反米デモ 中東の不安定化を憂慮する

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 19, 2012)
Anti-U.S. feelings mustn't lead to destabilization of Middle East
反米デモ 中東の不安定化を憂慮する(9月18日付・読売社説)

Anti-U.S. demonstrations have spread in Middle Eastern and Asian countries over a video clip from a U.S. film regarded by Muslims as disparaging the Prophet Mohammed.

In the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the U.S. ambassador and three staff members were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate. It is strongly believed that armed extremists carried out the terrorist attack by taking advantage of the chaos caused by the anti-U.S. protests.

In Cairo, some protesters stormed into the U.S. Embassy compound. U.S. embassies also were attacked in Sudan and Tunisia. In Yemen, people were killed in clashes between protesters and police.

The wave of protests has spread to Asian countries with Muslim majorities, including Indonesia and Malaysia.

Images from the video clip of the film, which was produced in the United States, spread across the world after it was posted on the Internet. It is not known which individual or group produced the video clip or why it was posted on the Internet, but it has fueled religious hostility. No wonder Muslims are offended.


Violence should be avoided

Even so, acts of violence and sabotage should never be permitted regardless of the anger the film provoked.

U.S. President Barack Obama strongly denounced the attacks on the U.S. ambassador and others, saying "we reject the denigration of any religion...Yet there never is any justification for violence."

We hope the situation will calm down as early as possible.

A major concern is that anti-U.S. sentiment has spread widely among common people in the Middle East, not just Muslim radicals.

This may be because of their distrust in and discontent with U.S. policies vis-a-vis the Middle East.

After taking office in 2009, Obama made an effort to improve relations with the Islamic world, where anti-U.S. sentiment had increased because of the Iraq War. He supported the Arab Spring reform movement against autocratic leaders.

Nevertheless, the demonstrations triggered by a video that has no connection whatsoever with the U.S. administration have spread. This underscores the existence of deep-rooted anti-U.S. feelings in addition to religious issues. Obama's Middle East policies do not seem to be functioning effectively.


Democratization half done

In Egypt and other countries where autocratic rulers were ousted during the Arab Spring movement, democratization is only half carried out. We are worried over how the anti-U.S. protests will affect the internal politics of Middle Eastern countries.

If the Middle East is thrown into chaos, it will have a global impact.

As a "Pacific nation," the United States has attached more importance to Asia. But if Washington changes this policy and deploys a significant number of troops to the Middle East, it may affect Japan's national security.

As Japan relies on the Middle East for slightly more than 80 percent of its crude oil imports, it is essential for this country to support the region's economic development by providing official development assistance and contribute to stabilizing the political situation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 18, 2012)
(2012年9月18日01時24分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-09-20 07:09 | 英字新聞

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