Casablanca 3: “What do these barbarians think they are doing?”

May 21, 2003

* "What do these barbarians think they are doing?" asks Saudi paper.

This is an update to two previous dispatches titled:
* Terror in Morocco: Malaysian PM says Israel should be blamed (May 17, 2003)
* Casablanca 2: Jews ponder uncertain future (May 21, 2003)

 

CONTENTS

1. "Another carnage" (Arab News, Saudi Arabia, May 18, 2003)
2. "Jordan condemns criminal terrorist attacks" (Jordan Times, May 18, 2003)
3. "'Black terrorism:' Cycle of international violence widens" (Al-Ittihad, Al-Rai, Asharq Al-Awsat, Akhbar Al-Arab, Ad-Diyar, An-Nahar, Al-Akhbar, Al-Watan, May 19, 2003)


PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD OF SYRIA: “THE WORK OF CRIMINALS AND APOSTATES”

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a second follow-up to last Saturday's dispatch about the five suicide attacks in Casablanca, which although primarily aimed at Jews, killed mainly Moslems.

I attach several articles and short summaries concerning the very strong condemnation of the attacks in the Arab media and by Arab politicians. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria sent the Moroccan king a message calling the bombings "the work of criminals and apostates," while the foreign minister of Jordan, Marwan Muasher, called the attacks "monstrous."

SUMMARIES

Various editorials from Arab newspapers (None of these papers condemned the five suicide attacks in Israel last weekend):

"Another carnage" (Editorial, Arab News, Saudi Arabia, May 18, 2003). "Another country, another slaughter, another wicked and pointless loss of innocent life... The question that comes back once again to all decent people is what these barbarians think they are doing? How can anyone imagine that the butchery of fellow human beings in such a random and brutal fashion advances any cause one centimeter? ... These sick terrorists will eventually be tracked down, not least the cynical leaders who send young fools to their deaths."

"Jordan condemns criminal terrorist attacks" (Jordan Times May 18, 2003). "Terrorists and criminals should be chased in every corner of the world ... Countries should join ranks in combating those murderers who seek to kill and terrorise innocent civilians to destabilise the region," said the government spokesperson. Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher condemned the "monstrous attacks" committed in Casablanca and said time had come to mount a counterattack against the "terrorist plague." The minister stressed that Jordan "stands firmly by Morocco and Saudi Arabia, as well as with all those who work for peace and stability in the region and stand up to this madness hurting humanity."

Al-Ittihad (Abu Dhabi): Despite the possible havoc that such terrorist elements could wreak on peaceful societies, they are doomed to fail as long as their perverted ideology is rejected by those societies, the paper said. "The terrorists will remain isolated. This time around they have chosen the wrong venue Morocco."

Asharq Al-Awsat (Saudi paper in London): "It is no longer possible to keep quiet about this 'black terrorism' which has moved, in a few days, from one end of the Arab world to another." This means that the entire Arab world, with all its various communities, is targeted by this "mobile terrorism and this dirty war."

Akhbar Al-Arab (Abu Dhabi): "The Casablanca and Riyadh bombings have proven that earlier measures to combat terrorism have failed. The fact that the terrorists were able to hit again calls for a total review of earlier measures."

Ad-Diyar (Beirut): "They should be looking for its causes such as poverty, deprivation and backwardness, and once these issues are addressed, terrorism will end," he wrote.

Al-Akhbar (Cairo): "Egypt has long warned against the consequences of the use by the US and Britain of excessive military force to settle the Iraqi crisis, urging a peaceful solution instead. Egypt's warnings have proved valid. It is the combination of American collusion with the Israeli aggression, along with the sidelining of justice and peoples' will, that is to blame."

Al-Watan (Oman): "Aside from spilling Western blood, the objective of the Casablanca bombings is to undermine the economic and political stability of Arab states by creating fear psychosis among foreigners notably expatriate residents, tourists and investors. But all that they have succeeded in doing is massacring innocent people, Arabs and non-Arabs alike."



FULL ARTICLES

“ANOTHER WICKED AND POINTLESS LOSS OF INNOCENT LIFE”

Another carnage
Editorial
Arab News (Saudi Arabia)
May 18, 2003

Another country, another slaughter, another wicked and pointless loss of innocent life, another act which brings shame to the Islamic world, in whose name the suicide bombers claim to be acting. The latest series of international outrages, this time in the Moroccan city of Casablanca has left everyone, not least the Moroccans themselves, shocked and appalled. According to authorities, the carnage had all the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda.

The question that comes back once again to all decent people is what these barbarians think they are doing? How can anyone imagine that the butchery of fellow human beings in such a random and brutal fashion advances any cause one centimeter?

As we have said before, there is absolutely nothing noble about mass murder. These people may claim to be fighting a jihad and embracing martyrdom, but the only martyrs are their pitiful victims. Those who throw away their lives in such a wicked cause are common murderers. It is hard to believe, given their intelligence and cunning, that they do not appreciate the contempt and loathing with which all decent people view their actions. It must therefore be assumed that they welcome such reactions.

In some perverse manner, they see the disgust their actions generate as a measure of their success. The angrier they can make people, the further their cause is being advanced. It is hard to know how to deal with such warped logic. It has long of course been the stock in trade of terrorists down the ages. And it has not been without success. Men who were once branded as terrorists have in time come to political power. Archbishop Makarios in Cyprus and Menachem Begin in Israel were both guilty of heinous crimes earlier in their political lives. But as part of the realpolitik of international diplomacy, in time they became accepted as statesmen on the world stage.

Herein however lies the gaping difference between the reprehensible actions of these terrorists and those of Al-Qaeda. The former were acting for a specific cause, centered on a specific country. Al-Qaeda, by contrast, has less well-defined aims. Its killers are attacking international society in a vicious, inchoate campaign that has at its heart a desire for anarchy and destruction on a scale never before imagined or seen.

There is only one certainty in this horrific, manic campaign of terror and that is that Casablanca will not be the last helpless community to feel the spite of Al-Qaeda killers. Many more helpless people who have the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time will die. There are misguided individuals at this very moment planning to destroy themselves along with as many of their perceived enemies as possible in the next outrage.

However, from the sick mentality of these killers emerges an opportunity for all those who embrace the normal, pacific values of the world. Just as the terrorists seem to define themselves by the carnage that they can perpetrate, so we must identify ourselves by our stoicism in the face of such great evil.

These sick terrorists will eventually be tracked down, not least the cynical leaders who send young fools to their deaths. However until this happens, our reaction should not be primarily one of fury, but of pity and contempt. To fear and hate them will, by contrast, give a perverse victory to them and their deeply flawed cause.

 

“TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS SHOULD BE CHASED IN EVERY CORNER OF THE WORLD”

Jordan condemns criminal terrorist attacks
Jordan Times
May 18, 2003

Jordan on Saturday condemned the "criminal terrorist attacks" in Morocco, which claimed dozens of innocent civilian lives.

In a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Minister of State for Political Affairs and Minister of Information Mohammad Adwan said: "This criminal act highlights again the fact that fighting terrorism is a collective responsibility that should be shouldered by all countries, particularly in this part of the world."

"Terrorists and criminals should be chased in every corner of the world," he added.

"Countries should join ranks in combating those murderers who seek to kill and terrorise innocent civilians to destabilise the region," Adwan, who is also government spokesperson, said.

"This abhorrent crime which come less than a week after a similar one was committed in the capital of Saudi Arabia proves that terrorists and their cowardly acts have nothing to do with Islam, not only because they targeted Arab and Muslim countries, but also because Islam rejects such hideous deeds."

Adwan expressed Jordan's support for Morocco and condolences to the Moroccan people, particularly the victims' families.

Also Saturday, Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher condemned the "monstrous attacks" committed in Casablanca and said time had come to mount a counterattack against the "terrorist plague."

"Jordan condemns these monstrous attacks, which have no aim other than to soil the image of Arab and Islamic civilisation throughout the world," Muasher told Agence France-Presse.

"The time has come to stage a counterattack, which we will join fully to eliminate this cancer among us," Muasher said.

The minister stressed that Jordan "stands firmly by Morocco and Saudi Arabia, as well as with all those who work for peace and stability in the region and stand up to this madness hurting humanity."

Muasher said Amman was not worried about also being targeted by the terror group Al Qaeda despite a February recording attributed to its head, Osama Ben Laden, that threatened Jordan along with the two countries hit this week.

"Nothing will change or affect Jordanian policies, which aim to bring peace and stability to the region. Such actions will only reinforce our efforts to fight terrorism," Muasher told AFP.

 

“BLACK TERRORISM”

'Black terrorism:' Cycle of international violence widens
Al-Ittihad (Abu Dhabi)
May 19, 2003

Writing on the bomb blasts that rocked the Moroccan coastal city of Casablanca on Friday, the paper described the attacks as the work of an international terrorist network that was born in the terrorist training fields in the Tora Bora Mountains, Kandahar and Jalalabad.

Despite the possible havoc that such terrorist elements could wreak on peaceful societies, they are doomed to fail as long as their perverted ideology is rejected by those societies, the paper said.

"The terrorists will remain isolated. This time around they have chosen the wrong venue Morocco, a country which enjoys political pluralism and stability."

Al-Rai (Amman)

Columnist Tareq Massarwa predicted that from now on terrorists would continue to strike throughout the Arab world with only one objective in mind: forcing Americans, including their giant corporations out. "Terrorism strikes again. But it is clear that its methods and targets are organized and bear the same fingerprints as Al-Qaeda," the columnist said.

He recalled that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had said, in connection with the huge anti-war demonstrations that took place during the Iraqi offensive, that protesters would go back home and forget everything as soon as the war was over. "This US and British conceit should stop," the columnist said. "If the demonstrations in London, Berlin and San Francisco stopped, that does not mean that the demonstrations in Khartoum, Rabat and Damascus will stop too.

The columnist stressed that Rumsfeld and Blair made humiliating statements and went home to sleep quietly. But the Arabs wake up to another slaughter every day. Massarwa expressed fear that the US and its allies would use the latest spate of terrorist attacks as an excuse for launching more attacks against Arab states.

Asharq Al-Awsat (London)

The second terrorist operation in the Arab world in a post-Iraq war era was condemned by several Beirut newspapers, just like the previous attack in Riyadh was, the paper said. It is no longer possible to keep quiet about this "black terrorism" which has moved, in a few days, from one end of the Arab world to another," the paper said Sunday.

This means that the entire Arab world, with all its various communities, is targeted by this "mobile terrorism and this dirty war," which is being waged by some deranged groups, who think they have a score to settle even with children, the paper said.

It warned that these groups, whether through the direction of Al-Qaeda or not, will attack anywhere in the Arab world. The paper called on all Arab communities to be prepared to face up to this "mobile terrorism," because the responsibility to prevent these attacks does not fall only on the security and intelligence services, but on the entire population of the Arab world.

Akhbar Al-Arab (Abu Dhabi)

Writing on the recent terror attacks, the daily said: "The Casablanca and Riyadh bombings have proven that earlier measures to combat terrorism have failed. The fact that the terrorists were able to hit again calls for a total review of earlier measures."

Ad-Diyar (Beirut)

The explosions which rocked the Moroccan city of Casablanca Friday, leaving over 40 dead, was strongly condemned by columnist Nizar Abdel Qader Sunday. He claimed that the Casablanca and Riyadh attacks were a clear sign that the US-led anti-terrorism war, whose first phase took place in Afghanistan and the second phase in Iraq, had failed to check the advance of international terrorism and to secure US interests in this part of the world.

He claimed that the two bombing attacks had not targeted the US mainland, but targeted Washington's oldest allies in the region. "This has produced a feeling of near panic with the US expatriate communities in both countries.

Abdel Qader concluded that Washington had clearly failed to address the issue of terrorism in this part of the world because the Americans were dealing with the consequences of terrorism instead. "They should be looking for its causes such as poverty, deprivation and backwardness, and once these issues are addressed, terrorism will end," he wrote.

An-Nahar (Beirut)

Columnist Ali Hamadeh, writing for the conservative daily, called for disarming the Lebanon-based Palestinian refugee camps, which have witnessed a recent spate of armed violence. "Explosions and armed confrontations are daily occurrences in the camps and the only way to stop them is for Lebanese authorities to engage in a dialogue with local Palestinian chieftains."

Hamadeh accused the Lebanese authorities of keeping the Palestinian camps armed in order to "use them as regional bargaining chips with Israel in the future." He said the majority of Lebanese are angry at the escalating violence in the camps, where the country's laws do not apply.

Al-Akhbar (Cairo)

Speaking on the latest repercussions of the US-British war in Iraq, the pro-government daily said: "Egypt has long warned against the consequences of the use by the US and Britain of excessive military force to settle the Iraqi crisis, urging a peaceful solution instead.

"Egypt's warnings have proved valid. Cairo has reiterated that opting for military intervention was likely to encourage acts of terrorism driven by injustices, frustration and despair. It is time the international community had enough courage to acknowledge that it is not Al-Qaeda alone that is responsible for the resurgence of acts of international terrorism. It is the combination of American collusion with the Israeli aggression, along with the sidelining of justice and peoples' will, that is to blame."

Al-Watan (Oman)

Commenting editorially on the objectives of the Casablanca bombings and those that occurred in Riyadh last week, the daily said: "Aside from spilling Western blood, their objective is to undermine the economic and political stability of Arab states by creating fear psychosis among foreigners notably expatriate residents, tourists and investors. But all that they have succeeded in doing is massacring innocent people, Arabs and non-Arabs alike."


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.