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Europe

European Press Review: Terror in Riyadh

The implications of Sunday’s terror attack in the Saudi capital Riyadh are the main subject of consideration in Monday’s European editorials.

Many of Monday’s European papers carry photographs of the ruined shells of houses devastated in the Riyadh suicide bombing. Italy’s Corriere della Sera wrote that the risk of terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia is now second only to that in Israel and Iraq. The difference, it commented, is that the stakes are extremely high: control over the biggest oil reserves on the planet, and over the holiest sites of Islam.

Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung commented that the occupation of Iraq by U.S. and British troops has spurred new recruits to join terrorists in the Arab world and elsewhere. If yet another crisis develops in Saudi Arabia, the paper warned that far from resolving all the problems of the Middle East, the fall of Saddam Hussein will be seen to have sparked a chain reaction of instability. According to the paper, no one in the region will believe Washington has good intentions until it makes a concerted effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The conservative Spanish daily ABC wrote that the al Qaeda terrorist network wants to make Saudi Arabia into an example of what happens to those who don’t make a radical break with the West. The Islamic extremists are joining forces with the followers of Saddam Hussein to thwart any attempts at democratization in Iraq, the paper wrote.

While Sunday’s attack in Riyadh was again directed against foreigners, the victims this time were Muslims. In Vienna, Austria’s Kurier pointed out that the terrorists who kill in the name of Islam have long since ceased to differentiate between the so-called ‘enemies’ of Islam, and those who work for and with them.

The Dutch paper De Telegraaf wrote that the attacks are part of an ongoing fight to the death between al Qaeda and the Saudi Arabian royal family. In recent videos, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden suggested that the only future for the Saudi rulers was to be driven into exile by an Islamic revolution, as happened to the Shah in Iran. The paper wrote that the attackers may also be hoping to drive foreign workers out of Saudi Arabia, creating further problems for the country’s economy.