Jewish World Review Feb. 25, 2002 / 13 Adar, 5762

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise -- THE war on terror will be long, expensive, and very likely bloody, say President Bush and his key subordinates. Most pundits are of the same mind, and that is the way to bet.

But there is more than a slim possibility victory could come quickly and easily.

Terrorism thrives because of state sponsorship. Terrorists need places to train and to hide out; arms and explosives; intelligence on targets, and first-rate forged documents. Even for someone with pockets as deep as Osama bin Laden, it is hard to come by these things without help from one or more governments and their intelligence services.

If state sponsorship were withdrawn, terrorism wouldn't disappear altogether. But it would cease to be a serious problem.

Now that the Taliban has been ousted from Afghanistan, the chief state sponsors of terror are Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the quasi-state of Palestine.

No government has done more to spread terror than Iran. Iran (with the help of Yassir Arafat's Fatah) was behind the bombing of the U.S. embassy and the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon. Iran is also reportedly closer to acquiring nuclear weapons than is Iraq.

But the key to victory is a regime change in Iraq. If that occurs, it is likely that other terror-supporting nations can be induced to mend their ways without resort to military force.

If Saddam Hussein were replaced by a quasi-democratic, sort of pro-Western government, then Iran would be flanked on either side by relatively free countries. This could bring about a regime change from within.

The huge uncovered story of the last few months is the resistance within Iran to the Islamic fascists who run the country. Thousands of Iranians held vigils for the victims of the terror attacks on 9/11. According to Iranians here, the crowds which joined the anti-government protests during the "football revolution" Oct. 24-29 were much larger than the crowds the mullahs manufactured for the anniversary of the Islamic revolution Feb. 11.

"Unlike Iraq, Iranians are very much attuned to what the United States says," said Dr. S. Rob Sobhani, a professor at Georgetown University. "They will respond positively to a clear signal that we are serious about wanting a regime change in Iran."

Effective U.S. military action against Iraq would have a bracing effect upon Syria and, consequently, upon Lebanon. Support for the terrorist camps in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley likely would dry up.

Effective U.S. military action against Iraq also would mean we can stop ignoring Saudi Arabia's contribution to terrorism. Iran has been the major arms provider to terror groups. But Saudi Arabia has been terrorism's banker.

We've ignored the fact that Saudi Arabia is more enemy than friend in part because we've been idiots; in larger part because we buy so much oil from them.

But if there is a regime change in Iraq, UN sanctions will no longer apply, and oil can flow freely from that country. Revenues from the oil will go to benefit the people of Iraq instead of into Saddam's weapon's programs. And the extent to which Western nations are dependent upon Saudi oil will be diminished.

It might also occur to the Saudis that if we can seize Iraq's oilfields, we could also seize theirs if need be, a healthy thought for them to keep in mind.

Deprived of Iranian arms, Saudi money, the threat of Iraqi intervention, and Lebanese training sites, the terrorists in the Palestinian Authority would wither. The Israelis have a very good idea of who the terrorist leaders are, and a pretty good idea of where they are. They do not need our help to destroy them, merely our permission.

Once the leaders of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been killed or imprisoned, it will be possible for a moderate Palestinian leadership - one which recognizes the right of Israel to exist - to emerge. Saudi money could be used to buy out the Jewish settlements on the West bank, and an authentic Palestinian state could emerge.

The most foolish thing liberals say is: "nothing is ever settled by force." Sometimes force is the only way to settle things.

Comment on JWR contributor Jack Kelly's column by clicking here.

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© 2002, Jack Kelly