- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 16, 2001

The flood of international offers to help track down the terrorists behind last week's strikes in New York and Washington has not come without strings.
Amid genuine outpourings of sympathy and grief, nations around the world have also used the tragedy to advance their own interests or nudge overall U.S. policy in their direction.
India, for example, has been quick to offer a wide range of intelligence and military services to Washington, including an unconditional pledge to permit U.S. military forces to use Indian facilities as a base for strikes against the perpetrators.
"The world must join hands to overwhelm [terrorists] militarily, to neutralize their poison," Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said in a national address Friday.
A similar offer by India to service U.S. planes during the 1991 Persian Gulf war caused a domestic political firestorm, but this time a likely focus of retaliatory attacks are Islamic fundamentalist groups linked to India's archrival, Pakistan.
Indian officials have long accused Afghan extremist groups of aiding Muslim guerrillas along the disputed border in Kashmir separating India and Pakistan.
Publicly, Bush administration officials have welcomed the international expressions of support and aid in the search for the forces behind the terrorist hijackings.
"Those alliances that we hold dear and have used so effectively to keep us together as friendly nations over these many years are now, it seems to me, paying off as people come forward to help us," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Friday.
But analysts predicted the administration will be wary of some offers, which could draw Washington into conflicts it would prefer to avoid.
"Global counterterrorism cooperation among a group of nations could be a Catch-22 for the United States," according to a report from the Texas-based private intelligence service Stratfor. "Other nations will seek to shape the United States' coming war against terrorism to suit their own interests."
Russia, which offered almost immediately after the blasts last Tuesday to employ its extensive intelligence services in the U.S. investigation, has repeatedly tried to link the terrorist attacks to its own conflict in Chechnya, a conflict the Bush administration has repeatedly condemned.
Said Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the Kremlin's spokesman on Chechnya: "I think there is a direct connection between the attacks that occurred in various Russian cities and what, to my great regret, took place in the United States."
Altyn Sarsenbayev, top national security aide to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, said in an interview during a trip to Washington last week that he planned to propose to U.S. officials a strengthening of security ties between the two countries.
Israel, which has extensive intelligence on radical Muslim groups, was one of the first nations to offer intelligence assistance to Washington after last Tuesday's bombings.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon referred to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as a "bin Laden" — a reference to Saudi financier Osama bin Laden, whom the United States has identified as the leading suspect in the attacks.
With the world's headlines dominated by the American tragedy, some Israeli officials have speculated that Mr. Arafat's hopes to use violence to attract global attention and sympathy have suffered a major blow.
"It's a disaster for Arafat," said Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi startled some in Tokyo when he suggested Japan was ready to support virtually any military retaliatory action the United States might undertake once it had identified the terrorists.
The prime minister and many in Tokyo would like to loosen or eliminate constitutional restrictions on military activity, and the U.S. attack could provide the opportunity.
According to the Stratfor analysts: "If Japan can frame its military restructuring as an international counterterrorism effort, that would go a long way to help Tokyo avoid many problems associated with the legacy of its World War II militarism and with domestic and foreign opposition."

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