Organised paranoia of West blows threat posed by al-Qaeda out of all proportion:

“America is now afraid of its own shadow. That was the mocking verdict passed by Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, last week, angry at the haste with which the US issued a terrorism warning against travel to his country. Not exactly the image of strength and conviction that the White House had hoped to project after victory in Iraq, is it?

The West’s fearful response to each new threat or attack is acting as an open invitation to every little terrorist cell. The message is, “We are scared, so why not scare us some more?” All it takes is a few zealots with home-made bombs in Africa or Asia to have the Western world pressing the panic button.

Since the bloody bombings in Casablanca, there has been much talk of a new global crisis. Yet in truth the world cannot be changed by the blowing-up of a Spanish social club and a Jewish community centre in Morocco, any more than by last week’s attacks on petrol stations in Pakistan. Only our overblown reactions to these local incidents can create a crisis. ” — Mick Hume writing in the Times of London