Al-Ahram Weekly Online   13 - 19 November 2003
Issue No. 664
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Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875
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Digging its own grave

The entire region is reeling in the aftermath of the bombing of a residential compound for expatriate workers in Riyadh. The Saudi authorities are commendably beefing up security measures and are committed to bringing the perpetrators of this monstrous crime to book.

But the real culprit is the United States President George W Bush and his hawkish henchmen. The aggression unleashed first against Afghanistan and then against Iraq was a terrible miscalculation which tarnished the image of the US and miserably failed to secure the desired effect.

Instead of containing the threat of terrorism, it has enraged an ever-increasing number across the region who are so frustrated and despairing that they are prepared to commit mindless acts of violence. US foreign policy has put the governments of the Gulf countries in a most compromising position just as they institute political reform.

That the US has the audacity to preach democratisation when the civil and constitutional rights of Americans have been systematically eroded since 11 September has made the Bush administration an international laughing stock. Arabs and Europeans, Democrats and Republicans -- virtually everyone now questions the turn of events in Iraq.

Afghanistan was just a launching pad. This is no way to conduct a war on terror. The Riyadh bombings are ample proof that the US-led war on terrorism only breeds more terrorists. It is past time that Washington rethinks its strategy for combating terror.

Democracy cannot be imposed by the barrel of a gun -- not in Afghanistan, not in Iraq nor anywhere else.

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