- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 15, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Independent
Capricious U.S. 'justice'
LONDON The indications are that, as often in the past, the Bush administration is overselling its latest intelligence coup in the war against terror. There still seems only the sketchiest of circumstantial evidence to link Abdullah al Muhajir, the alleged "dirty bomber," with a terrorist atrocity in the United States.
After he had spent almost a month in custody, the U.S. authorities, it would seem, found themselves unable to charge him with any offense, and so have simply decided to detain him indefinitely under the catchall category of being an "enemy combatant," effectively a prisoner of war.
But even if Mr. al Muhajir had been caught red-handed leaving a suitcase containing Semtex and rods of cobalt-50 outside the White House, even that would not justify the denial of basic human liberties that we have witnessed in this case. Even war criminals deserve a trial. It is yet another example of the inconsistent, illogical and capricious application of "justice" to those who have found themselves [vacuumed] up by the United States' war on terror.

Sydney Morning Herald
U.S. 'first strike' doctrine
SYDNEY, Australia The revelation that Washington is developing a new "first strike" strategic doctrine to pre-empt attacks by terrorist groups or rogue states has significant implications for America's military allies in the "war against terrorism," including Australia.
The new, aggressive doctrine suggests the Bush administration is determined to escalate its anti-terrorism campaign, probably with a decisive strike to topple the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, within a year. While America's allies were eager to join the assault on Afghanistan, the same cannot be said for a wider war, particularly one involving the strategic and diplomatic tinderbox of the Middle East.
"Pre-emption" carries the very real risk of rapidly escalating a crisis, by increasing pressure on both sides to act. In the case of Iraq, a cornered Saddam could lash out with "pre-emptive" strikes of his own using biological or chemical weapons, either against U.S. troops, or against the nearby U.S. ally, Israel. There are also reasonable fears that "pre-emptive" military strikes on chemical, biological or nuclear weapons stockpiles could contaminate wide geographical areas and risk the lives of many civilians.

Egyptian Gazette
Yasser Arafat's fate
CAIRO Now on his sixth visit to the U.S. as Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon is most likely to use his trip to further antagonize his strongest ally against the embattled Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
Sharon thinks that if he cannot eliminate his Palestinian nemesis physically, at least he can dump him politically. Last month, he made the resumption of the long-deadlocked talks with the Palestinians conditional on the launch of massive reforms inside the Palestinian Authority institutions, devastated by successive Israeli blows.
Sharon has aired a desire to sideline Arafat from any peace negotiations, labeling him as chief of "a corrupt terrorist regime."
While Washington has embraced Sharon's view that the Palestinian services, particularly the security, must be revamped, it has yet to bless at least in public Sharon's demand to push aside Arafat.
The latest statements coming from Washington augur ill for Arafat's political future. A U.S. official last week, repeating [President] Bush's disappointment in Arafat, said that the Palestinian leader was not indispensable.

The Citizen
United Nations summits
JOHANNESBURG South Africans bracing for the U.N. Summit on Sustainable Development in August will not be too pleased to hear that ministers meeting in Bali failed to agree to a draft action plan. But they shouldn't be too surprised.
Great. Here we are, having to foot the bill of hundreds of millions of rand and these people are squabbling before they even get there.
The build-up bears all the hallmarks of the expensive, wasteful World Conference Against Racism in Durban, where taxpayers also bore the costs.
At this rate, the only benefit might be a facelift for parts of Johannesburg.
Tell us again, why do we host these windbags?

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