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Editorial

   September 9, 2007  Volume 14, Issue 12


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World

           

Terrorism thrives after 9/11

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 pursuing them.’

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.

Sixth anniversary

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 suspects.

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 Taliban.

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.

Racist terrorism

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 the world.

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.

 

 


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