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Zero tolerance to terror

China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-18 08:02

An outbreak of violence in Iraq this week has cast a long shadow over the country's upcoming elections, the first since the United States withdrew its troops at the end of 2011. It has also laid bare the Middle East country's fragile security, which remains vulnerable to terrorist groups affiliated to al-Qaida.

On Monday, a wave of attacks, including more than 30 bombings, struck a number of Iraqi cities, killing at least 51 people and wounding some 268, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad alone 38 people were killed and 119 others injured. There was further bloodshed on Tuesday, although on a smaller scale.

The attacks, which happened only five days ahead of the country's provincial elections, has fueled concerns about whether the Iraqi security forces can guarantee a relatively peaceful environment for the upcoming provincial elections.

Although no group has so far claimed responsibility for Monday's violence, groups linked to al-Qaida seem the most likely perpetrators as they are often behind the most fatal attacks in Iraq.

More troubling is the fact that news about Monday's bloodshed in Iraq seems to have been inundated by coverage of the bombs in the United States at the Boston Marathon. True, continuous violence in Iraq after the US withdrawal has by and large contributed to such indifference, and there has been increasing violence since the beginning of this year, but we will never win the war against terror if the frequent tragedies in Iraq are taken for granted, or simply ignored.

Any link between the Boston blasts and those in Iraq and the Middle East remains a matter of suspicion, but they share at least one thing in common - they threaten innocent people and sow the seeds of fear.

No country today can say it is immune from the threats of terror. Nor can any individual. Which is why the world must demonstrate zero tolerance to all acts of terror, no matter where they occur - be it in Iraq or the US.

A decade after the US launched its war against terror, the roots of terror remain intact, and terrorists and extremists are still highly capable of launching deadly strikes. That should teach us that counterattacks alone cannot make the world a safer place. More thoughts and resources have to be diverted to address the root causes of terror.

(China Daily 04/18/2013 page8)

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