Local Professors Say Attacks Do Not Intimidate Terrorists
Posted August 19, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL — The State Department says Americans are targeted by terrorism more than any other group.
But do Thursday's attacks intimidate terrorists or simply motivate them? WRAL's Len Besthoff spoke with terrorism experts who claim that diplomacy is the only way to prevent terrorism.
Dr. Carl Ernst has several albums documenting his travels to the Middle East and South Asia. But the UNC-Ch professor's return trip to Pakistan is on hold. He was actually warned not to travel to the region a week ago.
"We learned last week that the U.S. government has basically warned all non-essential personnel to stay out of Pakistan," Ernst said. "Evidently, that was preliminary to bombings that took place today."
Ernst and Dr. Urabi Mustafa, a Middle East expert with strong ties to his Palestinean homeland, agree that the bombings by the U.S. will have little effect on followers of terrorist Osama bin Laden, since there are pockets of his followers throughout the area.
"Whatever city, you will find 50, 200, 100 in every city or region," Mustafa said. "So it won't stop with a bombing like this."
Mustafa adds that the bombings will not end the terrorism against the U.S. in the Middle East and Africa, only diplomacy will.
"In my judgement, the best way to solve the problems in the Middle East and elsewhere as far as the Northern world, is to solve the Arab - Israeli problem," Mustafa said.
Mustafa also says that solving the Arab - Israeli problem would actually take care of 70 to 80 percent of the terrorism coming from the Middle East.
Other scholars say that estimate may be a little high, but they all agree that a peaceful settlement between the Arabs and Israelis could remove America as the middle-man, and as a target.