It seems that terrorists are starting their counter-attack. An informal coalition with the USA at its head has been fighting with international terrorist organizations for over a year already. However, no turning point has yet been yet reached in the struggle. On the contrary, events of the several past months reveal that terrorists have actually become more active, and this concerns not only al-Qaeda terrorist.
Today, Australian and Canadian authorities announced that they would suspend operations of their embassies in Philippines for an uncertain period of time. The decision was made in connection with the fear of more terrorist acts. According to the Associated Press, the protection of the local sights, including the building of the Sydney Opera House, has been considerably intensified. The agency reports with reference to Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer that special services informed the government of a serious threat of a terrorist act in the country. The minister didn’t explain who is believed to be behind the threat.
The suggestion that terrorist attacks may be committed in Australia is not a surprise at all. The Australian government actively supports all activities of Washington, no matter whether it is struggle with terrorism or the war campaign against Iraq.
To all appearances, bin Laden, as well as the leaders of other terrorist groups, initially planned to deliver blows against the territories of other countries. After the 9/11 tragedy, US authorities toughened security measures, which proved to be very effective: it is a very hard task for Islamic radicals to organize acts of terrorism on the territory of the USA. However, the situation is different in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It’s quite natural that the authorities of these countries are currently paying more attention to the problem preventing acts of terrorism. However, most likely these measures aren’t enough. Until now, nothing extraordinary happened on the territories of these countries, but there are no guarantees at all that they are insured against terrorist acts.
In fact, any country in the world might suffer from acts of terrorists. The situation with the Philippines is somewhat different. Several months ago, the Philippine authorities declared that they had practically put an end to the Islamic extremist organization Abu Sayaf. However, taking today’s events into account, we can say that the statement is rather dubious. The lives of foreigners in this country are still in great danger.
It is not ruled out that any trip to a Moslem country will be soon extremely dangerous for any non-Moslem foreigner. Diplomatic departments of many Western countries already recommend that their citizens abstain from visiting a list of dozens of countries. The majority of them are Moslem countries. It is highly likely that the problem cannot be settled immediately; it will take many years. The events we are witnessing now are just a very beginning.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/17/47/3645_Australiya.html
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