- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

America's Arab and Muslim allies in the war on terrorism have weathered the first storms of domestic extremist protest and remain on board, U.S. officials say.
From Morocco to Egypt to Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, street protests have largely calmed down or vanished, although Pakistan is still bracing for major protests scheduled for Friday.
Several Arab leaders spoke out in recent days to reject the latest effort by terror kingpin Osama bin Laden, in a weekend speech broadcast on Al Jazeera television, to portray the war on terrorism as a war against Islam.
Further support was expressed yesterday in visits to Washington by Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, who met with President Bush at the White House, and Saudi Arabian foreign policy adviser Adel Jubair, who met Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage at the State Department.
After early tepid criticism of the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and cautious endorsement of the Bush administration's war on terrorism Arab and Muslim allies are speaking out more strongly in support of the United States.
"We're getting a lot of cooperation in the Arab world," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher yesterday. "We're getting a lot of cooperation from the Muslim world. We've seen countries that are carrying out arrests. We're seeing countries that are imposing financial restrictions and seizing assets.
"And there are a variety of countries that are offering us various kinds of support for the military operation as well overflight clearances or whatnot."
Mr. Boucher pointed specifically to a meeting during the weekend in Damascus, Syria, of the Arab League, which rejected a call by bin Laden for all Muslims to oppose America.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa said there that bin Laden "does not speak for Arabs and Muslims."
Former State Department Middle East diplomat William Quandt said in an interview that the public may not know the extent of Arab and Muslim cooperation.
"We only see some aspects of what is presumably going on," said Mr. Quandt, currently vice provost for international affairs at the University of Virginia.
"The fact that the Algerian president was just here a couple of days after bin Laden said any Muslim cooperating with America is an apostate shows there are regimes that are Arab and Muslim that don't pay attention to bin Laden.
"It would be a lot worse if all Arab leaders boycotted Washington or stood up and denounced it."
Mr. Quandt said the assets Arab states bring to the anti-terrorism coalition are not troops but intelligence.
"There are some regimes that actually know a bit their intelligence services have been following bin Laden for some time. Are they telling us what they know? Are they shutting down [terrorists] finances?
"The only place where the administration may have genuine concern is Saudi Arabia. A lot of Saudis were involved in this. You would expect them to know a fair amount."
Another former State Department Middle East diplomat, Edward P. Djerejian, said the Bush administration has "deftly" set up a coalition in which each country contributes what it can.
"At the top of the pyramid are France, Britain and NATO, which give full cooperation," said Mr. Djerejian, director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.
"The second-tier countries are Russia and China, the great powers. The third tier [includes] the Arab countries. At the bottom are states on the terrorism list.
"I think these countries realize this is a global fight against terrorism [that] threatens every country except those state sponsors of terrorism such as Afghanistan. They also realize that while bin Laden has singled out the United States as the Great Satan, he has also singled out the Arab regimes as legitimate targets because they are not sufficiently Islamist in their policies and they have a relationship with the United States."
Mr. Djerejian said that, although there is Arab criticism of America's policies, "this does not mean public opinion supports bin Laden taking over their countries."
In a videotaped call broadcast over the weekend, bin Laden called on all Muslims to turn against America, saying, "This war is primarily a religious war."
Bush administration spokesman Ari Fleischer said the United States had advance knowledge that the videotape would be coming out.
According to Mr. Fleischer, President Bush "dismisses it as more propaganda that shows how isolated bin Laden is from fellow Muslims and the rest of the world."


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