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July 24, 2002
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Iran and Syria continue to support terrorism

The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com) has a good article by Dennis Ross, who was the lead American negotiator on the Middle East peace process in the first Bush and both Clinton administrations.

It's no surprise that the Israeli killing of wanted Hamas militant Salah Shehada and members of his family has drawn the world's attention. It is graphic and it reminds everyone of a seemingly endless struggle. But having just returned from the Middle East, I am struck by a burgeoning danger that is receiving scant attention. With a constant stream of supply from both the Iranians and Syrians, Hezbollah is building a formidable arsenal of highly mobile rockets. [...]

But Bashar Assad seems to lack his father's sense of limits. As if providing weapons to Hezbollah was not enough, he is also procuring spare parts for Iraq from Eastern Europe. That's something new; his father sought Saddam Hussein's demise, not his strengthening. [...]

Iran is also pushing Hamas very hard to continue the suicide bombings in Israel. As I heard from Israelis and Palestinians, recent efforts by the Palestinian Authority officials in Gaza to convince Hamas to stop terror attacks against Israelis appeared to be making headway until the Hamas leadership in Gaza got explicit instructions from the Hamas leadership outside--with considerable Iranian pressure--to persist with the bombings. The same was true for the Islamic Jihad, whose leader Ramadan Shallah resides in Damascus and was equally insistent that the bombing must continue.

Iran and Syria clearly want the conflict to continue between Israelis and Palestinians. Perhaps they believe Israel will lose its resolve and gradually be weakened to the point of collapse. They seem prepared to fight to the last Palestinian to produce such an eventuality. Perhaps they fear American determination to go after Saddam Hussein, believing if he goes, they will be next. Their reasoning might be that the more the situation between Israelis and Palestinians embroils the region, the less the U.S. will be capable of going after Saddam.

I copy the full article below.

Posted by David Melle at July 24, 2002 03:16 PM
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