International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 1, 2003

August 1, 2003






**  Washington's "blame game" is an attempt to find a "scapegoat" for intelligence failure.


**  "Outraged" Saudis "insist" upon the release of the 28 classified pages.


**  Others speculate that the pages reveal an "unholy alliance" between Saudis and al-Qaida.


**  The "damning" report is unlikely to cause any serious strain in U.S.-Saudi relations.




'The U.S. security services could have prevented 9/11'--  Writers worldwide blamed the "lack of cooperation" between the CIA and FBI for the failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks.  The U.S. had "sufficient information" on suspect activities and individuals, but interagency "turf-wars" prevented intelligence from being passed on to the White House.  Skeptics charged Washington with attempting to divert blame from the U.S. "intelligence empire" by withholding the 28 pages: "Congress is into the blame game; it does not care who or what gets destroyed in the process."


The Kingdom is committed to eliminating the 'sin of terrorism.'--  Riyadh's defenders rejected allegations of al-Qaida ties, claiming Saudi Arabia "has nothing to hide."  London's influential Saudi-owned Al-Sharq Al-Awsat insisted that "there is no safe haven for terrorists" in Saudi Arabia, as demonstrated by the Kingdom's recent success in "uprooting" terrorism.  Moderate outlets charged that the report is based on "false accusations without any proof" and demanded a chance to publicly refute the intolerable "innuendo."  Most Saudi commentators asserted that "professional liars" in "the Zionist lobby" collaborated to discredit the Kingdom's recent crackdown on terrorism and weaken U.S.-Saudi relations.


The U.S. 'closed its eyes' to Saudi links to al-Qaida--  European commentators urged Washington to reevaluate its "embarrassing" relationship with "Riyadh's autocrats" to avoid a potential "scandal."  "The feudal, corrupt...Saudi regime hardly differs ideologically from the Taliban," asserted Germany's business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland.  British and French journals stated that Usama Bin Laden's "connections" to high Saudi officials have been critical to the development of "modern radical Muslim militancy."  South Africa's liberal Sunday Independent called on the U.S. to "coax, bully and bludgeon" the Saudis into reform.


With oil 'covering the truth,' the alliance has 'every chance of surviving'--  Although Saudis accused the U.S. of jeopardizing 50 years of "close friendship," most commentators contended that the Kingdom's rulers "will be safe."  With "chaos prevailing in Iraq," the U.S.--the world's largest consumer of oil--will continue to "protect" the Saudi regime--the world's largest producer of oil.  According to China's official Global Times, strategic interests make both sides unwilling to "deteriorate into hostility."

Editor: Andrew Borda

Editor's Note: This analysis is based on 47 reports from 16 countries, July 25 - August 1.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




SAUDI ARABIA:  "Saudi Public Is Irritated Over U.S. Administration's Position"


Damman’s moderate, Al-Yaum editorialized (7/31):  "When the Kingdom requested the U.S. administration to release the classified 28 pages of the congressional report on the events of September 11, the purpose was to present facts before the U.S. and the international public opinion....  We point out to the U.S. administration that the Saudi public is extremely frustrated and outraged over its position.  The U.S. administration also has to acknowledge the serious Saudi position on fighting terrorism....  We demand the U.S. administration to publish those classified pages in order to present facts to the international public opinion."


"Abusing Of The Classified Pages"


Riyadh’s moderate, Al-Jazira stated (7/31):  "The campaign against the kingdom begun long before the release of the Congressional report and those who support that campaign will find in it a new momentum for their conspiracy against the Kingdom.  But this campaign will have no influence on the Kingdom and its vital role in supporting Arab and Islamic issues."


"Baseless American Justifications"


Jeddah’s moderate Okaz maintained (7/31):  "Events so far have proven that no matter what the U.S justification was for not to declassify the alleged pages, whether it were for political or security reasons, the excuses remain groundless and we do not know why.  When will they tell the truth?  So that America does not have to resort to groundless justifications that could only be refuted by someone who supports justice and righteousness.  But these terms have been missing from the U.S. foreign policies."


"Unfounded Campaigns Will Not Harm Bilateral Relations"


Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad commented (7/31):  "The Saudi leadership and their American counterparts are fully aware that those professional liars cannot pollute the strong relationship between the two countries, which is built on honor, mutual respect and interests.  The leadership of the two countries realizes that Zionist groups whose main goal is to weaken the U.S. -Saudi relationships out of envy curry the latest accusations against Saudi Arabia."


"Our War And Theirs"


Abha’s moderate Al-Watan observed (7/31):  "It has become very obvious that targeting Saudi Arabia is directly related to the Kingdom’s defensive position of Islam, and its fights in support of Muslims all over the world.  It is also related to the Saudi involvement in other Arab issues such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  This leading Saudi role is the real target of these allegations in America, which are carried out in collaboration with the Zionist lobby.  They know very well that Saudi Arabia is against terrorism because it has been one of its victims.  That is why they found those pages convenient to justify their attacks on the Saudi role in world affairs." 


"Candid Policy"


Jeddah’s English-language Saudi Gazette held (7/31):  "Saudi Arabia always prided itself on being at peace with everyone in the world.  It has been an ardent advocate of regional and global stability.  Observers will agree that Saudi policy has stood the tests of time and the Kingdom has nothing to hide."




Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (7/30): "The U.S.' refusal to declassify 28 pages of the congressional report, which talked about a possible Saudi role in the September 11 attacks, from our point of view was unjustified.  To classify that information is condemnation rather than a political goodwill....  On the other side, the Kingdom's demand to declassify those pages is indisputable evidence that we hide nothing.  If there were accusations against us we want to know them in order to refute and answer."


"Declassify The 28 Pages"


Abha's moderate Al-Watan remarked (7/30): "The congressional report on the 9/11 events...created a noise especially in respect to the 28 classified pages on Saudi Arabia that the White House refused to declassify....  Since things have gone so far, the Kingdom declared that it is not afraid of publishing those pages.   To the contrary, we insist that their contents be released.  Because we know that we stand on solid ground....  To the dismay of the kingdom's adversaries, Saudi Arabia calls for the disclosure of the contents of these pages.  They are afraid of publishing them because they know that they contain nothing but falsifications of truth, and false accusations without any proof."


"The Congressional Report And Political Hypocrisy"


Damman's moderate Al-Yaum opined (7/30):  "We want to state clearly and decisively to the U.S. Congress that the Kingdom, as a sovereign state, cannot accept to play the role of a victim in a domestic U.S. political struggle....  The government of the Kingdom and its people demand the release of those 28 pages so we can accurately answer and refute them.  We want American and Saudi public opinion to understand that we are not interested to engage in worthless battles, the aims of which are to advance personal political ends....  Political hypocrisy is a synonymous feature of struggle among the pillars of the U.S. Administration and the U.S. Congress."


"Dangerous Territory"


Jeddah's English-language Arab News noted (7/30): "The unpublished 28 pages, which allegedly deals with Saudi involvement, now threaten to seriously damage Saudi-U.S. relations....  Opponents of the administration are queuing up to smear the Kingdom....The fact that in most cases their real target is the Bush administration and that they would readily smear any other country in similar circumstances makes no difference.  The result is that Saudi Arabia is being vilified as never before, on the basis of mere speculation and innuendo.  It is worse than unfair; it is intolerable.  Saudi Arabia, a firm ally of the U.S. for longer than anyone else in the region, is being treated like an enemy.  More than half a century of close friendship is being sacrificed on the altar of political advantage by irresponsible populists who will stop at nothing to embarrass the White House and make a name for themselves.  


"No Shelter For Terrorism"


London's influential, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat editorialized (7/29): "Once again the Saudi security forces proved their ability to monitor and disclose the designs of terrorists, whose plans aimed to disturb the security and safety of Saudi Arabia.  Last night's raid in Al-Qassim province confirmed that even if those outlawed, terrorists can move from a place to another, they cannot hide....  In short there is no safe haven for terrorists and terrorism here....  The raid also was a strong response to some recent Western reports that challenged Saudi efforts in uprooting terrorism.


"Continuous Confrontation With Terrorism"


Moderate Okaz held (7/29): "Again our security forces achieve another a long and a bitter battle against terrorism and its evils....  Our battle against terrorism will continue until we eliminate the sin of terrorism completely from our society.


"An Ultimate Resolve To Hunt Terrorists"


Moderate Al-Yaum opined (7/29): "The confrontation with terrorists requires vigilance from all especially, the Saudi citizens through cooperation with the security personnel and reporting on their whereabouts because their ideology aims to destroy our security and social stability.  We state here clearly to them that you and your ideology have no place among us and we will support the security personnel in fighting you and to clear our country from your evils.


"Unfounded Allegations"


Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa contended (7/27): "The comment by the State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher...was an official certificate for failure of another attempt to undermine the relations between the Kingdom and the U.S. as similar attempts failed in the past.  Those sick-minded people, who spread baseless allegations from time to time, forget the fact that the Kingdom was a victim of terrorism, speared no effort and continues to fight terrorism and to dry up its sources.  Therefore any accusation that the Kingdom supported terrorism is a false accusation.


"We Have Nothing To Hide"


Damman's moderate Al-Yaum opined (7/26): "The problem is not the (congressional) report, or those who prepared it....  But the problem lies on those minds, which preach for a new world.  Yet, the most dangerous problem is that those people have completely ignored measures introduced by the Kingdom to fight terrorism from which the Kingdom still suffers more than the U.S suffers....  Those people do not understand that the Kingdom has nothing to hide.  They should understand, as Prince Bandar bin Sultan stated, that we can publicly answer questions but we cannot respond to hidden pages."


"Boring, Repeated Scenarios"


Abha's moderate, Al-Watan editorialized (7/26): "There is a determination by some American circles, which are backed by the Zionist lobby, to continue their campaign against Saudi Arabia for reasons no longer hidden to anybody....  The congressional report on the September 11 events was drafted jointly with persons well-known for their anti-Saudi attitudes....  Those campaigns will have no influence on (the Kingdom)."




Jeddah's English language, Arab News commented (7/26): "The 900-page U.S. congressional report into the events of September 11, just released, has targeted and defamed Saudi Arabia.  Not with facts but by baseless innuendo and suggestion....  The report oozes institutional racism....  Congress, like the American public opinion it represents, is into the blame game; it does not care who or what gets destroyed in the process--in this case decades of close Saudi-U.S. friendship.  So it shuts its eyes to the fact that Saudi Arabia is fully involved in the war against international terrorism....  Such defamation is outrageous and is bound to poison the two countries' already troubled relationship."


"Dubious Propaganda"


Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily argued (7/26): "The U.S. congressional report released on Thursday insinuates that the Kingdom could have had hand in the attacks....  Nevertheless, accusations have been thrown at the Kingdom for far too long.  The issue at stake is not a triviality but such a sensitive and serious issue as terrorism.  The Kingdom has been doing and continues to do its part in upholding the age-old relation with the U.S.  It's time that Washington, too, steps in and directly intervenes to put a stop to such dubious propaganda."


EGYPT:  "The Foolish Administration"


Pro-government Al Ahram columnist Ahmed El-Berry wrote (7/31):  "There is no better word to describe the American administration than the Syrian Foreign Minister's description of it as 'a foolish administration.'   It really has pursued foolish decisions and positions since Sept 11....  It launched a campaign against terrorism, called 'global,' without clear objectives and plans or a conscious study of the situations of each country....  The White House rejected a Saudi request to reveal parts of the September 11 report concerning Saudi Arabia."




BRITAIN:  "Critical Point In War On Terror"


The left-of-center Sunday Observer editorialized (7/27): "We are now at a critical juncture in the prosecution of 'the war on terror'.  The easy tasks, to which America's military might was well suited, are over....  The really difficult problems, those that genuinely lie at the root of modern Islamic militancy and cannot be tackled merely with smart bombs, are still unresolved.  The Congressional report highlights one: Saudi Arabia.  Whatever the details of Saudis' involvement in 11 September... there can be little doubt that the massive exporting of hardline strands of Islam throughout the Muslim world by the Saudi religious and political establishment over the last 40 years has been critical in the development of modern radical Muslim militancy.  This goes far beyond the simple funding of a few terrorist individuals.  It entails the spread of fringe conservative doctrines that encourage violence in millions.  Reversing that trend is critical to fighting terrorism.  But it must be done without playing into our enemies' hands.  Usama bin Laden's aim has always been to radicalize and mobilize those Muslims who have hitherto shunned his message of hate.  This means that the war on terror is primarily a battle for hearts and minds. As Bush and his advisers digest the report, and look to the work to be done in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, they would do well to bear this in mind.  Otherwise all the gains since 11 September could be lost."


FRANCE: "When Censoring Rhymes With Confessing"


Jean de Belot commented in right-of-center Le Figaro (7/26):  “The fact that the 9/11 report does not charge the CIA and the FBI, both of which could have prevented the attacks, is significant, but what is much more serious is the American administration’s decision to censor 28 pages out of the 900 page report dealing with the role of Saudi Arabia....  This censoring is not a blunder, it is a sort of confession.  A proof that for years Washington has been fostering a relationship with the complex Saudi regime knowing all the while that the latter maintained internal security by financing al-Qaida abroad.  What is wrong with this picture?”


GERMANY:  "Uncomfortable"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/31):  "You can bet on it:  Congress and certainly the opposition will insist on the publication of the 28 pages that have been blacked out in the Congressional report on 9/11.....  Thus the classical conflict is looming between Congress, which will insist on publication and publicity, and the president who refers to security interests and ongoing investigations.  But because the cauldron of assumptions is bubbling, the matter is also getting uncomfortable for the Bush administration, since the blacked out pages are supposed to deal with the involvement of a 'foreign government' in the attacks or its knowledge thereof--Saudi Arabia.  We can imagine that the leadership in Riyadh feels denigrated and also demands the publication.  At least it argues that it insists on it--knowing that the Bush government will not do it.  The Saudi government also claims that it is a strong ally in the fight against terrorism, even though it has presented evidence only a few days ago.  A queasy feeling remains that people in the Islamic dark chambers were working on the destruction of the security and oil partnership between Arabia and the United States--and this work was tolerated if not promoted.  The question is by whom and why?"


"Hostile Friends"


Heiko Flottau had this to say in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/31):  "We do not know whether the Americans secretly passed information to their Saudi allies.  It is possible that the United States keeps all information to itself.  But this would only show what it fears: Osama bin Laden has the best connections to the highest government circles in Saudi Arabia, and this would be a bad suspicion.  On the other hand, both sides will remain dependent on each other for a long time to come. The United States still wants to have access to Saudi oil reserves.  The Saudis in turn need the protection of America, especially in the fight against al-Qaida.  And here the interests of the two unequal partners meet....  If we want to say it, we can say that, since the occupation of Iraq, the United States borders on Saudi Arabia.  This proximity may be reassuring for the Saudi monarchy, but it will also frighten it at the same time.  On the one hand, it guarantees protection; like in Kabul, any America-hostile regime in Riyadh would not survive for tool long.  But this proximity can also provoke al-Qaida attacks.  That is why the King and his princes will have mixed feelings when watching the U.S. protectorate in Iraq.  Let's hope for a good neighborhood."


"End Of The Grace Period"


Business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf editorialized (7/31):  "Riyadh's autocrats have not fallen yet into disgrace in Washington and still enjoy access to the president about which other partners can only dream.  But since the Iraq war, relations between the globally biggest energy consumer and the biggest oil supplier have dramatically changed.  It has been clear for a long time that the Saudis invest a considerable part of their petrodollars in the export of Wahhabism....  But the U.S. government closed its eyes to this and suppressed any criticism of the reform-unwilling Saudi monarchy....  But this is now a thing of the past.  With Iraq, the United States now controls the second-biggest oil reserves in the world and can even outmaneuver OPEC.  That is why the Saudi monarchy must now face U.S. demands.  Washington has called upon Riyadh not only to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism, but also the overdue democratization of politics and society."


"An Ambiguous Game"


Centrist Mitteldeutsche Zeitung of Halle noted (7/31):  "If the United States accuses Saudi Arabia of having promoted Islamic extremism and the 9/11 attacks, then this will only be half the truth.  For decades, the Saud family played an ambiguous game:  alliance with the United States and support of extremism.  But the United States willingly joined in this game, because the extremists were a weapon against Moscow and a lever to assert U.S oil interests in Central Asia.  Now that the genie that the Saudis let out of the bottle is turning against the U.S. and the Saudi monarchy, both countries are blaming each other.  This is an absurd dispute."


"Change Of Regime In Riyadh"


Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg charged (7/30):  "The accusations against Saudi Arabia are by no means out of place.  Saudi Arabia is a model example of undemocratic allies being unreliable allies.  It is no coincidence that 15 of the 19 9/11 attackers came from the country.  The feudal, corrupt...Saudi regime hardly differs ideologically from the Taliban in Afghanistan.  That is why Washington would be well advised to conceal no longer any Saudi involvement in terrorist activities.  What is necessary in Riyadh is regime change....  There is an insoluble contradiction between Islamic self-understanding of today's Saudi Arabia and the alliance with the U.S. that is so comfortable for the material interests of the king's family.  It is reflected in the links between the elites in Riyadh and the al-Qaida network.  They disagree on the appropriate relationship with the West, but they share the same extreme interpretation of Islam."


"Dark September Traces"


Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau noted (7/29): "The terrorist acts of September 11 could have been prevented with a bit more attention, and friends are not always friends.  This is the conclusion of the document that summarizes the investigations of a Congressional committee on the attacks.  This is an indirect accusation, but it must be painful for the U.S. president, his security advisor, and the evaluators of the intelligence reports.  The Saudi trace is interesting...and the denial of the Saudi ambassador to Washington gives reason for assumptions....  But the prince is distracting attention from a core point.  The state itself is not involved.  Its symbiosis with oil industry and the defense establishment in the U.S. is obvious and not suspicious.  But what is more important are the links between radical groups that made their experience in Afghanistan with U.S. assistance, and those inner-Saudi opposition which is outraged at corruption and the greed...of the leading Saudi family.  Second, at issue is the access of alleged terrorist to Saudi financial resources, and at issue is the picture of the Arab world that the Saudi ambassador conveyed to the U.S. establishment--and this was a very unrealistic one."


"Oil Covers The Truth"


Centrist Abendzeitung of Munich contended (7/28): "The Congressional fact-finding committee, which offers sufficient evidence of the failure of the FBI and the CIA, is an expression of the strength of U.S. democracy.  But George W. Bush is again trying to damage this strength.  It is an incredible scandal that he blacked out part of the report....  It would really be more than embarrassing if the 'U.S.' best friends' in the Arab world, the Saudis, were involved in the terrorist network.  But oil is easily covering the truth.  Bush does not want to lose support from the regime in Riyadh, particularly while chaos is prevailing in Iraq."


"Blackened Disgrace"


Heiko Flottau judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/28):  "In the Congressional report on the shortcomings of U.S. intelligence services before the terrorist attacks on September 11 some pages have been blackened....  Even though many Saudis were educated in the West, they have remained supporters of a deeply conservative Wahhabism.  That is why they supported bin Laden in the fight against the atheist Soviet Union, and that is why they also promote him in his campaign against the decadent West.  The U.S. protectors of the Saudis (better the protectors of Saudi oil resources) have always known these facts, but only since 9/11 they have been slowly familiarizing with these facts.  The Americans must now pose the painful question why their country of freedom and democracy has been supporting for more than seven decades a fundamentalist-Islamic form of state which it fights elsewhere."


"Blunder Of Agents"


Jochim Stoltenberg contended in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (7/28):  "If a Congressional fact-finding committee now comes to the conclusion that the FBI and the CIA made serious mistakes in the preparatory stages of the 9/11 attacks, then this by no means allows the conclusion that the unthinkable could have been prevented.  There is no evidence of it, since the al-Qaida network was too diversified....  But again, a weak spot of the intelligence agents from the FBI and the CIA has become obvious.  They are competing too strongly against each other instead of unconditionally cooperating.  The Bush administration has never been short of strong words and even deeds.  But it has to safeguard its global fight against terrorism at home, too, by stopping the intelligence services from watching each other.  This alone does not guarantee security but reveals traces that were also covered before 9/11."


"Milited Self-Criticism"


Clemens Wegin penned this in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/26):  "The Congressional report about the failure of U.S. intelligence services reveals two things: their sloppiness before the attacks, and the self-purification forces of U.S. democracy.  On almost 900 pages it reveals where the executive made mistakes....  But it is unclear whether the U.S. government blackened certain passages to maintain Saudi cooperation in the fight against terrorism or because of business contacts with important Saudi government officials.  This is a blind spot of an otherwise impressive report.  And the question remains whether the Republican-dominated Congress will use a similar zeal to investigate the pre-war times."


"If Security Agencies Fail"


Left-of-center Berliner Zeitung remarked (7/26): "Thanks to the uranium scandal we have gained the impression that the U.S. intelligence services want to make up for their mistakes and want to use more intelligent approaches to evaluate their information.  But this does not reassure us.  On the contrary, while the situation in Iraq was obviously exaggerated, Saudi Arabia, from which 15 of the 19 attackers came, is protected.  In the report those passages are blackened that deal with the role of Saudi Arabia.  The Bush administration classified certain findings and nobody will ever learn whether the Riyadh government financially supported the attackers....  The U.S government is willing to forgive the CIA and the FBI but on the flight to Washington, nobody is allowed to use the bathrooms--for reasons of national security."


AUSTRIA:  "Bush’s Censorship"


Markus Bernath wrote in liberal Der Standard (7/31):  “Who is the American government trying to protect with its refusal to publish 28 pages on Saudi Arabia’s silent, or not so silent, complicity with the attackers of 9/11?  The Saudi monarchy with its long-standing, notorious lenience towards extremists?  The failure of the U.S. intelligence services?  Or itself?  George W. Bush has maneuvered himself into an untenable position with the censoring of the hefty investigation report of the U.S. Congress on the events of 9/11....  The American government wants to avoid a public debate on the relations with Saudi Arabia--but this debate has already started....  The surviving dependents of the victims of the 9/11 attacks have also demanded clarity on the role of the Saudi dynasty in the terror attacks.  Is Washington still interested in them?”


"Costly Friends"


Foreign affairs writer Gerhard Plott reported in liberal Der Standard (7/27):  “Now it’s official: The U.S. security services could have prevented the terror attacks of 9/11, the U.S. Congress investigation committee declared.  A higher level of co-operation between the intelligence services would have been necessary to avoid the serious mistakes that were made.  The comprehensive investigation results collected by various agents were not assembled into one clear picture, the report states--obviously, none of the different offices knew what was really going on.  But as is often the case with year-long investigations, what the report leaves out is more interesting than what it includes.  The passages on Saudi-Arabian support of terrorists, which were left out in the official version, are especially political dynamite.  If the U.S. government knew about this and did not react, this is either proof of dramatic incompetence in the White House, or of the fact that the Bush administration consistently applies a double standard: Old allies such as Saudi Arabia can count on lenience, but all other terrorists are ruthlessly fought.”


FINLAND: "Close U.S. Relationship With Saudi Arabia Put To Test"


Leading, centrist Helsingin Sanomat editorialized (8/1): “The unholy alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is eroding by the day....  The controversy as such is not so serious that it would break the U.S.-Saudi alliance.  The key word is oil.  That and Saudi Arabia's important geo-strategic position  have helped create a complex relationship between the two countries, based on the economy, politics and military policy.  There are many influential decision makers in the U.S. who would add the name of Saudi Arabia to the list of rogue states.  Reality is different.  Unless income disparity or other internal difficulties lead to an upheaval in Saudi Arabia, its rulers will be safe.  At the same time, the alliance will remain the shining monument of stark realpolitik enhancing the belief of the Arab world in the U.S. duplicity.”


"Terrorists From The Wrong Country"


Left-of-center Hufvudstadsbladet commented (8/1):  "The risk exists that sooner or later a revolution with religious undertones might wipe away the Saudi royal house.  The U.S. fears that oil will be taken over by a hostile government, and the princes fear for their lives.  This equation guarantees that the Riyadh-Washington alliance has every chance of surviving."


NORWAY: “Serious Weakness Before September 11” 


Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten opined (7/26):  "What might be most important in [the Congressional report] is what is not said.  Because after much pressure from the White House are 28 pages not being downgraded....  The publishing of the Congress report has directed a new and critical focus against Saudi Arabia and the special relationship the power holders in the oil rich country seem to have with the current and former President Bush in addition to Vice President Dick Cheney.  As long as the U.S. protects Saudi Arabia, the suspicion will continue that there is something in the relationship that can’t be brought out into the light of day.”




CHINA:  "Saudi Arabia Complained Loudly"


Qi Zijian commented in the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun) (7/31):  "Analysts think, although Saudi Arabia has received frequent attacks from terrorists, it was still labeled by the U.S. as ‘connected with terrorist organizations’.  It shows that the trust between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has been shaken.  Besides, the continuously increasing anti-U.S. sentiment in Saudi Arabia is not consistent with the new U.S. strategy of promoting democracy in the Middle East.  Therefore, the ‘accusation’ in the U.S. report and the ‘disappointment’ of the Saudi government brought new unstable factors to the relations of the two countries and the security of the Gulf region.”


“The U.S. Irritated Saudi Arabia"


Official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) judged (7/30): "Analysts think, although the U.S. will continue to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia, it is still too early to tell if the U.S. and Saudi Arabia will split or not.  The strategic inter-complementary relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia haven’t changed.  Saudi is the biggest oil supplier of the U.S., and the U.S. is the biggest trade partner of Saudi Arabia.  Both of them are unwilling to deteriorate into hostility.  Therefore, analysts think, Bush will appease Al-Faisal in order to weaken the adverse effect brought on by the Congressional report.”


JAPAN:  "Danger Of Intelligence Empire"


The liberal Asahi argued (7/28):  "A '9/11 report,' compiled by special Senate and House intelligence committees, gives readers the impression that if intelligence reports had been passed on to higher levels of government in advance, simultaneous 9/11 terrorist attacks could had probably been prevented.  The panels pointed out that FBI and CIA intelligence reports on the pre-9/11 activities of terrorists in the U.S .had somehow not been passed on to the White House and other high-level administration officials.  This showed that even in the U.S., which is referred to as an 'intelligence empire,' bureaucratic sectionalism or a 'turf war' between rival intelligence organizations often stands in the way of passing crucial intelligence reports to government agencies concerned in a timely and accurate manner....  The U.S. is also being rocked by the deepening suspicion that the Bush administration exaggerated the threat of Iraq's WMD to justify the U.S.-led war on Iraq.  There is rising skepticism that intelligence officials neglected to provide President Bush with accurate reports on Iraq's WMD before he decided to use force against Saddam Hussein."




INDIA:  "Suspicious Silence"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (7/31):  "If the blacked out pages in the U.S. report on the terror attacks of 9/11 contain vital information on the culprits, as is suspected, it is surprising that the information should be suppressed at all.  One would have thought that the Americans would be the first to reveal this secret for which the world is waiting....  If the Saudi regime is responsible, why should Americans be shy of disclosing the fact?  If anything, it should be the Saudis who will want their dark deeds to be kept secret.  But, in this case, it is Riyadh which wants the contents of those pages to be published.  Clearly, there is more to the matter than meets the eye.  It is possible that a disclosure that people associated with the Saudi regime were the actual miscreants [of 9/11] will severely undermine the justification for invading Iraq....  But is this fatal miscalculation alone the reason why Washington wants to keep mum on the suspected Saudi connection?  Or is Riyadh's decades-old friendship with Washington and the Bush family's business links with Saudi Arabia the explanation for the silence?  It seems fairly certain that the hidden portions of the report contain as much damaging material for Riyadh as for Washington."


BANGLADESH:  "At Last Saudi Arabia Is Also Being Implicated"


Pro-Saddam Inqilab maintained (7/27):  "Who knows whether the ill motives of the U.S. would have been clear to Saudi Arabia unless it was not implicated in the report on the September 11 attacks.  The September 11 incident is no doubt a tragic event in human history.  But the U.S. is using the incident as a terrible weapon to implement its blueprint to resist the rise of Muslims as an economic power.  If the U.S. does not have to bear any liability for once encouraging Taliban, Bin Laden and the al-Qaida network, why should Saudi Arabia have to bear the responsibility for its failure to suppress al-Qaida?  The U.S. does not care, even if this question becomes acute among the peace loving people of the world.  At any moment, the U.S. may turn its active ally into an enemy and confront it.  This is the essence of the U.S. foreign policy.  The so-called war against terror is also being used as a lame excuse for achieving its policy of economic expansionism.  It has used and will use Saudi Arabia as long as it thinks necessary and then it will throw Saudi Arabia away or confront it as an enemy."




SOUTH AFRICA: "Coalition Has Been Barking Up The Wrong Tree"


The liberal Sunday Independent commented (7/27): "It was the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that set the U.S. military on the road to Baghdad, via Kabul.  Yet the 800-page report into the failings of U.S. intelligence that were exposed by the attacks points not towards Iraq but further south....  If the citizens of Britain and America worry about terrorist attacks they should ponder this report--and the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq --and conclude that the U.S.-British policy has been misdirected for the past two years.  If the governments of Britain and the U.S. really wanted to ensure the security of their peoples, they should have devoted the same resources and attention that were applied to fighting the war in Iraq to trying to coax, bully and bludgeon the Saudi authorities into rooting out the networks that support al-Qaida and similar groups.  The sooner the coalition can achieve what the U.S. calls closure in Iraq, the sooner they can devote their energies to learning the real intelligence lessons of the attack on the twin towers."




CANADA:  "Secrets Of September 11"


The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (7/31): "The intelligence and technical flaws, many of which were already known or the subject of intense speculation, are detailed in a damning report...that numbers close to 900 pages.  But perhaps the most explosive section, which deals specifically with the possible foreign assistance made available to the 19 suicide hijackers responsible for the attacks, remains secret by order of President George W. Bush....  Although complete transparency is always preferable, there are times when information is simply too sensitive to be made public. This may very well be one of those times."


"Congressional Report Vindicates Bush Strategy"


David Warren contended in the conservative Ottawa Citizen (Internet version) (7/26):  "Read impartially...the report gives some useful insights into the nature of the enemy the West is facing.  It puts beyond doubt the impossibility of defeating this enemy by means of conventional police methods and civilian courts.  It vindicates what the Bush administration has done, in taking the battle to the enemy rather than hoping the threat will go away."


BRAZIL: "Fatal Error"


Right-of-center O Globo noted (7/26): "When the first airplane hit the first world Trade Center tower on September 11, no one doubted that the American intelligence services had miserably failed.  The outcome of a Congressional investigation recently concluded shows that the CIA and FBI's greatest mistake was the lack of cooperation.   Both the espionage and counter-espionage agents had sufficient information on the suspect activities of individuals.  But there was not one single coordinated, intelligent action capable of putting the public interest above corporation disputes." 


MEXICO:  "Intelligence Viewed Under A Magnifying Glass"


Ana Maria Salazar judged in old-guard nationalist El Universal (7/25):  "Finally!  With great pomp and circumstance a U.S. legislative commission revealed the results of its investigation into possible intelligence failures by the CIA and the FBI that resulted in 9/11....  Eighteen months after al-Qaida's terrorist attack, which now seems like the chronicle of an anticipated attack, the United States keeps trying to find a scapegoat.  The fact that this report was made public just 15 months ahead of the upcoming presidential elections turns it into a political tool....  Unfortunately, as paradoxical as it may seem, this report, and the recent scandal regarding the use of fictitious intelligence to justify the U.S. invasion in Iraq, shouldn’t weaken Bush's chances of being reelected....  George W. Bush is facing the ghost of his father's failure; he did not win reelection despite of his achievements abroad, such as the Gulf War....  Therefore, history teaches that winning a war does not guarantee a victory in the upcoming elections.  This is a lesson that George W. Bush knows personally.  This is true, with or without the questions on intelligence."



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