International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

May 14, 2003

May 14, 2003





**  The Saudis are "paying for their mistakes" in fostering extremist Islam, must crack down.


**  U.S. needs to re-think its policies towards Saudi Arabia and the anti-terror war.


**  A united front is needed to combat an al-Qaida that remains "active and potent."




'Bloody attacks' are the fruit of the Saudis' 'fatal complacency'--  Editorialists commonly judged that the bombings in Riyadh were "an ominous reminder" that al-Qaida is "far from beaten and vanquished" and concluded that the "authoritarian" monarchy is now being "seriously challenged."  Dailies cited the Saudi regime's "weakness in confronting religious extremism" and "duplicity in financing and tolerating" terrorism, thus bringing on the "threat to the state."  Papers called on Saudi authorities to "take immediate action to address" the terrorist threat and "do far more to cooperate" with Western intelligence agencies.  A pro-government Saudi paper called on the country to "face up to the fact that we have a terrorist problem here." Another observer in the same journal, however, noted how other Saudi publications in denial maintained the perpetrators "could not have been Saudis."


Bin Laden's 'real stronghold' is Saudi Arabia itself--  Critics of the war in Iraq claimed the attacks showed that the U.S. "has been dangerously deflected" from the real terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida by the "crusade" in Iraq.  The "biggest threat against America" is in Saudi Arabia, a German outlet said, adding that "the U.S. has no political strategy on defuse this political bomb."  Switzerland's leading Tages-Anzeiger said President Bush "has not shown the toughness" with the Saudis as elsewhere in the war against terrorism.  Various writers suggested that with Iraq's oil newly available, "the strategic importance" of the Kingdom has lessened and the U.S. can "fall back on the friendly regime it is establishing in Baghdad."  The "well-timed" decision to remove U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia "is just not enough" for al-Qaida, which "wants to wage a world war." 


'Nothing can appease these people'--  Even as some tried to link the attacks to the Israel-Palestine problem, Arab papers denounced the attacks as "a crime" and "an atrocity" and said the "international community must cooperate and work together" to fight terrorism.  The elite Jordan Times called the attacks "a grim reminder of how the effort to stamp out terrorism worldwide requires cooperation among and condemnation by all countries."  European papers judged the problem of extremist Islam "will only disappear if Islamic societies manage to get rid of the problem themselves" and that "counterterrorism must go hand in hand with openness and democratic reform."   Other outlets emphasized that the U.S. could best undercut al-Qaida by "reviewing its policies in the region," whether its perceived over-reliance on the military or its "pro-Israel bias" and by putting "their democratization project to the test in Riyadh and Jeddah."

EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 57 reports from 32 countries on May 14, 2003. 




BRITAIN:  "Death In Riyadh"


The independent Financial Times editorialized (5/14):  "It had long been obvious that the diffuse, Islamo-fascist network inspired by Osama bin Laden would use the upheaval of the Iraq war to relaunch attacks against Western targets and drum up support for its jihad.  It was only a matter of time.  Even so, some anaylysts speculated that Mr. bin Laden would be appeased by Washington's postwar decision to withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia....  Nothing can appease these people who believe a 'clash of civilizations' with the West will restore Islam as a world power.  There is no alternative except to crush them--but to do that successfully they must be separated from their their widening constituency.  Put another way, while only might can destroy al-Qaida, its expanding support base can be eroded only by policies Arabs and Muslims see as just.  That would mean the U.S. regaining credibility in the region by dealing even-handedly with Israelis and Palestinians and by carrying out eventually its pledge to restore Iraq to Iraqis chosen by Iraqis.  To strike effectively at al-Qaida, flanked by convinced allies, the U.S. needs such legitimacy."


"Random Murder"


The conservative Times judged (5/14):  ""The Saudi authorities are under no doubt about the enormity of what has happened and the threat to their own state....  The Saudis know that, given the sharply critical atmosphere in Washington, there will be many in and around the Bush administration who will see the bombings as further evidence of Riyadh's weakness in confronting religious extremism.  They know that they must do far more to cooperate with Western intelligence agencies....  The past record does not give much cause for optimism.  The Saudis have still failed to clear up the bombing of the al Khobar barracks, which killed 19 Americans in 1996.  Al-Qaida's aim is to capitalize on the anti-American mood sweeping the Arab world and the current sense of shame that Iraqi forces put up so poor a fight.  It wants to make life in Saudi Arabi intolerable for any Westerner through a combination of terror and incitement.  And it wants to so shake the authority of the ruling house that all democratic reform is postponed, draconian new restrictions imposed and a disgruntled population provoked into open revolt."


"Reminder Of Harsh Reality"


The Nationalist broadsheet Irish News of Belfast held (5/14):  "The devastating bomb attack in Saudi Arabia has delivered a sharp reminder to President Bush that toppling Saddam Hussein has not eliminated the global threat to Americans."


FRANCE:  "Terrorism, Again"


Bruno Frappat opined in Catholic La Croix (5/14):  “The tragedy in Riyadh is like a message sent to Secretary Powell which can be summarized as follows: neither the end of Afghanistan’s Taliban nor the end of Saddam’s regime in Iraq are enough to give you the final victory....  We all knew, at least after Sept.11, that Saudi Arabia was a source of serious concern for the Americans....  Except for the naïve, we all knew that the end of Saddam Hussein would not mean the end of terrorism nor the beginning of security around the world.  We knew that George W. Bush’s crusade, by forgetting to deal with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, was concentrating on the non-essential.”


"The Saudi Monarchy Also A Target"


Claude Lorieux held in right-of-center Le Figaro (5/14):  “These bloody attacks are sending a triple message: to the Americans, to the Saudi family and to the Saudi Crown Prince....  International public opinion will remember them as an affront made to the U.S., and non-American victims, like those of the Nairobi and Dar es Salam attacks, will soon be forgotten....  The fact that these attacks came hours before Secretary Powell’s arrival underscores that the perpetrators’ intention was to make President Bush, along with his Western and Saudi allies, pay for their invasion of Iraq.  If, as Secretary Powell said, the attack has the mark of al-Qaida, then Washington’s decision to withdraw its forces from Saudi Arabia is not enough to calm the ire of Islamic extremists....  These attacks will undoubtedly revive America’s questions about Islamic ‘contamination’ of Saudi society.  This is hardly a good thing for the Saudi regime’s image.”


GERMANY:  "Terrorism Has Sunk Its Claw Into Us"


Stefan Kornelius commented in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung (5/14):  "The terror attacks in Riyadh show us the core of Islamic terror: al-Qaida cannot be defeated from the outside.  Militant Islamists will only disappear if Islamic societies manage to get rid of the problem themselves....  The terror is coming from Saudi Arabia, with its Wahhabi state religion, and it needs to be defeated there.  The origin of the biggest threat against America is there, not in Iraq.  The U.S. has no political strategy on how it wants to defuse this political bomb.  The Saudi people are waiting to be freed from authoritarianism--to turn to fundamentalism.  If America and the West want to free themselves from their biggest threat, they need to put their democratization project to the test in Riyadh and Jeddah.”


"Terror Returns"


Jacques Schuster contended in right-of-center Die Welt (5/14):  “As with earlier attacks, it is directed against the West in general and the U.S. in particular....  For the West and also Germany this means that the fight against terrorism also takes place in remote areas such as the Hindu Kush and that we have to stop rogue states from cooperating with terrorists to ensure that WMD don’t get into the wrong hands.  These consequences have not sunk in with the Germans yet; despite the terror attack in Djerba [Tunisia], most Germans still believe we are living on the island of the blessed....  It is time to wake up.”


ITALY:  "A Bloody Reminder"


Franco Venturini wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (5/14):  “The terrorist attacks in Riyadh remind the international community--still torn apart by disagreements over Iraq--that the priorities jointly identified after September 11 did not disappear with Saddam Hussein.  And the attacks restore a less triumphant dimension to the post-war situation, which still needs to be conquered after winning the war....  The revival of global terrorism should make us realize that expectations for the post-Saddam benefits must proceed simultaneously with the re-creation of a common front of all countries--not just Western nations--that coalesced after September 11.  Unresolved disputes and imperial skirmishes only help the kind of terrorism that aims at a Middle East in flames and an infinitely wider Atlantic: this is the terrible reminder coming from Riyadh.”


"The Terrorism Factory"


Magdi Allam held in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (5/14):  “Saudi Arabia confirms itself as the real stronghold of Osama bin Laden’s militants and as the most dangerous active volcano of Islamic fundamentalism, capable of destabilizing the entire Middle East.  It is an unbelievable factory of aspiring suicide terrorists who could spread death throughout the world.  Bin Laden is at home here....  The nine terrorists who sacrificed themselves as human bombs in Riyadh confirm that the reserve of Saudi ‘martyrs’ is considerable indeed....  The attacks in Riyadh hide an alarming new element and reflect a very ambitious goal: Osama bin Laden...believes that he can topple the Saudi monarchy and put his hands on the world’s resurrect the Umma, the Islamic Nation, to become its new caliph, and the Vicar of Mohammad....  The Saudi monarchy is paying for the serious mistakes stemming from an age-long religious and ideological politics characterized by risks and ambiguity.”


RUSSIA:  "Cause For New Armed Action"


Leonid Gankin commented in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (5/14):  "After the Americans finally get hold of Iraqi oilfields, they will no longer need the Saudis' oil very much.  Then Washington will be able to start destroying terrorism right in its lair.  There will no longer be need for more proof that the lair is in Saudi Arabia.  Al-Qaida has provided all the necessary evidence.  This is cause enough for a new antiterrorist operation."


"Americans Were Wrong About Al Qaida"


Igor Fedyukin remarked in business-oriented Vedomosti (5/14):  "The terrorist acts took place shortly before Colin Powell's visit to Saudi Arabia.  Earlier the Americans claimed that the war on terrorism and the overthrow of the Talibs in Afghanistan had rendered al-Qaida incapable of carrying out major terrorist acts."


AUSTRIA:  "The Hydra Lives"


Thomas Vieregge wrote in centrist daily Die Presse (5/14):  “Colin Powell certainly hasn’t been very lucky so far on his tour through the Middle East....  The Saudis have given him a welcome present that has confirmed all the old fears in Washington: the hydra of terror is still spreading its tentacles, and the al-Qaeda network has not been destroyed....  The U.S. has demonstrated political far-sightedness when it finally decided to remove the U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia.  The stationing of 'infidels on holy ground' had caused widespread resentments--an ideal breeding ground for fundamentalists of Osama bin Laden’s ilk....  Washington’s turning away from their long-standing ally Saudi Arabia indicates a change of strategy.  The regime in Riyadh is suspected of promoting and financing terrorism.  Since the terror attacks of 9/11, and especially since the end of the war in Iraq, the Saudi despots have forfeited much of their former prestige.  Now, the kingdom wants to win back some support with timid steps towards reforms.  First of all, this has to involve a rigorous clampdown on al-Qaeda cells, which seem to have been allowed to flourish in Saudi Arabia.”


BELGIUM:  "Bitter Illustration"


Baudouin Loos contended in left-of-center Le Soir (5/14):  “These terrorist attacks are a very bitter illustration for the Saudi ruling family of the dangers of pleading for a rigorist Islam while at the same time relying on the American ‘infidels’ to guarantee its security and even its survival....  In the United States, those who claimed that Iraq should be subdued because of their doubts about the Saudis’ reliability are reinforced by these attacks."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Osama's Legacy"


David Shorf wrote in the centre-right daily Lidove noviny (5/14):  "It could be surprising that Osama's followers attacked only several days after the Americans announced their intention to leave Saudi Arabia.  From the Arab point of view, however, the taking of Baghdad is much worse.  Many of Osama's prophecies have materialized....  The timing of the American forces' departure from Saudi Arabia was well planned and does not give the impression of retreat.  The problem, however, is that at this point it is just not enough for Al Qaeda.  It sees itself as a world organization and it wants to wage a world war."


DENMARK:  "Riyadh Must Take Immediate Anti-Terror Action"


Center-right Jyllands-Posten commented (5/14):  "It is important that the authorities in Riyadh take immediate action to address the terrorism that threatens to destabilize the region."


NORWAY:  "Terrorist Action"


Newspaper of record Aftenposten commented (5/14):  “There is little reason to believe that the U.S. will give up its presence in the Middle East after what happened last night, or that Washington will perceive the fight against fanatical terrorists as less important.  On the contrary the most extreme supporters of President Bush will feel even more strongly that this is a group with which one cannot compromise.  As always, the extremists are strengthened and the moderates are weakened by  terrorist acts.”


POLAND:  "They Want To Kill"


Dawid Warszawski opined in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (5/14):  “The attack happened only a month after Americans announced they would withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia, something al-Qaida and other fundamentalist organizations demanded....  Apparently, It is a futile hope that terrorists will stop killing if their demands are met--quite the opposite."


SPAIN:  "From Chechnya To Saudi Arabia"


Conservative ABC declared (5/14):  "The international war against terrorism is still prevailing, but it is going to be hard, it is going to mean suffering, it is going to represent important challenges, and to require even more solid determination and unity on the part of democratic countries.  In some European ideological environments, they invest more in explaining terrorism than in fighting it.  It is valid to look for a sociological explanation for a terrorist crime, as for any other.  But it is much more reassuring making an academic study once the criminal has been defeated."


"The Enemy Was Not In Iraq, But In A Neighboring Friend Country"


Independent El Mundo maintained (5/14):  "The war against Iraq not only has not served to weaken al-Qaida, but it has produced exactly the opposite effect: it has strengthened the terrorist organization, which has gained supporters in the Muslim world after the U.S. offensive against a paper tiger called Saddam.  The attacks of yesterday show that Baghdad was not the great threat Bush said and that the true enemies of the U.S. are in other countries, which are much closer to Washington politically....  Al-Qaida still has a huge capability to do harm, a hidden threat that Bush should fight by investing more in intelligence and political cooperation instead of sending his imposing army looking for propaganda laurels."


SWEDEN:  "The Fight Against Terrorism Is Not Over"


Stockholm's conservative Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (5/14):  "Hopefully the most recent terrorist attacks will make the Saudi Royal House take serious action against its internal terrorism, to whose growth it has...contributed.  But in Saudi Arabia, just as in other parts of the Arab world, counterterrorism must go hand-in-hand with openness and democratic reforms.  To press for this is also part of the fight against terrorism.  The military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have been surrounded by tough criticism against the U.S. for exaggerating the threat of global terrorism.  The Riyadh attack is a reminder that critics of the U.S. still are wrong.  But to them the brutal reality does not matter.  To anti-Americans the U.S. is the problem--not terrorism, which hits blindly."


"A Bombing Attack Against The U.S. Friend"


Social Democratic tabloid Aftonbladet observed (5/14):  "The four bloody suicide attacks not only tore up innocent people, they might also hasten the breakup of the close, half-century long friendship between the U.S. and the oil monarchy.  The ruling, authoritarian class in Saudi Arabia, rolling in money, is now being seriously threatened....  One might regard the violent attack either as an act of revenge for the Iraq war or as an attempt to try to tear to pieces the fragile Mideast peace plan, which Secretary Powell was to present for the rulers in Riyadh.  It must be said that the largest economic contributions toward international terrorism, without a doubt, come from Saudi Arabia.  This is the main reason why the U.S. wants to gradually withdraw from the country, which would then lose protection from the U.S. simultaneously as it would become increasingly vulnerable to terrorism and militant fundamentalism.  This might jeopardize its existence."


SWITZERLAND:  "A Fatal Lack of Toughness"


Washington correspondent Ignaz Staub contended in leading Tages-Anzeiger (5/14):  "The bombings in Riyadh reflect the fact that, in dealing with Saudi Arabia, George Bush has not shown the toughness that he has demonstrated elsewhere in the war against terrorism.  While the president has made it absolutely clear to other countries in the region that they can only be 'with us or against us,' he clearly has gone easy on the Saudi monarchy.  Like many U.S. presidents before him, he has not wanted to endanger the good relations between America and Saudi Arabia that have existed ever since oil was discovered in the Arabian Peninsula in the 1930s."


TURKEY:  "The Roots Of Terror"


Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (5/14):  "Trying to find a reason or excuse for terrorist acts is not only a dangerous...but also a meaningless effort.  The best way to eliminate terrorism is to be able to take proper measures.  However, the Bush administration's ways and means of handling Middle East-based terrorism seem to be providing no results at all.  One of the reasons for the failure to cope with terrorism stems from the U.S. decision makers' perception....  [They] continue to draw a direct link between Islam and terrorism.  Those with evil minds find this perception facilitates their execution of terror acts.  They easily find volunteers to carry out their dark aims.  It is like a vicious circle.  The more a parallel is made between Islam and terror, the more the terrorists find ways to achieve their goals....  This is the time to think about finding other ways to handle terrorism on a global scale.  One of them might be the U.S. determination to end injustices globally."




ISRAEL:  "Hitting Saudis Via Foreigners"


Zvi Bar'el wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (5/14):  "The [Saudi] government's plans to implement reforms bringing 'a little more democracy' into the kingdom has sparked a sharp controversy in Saudi Arabia.  This has already forced Crown Prince Abdullah to extract a promise from a group of intellectuals that they will stop talking publicly about the need for reform, 'in light of the situation.'  The fact that the attacks took place shortly after Washington and Riyadh announced plans to reduce the U.S. military presence in the kingdom strengthens the assessment that the terrorists' real target might have been the Saudi regime.  The attacks in Saudi Arabia once again cast doubt on whether total war against a state suspected of sheltering terrorists is an effective means of liquidating terrorist organizations whose aims are not localized."


"Hotbed of Terror"


Guy Bechor maintained in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (5/14):  "The Saudi educational system has turned the kingdom into a hotbed of dissemination of radical Islam throughout the world, so that the threat posed to the U.S. and the West by the fruits of indoctrination by clerics is proving worse than the benefit accrued by the U.S. from that country's pro-Western foreign policy....  The fact that Iraqi oil production could reach 12 million barrels a day in one year's time allows the U.S. to fall back on the friendly regime it is establishing in Baghdad and to start checking what's rotten in the kingdom....  In light of Tuesday's bombings, it is clear that a 'sit tight' policy vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia could prove disastrous.  One possible solution could be to force the Saudi kingdom to reach a new socio-political order in which the Court would take responsibility for domains in which it hasn't been active up till now--chiefly education, the law and the administration of religious affairs.  If this is not done, Saudi Arabia will continue to be a breeding ground for new al Qaida-style organizations.  Now that the lessons of Iraq are still fresh and represent a Damocles' sword on the Arab regimes, the time has come for such action."


EGYPT:  "Fatal American Mistake"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Hazem Abdel Rahman observed (5/14):  “It is obvious al-Qaida is still able to strike at any time....  The explosions in Riyadh, although they are criminal acts, mean American policy is reaping what it sowed.  Before the war on terror ended, it [the U.S.] opened the Iraqi front, and before the situation settles in Iraq, the Riyadh explosions occurred.  Chancellor Schroeder warned precisely about this when he said war on Iraq might have a negative impact on the war against terror and on Mideast stability.”


"Separating Lines"


Small-circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya Editor-in-chief Samir Ragab speculated (5/14):  “If al-Qaida proves to be behind the Riyadh explosions, does it mean the organization is still intact?  Certainly yes....  The U.S. should realize its occupation of Afghanistan...and Iraq...would not prevent terrorists from committing crimes, which we know are not specific to one religion or border....  There is no other solution but to revive President Mubarak’s hold an international conference to fight terrorism under the U.N. umbrella....  Only then will the line be tightened around terrorists and they will disappear."


JORDAN:  "Determined Missions"


The elite, English-language Jordan Times editorialized (5/14):  "The fatal Riyadh are a grim reminder of how the effort to stamp out terrorism worldwide requires cooperation among and condemnation by all countries who would see this scourge removed from the globe."


KUWAIT:  "Who Is The Target Of The Explosions In Riyadh?"


Dr. Ayed Al-Manna wrote in independent Al-Watan (5/14):  “If the terrorists of Saudi Arabia believe that raising slogans against the Americans will gain them sympathy, then they are hallucinating.… The goals of terrorism in Saudi Arabia are to impose an extremist ideology instead of adopting the sensible Islamic teachings, and to force the Saudi leadership to abandon its reform policies."  


"Flame On The Hem Of The Saudi Robe"


Editor-in-Chief of independent Al-Seyassah, Ahmad Al-Jarallah opined (5/14):  “Are these [terrorist attacks] meant to expel Americans from the Arabian Peninsula?  We do not believe so, because Americans have already left [Saudi Arabia].  Indeed, such acts of terror are meant to topple the ruling power and nothing else.”


LEBANON:  "Riyadh, Blasting The Holy Slogan!"


Talal Salman opined in moderate, anti-Syrian As-Safir (5/14):  "If we believe...all the proofs and speculations that the Riyadh blasts are the creation of Al-Qaeda organization, then Osama Bin-Laden would have added to his original sin, another hideous sin, confirming that he is suffering from a dangerous political blindness that stops him from seeing who his real enemy is....  One condition for Al-Jihad is to determine who your enemy is, and confront him in the eye....  The blasts in Riyadh are a crime....  They are a hideous political mistake which will give the American administration the opportunity to show that it is only defending its citizens when it attacks other countries and even occupy them....  When will Al-Qaeda stop blasting the slogan of the holy Jihad?"


QATAR:  "We Condemn This Terrorist Act"


Semi-independent Arabic-language  Al-Watan (5/14):  "Killing civilians can not be justified ever, even if it is made in the name of Islam. The attacks in Riyadh are actually against the teachings of Islam. The Riyadh attacks prove without a doubt that the international community must work and cooperate together to fight this terrorism. But we must differentiate between these terrorist attacks and the resistance against the occupier. The situation in Palestine is totally different because the Palestinians are fighting for their rights against the Israeli. Sharon and his government will use the Riyadh attacks as a justification to accelerate their aggression against the Palestinians under the umbrella of a war on terrorism. We should act firmly against terrorist acts against civilians but we have to state loudly that the Palestinians are resisting an occupying power--not innocent civilians." 


"These Criminals Are Harming Islam Itself"


Semi-independent English-language Gulf Times opined (5/14):  "The coordinated attacks on the Westerners' despicable and there is no justification for such hate-driven crimes, which are perpetrated by a misguided minority....  It is hard to know what the perpetrators thought might have been achieved by such a crime.  Whoever was responsible must have been blind to the fact that no good has ever come out of such attacks on Western interests.  By distorting the image of Islam and projecting it as a religion of violence, these misguided individuals play into the hands of those who want to harm the Arab and Muslim people and whip-up anti-Muslim sentiments in other countries.  It may even be their intention to do that in an effort to bring about a war between civilizations....  The Saudis and the U.S. will no doubt track down the criminals behind this atrocity and punish them, as they deserve.  But, as with the September 11, 2001, attacks, the broader consequences of what has happened are impossible to calculate, beyond knowing that good never comes of evil deeds."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "The Enemy Within"


English-language, pro-government Arab News contended (5/14):  "Words are inadequate to express the shock, the revulsion, the outrage at the suicide bombings in Riyadh.  Are expatriates working here an army of occupation, to be slaughtered and terrorized into leaving?  This was an undertaking of sheer evil....  It was targeted as much against Saudi Arabia as against Westerners....  Those responsible are the new fascists.  Merciless, cold and full of hate, with a demented vision of Islam, they declared war on humanity for the thoroughly un-Islamic goal of separating and insulating the Muslim world from the rest of humanity....  We have to face up to the fact that we have a terrorist problem here....  For too long we have ignored the truth....  We can no longer ignore that we have a nest of vipers here, hoping that by doing so they will go away.  They will not.  They are our problem and we all their targets now....  The environment that produced such terrorism has to change.  The suicide bombers have been encouraged by the venom of anti-Westernism that has seeped through the Middle East’s veins, and the Kingdom is no less affected.  Those who gloat over Sept. 11, those who happily support suicide bombings in Israel and Russia, those who consider non-Muslims less human than Muslims and therefore somehow disposable, all bear part of the responsibility for the Riyadh bombs.  We cannot say that suicide bombings in Israel and Russia are acceptable but not in Saudi Arabia.  The cult of suicide bombings has to stop.  So too has the chattering, malicious, vindictive hate propaganda.  It has provided a fertile ground for ignorance and hatred to grow.  There is much in U.S. policy to condemn; there are many aspects of Western society that offend--and where necessary, Arab governments condemn.  But anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism for their own sake are crude, ignorant and destructive.  They create hate.  They must end.  Otherwise there will be more barbarities."


"Decisiveness In Confronting Terrorism"


Riyadh’s moderate, Al-Jazira editorialized (5/14):  "Things have developed into a phase that has left no room except to address them with a large degree of decisiveness and firmness.  We need to contain those risks and to rout out anything that encourages them and those who promote them because the stability of the society rests on an effective move where every individual in this society plays a vital role."


"The Real Target"


Jeddah’s moderate, Okaz opined (5/14):  "The target is not buildings, foreigners or residences of foreigners, but the target is Arab and Islamic security.  Any other argument is invalid and incorrect."


"The Target Is The Kingdom"


Mecca’s conservative, Al-Nadwa editorialized (5/14):  "Although this incident coincided with the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell--those who want to undermine the U.S.-Saudi relations would try with all their inherited evils to take advantage of this incident to realize their well-known objectives and goals as they have attempted before to take advantage of the 9/11 events to damage this strong relation between the two countries--the determination of the U.S. secretary of state to complete his visit was a confirmation that U.S.-Saudi relations are above any suspicion and that such relations cannot be affected by terrorist actions."


UAE:  "The Explosions In Riyadh"


Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab held (5/14):  "The explosions in Riyadh remind us of the importance that Washington review its policies in the region, whether it relies totally on its military power when dealing with the region's issues, or whether it totally supports Israel's use of force against the Palestinians.  It also reminds the people of the region that there are individuals among them who have fallen into mazes of darkness that provide no benefit to any cause and only provide distorted images to Arabs and Muslims."




JAPAN:  "Saudi Arabia On The Horns Of Islam And Pro-U.S. Stance"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri Amman correspondent Hirano noted (5/14):  "Behind the Riyadh suicide bombings are growing popular frustrations over the fact that although Saudi Arabia is leader of the Islamic world, its leadership continues to be dependent both militarily and economically on the 'infidel' U.S. It appears that such inconsistencies have caused a 'hotbed of terrorism.' Such a possibility can no longer be dismissed that acts of terrorism are directed at not just the U.S. but the Saudi royal family."                     


"U.S.-Saudi Relations May Cool Off"


Moderate Tokyo Shimbun Washington correspondent Sawaki observed (5/14):  "The strategic importance of Saudi Arabia, once a strong point for U.S. policy toward the Middle East, has lessened since the Iraq war came to a virtual end. Against such a backdrop, the Riyadh suicide bombings were so serious that they could damage U.S.-Saudi relations, given the fact that Osama bin-Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, is a Saudi native, and that Secretary of State Powell was visiting Riyadh to ask the Saudi government to intensify crackdowns on al-Qaida terrorists."


INDONESIA:  “Danger Of Terrorism Again Visible In The Attacks In Riyadh”


Leading independent Kompas commented (5/14):  “It is quite reasonable for certain parties to try to link the Riyadh bombings with the Palestinian-Israel conflict.  Though still a hypothesis, the series of bombing in Riyadh might serve not only as a protest against the presence of U.S. forces but also as a criticism against the West's pro-Israel bias....  But quite a few parties also suspect Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.  Moreover, a person who claimed to be Osama bin Laden recently threatened to attack U.S. interests all over the world....  But the allegation that Al Qaeda was behind the bombings has yet to be proven, a not very easy process of verification.  No matter who the perpetrators, however, the Riyadh incidents have brought about deep fears and panic.” 


“Bomb in Riyadh”


Independent Koran Tempo declared (5/14):  “The U.S. made a mistake by ignoring the world warning. The military attacks on Iraq have proven to not bring peace.  The ‘War on Terrorism’ in Afghanistan only triggered other terror, at least if we believe in the official version that the Bali bombing was perpetrated with the help of Al Qaeda soldiers that escaped from Afghanistan.  The occupation of Iraq has become more explosive. There is a wide perception that the U.S. military adventure in Iraq was not merely motivated by oil, but also in the interest of protecting Israel.  Such perceptions were reinforced by Pentagon officials, such as Paul Wolwofitz or advisors such as Richard Perle, both are pro-Israel and intend to ‘democratize’ and ‘change' the Middle East map....  Without any basic changes in policy, the road map toward independence in Palestine that Colin Powell is selling will lead the Middle East nowhere.  The cycle of terrorism in that region will neatly bury it.”


PHILIPPINES:  "Threat That Refuses To Go Away"


The editorial of the independent Manila Times read (5/14):  "The war against terrorism is going to be long and arduous.  We are constantly being reminded of this even after a victorious U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq and the arrest of several top lieutenants of terror....  The triple suicide bombings, which targeted buildings housing mostly western expatriates, killed at least 20 people, including two Filipinos and 10 Americans....  Saudi Arabia has long been a target of Bin Laden and his terror network....  He has made it known that he is fighting the Saudi rulers for allowing U.S. troops to set up a base in what he considers Muslim holy land....  There is no excuse for terrorism; the world cannot compromise with terrorists.  But Bin Laden's cause...has found a degree of support in the Islamic world.  He has made himself out to be the champion of downtrodden Muslims....  Even as we once again mourn victims of terrorism, we are reminded of the complicated nature of this scourge that threatens the world."




INDIA:  "Waiting On Terror"


The influential, right-of-center Indian Express editorialized (5/14):   "The Monday night bomb blasts in residential compounds housing westerners in Riyadh were certainly not unexpected.  But for America, as it goes about its unfolding 'war on terror' and its attempt to reconfigure its strategic presence in West Asia, they are definitely alarming.  The wreckage in Riyadh shows that Osama bin Laden's crew remain active and potent.  The suicide attacks came hours before U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell commenced his high-security visit to Riyadh.  America's Most Wanted have sought to convey that they can follow up the chatter in intelligence intercepts with chillingly timed action.  Clearly, even the first phase of the 'war on terror'--that is the hunt for Al-Qaeda--is not yet accomplished. Ever since 9/11, the U.S. has become increasingly suspicious of Saudi Arabia.  Washington has begun to tire of perceived Saudi duplicity in financing and tolerating Wahabi extremism, most notably of the Al-Qaeda and Taliban variety.  The U.S. may be moving its central command from the Prince Sultan air base near Riyadh to Doha, but would the entire enterprise be any better served if it were to desert Saudi Arabia altogether?  Monday's blasts have added urgency to that question."


"Indomitable Terror?"


The nationalist Hindustan Times observed (5/14):  "For the U.S., the grim reminder that al-Qaeda hasn't lost its sting may be all the more worrisome in the context of, first, its failure to nab Saddam Hussein and, secondly, its inability to restore any semblance of order in Baghdad.  Besides, the unsettled conditions in Iraq will be a reminder to the terrorists that the war may be over, but the conflict isn't.  Taken together with Israel's reluctance to accept the 'road-map' to peace in Palestine, Islamists may not find too much difficulty in recruiting members for their terror brigades.  Clearly, the world continues to remain a dangerous place."


"A Backlash In The Desert"


The centrist Hindu editorial read (5/14):  "The car-bomb attacks...will send shock waves around the world.  These reflect the first response to the month-long American occupation of Iraq and represent an ominous reminder both to the U.S. and the Saudi monarchy that their nemesis is far from beaten and vanquished.  That neither the warnings nor the high alert of the security apparatus could prevent the massive bomb attacks in the capital speaks of the degree of local support that Osama and his network have built up in Saudi Arabia....  Aftershocks as a consequence of the American invasion of Iraq were not unanticipated and Washington had begun to plan repositioning of its forces for a post-Saddam Hussein Middle East.  It was taken for granted that the first casualty of such reshuffling would be the unnatural relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, built up solely as an oil-for-security program. The planned American withdrawal, announced after the Iraqi action so that Osama and his Al-Qaeda do not claim credit for it, is a challenge that the Saudi regime must meet by reforming society so that bomb explosions do not convert into volcanic eruptions.  In a society ruled on feudal lines by an absolute monarch, democracy must be rarer than rain.  But failure to plant its seeds can have disastrous consequences for the entire region."


PAKISTAN:  "Riyadh Bomb Blasts"


The center-right national Nation stated (5/14):  "While there is no justification under any circumstances for such horrendous acts which involve the killing of innocent people, Washington can no longer afford to allow its usual blind reaction to fog the real issues of foreign policy that energize such groups against the U.S. in most of the Muslim world....  The other factor is Washington's carte blanche to Tel Aviv to trample over the lives, rights and territory of Palestinians. If suppressing terrorism through military might could work, Israel with its brute military strength would surely not be experiencing regular suicide bombings, as it is now. Washington's continued indulgence towards Israel in the process of the peace settlement in the region, its revived talk about a road map, which Israeli's hawkish Prime Minister is treating with the indifference of a spoilt child, does not inspire confidence in U.S. policies.  It is time Washington came to grips with these realities."


"Bomb Blasts In Riyadh"


Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt opined (5/14):  "Four different bomb explosions in a residential area in Riyadh killed at least 12 people, including 10 Americans....  America and its allies have launched an atrocious campaign to deprive and subjugate Muslims on the pretext of terrorism.  As a result of this policy, the youth of the Muslim Ummah have acted like a cat surrounded by dogs.  The surrounded cat has attacked the dog.  These sacrificial attacks are in fact a response to the oppression and are aimed at inflicting loses on America and those powers who have unleashed the hell of violence and suppression in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir....  The bomb blasts in Riyadh and the loss of life and property are regrettable....  America should know that deprivation and subjugation are creating terrorists....  Such incidents are food for thought for America.  The only super power should fulfill its responsibility and raise its voice against excesses in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir.  By doing so its dream to uproot terrorism would materialize."




CANADA:  "The Saudi Madness"


Serge Truffaut noted in liberal Le Devoir (5/14):  "According to Saudi political analysts, the departure of American troops is seen by a large segment of the population as a huge victory for al-Qaida....  With the military on the way out, Al Qaeda believes it can move on to the next stage and force the departure of the 30,000 Westerners living in the area....  Once the holy land is free of Christians and others, Al Qaeda and the mullahs would like to overthrow the Saudi regime.  It is true that the regime is a cocktail of great corruption, of madness, of arbitrary decisions, slavery and yes, poverty.  This country where princes live in the most extravagant opulence is now faced with the misery of unemployment.  It is logical for the unemployed to follow the guidelines of the mullahs opposed to the regime or the camp of Bin Laden supporters. Saudi Arabia is entering a time of profound upheavals."   


"Deadly Madness"


Julie Lemieux held in centrist Le Soleil (5/14):  "These new attacks show once again that the causes of terrorism are many and complex and that these acts of violence will not stop with the arrival of a democratic government in Iraq or the introduction of a cutting edge technological spying system.  The countries of the world must work hand in hand to fight without mercy against terrorism by sharing information and by continuing to finance this unusual war [against terrorism].  But they must also do everything in their power to create the necessary conditions for creating a lasting peace in the Middle East, to healing the wounds of injuries that fed the anger of too many young extremists. For if it is impossible to stop all the terrorists of the world, we should at least try to change the mentalities and appease the madness, despite the size of the challenge."


"Saudis Must Shun Fatal Complacency"


The liberal Toronto Star contended (5/14) (Internet version):  "Terror cannot be placated, managed or contained, even by those who know it intimately.  It must be forcefully suppressed.  Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's de facto feudal ruler, claims to understand that in the wake of terror bombings Monday in Riyadh....  Abdullah assured his people that the attacks on Americans and other foreign nationals won't 'shake the security and stability of our country.'  Maybe not.  But they should rouse Saudis from a fatal complacency.  Just weeks ago, Interior Minister Prince Naif declared Al Qaeda, the presumed author of the bombings, a spent force.  Yesterday, he looked a fool....  U.S. President George Bush, meanwhile, has been dangerously deflected from the anti-terror campaign by his unnecessary war to oust Saddam Hussein, and by the need to rebuild Iraq.  As the Americans settle in for an interminable occupation, the chief authors of 3,000 murders on Sept. 11, 2001, walk free. With tragic results.  Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 crew are Saudi-born, and this week's attacks reconfirm that the oil-rich desert kingdom of 23 million remains a breeding ground for terror....  Pressed by the Americans after 9/11, the Saudis have begun tracking down terror suspects, and squeezing their funds.  But it's been a half-hearted effort, with this week's predictable result.  The ferocity of these latest bombings should spur Prince Abdullah to confront terror-friendly royals, to rally moderate Saudis and to suppress the extremists.  Before they commit even worse crimes."


"Al-Qaeda: They're Back"


Barry Rubin commented in the leading Globe and Mail (Internet version) (5/14):  "For years, Saudi millionaires, with government compliance, have been financing al-Qaeda....  The goal was to turn al-Qaeda's violent energies away from Saudi Arabia. This latest attack shows that such tactics have not worked and should give the Saudi authorities an incentive to crack down on the group and really stop the flow of money from its own wealthy citizens to terrorists.  It is worth noting that this week's attack came shortly after the announcement that U.S. military forces would be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia.... In this case, the terrorists could falsely--but credibly for much of their Arab audience--claim the withdrawal as a victory for themselves....  An escalation in terrorism is also al-Qaeda's answer to the U.S. victory in Iraq."


ARGENTINA:  "Fissures In The Security System Designed By Bush"


Oscar Raul Cardoso opined in leading Clarin (5/14):  "The ghost of a blowback in US global affairs seems to be strongly reestablished through the multiple criminal assault in Riyadh....  Those who criticize the most recent US military incursions in Afghanistan and Iraq are based on the premise that George W. Bush created an objective situation of larger insecurity by choosing two Islamic countries that are notoriously weak and imposing a devastating punishment on them. Even the Royal House in Saudi Arabia has warned the US that its inability to promote a balanced peace plan in the Middle East favors the growing of the most radicalized factions... Meanwhile, Washington is irremediably in love with punishment as a response....  But terrorism is frequently the perverse expression of conflicts in which its participants have legitimate offenses....  The resolution of these conflicts==for instance, the Palestinian-Israeli issue--is what deactivates terrorism; by only responding through military force is acting only of the surface of things."


"The Saudi Royal Family, Between The Sword And A Hard Place"


Hector M. Guyot commented in daily-of-record La Nacion (5/14):  "The criminal assaults that killed tens of people in Riyadh happened when the contradiction involving Saudi Arabia's recent history has taken the country to a crossroads that seems far from a solution....  Why has Washington needed Saudi Arabia? In addition to its oil trade interests, there is a strategic reason: the US has had a military presence in Saudi territory for over fifty years, and its alliance with the ruling Sunnite dynasty....  has served to deter the expansion of radical Islamism in the region. But this convenience marriage has brought undesired consequences for the Saudi family dynasty....  The US presence in Saudi Arabia has always been unpopular....  Most of its inhabitants do not agree with the king's pro-US policy, and many find it humiliating that their country be so dependent on the US....  The royal family's refusal to host US troops in the last war on Iraq and the recent announcement that the US will withdraw its military from Saudi Arabia seem signs that the Saudi government wants to appease the Islamic complaints. But perhaps this will not be enough. The criminal assaults occurred the day before yesterday were also a hard retreat for the family dynasty, which notices how its absolute power is fissured while the anti-US feeling increases and, even worse, terrorism can also blow in the heart of its land."


BRAZIL:  "To Put Out the Fire"


Right-of-center O Globo editorialized (5/14):  "In view of yesterday's multiple suicidal attacks in Saudi Arabia, it may seem inopportune to ask when the Middle East will stop being a burning fuse.  But the question is less inopportune than it seems.  Despite the Riaydh's possible, even likely, that the explosive region will become stabilized in the near future.  It all depends on Bush's political skill, or his hegemonic project for the U.S. that still hasn't been revealed."


"Hunted By The U.S., Al Qaeda Remains A Threat"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo international writer Otavio Dias observed (5/14):  "The attacks in Riyadh have frustrated the optimistic assessments of the war on terrorism that were beginning to come from U.S. intelligence officials, especially with regard to Al Qaeda's ability to organize another well-coordinated attack....   Al Qaeda, which already maintains relations with radical Islamic organizations in several nations, is now undergoing an even more intense process of decentralization and will try to work more closely with terrorist groups around the world."


"Terror Chooses Riyadh To 'Revive'"


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo Paris correspondent Giles Lapouge asserted (5/14):  "Saudi Arabia has been cynically playing a game of double standards for 50 years....  Riyadh has used its fabulous oil profits to finance Islamic governments, Islamic revolts, anti-Zionist movements.  But on the other hand, the Saudi oil engenders so much interest in the Western industrial complex that the U.S. has remained impassive in the face of such Saudi Islamic activism....  The removal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia reflects the wishes of both nations: the U.S. can no longer support a nation that finances Islamic movements worldwide, and Prince Abdullah can no longer justify his alliance with the U.S. to a people who are extremely hostile to Washington."


MEXICO:  "Developments In Riyadh And Bush's Re-election "


Old-guard nationalist El Universal maintained (5/14):  "Terrorism is back in the spotlight after the terrorist attacks in Riyadh.  The first conclusion is that there is no possible defense against a suicide terrorist attack....  Second, the only way to prevent terrorism--in a place like the Middle East--is to solve the root of the problem through dialogue and negotiation on the basis of justice and international law....  Another not so exaggerated thought is that the terrorist attacks were carried out to maintain alive the post-9/11 fear that is so essential for the USG would carry out other military adventures under the pre-emptive war concept against faceless terrorism.  Let's not forget that Saudi Arabia has the world's largest oil reserves, and that there are big consortia interested in this wealth--as in the case of Iraq....  President Bush has said that his administration will find those responsible and will bring them to justice.  What does he mean? That the Saudi government will face the same fate of Afghanistan and Iraq?"


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