- The Washington Times - Friday, August 6, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Guardian

U.S. terror alert

LONDON — It was easy to find officials at the Democratic convention last week who were darkly convinced that [President] Bush was about to spoil [Sen.] John Kerry’s Boston party with a well-timed scene stealer in the war on terror.

So it is hardly surprising that some of the initial reaction to this week’s heightened U.S. terror alert reflects the same suspicion. Within hours of Monday’s announcement of a new “high risk” threat level in parts of New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia, Mr. Kerry’s one-time rival Howard Dean went on the airwaves to voice a concern “that every time something happens that’s not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism.”

It was impossible, Mr. Dean went on, to know “how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there’s some of both.”

Whatever their private thoughts, Mr. Kerry and his officials were careful not to be drawn down that road; the warning by Tom Ridge, the U.S. homeland security secretary, was made in good faith, they said. It is, though, a mark of the politicization of the war on terror that an announcement of such a kind should immediately be discounted for ulterior motives and that many will be unshakable in their suspicion about both its timing and content.

Jordan Times

The Iraq conflict

AMMAN, Jordan — The recent attacks on churches in Iraq belonging to Chaldean, Assyrian, Armenian and Catholic denominations … send the message that no one is being spared in the spiraling chaos that is Iraq today.

… This deliberate attempt to spark yet another sectarian conflict comes at the worst possible time, when religious rivalry and tensions between the Shi’ite and Sunni Iraqis have reached new heights.

… The Christian community in Iraq has long been active in the society and contributed a great deal to the country’s development on all fronts.

… It would be a tragedy if more Christian Iraqis were forced to flee their homeland to secure sanctuary in Western countries.

… Arab governments, including the Iraqi interim government, must condemn the recent wave of violence in the strongest possible terms. All religious communities, especially the Muslims within and outside Iraq, should issue an immediate warning to the attackers to stop the carnage.

Moscow Times

Putin’s bureaucratic overhaul

MOSCOW — A groundbreaking experiment in bureaucratic incentives is being conducted this summer by the Putin administration, though at whose expense and for whose benefit is not immediately clear.

Having launched an ambitious-sounding overhaul of the government and the country’s sluggish and corruption-prone bureaucracy back in March, it transpires that a few minor details were overlooked in the rush and the excitement.

… Officials in many of the new ministries, agencies and services created in the spring revamp have not been paid their salaries for a couple of months and are unlikely to be before the fall.

… It sounds much more like an open invitation to officials (as if they needed one) to seek out alternative sources of remuneration, exploiting their official positions to line their own pockets.

… When it really matters, the Kremlin has been known to find ways to align bureaucratic interests with the state’s agenda. Take Yukos, for example, and the cool $235 million “fee” the court marshals will pick up for the trouble of collecting the oil major’s $3.4 billion tax debts — a chunk of which, by law, can go straight into court marshals’ pockets.

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