International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

October 8, 2003

October 8, 2003





**  Striking Syria opens a new "international dimension," making the region "more dangerous."


**  The U.S. cannot be an "honest broker" given its "excessive one-sidedness towards Israel."


**  Arab dailies predict Israel will "expand its aggression" and unleash a "new wave of violence."


**  Israeli and pro-Israeli writers defend the attack, calling Syria "complicit" in terrorism.




Writers warn the attack may 'trigger' a Middle East war--  Euro, Asian and Latin dailies criticized Israel's "irresponsible and reckless" attack, which increased the "danger of a new big war."  The liberal Sydney Morning Herald termed the "extraordinary extension of the usual Israel response" a "clear escalation," while Britain's tabloid Daily Mirror opined that the violence just "makes peace less likely."  Dailies in the developing world were more vitriolic.  Uganda's independent Monitor assailed "this most provocative act of impunity"; Brazil's liberal Folha de S. Paulo said the attack was "almost useless in terms of self-defense."


Only the U.S. can 'impose a solution for peace'--  Euro papers urged the U.S. to "equally exert pressure on Israelis and Palestinians alike."  Spain's left-of-center El Pais said the "U.S. is the only one able to pressure Israel, and it doesn't want to."  There was sentiment among Muslim writers that "Israel is an active element" in the U.S.' "hawkish policy."  Egyptian and Indian dailies said the "real crisis lies in...Bush's position" because Israel acted with "full U.S. consent."  India's independent Awam held the U.S. "responsible for the Israeli aggression."  


The 'war against the Palestinians' is now a 'war against all Arab countries'--  Arab outlets alleged Israel seeks "to spread chaos and a climate of war."  Tunisia's independent Le Quotidien said Israel wants to "widen its conflict with the Palestinians" in what Egypt's leading Al Ahram labeled a "feverish desire to ignite the entire region."  Syria's state-owned media accused Israel of "ignoring all human values."  Notably, a Lebanese daily urged Syria to "solve its problems with Washington" because Damascus is "exposed militarily and the Arab world will never be able to protect it."


Israel should hit 'states giving asylum and assistance to terrorists'--  Papers in Australia, Poland, Portugal and Israel expressed understanding for attacking a camp for "terrorists who execute attacks in Israel."  Peace will be "an elusive dream," judged Poland's liberal Gazeta Wyborcza, "as long as the Palestinians opt for terror."  The conservative Australian said that "criticism of Israel ignores the obvious. The terrorists it confronts are not interested in peace."  Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz said Syria "is involved in direct assistance to terror organizations" and thus a legitimate target.  Lisbon's center-left Diario de Noticias agreed that terrorists "are fought legitimately in all parts of the world.  Whether global pacifists like it or not."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis was based on 88 reports from 36 countries over 6 - 8 October 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Who'll Put A Stop To The Killing?"


The center-left tabloid Daily Mirror averred (10/8):  "When it seemed as if things couldn't get worse in the Middle East, they have....  Every new act of violence, from whichever side it comes, makes peace less likely.  And spreading the conflict into another country, as Israel has done by bombing what it said was a terrorist camp in Syria, makes more killing inevitable....  That won't deter the terrorists.  It will do the opposite, as has been proved so often since Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister....  President Bush is too weak to prevent it.  The UN too powerless.  For God's sake, when will this slaughter stop?"


"Sitting Targets"


The conservative Times surmised (10/7):  "The weekend strike on a camp said to be linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad is a measure both of the anger in Israel over the latest appalling suicide bombing, which left 19 Israelis dead, and the weakness of the present Syrian Government....  As much of an angry Arab world was forced to admit yesterday, Syria is not the force it used to be....  Within Syria, however, the raid will set off political shockwaves.  It will immediately strengthen the hand of the hardliners in the Army and the many security services who oppose President Assad's faltering attempts at reform....  [Assad] has continued support for terrorist groups despite repeated warnings from the West that this disqualifies Syria from any meaningful diplomatic role....  Syria should close all remaining offices and training camps immediately.  Otherwise it risks more destabilising Israeli raids."


"The Price Of Indulgence"


An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph opined (10/6):  "Syria has a long history of complicity with terrorism....  The Sharon government is, therefore, perfectly justified in striking a neighbour that sponsors groups wishing to drive the Israelis into the sea....  Israel and its closest ally, the United States, should now put a concerted squeeze on Syrian meddling....  Allied policy should also aim at freeing Lebanon from what amounts to a Syrian protectorate....  As for Mr. Arafat, Israel would be best advised to keep him holed up in Ramallah.  Declaring its willingness to deport him has already boosted his flagging prestige.  Actually doing so would add to it further....  Ostracism, not the reinforcing of martyr status, is what Mr. Arafat deserves."


"Sliding Towards Chaos"


An editorial in the left-of-center Guardian stated (10/6):  "Islamic Jihad, which admitted responsibility, has once again done grave disservice to the Palestinian cause.  But Israel's response to the attack is equally unjustified.  Its air raid deep inside Syrian territory was a reckless act typical of Israel's leader, Ariel Sharon.  It will dissipate international sympathy and further entrench Arab hostility.  Mr. Sharon has a genius for putting Israel in the wrong....  It is unlikely that the assault on the alleged Islamic Jihad training camp north of Damascus will curb future terrorist attacks; quite the opposite, in fact....  It has long been apparent that Israelis and Palestinians are incapable of resolving their problems by themselves....  British ministers who now solemnly stress the necessity of upholding international law, after ignoring it when it suited them in Iraq, can hardly expect a serious hearing....  As for George Bush, he certainly needs to think again--and act quickly....  Far from reining in Mr. Sharon, Washington's effete, partial policy seems to have emboldened him to attack, to escalate, to spread the conflict in the much-abused name of the 'war on terror', while actively subverting the road map.  This is not Bush-ian vision of a transformed, peaceful Middle East.  This is a vision of hell, of a Haifa every day."


"The Attack On Syria Will Not Help Bring Peace To Israel"


The center-left Independent opined (10/6):  "No one doubts that Syria is both part of the problem in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that it must be part of the solution.  But now we have moved from the irrelevance of the American initiative to impose sanctions on Syria to the actively counter-productive approach of a vengeful Israel....  Under international law, the UN Security Council should have no choice but to condemn the Israeli action; of course it will not be because of the American veto.  That is an outcome that it will only reinforce the charge of double standards levelled against the West by so many in Arab countries....  It is right that pressure be brought to bear on Mr. Assad, as on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, to take action against the terrorists they are harbouring....  But the Israelis must understand that suicide terrorism can never be prevented by military force....  For that reason, a gesture that may make Israelis feel safer in the short term only makes their long-term security all the more difficult to defend."


FRANCE:  “Damascus On The Edge”


Claude Lorieux opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (10/7):  “Bachar el-Assad can hardly free himself from his father’s legacy....  This is particularly true in foreign policy, where he is implementing a strategy inherited from Haffez el-Assad....  By attacking Syria directly, Sharon is upsetting el-Assad’s complex and ambiguous policy. If Sharon, with America’s support and Europe’s hesitation continues to abuse the situation through Israel’s military superiority, then el-Assad will be forced out of his ambivalence, like his father in 1998.”


"Anti-Syrian Escalation"


Pierre Rousselin commented in right-of-center Le Figaro(10/6):  “Since their victory in Baghdad, the Americans have been demanding increasing cooperation on the part of Syria....  In Washington, Congress has upped the ante with the ‘Syria Accountability Act’ that imposes a system of sanctions similar to the one that existed in Iraq during the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.  By, very symbolically, striking Syria the day of the thirtieth anniversary of the Kippur War, Ariel Sharon is on the same wavelength as his American allies.  He probably even got a green light before attacking.  The whole world may be concerned about the spread of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but George W. Bush is not about to criticize Ariel Sharon for his ‘preventive war’ against the Islamic Jihad.  On the contrary, the American administration has not given up the idea of acting against Damascus just because it is otherwise occupied in Baghdad.  For Sharon, the attack in Syria has another advantage. It turns attention away from the fact that there is still no diplomatic solution to the impasse of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”


“Danger of Escalation”


Guillaume Goubert held in Catholic La Croix (10/6):  “The risk that Syria will retaliate against Israel seems low....  Damascus would get no military support from neighboring countries as long as the U.S. remains in Iraq, that is to say, on Syria’s doorstep.  And the U.S. would more than ever take the side of Israel....  Paradoxically, the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis has spread to another country could be the consequence of Israel’s not finding a way to get rid of Yasser Arafat.  The international community, including the U.S., is opposed to the idea....  A de-escalation of the situation will only be possible with the determined involvement of the U.S., the EU and Russia, who all appear, for the time being, to have other priorities."


GERMANY:  “Lebanon As Victim”


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine commented (10/8):  “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not in an enviable position.  After Israel’s latest air strike near Damascus, he cannot be seen to yield....  Arab nationalism supports his regime; it has to stick to its stance.  On the other hand, Assad cannot push his luck too far; up to now he has used diplomacy.  It is to be feared that in case of renewed confrontation with Israel weak Lebanon will again be the victim....  It may well be that some training camps for Palestinians exist in Syria here and there (weapons are everywhere), but most of them lie in Lebanon.  The small country just recovered from the devastations of a civil war; a new confrontation on its back would be a catastrophe.”


“Sharon’s Carte Blanche”


Michael Backfisch opined in right-of-center Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (10/8):  “President Bush sanctioned the destruction of an alleged training camp of Islamic Jihad near Damascus by Israeli forces: Israel ‘has the right to defend itself and protect its homeland.’  These words are identical with Bush’s justification for America’s worldwide campaign against terror.  He thus basically gave Prime Minister Sharon carte blanche....  Israel’s revenge act can act as a dangerous precedent.  If a country usurps the right to define when and by whom it is threatened, who can guarantee that one day India will not carry out a preemptive strike against its arch-enemy Pakistan on the grounds of terrorist activities in Kashmir....  Everyone has to pay that the Americans do not have a consistent Middle East policy....  The chances of putting an end to the cycle of violence in the region...will rise only if America assumes its role of honest broker; this means Washington must equally exert pressure on Israelis and Palestinians alike.  If Bush continues his asymmetrical policies, further terror attacks cannot be ruled out.”


“Syria As Makeshift Solution”


Martina Doering held in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (10/7):  “Arafat was spared.  The reason for this is clear.  The U.S. administration may not like Arafat, but it knows that hell would break loose among the Palestinians if Israel would remove Arafat.  Thus, the Sharon government can do almost anything with Washington’s permission, but not exiling or killing Arafat....  By striking against Syria, Premier Sharon and Israel’s military pursued two aims: to demonstrate their capability to act and to satisfy their lust for revenge....  In light of its domestic election campaign, the difficulties in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, the U.S. government has no interest in further escalation.  Syria will be spared further difficulties, but this does not apply to the Palestinian leader.  The Israeli and American governments’ views on Arafat’s fate are diametrically opposed.  Up to now Sharon has heeded President’s Bush pleas.  However, it does not mean that it will remain so if further suicide attacks are carried out and the Israeli government panics.”


“Sharon’s Doctrine Does Not Work”


Inge Guenther stated in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (10/6):  “Israel’s Prime Minister Sharon believes one should scare the Arab world to death as this is the only way to come to grips with the terror....  This doctrine could only be maintained as long as the Israeli army succeeded in thwarting Palestinian attacks....  The threats against Arafat, the pressure on the radical Palestinians and the rockets fired at an alleged training camp of Islamic Jihad in Syria are probably not a solution to the problem.  On the contrary: it will motivate international terror to continue its attacks on Israel.”


“Far Away From Peace”


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine opined (10/6):  “Israel responded with an air strike against an alleged training camp of the terror organization deep in Syria, an escalation which shows the predicament about what one could further do, after it has become apparent that retaliatory strikes in Palestine and preemptive killings of alleged radical leaders could not stop the terror.  Syria, as a ‘protective power of terror’, has been threatened with more strikes.  It is not likely that a war will ensue from this.  It can be predicted that in the UN Security Council an American veto will prevent the condemnation of Israel, which will make Washington look even less suited in Arab eyes as a fair broker in the conflict....  Currently, it does not seem that America is willing to try and salvage the international road map for Palestine.  In stark contrast to earlier propaganda, which had said that the intervention in Iraq was conducive to peace, Washington’s capacity for shaping foreign policy has been so totally absorbed by its fight against the failure of its Iraq policy that hardly anything remains for the old feud about Palestine."


ITALY:  “Democracy At Risk”


R.A. Segre contended in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (10/6):  “The suicide attack against Maxim its dramatic redundancy contains significant military and political messages on which it would be good to reflect, also because the Israelis did not retaliate, as many anticipated, against Arafat, but with an air raid against a terrorist base in Syria. The raid provoked Damascus’ immediate appeal to the UN. The attack in Haifa was carefully planned and carried out successfully just on the eve of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) that this year coincides with the date of the war of Yom Kippur waged thirty years ago by Syria and Egypt against Israel. Apart from the evident symbolism of the dates, in the operation there was a will to show the vitality and decisional independence of a relatively small terrorist group--the Islamic Jihad--with ties to Egyptian terrorists, but above all with Syria, that refuses any sort of agreement with Israel....  For the Palestinian fundamentalists, to attack a democracy like Israel--which instills fear because it is the only one [democracy] in the Arab world--can appear easy and politically fruitful, but it can become self-destructive. Both Arafat and Abu Ala, the prime minister designate who is having difficulties forming a new government capable of controlling the terrorists, are aware of this. But with yesterday’s Israeli air raid against a base of the Islamic Jihad in Syria, the warning has brutally been extended to Damascus, a long-time name on the list of countries that support terrorism.”


“The Ghosts Of War On A Divided Regime”


Antonio Ferrari judged in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (10/6):  “The ghost of a new Mideast war is materializing right on Yom Kippur, 30 years since the conflict which was named after the sacred Jewish holiday....  The nightmare is materializing in the country that Sharon, and his predecessors, fears the most: Syria, governed by president Bashar el Assad.  The retaliation, after the terrifying attack in Haifa, has superseded the uncertain borders of the Palestinian Authority, has momentarily forgotten Arafat, and has come down on Syrian territory with the power of bombs and with an even more devastating psychological message....  In order to face up to the emergency, then, the helm is back in the hands of the regime's ‘tough guys' and yesterday’s attack could strengthen them further.  Nonetheless, it is wrong to talk about the eve of a war, because neither Israel nor Syria wants to become involved.  The problem is tied to the developments in U.S. and Israeli policy.  Syria hopes in the isolation of the hawks and in a moderate line, by counting on the fact that Washington’s most faithful European allies, like Great Britain, said they would not participate in military action against Damascus.  Israel is probably counting on the domestic problems of George W. Bush who is preparing his electoral campaign, rather than on the confrontation between hawks and doves in the U.S. administration.”


“Washington Didn’t Stop The Attack”


In centrist Il Messaggero Stefano Trincia maintained (10/6):  “The new, dangerous crackdown over the Middle East crisis triggered by an Israeli air attack in Syrian territory, has landed before the UN.  Therefore, the White House is, once again, forced to handle the fallout of a bombing only 20 kilometers away from Damascus, without stepping on its Israeli ally.   An immediate meeting of the UN Security Council was called for and obtained by Syria, one of the Council’s members.  Damascus’ goal is to obtain an immediate, unequivocal condemnation of Israel’s raids, as a clear aggression as well as violation of international law....  Certainly not condemning the Israeli air raid against an alleged Palestinian terrorist base in Syria, the U.S. administration has issued a very cautious note, in which it reiterated its advice to Israel and Syria ‘not to increase the tension, but avoid actions that might cause hostilities in the Middle East.'"


RUSSIA:  "Radicals Find Refuge In Syria"


Aleksandr Reutov held in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (10/8):  "Yesterday Syrian President Bashar Asad virtually admitted that Palestinian extremists found refuge in Syria....  Rhetoric won't protect Syria from future attacks.  The Israeli authorities have always considered Syria a major link in a terrorist chain that they claim stretches from Iran to Palestine.   There was a time when the Israelis did not try anything against Syria for fear of incensing the international community.  That changed after the war in Iraq, with the Israelis easily convincing the Americans that Syria caused problems in postwar reconstruction.  Today the Israelis feel like they can strike Syria without second thoughts.  They certainly do, as their chief strategic ally, the United States, has been acting similarly. Even Russia has not been averse to using preemptive strikes, hunting down Chechen rebels in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge."


"Israel Sure Of The U.S."


Aleksandr Samokhotkin remarked in reformist Vremya Novostey (10/7):  "Israel is sure of the United States so much that it did not deem it necessary to warn the White House of the planned strike....  The Americans really backed the Israeli ally."


"Danger Of Big War"


Vadim Markushin stated in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (10/7): "The conflict area has grown so much that it may involve other countries.   There is a danger of a new big war in the Middle East."


"Arafat May Give A Sigh Of Relief"


Vladimir Dunayev said in reformist Izvestiya (10/6):  "The Israeli raid on Syria won't make things any better or bring peace to the Middle East, of course.  But Yasser Arafat may give a sigh of relief now, as the Israelis'

interest must have shifted to the terrorists' bases and sponsors, away from the locked-up Palestinian leader, his authority and popularity waning.  A new full-blown war in the Middle East is unlikely.  Syria, which has been

insisting on the return of the Golan Heights, is not ready to strike back, and the Americans, stuck in Iraq, will hardly let the Israelis do anything bigger than air raids on terrorist bases."


AUSTRIA:  "Permanent Horror”


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal Der Standard (10/06):  “It was clear that Israel would react to the dreadful terror attack of Haifa, which killed 19 people, several of whom were children.  With the unexpected strike against a terrorist ‘training camp’--nobody can prove that it definitely was that, but, in view of the relations between Damascus and various terror groups, the claim can also not be disproved for certain--the Israeli government has in a way shaken off the chains that the U.S. had imposed on it....  Not only can the U.S. not criticize the attack against Syria, as it was carried out in the name of the war against terror…it also fits perfectly into the American policy of pressure and threats against Syria....  Logically speaking--but then again, what is logical in this conflict--there should be no immediate danger that the conflict will escalate.  Syria’s silence over the attacks said it all: Typically, the attack was reported by Jerusalem, not by Damascus.  A military answer...would be political suicide for the Ba’athist regime in Damascus, which, after Baghdad, has come to face the eye of the American typhoon anyway.”


"Extension Of The Combat Zone"


Stephan Galoppi noted in mass-circulation daily Kurier (10/06):  “The attack of the Israeli air force on an alleged training camp for the Islamist Jihad and other underground groups on Syrian territory opens up a new front in the Middle East.  Syria is running the risk of getting drawn into the continuous cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.  Indeed, Damascus has some explaining to do as to why it tolerates terrorist camps on its territory.  However, Israeli military strikes only increase the risk that the situation will spin out of control completely--and that is exactly what the terrorists are hoping for: they want to bring about a situation of maximum chaos, where even the underdog has a chance of winning....  Again and again, Prime Minister Sharon resorts to the same measures: he thinks he can fight terror with violence, even though neither the security fence in the West Bank, nor the renewed occupation and sealing off of the autonomous territories have prevented the latest suicide attacker from making it all the way from Jenin to Haifa....  Only the U.S. could possibly prevent the combat zone from expanding.  It should take measures immediately--not as Israel’s eternal partner, but as a power of order.”


BELGIUM:  "For Public Opinion's Sake"


Baudouin Loos wrote in left-of-center Le Soir (10/7):  "Sharon attacked a target that was convenient for him for several reasons: Syria is a neighboring country that is officially still at war with Israel, its weapons are obsolete, it is being accused of supporting terrorism, and the United States and Israel share the same vision about it. Therefore, Israel was not running any risk of creating some tension with Washington, something Sharon wants to avoid at any cost. The expected American veto at the UN Security Council if Syria insists on obtaining a Resolution condemning the Israeli raid confirms the American-Israeli entente....  Lastly, Sunday’s military action also enabled Israel--and the United States as well, since it did not condemn the raid--to show Syria that the new regional strategic situation had become a concrete reality: the world has changed with the departure of Saddam Hussein and his radical Iraq, leaving Syria surrounded by countries like Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel, where Syria does not have many friends.  The Syrians, who are not stupid, received the message loud and clear. Official media--there aren’t any other media in Syria--condemned the ‘Israeli aggression,’ but warned against escalation and assured that Damascus had ‘made the strategic choice of peace.’ The Syrian response using the weapons of diplomacy does not come as a surprise: Syria would display its obvious--and humiliating--inferiority if it chose to respond militarily.”


"The Sharon Government Does Not Want Peace"


Frank Schlomer remarked in independent De Morgen (10/6):  “Just like all other terrorist attacks, the bloodbath in Haifa must be strongly condemned, although one can somehow understand that desperate Palestinians continue to oppose the military occupation of their territory....  But Israel’s reaction proves that the Sharon Government is willing to set the entire Middle East ablaze.  With its raids in Syria, Israel has committed a cowardly act of war against a sovereign country....  This is an act of aggression without any preliminary war declaration, and it must be condemned by the entire world, even if some consider it acceptable since one George W. Bush did the same with Iraq, also a sovereign country....  With its behavior, Israel first and foremost shows that it does not want peace....  Of course, since yesterday, the proposal to ‘remove’ Yasser Arafat has surfaced again, and this would also stir up the spiral of violence....  The military occupation of Palestinian territory continues, Jewish settlers are receiving new houses on a land that does not belong to them, and the construction of the apartheid wall steadily continues....  If Israel would stop all this, a major step toward a peaceful settlement would be made. But this is clearly not what Sharon and his hawks want, on the contrary. They have now even bombed a neighboring country.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Effective Threat To Damascus"


Pavel Tomasek commented in business-oriented Hospodarske Noviny (10/7):  "It is symptomatic that while the [Israeli] plan for liquidating Arafat was criticized by the United States, the closest ally of Israel refrained from condemning the Israeli strike in Syria.  And it is of no wonder, because since the removal of Saddam Hussein, Bush's administration considers Assad's regime to be the biggest "sponsor" of terrorism in the region.  The limited strike immediately fulfilled several tasks.  It was retaliation for the suicidal terrorist attack in Haifa.  If the strike really hit the terrorist's rear, it served as a preventive strike as well.  But most of all, it is an insistent warning to Syria that its collusion with terrorists...will not be tolerated."


GREECE:  "The 'Doctrine' Is Now Vindicated"


The lead editorial in top-circulation, popular, pro-government leftist Eleftherotypia stated (10/6):  “Israel is dangerously playing the game of intransigence ignoring international law and the UN; it pours oil into the fire and terrorizes not only the Palestinians but the entire region thanks to its strong backing by Washington.  Syria suffers air raids, and Washington covers the illegal aggressor and accuses the victim.  Those who implement Bush’s 'doctrine’ in the ‘war against terror’ can afford to defy international law and at be forgiven.  The objective justifies even the most barbaric and outlaw means.”


"The Fanatics"


The lead editorial in large circulation, left-of-center pro-government Ta Nea read (10/6):  “Israel’s first attack on Syria in 20 years undoubtedly escalates tensions in the Middle East that jeopardizes peace in the wider region.  It also proves that the fanatics in both sides are in a position at any given time to undermine all efforts for dialogue and the pursuit of a peaceful solution....  A just solution of the Palestinian issue was and continues to be after so many years of confrontation the sole road to peace, and the only road toward securing Israel’ right to live in security.”


IRELAND:  "Israel Signals Intent To Target Safe Havens In Syria And Iran"


David Horovitz held in the center-left Irish Times (10/6):  “The Israeli air strike on a suspected Islamic Jihad base in Syria may mark the start of wider war on terrorism....  Chillingly, given the constant potential for military escalation in the Middle East, Israeli spokesmen are highlighting not only the role of the Syrians in providing safe havens for Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other such groups, but that of the Iranians in funding, training and inspiring them as well....  The assumption in Jerusalem is that Syria does not wish to be drawn into a direct military conflict with Israel, in which its military inferiority would likely prove insurmountable.  Nor, it seems plain, is Israel seeking to prompt a new Middle East war....  The Israeli air strike appears primarily calculated to pressure Syria--which is already under similar pressure from the US--to do more than merely close the street front offices of murderous extremist groups in its capital, and actually ensure that the militants leave town altogether."


POLAND:  “What Is Acceptable”


Dawid Warszawski noted in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (10/8):  “Israel’s attack on a training camp for Palestinian terrorists in Syria aroused widespread indignation. Chancellor Schroeder, expressing a joint opinion of the Arab countries and the EU, called the [Israeli] action ‘unacceptable.’ At the same time no one denied that terrorists from Hamas and Jihad were systematically trained in the camp. It is thus acceptable for Syria to facilitate training of terrorists who execute attacks in Israel, while it is unacceptable for Israel to respond militarily....  The raid near Damascus will definitely not bring the prospect of peace in the Middle East any closer, but all the same, peace is an elusive dream as long as the Palestinians opt for terror.”


PORTUGAL:  “Global Combat”


Deputy editor-in-chief António Ribeiro Ferreira penned in respected center-left Diário de Notícias (10/7):  “The European Union continues to insist on its ostrich policy in relation to what is happening in the Middle East.  Putting on the same side of the scale a terrorist group and those that are controlling them with a democratic state is a fatal error which removes Brussels from any relevant position whatsoever in the search for peace for that region....  Many western countries, including the members of the European Union, remembered to condemn Israel’s aerial attack on an Islamic Jihad terrorist base, situated close to Damascus, following the Haifa attack in which 19 people were killed and more than 50 injured.  Once more, the good sense of the USA was required to avoid a lamentable UNSC resolution against Sharon’s government.  Terrorists, as the wars in  Afghanistan and Iraq  showed, are fought legitimately in all parts of the world.  Whether global pacifists like it or not." 


ROMANIA:  "Dark Clouds"


Simona Haiduc commented in financial Curentul (10/7):  "Dark clouds seem to gathering above the Middle East, where an attack by Israeli aircraft on Syrian territory, in retaliation for the Palestinian/Islamic Jihad attack on Saturday , was, it seems, the final straw.  Reunited for an emergency meeting, the UNSC did not succeed on Sunday night in adopting a resolution requested by Damascus....  Experts’ prognoses are, however, pessimistic, taking into account the fact that the U.S. now has the Security Council’s presidency, and will use their veto, in all probability, to block any resolution directed against Israel.”


SLOVENIA:  "Ariel Sharon, Minister Of Regime Changes"


Barba Surk remarked in left-of-center Delo (10/8):  "There is no doubt that Syria supports Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is also obvious that the Lebanese Hezbollah is under [Syria’s] influence in its battles with the Jewish state. The above facts surprise only those who have closed their eyes to Israel’s policy of resolving conflicts with the Palestinians with the help of military invasions and attacks....  Militantcy...has increased because of the American and Israeli saber-rattling with arms in the Arab world, which...may fear [America’s and Israel’s] invasion, but--given the Palestinian and Lebanese uprisings against the Israeli occupation and Iraqi attacks on Americans--does not fear occupation....  Israel has not been able to silence the Palestinians in the occupied territories....  This is why the Syrians see no reason to fear the imperial power and its regional satellite....  The Arabs know that they are destined to loose conventional wars with foreign imperialists. Therefore, only those who defend national states in the name of religion have taken up arms against Israel and America. Islam has become a unifying element in resistance against an American empire and Israeli military and political arrogance that has thrived in the region since the American military entered Iraq."


SPAIN:  "Who Will Stop Them?"


Left-of-center El País asked (10/7):  "The [Israeli] response to the horrible suicide attack of Haifa...has taken a step which is highly dangerous, and absolutely contrary to international law....  The Israeli aggression, supported by Bush who had already launched various warnings to Syria, adds a new uncertainty to a region already destabilized after the invasion of Iraq....  The U.S. is the only one able to pressure Israel, and it doesn’t want to.   Bush is now standing before the quicksand of Iraq and his pre-election campaign....  Does anyone believe that in this spiral of violence there is a Road Map leading to a new peace process?  Today it seems more of a fig leaf which doesn't even hide the shame of the international community, impotent before the fate of the Middle East."


"An Attack Out Of All Proportion"


Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (10/6):  "The attack of the Israeli air force against Syrian territory is an aggression of one country against another, something that must be immediately condemned by the Security Council.  This attack is also a real sign that the Middle East conflict between Palestinian and Israelis could result in a war of incalculable consequences."


"The Cycles Of Retaliation"


Conservative ABC editorialized (10/6):  "Sharon can not be unaware of the how vulnerable the Damascus regime is at the moment, accused by Washington of grave complicity and the harboring of terrorists, especially for having had excessively permeable borders for Saddam Hussein's clan....  For the moment, the attack of Islamic Jihad on the eve of Yom Kippur led the Israeli army to a bloody response in a special strategic context."


"Sharon Hides By Internationalizing The Conflict"


Independent El Mundo opined (10/6):  "Sharon tends to blame external elements for all his failures.  He has not been able to solve his dispute with the Palestinians, nor has he been able to end the violence, and wants to personalize in individuals--Arafat--or nations--Syria and Iran--the cause of his country's evils.  Any impartial observer will admit that expelling Arafat or blocking aid to Syria and Iran will not end Palestinian terrorism without a real solution of the basic problem.  For President Bush, there may be a temptation to join the attempt to hide in the search for new enemies, to justify in some way his action in Iraq, every day more questioned.  Israel will not solve its problems by widening the circle of the conflict, with the danger it implies for the rest of the world."


SWEDEN:  "Nothing New In The West Bank"


Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (10/7):  "The continued terrorist attacks show that Yassir Arafat is not interested in taking strong measures against Palestinian fundamentalists, and the human bomb in Haifa is another tragic demonstration of the ineffectiveness of Ariel Sharon's policy; instead of the promised security more suicide bombers have emerged....  The fact that Israel, for the first time since the war of self-defense in 1973, has carried out military strikes inside Syria means that a dangerous line has been crossed. Israel should instead have forwarded its case and the evidence to the UN. This would not only have made the world more sympathetic toward the Israeli response but also increased international pressure on a militarily weakened Syria....  After the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism is closely linked to the strivings for increased freedom in the Arab world. But that will be at stake, should the Israeli-Syria conflict escalate."


TURKEY:  “What The Israeli Government Wants”


Oral Calislar contended in social democrat-intellectual Cumhuriyet (10/7):  “Following the Iraq war, the Israeli government pressured the US to impose sanctions against Syria and Iran, but to no avail.  It seems that the Sharon administration has decided to implement this plan by itself.  There was speculation that Sharon played an influential role during the decision-making process in the US administration for the war in Iraq.  The Israeli bombing of Syria demonstrates that Israel is an active element in the hawkish policy of the Bush administration....  The situation in Palestine looks like a blood feud, and poses a great threat to the entire Middle East.  The mounting tension and increasing violence cast a serious shadow over the future of mankind.  Let us bear in mind that the problems of this area served as fertile ground for Al-Qaeda....  Violence has never solved problems, and it never will.  The people of Israel should be able to stop the ongoing insanity and force Sharon from office.”




ISRAEL:  "Dr. Strangelove Over Damascus"


Gideon Samet commented in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/8):  "The fear [of a situation in which Israel would consider a preemptive nuclear strike] has raised its head again in the face of a tangible sense of the existence of a wild nuclear threat.  But as it did during the two gulf wars, Israel must sit tight if the West decides to make Iran and states like it pay.  Sharon, knight of the solo war, may under the present circumstances be sowing the seeds of Armageddon.  The action in Syria may be a fragment of the regional strategy of a leader whose dangerous potential has been fulfilled on more than one occasion.  Before our weary eyes, he may be transformed into Dr. Strangelove, riding toward the horizon on a giant ticking bomb."


"The Carpet-Bombing Campaign Of The Great Democracies"


Zeev Schiff insisted in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/8):  "By the time World War [II] drew to a close, it turned out the major democracies, Britain and the United States, deliberately destroyed a fifth of the homes in Germany.  Some 7.5 million Germans lost their homes.  But their fate was better than some one million German civilians who were killed or gravely wounded in the 'carpet bombing' of their country....  When comparing the indiscriminate bombing of the civilian populations by the greatest of the democracies, Israel's conduct of its war against the Palestinian terror organizations that conduct suicide bombings against civilians appears to be saintly."


"Military Sense Rides Again"


Liberal columnist B. Michael concluded in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/8):  "It is hard to imagine a terror attack that illustrates with greater precision the folly and futility of prevalent military thinking, than the heinous act of murder in Haifa....  It appears that the generals who rule us are also sick and tired of [the] lowly routine of vengeance.  They were determined to rise another degree in the scale of military folly, and went off to bomb a little in Syria....  When one examines who the main figures were who pushed for its execution, another explanation indeed emerges.  First and foremost among the supporters, relate the purveyors of military lore, was Chief of Staff Ya'alon....  These three were among the greatest opponents of the withdrawal from Lebanon....  This trio has already proved that they know how to make their prophecies come true.  In 1996 they 'prophesied' that Arafat was headed for war, rather than peace.  For four years the prophecy refused to come true.  But when the riots broke out, following Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount mosques, the army under their command employed such an unprecedented amount of killing power, that the riots got out of control and became an endless Intifada--a war....  They were forthwith granted the title 'prophets'....  Look what a wonder: one small bombing in Syria, and the Lebanese border is already showing encouraging signs of reawakening."


"Checking Israel's Security Posture"


Nationalist Hatzofe editorialized (10/7):  "Following the horrendous bombing we witnessed before Yom Kippur in Haifa, Israel is obligated to reevaluate its security posture in a fundamental way....  The great quantity of blood that has been spilled does not allow this newspaper to give its trust to Abu Ala and his government--as long as it is subservient to the leadership of the blood-tainted man, Yasser Arafat....  Furthermore, if they continue their partnership with Yasser Arafat, they also bear full responsibility for the great amount of spilled blood....  They will be accountable for this."


"Widening The War Against Terror"


Zeev Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/7):  "With the bombing of the Palestinian terrorist organizations' training camp near Damascus, Israel has signaled to Syria and others that it has decided to expand the war against terror to states giving asylum and assistance to terrorists and their commanders who harm Israel and its citizens....  The failure of American efforts to discourage Syrian support for terror spurred Israel on in its decision to take action.  Not only did the fact that Syria is a member of the UN Security Council not affect the decision, but it may have even encouraged it, as a means of highlighting the absurdity of the membership in the Security Council of a country that is involved in direct assistance to terror organizations."




Chief Economic Editor Sever Plotker opined in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/7):  "[The Israeli government's] latest action:  bombing a training camp of some terror organization--an empty camp--near Damascus has voided the international resonance of the Haifa bombing, returned Israel to the bench of the indicted, while earning the terror-sponsoring Syrian regime world endorsement.  The consequences of the strike near Damascus won't deter Syria, but they will deter Israel from carrying out further strikes.  All [recent major decisions by the Israeli government] have clearly been characterized by arrogance, patronizing and turning a blind eye to a complex reality."


"A Steep And Slippery Slope"


Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (10/7):  "Israel has the right to move against the facilities, activists and leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah and other organizations anywhere and at any time; but this does not testify to the wisdom of such moves.  In the wake of the Israeli operation, the Syrian president could, contrary to Israeli expectations, cause an additional escalation--either directly, or through agents and the likes of Hizbullah.  The slope on which Syria and Israel could slide down into a conflict between them--whether it be in their own territories, or in Lebanon--is a steep and slippery one.  There is a need for tight control to prevent a move planned as minimalist from leading to a major escalation."


WEST BANK:  "Serious Regional Repercussions Of The Israeli Occupation"


Independent Al-Quds remarked (10/7):  “The Israeli air strike against a civilian location deep inside Syrian territory two days ago is another Israeli attempt to divert the international community’s attention from the essence of the problem, namely, Israeli practices in its ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip....  Israel has to understand that provoking the anger of an entire nation will not be in its own interest or that of the peace process.  Instead, it would be more beneficial for Israel to show sincere commitment to the peace process by ending its military occupation and halting settlement activities inside the territories occupied in 1967.”


EGYPT:  “’Yes’ To Falsehood And ‘No’ To Rights?”


Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar Editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar opined (10/8):  “We are accustomed to Israel’s crimes like this raid on the sovereign state of Syria...but the real crisis lies in President Bush’s position....  What would his position be if a country raided his country?  Undoubtedly, he has the right of self-defense.  We would like to remind Mr. Bush that the entire world supported the U.S. after the terrorist attack of September 11.  However, what Israel did is not self-defense but is terrorism and piracy that should be confronted in order to achieve security for the entire world including the U.S. and Israel.  Supporting Sharon’s practices encourages terrorism.” 


"Security And Stability With A Just And Comprehensive Peace, Not By Force”


Pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (10/8):  “The Israeli aggression against Syrian territories is a flagrant violation of international law and of the U.N. Charter...and threatens the entire region with a new wave of violence.  The U.S. reaction is most disappointing for it expressed an understanding of this aggression in the name of Israel’s right to self-defense.  This position destroys the principles of international law....  The American position is not strange in light of the new American strategy favoring preemptive war and the unlimited use of force....  Furthermore, this position encourages Sharon’s government to go forward with its aggressive policy as long as the superpower dominating the international system seeks to protect its aggression....  Apparently, the Israeli government is planning a deliberate plot to spread chaos and a climate of war in the region with American support and the failure of the international community to rapidly intervene....  True peace and stability are not achieved by force but by a comprehensive and just peace...a matter which the world should understand perfectly in order to push Washington and Tel Aviv to commit.”




Pro-government Al Ahram Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie opined (10/7):  “The war against terror opened the way to Sharon to act as a thug in the Middle East and to drag the region to the quagmire of wars and destruction.  Israel committed a serious violation by shelling Syrian territories--which means Sharon insists on his feverish desire to ignite the entire region having ridden the wave of the American war against terror.  He is the man who led the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and committed the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla....  The attack on sisterly Syria is a kind of political madness....  It is illogical that Israel continues to desecrate Arab skies without any international deterrence.  Arabs presented initiatives and accepted Israel’s presence in the region even while it launched a comprehensive war against Palestinians and threatens to expel the elected Palestinian President....  Israeli policy has become a danger to the international community.  While Israel seeks to escape its domestic situation and its failure to protect its citizens, other parties in the international community are also seeking to escape the mistakes committed in their war against terror and its ruined credibility about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and leaving Israel to possess a nuclear arsenal, which threatens the entire Middle East.”


“Sharon’s Dangerous Game”


Small-circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya declared (10/6):  “Sharon could find no way out of his impasse except expanding the dispute by aggressing Syrian territories. The Israeli people are now hostage to his extremist, fanatic government. The Haifa and other martyrdom operations have proved the failure of Sharon’s measures to protect the Israeli people. With his anti-peace policy, Sharon is denying a fact that power, however great, will not lead to peace....  He is also denying another fact he should be first to remember on the anniversary of the October War, that nations never succumb to occupation however its power....  What is the position of the international powers about Sharon’s dangerous game of expanding the dispute, those powers which defended him at the UNSC, accepted his allegations about Palestinian terrorism, and allowed him to build the wall and expand the settlements?”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "American's Encouragement Of Aggression"


Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazira declared (10/7):  "It is noticeable that the American tone towards this crisis goes on encouraging the Israeli aggression, and the air raid on northern Damascus will not be the last. Washington wants to say that every Palestinian activity in Syria is a terrorist act, and the world must comprehend it in this way, without any consideration for the long Syrian-Palestinian relationship, including political arrangements and human relationships...and the fact that they share many characteristics with the people of their brother countries...this aggression steps on the rights of the sons of one destiny."


"A Strike On Ein Al-Sahib"


Jeddah's conservative Al-Medina editorialized (10/7):  "If the real purpose of the Israeli strike on Ein Al-Sahib is to violate a new Arabic space, then the announcement of deporting Arafat or even killing him should be seen as a greater infringement...deporting Arafat as a president will make it possible to deport all Palestinian people. Therefore, deporting Arafat is the cornerstone of Sharon's plans....  Please be aware, that the strike was not aimed exclusively on Ein Al-Sahib and Arafat will not be the only fugitive."


"Against Suicide Bombings"


Jeddah's pro-government English-language Arab News (10/7):  "Israel's attack on what it said was an Islamic Jihad military training camp in Syria sends two messages to the world.  The first, on behalf of the United States, is the clear signal that the Bush administration will do everything it can to keep Syria and Iran in its sights as the so-called war on terror continues....  However, the second message, though indirect, should be taken on board with equal concern: That suicide attacks on Israeli civilian targets are politically and militarily counterproductive....  Will the Arabs ever see the link between self-defeating acts of suicide bombing and their self-destructive activities at the diplomatic level whenever they attempt to address the Middle East conflict?"


"U.S. And The Policy Of Wars On All Fronts"


Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (10/6):  "The reason for striking Syria was not related to fighting terrorism, but came with full U.S. consent because both Bush and Sharon wanted a way out from their international and domestic dilemmas.  Therefore, the justification to strike Syria confirms that the leaders of both countries need a new foe from the Arab world in order to describe the countries of the region as terrorist states or soft on fighting terrorism.  This claim saves us the benefit of doubt regarding the intentions of both countries toward the Arab nation.  In addition, it provides us with evidence that their animosity is related to a long list of historical and religious struggles and geographical and oil ambitions.  Syria provides an ideal place for creating crises for the region and for them."


"Sharon On The Rampage"


Jeddah's pro-government English-language Arab News declared (10/6):  "If the Israelis were seriously interested in hitting Islamic Jihad, they could have done so far more effectively in the Gaza Strip or with a strike on one of its bases in Lebanon.  Yet they chose a target deep in Syrian territory....  An inevitable conclusion must be that the Israelis were acting on behalf of the U.S.  It is difficult to believe that they would have struck without a green light from Washington....  The notion that Washington has used the Israelis to threaten the Syrians into line makes too much sense to be dismissed....  Sharon is on the rampage; he must be reined in fast."


JORDAN:  “A New Episode Of The Disasters Series”


Semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai contended (10/7):  “With the unprecedented Israeli raid against Syria, Tel Aviv has once again succeeded with additional support from Washington to expand the circle of danger and to resort to violence and force in times of severe problems.  The Israelis found their ‘golden goose’ in the fight against terrorism, because they can thwart the peace process, start ethnic cleansing, destroy the core of the Palestinian state, violate the sovereignty of other states, and fabricate all forms of accusations, all in the name of fighting terrorism and with the blind support of the Republican administration in Washington....  As has been the case with the disgusting American bias in favor of Israel, Washington alone was ‘understanding’ of the Israeli raid, amidst international denunciations and condemnations on the widest scale....  Targeting Syria at this stage has its own specificity.  Damascus is wary of the potential pressure from its American ‘neighbor’ on its borders with Iraq, accompanied by Israeli raids as promised by Tel Aviv.  This could signal the emergence of a new very critical geopolitical situation that could find a venting point in South Lebanon....  The region is thus thrown in the circle of dangers....  These are the headlines of the disastrous scenario that is being prepared for, if not already implemented, the region, and all during the final year of President Bush’s term in office; the President who has proved that he incapable of being a partner in any peace.”


“Israel Escalates Tension...On A Regional Level”


Center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour commented (10/6):  “Observers fear that Tel Aviv will use Washington’s mild reaction (to the raid) and that of other Western capitals to continue its policy of escalation. Indeed, a call for self-restraint is not enough to bridle this sudden Israeli outburst and saying that Israel has the right to defend its citizens in nothing but a green light for Israeli aggression....  As we have said before, violence breeds violence and the whirlpool of war and aggression that was started by the extremist right wing government in Israel will only expand the area of the conflict and threaten regional security and stability....  This calls for extreme caution and vigilance as well as greater international intervention to bridle the Israeli escalation before it is too late.”


"Is It A Shuffling Of Cards Or A Change In The Rules Of The Game?"


Commenting on the Israeli raid on Syria, semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai opined (10/6):  “Did Sharon’s government act upon its own whims when it transferred the battle to Damascus?  Is Washington not aware of this qualitative move towards escalation, which Jordan considers a serious escalation that will push the entire region into a continuous whirlpool of violence?  The flexing of muscles on the part of Sharon’s government does not reflect any extraordinary powers.  On the contrary, it reflects a clear state of political failure, behind which stands a government that still wagers on the option of using force despite the dismal failure of this option over the past three years, which only led to more violence and hatred....  It seems that the road map will also fail unless extremism and violence are bridled and the Palestinian and Israeli parties are forced to carry out their commitments under the responsibility of the UN Security Council and the Quartet....  This demonstrates a failure on the part of the strong Israeli military arsenal to end the conflict, which calls for an Israeli self-evaluation that would lead to the arena of negotiations and political solutions and away from the options of using force and security-related measures.”


"The Raid On Damascus And The New Rules Of The Game"


Abu Yazan wrote in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (10/6):  “It is very likely that the Syrian-Arab reaction to the raid will not go beyond a condemnation or a denunciation.  At the very most, the Arab community will resort to the UN Security Council, seeking a resolution that criticizes the raid and condemns Palestinian and Lebanese terrorist factions or a statement from the Council that would call for self-restraint and respect for signed agreements and for providing the right climate to resume the peace process....  If this happens, Israel will be encouraged to carry out more such operations and perhaps of a larger scale.  Only then would Tel Aviv really succeed in changing the rules of a game that has lasted for thirty years."


LEBANON:  “Syria Has Two Options"


Nasir Al-Asaad wrote in Hariri-owned Al-Mustaqbal (10/7):  “Political circles...following up on the aftermath of the Israeli aggression against Syria agreed on the following:  1) It is clear that the U.S. knew about the Israeli air strike before it took place....  2) The U.S. called for self-control and held Syria responsible instead of condemning the air strike....  3) Judging by the U.S. position on the air strike, it seems clear that the U.S.-Syrian relationship is still very far from reaching any kind of settlement....  4) It seems that the U.S. is in favor of a ‘dual punishment’ of Syria, i.e. it wants to punish it for its position on the both the Iraqi and the Palestinian issues....  We can conclude that Syria will be placed under extraordinary pressure, especially that it might be taking the consequences of any Palestinian operation inside Israel from now on....  This means that Syria might be compelled to take action to protect itself.  Syrian Foreign Minister Sharaa hinted in his statement following the air strike that ‘Syria is not incapable of creating a balance of terror with Israel’...however, it is well known that Syria does not like adventures and will not resort to such drastic measures unless it feels really cornered.”


“Time Will Not Solve Syria’s Problems”


Sarkis Naoum contended in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (10/7):  “What can we conclude following the Israeli air strike deep in Syria and the reactions it instigated?  We conclude the following: 1) Syria is really exposed militarily and the Arab world will never be able to protect it.  2) Syria is ready to reach a deal with the U.S. but not at any price, i.e., Syria is ready to go through a major confrontation to protect its regime and reputation in the Arab world.  3) Israel will not be able to continue its aggression against Syria because it will be making the position of its ally, the U.S., very difficult indeed....  4) Syria should become convinced that time is not enough to solve its problems with the U.S.  It should take the initiative and try to solve its problems with Washington.”


“The Air Strike Against Syria Does Not Solve The Israeli Impasse In Palestine”


Talal Salman wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir (10/6):  “We cannot find a logical explanation for the Israeli air strike deep in Syria outside the crisis Israel is facing with the Palestinians.  It reflects Israel’s frustration and inability to deal with the situation...despite the fact that the American administration has given Israel more leeway than is acceptable:  it has provided Israel with a political cover for its activities against the Palestinians, it gave her the funds to build the wall/barrier of racism, it helped Israel in blocking and isolating Arafat from the world, and it has forgotten about the roadmap....  Israel had no option but to change its tactics and assert through its political air strike that its war against the Palestinians can be expanded to become a war against all Arab countries.”


"Standing In The Direction Of Mild Wind"


An editorial by Ghassan Tueni in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar opined (10/6):  “Is Israel...assuming the responsibility of launching a second war...this time against Syria...under the title of combating terrorism?  Or is the Israeli air effort to cover Israel’s failure to respond to the Haifa operation?  Whatever the reason may be, Syria did a good thing by going to the UN and placing its response within the framework of international legitimacy....  We also note the following: 1) the atmosphere of the Security Council nowadays favors the Arab countries.  In addition to the fact that Kofi Annan appears to have become the head of opposition against the U.S., we are also finding the momentum of this opposition (at the Security Council) increasing in an untraditional manner.  Arab countries should know how to benefit from this atmosphere; 2) President Putin has announced for the first time that Russia owns a sophisticated arsenal...does Russia intend to return to the cold war phase?  Or is it trying to protect the ‘enemies’ of the U.S.? 3) An advisory committee in Washington reached the conclusion that the U.S. has failed in communicating with the Moslem world....  We ask: will Israel take this as an opportunity to escalate the situation in the region or will the White House wake up and correct its policy?”


MOROCCO:  "Relentless Pursuit"


Ahmed Zaki, editor-in-chief of Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS), wrote in pro-government French-language Al Bayane (10/7):  "Where is the Middle East heading? After the snooze of the roadmap....  Israel initiated a policy of confrontation based on violence. Israel thinks it will help bolster its security. In fact, the killing of Palestinians, including resistance movement members, has the opposite effect and nurtures the thirst for revenge through suicide operations targetting civilians.... The U.S. must put an end to this worsening situation by warning its ally, Israel, to end aggression and honor its commitments" 


SYRIA:  "Let Us Do What Is Contrary To Their Expectations"


Mahdi Dakhlallah, chief editor of government-owned Al-Ba'th, declared (10/8):  "What annoyed Israel and spoiled its expectations and hopes is the accurate way Syria has dealt with consequences of the occupation of Iraq and the way Syria confronted the tremendous pressure exerted by pro-Zionist US circles who endeavor to fulfill Zionist goals in the region.  Israel seeks to expand its aggression to include Syria and Lebanon to end all Zionist troubles....  The Israeli air strike in Syria is meaningless in the battlefield, but its is an assault against Syria's sovereignty which aim to involve everyone in a huge war that saves the Zionist entity from its suffocating crisis caused by the Palestinian uprising, a bitter disappointment and unfulfilled expectations from the US invasion of Iraq."


"Sharon Exports His Crises"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen said (10/6):  "All Security Council members, except for the U.S., have realized the causes of the Israeli aggression against Syrian territory; They denounced this action and called for preventing its recurrence praising Syria's wisdom in addressing the UN to treat this dangerous aggression.  The US bias towards Israel does not eliminate the aggressive nature of the Sharon's government. Everybody in the international arena realized that it is a government of war and would never be a government of peace as it keeps as such.  The Israeli aggression is a dangerous signal to the world community, the US in specific; therefore they should work seriously to stop Israel's aggressiveness and its flagrant violation of international charters and make it abide by the requirements of a just and comprehensive peace."


"The Security Council Must Shoulder Its Responsibilities"


Omar Jaftaly commented in government-owned Tishreen (10/7):  "Another time the Sharon government proves that it is a government of war defying UN charter, ignoring all human values and practicing state terrorism....  Another times Syria proves its concern about the UN law by addressing the Security Council to face the dangerous development....  Sharon's aggression represents real and direct terrorism which Israel falsely claims to combat. It also refutes its allegation that it is a victim while it is expanding the cycle of its aggression to include Syria and Lebanon....  The world community should make the extremist government in Tel Aviv understand that it should be committed to implementing the UN law otherwise it will be held accountable for its violation of the UN Charter."


"Sharon's Desperate Foolishness"


Ali Nasrallah observed in government-owned Al-Thawra (10/7):  "The Security Council should shoulder its responsibility to curb Sharon's foolishness that might explode the situation in the region....  Syria is exercising self-restraint....  It realizes the importance of not giving Sharon a chance to fulfill his goals whether in exploding the situation in the region, or in getting over his domestic crisis by exporting it outside Israel....  Syria never relinquishes its land and rights, nor bargains on its nationalist and pan-Arab principles. This aggression will not affect its political positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict and on the peace process. Pressures will not prevent Syria from persisting in its rights. Threats will not force Syria to make any concessions."


"Aggression And International Responsibility"


Mohamed Khair al-Jamali maintained in government-owned Al-Thawra (10/7):  "As usual in practicing its aggressive policy, Israel has justified its new aggression by combating terrorism in an exposed endeavor to deceive the world that it is an act of self-defense as if international law permits it to strike anywhere under this false pretext....  This exposed pretext is no more effective in covering up the fact that Israel is the source of real terrorism in the world.  It practices organized and official terrorism in its open war against the Palestinian people, in its provocations and threats against Lebanon and today in its flagrant aggression against Syria."


"The Importance Of Enhancing The October War's Course"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Al-Ba'th commented (10/6):  "The Israeli warplanes' assault within Syrian territories confirms anew that Israel is persisting in its aggression.  This requires enhancing the appropriate atmosphere of struggle commenced during the October Liberation war....  The 30th anniversary of this war enjoys a growing importance in light of the current sensitive and complicated circumstances storming the region due to Israel's aggressive policies, the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the campaign of accusations, falsifications and provocations which states of the region are being exposed to, Syria above all....  Arab solidarity is now an asset that derives its legitimacy from sounding the alarm in Palestine, Iraq, everywhere in the Arab homeland.  Israel continues its war of extermination ignoring international law and relying on blanket U.S. support while the scenes of oppression against Arabs continue in an unprecedented Israeli escalation."


TUNISIA:  “Syria-Israel: The Policy Of Ending The World”


Senior editor Manoubi Akrout noted in independent French-language Le Quotidien (10/7):  “Any attentive observer of the situation in the Middle East would say that he expected the kind of attack that Israel led against Syria. The reason is simple: Israel looks to use all possible means to widen its conflict with the Palestinians and to cut off all roads that lead to peace.  Israel does not want peace in the Middle East....  Israel wants to gain not only time, but also territory. Its ambitions to form the ‘Greater Israel’ have never been so obvious. Israel continues to have ambitions of appropriating the Occupied Territories, in South Lebanon, Syria (Golan) and also in Iraq and probably in Jordan.  And because it knows that the international community will never approve of this madness, Israel finds the only solution in acting outside of the law.  Hence, its October 5 attack against Syria comes clearly within the scope of this incendiary logic....  Israel believes that it is in danger not only because of the martyr operations, as it always repeats, but because of the existence of the possibility of peace. Israel has been trapped by the Palestinian will to adopt all the initiatives of peace proposed by the international community.”


"Reacting To Prevent The Worse"


Editor-in-chief Noureddine Hlaoui stated in independent French-language Le Temps (10/6):  "The Israeli air strike conducted against Syria, a sovereign country, under the pretext of attacking ‘terrorist’ organizations, is a very serious development in international relations, in particular within the very special context that is the sensitive region of the Middle East.  The new Israeli aggression shows that Tel Aviv acts as it pleases and imposes its law with all impunity because it is sure of the powerlessness of the international community and because of the unconditional U.S. support it enjoys.  Yesterday, Washington was the only country to justify the Israeli action against Syria…that is seen by Israel as an encouragement to move forward in its policy of aggression....  This attack against Syria is more than a warning as indicated by Israel.  It is going beyond the red line, and a way for Sharon to test Syria’s, as well as that of the whole Arab world, ability to counterattack....  Without calling for a similar military response, the Arab world should take this opportunity to adopt an energetic, unified and unequivocal position in order to make the whole world understand that it can--whenever it wants--constitute a reliable homogeneous and unified block.” 




AUSTRALIA:  “Israeli Strike On Syria Is Justified”


The national conservative Australian asserted (10/8):  “Those wicked Israelis are at it again--this time ignoring Syrian sovereignty--or so the predictable critics will have it....  But criticism of Israel ignores the obvious. The terrorists it confronts are not interested in peace...the venue for this attack was a restaurant frequented by Christians, Israeli Arabs, as well as Jews. Israel's usual response to suicide bombings is to target terrorist commanders and to destroy the bombers' family homes; but it is obviously not working--the attacks continue. And in the absence of any better ideas to discourage the bomb-mongers who organize them, Israel's new action is understandable....  The Israeli raid demonstrates it will now hold the Syrians responsible for the behavior of their guests....  But while there is no strong case against Israel's escalation, it will do nothing to advance the peace process....  The only hope for anything like an end to the bombings--let alone peace--in the Middle East depends on Mr Arafat. What happens next is up to him.”


“Roadmap At Dead End”


The national Canberra Times declared (10/8):  “No-one should waste time feeling sorry for Syria after the Israeli attack on what Israel says was a Palestinian terrorist training camp deep within its borders.  Syria has long been complicit in Palestinian terrorism....  One consequence is that both Palestine and Israel are now so far off the highway that the so-called roadmap to peace must be thought of as dead. It has not been sabotaged only by Palestinian terrorists....  It has also been undermined by Israel....  The U.S....has weakened its own position by the partial way in which it has mobilized (perfectly reasonable) pressure on the Palestinians while seeming ever willing to ‘understand’ or fail to condemn unhelpful actions by the Israeli leadership. “


“Sharon's Deadly Gamble In Syria"


An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald read (10/7):  “In his new Syrian adventure, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has harnessed doubtful symbolism to dangerous ambition....  It is...a clear escalation of the usual response by Israel to suicide bombing attacks on its civilians....  This air strike deep into Syria is such an extraordinary extension of the usual Israel response to suicide attacks...that it invites speculation about Mr Sharon's long-term strategy.”


CHINA:  “Syria Hurls Charges At Israel In The UN; Israel Threatens Further Attacks"


Wu Wenbin observed in official Communist Party-run international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (10/8):  "Observers think the possibility of an escalation in the Israel-Syria conflict is small, for the following reasons: the Middle East situation is already very poor, and with the U.S. snagged in Iraq, the Middle East won’t bear a new military conflict or a new ‘hot topic;’ although Israel’s and Syria’s military capabilities are not equal, Israel knows very well Syria’s political position in the region and will not take the risk; Syria, other Arab countries and the international community are seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis through the UN; and Syria will not give up this chance to win diplomatic points.”


JAPAN:  "Israeli Air Strike Dims Prospect For Middle East Peace"


Business-oriented Nihon Keizai observed (10/7):  "Israeli warplanes' air strikes on an Islamic Jihad training base in Syria in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Haifa is only complicating the already dimming outlook for peace in the Middle East.  Israelis justified the bombing as a limited strike against a radical Palestinian camp. But the Israeli action was undeniably an attack on Syria, a sovereign nation, and a reckless act that could trigger the recurrence of a Middle East war.  The international community should send a 'clear message of criticism' to Israel for its latest air bombing, while urging both Israel and the Palestinians to act in a more responsible way to set the stalemated Middle East peace process back in motion.  The Israelis should realize that peace can be restored only through the implementation of the road map peace plan, not by air strikes."


INDONESIA:  “UN Yet To Respond To Israeli Attacks On Syria”


Leading independent Kompas argued (10/7):  “Until early this week, the UN has not discussed or voted for a draft resolution to condemn Israeli air strikes on a camp in Syria.  There is the impression that the UN is not so responsive and is deliberately buying time....  This impression seemed even stronger with the speech of U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte...who said that his country had not done anything to the draft.  He even asserted the firm stance of his country that it would reject a resolution that condemns Israel....  Obviously, excessive one-sidedness of the U.S. towards Israel will not, by any means, help reduce tension in the Middle East.  On the contrary, no doubt anti-American sentiment will again intensify.”  




INDIA:  "Expanding Israeli Aggression"


An editorial in independent Urdu-language Awam read (10/8):  "The attack on Syria is Israel's reassertion against allowing peace to prevail in the region. This expansion of Israeli aggression has made the situation in the region even more dangerous. It was not surprising at all that the US as the biggest hurdle in bringing peace to the Middle East has supported the Israeli action.  However, this anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab US record should serve as an eye-opener for the Arab countries. The US should be held responsible for the Israeli aggression, which has only followed the American precedent in Iraq. Since the US waged an absolutely unjustified war under the false doctrine of pre-emptive use of force with fabricated evidence against Iraq, Israel did the same against Syria."


“Dangerous Tactics" 


The centrist Hindu opined (10/7):  "Israel’s air raid into Syria on Sunday was a blatant act of military aggression against a sovereign country that had not offered any provocation....  While Syria has allowed various Palestinian organizations to maintain representative offices on its soil, there is no proof that it was involved in the terrorist actions undertaken by any of these groups. In fact, Syria closed down the offices of Hamas and Islamic Jihad after the U.S. began its military operations in Iraq....  The raid into Syria is yet another manifestation of the destructive adventurism that Israel has increasingly resorted to. Time and again, it has taken measures considered irresponsible and reckless by objective observers of the West Asian scene....  The U.S., Israel's main backer on the international stage, has not helped matters. The Bush administration concurs with the Israeli view that Arafat is not interested in a serious search for peace. While it has spoken in broad terms of the consequences of Arafat's expulsion, it has not unequivocally told Israel to desist from such a step. Not for the first time, the U.S. failed to condemn Israel for its violation of another nation's sovereignty. On the other hand, U.S. officials have backed up Israel's unproven allegation that Syria harbors terrorists and supports groups that carry out terror attacks.  It was small consolation that even as staunch an ally of the U.S. as the United Kingdom felt compelled to describe the Israeli action as unacceptable....  Those who understand the need to restrain rogue states like Israel must persist with their efforts.”


BANGLADESH:  “The Israeli Attack On Syria”


Pro-Saddam Bangla-language Inqilab commented (10/7):  "Israel’s audacious remarks that it has given a warning to Syria with this attack reflect its terrorist policy.  It will be regrettable as well as a shame for member nations if the U.N. remains silent when Israel continues its limitless terrorist activities.  How long will the UN remain indifferent?  It should take bold steps to refrain Israel from its aggressive activities." 




UGANDA:  “Denounce Israel For Raid On Syria.”


The independent Monitor editorialized (10/7):  "The Israeli air force over the weekend carried out a bombing raid just 22km outside Damascus, the capital of Syria. The Israelis claim it was an attempt to strike a terrorist training camp there.  We join the UN Security Council members who have since condemned this most provocative act of impunity. It is important for the world community to make it clear to the Israelis that they just cannot go around violating the UN Charter and international law, which discourage such actions.  As most watchers of world politics would know, pre-emptive military action (a favored tactic of the US government) lends itself to abuse because the offending party has the luxury of arguing its case after the fact. This exposes the weak to the excesses of arrogant stronger states.  The air raid could easily stoke the fires already burning in the bellies of frustrated Arab youth and provide the ammunition for counter 'suicide bombings.'  In fact we now have the perfect conditions to promote this cycle of violence that has made life such a misery for millions of people worldwide, especially in the Middle East.




ARGENTINA:  "The Attack Against One Common Enemy"


Oscar Raul Cardoso held in leading Clarin (10/7):  "According to Israel, Jerusalem is willing to punish those who attack Israel wherever they are, regardless of national borders within the Middle East and without considering the death of civilians as a hurdle. In fact, this version is too simplistic in spite of the fact that US President George W. Bush has supported it enthusiastically....  (Agreeing to Israel's right to defend itself without any restrictions whatsoever) is the same as believing that the Middle East dilemma is a one-dimension problem, while one attempts to reduce it to one of the old Hollywood sagas in which it is possible to clearly distinguish the 'good' from the 'bad' guys with the lightness typical of every fiction. Nothing suggests that this has long been so in the region. Something more than this alleged unique message could be inferred from the result: according to Sharon's opinion, it is placing Israel closer to the focus of Bush's antiterrorist  protecting 'umbrella.' According to what Sharon believes, being there means being safe. Let's see some pieces of information of the problem. First, no one has demonstrated yet that Israel's target is a terrorist training center, as claimed by Sharon. If there were no evidence of this accusation, the Israeli action would have been an attack on civilians....  Additionally, Syria is the country blamed on by Washington of leading the violent opposition against the US-UK occupation of Iraq. On the top of everything, the Bush administration has thrown on it the suspicion of owning WMD....  In other words, Israel has done nothing but punish a common enemy."


"The Logic Of the Attack"


Paula Lugones wrote in leading Clarin (10/6):  "Retaliation (in Syria) came from an--apparently--unexpected side. Israel's government, which has been threatening to get rid of Arafat, attacked Syrian territory for the first time in decades, in response to Saturday's bloody attack. There's certain logic to Israel picking Damascus as a target. After war in Iraq, Assad's regime was several times accused by the U.S. of harboring terrorist groups: an attack on Syrian land doesn't displease Washington too much, neither does Israel's threat on Iran. But the gamble is risky. Yesterday's attack violates the most elementary principles of international law and opens the door to an escalation of the Middle East conflict which, up to now, remained to some extent curbed by and contained in the fight between Palestinians and Israelis."


BRAZIL:  "Sharon Doctrine"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (10/7):  "Israel has the right to protect itself from ignominious acts such as the attack that killed 19 people in Haifa. However, one must recognize that the Israeli response to Syria is politically risky because it may expand the conflict, in addition to being abusive and almost useless in terms of self-defense....  If there is a path toward peace in the Middle East, it must be based on respect for the adversary's human rights and negotiation, not military actions and terrorism. Unfortunately, the logic of confrontation and provocation has prevailed. In other times, the Israeli incursion into Syrian territory could have resulted in protests even in the U.S....  What has happened, however, is that the Sharon administration has been using the same anti-terrorism speech used by George W. Bush and the same arguments the White House used to justify the invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Given the U.S.' initial reactions, the tactic was successful....  Israel is protecting itself according to the principles of the Bush Doctrine. It is not difficult to see that if all nations consider themselves in the right to act the same way, the world will be condemned to chaos."


"The Logic of Failure"


Right-of-center O Globo said (10/7):  "Will there be anything left from the so-called roadmap of peace after the Israeli air raid over alleged Palestinian basis inside Syria? It's hard to believe.  In the Middle East all plans are condemned to failure while the vicious circle of violence is not broken.  That is fundamental in a conflict that has thousand of reasons to avenge an insult, an attack or a massacre.  How then to finally place the future ahead of the past? Certainly it's not by force.  Nor by despair transformed into political strategy.  With each Palestinian attack Israel will answer with brutality. Each violent incursion of Israeli troops in the West Bank and the Gaza strip will be like lumber in the bonfire of the Palestinian despair.  Such behavior has challenged all efforts for peace.  In recent months--first in view of the deliberate omission of the U.S. and the rest of the international community and then under the auspices of a peace plan sponsored by the U.S. and other countries--Palestinians and Israelis blindly sunk into an unleashed routine of annihilation.  The headquarters of revenge is a bonfire that consumes all initiatives of dialogue, all of them being a call to reasoning.  The great risk of such infinite confrontations--and the world's gradual indifference to its consequences, a continuous moral wearing out--is the banality of the attacks.  Sooner or later the worsening of aggression will inevitably escape the routine; and the attacked one will feel the right to retaliate with an even more ignominious act of violence, hoping to intimidate the callous adversary.  Israel bombed Syria.  All know and fear what will come next."


COLOMBIA:  "An Infernal Dialectic"


Top national El Tiempo maintained (10/7):  "The solution to the Mideast problem is not to take reprisals to intimidate the enemy....  Only historic gestures from the leaders and the mediation of other Nations or the UN might hold the possibility of a solution...but at this moment the main characters of the conflict are ‘burying’ the road map.”


"Israeli Attack On Syria"


Medellin-based El Colombiano editorialized (10/7):  "With the aerial attack on Syria, violence in the Middle East acquires a new and dangerous ingredient: the conflict adds an international dimension, increasing tension in the area.”##


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