Agence France Presse
Kuala Lumpur, May 31:
The Al Qaeda network is winning the global war on terror, while Americaâ€™s use of overwhelming force against Muslim extremists is creating a sea of hatred and is strategically flawed, Asian analysts said today. They were speaking at a three-day Asia-Pacific Roundtable on security organised by Malaysiaâ€™s Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), which drew some 100 international participants. Muslim-majority Malaysia has been sharply critical of the US invasion of Iraq, while pledging its full support for efforts to curb Islamic terrorism.
ISIS director-general Mohamed Jawhar Hassan said that even though Al Qaeda had lost some of its traditional bases in Afghanistan, the terror groupâ€™s top leadership remained intact and its ability to wreak havoc remained as strong as ever. â€œThe US-led international battle is losing while the Al Qaeda-led international network is winning,â€ Mohamed said. The director of Singaporeâ€™s Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Barry Desker, said Al Qaeda remained resilient and the use of force could not eliminate terror threats.
â€œThe response cannot be a military one. This is fundamentally a US error,â€ he said, adding that the US-led war on Iraq and subsequent occupation had driven Islamic militants to wage jihad, or holy war, against Washington. â€œIraq is seen as the epicentre of jihad,â€ he said, adding Al Qaeda was propagating the view that the US occupation was the manifestation of an evil scheme to dissolve Islamic identity.
Noordin Sopiee, Malaysiaâ€™s ISIS chairman, said the world was losing the war on terror because â€œwe have expanded the sea of hatred and expanded the reservoir of deep-seated rage (in the Muslim world)â€. Stanley Roth, Boeingâ€™s vice-president for Asia international relations, said the threat of terror existed in every region and â€œthe war has not been wonâ€.
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to make the keynote address to the conference tomorrow.