International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

November 14, 2003

November 14, 2003





**  The attack might prompt Riyadh to "increase its cooperation with the U.S."


**  Muslim critics blame "Israeli barbarism" and U.S. "state-sponsored terrorism" for the blast.


**  Al-Qaida seeks to spark an Islamic civil war between "modernists and orthodox."  


**  The "growing loss of control" by the Saudi royals heralds increasing instability.




Al-Qaida's threat may bring the U.S. and Saudi Arabia 'closer together'--  The Riyadh attack proves "toleration or promotion of extremists does not pay," and observers predicted it might "turn the Arab public against the perpetrators."  Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung agreed that Riyadh "could now really turn into a real ally in the fight against terrorism."  Pro-government Saudi dailies urged immediate action against the terrorist "enemy of propriety and life."  The Arab News demanded Saudis unite "to eradicate this menace." 


Outside Saudi Arabia, Muslim writers imply 'American involvement'--  Indonesian, Kuwaiti and Egyptian dailies speculated that the bombing was "part of a grand and systematic design to destroy the image of Islam" because only "enemies of Arabism and Islam" benefited.  Egypt's pro-opposition Al-Wafd said U.S. intelligence warnings "may imply...American involvement" in the attack.  Other Muslim writers termed the Riyadh blast a "reaction to America's state-sponsored terrorism"; Bangladesh's independent Prothom Alo alleged the U.S.' "'might is right' policy is increasing the causes of terrorism."  Uganda's moderate Weekly Messenger advised the U.S. to "adequately address" terrorism's roots.


Intra-Islam conflict may cause increased 'fratricide in the name of Allah"--  The blast is a warning to Muslims in "open conflict with the Islamic fundamentalists."  Italy's leading centrist Corriere della Sera predicted a "civil war triggered by an army of suicide bombers" in Saudi Arabia that may "end up destabilizing the entire country"; Russian and South African dailies said the bombing threatened "Muslims who have adopted the Western way of life" instead of al-Qaida's "narrow and bigoted understanding of Islam." 


The 'picture of stability has long been false' in Saudi Arabia--  The "Saudi regime is in deeper trouble than it has so far anticipated," according to Britain's independent Financial Times.  It is one of the "toughest, most dubious and least democratic regimes in the region," said Canada's centrist La Presse, but needs "much more than repression" to solve its problems.  Thus, the bomb "should serve as a motive to continue with more reforms."  Malaysia's government-influenced New Straits Times concluded Riyadh must "undertake the necessary reforms, including democratization, or woe betide it."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis was based on 56 reports from 32 countries over 7 - 13 November 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date. 




BRITAIN:  “Saudi Reform:  The Kingdom Has To Change, Whatever The Bombers Do”


The independent Financial Times opined (11/12):  "Saturday’s attack in Riyadh, which killed 17 people (among them five children), suggests the Saudi regime is in deeper trouble than it has so far acknowledged.  That is the more so since it is only relatively recently that the ruling House of Saudi publicly allowed that it had a problem at all.  The roots of Saudi Arabia’s problems are social, political, economic and religious.  It follows that much more than repression is required to resolve them.  The ruling family (and its allies) must stay this course, dangerous though it is....  As President George W. Bush acknowledged in his speech on democracy last week, 60 years of backing Arab autocrats have merely produced a new breed of terrorist.  He is quite right--‘Stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.”


“Arabs Are Just As Vulnerable”


The conservative Daily Telegraph remarked (11/10):  "The attack demonstrates that one of the critical pillars of the ruling household’s edifice, namely foreign Arab workers who comprise much of the managerial classes, are every bit as vulnerable as American military installations....  There must be an increasing suspicion that the al-Qa’eda analysis of the shortcomings of the regime--that the Saudi economy has been plundered by the royals--has taken profound hold of the imagination of wide sections of the population.  Soon, the kingdom could be facing a fully-fledged insurgency....  George W. Bush was notably lukewarm about the recent minmalistic reforms of the Saudi state.  This has been interpreted by some as a hint that the special relationship forged between Franklin Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud near the end of the Second World War is no longer quite so special.  It is high time that a similar debate was held in this country.”


FRANCE:  “Bush’s Failure In The Middle East”


Pascal Riche wrote in left-of-center Liberation (11/10):  “After the latest terrorist attack in Riyadh, President Bush will hardly be able to repeat his magic phrase ‘the world is now safer'....  But the attack will not alter Washington's strategy...of rebuilding Iraq and making it a model for the region....  President Bush’s latest speech did not reassure many of his listeners because it stands as a symbol of the gap between his vision of the Middle East and reality. And Saudi Arabia is the country that best illustrates this gap: a dictatorship along the lines of the Taliban dictatorship in Afghanistan, but an indispensable ally for the U.S.”


“Extremism Against Modernity”


Claude Lorieux stated in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/10):  “Saudi extremists are set on convincing foreigners not to work for Saudi Arabia....  Some pilgrims to Mecca are beginning to wonder whether it is opportune to embark on their pilgrimage....  This last attack proves one thing: America’s spectacularly reduced military presence in Saudi Arabia has achieved very little in terms of disarming Islamic extremists.”


GERMANY:  "Now A Real Ally"


Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich maintained (11/11):  "The Saudi monarchy could now really turn into a real ally in the fight against terrorism, simply because its own survival is involved.  In Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Islamic world, the conclusion can now be drawn that the toleration or promotion of extremists does not pay.  Some day in the future, such regimes will suffer the fate of a magician's apprentice.  In addition, we hope that the most recent attack in Riyadh will contribute to unmasking the terrorists, since the people killed come from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Sudan; they were all Muslims.  Such arbitrariness is evidence of the fact that much more is involved than the confrontation of a sincere Islam with the shameful United States."


ITALY:  "The Contagion Of Violence"


Igor Man judged in centrist, influential La Stampa (11/10):  "It's an 'internal' attack. It's the confirmation of an historical shift: in the galaxy of Islam, taking shape is the conflict, until now dialectical, if not scientific, between modernists and orthodox. This definition may seem overly simple, (and maybe it is), however it helps to try and understand what is happening in the region that is at the highest risk in the world, [the region] which we inappropriately call the Middle East. It's a safe of yellow and black gold sealed by hatred. Hatred, born of frustration and of the disaster of war, of the [feelings of the] so-called Arab world against Israel; hatred, born of humiliation and injustice, of Palestinians [emotion] toward Israelis considered the armed wing of a neo-colonialism of American origin."


"The 'Civil War' Triggered By Osama"


Magdi Allam averred in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/10):  "Saudi Arabia is becoming a country with one of the highest risks of terrorism alongside Israel and Iraq, with a fundamental difference. The stakes are high: the control of the planet's major oil reserves and of Islam's most sacred of lands. It is a characteristic that is everything but irrelevant: we are witnessing a civil war triggered by an army of suicide bombers on the orders of Osama Bin Laden. Saudis against Saudis....  The result is fratricide in the name of Allah. Islamists against Muslims. And that the real objective of the terrorists is only one: power....  The repeated suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia coincide with the discovery in the territory of a solid Al Qaeda structure that has conspicuous financial assets, possesses a considerable weapons arsenal, controls mosques and Koranic schools. And above all, it relies on the conniving of sympathizers who have infiltrated the secret services, security apparati, as well as the State administration and the religious cult....  And it is also likely that it can count on the sympathy of leaders of the Saudi royal family with fundamentalist tendencies and hostile to the substantially lay modernity incarnated by the West....  The outcome of this game, whether we like it or not, concerns us all, because undoubtedly the earthquake that has hit Saudi Arabia will end up destabilizing the entire country."


RUSSIA:  "Al Qaeda Blows Up Muslims"


Dmitry Suslov observed in liberal Nezavisimaya Gazeta (11/10):  "The latest terrorist act is one of the few that have been predicted  by the American intelligence correctly and in  advance. Washington  reported  last Friday that  there  was  'an  immediate terrorist  threat  in  Saudi  Arabia"  and  that  "the  terrorists planning the attacks are moving into the operational phase'....  Even  before  the  start of Ramadan,  the  US,  Britain  and Australia have called on their citizens to refrain from travelling to  Saudi Arabia 'in connection with a possible terrorist threat.'  Besides, concrete actions were taken to forestall the threat....  Although  this time the target was not  American  (though located  not far from the US Embassy and the residential  quarters of  American citizens) American interests are the terrorists' main target....  By  blowing  up  the families  of  Arab  diplomats  the organizers  have demonstrated to the whole world what  may  be  in store  for those Muslims who have adopted the Western way of  life that prevails in the diplomatic quarter of the Saudi capital."


AUSTRIA:  “Torn Between Two Directions”


Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal Der Standard (11/11):  “The reaction of the US to the bombing attack in Riyadh shows a somewhat selective perception. This time--unlike in most other attacks in Saudi Arabia--no Americans were among the victims, probably because the terrorists had to settle for a less well-protected target. Washington immediately pointed the finger: Al-Qaeda wants to overthrow the Saudi royal family (nothing else). The attack was directed against the Saudi Arabian people (no-one else). And: If Riyadh agrees, we will be happy to assist them as a partner. Riyadh has no choice but to accept this friendly offer, even though the existing ‘partnership’ between the US and the highly repressive Saudi regime was one of the reasons for Bin Laden’s ascent. The Saudi royal family is torn between two totally different directions in the country: the wish for openness and democratization, and that for re-Islamization, i.e. distance from the US and its goals in the region. The terrorist activity of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia is the horrific radicalization of this desire.”


“A Turning Point?”


Burkhard Bischof commented in centrist Die Presse (11/10):  "Bin Laden’s hatred is directed against everything and everyone who does not share the death wish of those Al Qaeda’s fanatics....  For all Muslims, the Riyadh car bomb attack should serve as an eye-opener on bin Laden’s destructive interests. It should also induce them to take the necessary consequences....  If all those who have felt the impact of bin Laden’s terror war start working together and open up a joint front, 09/11/03 might, indeed, emerge as a turning point in the global anti-terror efforts. Could it be the beginning of the end for Usama bin Laden?”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "The Lesson Of Jihad"


Petr Pesek held in center-right Lidove noviny (11/10):  "Jews and Christians are enemy Number One, states the editorial of the new issue of internet magazine 'Voice of Jihad,' which is considered a mouth piece of terrorist al-Qaeda.  The bomb attack in Riyad, which carries the hand of al-Qaeda, is additional evidence that terrorist attacks will never be entirely prevented.  But an even more interesting aspect of the night's bloodshed is that not Americans or other 'western nonbelievers'...but foreigners from Arab and Muslim countries were targeted this time.  This perhaps opened the eyes of even those in the Arab world, who until now secretly  sympathized with al-Qaeda and its attacks on western targets."


HUNGARY:  “Bazaar Bargains”


Prestigious Hungarian-language weekly HVG held (11/13):  "The most recent bomb attack in Riyadh can backfire on al-Qaeda because the target this time was a residential area where foreigners of Arab origin reside in villas.  This fact can turn the Arab public against the perpetrators.  It can even put the United States’ fight against terrorism into a different light.  The attack might even help the Saudi authorities in mapping and liquidating the terrorist cells.  The slaughtering of Muslims, women and children amongst them, might loosen up the taboos of the Saudi society, which rests in large part, on tribal relations.  The conservative leaning Muslims, who would otherwise never ‘betray’ their fellow clan members, might also cooperate with the authorities more actively."


NORWAY:  "Chaos As A Means To Power"


John Hultgren stated in newspaper-of-record Aftenposten (11/12):  "Saudi Arabia has behaved like a stable country....  Despite that the picture of stability has long been false. Internally the country has been torn between two factions that have gone each their own direction. The one is now suddenly violent. It consists of religious fanatics that think that Saudi Arabia's very conservative interpretation of Islam is too liberal. This is a group of people that condemn every aspect of what we would consider modern. And the followers are obviously willing to do everything in order to win. Therefore are more actions very probable....  It is more interesting to see whom Al-Qaeda attacks in its actions....  American targets are perhaps too well secured. So are perhaps targets connected to the royal family. But there is also another possibility; that the bombs actually are not aimed against anyone specific, but are meant to create chaos."




Social-democratic Dagsavisen commented (11/12):  "The weekend's bomb that killed 17 people in Saudi Arabia shows that the terror network Al-Qaeda is still fully able to plan and execute greater actions against difficult targets. Also from Afghanistan come reports about Al-Qaeda still posing a serious threat.  Meanwhile the U.S. fritters away the forces in Iraq, in a war that does more to encourage more terror than to limit its possibilities."


ROMANIA:  "Saudi Arabia Terrorist Attack"


Roxana Frosin opined in business-oriented Curentul (11/10):  "An attempt to undermine Saudi Arabia, the main ally of the United States in the Middle East and the main oil supplier, is a new blow against westerners in the Kingdom, a new warning addressed to the Saudi royal family who are involved in an open conflict with the Islamic fundamentalists, or all these taken together.  The devastating terrorist attack of Saturday night, in a residential sector of Riyadh, bears the Al-Qaida trademark, as all Saudi and western sources agree.”


SPAIN:  "The Saudi Contamination"


Centrist La Vanguardia editorialized (11/10):  "The shock wave of Iraq which began with the aim of stabilizing the region, not only has not been able to bring peace but on the contrary is generating a contaminating effect on Saudi Arabia....  The new terrorist blow in Riyadh has also an internal key: the gradual loss of control of the situation by the Saud family....  The intervention in Iraq did not so much seek to break the unproven ties between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda as much as to put Saudi Arabia on the ropes.  The control of Iraqi oil reserves could give Washington an alternative supply and let it demand from the Saudis an effective commitment against Islamic terrorism and to open its strict fundamentalism.  If this was the purpose, the attacks last Saturday reflect this with all its crudeness.  The question is if the Riyadh regime is able to confront the contaminating plague that it itself has helped spread."


TURKEY:  "The Riyadh Bombings" 


Sami Kohen observed in mass-appeal Milliyet (11/12):  "The latest attacks indicate a growing wave of terrorism in Saudi Arabia.  Al Qaida is the most likely suspect behind the terrorist acts.  It is known that the organization has a strong network in Saudi Arabia, and that its main targets include the US as well as the Saudi Royal Family....  Although the US decided to close its military bases in Saudi Arabia, it seems that Al Qaida continues to treat the Saudi regime as a US puppet.  It is very likely that Al Qaida hopes to create an uprising by weakening the Saudi regime after the terrorist attacks....  The Saudi government has pledged minor political reforms in this autocratic country.  However, the recent terrorist attacks might slow down the limited democratization process and maybe even put an end it.  If that happens, it would be very discouraging for Saudi Arabia's political future and could drag the oil-producing states into violence and instability which could shake the political and economic equilibrium around the world."




EGYPT:  "Al Qaeda:  Who Benefits?"


Pro-government Al Ahram senior columnist Salama Ahmed Salama wrote (11/13):  "The murderous suicide Riyadh symbolize the utter failure of Al Qaeda....  Once, Al Qaeda had a goal...regarding combating U.S. hegemony using terrorist tactics.  Now, Al Qaeda has turned its guns on Saudi Arabia....  It no longer differentiates between friend and foe....  [The attack] proves...Al Qaeda lacks a specific political vision or a comprehensive religious and moral logic....  A chaotic Saudi Arabia will...perhaps tempt foreign forces to interfere.  A clear indicator that the ranks of Al Qaeda...have been infiltrated are the repeated warnings which preceded recent attacks."


“Riyadh Explosions:  Threat Against All”


Pro-government Al Ahram Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie declared (11/11):  “The attack served the enemies of Arabism and is enough to view Zionist websites to discover the Zionist groups’ unjust accusations of brutality against Arabism and Islam....  Arabs should have a common strategy to fight terrorist organizations....  Certainly, international powers, chiefly the U.S., are primarily responsible for international terrorism....  Continuing Israeli thuggery, absolute U.S. support for Israel, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq...are all factors exploited by terrorist organizations.”


“The Riyadh Battle”


Essam Kamel concluded in pro-opposition Al Wafd (11/11):  “Undoubtedly, American [intelligence] warnings of the attack could be a coincidence...but also it may imply that Americans have launched a psychological war against the Saudis and may also imply American involvement in the attack.  For [if Americans were that clever, why weren’t they clever as well] in Iraq and before September 11?....  The collapse of the twin towers in the U.S. led to the fall of two regimes and crushed the bones of Muslims, and the plot against more Arab capitals proceeds towards a new regional map where only one master exists:  the U.S.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "The Riyadh Bombings: A Different Reading"


Chief Editor Abd-al-Bari Atwan averred in London-based independent anti-U.S., anti-Saudi Arabic-language Al-Quds Al-Arabi (11/12):  "The Arab regimes' indulgence in political and financial corruption is the only explanation for the wave of bloody violence that currently prevails in the Arab region, and which began to most truthfully express itself in Saudi Arabia and Iraq in particular.  The bombings that currently take place in Riyadh and the preceding confrontations in Mecca are only the result of suppressed anger.  They are a prelude to the eruption of the volcano of hatred and rancor, which currently lies under the thrones of ruling regimes.  This explosion is inevitably coming....  When our rulers are indulged in corruption and plunder public funds, humiliate the homeland and citizens, fail to support the causes of right in the Islamic world, and side with colonial forces and their plans, they must not be obeyed....  We do not support violence as a means of change. At the same time, we oppose all those who call for not discussing the reasons and causes and who are contented with demanding that what happened should be denounced as abominable terrorism.  The United States bears a great responsibility for the emergence and spread of this wave of violence.  It is the United States, which harbored and encouraged Islamic extremism and financed some of its organizations, which fought against communism and Arab nationalist and leftist fervor.  It is the United States, which supported and protected corrupt regimes, covered up their repressive methods, and allied itself with them against the citizens and their legitimate human rights....  Regrettably, the bloody violence in the region will escalate because the regimes do not want to introduce reforms and because the United States changed its mind and resumed its support for these regimes only because they stepped up their campaigns of repression against their peoples on the pretext of fighting extremism and the al-Qa'ida organization.  The Riyadh bombings are the tip of the iceberg."




The English-language pro-government Arab News opined (11/11): "The bombing of the residential compound in Riyadh on Saturday night sent several messages. The first was that Al-Qaeda are a presence in the Kingdom and have declared war on everyone who lives here, Saudis and foreigners alike. Saudi Arabia is now the front line in the war on terror and we must all stand shoulder to shoulder with the security forces to eradicate this menace from the home of Islam’s two holiest shrines....  This is a decisive battle against the forces of evil, whose goal of bringing about instability and chaos is anathema to all decent-minded Saudis.  The fact that Arabs and Muslims were targeted has been made much of in both the Arabic-language and Western media. And rightly so. That the attack occurred in Ramadan merely increases the revulsion, and should leave no one in any doubt that Islam and its values were far from the minds of those who chose to take their own lives along with so many others. What has such terror to do with Islam?  Having said that, the attacks would have been no less barbaric had they targeted an exclusively Western compound....  The time is over for stupid conspiracy theories which blame every event that shows the Kingdom in a less than perfect light on hidden foreign hands. This was not the work of Mossad. This was not the work of the CIA. The time has come for all of us to pour scorn on anyone who takes that all-too-easy way out. This attack was carried out by Saudis, and rather than remain in denial about the fact, we must face up to it--and everything it implies....  If any good can come of such horror as the Riyadh blast, it is surely that no one who now hears the name Al-Qaeda will have any image in their mind other than one which truly reflects what the organization stands for: Innocent men and women being rushed to hospitals dripping with blood or trying to comfort their terrified children. Al-Qaeda are terrorists, pure and simple. They stand for nothing but death, destruction and disunity. 


"Let's Be Courageous And Call Things By Their True Names"


Abha's moderate Al-Watan declared (11/10):  "Making incoherent speeches seems to be the most our religious scholars can do...appealing to the terrorists, whom they describe as the youth of Jihad, not to resort to violence and destruction but rather to engage in dialogue....  We expect them to use clearer language, espouse sincere and genuine positions, and decide whether they are for or against the terrorists....  At the other end of the political spectrum, we find (Saudi) nationalists who do nothing but issue repeated anti-American statements...expressing no clear opinion about what is going on inside our country.  We want them to clearly denounce terrorism, too....  Look for example at their arguments regarding the warning by the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh few days ago. Some of them argued that it was part of a Zionist media campaign against Saudi Arabia in the United States.  But we all know that these terrorists are Saudi youths."    


"Terrorists Didn't Do Their Homework"


Jeddah's English-language Saudi Gazette commented (11/10):  "Before this week, perhaps some in the Kingdom still believed that the terrorists were pursuing some noble cause.  Today they know for sure that that no nobility can possibly attach to their heinous act....  No good can come out of this week's mayhem.  Yet the dispelling of any doubt about the terrorists' motives ought to ensure that this whole country, government and people, are hand in hand against this enemy of propriety and life.  If the terrorists still believe that they can win, they surely have to do their homework [about public opinion]."


"Midnight Terror"


Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily noted (11/10):  "The suicide bomb attacks in Riyadh late Saturday night clearly reflect the terrorist groups' growing anger at defeat....  Whatever the target, mass murder for whatever cause is simply beyond the comprehension of any sane person....  Now, after the second devastating terror attack this year in Riyadh, the Kingdom stands firm in its resolve to take on the terrorist groups.  No number of terrorist acts will force the Kingdom to submit to blackmail.  It will continue to strive for harmony, while at the same time making every effort to continue flushing out the slippery terrorist forces until they are wiped out forever."


JORDAN:  "Attacking Riyadh Using Sharon’s Methods"


Mahmoud Al-Rimawi maintained in semi-official influential Arabic-language Al-Rai (11/10):  “It has always been rightly said that extremists are allies, even if their aims are different.  The horrifying events in Riyadh come as an echo to the supports that the neo-conservatives in Washington give to Israeli barbarism. In both cases civilians are attacked, in the name of religion and in the name of spreading democracy.  Either way the acts are guided by blind fanaticism and lack of respect for human life, even though Sharon is more blatant in implementing his policy of ethnic cleansing with total American support, which the U.S. gives without shame.”


KUWAIT:  "Torturing Bodies To Frighten Nations"


Mohammad Al-Ajmi noted in independent Al-Watan (11/12):  "The terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia coincided with the beginning of reforms in the Kingdom through establishing an open dialogue. This signifies that those who are behind the attack do not believe in the language of dialogue and reject reforms. They strongly believe in violence and killing as a means to achieve their goals. Such terrorist attacks should not hinder reforms. Instead, they should serve as a motive to continue with more reforms."


"Riyadh's Incident"


Khudair Al-Anzi remarked in independent Al-Qabas (11/12):  "We are in a real crisis. There is no guarantee that what happened in Saudi Arabia will not happen in Kuwait or any other country. Extremism has become an international phenomenon. The attacks in Riyadh and Mecca indicate we are facing a dangerous ideology....  There should be no dialogue with such ideology, but rather eradicating such thought will protect the whole of society."   


"Mecca And Riyadh Explosions"


Sami Al-Nisf opined in independent Al-Anba (11/11):  "In Riyadh, apostates of Islam chose a safe residential complex occupied mostly by Muslims to act out their cold-blooded crime. Can anything justify such a criminal act during this holy month [of Ramadan]?....  Who else would benefit from such organized criminal acts by Al-Qaeda terrorist organization except the enemies of Arabism and Islam."


 "What Do Terrorists Want?"


Liberal Secretary General of the National Democratic Forum Dr. Ahmad Bishara wrote in independent Al-Qabas (11/11):  "These terrorists exploit internal conditions [in Saudi Arabia] such as unemployment, a deteriorating economy, and restraints on public freedom. On the other hand, wide freedoms are given to Islamic groups and organizations to spread their narrow vision of life and religion. Such an atmosphere provides fertile ground for terrorist ideology....  Confronting terrorism requires winning over regular citizens and making them feel they are part of the battle against terrorism. Passive citizens who lack a role in their countries become fuel for the battle."


LEBANON:  "The Saudi Complex"


Sahar Baasiri held in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (11/12):  "Following the latest blast...Saudi Arabia looks like a front open to many conflicts...that could be detrimental.  These conflicts are several: the Saudi regime's war on terrorism, Al-Qaida's attempts to topple the current Saudi regime, in addition to calls for reform.  Whatever these conflicts may be, there is no doubt that the Saudi front is getting increasingly dangerous....  The crisis is really deep because ever since the kingdom was established, it was based on, there are those who are defying the Saudi monarchy by using religion itself...and the monarchy can no longer contain this crisis....  King Fahd said that he will strike with an iron hand...however, will striking be beneficial?  Those who are defying the legitimacy of the Saudi regime are the sons of this regime and its Moslem beliefs."


SYRIA:  "The Potentials for Resurgence and Self-Achievement"


Omar Jaftali declared in government-owned Tishreen (11/11):  "The targeting of the infrastructure of fraternal Saudi Arabia that recently took place and the attempt to plant the seeds of chaos among its sons is likely to be repeated in countries other than Saudi Arabia. Foreign plotting with its Zionist tentacles has now found its place in view of the divisions and regionalism that are besetting the Ummah and in view of the fragmentation of will and the decision-making process....  Expeditious Arab action can benefit from the fact that the viewpoints agree that the best road for the Arabs is to regain solidarity....  On behalf of Syria, President Bashar Asad condemned the bombing in Riyadh that targeted innocent civilians....  The internal and external dangers threatening Saudi Arabia threaten Syria and all the Arab countries as well. These dangers should prompt the forces of the nation to think seriously and come up with cures and possible alternatives in order to put the Arab house in order once again based on a genuine will founded on integration, cooperation, and a common destiny."




AUSTRALIA:  “Riyadh Bomb Will Not Deter Reform Vision”


An editorial in the national conservative Australian read (11/10):  “In its randomness and bloody mindedness, yesterday's attack on a residential compound in Riyadh, which killed at least five people and injured more than one hundred others, had al-Qa'ida written all over it....  Saudi Arabia has begun a dialogue on human rights, committed itself to a limited degree of electoral freedom, and even allowed demonstrations by pro-democracy groups. This may be, in fact, what provoked the renewed attack by the terrorists: in Saudi Arabia, as in post-Hussein Iraq, they will quite rightly see any movement in the direction of democracy, and rights for women, as a dire threat to their interests. As citizens in Arab countries experience the economic and social benefits that democracy and human rights, in co-operation with Islam, can bring, the influence of religious radicals will wane and the terrorists' recruiting-swamps will dry up. This is the basis of the Middle East vision outlined by George W. Bush in his keynote speech last week....  But yesterday's attack on Riyadh should convince even more Saudis that the Islamists are their enemies, and that the Bush vision is their lifeline.”


CHINA:  "Saudi Arabia: Terror Attacks Promote Anti-Terror Alliance"


Yin Zheng wrote in official popular Beijing Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnianbao) (11/7):  "Since 9/11...Saudi Arabia has faced great pressure from the international community, especially from the U.S.  But in the two years after 9/11, Saudi remained independent from the international anti-terror alliance....  But the successive bombings since May 12 have changed things.  Considering Saudi as a target indicates that the terrorists' targets are expanding.  Saudi has to increase its cooperation with the U.S....  In this sense, objectively speaking, international terrorism has helped strengthen the international anti-terror alliance....  Actually the Saudis' only choice is to get closer to the anti-terror alliance.  If not...its economy will take a severe hit....  Besides, if the U.S. finds Saudi uncooperative in the anti-terror fight, it may adopt various measures to promote democratic reform in Saudi, and this no doubt will shake the Saudi royals' position."


INDONESIA:  “Local, Regional And Global Contexts Of Terrors In Riyadh”


Leading independent Kompas commented (11/11):  “In the regional context, the terrorist acts in Riyadh only added to the complexity of the chain of violence in the Middle East.  The suicide bombing in Riyadh only worsened the bad image of the Middle East as a region full of violence....  In the global context, the discourse on terrorism has shifted.  The incidents in Riyadh have dismantled the ideological bias, misperception, and attitude that have caused generalizations between terrorism and Islam. It is becoming clearer that terrorism has nothing to do with religion.”


“The U.S. And The Ever-Growing Violence”


Independent Media Indonesia editorialized (11/11):  “It is rather difficult not to link the suicide bombings with the worsening situation in Iraq because of U.S. aggression.  It is also rather difficult to separate the suicide bombing in Riyadh with U.S. plans to hunt down Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein....  If Saudi Arabia has also become a target of attacks by the militants, the world has indeed become a mess and scary because the country, Mecca in particular, is a holy place where Muslims all over the world meet.  No matter the cause, the U.S. has a major contribution in fostering violence by militant groups in the Middle East.”


“Vicious Circle of Terror”


Independent Koran Tempo observed (11/11):  “Very obviously the series of terror in Saudi Arabia was not separated from U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.  The U.S. said the bombings were masterminded by Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden.  This could be true or false.  However, even in the absence of bin Laden, opposition groups still continue to appear....  The U.S. is launching a war against terrorism.  But for these groups, the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East constitutes terror.  And they have no other choice than to resist terrorism with terrorism....  This circle of terror must be stopped after so many victims.  One of the ways is that the U.S. must review its foreign policy in the Middle East.”


“Saudi Arabia Is Being Targeted Now”


Muslim intellectual Republika commented (11/10):  “The motive of the attack in Riyadh early Sunday is still not yet known...whether the attack was related to the anti-American attitude or part of an external pressure for Saudi Arabia to adopt democracy. It has also yet to be determined whether the attack aimed to tell the world that Saudi Arabia is a terrorist exporting country as the West has accused since September 11.  The bomb attack in Riyadh must be condemned.  No matter who they are, or what their agenda is--including attacks in Mecca some time ago--the attackers must be people who do not understand Islam and its principles. To Muslims, the attacks in Riyadh and Mecca raise a question amid a situation where Muslims all over the world have been cornered since September 11.  The U.S. government has many times tried to convince them that there is no link between terrorism and Islam, and yet terrorist acts have occurred in Muslim countries, including Indonesia.  Is this just a coincidence?  Isn’t there any possibility that the terrorists attacks in Muslim countries are part of a grand and systematic design to destroy the image of Islam as a religion of peace and compassion to the whole universe?” 


MALAYSIA:  "Acts Of Sacrilege In Riyadh"


Government-infleunced English-language New Straits Times opined (11/11):  "That Sunday’s car bomb attack in Riyadh, underlines the fact that nothing is sacred to terrorists.  Despite the crackdown on the militants and warnings that such an attack was likely, nothing could be done to prevent the recent tragedy.  It remains to be seen whether the Saudi authorities will be able to foil further attacks.  Although the royal family seems to be the target of the terrorists, the unpalatable truth is that Saudi Arabia is where al-Qaeda was born, and the puritanical and militant doctrines of the official Wahhabi sect is the source of al-Qaeda ideology.  What sets the Islamists against the Saudi royalty is the latter's 'unholy alliance' with the United States, and by extension with US favourite Israel.  The terrorist network inside and outside Saudi Arabia feeds on the widespread Arab anger against the US because of its pro-Jewish policies, its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and its perceived prejudice against Islam.  Regardless of whether the blast is connected to alQaeda, it has served notice that no war against terror is going to extinguish terrorism, unless the roots of injustice are exterminated.  Capturing Osama bin Laden or detaining hundreds of suspects will not cripple the terrorist network because hundreds more are ready to take their place.  Fighting terrorism requires policies and strategies which douse the fires of hatred rather than those which serve only to inflame them to the extent that militants are prepared to commit acts of murderous sacrilege during the fasting month.  The House of Saud must be prepared to undertake the necessary reforms, including democratisation, or woe betide it."


SINGAPORE:  "Terror In Saudi Arabia" 


The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (11/13):  "Saudi Arabia has for long promoted its puritanical brand of Islam, Wahhabism, by funding charities and schools the world over. There is evidence that some, if not a large portion, of this money has found its way to terrorist groups....  Last weekend's bombing in Riyadh, which killed at least 17 people, all of them Arab, indicates Saudi Arabia itself is reaping what it sowed. That was inevitable, for Al-Qaeda's chieftains, especially Osama bin Laden, have never camouflaged one of their chief aims--nothing less than the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy, which they believe is corrupt and pro-Western. The fact that this attack took place despite the US withdrawal of its military forces from the country shows that the US presence in Saudi Arabia was not the main, or only, quarrel Al-Qaeda had with the Saudi royal family. Its chief quarrel was with the family itself....  Al-Qaeda's aim being to overthrow the Saudi monarchy, it does not matter to it who it kills in the process, Muslim or non-Muslim, so long as it succeeds in creating mayhem, confusion, uncertainty and instability. It wins, not by eliciting mass support for itself, but by exposing the regime's inability to protect the people, by revealing the emperor really has no clothes, by instigating capital flight and a loss of confidence in the government.  To fight back, that government must first show its strength and determination. The Saudi government, to its credit, has done that, and well before the latest attack....  Few will disagree that oppressive regimes (supported often by the US, as Mr. Bush admitted) provide fertile recruiting grounds for radical Islamic groups. But democracy alone will not drain that ground. More crucial than elections are the rule of law, educational reforms and economic justice. What angers ordinary Saudis most: the fact that they do not have municipal elections or that they are ruled by a family, numbering in the thousands, that is widely perceived (with good reason) as self-indulgent, opulent and corrupt?"




INDIA:  "Terrorism In Riyadh"


Urdu-language pro-Congress Qaumi Awaz declared (11/11):  "The growing incidents of terror attacks are a direct offshoot of the US policy of interference in the Arab world. The invasion of Iraq only poured fuel to the raging fire. As a result, not only the US but also Saudi Arabia and other countries that collaborated with the invaders in Iraq are now being targeted....  In Iraq, the popular outburst against the invaders is being linked with Al-Qaeda. Without making a case for the terror organization and its nefarious acts, it is unrealistic to hold Al-Qaeda responsible for every single act of violence everywhere. It was too tempting to see Al-Qaeda's hands behind the blast in Riyadh. But, it was surprisingly ignored that the US had not only warned against the attack and closed its mission two days in advance. If the US intelligence had firm information about the attack why not did it share with and alert the Saudi authorities? Instead of just focussing on Al-Qaeda, the US policies in the region should also be kept in mind while ascertaining the causes that provoked the blasts in Riyadh and elsewhere."


"Warriors Of Chaos" 


The nationalist Hindustan Times maintained (11/11):  "The Riyadh blasts are pointers to several aspects of Islamic terrorism. First, they show that al-Qaeda is still capable of wreaking havoc at a time and place of its choosing. Second, westerners are no longer its sole targets. It can strike even at fellow Muslims....  As long as they can spread terror, their main objective, no communities are spared. In the case of the attacks in Riyadh, the target is evidently the Saudi regime....  It has been suggested that the latest strikes will alienate the Muslim community. It's possible, however, that al-Qaeda simply doesn't care....  Its aim is to terrorize the people into submission, as in Afghanistan under the Taliban, so that its version of a puritanical Islamic regime can be established. To al-Qaeda, the Saudi royals, with their lavish lifestyle, are no better than the Great Satan, which is the US....  The disturbing evidence of al-Qaeda's capacity to unleash terror has come at a time when the Turkish decision against sending troops to Iraq means that there is not going to be any relief for the US....  As in Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda is not bothered if the Red Cross's departure entails greater suffering for the ordinary Iraqis. Indeed, as the organized structures of governance collapse, Osama's insensate warriors will have reasons to cheer."


"Monster Ball" 


An editorial in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer read (11/11):  "Operationally, the bombings at the al-Muhaya residential complex in Riyadh resemble the series of blasts that shook three housing compounds in the Saudi Capital on May 12....  Both were carried out late at night. Both were fidayeen attacks on soft targets: Expatriate communities. Though no one has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attack, both are also considered the Al Qaeda's handiwork....  The killing of Arab Muslims during Ramzan has led to shock and bewilderment. Attacks on Shias and blasts at the UN and, more recently, Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad have evoked similar confusion in the recent past. But the no-holds-barred way unexpected targets are being picked off is only apparently inexplicable. Within the traditional strikes on Western interests in the Mideast, a new pattern of violence has emerged: Anyone perceived to be cooperating with the West, providing a colluding support system for its continued presence in the region or under its cultural influence is on the hit-list.  Creating a generalized climate of fear is, of course, still directed at the US and its friends....  In Iraq, the work of international bodies and humanitarian agencies is seen as indirectly helping the US to prolong its 'occupation.'  A similar gory lesson is being held out to the US-friendly House of Saud....  The Bush Administration, on its part, is seen as blinking at the world's real terror exporters--Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, strategically important client states. Barking up the wrong tree, it has also virtually invited the Al Qaeda to fish in the troubled waters of war-ravaged Iraq....  Clearly, the U.S.' rhetoric about leading the global anti-terror combat is not scaring the enemies of the free world. If the war is to be won, state terror sponsors cannot be allowed to use their coziness with America to disown culpability for creating and nurturing the monsters of radical Islamic jihad."


PAKISTAN:  "U.S. War Against Terrorism And The Muslim World's Travails"


Center-right Urdu-language Pakistan thundered (11/10):  "America neither learned a lesson from Vietnam, nor is it willing to soften its stance in view of the Iraqi and Afghan nations' wrath.  While the U.S. will face losses due to this attitude, it will also bring unrest, turmoil and eventually civil wars within Islamic states.  Any Islamic country will tomorrow face the same devastation that Saudi Arabia is facing today.  America must review its operations and the outcome they are producing.  The path it has chosen to combat terrorism is causing hostility on earth.  If the U.S. holds peace dear, it must pack its bags and leave Iraq and Afghanistan.  Withdrawing (from these countries) would not be cowardice--because what it is doing right now is not bravery either, but can be termed a new form of Nazism."


"Reaction To The American Crusade, And The Muslim Ummah"


Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt held (11/10):  "The November 8 bomb blast in Riyadh, preceded by the May 12 explosion, and the two helicopter incidents in Iraq within a short span of time are not ordinary happenings.  They demonstrate that the U.S. policy of responding to alleged terrorism with state-terrorism has failed....  The Riyadh bomb blasts are a reaction to America's state-sponsored terrorism. Muslim countries must counter this crusade--that the U.S. has started to protect the tiny state of Israel--in a unified manner.  We, the so-called Muslims have set our own house on fire instead of pondering the implications of this crusade."


BANGLADESH:  “Terrorism And The Saudis”


Independent English-language New Age commented (11/11):  "To all intents and purposes, the attackers are against the reforms the Saudi authorities have, of late, been trying to bring about in its system of governance.  And in the process, the vested quarters among the ruling elite, who are for the status quo, are growingly feeling threatened.  Recently, in its drive to catch the trouble-mongers and terrorists the Saudi government has netted about 600 extremists.  The government has also become more restrictive about what is preached in the mosques, propagated through the media or taught in the school textbooks, especially regarding religious tolerance.  Traditional Muslim charities have come under stricter scrutiny and surveillance.  These are reasons enough to infuriate the terrorists who might be engaged in a last-ditch struggle to survive and also carry on with their activities as before.  The outside world is not so much concerned about the internal reforms under way in the Saudi system of governance and society as in the stability of the country and the entire Middle East for that matter.  That is because, for any lasting change in any system of governance, it is democratization that can really work.  If terrorism is in the way, then again, it is more democracy, or in their words more involvement of the people in achieving the end, that is be the most effective safeguard against the forces of reaction and status quo.  Switching between one police state and the other is hardly ever the answer under the circumstances.  On the contrary, it may cause to fan the flames of hatred and intolerance on which any form of violence, including the modern-day terrorists, thrive.  It is hoped the Saudi government will consider these aspects of the problem in their uphill battle against terrorism."


“Bombing In Riyadh”


Independent Bangla-language Prothom Alo said (11/11):  "The incident once again reminds us that al Qaida is still active and the U.S. acknowledged it.  This means that the U.S. war against terror after September 11 to eliminate terrorism has failed.  We have seen that in the name of eliminating terrorism, it has launched indiscriminate attacks on Afghanistan and occupied Iraq.  But it could not stop the activities of the al Qaida network.  Terrorist attacks were also not stopped.  Citizens of the West, including the U.S., fear more such attacks at home and abroad.  This situation has questioned the U.S. strategy to eliminate terrorism.  We do not support suicide or terrorist attacks, because these cannot solve any problem.  But we think that the role of the West, including the U.S., is greatly responsible for increasing the risk of terrorism all over the world.  The U.S.’ Middle East policy, the American support to Israel in spite of its barbaric attacks on Palestinians and developments in Afghanistan and Iraq have angered the world Muslim community.  It is more important to eliminate these causes of terrorism before it is to be eliminated.  Instead, the 'might is right' policy is increasing the causes of terrorism.  The sooner the U.S. realizes, the better."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Terror In Riyadh"


The Afro-centric pro-government Sowetan declared (11/12):  "Terrorists struck again in Saudi Arabia this week....  Many terrorist groups have since been scrambling to claim responsibility for the attack....  Since the attack of September 11 2001 on America, the Saudi kingdom has been under intense pressure to do more to join the fight against terror. It would be remembered that most of the suicide attackers were from Saudi Arabia. So was their leader, Osama bin Laden, the head of the al-Qaeda network, the master mind of that and several other attacks.  In their own way, the Saudi authorities have responded. Which, in part, explains the rising terrorist backlash against them. Their perceived close relationship with the American administration has also fuelled the resentment of the attackers towards the kingdom. Now that the attackers have taken their battle to Riyadh, it is tempting for Saudi authorities to respond in kind. This would play straight into the hands of their attackers. A violent response to this attack will just strengthen the resolve of the attackers to bring down the kingdom.  Tempting though it is to employ George Bush's doctrine of terror, the Saudi house must avoid falling into the trap. It must play its cards wisely. First, it must defend its citizens and their guests. That is every government's responsibility. However, it must not do so at the expense of civil liberties. Security is important.  But so too is freedom. Simply put, this means getting the basics right: strengthen the intelligence capacity. That is the first line of defence.  Unlike Americans, they must try to hunt down the attackers and bring them to justice before the newly established International Criminal Court. This court is there for such criminals. In doing so, it will feel the warmth of the embrace of the international community.  Second, it must press ahead with the reforms. They are good for the kingdom and the region. Outsiders must support this effort."


"Car Bombs In Riyadh"


The liberal Witness declared (11/11):  "It is all to easy for people, particularly in the West, to perceive Al-Qaeda as a torchbearer for Islam....  The attacks in Saudi Arabia, which is a Muslim state, show that this is a simplistic and inaccurate view.  Al-Qaeda is prepared to attack a Muslim state in its pursuit of a narrow and bigoted understanding of Islam....  Al-Qaeda is being shown in its true light or, more correctly, its true darkness that authentic Muslims find unacceptable. "


UGANDA:  "Saudi Innocent"


The moderate Islamic Weekly Message editorialized (11/11):  "Hours before bomb blasts went off in the Saudi capital Riyadh last weekend, the United States had closed her diplomatic missions there, wary of possible attacks.  The U.S also condemned Saudi authorities for not cooperating in volunteering information leading to terrorist sources of funding.  The immediately after news of the attacks was broken, while other nations expressed sympathy for the Royal Kingdom, Washington through its State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, vowed to continue the fight against terrorism and reiterated its earlier warned to Saudi Arabia.  It appears that Washington is determined to put Saudi Arabia in an awkward situation.  Saudi Arabia has fallen victim to terrorism as much as the U.S has.  America should therefore stop apportioning blame and should adequately address the causes of terrorism." 




CANADA:  "Action, Reaction"


Mario Roy wrote in French-language centrist La Presse (11/13):  "The attack in Riyadh...puts the White House in a difficult position....  That of firmly and openly supporting the regime presently in power in Saudi Arabia, one of the toughest, most dubious and least democratic regimes in the region. Simultaneously, the intervention in Iraq continues to be described as the bridgehead of a 'global democratic revolution,' to use George W. Bush's own words.  Even if we admit that reality requires such gymnastics from Washington and, despite the cynicism, recognize the concern for democracy, it is obvious that the image thus far presented to the Arab world is brutal....  The clumsiness of the present administration's actions and the duplicity of its rhetoric are slowly but surely backfiring. American public opinion also cannot be controlled or subjugated for very long."   


ARGENTINA:  "War Within The War"


Claudio Uriarte wrote in left-of-center Pagina 12 (11/9):  "It seems Al-Qaeda has again said present. And it has done so in Ramadan. After last week's serial attacks in Iraq...what happened yesterday in Saudi Arabia seems a highlight. After all, Saudi Arabia is Osama bin Laden's motherland, and the source of part of his financial resources. Its forced reappearance on the stage has an unequivocal goal: pointing to the organization and its particular and rigid beliefs as the Arab world's leader by hitting on the current cause against it--the US occupation of Iraq. Because, after all, a great deal of the domestic wars in the Arab World are waged among enemies whose goal is retaining the leadership of the Arab world....  Due to its dependence on oil and its business with Saudi Arabia, the US feeds the same terrorists who will attack it afterwards....  Al Qaeda is betting on destabilization, and the US on something else, and the end of this confrontation is not written anywhere. What is clear is that the Arab world cannot consider itself as a whole but as an outfit of warring factions. And it is on this point where the Bush administration's hope lays."


BRAZIL:  "Saudi Arabia's Political Stability Is Fundamental To The Entire Middle East."


Right-of-center O Globo stated (11/11):  "In last Saturday's attack on a condominium in Riyadh neither Americans nor Europeans died.  But although the terrorists' objective might have been to indirectly hit the Royal Family--rather than protesting against the American presence in the region--the violent episode goes beyond the limits of the Saudis' internal affairs.  Saudi Arabia, with the Mecca and Media sanctuaries, is the center of gravity in the Islamic world.  And its political stability is fundamental for the entire Middle East."


"Targeted By Terror"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo observed (11/11):  "Most analysts agree that the terrorist attack in Riyadh over the weekend has a strong 'domestic' component. In contrast to Al Qaeda´s other actions, the majority of the victims are now Arabs. Many see the attack as part of a campaign to destabilize the Saudi regime. Osama bin Laden and his followers have long pressured the royal family....  The predicament of the Saudi princes is in truth difficult....  The Saudi government did not want to, or could not, break its alliance with the U.S., a decision that has earned it a 'declaration of war' from bin Laden. It will not be a surprise if further attacks follow. A future fall of the royal family is not a remote possibility. It is certain, however, that the U.S will not passively watch the rise of a fundamentalist power supported by Al Qaeda in the nation that has the world's largest oil reserves. Given the nation's strategic character, the evolution of developments in Saudi Arabia must be followed with concern."


"Terrorists Aim At Saudi Authorities"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo remarked (11/10):  "The attack in Riyadh has sent Saudi leaders a clear message: the announcement that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the cradle of Islam was not enough to placate the terrorists who are determined to destabilize Saudi Arabia. According to analysts, the attack attributed to Al Qaeda calls attention to pressures the Saudi royal family has been subjected to as a result of the alliance it maintains with the U.S....  Osama bin Laden has demanded that U.S. troops be expelled from the land of Islam's most sacred sanctuaries, in Mecca and Medina. But in the past the Saudis denied that bin Laden had followers in Saudi Arabia....  Even so, the U.S. will continue to pressure Saudi Arabia to pursue reforms.  By demonstrating a common threat to both nations, the attack may help bring the two governments closer together....  The Saudi regime is beginning to face opposition coming from the streets, which was completely unthinkable in the past. Demonstrators have protested against the lack of rights and demanded more political liberty. In addition, Saudi leaders are facing serious social and economic problems that may deepen the crisis."


COLOMBIA:  "Saudi Kingdom's Quandary"


Medellin-based El Colombiano stated (11/11):  "For the last few months, Saudi Arabia has been passing through one of its most serious moments after the terrorist Al create social and political chaos....  In addition, the Saudi Kingdom is trying to balance changes requested by liberal reformers... and by allies in the West.”


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