Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Oct. 27, 2003/1 Mar-Cheshvan 5763

Richard Z. Chesnoff

Richard Z. Chesnoff
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Syrians still play footsie with terror |
Israel's recent air strike on a Syrian terrorist training base near Damascus deserved a better reception from Washington than it got. After all, President Bashar Assad has stubbornly thumbed his nose at the U.S. by continuing Syria's longstanding support for international terrorist groups. Convinced that American threats are hollow, Assad has done little to stop terrorists from crossing his border into Iraq or to curtail Syrian efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. Even a personal promise made by Assad in May to Secretary of State Powell to close the Damascus offices of Palestinian terrorist organizations that Syria hosts and helps finance proved empty.

True, several groups were advised by their Syrian handlers to close the offices that they used to disseminate propaganda and direct terrorist activities in the West Bank and Gaza.

But as I learned during a research project for Washington's Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the closures were a sham. Terrorist groups like Hamas simply moved to more anonymous offices in Damascus' sprawling residential districts. Some didn't even play the game. Islamic Jihad, the organization that carried out the recent bloody suicide bombing in Haifa, operates from the same location it has used since 1999.

Donate to JWR

"About all the Syrians did," says one Mideast intelligence source, "was disconnect Islamic Jihad's known phone lines, then allocate them new secret ones."

In an attempt to fend off Washington, the head of the Syrian military security department, Hassan Khalil, has coordinated a series of smoke-and- mirror moves. Beginning in May, major portions of the Palestinian terrorist operation - and its arms - were transferred out of Syria proper and into those parts of neighboring Lebanon that are under the direct control of Syria or its proxy, Hezbollah.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says, "Israel will not be deterred from defending its citizens and will hit its enemies any place and in any way." The Bush administration, which has reiterated Israel's right to defend its citizens, would serve the war on terror well by supporting his position.

The administration also should back the Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act that passed the House this month and is now before the Senate. This long-ovedue piece of legislation would ban U.S. sales of dual-use items to Syria and impose diplomatic and trade sanctions until Damascus stops supporting terror and ends its occupation of Lebanon.

The President also should postpone sending a new U.S. ambassador to Damascus and demand that Syria cough up the estimated $3 billion in Iraqi oil revenues it hid for Saddam Hussein. Like his late father, Hafez, Bashar Assad can be moved only by a strong arm.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a senior correspondent at US News And World Report, a columnist at the NY Daily News and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Demoracies. A two-time winner of the Overseas Press Club Award and a recipient of the National Press Club Award, he was formerly executive editor of Newsweek International. His latest book, recently updated, is Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History. (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR. )

Richard Z. Chesnoff Archives

© 2003, N. Y. Daily News