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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 27, 2003

August 27, 2003





**  Most Pakistani and pro-engagement Indian dailies placed the attack in the context of Indian communal extremism, while Indian hardliners blamed Pakistan for the bombings. 


**  Other writers saw an effort to sabotage "the recent thaw in Indo-Pakistani relations."


**  The attack confirmed the "spread of the danger of terrorism" throughout the world.     




'Islamist terrorism' in Mumbai echoes India's domestic sectarian problems--  A major factor in the Mumbai explosions was a "tragic cycle of communal terror and counter-terror."  Calcutta's centrist Telegraph claimed that "externally sponsored" violence succeeds "because of...religious fundamentalism" in India.  India's centrist Dainik Agradoot urged New Delhi to "rally the minority community," as Pakistani dailies agreed that "nations need to first resolve the contradictions within their own countries" before blaming others.  London's conservative Daily Telegraph warned, "Playing the communal card for electoral gain will reap a whirlwind within, rather than across the Pakistani border."


'The culprit is a terrorist outfit controlled from Pakistan'--  A significant minority of Indian dailies termed the attack part of "Islamabad's strategy to annex Kashmir and balkanise India."  Chennai's leftist News Today accused Pakistani "agencies of subversion" of creating a "common pan-India infrastructure for Khalistan and Kashmir terrorists."  Independent Ananda Bazar Patrika was "quite confident" Islamabad's "ISI...pulled the string from behind" the Mumbai terrorists.  Nationalist dailies alleged that "elements in Pakistan who are unhappy with the recent thaw in Indo-Pakistani relations" encouraged the attack. 


The 'atrocity' will make New Delhi point 'an accusing finger' at Pakistan--  There was concern the attack could "disperse the hopes of reconciliation between India and Pakistan."  Austria's liberal Der Standard said the attack threatened the current "relatively quiet period" on the "rollercoaster of Indian-Pakistani relations."  Hong Kong's leftist Asia Times prioritized preventing "a much grander Indo-Pakistani conflagration," which is "the war that the terrorists want."  Pakistan's center-left Dawn stood out by stressing improved bilateral relations as the "only way to clip the wings of militants on both sides who thrive on hostility." 


'The hydra-headed serpent of terror can strike with equal venom anywhere'--  Indian writers contended that the Mumbai attack was "intricately linked with network of terrorism," adding that officials must "transcend their petty vested interests" to improve currently "inadequate" domestic security.  France's right-of-center Le Figaro cited the attack as proof al-Qaida can use "local Islamic broader strategic operations."  Pakistani and British writers argued that India and Pakistan share a "common strategic interest" in preventing terror. 


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 37 reports from 13 countries over 26 - 27 August 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




INDIA:  "Terror Struck" 


Kolkata's centrist Telegraph declared (8/27):  "Even if it is difficult to pinpoint a motive for the blasts, an overall context for their occurrence can be outlined.  This is related to the almost exponential increase in religious fundamentalism and religious violence all over India.  A major chunk of this violence, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, is externally sponsored but the external agencies succeed because of the presence of religious fundamentalism within the country.  There is no point getting into a dispute about who cast the first stone.  The problem of violence in Indian society has become far more dangerous than that kind of blame mongering.  There are no known means of uprooting fundamentalism but the violence that accompanies it can be eradicated through counter terror based on better intelligence gathering.  The victims of terrorism are always innocent people.  It is the duty of the state to protect the citizens and their property.  No political considerations should stand in the way of carrying out this primary duty of the state."


"Mumbai Blasts" 


Guwahati's Assamese-language centrist Dainik Agradoot held (8/27):  "The aim of the perpetrators of violence is to strike a blow on the country's economic progress by creating a terror-like situation in India's commercial capital.  Throwing Mumbai out of gear is no less than bringing the commercial and business activities of the entire country to a grinding halt and those involved in this barbaric crime have successfully accomplished the task....  Prompt reaction from Pakistan has raised many eyebrows....  For, it can't be said for sure that Pakistan is not trying to save its own skin....  Without active public support the government could never crush these fundamental and terrorist elements. Therefore, the government should endeavor to rally the minority community behind its fight to weed out religious fundamentalism."


"Mumbai, A City Of Blasts" 


Centrist Siliguri-based Bengali-language Uttar Banga Sambad stated (8/27):  "No matter with which motive terrorists have committed these subversive acts it is fully condemnable. No objective can be achieved by causing bloodshed and genocide. Better, terrorists should realize this truth, or the state will have to do its obligations without any encumbrance. While trying to achieve this goal politicians too will have to transcend their petty vested interests besides maintaining honesty in administrative execution. Otherwise, the tragedy in Mumbai will be engulfing other parts of the country as well."


"Gory Mumbai Blasts" 


The Guwahati-based English-language left-of-center Sentinel opined (8/27):  "It was clear that the commercial and industrial hub of India was being made the target.  And those behind the diabolic attacks knew how much this hurt the nation....  But a clear picture can emerge only after far more detailed investigations are carried out.  And two things that deter such heinous crimes have not been happening in India.  One is the ability of intelligence agencies to forestall such diabolic designs.  The other is to punish the culprits swiftly enough to deter such heinous activities.  The culprits of the 1992-93 Mumbai serial blasts still roam free."


"In The Orb Of Terrorism" 


Independent Kolkata-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika editorialized (8/27):  "The foremost thing needed to curb the matrix of terrorists is to completely defeat their nefarious plan of unleashing panic.  The first condition of tackling terrorists, who want to pursue their own 'fight' by killing unarmed innocent people, is not to get afraid.  The second condition is to hunt down terrorists and arrange for their maximum punishment....  Clearly, this incident of explosion should not be construed as a stray villainy.  A stream of this kind of terrorism has been flowing in India for a long time and gradually gaining momentum....  This terror act is deeply as well as intricately linked with national and global network of terrorism....  There is no reason to think that Islamabad has already shed its sustain an atmosphere of terrorism not merely in Kashmir but also in other regions in India."


"Ghastly Beyond Words" 


Chennai's leftist English-language News Today editorialized (8/26):  "Islamic terrorism in Mumbai has a history, the peculiarity of which consists in the amorphousness of its environment and the anonymity which terrorists on prowl in the metropolis have maintained successfully.  That has enabled the ISI of Pakistan to implement its Operation K2 for creating a common pan-India infrastructure for Khalistan and Kashmir terrorists....  Pakistan has condemned the attacks on civilians but has added that India was in the habit of engineering such incidents and blaming it on others.  It does not care about the stupidity of its comment.  No nation would kill its citizens under any provocation.  Islamabad obviously is not able to draw the line between fact and fiction.  Instead, it revels in motivated fiction to accuse India of crimes which were engineered by Pak agencies of subversion.  Terrorists continue to be in a position in which they are able to call the shots anywhere and at anytime and in any manner they choose....  People have not panicked so far but they could if terrorists are allowed to make mince meat of public peace."


“Murderous Monday" 


The centrist Times of India stated (8/26):  "It was a horrifying reprise of 1993. Now, as then, the murderous bomb blasts which rocked Mumbai on Monday seemed to be well-planned and coordinated to inflict maximum damage on the city’s symbols of civic pride and financial power. Is it merely coincidental that the attacks have taken place at a time when the Indian stockmarkets had entered a bullish phase for the first time in two-and-a-half years?....  What the latest episode seems to that the ongoing global war against terrorism knows no fixed boundaries or battle-fronts; the Hydra-headed serpent of terror can strike with equal venom anywhere in the world....  The war against terrorism is not as straightforward an enterprise as many in the US and elsewhere might like to believe....  It is a debatable point whether the campaign in Afghanistan precipitately followed by the operation in Iraq have been part of the solution, or a compounding of the problem. The bitter truth is there are no simple and safe antidotes to terror, nor any fail-safe preventives....  Political crisis management and damage control after such an outrage is as essential as the exercise of vigilance to deter terrorist action. This is perhaps the most important--and the most difficult--lesson to learn in the midst of this undeclared war that we are engaged in.”


“Behind The Terrorist Strikes" 


The centrist Hindu declared (8/26):  "Two terrorist bomb strikes in the heart of Mumbai on Monday have taken a terrible human toll and sent a shiver through the country....  Nine bombings in as many months, almost a 100 people dead, and some 200 injured: Mumbai is in the midst of what is...the longest-running terror offensive any major Indian city has ever encountered....  No organization has claimed responsibility for Monday's carnage, and it is unlikely...that any will do so....  Mumbai has suffered the consequences of communal politics before. The serial bombings of the 1993, the worst single terrorist outrage India has witnessed to date, were carried out by mafia elements backed by Pakistan's intelligence services. Yet members of the mafia acted as they did only after the city had witnessed an unprecedented communal pogrom. While millions of ordinary Muslims completely reject and condemn such `retaliatory' terrorism, the fact remains that hatred breeds hatred. Islamist terrorism of the kind Mumbai is witnessing is part of a tragic cycle of communal terror and counter-terror. Neither legions of policemen nor the latest intelligence technology can solve this problem. For the carnage we are now witnessing, politicians who have built their career on hate held to account.”


The Day Also Belongs To The Enemy!"


Mumbai-based Marathi-language widely-read Lokasatta opined (8/26):  "Like Beirut, Tel Aviv, and Bali, Mumbai has also become a target for international terrorists....  Considering the present situation in the country, in the Indian subcontinent, and in the world in general, it can be said that Mumbai has also been caught in the globalization of terrorism.  We can only speculate whether it is a mere coincidence that these blasts took place when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is visiting the country....  The politics of destruction unleashed by the U.S. all over the world is also a reason for the growing terrorism.  National boundaries cannot stop terrorism.  The United States has experienced it now.  Israel is experiencing it everyday and still, it has persisted in its offensive politics.  The Taliban groups, to whom Pakistan handed over power in Afghanistan with the help of the Inter Service Intelligence [ISI] and with the US blessings, have now turned against Musharraf.   Therefore, like Mumbai, Karachi is also in the grip of Pakistani terrorists....  Like the possibility being talked about that the terrorists active in Mumbai are being helped by the ISI, there is a similarly strong possibility that they are being helped by the international "arms and drug" cartel....  It would not suffice to consider the only reason of the prevailing tension between Hindus and Muslims for these blasts....  Delhi is the political capital of the country and Mumbai is its economic capital.   Mumbai has the economic veins of the country.  The terrorists know that if India is to be destroyed from within, they have to disrupt this city's life and economy....  This is a long-lasting war....  This war against terrorism is beyond the parties and even countries.    The bomb blasts in Mumbai have, once again, underlined this fact."


“Unmask The Attacker"


The centrist Indian Express held (8/26):  "It's like rewinding to March 12, 1993, when calibrated bomb blasts changed Mumbai forever....  By making unsuspecting citizens hostage to their agenda of terror, the attackers have shown themselves to be nothing but brutes--beyond human reason or compassion.... an attack not just on individuals, or a city, or a state, but on the nation. The time has come to squarely confront the terror in our midst....  Tntelligence gathering at a national level is proving inadequate to the monumental task at hand....  The situation is tense and worrisome. Both Mumbai and India must rise up to the challenge.”


“The Calm Explodes" 


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (8/26):  "The blasts in Mumbai are a grim warning that terrorists are still reasonably well entrenched and that the recent relatively calm period was deceptive....  There can be little doubt that the terrorists are encouraged by Pakistan's attitude....  The mercenaries are obviously under some pressure to perform. They may well be responding to elements in Pakistan who are unhappy with the recent thaw in Indo-Pakistani relations. In India, with the election season approaching, all political parties should be careful that no one is able to make cynical use of the blasts.”


"Blasts Again In Mumbai" 


Pro-BJP Calcutta-based Bengali-language Bartaman observed (8/26):  "Intelligence agencies need to be more alert and efficient in order to prevent such disruptive acts. The mechanism of getting advance tip off and adopting preemptive measures must be far more strengthened. Otherwise, such abominable incidents will continue to happen....  Monday's incident has clearly proved that Indian Intelligence failed to take any lesson from the nightmarish bloodbath a decade ago."


“Serial Terror" 


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer contended (8/26):  "The serial blasts that shook Mumbai on Monday were the first of their kind since the 13 on March 12, 1993, which left 257 persons dead and over 700 maimed....  While no terrorist outfit has so far claimed responsibility, the blasts bear the patent imprint of terrorist strikes. Nor would it take genius to recognize that the culprit is a terrorist outfit controlled from Pakistan acting in close cooperation with organizations like the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).  The Ghatkopar blast of July 28 has been attributed to Pasban-e-Hadeez, one of the fragmented reincarnations of the Lashkar-e-Toiba....  The explosions that have rocked Mumbai since 1993 cannot be viewed in isolation from those that have occurred in different parts of the country ever since Pakistan launched its proxy war against India, through cross-border terrorism, over two decades ago. Like the others, these have been aimed at implementing Islamabad's strategy to annex Kashmir and balkanise India.  Since an outrage of the magnitude of Monday's one could not have occurred without a green signal from those who control Pakistan's proxy war and Dawood Ibrahim's minions, it puts a huge question mark against Islamabad's repeated articulation of its desire for peace with India. Clearly, the ruling dispensation in Pakistan is alarmed as much by the desire of the common people of its country for peace with India, as the changed mood in Kashmir where the healing-touch approach of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's Government is beginning to have an impact....  Monday's blasts provide another vindication of India's decision not to hold talks with it until it takes convincing steps to end cross-border terrorism. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Government must do better than it has so far in curbing terrorism.”


"Intelligence Confirms ISI Link With Dawood-Simi In Mumbai Blast"


Jayanta Ghosal stated in independent Calcutta-based Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika (8/26):  "The federal Home ministry believes that the Mumbai blast was the joint handiwork of Islamic students' organization like SIMI, notorious terrorists Lashkar-e-Toiba and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim....  No matter which group has done this, federal intelligence is quite confident that ISI have pulled the string from behind. The chief to derail the Prime Minister's initiative of convening a Chief Ministers' convention in Srinagar on Wednesday in order to project the national integration and security scenario.  According to intelligence sources, hordes of terrorists have recently infiltrated into Mumbai from the Gulf and formed a new Islamic jihadi outfit. Many activists from several militant organizations like SIMI have joined this new jihadi group, which is being suspected of triggering the twin blasts with covert blessings from LeT....  Musharraf administration would have been put to the dock by the international community if it had chosen to get fresh subversive activities done by Kashmiri terrorists organizations. So, it might have hired Dawood's criminal gang for coordinating the job."


PAKISTAN:  "Mumbai Blasts: Reaction Of Radical Indian Policies"


Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt argued (8/27):  "The blasts have demonstrated that the law and order situation in India is not different from the situation in neighboring countries.  The only difference is that India has now become a target of the culture of terrorism and subversion that it has promoted in the region....  India will be a victim of destabilization, if it doesn't review its internal and external policies, doesn't give due rights to Kashmiris and other nations demanding self-determination and continues with its discriminatory treatment of minorities; the ensuing destabilization will have negative effects on the entire region."


"Terrorism In Mumbai And The Future Of Indo-Pak Talks"


Lahore's populist Urdu-language Khabrain contended (8/27):  "This is a difficult time for both India and Pakistan.  The Indian government must hunt for the perpetrators of this act and bring them to justice.  But at the same time, it needs to control its reaction to this incident or it will increase bilateral tension and reduce the chances for a dialogue....  How it deals with this situation depends entirely on the Indian government.  However, in view of past record, we would urge the international community to keep an eye on the issue so that the Indian government doesn't use this unfortunate incident to strengthen its position in the upcoming polls or to stoke the fire of anti-Muslim riots in India."


"Mumbai Blasts"


The centrist national English-language News remarked (8/27):  "The attacks seem to have been a well-synchronized effort by those behind it who also choose crowded tourist spots of the commercial capital of India for good effect.  So far no claims have been made but the Indian authorities suspect that the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was believed to be acting in conjunction with the banned terrorist outfit, Lashkar-i-Taiba....  The bomb blasts, however, call for greater cooperation by all states against terrorism that has become a growth industry.  Easily available sophisticated explosive material which has a greater impact potential and timing reliable devices along with basic training and a 'cause'--howsoever absurd it is--are all that is needed by people in the lunatic fringe to rock the world....  If the world has to be made safe then all nations need to first resolve the contradictions within their own countries before they look for enemies from abroad."


"Car Bombs In Mumbai"


The Lahore's liberal English-language Daily Times observed (8/27):  "Let not the pot start calling the kettle black.  Both India and Pakistan are threatened by the same internal forces of disorder.  And in both cases religion is involved, with links established with the underworld of international terrorism. We blamed India for the Quetta killings.  Will India now blame Pakistan for the Mumbai killings?  If that happens, it will spring from a conditioned reflex of the past.  We have seen much jerking of the knee on both sides.  If it happens again, it will be tragic."


"Senseless And Disturbing"


Karachi's center-left independent English-language Dawn editorialized (8/27):  "In view of the allegations being made, one great worry is what effect all this might have on the peace process underway between India and Pakistan.  It would be tragic in the extreme if jingoistic elements across the border were permitted to capitalize on the tragedy to put pressure on PM Vajpayee to hold back on taking the process forward.  Even if it turns out that SIMI is involved, that should only strengthen the resolve to pursue Indo-Pakistan peace with greater vigor.  That is the only way to clip the wings of militants on both sides who thrive on hostility between the two countries and who need to be isolated and exposed.  Meanwhile, the Indian government will be expected to move decisively to prevent any possible communal backlash to Monday's traumatic happenings."


"Pakistan Deplores Mumbai Attack"


The centrist national English-language News remarked (8/26):  "Pakistan has deplored the terrorist attacks in Mumbai which occurred on Monday [25 August], claiming over 40 lives with nearly a hundred injured....  Pakistan condemns all acts of terrorism and these wanton attacks on civilians should be condemned in the strongest terms....  Islamabad had drawn the attention of the world community to the fact that dialogue had still not resumed between India and Pakistan which did not augur well for the fact that peace and security was fragile in the region....  We have asked the UN Security Council to persuade India to stop oppression in held Kashmir and to create an environment in which such talks can take place."  




BRITAIN:  “Prisoners Of War”


The left-of-center Guardian stated (8/27):  "Even for a region pockmarked by blasts and shootings, the scale of the bombing of Bombay raises concerns about the stability of south Asia....  In targeting India's bustling commercial capital, the bombers struck at the heart of a nation’s economic renaissance.  Those who planted the bombs were unperturbed that death would be spread among Bombay’s Hindu majority and its sizeable Muslim minority....  India’s politicians have not emphatically pointed the finger of blame at Pakistan, but their words will have left few in doubt as to whom they hold responsible for the carnage.  There is no question that Pakistan is used as a base by bombers to launch attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir.  In Pakistan, some have bent Islam to propogate hate....  Similiarly in India, Hinduism is being polluted by extremists....  Damaging too is that the country’s 140m Muslims have not been lifted by India’s rising economic tide.  None of this justifies the murder and mayhem.  What both sides need to display is restraint....  But the reapprochment will get nowhere if both sides do not break free from the prison of the past.  Both Pakistan and India will have to move from trading insults and shells across disputed borders and become serious about treading the road to peace....  Leaders in both nations must stop envenoming tongues and minds and offer a way, instead, to replace antipathy with amity."


“Bombs In Bombay”


The conservative Daily Telegraph commented (8/27):  "Post-September 11, it is easy for a politician to court favour with his constituents by evoking the spectre of Islamic radicalism.  That is, predictably, what L K Advani, India’s deputy prime minister, did yesterday in Bombay....  The Pakistani government’s protestations of innocence over terrorism in India do not always ring true.  But it is difficult to see what advantage it would reap from backing attacks against its neighbour at a time when the two countries are trying to improve relations.  Mr. Advani might, instead, reflect on the siege mentality that the aggressive Hindu nationalism of his party had instilled in Muslim Indians....  Sadly, it is likely that any such reflection will be stifled by crude political calculation....  The truth is that the party has not much to show from leading coalition governments at federal level over the past five years....  In the absence of achievement in job creation or improved security, the Muslim threat makes a convenient whipping-boy....  But playing the communal card for electoral gain will reap a whirlwind within, rather than across the Pakistani border.  India remains a secular state with a Muslim population of around 120 million.  To push it towards becoming a Hindu republic in which they will have no place is to risk immeasurably greather chaos than that inflicted by the bombers of Bombay."


"India Is On The Front Line Of The War On Terror"


Jeevan Deol contended in the center-right Independent (8/7):  "The terrorist bombings in Bombay are a jarring reminder to the West of its failure to comprehend political tensions and strategic realities in South Asia....  South Asia is yet another front in the War on Terror, even if US and British foreign policy does not recognise it as such. An al-Qa'ida statement issued last November lists among its "invitations" to the American people a call to cease their support for Israel, Russia, the Philippines and India. And senior Indian officials view the country as having been in the front line of the fight against Islamist terrorism....  The insurgency in Kashmir is as much a part of the global jihad as the conflicts in Chechnya and Bosnia....  The past three years have seen a marked shift in emphasis. Terrorists have sought high-profile targets to match their more global aspirations, with a number of attacks on national icons....  The Bombay bombings seem to be yet another link in this chain of terrorist attacks....  The terrorists behind the bombing were undoubtedly seeking to incite India's 120 million Muslims, one of the largest Muslim populations in the world, against the Hindu majority. Their task is difficult in a country where Muslims are bound by other strong ties of place and ethnicity. But if the terrorists succeed even in small measure, the price will be a terrible one. The tactic is one that al-Qa'ida has used with success elsewhere....  The problem of a new terrorist threat linked to al-Qa'ida is not India's alone. Pakistan too has seen a similar radical change in the tactics of terrorist violence....  In an ideal world, India and Pakistan would feel a sense of sharing a common strategic interest in preventing a destabilisation of the region by al-Qa'ida. Given the other major issues of disagreement between the two countries, this is unlikely....  India and Pakistan need to make hard choices about their relationship. If they and the West ignore the changing direction of terrorism in South Asia, a key battle in the fight against al-Qa'ida could be lost.


FRANCE:  “South Asia:  The People Against al-Qaida”


Alexandre Adler wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (8/27):  “In spite of a tendency to deny reality, al-Qaida does exist....  Its leaders are capable of extraordinary strategic obstinacy as well as stoicism in their designs.  The attacks in Bombay prove it....  For the past five years Pakistan has been providing al-Qaida with all that it needed....  With Pakistan and Saudi Arabia’s blessings Ben Laden and his allies have inherited local Islamic groups which they have used in broader strategic operations....  Pakistani society, with General Musharraf, has managed to oppose al-Qaida’s ambition to take-over in Pakistan....  Negotiations between Pakistan and India should be able to bring more stability to Pakistan....  Luckily, the Indian and Pakistani people want neither suicide nor perpetual war. While the threat from al-Qaida remains, it would seem that in South Asia there is the know-how to guard against it.”


GERMANY:  "Provocations Everywhere"


Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg judged (8/27):  "The Indian reaction to the most serious bomb attack in ten years was as expected...but the Indian government takes it too easy by swiftly pointing to others being responsible for the attack.  It must also be blamed for the fact that the relationship between Muslims and Hindus is very tense.  The Hindu nationalists around the hawk Advani made their contribution over the past few years to poison the mood.  The Muslims in Bombay are now afraid of the revenge of an angry Hindu mob.  This is not surprising following the events from last year when an attack by Hindu pilgrims caused the death of 2,000 Muslims in the province of Gujarat.  But instead of dealing with the background of the case, the government is pushing for plans to build a temple in Ayodhya, a site which Muslims consider sacred.  The Muslim reaction is to turn increasingly to radical groups in Islamic Pakistan.  If the Indian government wants to prevent this, it must convey the feeling to the 140 million Muslims in the country that it takes care of their safety."


ITALY:  “Massacre in Bombay, India Accuses Pakistan”


Gabriel Bertinetto asserted in pro-democratic left party-run L’Unitá (8/27):  “India points its finger at Pakistan: it is not attributing Monday’s attacks in Bombay point blank on Pakistan, but it is accusing it of having given way for decades to ‘a terrorist war...throughout the entire country'....  Today Pakistan is a fragile country.  By casting away the Taliban and siding with the U.S. in the war on Afghanistan, President Musharraf avoided being involved in the U.S. military’s reaction against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks....  But since then his fate is hanging by a thread....  Despite accusations by Indian authorities, he has been holding talks with New Delhi.  But his power is challenged daily by internal enemies.  Rather than generically attacking Pakistan and claiming their co-responsibility in the attacks, the Indian government should perhaps support Musharraf in his fight against those within his country and within the security forces who are obstructing his attempt to develop good relations with the U.S., Afghanistan and India itself.”


“Precision Bombs Against Indian And Pakistani Efforts”


An editorial in elite, classical-liberal Il Foglio read (8/26):  “The Bombay explosions chose a symbolic target: the Gateway of India, the symbol of colonial power and major tourist attraction with many big hotels, including the Taj Mahal. There’s a resemblance to the terrorist attacks in Bali....  The guerrilla in Iraq, terrorism in Israel, the attacks in Indonesia and India all have one specific goal: to obstruct any peaceful solution that would pave the way to a normal life and therefore to economic development, considered a major threat for political-religious groups that still hold important positions of command. For these groups, it is important to hinder the return to normalcy in Iraq and hence to impede that a sufficiently democratic system and economic system with an opening on the rest of the world be established. And they adopt the same method to paralyze, in two ways, the action of governments that intend to travel the road of development, such as India and Indonesia....  In the case of India, the most fertile [method] regards accusations towards the grass roots terrorism in Pakistan with obvious repercussions on relations between the two countries, which are in this manner distracted from giving support to the fight against international terrorism.”


“Terrorism Which Strikes Blindly”


Fernando Mezzetti noted in conservative, top-circulation syndicate Il Resto del Carlino/La Nazione/Il Giorno (8/26):  “Terrorism against everything and everyone. This is [the definition of] the massacre in Bombay. Investigators believe the attack was the work of one group--the Students Islamic Movement of India--that acted out in concomitance with nationalistic demonstrations, by striking areas inhabited by the people of Gujarat, among whom were many Muslims: it’s a pity for them since in the metropolis they peacefully live along side the hindus. Moreover, India’s National Party has grown much closer to the U.S. since September 11.”


“A New War Front”


Ugo Tramballi commented in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (8/26):  “It was obvious that sooner or later even India would end up on the map of this strange Islamic international [group] of terror that is striking everywhere: the subcontinent possesses all the fundamental characteristics to be part of it....  Even prior to September 11 India had been hit. But it was a different kind of terrorism, often it was by the hand of Pakistan....  Yesterday’s attacks are something new: Pakistan has nothing to do with them and the attempt to involve General Musharraf’s government and to return to the traditional hatred between two enemies armed with the atomic bomb is rather evident....  A new front in this world war has opened up at a moment in which things don’t seem to be working....  US, Europe, Russia, India NATO, UN: there is no division of duties, everyone acts based on their own presumptions, hostilities, and scores to settle--just as if every terror attack were its own separate entity and not a part of a strategy that is always less improvised.”


AUSTRIA:  “Bombay Is A Symbol”


Markus Bernath wrote in liberal Der Standard (8/26):  “The government of Pakistan has promptly condemned the attacks of Bombay. This is the only consolation for the people of the 15-million city, who have had to cope with eight such terror attacks in as many months. Even if it is still unclear to which extremist camp--probably Muslim--in or outside India the attackers belong, the condolences from Islamabad seem to at least preclude a much more dangerous development: a third war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, triggered off by the continuous attacks of Muslim terrorists....  Not only since the early days of the armed battle in Kashmir in the late eighties have Muslims and Hindus been trying to use India’s democracy for their own ends, or to abuse the weaknesses of a politically open regime. Claims to power are literally dug up, because reasonable arguments are seriously lacking....  On the rollercoaster of Indian-Pakistani relations, the two countries are currently living through a comparatively quiet period....  However, the attack of religious fanatics in Bombay could bring this tiny step forward to a swift end.”


HUNGARY:  “Bumpy Peace Process”


Orsolya Ruff maintained in right-wing conservative Magyar Nemzet (8/27):  "The bombings in Mumbai on Monday disperse the hopes of reconciliation between India and Pakistan.  It is hard to know yet how the bombings will affect the relationship and the still bumpy peace process between the two nuclear powers.”


IRELAND:  "After Bombay"


The center-left Irish Times commented (8/27):  "The terrorist outrage in Bombay...was a calculated bring India's financial capital, and hence the country itself, to its knees....  Early indications suggest that while those behind Monday's atrocity may have been inspired by the example set by terrorists in Bali, New York and elsewhere, the real motivation for their action lies closer to home....  India's ruling BJP party bears much responsibility for the heightened communal tensions that have accompanied its five years in power at federal level.  India is a heady mix of ethnic groups, as evidenced by the violence that attended independence in 1948.  Tensions then could not be overcome to persuade Pakistan to remain within a single federal state.  The underlying cause of the division was religious....  The BJP has consistently postured and threatened the Muslim minority, grandstanding and hectoring them, more than willing to turn Gandhi's inclusive dream into a cold house.  Specifically, the BJP has campaigned for Hindu hegemony in Gujarat, a state it has ruled for just under a year....  Indian politicians openly linked Pakistan with the atrocity yesterday, despite denials and condemnation from Islamabad. The rest of the world watches the posturing of these two nuclear powers.”


"Bombs Blamed On Hindu-Muslim Tensions"


Rahul Bedi maintained in the center-left Irish Times (8/26):  "The cause of the Bombay attacks may be domestic Indian extremism. The continuing spiral of violence...has its roots in communal tensions that have escalated after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led federal coalition assumed power five years ago. Security agencies have long feared such an attack following last year's three-month pogrom in neighbouring Gujarat state....  Senior counterterrorism officials, politicians and analysts can, for the moment, offer no credible clues about its perpetrators. All they can deduce is that the attacks might just be retaliatory attacks for Gujarat's massacres.”




SAUDI ARABIA:   "Bombay Blasts"


Jeddah's English-language pro-government Arab News observed (8/26):  "This attack hits India hard; it is as devastating as the attack on Parliament last December, perhaps more so. Bombay is India's New York. If the past is anything to go by, people in Bombay are likely to respond, in anger and--more than likely--with violence. And regardless of who was behind the atrocities, the city's Muslims will pay the price....  Many Indians, though, will jump to conclusions and believe that this was the work of Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba Islamic militant group, said to be responsible for the Parliament attack and blamed for the Bombay bus bomb in July which left three people dead. The fact that a Hindu temple was attacked will add to that conviction.  So too will the belief that the attacks were timed to coincide with the release yesterday of an archaeological report on the controversial Ayodhya mosque site....  Whoever was behind this attack wants Hindu to kill Muslim, Muslim to kill Hindu. They may well succeed. At another level, the blasts could raise the tensions in the subcontinent. The atrocity is bound to result in Delhi pointing an accusing finger at Islamabad, undoing the efforts of both governments to draw back from earlier potential nuclear confrontation. The consequences do not bear thinking about."




CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Mumbai: Terror's Frankenstein On The Loose"


The leftist Internet-only Asia Times commented (8/26):  "The bombers in Mumbai, like their opposite numbers throughout the Muslim world, knew exactly what they were doing when they set off two bombs in India's commercial capital on Monday. Their target was the fragile Indo-Pakistani minuet that has begun to show signs of actually improving relations between those two states.  If progress in those relations were actually to occur, it could only take place at the expense of the terrorist formations operating in Pakistan, Kashmir, and probably underground in India....  It is also clear that people possessing so twisted a militant orientation, including belief in the merit of blowing oneself up...are ultimately a wild card who almost inevitably escape the bonds of control that the state which supports them tries to fasten on them....  The terrorist groups that organized this latest bombing in Mumbai are thus Pakistan's Frankenstein for they almost certainly issued forth, at some stage, from one or another of the groups sponsored and supported--either directly or indirectly--by Pakistan and its intelligence organs, such as the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)....  Terrorists can now act increasingly autonomously to trigger a much grander Indo-Pakistani conflagration....  India and Pakistan must not give the terrorists the war that they want....  The situation now makes clear that Pakistan, for its own safety, and not because India now demands it, must conclusively renounce terrorism as an instrument of its foreign and defense policies....  Pakistan, despite its being a nuclear power with a respectable conventional army, is in danger of degenerating into ungovernability....  The crisis the terrorists and their supporters hope to provoke aims to bring about precisely the kind of outcome the world most fears, a general Indo-Pakistani war and/or general crisis in Pakistan....  Even if, or especially if, Pakistan loses, the 'traitorous' Musharraf government will fall and a regime more supportive of their objectives and of the Taliban...will arise in Pakistan....  Pakistan thus now reaps the results of its own support for terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and at home. These groups and their protectors have made clear their determination to control the policies of the government in Islamabad, even if it means domestic terror inside Pakistan." 


INDONESIA:  "Danger Of Terrorism"


Leading independent Kompas noted (8/27):  "The bombing action in Mumbai, India did not only shock the country but also upset the world community.  The attack added to the signs of the spread of the danger of terrorism....  There have been reports that bomb threats, including suicide bombing, have haunted many countries including the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia and many more....  Before the psychological shock and the nightmare of the bombing in Iraq were over, the global community was again shocked by the two bombings in Mumbay.  The world community is made anxious by the many terrorist attacks.”




ARGENTINA:  "Double Bombing In India: 47 Killed"


Leading Clarin said (8/26):  "Bombay, the economic and financial capital of India, from where you dominate the Oman Sea, became yesterday the open site of horror, when two blasts ripped a historic and very crowded tourist location and a famous market close by, killing 47 and wounding 150....  Until last night, nobody had claimed the attack, but Indian police suspect India's Islamic Movement of Students, a group banned by the government, with close ties with neighbor Pakistan--a country that went to war against India on three occasions and with which it fights for nuclear predominance in the region.  Due to the type of target that was selected, the double goal of the attack was, apparently, to cast a serious blow on the tourist activity, according to local authorities."


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