Response from Abroad
Response from Abroad
The grief and outrage Americans expressed after the September 11, 2001, attacks was to be expected. For many, similar international responses, however, were a surprise. With only a few exceptions, political leaders and ordinary people around the world reacted to the terrorist attacks with anger, sadness, and resolve. Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example, denounced the attacks and urged the world community to unite and fight terrorism together. Likewise, Italy's minister of foreign affairs, Renato Ruggiero, argued that the attacks against the United States had attacked the values held by most countries around the world. By far, though, the strongest show of support came from Great Britain's prime minister Tony Blair, who called terrorism a world evil and vowed to assist the United States in its military response. Further, only a week after the attacks, Blair and his wife flew to New York City to attend a memorial service for the thousands killed.
Ordinary citizens of countries like Russia, Italy, and Great Britain echoed their leaders'response. At the American embassy in Moscow, mourners left bouquets of flowers. Across Europe, residents expressed condolences to Americans they met on the street. And in London, hundreds participated in an official day of mourning.
America found allies in unlikely places as well. Leaders in countries like Pakistan and Egypt, places whose political views and way of life differ greatly from that of the United States, expressed grief and solidarity as well. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak called the attack "a wake-up call for all of humanity."And Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf agreed to help the U.S. government search out the terrorists responsible.
There were critics, of course; Iraq's Saddam Hussein, in particular, often gave speeches that sounded unsympathetic to the victims. However, most people around the world reacted to the September 11 attacks in much the same way: with sorrow, anger, and a determination to catch and punish the people responsible.
We Must Act to Protect the Living
Tony Blair, Great Britain's prime minister, spoke to the House of Commons, a division of the country's legislature, on September 14, 2001, three days after the terrorist attacks against America. In his speech, excerpted below, Blair emphasizes that the September 11 attacks were not just against the United States, but against the entire free world.
These attacks were not just attacks upon people and buildings; nor even merely upon the USA; these were attacks on the basic democratic values in which we all believe so passionately and on the civilised world....
What happened in the United States on Tuesday was an act of wickedness for which there can never be justification. Whatever the cause, whatever the perversion of religious feeling, whatever the political belief, to inflict such terror on the world;to take the lives of so many innocent and defenceless men, women, and children, can never ever be justified.
Let us unite too, with the vast majority of decent people throughout the world, in sending our condolences to the government and the people of America. They are our friends and allies. We the British are a people that stand by our friends in time of need, trial and tragedy, and we do so without hesitation now....
There are three things we must now take forward urgently.
First, we must bring to justice those responsible. Rightly, President Bush and the US Government have proceeded with care. They did not lash out. They did not strike first and think afterwards. Their very deliberation is a measure of the seriousness of their intent.
They, together with allies, will want to identify, with care, those responsible. This is a judgement that must and will be based on hard evidence.
Once that judgement is made, the appropriate action can be taken. It will be determined, it will take time, it will continue over time until this menace is properly dealt with and its machinery of terror destroyed.
But one thing should be very clear. By their acts, these terrorists and those behind them have made themselves the enemies of the civilised world.
The objective will be to bring to account those who have organised, aided, abetted and incited this act of infamy [evil, criminal]; and those that harbour or help them have a choice: either to cease their protection of our enemies; or be treated as an enemy themselves.
Secondly, this is a moment when every difference between nations, every divergence of interest, every irritant in our relations, are put to one side in one common endeavour. The world should stand together against this outrage.
NATO has already, for the first time since it was founded in 1949, invoked Article 5 and determined that this attack in America will be considered as an attack against the Alliance as a whole.
The UN Security Council on Wednesday passed a resolution which set out its readiness to take all necessary steps to combat terrorism.
From Russia, China, the EU, from Arab states, from Asia and the Americas, from every continent of the world has come united condemnation. This solidarity should be maintained and translated into support for action.
We do not yet know the exact origin of this evil. But, if, as appears likely, it is so-called Islamic fundamentalists, we know they do not speak or act for the vast majority of decent law-abiding Muslims throughout the world. I say to our Arab and Muslim friends: neither you nor Islam is responsible for this; on the contrary, we know you share our shock at this terrorism; and we ask you as friends to make common cause with us in defeating this barbarism that is totally foreign to the true spirit and teachings of Islam.
And I would add that, now more than ever, we have reason not to let the Middle East Peace Process slip still further but if at all possible to reinvigorate it and move it forward.
Thirdly, whatever the nature of the immediate response to these terrible events in America, we need to re-think dramatically the scale and nature of the action the world takes to combat terrorism.
We know a good deal about many of these terror groups. But as a world we have not been effective at dealing with them.
And of course it is difficult. We are democratic. They are not. We have respect for human life. They do not. We hold essentially liberal values. They do not. As we look into these issues it is important that we never lose sight of our basic values. But we have to understand the nature of the enemy and act accordingly.
Civil liberties are a vital part of our country, and of our world. But the most basic liberty of all is the right of the ordinary citizen to go about their business free from fear or terror. That liberty has been denied, in the cruellest way imaginable, to the passengers aboard the hijacked planes, to those who perished in the trade towers and the Pentagon, to the hundreds of rescue workers killed as they tried to help.
So we need to look once more: nationally and internationally at extradition laws, and the mechanisms for international justice;at how these terrorist groups are financed and their money laundered: and the links between terror and crime and we need to frame a response that will work, and hold internationally.
For this form of terror knows no mercy; no pity, and it knows no boundaries.
And let us make this reflection. A week ago, anyone suggesting terrorists would kill thousands of innocent people in downtown New York would have been dismissed as alarmist. It happened. We know that these groups are fanatics, capable of killing without discrimination. The limits on the numbers they kill and their methods of killing are not governed by morality. The limits are only practical or technical. We know, that they would, if they could, go further and use chemical or biological or even nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We know, also, that there are groups or people, occasionally states, who trade the technology and capability for such weapons.
It is time this trade was exposed, disrupted, and stamped out. We have been warned by the events of 11 September. We should act on the warning.
So there is a great deal to do and many details to be filled in, much careful work to be undertaken over the coming days, weeks and months.
We need to mourn the dead; and then act to protect the living.
Terrorism has taken on a new and frightening aspect.
The people perpetrating it wear the ultimate badge of the fanatic: they are prepared to commit suicide in pursuit of their beliefs.
Our beliefs are the very opposite of the fanatics. We believe in reason, democracy and tolerance.
These beliefs are the foundation of our civilised world. They are enduring, they have served us well and as history has shown we have been prepared to fight, when necessary to defend them. But the fanatics should know: we hold these beliefs every bit as strongly as they hold theirs.
Now is the time to show it.
Excerpted from "We Need to Mourn the Dead; and Then Act to Protect the Living," by Tony Blair, Statement by the Prime Minister, September 14, 2001. www.pm.gov.uk.
The World Has Been Attacked
Jean Chrétien is the prime minister of Canada, another close friend and ally of the United States. In this excerpt of Chrétien'sspeech to the Canadian legislature, the prime minister argues that the terrorist attacks against the United States also threaten Canada and the rest of the world.
There are those rare occasions when time seems to stand still. When a singular event transfixes the world. There are also those terrible occasions when the dark side of human nature escapes civilized restraint and shows its ugly face to a stunned world.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, will forever be etched in memory as a day when time stood still.
Mr. Speaker, when I saw the scenes of devastation my first thoughts and words were for all the victims and the American people. But there are no words, in any language, whose force or eloquence could equal the quiet testimony last Friday of 100,000 Canadians gathered just a few yards from here for our National Day of Mourning.
I was proud to be one of them. And I was equally proud of the Canadians who gathered in ceremonies right across the country.
It was a sea of sorrow and sympathy for those who have lost friends and loved ones—Americans, Canadians, citizens of many countries. Above all, it was a sea of solidarity [unity] with our closest friend and partner in the world: the United States of America.
Mr. Speaker, as always, this time of crisis brought out the very best in our people. From prayer meetings and vigils. To the countless numbers who lined up to give blood. From a flood of donations by individuals and businesses. To patience in the face of delays and inconvenience. And we were all moved by the sight of Canadians opening up their hearts and their homes to thousands of confused and anxious air travellers who had no place to go....
The House must also address the threat that terrorism poses to all civilized peoples and the role that Canada must play in defeating it.
To understand what is at stake, we need only reflect on the symbolic meaning of the World Trade Center Towers. In the words of their architect, the Towers were "a representation of our [America's] belief in humanity, our need for individual dignity, our belief in cooperation and, through cooperation, our ability to find greatness."
So let us be clear: this was not just an attack on the United States. These cold-blooded killers struck a blow at the values and beliefs of free and civilized people everywhere.
The world has been attacked. The world must respond. Because we are at war against terrorism and Canada—a nation founded on a belief in freedom, justice and tolerance—will be part of that response.
Terrorists are not attached to any one country. Terrorism is a global threat. The perpetrators have demonstrated their ability to move with ease from country to country. From place to place. To make use of the freedom and openness of the victims on whom they prey. The very freedom and openness that we cherish and will protect.
They are willing, indeed anxious, to die in the commission of their crimes and to use innocent civilians as shields and as tools.
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We must prepare ourselves, and Canadians, for the fact that this will be a long struggle with no easy solutions. One in which patience and wisdom are essential.
But, Mr. Speaker, let us not deceive ourselves as to the nature of the threat that faces us; that it can be defeated easily or simply with one swift strike. We must be guided by a commitment to do what works in the long run not by what makes us feel better in the short run.
Mr. Speaker, our actions will be ruled by resolve. But not fear.
If laws need to be changed they will be. If security has to be increased to protect Canadians it will be. We will remain vigilant.
But we will not give into the temptation, in a rush to increase security, to undermine the values that we cherish and which have made Canada a beacon of hope, freedom and tolerance to the world. We will not be stampeded in the hope—vain and ultimately self-defeating—that we can make Canada a fortress against the world.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to make another very, very important point.
Immigration is central to the Canadian experience and identity. We have welcomed people from all corners of the globe: all nationalities, colours and religions. This is who we are. And let there be no doubt: we will allow no one to force us to sacrifice our values or traditions under the pressure of urgent circumstances. We will continue to welcome people from the whole world. We will continue to offer refuge to the persecuted.
I say again: No one will stop this!
I have been saddened by the fact that the terror of last Tuesday has provoked demonstrations against Muslim Canadians and other minority groups in Canada. This is completely unacceptable. The terrorists win when they export their hatred. The evil perpetrators of this horror represent no community or religion. They stand for evil. Nothing else!
As I have said, this is a struggle against terrorism. Not against any one community or faith. Today, more than ever, we must reaffirm the fundamental values of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms:the equality of every race, every colour, every religion, and every ethnic origin.
Mr. Speaker, we are all Canadians!
We are a compassionate and righteous people. When we see the searing images of mothers and fathers. Sisters and brothers—many of them Canadian—wandering the streets of New York looking for their missing loved ones, we know where our duty lies.
We have never been a bystander in the struggle for justice in the world. We will stand with Americans. As neighbours. As friends. As family. We will stand with our allies. We will do what we must to defeat terrorism.
But let our actions be guided by a spirit of wisdom and perseverance. By our values and our way of life.
And, as we go on with the struggle, let us never, ever, forget who we are. And what we stand for!
Excerpted from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's "Address on the Occasion of a Special House of Commons Debate in Response to the Terrorist Attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001," September 17, 2001.
The United Nations Condemns the Terrorist Attacks
For more than fifty years, the United Nations, based in New York City, has tried to promote international peace, respect for human rights, and cooperation in solving international problems. In the following excerpt, Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, condemns the September 11 attacks in a speech to the General Assembly.
Our host country, and this wonderful host city that has been so good to us over five decades, have just been subjected to a terrorist attack such as we had hardly dared to imagine, even in our worst nightmares.
We are all struggling to find words to express our sense of grief and outrage, our profound sympathy for the untold numbers of injured and bereaved, and our solidarity with the people and Government of the United States in this hour of trial.
We are struggling, too, to voice our intense admiration and respect for the valiant police officers, fire fighters, and workers of all kinds who are engaged in the rescue and recovery effort—and especially for those, far too numerous, whose determination to help their fellow men and women has cost them their own lives.
We are struggling, above all, to find adequate words of condemnation for those who planned and carried out these abominable attacks.
In truth, no such words can be found. And words, in any case, are not enough.
This Assembly, Mr. President [President of the UN General Assembly], has condemned terrorism on numerous occasions. It has said repeatedly that terrorist acts are never justified, no matter what considerations may be invoked.
And it has called on all States [countries] to adopt measures, in accordance with the Charter and other relevant provisions of international law, to prevent terrorism and strengthen international cooperation against it....
Earlier today, as you know, the Security Council expressed its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to yesterday's attacks, and to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter.
I trust that it will indeed take such steps, and that this Assembly—and all its Members—will
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follow suit. All nations of the world must be united in their solidarity with the victims of terrorism, and in their determination to take action—both against the terrorists themselves and against all those who give them any kind of shelter, assistance or encouragement.
I trust, Mr. President, that that message will go out loud and clear to the whole world from every Member of this Assembly, which represents the whole world.
Excerpted from "Words Alone Inadequate as Response to Terrorist Attacks, Secretary-General Tells Opening of Fifty-Sixth General Assembly," by Kofi Annan, Press Release, September 12, 2001.
Pakistan Is Facing a Very Difficult Situation
When the Taliban—a group of Islamic fundamentalists—took power in Afghanistan in the mid–1990s, the government of Pakistan, an Islamic country that borders Afghanistan on the east, provided financial and military aid to the new leaders. In 2001, when the United States decided to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and terrorists trained by Osama bin Laden, Pakistani officials were forced to decide whether or not they would continue to support the Taliban. Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Pakistan's president and military leader, Pervez Musharraf, addressed that issue in a speech to his countrymen. The United States asked for Pakistan's help in its war against bin Laden and terrorism, he says in the excerpt below, and Musharraf agreed. He asks his country's citizens to trust his decision and understand that he would never compromise Pakistan's honor and integrity.
The situation confronting the nation today and the international crisis have impelled me to take the nation into confidence.
First of all, I would like to express heartfelt sympathies to the United States for the thousands of valuable lives lost in the United States due to horrendous acts of terrorism.
We are all the more grieved because in this incident people from about 45 countries from all over the world lost their lives. People of all ages old, children, women and people from all and every religion lost their lives. Many Pakistanis also lost their lives.
These people were capable Pakistanis who had gone to improve their lives. On this loss of lives I express my sympathies with those families. I pray to Allah to rest their souls in peace.
This act of terrorism has raised a wave of deep grief, anger and retaliation in the United States. Their first target from day one is Osama bin Laden's movement Al-Qaida.
The second target are Taliban and that is because Taliban have given refuge to Osama and his network.... They [the United States] have been demanding their [bin Laden and al-Qaida] extradition and presentation before the international court of justice. Taliban have been rejecting this.
The third target is a long war against terrorism at the international level. The thing to ponder is that in these three targets nobody is talking about war against Islam or the people of Afghanistan.
Pakistan is being asked to support this campaign. What is this support? Generally speaking, these are three important things in which America is asking for our help.
First is intelligence and information exchange, second support is the use of our airspace and the third is that they are asking for logistic support from us.
I would like to tell you now that they do not have any operational plan right now. Therefore we do not have any details on this count but we know that whatever are the United States' intentions they have the support of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly in the form of a resolution.
This is a resolution for war against terrorism and this is a resolution for punishing those people who support terrorism. Islamic countries have supported this resolution. This is the situation as it prevailed in the outside world.
Now I would like to inform you about the internal situation. Pakistan is facing a very critical situation.... The decision we take today can have far-reaching and wide-ranging consequences.
The crisis is formidable and unprecedented. If we take wrong decisions in this crisis, it can lead to worst consequences. On the other hand, if we take right decisions, its results will be good.
The negative consequences can endanger Pakistan's integrity and solidarity. Our critical concerns, our important concerns can come under threat....
The decision should reflect supremacy of righteousness and it should be in conformity with Islam. Whatever we are doing, it is according to Islam and it upholds the principle of righteousness. I would like to say that decisions about the national interests should be made with wisdom and rational judgement.
At this moment, it is not the question of bravery or cowardice. We are all very brave. My own response in such situations is usually of daring. But bravery without rational judgement tantamounts [is equal] to stupidity. There is no clash between bravery and sound judgement.
Allah Almighty says in the holy Quran, "The one bestowed with sagacity [insight] is the one who get a big favour from Allah." We have to take recourse to sanity. We have to save our nation from damage. We have to build up our national respect. "Pakistan comes first, everything else comes later.". . .
What is the lesson for us in this? The lesson is that when there is a crisis situation, the path of wisdom is better than the path of emotions. Therefore, we have to take a strategic decision.
There is no question of weakness of faith or cowardice. For Pakistan, life can be sacrificed and I am sure every Pakistani will give his life for Pakistan. I have fought two wars. I have seen dangers. I faced them and by the grace of Allah never committed a cowardly act.
But at this time one should not bring harm to the country. We cannot make the future of a hundred and forty million people bleak. Even otherwise it is said in Shariah [Islamic law] that if there are two difficulties at a time and a selection has to be made it is better to opt for the lesser one. Some of our friends seem to be much worried about Afghanistan.
I must tell them that I and my government are much more worried about Afghanistan and Taliban. I have done everything for Afghanistan and Taliban when the entire world is against them. I have met about twenty to twenty five world leaders and talked to each of them in favour of the Taliban. I have told them that sanctions should not be imposed on Afghanistan....
I have been repeating this stance before all leaders but I am sorry to say that none of our friends accepted this.
Even in this situation, we are trying our best to cooperate with them. I sent Director General ISI with my personal letter to Mullah Umar [the Taliban leader]. He returned after spending two days there. I have informed Mullah Umar about the gravity of the situation. We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and Taliban.
This is my earnest endeavour and with the blessings of Allah I will continue to seek such a way out. We are telling the Americans too that they should be patient. Whatever their plans, they should be cautious and balanced: We are asking them to come up with whatever evidence they have against Osama bin Laden;What I would like to know is how do we save Afghanistan and Taliban. And how do we ensure that they suffer minimum losses: I am sure that you will favour that we do so and bring some improvement by working with the nations of the world. At this juncture, I am worried about Pakistan only.
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I am the Supreme Commander of Pakistan and I give top priority to the defence of Pakistan, Defence of any other country comes later. We want to take decisions in the interest of Pakistan. I know that the majority of the people favour our decisions. I also know that some elements are trying to take unfair advantage of the situation and promote their personal agenda and advance the interests of their parties. They are poised to create dissentions and damage the country.
There is no reason why this minority should be allowed to hold the sane majority as a hostage. I appeal to all Pakistanis to display unity and solidarity and foil the nefarious [evil] designs of such elements who intend to harm the interests of the country.
At this critical juncture, we have to frustrate the evil designs of our enemies and safeguard national interests. Pakistan is considered a fortress of Islam. God forbid, if this fortress is harmed in any way it would cause damage to the cause of Islam. My dear countrymen, Have trust in me....
We have not compromised on national honour and integrity and I shall not disappoint you on this occasion either. This is firm pledge to you.
Excerpted from Pervez Musharraf's "Speech of President General Pervez Musharraf Broadcast on Radio and Television," September 19, 2001.
What the World Must Do
On September 18, 2001, Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, was interviewed by Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of United Press International, about the terrorist attacks against the United States. In the interview excerpted below, Mubarak discusses his ideas of how to free the world of terrorism.
Q.: How do you view the enormity of the tragedy that has befallen the US, or indeed the world?
A.:It's so huge. It defies imagination. But the whole world is now involved. The casualties are from many nations. It's a wake-up call for all of humanity. We've all read intelligence reports about terrorist groups and their plans to do this and that, but absolutely nothing prepared US for hijacked civilian airliners plowing into the twin towers of the world trade centre and the pentagon, the very nerve centers of America's financial and military might. The White House itself narrowly escaped total destruction. It's a science-fiction nightmare come true.
Q.: How is this going to affect the world?
A.: Finally we're going to get really serious about transnational terrorism by decisive action rather than lip service. But we must be careful not to embark on the wrong course of action. The Bush administration's plans for a coalition of nations would simply divide the world between those who are part of the coalition and those who are not—and thus fail to reach the objective.
Q.: So what do you think is the right course?
A.: An international conference at the highest level, held at the UN to sign a solemn treaty on counter-terrorism, a document that must be well-prepared beforehand, leading to a strong binding resolution, with no wiggle room, to be implemented by all the countries in the world. This is a prerequisite if we want to live safely on this planet....
Q.: And now what practical measures do you see emerging at the global counter-terrorist summit you are recommending?
A.:Those nations who ignore resolutions agreed to at such a summit, big or small, should be isolated, ostracized, boycotted.
Q.: What kind of resolutions with what practical effect?
A.: How to deal with transnational terror.
Q.: But how would you deal with it?
A.: Starting at the technical level and moving on to foreign ministers, (the counter-terrorism agreement) should be meticulously prepared for a UN Summit of Heads of State and Government.
Q.: That's still rather vague. What does your imagination tell you as to what practical steps could be taken?
A.:Not a single country would be allowed to hide terrorists who committed acts of terrorism in other countries. These terrorists now move freely from country to country with impunity [freely], making contacts, picking up money, coordinating through encrypted e-mail messages. Even your director of the National Security Agency (Gen. Mike Hayden) said (last February on CBS-TV's "60 Minutes II"program) that Osama Bin Laden's organization had managed to outplay your vast, global electronic resources.
Q.: But how does one remove Osama Bin Laden from Afghanistan?
A.: When all the nations of the world agree that no safe haven for terrorists will be tolerated, Afghanistan will have to extradite him or face a total cutoff from the assistance it is now getting from Pakistan. The three nations that now recognize the Taliban government would have to sever all ties.
Q.: A summit resolution is still only words. can we come to grips with practical measures that will eliminate, or at least drastically reduce, the terrorist menace?
A.: There are no quick fixes or silver bullets. Any country that doesn't implement a solemn global treaty will face sanctions imposed by the Security Council. No sympathy and no exceptions.
Q.: What motives lie behind the kind of all-consuming hatred of the US demonstrated by such acts of barbarism?
A.:The feeling of injustice—and the root cause—is the Middle Eastern crisis. Muslims everywhere see America giving arms to the Israelis to kill Muslims, and America not putting any conditions on the arms it gives free to Israel. Muslims see the media taking the side of Israel whatever it does. Public opinion is seething against America which continues to support Israel irrespective of Sharon's policies that are designed to prevent the Palestinians from having their own state. Go to all the so-called moderate states in the region, from Jordan to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. Their leaders have told me that their streets are on the verge of boiling over.
Q.: So what is to be done in the immediate future?
A.: Both sides in the Palestinians-Israeli crisis should start implementing the US–sponsored Mitchell report [a Middle East peace proposal], gradually but quickly, withdrawing Israeli tanks and troops from the occupied Palestinian territories. The increasingly desperate Palestinians are encircled. They cannot send their children to school. They cannot feed them. They cannot send them to hospital. They cannot earn a living. They cannot . . . cannot . . . cannot. So to recruit suicide bombers in such dire circumstances is not difficult.
Q.: Specifically, what should the US do to defuse the situation?
A.: The US must abandon its posture of diplomatic neglect that has led us to this impasse, and get [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon to implement the Mitchell report with no further equivocation.
Q.: How does one use military muscle to combat the international terror network?
A.:First you need genuine real-time intelligence sharing—for example, between the Pakistani service and US agencies. They know a lot of critically important things. Secondly, you should bear in mind that spectacular precision bombing and Tomahawk missile attacks make nice headlines but are counterproductive. We need special forces to go in and kill the snake's head, not its tail, and then retreat.
Q.: You mean US special forces?
A.: No. From other countries. American forces would be seen in the Muslim world as evidence supporting the worst paranoid suspicions of the fundamentalist extremists. Some countries are much better suited than the US for such operations.
Q.: But who would get the job of clearing out such (terrorist) groups as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah and other extremist groups that supply and train Kamikaze human bombs?
A.: (Dismissive wave of the hand). They are nothing, small fry on the world stage. As soon as the Palestinians get a viable independent state with all of East Jerusalem as their capital, you will see them fade away.
Q.: And what about countries like Libya and Iran that also harbor terrorist training camps?
A.: In Libya, I can assure you they are all gone and that Colonel Moammar Gaddhafi considers fundamentalist extremism as much of a threat as we do. As for Iran, I don't know.
Q.: Iraqi TV hailed the world's most devastating terrorist attack as "the operation of the century."
A.: Iraq is a special case.
Q.: But you can't dismiss the possibility that one of Iraq's intelligence services, Iran's revolutionary guards, Hizbollah and so forth bring aid and succor to the transnational network? US and British fighter bombers have spent the best part of 10 years bombing Iraqi anti-aircraft facilities. Wouldn't (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein be interested in cooperating with bin Laden's network to get back at the US, his arch enemy?
A.: I don't think Iraq was involved. (Saddam) has no wish to unleash the wrath of the US.
Q.: So by process of elimination, you, too, have focused on Osama Bin Laden's al Qaida (the base) terrorist network. What do your intelligence services know about him?
A.: That he is very wealthy and spreads his money around Afghanistan.
Q.: The best estimates are that he has now run through his original family inheritance of some $200 million, and that's why the Taliban regime now regard him as more of a nuisance than an asset.
A.: Don't you believe it. He's worth at least one or two billion dollars.
Q.: How did his terrorist kitty [fortune] grow so large?
A.: The opium trade. But don't forget that Bin Laden's organization was America's creation after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in late 1979—along with the recruitment of Afghan Arabs from all the Arab countries. After the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, America lost interest in Afghanistan and abandoned the Afghan Arabs. I think we know the rest of the story.
Excerpted from "Mubarak Gives Interview to UPI,"by Arnaud de Borchgrave, United Press International, September 18, 2001. Copyright © 2001 by United Press International. Reprinted with permission.
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