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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
World media review
Europe Asia Pacific South Asia Middle East Africa Americas
The consequences of last year's attacks on the US dominate the international media. Many commentators ask what, if anything, has changed since 11 September and criticise US policy in its continuing war on terror.


The US press has marked 11 September with an outpouring of patriotism mixed with cautious reflection on the dangers of extending the "war on terrorism" to Iraq.

In the city hardest hit, the New York Times takes comfort from the reaction of ordinary people to the attacks:

"It has never been, nor should it be, the business of a people in peacetime to be prepared for an event like 9/11. The scale of our disbelief - the sense of inarticulate shock was a measure of our sense of security... The shock became so integral that it kept us from noticing the steadfast continuity of our lives and our nation. The local and national coalescence we experienced on that day and in the weeks afterward we interpreted as a measure of the blow we had suffered and not as a sign of our own strength. But strength it was and still is."

Our enemies attacked us not for what we have done, but for what we are

George Will, Washington Post
One of the Times' liberal columnists, Maureen Dowd, adds a note of scepticism about how President Bush is now looking towards Iraq as the next target.

"After a few months the president shifted his attention from a hard war to an easy war, from an unconventional war with no end or bad guys in sight to a conventional war with a clearly discernible end and bad guy."

The Washington Post is also critical of the president. "It is right that the United States must be fighting for liberty and opportunity and not just against Islamic terrorists, as the president has said. But in practice he still baulks at rebuilding Afghanistan, devoting sufficient money for schools in poor countries, and promoting democracy among US allies."

However, one of the Post's conservative columnists, George Will, concentrates on what he regards as a more profound point to make about American society.

Most of us are willing to follow President Bush's leadership as we proceed to the next phase of rooting out Islamic terrorism

Louis Riggs, Hannibal Courier Post
"To understand our enemies is to know that they must be smashed. Susceptibility to feelings of civic guilt and a tendency to social hypochondria are two generally healthy American attributes traceable to the Republic's founding... So, last Sept 11, there was an American reflex to ask, self accusingly: "What did we do?" The reflex was wrong. Our enemies attacked us not for what we have done, but for what we are."

In the hinterland, the press is even more straightforward. In Texas, Mr Bush's home state, the Dallas Morning News says: "[Americans] should gird themselves for what promises to be a long and unorthodox conflict... for their enemies are clever, poised to exploit weaknesses and negligence and absolutely willing to kill as many of them as possible for the sake of their twisted cause."

And in the very centre of the country, in the town of Hannibal by the Missouri, where Mark Twain set his stories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, a writer for Hannibal Courier Post Louis Riggs declares:

"Today, we honor the memory of the 3,000 senselessly murdered a year ago by Islamic fundamentalists who would like to see us all dead because we don't bow down to the same god they do. Most of us are willing to follow President Bush's leadership as we proceed to the next phase of rooting out Islamic terrorism - at a prime source, a state supporting it, Saddam Hussein's Iraq."


Europe's press is dominated by reflections on the consequences of the attacks. Different papers critically examine the course of action taken by the United States, Europe's response and the impact of the event on the rest of the world.

France's Le Monde in an editorial says the US has reached an "an impasse".

"The reaction of solidarity one year ago," the newspaper's editor Jean-Marie Colombani writes, "has given way to a wave which could make you believe that throughout the world we have all become anti-American."

The tension created in the Arab world is such that we are approaching breaking point

Jean-Marie Colombani, Le Monde
It suggests that the US, by making Iraq its primary target, is overlooking the consequences of 11 September since, as he puts it, "the tension created in the Arab world... is such that we are approaching breaking point."

Britain's Independent also takes the opportunity to caution against a war with Saddam Hussein. It says Wednesday is a day to remember, a day to reflect, a day to mourn but also a day to resist the clamour for war.

In Russia, most papers are preoccupied first and foremost with change - the effect of the attacks on the world in general, and, more specifically, on Russia's position in the international community.

A commentator in the popular Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper, recalls a conversation, in the immediate wake of the terror attacks, with a Russian foreign policy expert.

The expert claimed that "the saddest thing is that, broadly speaking, absolutely nothing will change". Of course, "in the emotionally charged atmosphere which followed the tragedy", the paper writes, "this forecast seemed cynical".

We could continue listing the major and minor concessions Russia has made to the West in exchange for nothing

Nezavisimaya Gazeta
But a year later, "one can affirm that, alas, he was proved right". As far as the paper is concerned, "there has been no radical change in the rules of the game in the international arena". Not all countries have come together in the fight against terrorism. No effective antidote has been found to this "evil". What has taken place in the world, the paper argues, is "just another shift in the balance of power".

Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau believes that the Europeans squandered the chance to build a new multilateral policy as a result of what it calls their "lack of courage and unity".

"One year on we have to face the fact that the USA continues to regard the EU as a global lightweight," the paper says.

It argues that the Europeans have only themselves to blame in view of the fact that, as the paper puts it, "Tony Blair wants to join the war on Iraq, Gerhard Schroeder says an unequivocal no and Jacques Chirac manoeuvres elegantly".

The paper warns that as long as the Europeans are viewed as going their separate ways, the US will ignore the EU as a global player.

Middle East

The anniversary dominates the leading Israeli dailies. Some commentators take the opportunity to contextualise analysis of 11 September with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the largest-circulation Yediot Aharonot Nahum Barnea says that on 11 September, "an alliance of blood and a shared destiny was created between Israel and America, and in the midst of it a political alliance was formed between [Israeli Prime Minister] Sharon and President Bush".

[Sharon and Bush] perceive terror... as a satanic plot by Islam

Nahum Barnea, Yediot Aharonot
He says that at issue is an alliance between what the Israeli and American leaders believe.

"Both of them perceive terror not as a festering sore that needs to be healed, but as a satanic plot by Islam that needs to be eradicated by force."

An editorial in the Arabic Al-Quds also puts 11 September in the context of the Middle East conflict.

Fighting extremism and terrorism cannot be successful unless the US reconsiders it policies

"One of the major results and ramifications of the September 11 on the Palestinian cause was that it granted Israel and the extremist right-wing government room to manoeuvre and curtail the Palestinian cause under the claim of Israel fighting terrorism. Israel tried to link the Palestinian national struggle with terrorism."

It goes on to link the attacks and "hatred against US policy" to "hegemony exercised by the US administration against the whole world and because of the full and blind US bias towards the Israeli occupation."

Iraqi TV gave the anniversary fairly full treatment in one of its news bulletins, linking it to US threats against Iraq.

The report said that the US was using the 11 September events as a pretext to wage aggression, but that "God willing, it will be defeated in Iraq".

The anniversary is mentioned thoroughout the Iranian press.

Al-Qaeda was established by the CIA - Bin Laden was America's protege

Jomhuri-ye Eslami
Hardline papers lay the blame for the events at America's door. "America was the initiator of these acts of terrorism", one paper, Jomhuri-ye Eslami, says. "Al-Qaeda was established by the CIA... Bin Laden was America's protege," it adds.

Reformist papers tend to be more sympathetic to the victims of the attack and the American people. But they question the US response. "If America chooses to single-handedly take charge of protecting human society," Hambastegi writes, "it would be tantamount to ignoring the different opinions and aspirations of others".

South Asia

Indian and Pakistani newspapers are unanimous in their criticism of the US-led war on terror.

In an editorial entitled "Unfinished agenda", the Indian newspaper The Economic Times describes the change in the focus of the US foreign policy agenda over the past year.

The war against terrorism has very little to show for itself

The Economic Times
"Pakistan and India are now much higher up on the US radar," it says, adding "there is also much greater appreciation of India's position in its fight against terrorism."

But the paper laments that "the war against terrorism has very little to show for itself".

It blames "continued US support for oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the marked Israeli bias in US foreign policy and a world view that sees some regimes as "evil" for the lack of success of the US-led campaign.

The Indian Express warns that "the cancer of terrorism that draws its strength from extremist religious ideologies" is going to take a long time to eradicate.

It says the greatest impact of the attacks has been on Pakistan, "transforming it from a pariah state to a partner in the war against terrorism".

It was hoped that US policy makers would dwell at length on the causes behind these attacks and would try its best to not repeat the mistakes which resulted in this tragic event

It goes on to criticize Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's attempts to ensure that no terrorist activity takes place in Pakistan. "It is not clear at this stage whether Pakistan will emerge credibly, or get sucked into the earlier downward spiral with disastrous consequences for the region."

In Pakistan, the pro-Islamist Ausaf also expresses disappointment at US policy.

"It was hoped that US policy makers would dwell at length on the causes behind these attacks and would try its best to not repeat the mistakes which resulted in this tragic event."

But, the paper says, this has not happened, instead an "increased intensity of US oppressive policies" was witnessed after the event.


In South Africa, newspapers commemorate the attacks on the US in front-page articles and comments by politicians, but criticises the US for its stance since 11 September.

"The World Remembers" reads the banner front-page headline of the Johannesburg-based Star.

Inside, President Thabo Mbeki writes: "We see a silver lining of peace around the fearsome black clouds facing humankind."

He calls for "intensifying efforts for peace in all regions of the globe and joining hands in the global campaign to eradicate poverty and inequality".

In Nigeria, on the eve of the anniversary, a commentary in the Daily Trust attacked the US-led war on terror, accusing Washington of "attempting to make its interests paramount in the world".

"Only the hopelessly naive or wilfully ignorant could continue to seriously maintain that the military response of the US has been aimed at wiping out terrorism," it writes.

It says that any war against Iraq as would rank as "one of the greatest crimes of the century".

Kenya's Daily Nation stresses the importance of the war on terror for Kenya because of the 1998 embassy bombings.

But it says it cannot "blindly support a campaign [against Iraq] that seems to have no rhyme or reason".

Asia Pacific

A commentary in the official Chinese news agency Xinhua focuses on the impact of the attacks on Washington's relations with Russia and its European allies.

It notes that President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin had have "greatly improving US-Russian ties" and paved the way for the development of a "strategic partnership".

The trans-Atlantic solidarity crumbled one year after the 11 September attacks because the two sides have different strategic aims

But it concludes that the two sides still had a long way to go.

"The United States wants to maintain its sole leadership in the world while Russia aims to play the role of a big power in a multi-polar world."

"Talk of anti-terror cooperation between the two is receding," it said.

Xinhua noted that Europe's initial "strong solidarity" with the US was now also tempered with "complaints and criticism" following Bush's "axis of evil" speech and differences over Iraq.

In the Philippines, the Philippines Star says the world is still struggling "to find a delicate balance between freedom and security".

The paper's editorial says the US has "ventured into grey areas" in the past year, detaining suspects without charge and flouting international law. If open societies "clamp down on civil liberties", it continues, "Bin Laden and his cohorts will have scored another major victory."

In North Korea, the only allusion to the11 September attacks is on the official North Korean news agency KCNA.

It mainly deals with US Undersecretary of State John Bolton's comments about ''North Korea's threat'' and "problems unfavourable for US security," with the US calling North Korea part of an ''axis of evil''.

The broadcast media continues to air its usual anti-US rhetoric.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

New York despatches





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