Thursday, March 10, 2005

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe also sees that policy prescriptions for the Middle East are more analagous to treatment than they are to prevention, as I noted yesterday regarding some of those attending the Anti-terror Conference in Madrid:
For those of us in the War Party, by contrast, these are heady days. If you've agreed with President Bush all along that the way to fight the cancer of Islamist terrorism is with the chemotherapy of freedom and democracy, the temptation to issue I-told-you-so's can be hard to resist.
I'm satisified with the progress going on in the ME, what with people openly vocalizing their desires for more representative control of their governments and the governments actually responding. And Bush is doing a pretty good job in support, in public (and more behind the scenes, I would think.)

One of the items in the benefits column for deposing Saddam was the idea of shaking things up in the ME politically. It worked though not in every way that we liked and, I suppose, expected. Glenn Reynolds and others have that democratization is not an event but a process. In a similar vein, the ME is not one martini but many. Iraq's was shaken. Israel has, at turns, shaken and stirred the Palestine martini with their indefatigable efforts to both negotiate and fight terrorism there but to a great extent they just had to wait for the Arafat ice to melt.

Syria and Lebanon are another matter. The US and others are for a strong stirring while Hezbollah is more than willing to shake it themselves for their tyrannical purposes. I've mentioned before that the Cedar Revolution is not the Rose or Orange Revolution. Much more care will need to be taken to help get this right and I have my doubts it will succeed without strong support. I also doubt the US can be the primary sponsoring support as there are too many lingering animosities among a large segment of the population that are more than willing to exploit them. To tell the truth, I am not sure right now what the best approach is there in keeping it stable and moving forward.

As for Syria, I think Bush is taking the wrong tack. As relates to Lebanon, I think Syria is getting somewhat of a bum rap. Syria went into Lebanon to stop a civil war and keep the peace. It was the UN that desired that. You can't blame Syria for bringing their own rotten system with it. Brow beating them to death to get them to leave is giving the Syrian people reason to rally to their own government.

All the while Syria's egregious behavior in connection with the ongoing terrorism in Iraq is hardly brought up. (Heck, if you want Syria to leave Lebanon, en masse and quickly, give them a reason on the Iraqi frontier. That will get the Syrians in their trucks and moving east in no time at all.) Hard stirring around this issue is required. It is likely it will be impossible for Assad to end it because there are many within the regime's structure that support it. But this is the issue in harmony with Syrian desires to throw off their regime. That's the ultimate objective, isn't it?

By taking this approach and in short order, the leaders giving the barbarians in Iraq sustenance will become too busy scampering, as the Ba'athist regime teeters, to wage as effective as a campaign as now, some more of them will likely be offered up as sacrifices on the Syrian altar of "Save Our Own Skins", and if Syrian opposition has enough breathing room, they could tip the regime on its butt. At best, that could put the Iraqi bombing campaign out of commission. At least, it would, in turn, send those in Iraq scampering to establish their supply lines elsewhere and there's nothing more effective for catching rats than having scampering out of their holes. At worst, the "insurgency will relocate to Syria, giving Iraqis a break and making their Sunni sympathizers more amenable to joining the democracy parade.

But of greatest importance in this is the additional pressure it puts on Iran. A changing Syria is another model and inspiration to the Iranian people. It is one less front for which the Iranians can rely in fomenting trouble in Iraq and elsewhere. It becomes a more hazardous route to and from Lebanon and Iran's Hezbollah lackeys. And, it allows us to concentrate more on the most serious potential problem in the Middle East, a nuclear Iran and secondarily, Wahabbist Saudia Arabia.

There is no reason to wait and every reason to stir some more. Let others take the credit so long as we're among those reaping the benefits.

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