International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 8, 2003

August 8, 2003





**  The attack in Jakarta confirms the "reorganization of the world terrorist network."


**  Indonesia must be a "more reliable partner" against "Muslim extremist movements."  


**  Critics claim this incident proves the war in Iraq "in fact...hindered" the war on terrorism.


**  The "long-term task of eradicating terrorism" depends on attacking its root causes. 




Terrorists 'continue to strike without fear of consequences'--  Australian writers in particular warned that the bombing in Jakarta proves international terrorists "have no intention of abandoning their murderous crusade."  Melbourne's liberal Age termed the attack a "stark, appalling reminder that terrorism still haunts our region."  The widely-read Philippine Daily Inquirer urged Southeast Asian nations to "redouble their cooperation" against terror, agreeing with London's conservative Daily Telegraph that "Islamist terrorism is nearly as grave a threat to stability in Southeast Asia as it is in the Middle East." 


Jakarta must 'restore confidence, at home and abroad' to improve its 'degraded image'--  The attack confirmed Indonesia's "reputation as the 'soft center' of Islamist terrorism in Asia."  Indonesian dailies demanded Jakarta take "sterner measures" to end its "complacency" towards terror; leading Kompas warned the country is "vulnerable to becoming a seedbed for the growth of terrorism."  Holland's left-of-center Trouw alleged Jakarta's "insufficient efforts" pose a risk "not only to Indonesia itself but also to the rest of Southeast Asia."  Other papers concluded that terrorist operations have "shifted to soft targets and regions."  The moderate Riyadh Daily said terrorists perceive "targets in Asia and Africa to be softer and easier to strike."


The U.S. 'chose the wrong enemy' in Iraq, ignoring 'the real threat' of terror--  Euro and leftist Asian dailies alleged that terrorists are "taking advantage" of "Bush's desertion from the war against terrorism" in favor of the war in Iraq.  A Philippine daily stated, "The region is no safer from terrorist attacks than it was before the invasion of Iraq."  Japan's liberal Asahi opined that "anti-U.S. feelings are rising" due to the "U.S.-led war on Iraq," agreeing with left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau that "terrorists are getting even more popular."   


The globe must focus on the 'roots of terrorism, intractable and complex as they are'--  Several dailies blamed terrorism on "inequality, oppression and injustice," which the moderately-conservative Bangkok Post said "fuel a social, economic and political atmosphere in which fanatics are born."  The conservative Philippine Star agreed the terrorist threat is "fed by poverty and religious extremism," while an Australian called for alleviating "the hardships of those who are easy prey to terrorist propaganda."  Lebanon's pro-Syria Ash-Sharq insisted that terrorism arises in response to "violence practiced by America against Muslims."   


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis was based on 51 reports from 24 countries over 6 - 8 August 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.


Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select critical and favorable commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.




BRITAIN:  "Al-Qa'eda's Bloody Return"


An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph read (8/6):  "The political and economic impact will be greatest at the epicenter of the blast, Indonesia, but the return of Islamist terrorism will send shock waves around the world.  One of the consequences of globalization is that any attack on a hotel such as the Marriott, however remote, is instantly perceived as a threat to tourists, business people and Westerners everywhere....  And it puts the issue of radical Islam back on the international agenda, reminding America and Europe that Islamist terrorism is nearly as grave a threat to stability in South-East Asia as it is in the Middle East."


"Bomb in Jakarta"


The conservative Times held (8/6):  "The car bomb that exploded right in the doorway of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta yesterday, killing 14 and injuring more than 140, was a hideous riposte to Bali's brave assertion of its resilience in the face of Islamist terror.  This fresh atrocity is a serious blow to Indonesia and its South East Asian neighbours....  It should not have happened....  In recent weeks, Australian, American and South East Asian intelligence have unanimously given warning that Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the sinister network implicated in the Bali bombings, had regrouped and was "actively plotting" fresh attacks. So vigilance should have been unusually high.  Indonesia is the chief stamping ground of JI, and also its likeliest target area....  Above all, Indonesia has a reputation as the "soft centre" of Islamist terrorism in Asia....  Four days ago President Megawati Sukarnoputri acknowledged that 'the domestic branch of the international terrorism movement is a terrifying threat.'  Yet her Government has been reluctant to admit to the deep penetration of the country by extremist Islamist groups....  It is politics, not law, that blocks tougher measures; the politicians are nervous about cracking down on Muslim radicals.  This reluctance is a menace to all Southeast Asia. The precise nature of JI's organisational connections to al-Qa'ida is disputed, but al-Qa'ida has provided terrorist training, ideological inspiration and funds....  Indonesia's latest tragedy is further proof that soft words do not turn away terrorist wrath....  A regional menace demands a regional response. In Indonesia's own urgent interests, it must become a more reliable partner."


FRANCE:  “Threat”


Patrick Sabatier observed in left-of-center Liberation (8/7):  “The shadow of Ussama Ben Laden hovers over this tragedy and there is little doubt that al Qaida had its role to play. The fundamentalist/terrorist network has indeed been weakened by the war waged against it by western intelligence. Today this network functions in the manner of regional autonomous franchises or outlets of a larger entity. However they all use the same methods...and have the same credo....  They all have the same enemies: democracy and western culture embodied by the U.S., as well as countries considered to be lackeys of Washington. Impossible to find since he disappeared near Tora Bora in 2001, Ben Laden seems to be taking advantage of George W. Bush’s desertion from the front of the war against terrorism...and is regaining his hold in Afghanistan that has been left in a state of anarchy and insecurity by Bush and the other members of the coalition....  It is true that just as the war in Iraq will never be over until Saddam Hussein is dealt with, the war against terrorism will only be won when the leader of al Qaida is found. Dead (without being able to prove it) or alive (without being able to find him), Ben Laden and al Qaida remain the principle threat to the security of the free world.”


“America’s Mistake”


Olivier Roy penned in right-of-center Le Figaro (8/7):  “Lacking the capability to know where and when the next attack will take place, emphasis must be placed on prevention by rooting out terrorist networks, supporters of terrorism and locating the regions where terrorism thrives. However the U.S. has trouble waging its war on terrorism. The principle reason being the politicization of other words, the Bush administrations’ efforts to confirm what they thought was true instead of pinpointing what they do not know. Worse yet, they follow tenets that lead them to targets that have nothing to do with terrorism....  The official doctrine holds that the war in Iraq was an essential step forward in the war on terrorism, when in fact it hindered it.”


“Indonesia Ailing Because Of Jamaah Islamiyah”


Economic-oriented right-of-center Les Echos declared (8/6):  “The sentences that will be passed on the various members of the terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah, that took part in the Bali attack last October, will undoubtedly have serious consequences for Indonesia. If they are too severe they will fuel the fires of anti-American sentiment in the region and could compromise a second term in office for Megawati Sukarnoputri. If they are too soft, however, they may provoke Washington and its allies, with inevitable financial consequences.”




Jean Guisnel held in regional La Republique des Pyrenees (8/6):  “The latest terrorist attack yesterday in Jakarta is a reminder that Islamic terrorists do not only attack in the west....  Who will be next? In what we now must call the war between democracies and blind terrorism, the latter still has the upper hand. This was the case well before 9/11 and remains so today. Terrorists continue to strike without fear of consequences. Given this fact it is difficult to see what could stop them. How long will the Bush administration’s push to protect American soil be effective? Washington is holding its breath, waiting for Ben Laden to strike again. Is this an acknowledgement of powerlessness?”


GERMANY:  “Judges Without Power”


Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich noted (8/8):  “Jakarta will happily point to the Bali trials as proof of its willingness to take effective measures against terrorism.  However, the latest ruling is not likely to deter the members of extremist groups....  The recent attack on the Mariott Hotel in Jakarta reveals how vulnerable Indonesia really is....  Anti-western extremists can find targets anywhere, and no country on earth can guarantee 100 percent security for its citizens and visitors.  That is why the rich West cannot simply point to the security problems in poorer countries; it must actively support such countries.”


"The Traces Of Terror"


Arne Perras judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (8/6):  "Indonesia's problem is that there are many militant conflicts happening at the same time.  These conflicts are jeopardizing the cohesion of the state.  The central power in Jakarta is unable to stabilize these trouble spots ranging from northern Sumatra via Sulawesi to Irian Jara.  A state that is so fragile offers good preconditions for Islamic forces which, like the Jemaah Islamiya, want to set up a Muslim religious state across southeastern Asia.  This does not mean that great parts of society identify themselves with the militant and terrorist forms of Islam.  On the contrary....  Despite widespread poverty, the people have shown that they are surprisingly immune to an infection with Al Qaida ideas.  But this need not remain so.  If the extremists Islamists succeed in merging their fight with the fight of local resistance groups, the bombs from Bali and Jakarta were not the high point but only the overture of terror in Southeast Asia."


"Changing Combat Zone"


Christoph von Marschall opined in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (8/6):  "The anniversary of 9/11 is getting closer, and the Al Qaida terrorist network is demonstratively showing its ability to act.  Al Qaida can continue to strike at many places in the world.  And America's war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq did change little. But the locations of the terrorist attacks of the past twelve months allow us to assume that Al Qaida has been hit and can no longer acts at its own discretion wherever it wants.  If we ignore the terror in Chechnya, in addition to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Morocco, all of them Islamic countries, remain.  And it were mainly Muslims who were the victims of this alleged fight of Islam against the West.  The high pressure in the United States and Europe obviously prevents Al Qaida from attacking the arch-enemy at home.  This is a success but no guarantee that it will remain so.  An attack like the one in Jakarta cannot be ruled out in America and Europe."


"Attack With Previous Announcement"


Brigitte Kols noted in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (8/6):  "A look to the calendar will certainly stir up speculation that the bloodbath in Jakarta carries Al Qaida's handwriting.  August 7 is the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Darussalam.  We do not need to speculate to know that the bomb in Jakarta will serve Washington as a new argument to call for new toughness and cohesiveness in the 'fight against terror.'  But such attacks show that terrorism cannot be defeated with as many 'preventive wars' as possible.  On the contrary, terrorists are getting even more popular, because the Bush administration wages wars like the one against Iraq at any expense--even with a war of lies."


"Police Officers Instead Of Soldiers"


Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg editorialized (8/6):  "Again, the defensive measures did not suffice.  The attack on the Marriott Hotel confirms the most recent warnings that the Islamic terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah is still able to operate in Indonesia....  Both Indonesia and the West must fight terrorism together.  But closer military cooperation, as parts of the U.S. government suggest, would be wrong.  Indonesia's military is not a reliable partner as along as it is accused of violating human rights....  It would be more promising to strengthen Indonesia's civil institutions like police.  According to independent observers, the advice by Australian police following the bomb attack in Bali turned out to be very good.  The United States is important as cooperation partner, but for political reasons, it should stay in the background.  Open U.S. interventions could stir up the hatred and the propaganda of extremists.  Washington's assistance would be enough--for instance, by offering intelligence information."


ITALY:  “Indonesia, Hunt On Allah’s Terrorists”


Riccardo De Palo contended in Rome-based centrist Il Messaggero (8/7):  “What seems to be very evident is the extreme vulnerability of South East Asia to this type of attacks.  The news has leaked that, last month, documents were seized during a police operation that clearly indicated the American hotel as one of the possible targets of a terrorist attack.  The Indonesian government, giving in to Washington’s strong insistence, had promised stronger measures against terrorism, and, most of all, a strengthening of security measures around possible targets.  But nothing of the sort happened....  It is difficult not to speculate about possible guilty connivance, or, at a minimum, responsibility for underestimating the risk at the high and medium level....  Another ‘attack’ is now feared in Jakarta for August 17, the national day.  And a crisis with Washington cannot be ruled out, since it is beginning to consider the Indonesian authorities unreliable.”


“A Challenge As Far As The White House”


Maurizio Molinari wrote in centrist, influential La Stampa (8/6):  “The suicide attack causing a massacre at the Marriott hotel in Jakarta with a car bomb is signed by the Jemaah Islamiyah, a group linked to al-Qaida in the Far East, whose military leader is Riduan Isamuddin ‘Hambali’....  Its intention was to fiercely demonstrate that al-Qaida is alive and kicking, after almost two years from the attacks on the Twin Towers....  This deals, first of all, with a challenge on George W. Bush.  At a time when the U.S. president is promoting himself as the guardian of the reconstruction of both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the national security....  Al Qaida has delivered a deadly warning to the Americans, thus confirming the credibility of those threatening tapes distributed to Arab TV and radio stations.  Under these premises, the challenge on terrorism is bound to be the main theme of upcoming 2004 presidential campaign....  The presidential looming ahead as a national referendum on security as well as on how to secure (the nation) and avoid...a new 9/11.”


“Reforms Are At Risk Now”


Luca Vinciguerra remarked in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (8/6):  “The Indonesian government’s concrete efforts in the fight against terrorism were appreciated by the White House.  The markets appreciated them as well.  It is not a coincidence, in fact, that the Jakarta stock exchange has been among the most brilliant of the world during the first part of 2003.  At the same time, foreign investors have timidly begun to pop up again in Indonesia.  Unfortunately, yesterday’s attack is setting Jakarta’s clock back to hour zero.  Not only because the terrorists managed to hit a Western stronghold in the heart of the capital city, which means that, notwithstanding the government’s efforts, the ability to strike of Islamic fundamentalists is intact.  But also because the suicide terrorist of the Marriott Hotel shows that Washington’s theses are correct: Indonesia continues to be one of the main operational centers of Muslim extremist movements, as well as an easy target for them.”


AUSTRIA:  “Change Of Policy In Jakarta”


Markus Bernath contended in liberal Der Standard (8/6):  “The logbook of terrorism has a new entry. The bomb attack on the Marriott hotel in Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta is a direct continuation of 9/11 and only confirms that since September 2001, the terrorists’ field of operation has shifted to ‘soft’ targets and regions that are difficult to cut off--Africa and South Asia. Exactly as in the weeks before the attack in Bali, the Indonesian authorities were again reckoning with a terrorist attack, but unable to prevent it. For the government in Jakarta, this must be a frustrating realization--but nevertheless, since Bali, nothing has remained the same on the archipelago. Even though the new security checks in the holiday resorts and in the eleven-million capital still vary greatly--it is still possible to enter the large shopping malls in Jakarta relatively freely, whereas policemen search arriving vehicles on the driveways to big hotels systematically for explosives; but as became clear yesterday, they are still powerless when faced with an attack outside the entrance of a hotel. The deciding factor, however, is that the politicians are no longer prepared to make allowances for the Muslim extremists in the country. Last year, Vice-President Hamza Haz still had his photograph taken at the sickbed of the alleged terrorist leader Ba’asyir. Today, he at least keeps quiet, while the strong man in the Cabinet, Security Minister Yudhoyono is pushing for increased cooperation with the Australian intelligence services. In this way, it was possible to destroy part of the terror organization Jemaah Islamiyah on the main island Java. Spectacular findings of bombs over the last few weeks give a good idea of what would have happened if the government had not changed its attitude in the terror issue. For the victims of the Marriott attack, however, this is cold comfort indeed.”


BELGIUM:  "Everybody's Problem"


Paul De Bruyn wrote in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (8/7):  “Terrorism is everybody’s problem.  Terrorism can hit all countries and all people.  There is only one means to fight it successfully: unrelenting efforts by all the governments together.  Success may be rare, indeed, and there will always be the threat of more violence and innocent deaths.  But, there is no other solution.  The attack in Jakarta makes another thing clear:  international terrorism has not disappeared after the fall of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.  On the contrary, Jakarta is the umpteenth confirmation that Saddam had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or other organizations.  Those groups never needed his support to cause terror.  Even when Saddam is forgotten, there will still be terrorism.  After September 11, 2001, U.S. President George Bush declared international war on terrorism.  However, when he attacked Saddam, he chose the wrong enemy.  In the meantime, he has ignored the real threat.  (What happened in) Jakarta shows that, too.  Bush will not have any respite--and, today, he can no longer hold Saddam responsible.”


CROATIA:  "Terrorist International's Offensive"


Zeljko Ivanjek argued in Zagreb-based mass-circulation Jutarnji list (8/7):  "Even though Asia seems far from the European perspective, it in every way confirms reorganization of the world terrorist network after the American, and the allied, overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and the Saddam regime in Iraq....  Terrorists now, based on the American neo-Nazi Louis Beam's ideas, concentrate on 'leaderless resistance,' in other words, computer coordination which rejects pyramidal communication.  Because of all this, uncovering of brains behind the latest criminal murder of 14 civilians in a hotel will be almost impossible.  Dispersal of ideological principles and operational terrorist centers, as well as their internationalization, has disabled simple police operations--and arrests."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "They Will Come Again"


Jiri Franek commented in center-left Pravo (8/7):  "On September 11, 2001 all the people of the Euro-Atlantic civilization said to themselves that such horror couldn't be forgotten.  We have not forgotten, but something strange has happened with our memory.  They send us messages that they intend to continue and that maybe soon we can expect something even worse....  We, however, only count our dead and pacify ourselves by saying that Jakarta compared with New York is really not so bad.  In reality it is the exact same crime....  The enemy reckons with the fact that as long as they don't change their tactics of hitting primarily American targets, Europe, which, without the help of the American taxpayers, doesn't have enough [money] for its own defense, will continue indulging its cheap pacifism.  I am, however, afraid that when they change their tactics and commit another September 11, for example, in Paris, there will still be many people in Prague willing to console themselves that Paris is a thousand kilometers away.  If we do not have the certainty that what happened at the Marriott in Jakarta cannot happen tomorrow in any hotel in Prague, then it's necessary to expect that it will happen.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a year, but on every page of our calendar we could write September 11.  All the more since they know how unreliable our police is, what the state of our army is, and even the fact that behind the political squabbles over supersonics there are more factional interests than sincere care to safeguard our country."


IRELAND:  "Indonesia Set Back By Bombing"


The center-left Irish Times maintained (8/7):  "The bombing is assumed to be the work of the Jemmah Islamiah organisation, which claimed the Bali bombing atrocity in October last year....  While they represent only a small minority of Indonesians, they have been able to maintain their organisation intact--not least because the conditions against which they have been protesting have not changed....  Part of the appeal of the Jemmah Islamiah organisation in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia (this is the fifth such bomb this year in Jakarta) is explained by the social disruption brought in the train of unbridled foreign investment and mass tourism insensitive to local cultures....  This means next year's elections are unlikely to resolve these problems. Foreign investment, which has recently driven Indonesian prosperity after the 1997-98 Asian financial crash, will not return to previous levels. Nor will tourism, still suffering badly from the Bali atrocity.”


NETHERLANDS:  "Indonesia Has To Choose Against Terror"


Left-of-center Trouw editorialized (8/7):  "Islamic terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah shifted its fight to the political and economic center of Indonesia....  The attack on the Marriot Hotel caused a lot of damage and could also have major political implications.  It is very clear that the Indonesian authorities have made insufficient efforts against the risk posed by Islamic terrorism during the past few years.  Even last year's Bali attacks did not have an impact....  True, there is no watertight protection against terrorism.  However, the Indonesian government is making the impression that it is not willing to do everything possible to prevent terrorist attacks by, for example, making more efforts to collect intelligence.  One factor is the Indonesian government's fear to lose support among the Islamic part of the population....  Most Muslims in Indonesia probably do not support terrorism but they do not really openly oppose the use of violence in the name of Islam....  Islamic leaders in Indonesia should openly speak out against crime in the name of Islam.  And the Indonesian government should make more efforts to fight this crime than it has done so far.  Attacks such as those by the Jemaah Islamiyah impose a risk not only to Indonesia itself but also to the rest of Southeast Asia as well."


NORWAY:  “The Terrorists Don’t Give Up”


Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten observed (8/7):  ”The attacks in Bali and in Jakarta shows that the Indonesian authorities under President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s leadership have not been able to keep the promises from last year about starting an efficient campaign to fight terrorism....  Two terror attacks in Indonesia within the space of only 10 months and the American authorities’ repeated warnings and obvious fear that terrorists at any time again may strike against targets in the US, is unfortunately an explicit confirmation of the fact that the fight against terrorism just has only just begun.”




LEBANON:  “Terrorism Confronted With Terrorism”


Awni Al-Kaaki held in pro-Syrian Ash-Sharq (8/7):  “12 dead and 49 injured in the bombing in Jakarta.  That incident could have passed easily, if the hotel did not have an American quality to it, or if an “Islamic” organization hadn’t taken responsibility for the attack....  In form, the action is denounced and inexcusable at all...but in substance one has to ask the question: What caused those people to do so, and why?  The question as is does not need much thinking to be answered.  It is (an act of) terrorism in the face of America’s terrorism.  It is violence that resulted from violence practiced by America against Moslems.  It is the picture of a conflict made and started by America and which would never end unless the U.S. stopped practicing its omnipotence on Moslems around the world....  America has practiced and is practicing terrorism and it is being confronted today with terrorism on the principle that violence cannot but produce greater and more threatening violence”


SAUDI ARABIA:  “Lax Security”


Pro-government, English-language Riyadh Daily declared (8/6):  “Even as memories of the ghastly terror attack at Indonesia’s resort province of Bali were fading...terror has struck the world’s largest Islamic country again....  What is of real concern is the fact that despite the severe crackdown on terror organizations after the Bali blasts, particularly the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), they are still very much around with their deadly agenda.  Complacency on the part of the law enforcement bodies is definitely a factor in yesterday’s audacious assault. The escape of the Indonesian master terrorist, Fathur Rahman Al-Ghozi, from a Manila jail some days ago, has been a significant morale-booster for the terror networks....  The attack would be followed by the customary condemnations from the world over. However, it would be more in line if international efforts to fight terrorism were augmented....  None of these attacks, except for three in Russia, were carried out in America or Europe. Apparently, the security apparatus there had become too hot for the terror elements. Terrorists saw targets in Asia and Africa to be softer and easier to strike at.  The latest bombing is evidently also a result of slack security....  Security bloopers, as seen in the Manila jailbreak, will only goad on terrorist forces to pursue their gory agenda with increasing impunity. Security all over must reach the level attained by the West if such attacks have to be prevented in future.”




AUSTRALIA:  “The Answer To Terrorist Bombs”


The liberal Sydney Morning Herald stated (8/7):  “Far from making a mockery of Indonesian and Australian co-operation in the fight against terrorism, [the bombing] underlines the importance of persevering....  The most potent weapon against terrorism remains effective intelligence. Governments can defeat terrorist networks, but only by painstakingly picking them apart. What the Marriott Hotel blast means--especially if it is linked to the Bali bombings--is that the intelligence task is incomplete. “


“Security Is The Key To Success”


The business-oriented Australian Financial Review commented (8/7):  “The murders at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta underline, if emphasis were needed, the importance of the war against terrorism....  This is not a war of the West versus Islam.  It is a war against their ‘religiously unsound’ fellow citizens being waged by a fragment of poorly educated people whose misunderstanding of their religion has allowed them to be manipulated by bloodthirsty opportunists.”


“Al-Qaeda franchise far from undermined”


David Martin Jones opined in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (8/7):  “Although there has been some success in disrupting the Islamist assault on regional targets and links with sympathetic groups in South Asia, the Middle East and beyond, what we know of this globalized phenomenon is that it is patient, uncompromising and plans for the long term.  Ultimately, the suicide bomber who devastated the Marriott in downtown Jakarta on Tuesday also exploded the view that enhanced regional security cooperation had undermined al-Qaeda’s regional terrorism franchise.”


“Counter-terror Front Widens”


Greg Sheridan declared in the conservative Australian (8/7):  “The bombing in Jakarta indicates that the battle against JI is still raging. Several hundred JI operatives have undergone terrorist training in camps in either Afghanistan, the Philippines or Indonesia itself. These camps are no longer operating but only about 150 JI operatives or their affiliates have been detained. So several hundred terrorists with explosives expertise of some kind are at large. The conclusion from all this is that the war against terrorism, and specifically the war against JI, is going to be a long, drawn-out affair. “


“A Fight That Is Far From Over”


The liberal Melbourne-based Age stated (8/7):  “The bombing of the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta is a stark, appalling reminder that terrorism still haunts our region....  It is vital that Australia continues to work with regional governments to do whatever it can to combat the spread of terrorism. In the short term, this means hunting down the perpetrators of attacks such as Tuesday's and bringing them to justice. The long-term task of eradicating terrorism, however, will require trying to alleviate the hardships of those who are easy prey to terrorist propaganda.”


“Terror Attacks Will Not End”


The conservative Australian stated (8/6):  “Yesterday’s terror attack in Jakarta is designed to send Indonesia--as well as Australia, and all the nations of our region--a clear signal. The terrorists who wish harm to all people who do not share their messianic zeal are not defeated and they have no intention of abandoning their murderous crusade against the innocent....  There are no new lessons to learn from this attack--only confirmation of those provided by the attack on the Twin Towers and last October's Bali atrocity. Terrorists are not interested in practical outcomes, no matter how deluded, they cannot expect random acts of slaughter to change the policies of government or win the sympathy of ordinary people....  Nations like Indonesia and Singapore must maintain their guard against terror. Nations like The Philippines must lift theirs. Yesterday's attack also makes it clear that Australia has no reason to relax. We know aspiring terrorists have lived and worked here. We should not live in fear of a bomb exploding outside an Australian hotel but we must accept ambitious terrorists may try to accomplish it. “


“Grim Reminder That Terror Is Alive And Well”


Catharine Munro argued in the liberal Age (8/6):  “If terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) wanted to tell the world it was still alive and active, no message could have been clearer than yesterday's car bomb in Jakarta....  The timing left little doubt about the motives. It came on the day that JI's alleged leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, was due to defend himself in court against charges of treason for founding the group and plotting terrorist attacks. And on Thursday in Denpasar, the so-called smiling assassin, Amrozi, will be the first to be sentenced for his part in the Bali bombing last October. “


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Megawati Must Make Good On Her Promise"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post opined (8/6):  "(The Jakarta bombing) comes at a time of heightened tensions.  Ms. Megawati had used her state-of-the-nation address to pledge that she would take action to dismantle the terrorist networks, and she targeted Muslim militants responsible for a series of bombings including the Bali nightclub blasts last October which cost 202 lives.  Yesterday's bombing at the JW Marriott hotel also comes just two days before a verdict is delivered in the case of Amrozi, the first of the Bali bomb suspects to be put on trial....  The indiscriminate murder of innocent people simply cannot be justified.  It looks as if the attack was aimed at Westerners, just like the Bali bombings.  The hotel is part of a prominent U.S. chain and is a favorite with foreign businessmen.  It is a venue used by the American embassy for July 4 celebrations, and the diplomatic district is nearby.  But as with Bali, Westerners were not the only ones to suffer when the blast ripped through the hotel.  Four Singaporeans and many Indonesians were among the victims.  The bombing underlines the need for the greatest vigilance in guarding against the international terrorist threat.  An attack of this kind somewhere in Asia had long been expected....  Bringing to justice those responsible for the Bali bombings will provide one test of its resolve.  But more needs to be done.  Ms. Megawati has now vowed to make this a priority.  Yesterday's appalling act of brutality shows just how urgent is the need for her to make good on this promise."


JAPAN:  "Anti-U.S. Sentiment Rising In Southeast Asia"


Liberal Asahi maintained (8/7):  "Jakarta should not waste any more time in probing who was behind the suicide car bombing at the JW Marriot hotel in downtown Jakarta on Tuesday that killed at least 10 people. There are deepening suspicions that the Jemaah Islamiah, a radical Islamic group, which was responsible for October's Bali bombing, bombed the American-owned hotel, which the US Embassy often patronizes.  There are concerns that as anti-US feelings are rising in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines over the US-led war on Iraq, Islamic radicals are targeting American interests more frequently. Stronger regional and international cooperation has become even more necessary to prevent these Southeast Asian nations from becoming a new front of international terrorism as well as narcotics and arms smuggling."


INDONESIA:  “Trust As A Basis For A Healthy Economy”


Christian-oriented afternoon-published Sinar Harapan commented (8/7):  “The quick response by the political and security circles after the Marriott bombing deserves compliments.  Such response can practically be used to rebuild the domestic and international trust in our ability to control the situation.” 


“Take Stern Action Against Marriott Bombers”


Independent afternoon-published Suara Pembaruan stated (8/7):  “The Police also need to also suspect a JI leader who escaped Philippines jail, Faturohman Al-Ghozi, as well as other JI leaders who have not been captured such as Hambali, Azhari Zulkarnaen, and Dulmatin....  But police efforts will be useless without people’s participation in uncovering this case. People should inform the police if they notice something suspicious. Terrorists are enemies of all people. We respect the stance of two big Islamic organizations, NU and Muhammadiyah, for strongly condemning the Marriott bombing and for asking the security apparatus to completely investigate the case and take stern action against the perpetrators. JI, which attributes itself to Islam, is not the representative of Muslims. Islam bans any forms of violence and terrorism.”  


"Only A Panic Reaction"


The independent, English-language Jakarta Post opined (8/7):  "The financial market predictably reacted quite negatively to the terrorist bomb attack at the J.W. Marriott hotel here on Tuesday....  However, the negative sentiment seemed short-lived, reflecting more a panic reaction rather than a great concern over the economic fundamentals....  This optimism, however, is heavily qualified, as it assumes that a similarly devastating bomb attack will not occur in another public place in the near future and that the police will soon be able to solve the Marriott bombing case.  Certainly, the impact of Tuesday's terrorist bombing should not be exaggerated. But complacency and a laid-back attitude, expecting that things would automatically become normal again, is not well advised either....  The bomb blast in the heart of Jakarta heightened security concerns....  Whether the financial market will regain the losses incurred by the bomb attack and soon return to the path of robust recovery for the rest of the year will depend on new positive factors the government could create within the next few weeks.  A quick investigation and solving of the incident and the establishment of effective security precautions at public places are surely positive factors that could accelerate the recovery." 


“(Another) Bomb Terror”         


Independent Koran Tempo editorialized (8/7):  “The Marriott bombing forces us to review the entire concept and strategy of the war against terrorism and to look into more than just one group of suspects: Jemaah Islamiyah.  Before Marriott, and even before Bali, Indonesia had been rocked by similar terrorist acts.  It is interesting that the almost of all them were anonymous, none claimed responsibility.  In other words, these terrorist acts were not typical of a separatist group or subversive movement that use terror as a means to show off their power or to advance their political demand.  We do not know for sure who the perpetrators were but can easily come to conclude that terrorist acts are used as a means to spread fear or to destabilize [the situation].”


“War Against Terrorism Imperative”


Christian-oriented afternoon-published Sinar Harapan commented (8/6):  “We must not be ashamed to adopt a security system modeled after the Singapore or U.S. systems.  At Changi airport in personnel from the armed forces and the police guard the airport under a system of groups of four.  They walk around the waiting rooms every several minutes with ready-to-use rifles.  They do look menacing, but that’s the way the security authority works so that the Singaporeans can avoid a more menacing tragedy such as a bomb that could take lives uselessly in the country.   As soon as the people and government of the U.S. were shocked by the September 11 terror, the U.S. Congress approved the establishment of the Homeland Security Department in order to guarantee protection for the American people from terrorist actions.”


“War Against Terrorism”


Independent afternoon-published Suara Pembaruan held (8/6):  “Whoever the perpetrators and whatever their groups, what happened at the Marriott was a terrorism act, a despicable crime against humanity. They had no conscience and acted brutally because most of the victims were those who had no connection with them. Whatever their motivations, either political or ideological struggle, terrorism is a crime that must be condemned....  The bombing this time reminded us that terrorism does exist and act in Indonesia....  We hope the government and the security authorities take sterner measures against these enemies of humanity that the whole world is after. We also hope the leaders of this country voice similar, firm, and serious statements in eradicating terrorism.”


“Major Blast In The Capital Impacts Powerfully”


Leading independent Kompas commented (8/6):  “The bombing at the Marriott hotel constituted a hard ordeal for the Indonesian people.  The degraded image of Indonesia will plunge further down if no proactive action is taken to straighten up the security system, enforce the law, and improve the many aspects of life.  More important are unity and solidarity in dealing with the threats of terrorism, without which the war against terrorism would not be effective.  It is necessary to develop an awareness that terrorism is a crime against humanity.”


“We Fight Against Rampant Violence”


Independent Media Indonesia stated (8/6):  “To them [terrorists], their targets should have a major impact on the public because for them bombing is a kind of declaration that they exist.  Perhaps their slogan would read, ‘We bomb because we exist.’  All of us, who fight against dehumanization, must once again pledge to resist this dangerous declaration of these criminals by not providing the slightest room for violence to control us, control this country.”


“Terrorists Strike Again”


The independent English-language Jakarta Post maintained (8/6):  “Terrorists have struck again. This time they picked the heart of Jakarta, and this time with such a devastating effect. The full impact of the blast will probably not be known for days, perhaps weeks....  The writing was on the wall that the terrorists, whoever they are, would strike again sooner or later. What we did not know was where, when or how devastating the next attack would be. But, if Bali is any indication, it could be as devastating as anyone could imagine. In spite of these clear warnings, the attitude of the government and the security apparatus toward these terrorist threats has been found wanting....  It is of course no use in ruing what could or should have been done. The task at hand now is to restore confidence, at home and abroad. And it goes without saying that this is a huge undertaking to which all elements in the country must contribute. The most immediate task for the government, and the police, is to catch the terrorists, and to catch them fast. Until they do so, all efforts at rebuilding confidence will be only be destroyed by the next terrorist attack.”


"Bomb At The Marriott, Its Implications For Democracy"


Nico Harjanto observed in independent, leading Kompas (8/6):  "Once again, Indonesia and the world--already experiencing anxiety over the threat of global terrorist attacks--have been trampled underfoot and must mourn the victims.   At a time when the wounds of the Bali bombing are still not completely healed, Indonesia once again must bear the burden of this latest outrage.  The bomb at the Marriott Hotel reaffirms that the threat of violence and terrorism against Indonesia remains high....  Eventually, while everyone is concentrating on the perpetrators, politicization of the incident will occur....  International and business confidence will sink, economic restoration will be disturbed, and politicians--always thirsty for opportunity--will utilize it for a short-term political advantage, particularly in the run-up to next year's general elections....  A country such as Indonesia, classed as an anocracy (neither authoritarian nor a democracy) is extremely susceptible to armed conflict and a tendency toward authoritarianism.  In the context of the current global war against terrorism, countries with this model of a hybrid regime are vulnerable to becoming a seedbed for the growth of terrorism....  So, will the bomb at the Marriott Hotel be a start for Indonesia to return to the authoritarian path?....  The destructive consequences of the Marriott Hotel bombing and bombings at a number of other places against democracy in Indonesia are not immediate.   Politically, Megawati Soekarnoputri's administration will survive if cases like these are all it has to face--especially, if the government is prepared to cooperate with international authorities to solve such cases of terrorism....  These acts of violence could give rise to a poor perception of democracy and in the end, a majority may choose a Leviathan form of state, able to guarantee a sense of security....  The obvious policy, of course, is to revise the concepts and policies of public security, refresh responsible officialdom, and forge international cooperation.   These are not solely the government's domain, but also that of the other democratic institutions."


PHILIPPINES:  "Continuing Threat"


The widely-read Philippine Daily Inquirer said (8/7):  “The bombing demonstrates that Asia, including Islamic nations, is not safer from terrorist attack than Western countries....  The anti-American color of the attack is discounted by the fact that although Megawati has pledged to combat terrorists as ‘a terrifying threat,’ she has been a reluctant partner in the U.S.-led coalition in the war on terrorism....  The Jakarta bombing serves as a warning that Southeast Asian nations should redouble their cooperation in the regional fight against terrorism, as a terrorist attack in one country can have repercussions in each of them....  The aim of the terrorist attacks is to inflict damage to the economies of the region. It has nothing to do with religious conflict. The new attack in Indonesia came after the American military victory in Iraq that toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. And it has demonstrated that the invasion of Iraq did not lead to the reduction of terrorist threats.  After the fall of the Saddam regime, al-Qaida, which is believed to have suffered a setback after the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, has not ceased to be a threat. Only recently it threatened to mount fresh attacks on targets located not only in the United States but elsewhere. Given the links of the JI with the al-Qaeda, there is no room for complacency in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. The region is no safer from terrorist attacks than it was before the invasion of Iraq.”


"A Chilling Reminder"


The conservative Philippine Star declared (8/6):  "The death toll rose as investigators immediately embarked on the arduous task of finding out who bombed the business district in Jakarta yesterday....  Police are looking into the possibility that a car bomb parked near the hotel entrance caused the blast, which also destroyed adjacent buildings and several vehicles.  Suspicion inevitably focused on Jemaah Islamiyah, the Islamist group tagged in the nightclub bombings in Bali on Oct. 12 last year....  The bombing was bad news for a region that is still trying to recover from the stigma of SARS and similar terrorist attacks, mainly perpetrated by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)....  The bombing in Jakarta, in a hotel that was supposed to be well secured, is a chilling reminder of the continuing threat posed by JI, particularly with its top bomb maker on the loose.  The Philippines knows the threat well; Al-Ghozi and his cohorts have admitted participation in several bomb attacks across the country....  JI attacks have dampened tourism and investments in Southeast Asia. This is a threat fed by poverty and religious extremism--problems that require time, great effort and resources to address. Tackling poverty alone requires the full concentration of national leaders. In this country, however, the battles against poverty and terrorism keep getting sidetracked by unending politicking--until the next major bomb attack."


SINGAPORE:  "Lessons Of The Blast" 


The pro-government Straits Times contended (8/7):  "Two aspects of the bomb attack in Jakarta on Tuesday ought to be taken as grim forebodings by Southeast Asian governments and their intelligence services. One is the demonstrated ability of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) network to carry out large-scale terrorist attacks after having lost many men to arrests and having munitions intercepted occasionally....  The other aspect is the parallel warning--put out by JI and the Al-Qaeda--that the execution of Islamic militants facing trial would bring eye-for-an-eye retribution....  With or without coordination between Al-Qaeda and JI, the challenge to civilized order has to be met with force. No government can crumble before threats, yet the hoped-for arrests of the Jakarta bombers are bound to raise the ante. The trials of Bashir and the alleged Bali bombers are at an advanced stage. What this implies is clear: Southeast Asia must be prepared for more murderous attacks to be attempted. The question is, what more could be done to anticipate and thwart these hits?....  The security services of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have to find new ways to raise the quality of intelligence gathering and sharing. Infiltration of terrorist cells is a new operational demand for which the right personnel have to be found. But it still falls on Indonesia and the Philippines to do more....  There are indications Indonesia is considering a presidential decree that would allow for preventive detention if national security is at risk.  As Mr. Susilo said, the lives of innocent persons 'are worth more than the price of human rights'. Indonesia can proceed with a clear conscience, despite its post-Suharto liberalizing instincts. This is war."


THAILAND:  “Jakarta Reminds Us Of Need For Vigilance”


The lead editorial in the top-circulation, moderately-conservative, English-language Bangkok Post read (8/7):  “Regional leaders have been quick to condemn the latest attack and to vow a renewed commitment to the war on terror....  Yet tightening police and immigration procedures, increasing resources for intelligence and security services and strengthening regional and global efforts to combat terrorism may ultimately prove only a temporary respite.  More attention needs to be devoted to addressing the roots of terrorism, intractable and complex as they are.  Around the world, the factors attributed to the use of violence in political resistance against an oppressive government range from deep-seated ethnic and religious strife to contemptible criminal theft.  The use of pre-emptive violence against innocents is never a justifiable course of action, whether waged by the common street criminal or by the largest superpower.  It is the responsibility of states to ensure the sanctity of the rule of law and provide for the safety and security of their citizens.  While no one would suggest that governments can afford to be complacent about threats to public safety, history also teaches us that even the most oppressive states cannot guarantee their citizens absolute safety form harm by a dedicated, fanatical group intent on promoting its cause, however perverse and wrong it may be.  Certainly policymakers must keep up their guard.  Yet in all too many jurisdictions, inequality, oppression and injustice, at times sponsored by the state itself, continue to fuel a social, economic and political atmosphere in which fanatics are born.”


“Terrorism Is Back To Haunt Indonesia”


The independent, English-language Nation opined (8/6):  “The bomb blast that killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100 yesterday at Jakarta's Marriott Hotel is a none-too-subtle reminder from regional terrorists that they are alive and well and ready to resume business as promised. It would be a fool who thinks that this is only an isolated incident….  Unfortunately, this latest bombing will have a dire effect on Indonesia, which has really only just started the slow recovery from the Bali fallout. Because it is hosting the next ASEAN summit in Bali, Jakarta is going to have to pull out every stop to ensure the safety of its guests….  So, too, must Thailand pull out all the stops to suppress terrorism, for in October it will be hosting a very important Apec meeting….  Thankfully, the United States has provided training and information as well as intelligence sharing with Thailand....  JI is down but not out, even though about 90 suspected members have been arrested. Its remaining members are simply lying in wait for the right opportunities to arise. They must not be allowed those opportunities.”




INDIA:  "Web Of Terror" 


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer declared (8/7):  "Though no group has as yet claimed responsibility for the suicide car bomb explosion in...Jakarta on bears the clear imprint of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the fundamentalist Islamist terrorist affiliate of the Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia....  The blast occurred two days before a court in Bali was to pronounce its verdict in the trial of Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, accused of planning and carrying out the Bali blasts....  If there is at all a silver lining to Tuesday's outrage, it lies in the fact that it has further eroded popular support for fundamentalist Islamists in Indonesia....  The JI has been active in the first two countries besides Indonesia....  Indeed, Tuesday's blast has to be seen in the context of a global increase in Islamist terrorist activities.  There have been several terrorist strikes in Afghanistan by the Al Qaeda and Taliban which are being helped by Pakistan....  Also, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two in Al Qaeda, has warned that the US will pay dearly if it 'harmed' the organization's detainees in Guatanamo Bay. It is widely believed that he as well as Osama bin Laden are hiding in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan--which could not have happened without the former's support.  Will the US ever act against its 'stalwart' ally?"


PAKISTAN:  "The Jakarta Bomb Explosion"


The Peshawar-based independent national English-language Frontier Post opined (8/7):  "Some militant groups are fighting what they call an 'international crusade.'  It would not be wrong to say that President Bush 'inspired' the militants to refer to this term, as he was the first one to use the word 'crusade' while vowing to take on the perpetrators of terrorism in the U.S....  It goes without saying that the savagery as exhibited by the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq, evident in no small measure in the massacre of thousands of innocent citizens as 'collateral damage', is the cause for the growing hatred against them....  If the U.S. wishes to ensure the safety of the Americans and take them out of an atmosphere of fear, its leadership must stop supporting Israel and must implement its roadmap to resolve the Middle East crisis.  It should persuade Israel to stop forwarding highly unrealistic conditions with an aim to sink the peace roadmap.  Finally, the U.S. should abandon its policy of imposing its political and economic system, its culture and its ways of life on other countries."




ARGENTINA:  "Why Does Al Qaeda Continue Attacking?"


Iganacio Montes de Oca wrote in business-financial InfoBae (8/6):  "In any event,  militarily chasing Al Qaeda would imply progressive armed interventions from the West all over the world, and this is an unlikely scenario from every point of view....  Since Al Qaeda does not have physical headquarters...or a territory...every military campaign against it faces the difficulty to identify a precise target of attack. The possibility to make an incursion against recruiting bases in the outskirts of Cairo or a residence in the Saudi capital city could meet unsolvable diplomatic hurdles and limits that could not be overcome by the use of military force....  In view of the fact that fundamentalism seems to be on the rise all over the world, the countries wanting to eradicate the threat posed by transnationalized terrorism should try a more measured response to the nature of this challenge. In any event, if the West posed a war against Al Qaeda, it should remember a phrase by French George Clemenceau 'war is something too serious to be left in hands of the military.'"


BRAZIL:  "Dead Or Alive"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo editorialized (8/7):  "No one can be sentenced without going through a trial. Not even Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein or, hypothetically, Adolf Hitler. It's not too much to remember that the nazis were brought to trial by the U.S themselves....  There's a big difference between executing a criminal after trial and just killing him....  In the case of Bush's policy, the preoccupying factor is that that he believes he has the right to do it anywhere in the world where alleged terrorists may be. It is a pity that the U.S, one of the birthplaces of democracy and civil rights have gone back so much, in so little time, in the scale of civilization."


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