What others say

Posted: Monday, October 15, 2001

Military action not best way to curb terrorism

The attacks on targets in Afghanistan ... by American and British forces have two clear objectives -- to punish the Taliban regime for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden and to seek retribution for the terrorist atrocities in the United States.

But what's next? Bush and especially his secretary of state Colin Powell must be given credit for trying to build a ''moral'' alliance among virtually all the member states of the United Nations appalled by the Sept. 11 outrage. Bush was expected to come out guns blazing, but instead launched a diplomatic offensive which may point to the solution and resolution of this global crisis.

South Africa's Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu probably expressed it best when he said that the U.S. needed to realize that ''true security will never come from the barrel of a gun.'' We agree with this view that retaliatory action should not deepen resentment and generate a conflict which sees the West pitted against the Muslim world. This would play into the hands of fanatics like bin Laden.

Military action has severe limitations. What all of humanity must hope and pray for is that Bush and other leaders will realize soonest that ''jawing and not warring'' is ultimately the best way to curb and isolate global terrorism.

-- The Star of Johannesburg, South Africa

Oct. 9

Global alliance essential in war against terrorism

Already during the NATO efforts in Kosovo, we learned that it is difficult to keep a coalition together when bombs start hitting the wrong targets. Then, it was an existing alliance, whose members shared the fundamental values of an organization. Now, the alliance is global, with all that means of strain and internal friction. That the global alliance remains as global as possible is, however, a precondition for real success. The U.S.A and Britain can win the military combat on their own. But, as President George Bush has stressed on several occasions, the fight against terrorism starts with Osama bin Laden's militant network al-Qaida, but does not end there. If the victory is going to be sustainable, if it will be possible to control the weapons of mass destruction, to choke the money supply, to close the training camps, to extradite people and to exchange information, there must be a broad support. Then the battle cannot be fought by a handful of countries.

-- Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, Sweden


Oct. 10

La Repubblica, Rome, on Italy's role in the international fight against terrorism:

So Italy has discovered it counts very little. ... Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was not one of the leaders personally notified by Bush on the eve of the attacks against Afghanistan.

Every nation's importance will be classified in terms of its role either as a resource in the war against terrorism, or as part of the problem.

If Italy is not able to stake out its claim it won't be able to protect its national interests.

The loss of prestige doesn't just date from after the Sept 11. attacks or Berlusconi's subsequent gaffe on the superiority of Western civilization over Islam.

Italy's decline has structural origins. During the Cold War because of Italy's geographic position -- bordering the Iron Curtain buffer state Yugoslavia -- it was considered a modest resource. But because of its Communist party, the largest in the West, it was regarded as a problem. The West's Cold War victory meant defeat for Italy in terms of geo-political importance -- no longer a problem but also not a resource.

Today, Italy has to hang on to its position in NATO. But even NATO is changing, as U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said, it's the mission that defines the alliance, not the other way round.

Oct. 10

The Times, London, on relations between India and Pakistan and U.S. engagement in the region:

Nothing, not even the September 11 atrocities, can quite subdue the hostility between India and Pakistan. Both Governments have aligned themselves firmly with Washington in the international effort to defeat terrorism. ... Neither Government seems to be capable of confronting the terrorist threat without barbed reference to Kashmir; and such posturing is more than usually dangerous at this juncture. ... The US is doomed to mediate, now that it is inescapably and deeply engaged in the region, and to break this deadlock it must find ways of using the terrorist threat as a new point of departure.

Oct. 10

Le Monde, Paris, on the need for Muslims and the conflict with bin Laden:

It is understood: Islam does not have a sole spokesman. ... One of the world's three great monotheistic religions, with a billion followers, it has many schools and interpreters. So we could not have expected an authorized comment on the call for Jihad ... launched Sunday Oct. 7 by Osama bin Laden and his spokesman. ...

Considering what we know about its author, it was nothing more nor less than a call for indiscriminate violence -- racist violence, contrary to all the traditions of Islam.

But we are still waiting for condemnations, public and unequivocal, from the most official Muslim religious authorities. ... We have hardly heard from the great Muslim intellectuals either. ... Too uncertain of their legitimacy, the Arab regimes have remained silent also. ...

The Muslim world is uncomfortable with ''Enduring Freedom.'' Regimes feel threatened, opinions misunderstood. In the face of this dangerous situation, Tony Blair ... repeated insistently (on the Al-Jazeera television station) that the West is not against Islam. And that we must not fall into the trap set by bin Laden, that of a war of civilizations.

Oct. 10

Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Israel, on Middle Eastern states being wary of bin Laden:

The battlefield in Afghanistan is far away from Israel and its neighbors; and while bin Laden is idolized by fanatic Arabs and Muslims, including Palestinian extremists, the sober regimes in the Middle East are wary of him and abhor his ways.

When this (international) leverage is turned against terrorism, the cautious would do well to disassociate themselves from bin Laden and open hostility toward the American people, its soldiers and its leaders. Indeed, the Palestinian Authority is taking pains to conceal any signs of Palestinian sympathy for bin Laden and his doctrines from the media.

To judge by his behavior this week, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was not misled by the shaky relations between the Bush administration and the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The deadly clashes between Arafat's police force and demonstrators in Gaza teaches that the campaign in Afghanistan has created an opportunity to push Arafat into the war against terrorism for the first time.


Al Ahram, Cairo, Egypt, on U.S. attacks in Afghanistan:

We wish victory for the United States against terrorism but we don't want its war against Afghanistan to create a new generation of terrorists who are more cruel and destructive. We want the United States to establish peace and concord among all nations and not to be a cause for their split or for creating hatred or feeding ethnic disputes that might create new crises and wars. We want it to establish justice and not to continue with its double standard policy or support the oppressor against the oppressed.

We want the war to end soon. The greatest danger is that the U.S. announcement, that the war will be long and might target others, would expand the span of the war to only end with evil consequences. This needs more consultations and coordination on all regional and international levels.

The expansion of the war would further complicate the terrorism issue which might narrow the possibility of finding a last solution. Therefore, the world community should look for other mechanism to deal with the situation immediately after the war ends.

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