more complex. It will be decided not just by the idea of U.S. power, but by the power of U.S. ideas. In this speech, Bush has aimed high, very high. He has been utterly uncompromising. The issue is whether America has the means to achieve these ends.... Does it have the will...and the endurance?"

 

CHINA: "China Backs Up Fight On Terrorism"

 

Shao Zongwei wrote in the official English-language China Daily (9/22): "Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan expressed China's willingness to cooperate with the United States and the international community in the fight against terrorism. The (September 11 terrorist attack) has not only brought disaster to the American people, but also posed a challenge to people everywhere,' said Tang during his speech at a dinner sponsored by the U.S.-China Business Council, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and U.S. -China Policy Foundation. He said China is ready to provide necessary assistance to the United States in its rescue efforts."

 

"Terrorism: A Dark Force Shaking International Strategic Situation"

 

Yuan Li commented in the official Chinese Youth Party China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao, 9/22): "In view of America's past experience in fighting terrorism, military strikes are not a miraculous cure.... It is hard for any country, no matter how strong it is, to get an upper hand in a game without rules. The fight against terrorism is an extraordinarily cruel task. It requires that all the world's countries abandon enmity and engage in cooperation to eradicate the root of terrorism."

 

INDONESIA: "United States Of America: Police And Judge All At Once"

 

Muslim intellectual Republika pointed out (9/22): "Terrorist issues have made the U.S. a country other people fear. The issues have made the U.S. the sole interpreter of the term terrorism. The U.S. has led the world through a most dangerous door. Each regime or each country now has the capacity to destroy their political opponents by charging they are terrorists. In addition Bush's speech at the Islamic Center in Washington which indicated that there is no connection between Islam and terrorism made Muslim countries give Bush their empathy and give the U.S. an open passage, with a hammer, to do anything as the world's judge. The U.S. policy to attack Afghanistan, assumed to have sheltered Osama, can also be seen as part of the violence itself. Even if Usama, after strong evidence, was proven responsible for the tragedy, it would not be appropriate for the United States to attack Afghanistan. Unless, the U.S. had a concealed program: rubbing the state of Afghanistan off the face at the earth, or, replacing the ruling regime."

 

"'Carrot' And 'Gift' From United States"

 

Independent afternoon daily Sinar Harapan commented (9/22): "Among the results of President Megawati's visit to the United States was assistance worth over $1 billion to cope with numerous needs and U.S. military assistance to Indonesia. Now, the U.S. desperately needs Indonesia, a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, to combat terrorism. But, it is possible that the United States would fight back against us, for example, if they see us violate human rights, as in the case of East Timor. No matter the term, carrot or gift, we continue to appreciate the response of President Bush to Indonesia's economic difficulties."

 

"Global Solidarity"

 

Independent Media Indonesia (9/23) commented: "We have no idea whether Usama bin Ladin, which the United States has determined is the prime suspect, was behind the incident in New York. We also do not know whether Usama was happy or cried deploring these actions. What is obvious is that the United States is in fury.... What matters now is that the WTC catastrophe is no longer confined to a grudge between the U.S. and Usama. Washington is consolidating a global alliance in the name of a war against terrorism. Usama [to some extent] also manages to consolidate a global alliance in the name of Islam. A U.S. attack on Afghanistan would anger the Islamic world. Solidarity generally takes sides with the weaker party.... But if a war between the U.S. and Afghanistan drags on with neither side winning, which one of them deserves the global humanitarian sympathy? This is where the complexity lies. A solidarity considered neutral is one in the name of humanity. When solidarity emerges in the name of a primordial principle, be it ethnicity, religion or origin, then dialogue would buried and the world would plunge into a quagmire of grudges."

MALAYSIA: "Biggest Conspiracy In The World"

 

Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian had the following opinion by staff writer Mior Kamarul Shahid, in a column, "From The Left Lane" (9/24): "'The war against terrorism' is the slogan chosen by CNN for the coverage of the attacks on the United States. The television giant was fashioning public opinion by daily changing the title of its coverage. While there is sympathy for the tragic event, there is no reason why the United States cannot be reminded of its arrogance towards the rest of the world. CNN's slogans raise questions as to what is the meaning behind 'America's new war?' Is this to show that the American military is using new military tactics or is that the United States will wage war against new enemies? America should realize that the main job for America is not to attack Afghanistan or capture Usama 'dead or alive' but to investigate thoroughly and correctly which parties are truly responsible for the attacks. If the superpower has a long list of enemies, it shouldn't dismiss the possibility that it could be someone else using the Arab people as scapegoats. These people care only to make the United States hate Islam and destroy Muslim countries. This would be the biggest conspiracy in the world."

 

"America Needs To Rethink Actions"

 

Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian opined (9/22): "In the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it has been revealed that 4,000 Jews who worked at the WTC were safe. According to an Arab diplomat, they never appeared at work on that fateful day. So the question arises, what is the truth behind these Jews' absence from work that day? Further strengthening the report is a newspaper article from Israel that reveals that the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was not allowed to travel to New York City by the countries intelligence forces. Did Israel know of these attacks beforehand? Maybe the Arab terrorists were used without them realizing that name of Islam would be blackened? America needs to be definite of their target, be it Usama bin Ladin or terrorists from the al-Qaeda group, there needs to be concrete proof. It seems that there is no consideration for the civilians in Afghanistan whom would become victims of an American retaliation. As a country that holds firmly to the idea that development and prosperity protects from oppression, Malaysia is not behind in supporting the international movement, headed by America, to counter terrorist activities. But as in the views of the Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, no citizen or country who are innocent should face punishment. There are other methods to deal with the terrorism problem, other than conventional warfare."

 

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

 

CANADA: "A Battle Cry From Mr. Bush"

 

The tabloid-style Ottawa Citizen's editorial maintained (9/21): "Anyone who doubted George W. Bush's ability to rally his nation in time of crisis would have been dumbstruck by last night's powerful address to the American people.. Why did American politicians react with such enthusiasm?... Their support stemmed from Mr. Bush's uncompromising insistence that the fight against terrorism is the defining moral battle of our age, and that America and the countries that choose to back her are right to fight back with stern, uncompromising measures.... Mr. Bush noted that 'America has no truer friend than Great Britain.' Perhaps when Jean Chretien visits the president on Monday, he will persuade him that, in the fight against terrorism at least, Canada can be a rival for U.S. affections. To do that, the prime minister will have to articulate Canadians' love of freedom as well as Mr. Bush just did."

 

"Bush, Advisors Acting Wisely"

The leading Globe and Mail observed (9/21): "A lofty standard of leadership has been set for President George W. Bush. In preparing his country for a long and painful war on terrorism, he can look for inspiration not to the great leaders of wars past but to the plain folks, in the United States and elsewhere, whose actions have spoken so loudly in these terrible days.... A plainspoken man, [Mr. Bush] has managed to express America's grief and anger, and embody its resilient spirit and will to fight back, while at the same time resisting the quick, easy response of some sort of massive show of force before he could truly say he knows the enemy he is fighting. This is a war for the information age. The enemy is unseen, hiding in as many as 50 or 60 countries, including the United States itself and, almost certainly, Canada...[and]cannot be defeated by force alone.... Mr. Bush...and his advisers have acted wisely in developing a broad, flexible international coalition to fight terror in multiple ways. They are lining up a range of weapons, not only military but economic and political. ... They are aiming at terror rather than at Islam, not an easy thing when the terrorists wear their faith like armor.... Mr. Bush is asking the nation for an extraordinary endurance. In the circumstances, it's the right way to fight this deadly foe."

"Plan"

The conservative Ottawa Sun's editorial stressed (9/21): "[Canada's] disaster-prone immigration and refugee system...needs a total overhaul.... Related to immigration reform...is airport security.... Besides revoking the charitable status of organizations raising money for terrorists, it's far more important to make such fundraising illegal."

"Tough Balancing Act For Bush"

 

In the liberal Toronto Star (9/21), editorial page editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui wrote (9/21): "George W. Bush has a historic opportunity to change the world--for the better or worse.... In his mission to eliminate Usama bin Laden and the scourge of terrorism, he has to walk on a knife's edge.... Fortunately, Bush, Powell and Rumsfeld seem to have a full grasp of the complexities. The war ahead is to be waged as much with political, diplomatic, economic and intellectual tools as with military hardware."

 

"Don't Blame America For Global Terror"

 

The liberal Toronto Star also held (9/21): "We will also continue to disagree with our friends, allies and trading partners on matters great and small. But we share a resolve to root out this terror from our midst. And the great majority of us recoil at the thought of blaming them for this crisis. Look around. Those are American flags flying in our streets, on our balconies and in our windows. That is a rare and stirring sight. We are in this together. We will see it through."

 

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