Mumbai attacks, ‘Obama’s first test’, dominate US headlines

November 28th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 28 (IANS) For the second day running, the Mumbai terror attacks dominated the headlines in the US media Friday with many analysts describing the “horror in Mumbai” as the first test for president-elect Barack Obama.The attack reports were all over the front pages of newspapers. With President George W. Bush away at his Camp David retreat and Obama celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at his home in Chicago, there was little else by way of domestic news.

The television networks have been providing live coverage of the anti-terrorist operations even as most Americans were preparing to or had left for the Thanksgiving weekend.

With tensions between India and Pakistan reaching rising following “Wednesday night’s brutal terror strikes in Mumbai”, the Wall Street Journal said: “The terrorist strikes are likely to intensify pressure on Obama to craft a regional solution to the instability in South and Central Asia.

“A big concern for the US now is that a war of words with India could divert Pakistan’s attention from the fight against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces that have found havens in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” it added.

Along similar lines, the influential New York Times said: “Attacks as devastating as those that unfolded in Mumbai… seem likely to sour relations, fuel distrust and hamper, at least for now, America’s ambitions for reconciliation in the region.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Prashant Agrawal, described as CEO of, an Indian social portal launching in December, writes: “Joe Biden was right. Barack Obama will face an international test in the first six months. South Asia looks to be that test.”

The USA Today suggested that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks in Thursday’s televised address to the nation that “the attackers probably had external linkages” was “an apparent reference to rival Pakistan”.

The Wall Street Journal suggested that Manmohan Singh also “issued a thinly veiled threat”, saying “‘there would be a cost’ unless neighbouring governments take steps to ensure that terrorists aren’t operating from inside their borders”.

US analysts are also cautioning that nothing definite is yet known about the authorship of the attacks, but a number of media reports suggest the terrorists may have worked out of Pakistan.

The Washington Post, for example, reported on its front page that “officials in India, Europe and the US said likely culprits included Islamist networks based in Pakistan that have received support in the past from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies”.

The Post also reported that “some experts said the operation bore some resemblances to plots orchestrated by Al Qaeda” while “others said they were dubious of a connection to Osama bin Laden’s organisation”.

All the major newspapers - New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today - also ran several other stories on how the plot unfolded and how the Indian Americans and others with ties to Mumbai have been stunned by the strike.

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