UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Homeland Security

SLUG: 6-12825 W OP RDNP (02-13).rtf





BYLINE=Andrew Guthrie





INTRO: As the debate on a war with Iraq continues to heat up, fueled by a dispute over the timing in NATO, an unwelcome voice from another conflict has reappeared. And Osama bin Laden has broadcast an appeal for Muslims worldwide to aid their Iraqi brothers and sisters in any attack by the west. For an idea of reaction to this latest communiqué from the renegade Saudi terrorist leader, we invited V-O-A's _________ to the microphone with a sampling in today's World Opinion Roundup.

TEXT: Mr. Bin Laden, sounding tired and somewhat frail, sent a short message to Muslims around the world which was broadcast on Qatari satellite television station al- Jazeera from Doha on Tuesday. In it, he expressed reservations with the secular regime of Saddam Hussein, but nevertheless called for a holy war against the United States if it and others launch the attack.

The reaction from around the world was divided on two points. Most editorials were sharply critical of what one called "Bin Laden's murderous message" but many papers were quite skeptical when it came to believing in ties between Iraq and the international terrorist organization, al-Qaida he apparently heads. We begin our sampling in England, where London's Independent voices confusion.

VOICE: As with so many developments in the Iraqi crisis, the effect of an apparently genuine tape of Osama bin Laden has been to reinforce the prejudices of both sides. The Bush administration has seized upon [Mr.] bin Laden's call to arms. Those who fear that President Bush is leading the West into an illegal and reckless adventure claim that the tape simply demonstrates [that] a U-S-led crusade against Iraq will be used by bin Laden and his accomplices as grounds for a renewed wave of terror.

TEXT: In France, a very suspicious La Croix newspaper operated by the Roman Catholic Church suggests:

VOICE: ... now that we need it [truth] the most, to sustain and motivate our convictions [we] are stifled by too much propaganda. For example the latest tape attributed to Bin Laden. It may be authentic. Bin Laden may be alive . But how can the British and Americans, who just a few days ago presented a student's homework as "proof' incriminating Iraq, not understand that we are skeptical?

TEXT: To Germany, where in the nation's financial capital, the respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says in part:

VOICE: Bin Laden may have called on Iraqi Muslims to defend their homes against aggression, but it is doubtful, for now, that foreign civilians will be in read danger in Baghdad.

TEXT: For another view, we check in at Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich where there is more skepticism.

VOICE: Secretary Powell did not hesitate to call the tape authentic and see it as ultimate proof of Iraqi-al-Qaida cooperation. In the past, the U-S administration took much longer to check the authenticity of al-Qaida statements. Today, the matter is urgent, because war is on the horizon.

TEXT: In Italy, Rome's influential La Repubblica suggests:

VOICE: Even this time, like every time we have heard his voice, [Mr.] bin Laden spoke to two interlocutors: to both the brains and the guts of the Arab world. And, as usual, he prompted different reactions. The brains draw fine distinctions, qualify and are suspicious. The guts [Editors: probably "the emotional people"], residing in those cafes where al-Jazeera keeps broadcasting his [Osama's] message as a commercial [people] go directly to the point, catch it and use it.

TEXT: Turning northward, in Scandinavia, Norway's big Aftenposten from Oslo proposes:

VOICE: Osama bin Laden declaring that he supports all those whom the U-S has pointed out as enemies, at the same time threatens those who are supporters of the U-S, [and is thusly] totally in line with his political and military program. The U-S of course knows this. That is why it is both too hasty and predictable when Secretary of State Colin Powell uses [the] tape as a sort of evidence that there are close ties between al-Qaida and Iraq.

TEXT: From Bucharest, Romania, as we read this editorial excerpt from Curentul.

VOICE: Authentic or not, American propaganda or not, the latest anti-American audio intervention attributed to Osama bin Laden comes right on time in the campaign to legitimize the use of force against the Baghdad regime.

TEXT: In Spain, Madrid's El Mundo feels that:

VOICE: The importance given to this suspicious tape only proves that [President] Bush and his collaborators are anxious to find arguments that legitimize his decision to declare holy war against Saddam.

TEXT: Quickly now to the Orient, where the Chinese Beijing Youth Daily suggests:

VOICE: Many analysts and observers think that if the bin Laden tape is not a trick played by U-S intelligence agencies, at the very least, the U-S government is attempting to further promote its war plan against Iraq through publicizing [it].

TEXT: India's centrist Telegraph writes:

VOICE: President ... Bush has not mentioned Osama bin Laden for several months and pointedly excluded his name from his State of the Union address. But the world's most wanted man has returned to America's center stage, spreading alarm across the country. If [Secretary] Powell believed that exposing the Osama tape calling for solidarity with the Iraqis he did not succeed in this effort.

TEXT: And lastly from our northern neighbors, Canada, where Ontario's Toronto Sun is entirely convinced the tape is real and the message dangerous.

VOICE: Those who refuse to listen, will not hear Osama bin Laden sent a message to Saddam Hussein's Iraq... and the Chretien government still dithers about supporting a proposed U-S-led force to go after Saddam and his hidden weapons of mass destruction. Well, you might think that such a verified audiotape and [Mr.] bin Laden's murderous message would persuade many leftist peaceniks and Muslims that the al-Qaida terrorist network is indeed linked to Saddam's Iraq. But no, too many don't want to believe it, even as they hear [Mr.] bin Laden's words.

TEXT: On that supportive note from Canada's Toronto Sun, we conclude this sampling of global press reaction to the latest tape from Osama bin Laden.(Signed)


Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list