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Trouble On The Horizon: International Dissent on the War on Terrorism Increases
(Written October 17, 2001)

As the United States enters into the second week of the War on Terrorism, a number of international incidents are revealing that maintaining the world's support may be more difficult than originally thought:

The most fragile situation may be occurring in Saudi Arabia, which considers itself the world's largest advocate of pure Islam. Interior Minister Prince Naif, while maintaining his opposition to terrorism, indicated frustration with the bombing, saying that too many innocent lives are being lost.  

This statement is merely one of a string of incidents that is placing stress on the historically friendly relationship between America and Saudi Arabia.   Initial media reports stated that 12 of the 19 suspected hijackers of the airplanes on September 11 were Saudis.  However, the people that were identified as suspects were proven to be already dead or living in Saudi Arabia at the time of the terrorist attacks.  Despite this mistake, no media outlet has issued an apology for the error.  

Most recently, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire, had a $10 million donation to New York City rejected because he suggested that the United States should consider rethinking its foreign policy in the Middle East. Some feel that New York mayor Rudolph Guliani's assertion that critiquing U.S. policy is equal to supporting terrorism is an example of the kind of attitude that fosters anti-American feelings.

All of this indicates a sense of unease towards the open-ended War on Terrorism, whose objectives have yet to be clearly stated.  At times, it seems that even within the Bush administration, there is confusion over what course of action to take.  Eliot Cohen, a former Defense Deparment official, was quoted in the October 16 Washington Post as saying that "some of the key decision-makers are of two minds."

Which is why, perhaps more than ever, clarification needs to be given as to the goals of this war.  A timeframe is impossible to provide, given the unpredictability of war, but having a clear idea of major objectives, along with information on the processes by which these goals are to be accomplished, could go a long ways towards calming people's fears that we are in the beginning stages of World War III.

Copyright 2001 Anthony Lamar Rucker.  All rights reserved.

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