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Jewish World Review Oct. 15, 2001 / 28 Tishrei 5762

Don Feder

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Shooting snakes while supporting snake farms -- WHILE Western leaders shuttle around the Middle East to shore up support for the war on Afghanistan, our Arab allies (for want of a better word) are providing precious little help.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states whose leaders are even willing to pay lip service to the campaign. Neither offers troops or the use of military bases. We give Egypt $2 billion annually, and it gives us two and a half cheers in the war on terrorism.

After heroically condemning the Sept. 11 massacre, the Organization of the Islamic Conference insisted that the American-led coalition not broaden the war to any other Moslem country.

The conference will be quite put out if we go after Saddam Hussein. In terms of promoting terrorism, the Iraqi tyrant, armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, is to Taliban what Wal-Mart is to a pushcart.

Arab moderates combine their rhetorical support for the war with demands for "a just solution to the Palestinian problem." The problem with the Palestinians is they prefer murdering Israeli civilians to negotiating.

Reputed to be our best friend in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia has banned offensive operations from our bases there. The nation's ruling class doesn't want to be seen as subservient to American interests. Of course, it's fine for America to have 5,000 troops stationed in Saudi Arabia a decade after the Gulf War, to help defend its decadent monarchy.

"The Palestinian-Israeli problem is the cause of all violence and chaos," says Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. He's right. If it weren't for the Zionist entity, Pakistani terrorists wouldn't be blowing up government buildings in Kashmir, Sudan wouldn't be committing genocide against the nation's Christians, and Algeria's civil war would have ended years ago.

Even worse than our ostensible allies in the region are America's newfound friends.

Syria, which issued a pro forma condemnation of the World Trade Center attack, won a seat on the United Nations Security Council last week, thanks to American neutrality. Washington is rumored to be contemplating removing Syria from its list of terrorist sponsors and even providing military aid to Damascus.

Syria provides hospitality to almost every gang of rabid killers in that part of the world, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. President for life Bashar Assad -- who inherited the family business from the late Hafez Assad -- could teach the Nazis a few tricks. On meeting the pope last spring, Assad harangued him about Jews being the enemies of mankind. Along with aid, perhaps we could give Bashar a brotherhood award.

We're also moving closer to Sudan's odious Islamic regime. Although it's denounced U.S. operations in Afghanistan, after Sept. 11, Khartoum "snapped into action" (in the words of a state department official) and detained more than 100 people linked to militant groups.

If we end up embracing a regime that's murdered an estimated 2 million Christians and revived the slave trade to dispose of captured women and children, no amount of scrubbing will get us clean.

If that weren't cause enough for cheer, the administration is courting Iran, described by a state department report as "the most active sponsor of state terrorism in 2000."

Yasser Arafat has turned his guns on Palestinians to suppress pro-Osama demonstrations. (A leader of Arafat's own Fatah party calls bin Laden "the most popular figure in the West Bank.")

The godfather of suicide bombers hasn't become a Jeffersonian democrat. During the Gulf War, he cast his lot with Saddam. But after President George Bush's benediction of Palestinian statehood, and given our willingness to do almost anything to appease the Arabs, Arafat thinks he'll come out of this war the real winner.

In 1940, the West was allied with Stalin out of necessity. Evil he was, but at least Uncle Joe was fighting a real war against Hitler. Still, we paid the price in the post-war era, when the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe.

Someday, the bill will come due for cozying up to the thugs in charge of Syria, Sudan, Iran and the Palestinian Authority. In the course of our expedition to Afghanistan, we could end up shooting a few snakes while making capital improvements to the snake farms.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate