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Europe

German Press Review: The Implications of Terror

German newspapers on Monday continued to focus on the implications of the terrorist bombings in Madrid and possible ties to the al Qaeda network.

Germany’s most widely read tabloid, Bild, drew its own conclusions from the news from Spain during the last forty eight hours. Many experts have issued warnings, it wrote, but no-one wanted to believe them. The murderous attack in Madrid was obviously the work of Islamic terrorists. Bild then asked a vital question: Did Spain become a target because of the Aznar government’s support for the Iraq war? Does this mean that Germany – a country that opposed the U.S.-led attack on Iraq – is not in danger? Bild came up with its answer: Only a dreamer would believe that Germany will not be attacked. Islamic terrorists, it said, are waging a war against the West, not just against individual countries.

In a similar vein, the Nürnberger Nachrichten referred to the video claiming responsibility for the Madrid bombings. The video, it wrote, makes clear that Islamic terrorists see themselves as responding to what they see as crimes committed by the West in Afghanistan and in Iraq. While Germany has not been involved in Iraq, it has committed itself to bringing stability to Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission. This means that Germany is also a target. For this reason, argued the paper, the European Union should set up an anti-terror unit to coordinate the evaluation of information obtained by intelligence services. This would, it said, be a step in the right direction.

The Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote that terrorism in Europe has now reached a new level and that all of the continent‘s democracies must stand together to meet the threat. It pointed out that the bombings in Madrid raise the specter of similar attacks on the Olympic Games in Athens or even Berlin or Leipzig during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The paper welcomed the decision by the German

government to step up security on the railways and at border crossing points. But, it concluded, Germany needs more than this. It needs international cooperation to meet the threat.

The Saarbrücker Zeitung reflected on the need for a greater diplomatic effort in the war against terror. Although, it said, it is quite right to step up security internally, more attention needs to be paid to the situation in the Middle East. It noted that terror will continue until solutions are found to the international crises in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Chechnya.