Jordan Times, Amman, June 7: U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to send CIA chief George Tenet to the region in the hopes of reviving security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians signals Washington's return to center stage in Middle East peace efforts.
Such high-profile involvement is long overdue and a step in the right direction. Any minor improvement in security cooperation that will eventually back a political dialogue will make the devil look good.
This does not mean that the region is coming out of the prevailing mood of anxiety and uncertainty raging since the Palestinian uprising against occupation erupted in September and worsened after Israel's hardline Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took over in March.
Rapport: Tenet has managed to establish a rapport with the Bush administration which in the beginning opted to distance itself from heavy involvement in the peace process.
Everyone realizes that the situation remains dangerous and explosive, and Sharon should realize that he will not help ease the acrimonious and poisoned atmosphere by continuing to label Arafat a murderer or liar.
For the time will come that such descriptions won't help as he will eventually have to sit down with Arafat and do business with the Palestinians.
El Mundo, Madrid, June 13: Both Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and President Bush have found the link the ties together the problems and aspirations that for both are of the first magnitude: the fight against terrorism.
The North American president expressed without reservations his view that ETA (armed Basque independence fighters) is a security problem, without political overtones, something that lends support for the theory of Aznar: "The United States is disposed to support the fight against terrorism in Spain," said Bush.
Sparks of discord: If Aznar obtained full support in his struggle against ETA, neither did Bush leave Spain empty handed. On a trip to Europe in which his anti-missile defense system proposal can generate sparks of discord with his allies, he has achieved a fruitful, first step. Aznar did not expressly approve the Bush shield, but neither did he raise objections in principle to the North American plan; reaching the point of saying that "no one has been able to demonstrate that it does not offer more security," and criticizing those who discredit the shield. The skill of the U.S. president has consisted in relating the anti-terrorist fight in Spain with what he pretends to combat with his neo-Galactic shield.
The Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), as well as the death penalty, show, on the other hand, the great distance unfortunately separating liberal European centrism from the bunkered North American conservatism.
Daily Telegraph, London, June 12: The United States was relatively free of terrorism until April 19, 1995. Then, 168 people were killed and hundreds wounded in a truck bombing outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Yesterday, the federal state settled its account with Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrator of this monstrous crime, putting him to death by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana. President Bush said that those hurt by the evil of the bombing "can rest in the knowledge that there has been a reckoning." He added that tragedies, though often inexplicable, were redeemable. "They are redeemed by dispensing justice."
Rage: Would that the Oklahoma bombing case were that cut and dried. Having pleaded not guilty during the trial, he (McVeigh) later confessed to the crime, saying he had acted alone. His alleged motive was rage at the FBI raid on the Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993, in which nearly 90 people are believed to have died.
Many of the families affected by the Oklahoma bombing suspect that the Justice Department has suppressed evidence that McVeigh was part of a broader conspiracy involving a cell of terrorists. The revelation that 4,000 pages of FBI documents were not turned over to the accused's lawyers before the 1997 trial, as they should have been, has added to suspicion of federal malfeasance. And the brutal nature of the FBI assault on the Waco compound belies the Clinton administration's claim that the Davidians murdered their own children in an act of mass suicide.
The linking by McVeigh of Waco and Oklahoma City, and his execution yesterday, have ensured that his name will not die. This mixture of allegation and fact lays the foundation for a powerful myth of individual defiance of federal tyranny. President Bush's talk of redemption is premature.