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Homeland Security

SLUG: 6-12845 OP RDNP (03-03).rtf





BYLINE=Andrew Guthrie




INTRO: The American press is reacting with relief to the news that a man described by western law enforcement as the operations chief of al-Qaida has been captured in Pakistan. We get a sampling of early reaction now from V-O-A's ____________ in today's U-S Opinion Roundup.

TEXT: Some U-S newspapers are suggesting just how serious a blow this is to the al-Qaida network. The New York Post includes the capture in an editorial responding to a series of inter-related weekend developments.

VOICE: Who would have figured, not so long ago, that fervidly Islamist Pakistan would prove to be a more reliable friend to America than supposedly secularist, longtime ally Turkey? That's the way it is. At least, that's the way it was over the weekend, when: Pakistani police and U-S agents near Islamabad captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the American-educated terror mastermind who is second only to Osama bin Laden in al-Qaida's organizational structure...

Turkey's parliament repaid 60 years of staunch post-World War Two American friendship by voting to deny U-S combat forces permission to deploy into northern Iraq from Turkish soil.

. Meanwhile, it would be hard to overstate the importance of [Mr.] Khalid's capture. As one of Osama's principal deputies, the Kuwaiti national would have been in a position to know everything worth knowing about al-Qaida operations.

TEXT: An equally excited Christian Science Monitor in Boston calls his arrest "the most successful victory in President Bush's war on terrorism since" Afghanistan's liberation.

VOICE: If he sings [Editors: U-S slang in this instance for: "provides information"] like a bird under the hot lamp of interrogation, al-Qaida's top operational leader, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, could reveal the minutest details that would help the U-S blow open his terrorist network, especially the so-called sleeper cells in the U-S and Europe.

TEXT: New York's Wall Street Journal is delighted, suggesting that al-Qaida is "on the run."

VOICE: Maybe the war on terror is going better than the critics claim. Certainly the capture Saturday of alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the biggest prize so far. .we need to find out what he knows.

TEXT: While adding to the cheers over the capture, The New York Times takes a cautionary lesson from the incident.

VOICE: Pakistan's pivotal role in the seizure .is one more demonstration of the importance of working in concert with other nations in the fight against terrorism. .The same principle applies to Iraq. .After a weekend of fast-moving events, including the destruction by Iraq of some of its illegal .missiles, Mr. Bush needs to take a deep breath. The White House seems increasingly intent on attacking Iraq, whether or not Baghdad disarms.

TEXT: On that note, we conclude this editorial sampling of early comment on the capture of a key al-Qaida leader.


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