- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2004

La Nacion

Oil and terrorism

BUENOS AIRES — Since May 2003, al Qaeda and its numerous offshoots have undertaken a wave of terrorist attacks inside Saudi Arabia. Their objective is twofold: To destabilize markets, forcing the world to pay higher prices for oil … [and to] undermine and topple the Saudi monarchy, a regime considered an ally of the United States. If they achieve such aims, Islamic fundamentalists would obtain a political triumph and, furthermore, gain control of the international crude oil market, given the fact that Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves in the world.

Saudi authorities are alert to the risks and have redoubled their efforts to neutralize the actions of Islamic fundamentalists in their territory. … The recent beheading of the American engineer Paul Johnson in Riyadh … makes clear that terrorists will not flinch at committing heinous crimes. The free world must redouble its support of those Arab governments identified with democratic culture and truly committed to the battle against hate, irrationality and violence.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Transfer of chaos

MUNICH — … The fact that, for fear of attacks, a ceremony under massive security could not go ahead as planned amounts to an admission of failure.

The turnover, moved up two days by the United States, thus gives the impression of an escape from responsibility.

What was hastily completed evidently was not the transfer of power but the transfer of chaos. …

Despite all their victorious rhetoric, the American diplomats under governor Paul Bremer are leaving Iraq as losers.

They leave behind them some 150,000 soldiers with an impossible job.

Because of the weakness of Iraqi security forces, they must stay in the country. But it is precisely their presence as supposed peacekeepers that attracts troublemakers.


NATO as puppet

LONDON — … The Bush administration … came into office with a skeptical view of the European members of NATO, believing that what they could offer militarily was hardly worth the political trouble they caused trying to modify American policies. … Times have changed. The unexpected and frightening scale of the conflict in Iraq and the strain of the continuing operations in Afghanistan has had the American government … looking for help in every direction. …

What the Americans will seek in Istanbul … is the legitimacy that a NATO connection will confer on the Iraq project. Such a connection would … have the function of locking in those NATO countries, such as Poland and Italy, that already have contingents in Iraq, but that, facing a disturbed public opinion at home, might be tempted to withdraw in the future. It would also help the Bush administration rebut accusations in the presidential campaign that it has persistently failed to consult its allies.

The device contemplated is a NATO response to a request from the new Iraqi government for help in training and equipping its forces. The true requirement is not for training … but for NATO visibility.


India-Pakistan dialogue

MADRAS, India — While the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan will require painstaking effort, the smoothness with which the dialogue was resumed after the change of government in New Delhi is most reassuring. …

While the two neighbors decided to persist with the moratorium on nuclear weapon tests, they made no more than modest progress towards … establishing … procedures that will help reduce the risk of nuclear war. They decided to set up a hot line between the foreign secretaries and to upgrade the existing communication links between the directors general of military operations. …

An interesting aspect … is the joint acknowledgement that both countries are on the same, disadvantaged side of the discriminatory global nuclear bargain. … A similar sense of realism should inform their approach to the other contentious issues that obstruct normalization.

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