July 30, 2003
World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
BUZZFLASH NOTE: Once again, these are the views and perspectives of the individual papers, not of BuzzFlash or Gloria. They offer BuzzFlash readers a way of reading what other nations are saying about the crisis, whether we like it or not. We repeat: This is not an endorsement of their viewpoints.
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1//The Independent, UK--BBC WINNING BATTLE FOR PUBLIC TRUST (The Government is losing out to the BBC in the battle for public trust in the wake of the David Kelly affair, an opinion poll published today indicates. The survey by NOP found that 54 per cent of respondents trusted the BBC more than the Government over claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Only 21 per cent said they had greater faith in the Government. The poll, commissioned by public relations company Weber Shandwick, found that despite concerted criticism by government ministers, the public still places greater trust in the BBC than in other news organisations.)
2//The Turkish Daily News, Turkey--TURKEY, SYRIA OPEN A NEW PAGE
IN TIES (Turkish-Syrian relations took a step forward with the visit
of Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Miro to Ankara, yesterday.
As Prime Minister Miro realized intensive contacts with top Turkish
officials in Ankara to bolster bilateral ties, it was commented that
the visit is likely to upset the United States...Turkey is now pondering
whether to send thousands of peacekeepers to Iraq at the request
of the United States, but its growing ties with Syria could further
trouble Turkish-U.S. relations.)
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Independent 29 July 2003
BBC WINNING BATTLE FOR PUBLIC TRUST
The Government is losing out to the BBC in the battle for public trust in the wake of the David Kelly affair, an opinion poll published today indicates.
The survey by NOP found that 54 per cent of respondents trusted the BBC more than the Government over claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Only 21 per cent said they had greater faith in the Government.
The poll, commissioned by public relations company Weber Shandwick, found that despite concerted criticism by government ministers, the public still places greater trust in the BBC than in other news organisations.
But the research makes sober reading for all broadcasters as it found that 51 per cent said that they trusted television and radio news less now than they did a year ago.
Television was still easily the most trusted source for news. Fifty-one per cent said they favoured it as their main conduit for information, compared with 25 per cent who preferred radio and 12 per cent who trusted newspapers (12 per cent).
Respondents were also asked to state their preferred news broadcaster. Forty-four per cent said they trusted the BBC most; ITV News was trusted by 24 per cent; and 13 per cent put greatest faith in Sky News.
The NOP phone poll was conducted at the weekend among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents aged 15 and above.
TURKEY, SYRIA OPEN A NEW PAGE IN TIES
Turkish-Syrian relations took a step forward with the visit of Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Miro to Ankara, yesterday. As Prime Minister Miro realized intensive contacts with top Turkish officials in Ankara to bolster bilateral ties, it was commented that the visit is likely to upset the United States.
Miro, the first Syrian premier to visit Turkey in 17 years met with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc and other top officials for talks focused on improving ties, economic cooperation, cultural and social relations as well as regional issues.
The United States, which accuses Syria of supporting the ousted Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and sheltering members of his Ba'ath Party during and after the war, has expressed unease over improving Turkish-Syrian relations.
"The aim of Turkish-Syrian relations is not to challenge the United States," Miro was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview with the daily Hurriyet on Monday. "These are relations between neighbors and no one has the right to look for another meaning in these relations."
Syria has been a vocal critic of the U.S. war in Iraq. U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz made clear in June that improving strained Turkish-U.S. relations depended on Turkey's close cooperation with the United States in Iraq. Wolfowitz also said that Turkey should support the United States against Iran and Syria -- two other neighbors of Turkey that Washington accuses of sponsoring terrorism.
Gul visited Washington last week to mend ties strained over Turkey's refusal to let American troops launch attacks from Turkish soil during the Iraq war and the detention of Turkish troops by Americans in northern Iraq earlier this month.
Turkey is now pondering whether to send thousands of peacekeepers to Iraq at the request of the United States, but its growing ties with Syria could further trouble Turkish-U.S. relations.
TOP GSDF OFFICERS TO SCOUT IRAQ
The government plans to send a team of senior Ground Self-Defense Force officers to the Japanese Embassy in Baghdad, possibly in early August, on a liaison mission to collect information to provide a firmer grasp of Iraq's public order situation, sources said Tuesday.
After Diet deliberations on the legislation for sending Self-Defense Forces personnel to Iraq began earlier this month, several senior GSDF officers knowledgeable about Iraqi affairs made short visits to the country, the sources said.
The further dispatch of GSDF officers, who will be working as resident liaison officers at the embassy, will be followed probably in September with the dispatch of a larger study group of experts on SDF operations, they said.
The GSDF liaison officers are to be sent to Iraq to confirm the public order situation in light of the almost daily killings of U.S. soldiers in guerrilla attacks, the sources said.
Based on the recently enacted law to allow the government to dispatch the SDF to Iraq, the Defense Agency will draw up basic plans by mid-September regarding the role of SDF personnel in reconstruction efforts and determine which areas are safe enough for SDF activities.
KABUL FACES PROVINCIAL PROBLEM
By Danish Karokhel in Kabul (ARR No. 69, 29-Jul-03)
The interior ministry's efforts to address security problems caused by regional warlords and feuding clans are being undermined by the government's lack of influence outside Kabul.
Warlords command private armies and use gangs to control areas where they extort money and traffic drugs - a pattern that has continued since the Soviet occupation and the subsequent years of civil war.
And many areas of the country are still ruled by clans who have a long tradition of blood feuds and revenge killings.
The Taleban regime was initially popular because it restored law and order to the provinces, but the old ways soon returned and President Hamid Karzai has yet to take control of these regions.
The difficulty of enforcing the rule of law outside of major cities is illustrated by several recent cases in the provinces of Kabul and Logar.
WHY THE US NEEDS THE TALIBAN
Since Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf made his much-acclaimed visit to Camp David and met US President George W Bush on June 24, new elements have begun to emerge in the Afghan theater. US troops in Afghanistan are now encountering more enemy attacks than ever before, and clashes between Pakistani and Afghan troops along the tribal borders have been reported regularly.
On July 16, speaking to Electronic Telegraph of the United Kingdom, US troop commander General Frank "Buster" Hagenbeck, based at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, reported increased attacks over recent weeks on US and Afghan forces by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other anti-US groups that have joined hands. He also revealed some other very interesting information: the Taliban and its allies have regrouped in Pakistan and are recruiting fighters from religious schools in Quetta in a campaign funded by drug trafficking. Hagenbeck also said that these enemies of US and Afghan forces have been joined by Al-Qaeda commanders who are establishing new cells and sponsoring the attempted capture of American troops. One other piece of news of import from Hagenbeck is that the Taliban have seized whole swathes of the country.
Hagenbeck's statements were virtually ignored in Washington. Also ignored were a number of similar statements issued from Kabul by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet colleagues...
What is happening? Both Hagenbeck, who boasts to the media about the high quality of his intelligence, and Khalilzad, who is unquestionably in a position to know, have stated that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are being nurtured, not in some inaccessible terrain along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border but in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province where the Pakistan Army and the ISI have a major presence. Yet, President Bush and his neo-conservative henchmen have remained strangely quiet, allowing Pakistan to strengthen the Taliban in Quetta, and, as a consequence, re-energize al-Qaeda - the killers of thousands of Americans in the fall of 2001.
Recall for a moment: Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, no other terrorist was portrayed by the United States as more dangerous than al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and no other Islamic fundamentalist group was presented to the American people as more despicable than the Taliban. Within a month the United States invaded Afghanistan to "take out" the Taliban, al-Qaeda and bin Laden, while the world lined up behind the new anti-terrorist messiahs from Washington, providing it the necessary moral and vocal support. Why, then, is Washington now weakening President Karzai and allowing the strengthening and re-emergence of the Taliban?
Karzai shared with Ahmed Rashid his belief, like that of the average Afghan today, that the answer to that question lies in an understanding reached between the United States and Pakistan during Musharraf's visit to Camp David, that Afghanistan could be, in effect, "sub-contracted" to Pakistan. Karzai also told Rashid that Musharraf's critical remarks about the Karzai regime during his visit to the United States reminded him of the pre-September 11 days when Pakistan was fully backing the Taliban and exercising ever-more-strident control over Afghanistan. Musharraf had said, among other things, that the Afghan president does not have much control over Afghanistan beyond Kabul. But, Karzai added in the interview with Rashid, no matter what the outsiders are planning or plotting, as of now, "I want nobody to be under any illusion that Afghanistan will allow any other country to control it." Is Karzai overreacting? Most likely, he is not. He has seen the writing on the wall. It is arguable whether the Taliban's return to power is inevitable, but there is little doubt that under the circumstances it is very convenient for the US.
otherwise noted, all original