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May 5, 2005

GWOT AND EGYPT:  THERE IS NO 'GREY AREA!'

 

KEY FINDINGS

 

**   A disturbing wrinkle comes with terror in Egypt; "killer women" are now involved.

**  A younger, disaffected and "less easy to control" generation of terrorists may be emerging.

**  The need persists for "an integrated strategy for the whole world to fight terrorism."

 

MAJOR THEMES

 

In Egypt and worldwide, an 'atmosphere of tension' persists--  Global observers condemned the April 30 Egyptian terror atttack which some called a "new form of terrorism" feeding on "domestic frustration and regional tension."  Most Middle Eastern observers decried the Cairo attacks and emphatically denounced how such actions "target the international community and harm everyone."  Euro outlets recalled Sadat's 1981 murder, Luxor's 1997 temple attack, and October 2004's "hotel and tourist attack" in the Sinai, and drew attention to a "worrisome sign in the changes operating in Egypt's terrorism."  Once again, "tourists are targets," but for the "first time" involvement of women terrorists indicates a "worrying and critical sign of things to come," noted a UAE editorial.  Austria's independent Der Standard declared that "blast waves" from regional upheavals now reaching Cairo can be traced back to Egypt's being the "birthplace of political Islam that later turned radical."  Germany's right-of-center Die Welt concluded, "Islamic fanatics want to topple Mubarak with their terror," hating his "total dependence on the United States." 

 

'Terrorists must learn...their means cannot be excused by their goals'--  Israel's nationalist Hatzofe accused Egypt of fostering terrorism by permitting "venomous articles with an anti-Semitic character" and by "being an open supporter of Palestinians, including their terrorist organizations."  The outlet stated, "if you sleep with dogs, you should not be surprised if you wake up with fleas."  Jordan's semi-official Al-Rai declared that "neutrality on terrorism" is prohibited since it amounts to "participation and collusion."  A leading Muslim brotherhood member and former member of the Egyptian parliament opined that the disaffected "evil people" must avoid "inflammatory acts" and "not use violence to end [or]...alleviate their injustice."  In a strident minority voice, Syria's government-owned Tishreen assailed the U.S. for inventing a "definition of international terrorism [that classifies] countries of the world as either terrorist or democratic."

 

'The war against terrorism has not ended'--  "Terror is now striking in Egypt after having penetrated deep into Iraq and shed the blood of Moroccans, Algerians, Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Qataris, spread havoc in Indonesia, Turkey, the Philippines, and gone across to Spain sowing death for the sake of death and killing," said Jordan's Al-Rai.  India's centrist Telegraph  declared, "terrorism is on the rise--not just in the Middle East or in the volatile parts of south-east Asia--but in our very own Jammu and Kashmir too."  A few outlets cited the annual Department of State report, 'Patterns of Global Terrorism," and noted the on-going need to attend to the GWOT.  Argentina's center-right InfoBae declared:  "the U.S. Department of State...pointed out that during 2004 Argentina continued cooperating with the UN, the OAS, its neighboring countries and the U.S. on several anti-terrorist initiatives."

 

Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, rmrmail@state.gov

 

EDITOR:  Rupert D. Vaughan

 

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 34 reports from 19 countries over April 29 to May 2, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed by the most recent date.

 

EUROPE

 

FRANCE:  "Innovations"

 

Gerard Dupuy commented in left-of-center Liberation (5/2):  “If Mubarak has accepted the idea of change for Egypt, it is because change has come to Egypt.  Mubarak’s succession reveals internal generational and political confrontations.  The new generations marching in the streets are betting on a constitutional democracy.  Unfortunately Islamic terrorists are also innovating, using a sort of decentralized organization for deadly attacks....  In a country known for its political immobility, the temptation to pit one group against the other is great.  Egypt, for the most part, is a military dictatorship....  Mubarak is facing two choices typical of authoritarian regimes:  opening the door to change, with the risks involved, or using more authority, and risking an explosion.” 

 

"A New Generation Of Terrorists"

 

Pierre Garrett wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (5/2):  “Specialists in Egypt’s armed Islamism are concerned about the emergence of a new generation of terrorists, younger, more desperate and less easy to control....  This new form of terrorism is more informal, feeds on domestic frustrations and regional tension, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Iraq.”

 

"In Cairo, Terrorism, Family-Style"

 

Right-of-center France Soir observed (5/2):  “This is the first time women terrorists have been involved in attacks in Egypt.  The possibility seemed so unlikely that local authorities first believed the attackers were men dressed as women.  This turn of events is a worrisome sign of the changes operating in Egypt’s terrorism....  It has experts concerned about a new wave of attacks similar to the ones in the 90s.  Egypt is facing a new generation of fundamentalists who are particularly opposed to the West.  They feed on the country’s deteriorating economic situation and its absence of democracy.  They are also annoyed with Mubarak’s relationship with Washington.”

 

GERMANY:  "Free Of Islamists"

 

Michael Thumann noted in center-left, weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (5/4):  "Terror attacks at the Nile sound louder than at other place, not just because they scare off tourists who want to spend their vacation in Egypt, but also because Islamic assassinators killed Egypt's president in 1981.  The government is therefore more concerned than it admits, saying that there is no indication for a return of Islamists, despite two attacks in for weeks.  This statement is purely a question of faith.  President Mubarak has been bashing all kinds of Islamists for many years.  The permanent state of emergency helps here.  In the middle of the 1990s, two terror groups renounced violence and the political organization Muslim Brothers remains banned, the government helplessly claims.  To the regime, this is proof of its successful tough policy.  Now of all times, as Egypt appeared to be stable, sinister forces try to shake the Egyptian model."

 

"Terror Again"

 

Wolfgang Günter Lerch noted in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (5/2):  "In Cairo, the city narrowly escaped a disaster.  The most recent attack could have cost the lives of hundreds of people....   After the devastating attack at the Hatchepsut Temple in 1997, Egypt's Islamic extremists declared a cease-fire.  One reason was that they were increasingly isolated.  Is this now no longer true?  Last October, a hotel and tourists were attack on the Sinai Peninsula.  In Egypt, officials are afraid that tourism, which is vital for the country, could now be hit again.  Opposition movements, which have pursued a policy for democratic changes, are now worried about the continuation of reforms.  Terror could again be a pretext for President Mubarak to leave everything as it is."

 

"Bombs Against The Unapproachable Pharaoh"

 

Heiko Flottau noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (5/2):  "It was to be expected that the Egyptian government declared the terrorist attacks on tourists in Cairo an insignificant crime of a few confused individual criminals....  In the 90s, when the country was shaken by terrorist attacks, the Mubarak regime was considered stable.  But today, Egypt's leader must position himself against a weak opposition.  In addition, the long-term U.S. ally is putting pressure on Egypt and says the country 'must point the direction' in the Middle East, and wants democratic reforms.  That is why terrorist attacks for Mubarak, who wants to approve himself a fifth term in the fall, are coming at the wrong time....         These self-appeasement attempts ignore the fact that a strictly structured organization and technical expertise is no longer necessary to carry out terrorist attacks.  In a 17-million metropolis, there will always be places where bombs can secretly be built.  And in the mass of poorly educated young people...there will always be someone, who seeks his salvation in the strange Islamic ideology and throw aways his own life.  The Mubarak regime has contributed to this development.  The president has been in office for almost 25 years and over the past years, he developed the attitude of an unapproachable pharaoh.  He was not able to free the masses from their poverty...and now new heads are growing out of this hydra.  It is likely that Mubarak will now try to re-interpret his new political weakness as strength:  in such difficult times, he will argue, only a experienced man will be able to continue to govern."

 

"Egypt"

 

Dietrich Alexander penned the following editorial for right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (5/2):  "Tourism is the economic backbone and decisive for the stability of the country.  Even though the Mubarak government wants to avoid the impression:  Egypt is again turning into a battlefield, and tourists are targets again....  Islamic fanatics want to topple Mubarak with their terror....  They hate his 'illegitimate' rule, secularization, corruption, the peace treaty with Israel, and the total dependence on the United States.  First of all, Egypt is to be an Islamic state and not a trailblazer of democratic structures in the Arab-Islamic world, as George Bush wants it to be and undermines this with generous support for the country.  The attacks are throwing back Bush's plans for a new Middle East.  In this state, Mubarak's Egypt is not a supportive pillar, but must first of all define itself and face the social fabric."

 

"Widespread Frustration"

 

Center-right Westfälischer Anzeiger of Hamm (5/2) argued:              "There is widespread frustration in Egypt's society.  Almost one quarter of the people live in poverty.  The official unemployment rate is 8.3 percent, but according to the German Development Assistance Ministry, it has reached 20 percent.  Only a few kids find a job--and this even though the large influx of tourists brings in enormous sums of money for Egypt's economy.  But the state channels the greatest amount of this money back into its tourism industry.  The situation of the people, however, remains bad, and dissatisfaction is on the rise on a daily basis--and with it the willingness to use force."

 

ITALY:  "A Warning Also To Jerusalem"

 

Fiamma Nirenstein wrote from Jerusalem in centrist, influential La Stampa (5/1):  “’Dear Hosni Mubarak, are you standing for democratic process in the Middle East?  Then, here you are served with your share.’  This seems to be the gruesome message delivered to the Egyptian leader yesterday, with a double suicide terrorist attack at Cairo, marked by the blood of tourists.  And if also two Israelis were involved, so much the better, the Egyptian Jihadists must have thought.  Therefore, in addition to that galvanizing effect that anti-Israeli hatred has on the crowd, it is spreading the idea that it is a mistake as well an abomination trying to contribute to the current opening for a peace process, as Hosni Mubarak has done in these months....  If Mubarak...wants his own Iraq, if he wants to please the Americans, if he wants to foster a peace with Israel, he is going to get it with all that’s involved, including an umpteenth spate of bloody attacks.  This is what Cairo’s double attack means.”

 

"United Families In The Myth Of The Car Bomber"

 

Guido Olimpio commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della sera (5/1):  “Family-tailored terror.  Groups established around a group of relatives.  This is what comes out of the investigations on the attacks in Cairo....  Indeed, the Egyptian neo-fundamentalists...are taking the example of what has already happened in Palestine and Chechnya.  Even though they are less organized and less trained than the ‘black widows’, the Egyptian fundamentalist women participate in the attacks.  For the head of a cell it’s easier to recruit them.  He can attract them on their willingness to vindicate a killed or imprisoned husband....  Then there are tactical considerations:  the loyalty to the clan becomes a useful shelter against the much-feared infiltration of the secret police.  If relatives form the group it is difficult for someone to betray....  It also becomes easier to justify to authorities meetings among members of a clan.  It’s a family reunion.”

 

AUSTRIA:  "The Blast Waves Are Reaching Cairo"

 

Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer observed in independent Der Standard (5/3):  "It would be premature to declare that Egypt is sliding into instability.  Cynical as it may sound, however, one has to say that it was to be expected that the blast waves of the upheavals in the region would sooner or later reach the country on the Nile as well, in which the majority of the population is averse to any form of extremism, but which is the birthplace of political Islam that later turned radical.  In addition, things are changing in Egypt--the Mubarak era is drawing to a close, there is pressure from the population--and from the U.S.--on the system, but since options for participation are still limited, pressure is vented at least in part through radical outlets....  There is minimal desire for experiments with uncontrollable forces in the region.  Nobody knows which direction things will go.  The prognostications of the great U.S. visionaries before the Iraq war 'Iraq is the tactical target, Saudi Arabia the strategic one--and Egypt the price for it,' are still resounding in the ears of many people.  Iraq does not need comment; for Saudi Arabia, medium-term prognoses with regard to stability are bad.  Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria are the trio that determined the Arab League's policy after Iraq's exit from the regional stage in 1991.  The situation can be characterized as follows:  Saudi Arabia, as described above, Syria is just being cut down to the political size that the U.S. considers adequate--what the internal development will look like remains to be seen.  What remains is Egypt--for now, that is.  One would like to be a mouse in the White House to be able to hear how the situation is being regarded there."

 

BULGARIA:  "Liberty Dies When A Journalist Dies"

 

Adrian Severin editorialized in popular, privately owned daily Bucharest Ziua (Internet version 5/2): "You can see these days in Strasbourg the photographs of two French journalists who were kidnapped by terrorists belonging to a fundamentalist organization in Iraq. You can read the following words, written below the journalists' photographs: "The press is the daughter of liberty!...  Freedom of the press makes dictatorships impossible, and the fight against dictatorships is our creed.  This is why we have to mobilize ourselves and defend the freedom of the press and journalists whenever it is in danger.  When defending journalists who are in danger we are not only defending their lives, but also our liberties... All our efforts are dedicated to life. Our culture and civilization are based on the right to life. To a life that we want to be free, secure, prosperous, and dignified. This is what we are constantly working for. A person's death only makes sense if it serves the lives of other people, and if it occurs in respect of that person's dignity. The cult of death is opposed to this conception.....  We are trying to promote a culture of tolerance, but we cannot tolerate intolerance. We can also not tolerate attempts to turn the lives of journalists--or any human being--into means of promoting some political creeds, or a philosophy of death, as opposed to the values sanctioned by the culture of life. Consequently, terrorists must learn not only that there is no logical and axiological basis that allows them to benefit from our tolerance, but also that their means cannot be excused by their goals, and that they are even compromising their cause. Terrorist acts degrade human beings by inducing a permanent sense of fear. The humiliations suffered by those who are kidnapped, the same as the fear of those who are in danger of being kidnapped, dehumanize all those who are the targets of the terrorist message, and transform them into collective victims."

 

NORWAY:  "Under Bush’s Carpet"

 

Independent Dagbladet commented (5/1):  “When confronted with uncomfortable facts that are not in support of the Administration’s policies, President Bush’s reaction seems to be one of the following:  lie about the facts or keep them secret.  When it comes to the annual Department of State report 'Patterns of Global Terrorism' both strategies have been used.  Last year’s report from 2003--which listed the number of terrorist attacks and victims of terrorism all over the world--showed, in its first edition, that there had not been this few terrorist attacks since 1969.  And the Bush administration was quick to accept the figures as proof that the United States under Bush was winning the war on terror.  The problem was that the figures did not add up....  This year Secretary of State, and Bush’s close friend, Condoleezza Rice has picked strategy number two.  The annual report for 2004, which is being forwarded to Congress right around now, comes without the traditional overview of the number of terrorist attacks and victims....  Just as in 2003, the figures from 2004 show that Bush is not winning the war on terror.  But since the terrain does not match up with the reality map Bush has drawn up, the Americans only get to see the map.  The truth of the terrain is being kept secret.  Last year, Secretary of State Colin Powell determined to publish the correct figures in the end.  He came in conflict with Bush and left the administration.  So far Condi Rice seems comfortable standing next to the president’s carpet--ready with the broom.”

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

ISRAEL:   "Again--Rockets At Sderot"

 

Nationalist right-of-center, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (5/ 4):  "On Monday afternoon, terrorists launched Qassam rockets in the direction of the city of Sderot.... Residents of Sderot and the adjacent areas are made to pay the price of a peace that will not exist.  They are the victims of the fact that Abu Mazen is a big trickster who very shrewdly deceives Israel and the Western states, and does nothing of what he promised in order to eliminate terrorism....  Only through divine providence have disasters recently been prevented when terrorists were caught on their way to carrying out suicide bombings; it is not clear why [Israel's] government and defense establishment don't treat this as if those acts had in fact been committed.  Are Sharon and his defense minister waiting to act until Jewish blood is spilled?"

 

"Egypt's Soft Belly"

 

Dr. Yoram Meital, Chair of Ben Gurion University's Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy, wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (5/2):  "The extremists do not enjoy wide support among the Egyptian public.  The terrorist attacks are severely condemned and criticized.  However, neither does the regime enjoy much sympathy....  The relentless struggle against the extremist Islamic factions will continue to dominate the regime's agenda under the elected president."

 

"Terror In Egypt"

 

Organ of the National Religious Party, NRP, right-of-center Hatzofe editorialized (Internet version 5/1): "It will be interesting to see whether Egyptian President Husni Mubarak displays the same tolerance toward the perpetrators of terror in his country that he continually preaches to Israel regarding the Palestinian terrorist organizations.  The Egyptian experience shows that the authorities have taken remarkably strong action against terrorist organizations in Egypt when needed.  For many years, Egypt has been an open supporter of the Palestinians, including their terrorist organizations....  Last Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Abu-al-Ghayt stated that his country would do all it could to help the Palestinian people fulfill its legitimate national rights, and first and foremost the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.  The Egyptian minister made his remarks during a speech to those attending the Afro-Asian conference.  Hatzofe today quotes an intelligence report as pointing to another "routine" wave of anti-Semitic incitement in the Egyptian media.  Egyptian public relations recently attacked Israel sharply in a number of venomous articles with an anti-Semitic character that appeared in the establishment press.  Two weeks ago, Hatzofe reported on a large poster of Prime Minister Ari'el Sharon, his predecessors Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Baraq, and the late foreign minister, Moshe Dayan.  This defiant poster, with the words 'the murderers' on it in three languages, was hung up opposite the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, where the offices of the Egyptian Cinema Association, which is hostile to Israel, are located.  Despite repeated appeals by Israel to the Egyptian authorities, including those at the most senior levels (Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom took up the matter personally), the poster has still not been removed for legal reasons.  Egypt, a country that has not been frightened to lend indirect assistance to terror, has again discovered that if you sleep with dogs, you should not be surprised if you wake up with fleas."

 

EGYPT: "The Adolescent Bashindi And His Friends"

 

Opposition party daily Al-Wafd commented (Internet version 5/2):  "Now, after the two incidents in the Abd-al-Mun'im Riyad square and the Al-Sayyidah A'ishah district, it has become more certain that a secret unprofessional force is playing with fire and tampering with our country's most precious possession: Its security and stability. This force is a treacherous and conniving force that works for a bigger power, which may be outside the country. This is the most likely case....  Those who carried out the three operations--Bashindi, Ihab, his sister Najat, his fiancé, and their aides--are not professional terrorists nor are they a professional terrorist organization, and we cannot call them a 'religious group' in the usual sense of the word. They are merely a haphazard cell that was deliberately formed by a party that took advantage of their difficult social circumstances and religious and intellectual adolescence.  This party supplied them with tools, equipment, and 'futile' primitive plans in a bid to cause a political and media clamor at a particular time and place.  Indeed, they are not professional terrorists and do not have a mature jihadi ideology based on a clear and definite program.  Anyone who reads and examines the details and circumstances of the three incidents will easily realize this fact, for committing suicide defies jihadi ideology.  In fact, a jihadist must fight until martyrdom, which is his path to heaven.  It is also obvious that the perpetrators of these operations did not receive sufficient organized training on executing their operations and securing the safety of the remaining elements of the cell after carrying out an operation, as can be seen by the fact that they all died in a short period of time.  Moreover, embroiling women in the implementation of these jihadi operations defies jihadi ideology.  What took place two days ago in the Al-Sayyidah A'ishah district and in the Abd-al-Mun'im Riyad square cannot be considered as two jihadi operations in the usual sense.  In fact, they are mere futile suicide operations by the remnants of the 'haphazard cell' whose members were trapped in the tight grip of the security apparatuses, thus leaving them no place to flee.  Therefore, they took their lives in a tragic manner for fear of arrest.  Nevertheless, Hasan Bashindi was merely someone who was deceived by another hired person. This is the real and reasonable dimension in which we must perceive the situation, without exaggeration or amplification; without a rush that could trigger a greater sedition; and without provocation or the incitement of revenge and arrest operations against those who could pose a greater and more serious danger to the security of the country than did this apostate group of adolescents who shed blood in Al-Azhar, the Al-Sayyidah A'ishah district, and the Abd-al-Mun'im Riyad square.

 

"Victims Of Failed Government Policies"

 

Samir al-Shahat remarked in opposition party daily Al-Wafd  (5/2):  "The perpetrators of recent blasts are victims of a failing educational system and government policies that lack creativity and fail to launch real development projects."

 

"Some Evil People"

 

Chief editor Ibrahim Nafi opined in the state-owned daily of record, Al-Ahram (5/2):  About one month after the Al-Azhar attack, some evil people committed yet another terrorist crime at the martyr Abd-al-Mun'im Riyad square and Al-Sayyidah A'ishah district in the heart of Cairo.  This crime was no more than a desperate attempt by its perpetrators to undermine stability in Egypt.  However, they will be fairly punished under the provisions of the law.  They mercilessly committed this crime, undeterred by conscience, morals, or religion with the aim of causing chaos, violence, and panic in the country at a time when Egypt is engaged in a large process of political change, which requires everyone to contribute to formulating a policy for the future on the economic, political, and social levels.  I say to these reckless people: you are condemned to failure. Our people reject the killing of innocent people and aggression against guests and tourists.  The experience of the 1990s is gone, and we will not allow it to be repeated under any pretext.   Egypt's social and political fabric is too strong to be destroyed by such minor acts. It will remain firm and cohesive, while the decision makers will take sound decisions to protect the country as a trust and historical responsibility. In the meantime, they will press ahead with the process of comprehensive political reform.  The aim of the neo-terrorism is to render the country unable to think of its future, and we must not give those who are behind it an opportunity to carry out this suspect plot.  The latest actions may be isolated and indiscriminate. However, they sound the alarm bell for all of us to realize that there are regional and international parties, which support and fuel this propensity for bloodshed, so that it may spread in the entire region.  These parties take advantage of the events in Iraq following the U.S. occupation, the tense situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and failure to reach a just resolution to this issue to date.  No one will be allowed to import this situation to Egypt, as we take an honorable stand toward these two issues.  I reiterate that all Egyptians denounce all forms of terrorism and work together with religious and social institutions and security authorities to prevent this danger from spreading once again.

 

"Atmosphere Of Tension in Egypt And Worldwide"

 

Isam al-Iryan, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and former member of the Egyptian parliament, commented on Arabic language  TV Al-Safwa (5/1):   "The recent incident was condemned by Egypt's whole population but the Egyptian authorities need to explain why violence was returning to Egypt...  I cannot find an explanation....  There is an atmosphere of tension not only in Egypt, but also around the world.  We are in an international environment that has made terrorism a global issue.....  The situation in the region has created an environment that is used as a justification for terrorism....  The Egyptian authorities are not telling the truth about what really happened on 30 April....  [I] went personally to the scene of the incidents and found that eye witness reports contradicted what the Interior Ministry said in its different statements about the attacks....  The ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood could lead to violence and is not inflammatory...[but] the practices of the Interior Ministry are increasing the sense of inflammation in society.....   My role is to teach, to find another way for youth who want to serve their nation and religion, to stand against the calls of violence by using legitimate counterarguments, to fix the official and political path that leads to inflammatory acts and to stand beside the innocent to alleviate injustice so they will not take part in violent acts to end their injustice.

 

SAUDI ARABIA:  "Terrorist Operations And The Iraqi Government" 

 

Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (5/2):  The terrorist operations will not stop upon formation of the new government or electing a national committee, as the reasons for the decision taken by the resistance against American occupation still exist... The resistance is not the only party who wants the government to fail. The friends of previous Iraqi regime and enemies of today are seeking to put obstacles before the new government... The government should pay attention to the full spectrum of Iraqis in order not to give the justification to any terrorist groups to speak in the name of any Iraqi party.  

 

BAHRAIN:  "Terrorism Serves No Purpose"

 

The pro-government, English-language Daily Tribune remarked (Internet version, 5/3):  "The deadly attack on tourists in Cairo two days ago is a reminder that terrorists, or extremists, as they are being referred to now, can strike at will anywhere and kill people.  The attack, in fact, two attacks, at almost the same time are sure to hit Egypt’s thriving tourism industry in a big way.  It is even more alarming to note that women, for the first time, have become killers and have actually gone around shooting at tourist hubs.  This attack was a grim reminder of the incident several years ago in Luxor when several tourists were killed by gunmen.  That incident sent a scare among tourists and for several weeks after that, the tourism industry suffered.  The same may happen yet again.  One has to be careful all the time about such incidents more because they target the international community and harm everyone--the local people, the politicians and the country as a whole.  Be it Egypt, Cyprus, Italy or any other nation in the world, no one is free of this kind of terror, but in the end, this serves no purpose.  We are all aware of how years of terrorism and militancy had virtually killed the tourism industry in the Indian part of Kashmir where the people are now living in abject poverty, fed up with the gun.  The people involved in the tourism industry in Egypt are very prosperous and very enterprising at the same time, and know how to take care of their guests.  So it would be quite a tragedy to let them suffer at the hands of a minuscule group of people who have nothing to gain from their escapades.  It is, however, heartening to note that the authorities have come to the conclusion that the attackers were not linked to al-Qaida or any other international terrorist organization and that they acted on their own.  This is all the more reason for the Egyptian government to take care that it looks after its own nationals in such a way that they are not willing to take to the gun for small monetary gain as has apparently happened on this occasion.  Providing gainful employment and poverty alleviation is the main task ahead and if the government is able to address that, it could be a major part of the battle won already."

 

JORDAN:  "Neutrality Is Prohibited, And Silence Is A Crime"

 

Amman's semi-official Al-Rai declared (5/1):  "We do not believe that neutrality on terrorism is a stand; rather it is participation and collusion. Terror is now striking in Egypt after having penetrated deep into Iraq and shed the blood of Moroccans, Algerians, Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Qataris, spread havoc in Indonesia, Turkey, the Philippines, and gone across to Spain sowing death for the sake of death and killing. It has no aim other than to terrify and harm people, endanger their interests, and keep them captives of fear, confusion, and sorrow. How then should we explain "the operations" that occurred in Cairo on 30 April 2005 and which bring to mind the methods of killing that have become a monopoly of sleeper terrorist cells or those that act on external orders with no aim other than to ruin the Egyptian tourist season, create a climate of anxiety and tension, and exploit what is happening in the political arena....  Silence is prohibited. It is a crime and collusion in the act. There can be no standing in the grey area, now that the terrorists have gone so far and revealed the nature of their thought which rejects law, logic, the language of reason, a resort to the ballot box, and the peaceful handover of power. They are trying now--as they have tried in the past--to impose their law on everyone, although they are merely an isolated and ostracized minority, however hard they try to hide under the guise of religion while religion has nothing to with them. Everyone must reject such methods. They must condemn those methods, not only in vague words and confused statements."

 

SYRIA:  "War Of Terminologies"

 

Isam Dari editorialized in government-owned Tishreen (4/30):  "Who authorized this superpower to invent a definition of international terrorism and classify countries of the world as either terrorist or democratic?  The U.S. rejected international calls--including a Syrian call made two decades ago--to hold an international conference to define terrorism and, subsequently, draw up an integrated strategy for the whole world to fight this terrorism.  Less than two decades later, the U.S. administration declares a relentless war against what it calls terrorism, which is pure Arab-Islamic terrorism....  We hope the countries and peoples of the world will read U.S. policies, definitions and descriptions of the common terms in an objective way and analyze them logically.  We have no doubts at all that the results of such reading would be conclusive:  the terrorism the U.S. is fighting is not the real terrorism.  Democracy that is imposed by force is not democracy.  Human rights are not safeguarded.  In short, what is happening turns the terms upside down.  The nations of the world are required to accept the American definition without discussion, or else....  Why don't the nations of the world talk to each other objectively and equally to define these terms before the term freedom, for example, acquires the meaning:  return of colonialism to occupy peoples?"

 

UAE:  "Shape Of Things To Come"

 

The expatriate-oriented, English-language Khaleej Times editorialized (Internet version, 5/2):  "The Saturday terror attack in Cairo, Egypt deserves to be condemned in strongest terms. The suicide strike, coming a month after a similar attack near Al Azhar Sharif, the Muslim world’s first university, highlights the grave challenges facing the Arab country.  Although the authorities have tended to dismiss the terror strike as an isolated incident, it does not demand extraordinary intelligence to see that Egypt is sitting on a veritable political volcano.  When veiled young women take their lives to make a political statement, they point to a dangerous churning within the society.  The involvement of women, a phenomenon never before witnessed in Egypt, is a worrying and critical sign of shape of things to come.  While it may be a while before the motives behind the extremist violence are officially revealed and analyzed, some experts have tried to explain the attacks as acts of revenge against political persecution.  The issue of torture in Egypt’s prisons has been a source of concern for human rights groups.  The National Supreme Council for Human Rights has claimed that detainees are severely and routinely tortured during investigation, sometimes leading to their deaths.  On the other, as opposition groups like Kifaya argue, persecution and lack of political freedom can push perfectly normal people to acts of desperation.  While the acts of terror must be strongly rejected as extremism has no place in a civilized society, the Egyptian authorities would do well to examine the causes and factors responsible for the sudden upsurge in violence and outbursts of anger.  Much of the pent-up anger stems from a lack of political freedom, tolerance and democracy in the country.  There are said to be around 20,000 political detainees in the country’s prisons.  The powers that be in Egypt must know that political disaffection coupled with a loss of hope could lead to dangerous consequences."

 

SOUTH ASIA

 

INDIA:   "A Mixed Blessing" 

 

Washington-based diplomatic editor K.P. Nayareditorial wrote in the centrist Telegraph (5/4):  “Terrorism is on the rise. Not just in the Middle East or in the volatile parts of south-east Asia, but in our very own Jammu and Kashmir too. It is something that should make Indians sit up and think as the country slowly slides towards another phase of being besieged, reminiscent of the late eighties and early nineties. This grim assessment is based on figures, figures which had to be virtually extracted from an unwilling U.S. administration....  If anyone thought that George W. Bush’s bravado--remember, he wanted Osama bin Laden 'dead or alive'--was winning the war on terrorism, his officials gave away statistics last week that made grim reading. The story revealed by those statistics is depressing. But the way these vital statistics came to be released to the public is a reassuring reminder that, notwithstanding the paranoia and the xenophobia that is sweeping the United States of America, there is a cross-section of the leadership in the U.S. which is loathe to use the threat of terrorism as political football....   The (GOI) ministry of defense released its latest annual report in New Delhi. This report gives a sober assessment of the gradual, but not irreversible, improvement in the terrorist threats against India. Reading it is to be impressed by the contrasting ways in which India and the U.S. deal with terrorism. In India, clearly, there is no effort to make political capital out of the terrorist threat to the nation. Besides, the defense ministry’s report does not share the misguided enthusiasm in sections of the Indian government for friendship with Pakistan....  For many Indians it will be reassuring that the defense ministry’s political leadership, civilians and the men in uniform have made the considered decision that the present rapprochement with Pakistan cannot be an unmixed blessing when the state department’s statistics make for worrying reading.”

 

"Pressure On Bangla"

 

Guwahati's English centrist The Assam Tribune editorialized (5/3):  "The inclusion of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in the list of foreign terrorist outfits prepared by the United States Government will definitely be a blow to the militant outfit as the pressure on the ULFA from the international community is bound to increase after the development. It is a well- established fact that the ULFA is using the territory of Bangladesh to create disturbance in Assam and the top leaders of the outfit are also taking shelter in the neighboring country....  The ULFA has been insisting on a written assurance from the Government of India that that core issue of talks should be sovereignty of Assam and the Government, on its part, will definitely find it difficult to openly declare that sovereignty would be discussed as such an announcement would open up the Pandora’s box and there is every possibility of other militant outfits all over the country raising the same demand."

 

PAKISTAN:   "U.S. Seeks Watch On Freed Prisoners"

 

National center-left English-language Dawn published (5/2): "The United States has asked Pakistan to keep a vigilant eye on activities of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners who have returned to the country, sources in the interior ministry told "Dawn" on Sunday.  The sources said the U.S. had conveyed its concern over the activities of the former prisoners in Pakistan and expressed apprehensions that some of them had got involved in terrorism."

 

"Is This A Favor Or A Disfavor?"

 

Nazeer Naji wrote in leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang (5/2):  "The United States is providing unprecedented and extraordinary support to President Musharraf, which perhaps is not in his favor too.  However, this excessive U.S. support for President Musharraf and its open expression would not benefit him and the Americans fully realize it.  Our powers that be should ponder if the repeated reiteration of U.S. support for President Musharraf, more than necessary admiration for him, open support for his policy and attempts to prove him a great military leader are aimed for achieving something special?" 

 

"War Against Terrorism Has Not Ended; Pakistan Important Ally"

 

Second-largest, Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt held (4/29):  "In the fresh annual report on terrorism, America has declared Pakistan an important ally in the war against terrorism.  The report issued in Washington said that like Pakistan some countries faced terrorists’ strikes....  The report...says that Pakistan achieved outstanding successes in the war against terrorism.  Pakistan failed many terrorists' strikes and attempts to kill most important personalities."

 

BANGLADESH:  "State Dept Lauds B'desh"

 

The independent English-language Daily Star editorialized (5/3):  "The U.S. State Department has lauded the role of Bangladesh in the war against terror.  That is indeed good news for a country that came under a barrage of criticism by the Western media in recent times and even got branded as the 'breeding center' of religious fundamentalism.  The report reflects the concern that Bangladesh has always shared with the international community over international terrorism.  But the report has also claimed that the Harakatul-Ul-Jihad-I, a terrorist group, is operating in Bangladesh. The matter of grave concern is that the group is reported to be linked to the al-Qaida network.  Now, the government must place the whole thing in the right perspective.  The appreciation of our role vis-à-vis terrorism should not blur our vision when it comes to handling the tricky question of the presence of militant outfits in the country.  Nor will outright denial of any such irritant being present here help us.  In fact, it is no longer a secret that the activities of some organizations operating in the name of religion are being viewed with great suspicion by the international community.  The recent crackdown on the suspected militants was proof enough that the government itself had deemed it necessary to act against them.  But the move has fizzled out for inexplicable reasons.  Then do we have to believe that the whole exercise was for public consumption only?  Either it has been abandoned under the pressure from the rightist groups or it lacked the substance that could have made it a worthwhile attempt to wipe out the militants.  The State Department report says that the Harakat has six camps in Bangladesh and is suspected to have links to the attempt in July 2000 on the life of the then-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.  So the danger that such organizations pose needs no elaboration.  There is little doubt that the militant outfits are the principal beneficiaries of the government's failure to catch the criminals responsible for the recent bomb attacks and killings.  It is time the government acted with greater determination to neutralize the fundamentalist challenge."

 

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

 

CANADA:  "How Canada Failed The U.S."

 

Columnist Ian Mulgrew observed in the conservative tabloid Vancouver Sun (5/2):  "Testimony and material filed with the U.S. federal court by the defence and prosecution in the Ahmed Ressam trial in Seattle should worry every Canadian.... The Americans are right to complain about our conduct and the blithe manner in which we approach continental security responsibilities. We are a staging area for extremists of many flags.... While the U.S. conducts an on-going debate about the performance of its intelligence watchdogs, it's my opinion Canadians would rather not lift such rocks and look at what's underneath.  I understand why--it's scary....  We should demand Ottawa explain why it has allowed and continues to permit [militants operating here] to use Canada as a haven in which to live, raise money, scheme, mobilize and strike from.  Judge Coughenour, if you ask me, is fully justified to be righteously irked at our behaviour."

 

ARGENTINA:  "Triple Border, Off The Agenda"

 

Business-financial, center-right InfoBae concluded (4/29):  "After the September 11 attacks, the Third Border became the focus of all eyes in search for local networks of funding for terrorists' activities.  For a long time, the Third Border has been one of Washington's main concerns regarding international security.  Nonetheless, a recent U.S. State Department report revealed that the Third Border is not included in the U.S. agenda and does not unleash the concern it used to touch off in other times, due to the joint work performed by the three Latin American countries involved to improve security in the region.  The U.S. Department of State, led by Secretary Condoleezza Rice, pointed out that during 2004 Argentina continued cooperating with the UN, the OAS, its neighboring countries and the U.S. on several anti-terrorist initiatives."

 

VENEZUELA:  "Hypocrisy"

 

Pro-government daily tabloid Diario VEA editorialized (4/29):  “The United States has placed the fight against terror as a fundamental goal of its policy.  Posada Carriles is one of the most renowned international terrorists.  He plotted an attempt to assassinate Cuba’s president.  How can the United States protect a terrorist like Posada Carriles?  Are there terrorists that should be protected and others that should be condemned to death?  What is the difference?”

 

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