Six years after the most devastating attacks by al
Qaeda terrorists on the financial centre and defence headquarters of the sole
superpower followed by the immediate declaration of a War on Terrorism by
American President George Bush, is the world a safer place from terrorism?
Even President Bush makes no such claim. Addressing the
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Sydney last week, the
American President urged all nations to ‘keep terrorists on the run and keep
The stringent security measures adopted by the United
States are probably the reason for the country being free of attacks since that
fateful day of 9/11 but neither President Bush nor any senior official is
bragging about that. Today, the success of terrorists is known to one and all —
a government has to be extremely alert and lucky to prevent a terrorist attack
but terrorists can strike almost at will at many targets.
The terror supremo, Osama bin Laden is not letting the
sixth anniversary go unnoticed. On Thursday al Qaeda websites announced that he
will be featured in a video tape that will be released close to the anniversary.
Bin Laden has not appeared on the TV screen for almost a year, analysts point
out. The guessing is that he is hiding somewhere between the borders of
Afghanistan and Pakistan, in an area known as Waziristan.
Despite the intense effort made by Western powers to
track him down, Western intelligence it appears can only guess about his
presence in Waziristan. Some of the observations made have been is that one year
ago when he appeared on TV to announce the appointment of a new al Qaeda leader
in Iraq, he had dyed his beard!
European nations suffer devastation
While the United States had been free of terrorist
attacks, not so the European nations. Britain and Spain suffered devastating
bombings, and last Thursday (6), security services of Germany and Denmark were
able to thwart such attacks. In Germany it was reported that two German
nationals and a Turk had planned to attack the Frankfurt Airport as well as
Ramstein, the biggest US military base in Germany. Large quantities of hydrogen
peroxide, the chemical used in the London bombings had been seized from the
The anti-American feelings of Islamists have been
fuelled by the man who wants Islamic terrorism eradicated — George Bush. His
invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in intense anti-Americanism
among Muslims throughout the world.
The feeling among British Muslims — mostly expatriates
from Pakistan has been fuelled by Britain allying with the United States in the
invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Germany and Spain have been targeted probably
because their troops are with the NATO forces in Afghanistan fighting the
The other factor for anti-Americanism is the support
extended to Israel which Arabs claim was established on their traditional
homeland. Without American and the support of European nations, Israel would not
be able to exist, is the belief of most Muslims. The origin of anti-Americanism
of the Muslims could be traced to American support for Israel.
Al Qaeda in South East Asia
During the past decade, even before 9/11, al Qaeda has
been establishing itself in the South East Asian countries of Malaysia,
Indonesia and Philippines — and now there is a very strong presence particularly
in Indonesia — despite governments cracking down on terrorism.
Western nations getting together to fight Islamic
terrorism has resulted in Muslims even outside Islamic countries being
sympathetic towards the al Qaeda. Even in Sri Lanka there are those who maintain
that there is no difference between al Qaeda terrorism and the ‘state sponsored
US terrorism.’ The trend towards a clash of civilisations — Christians versus
Islamists is seen by many as in the times of the Crusades.
Western nations now with sizeable Muslim populations
are attempting to integrate the Muslims into their societies but whether it
could be one because of the sheer social and religious disparities is much in
doubt. In the United States, Americans are permitting mosques to be built and
there are no legal objections because the US Constitution declares the country
to be a secular state. But in Europe where in most countries Christianity is the
state religion, there are strong objections such as the incident witnessed in
Cologne, Germany, where there was a proposal to build a mosque.
Even though leading Western nations have declared war
on all forms of terrorism, they appear to be concerned only with Islamic
terrorism. Racial terrorism such as that of the LTTE or cross border terrorism
of the Indian varieties do not seem to bother the West very much.
It was only last week that 46 people were killed in a
bomb blast in Hyderabad. The latest issue of The Economist commenting on
the Hyderabad bombings says that according to American government figures, in
each of the past two years, India lost around 1300 lives to terrorism putting it
second only to Iraq.
Despite the pledges made by George Bush and Tony Blair
after 9/ 11 to wipe out all forms of terrorism — ‘root and branch,’ there are
many forms of terrorism other than Islamic terrorism spreading in many parts of
Terrorism in all forms is gaining strength around the
world despite pledges by countries both big and small to root out terrorism in
all its forms