War on Terror: Time to Get Tough - David Frum and Richard Perle

(London Times, 29 Jan 04) The mullahs of Iran are sheltering much of the surviving leadership of al-Qaeda. They created and supported the terror group Hizballah and continue to harbor and support terrorism, yet many of our leaders continue to insist that we can and should do business with "moderates" in the leadership of Iran. Like who? How moderate can a leadership be when it holds more journalists in jail than any country in the world? Where satellite dishes are illegal and where the state bans all private Internet service providers? As for the idea that multilateral agreements can somehow restrain the Iranian nuclear program, forget it. All those non-proliferation treaties are based on the assumption that we can trust the world's least trustworthy regimes to tell us their deepest secrets. If all our problems were as easy as Syria, the war on terror would have ended a year ago. Here is a regime that is surrounded by U.S. and allied forces; that depends for fuel and oil exports from Iraq; and whose economy is a pitiful shambles. Really, there is only one question about Syria: why have we put up with it as long as we have? We should interdict the movement of weapons from Iran to Syria by air and sea. We should halt the flow of oil to Syria from Iraq. We should avail ourselves of the right to follow suspected terrorists from Iraq to Syria. On the other hand, we should offer to provide Syria with generous economic aid in return for a Westward reorientation of its policy. What we should want from the Saudis is obvious and really unarguable. We want them to crack down on terrorist fundraising within their borders. We want their government media to stop inciting terror. We want them to co-operate fully in the suppression of terror. And we want them to stop propagating jihad to the rest of the Islamic world and to Muslim populations in the West. To achieve this, we should tell the truth about Saudi Arabia. It's past time to drop the talk about how splendidly the Saudis are co-operating. These untruths encourage the Saudis in their belief that they can stiff the U.S. and get away with it. The Saudis paid for 3/4 of the cost of developing Pakistan's nuclear bomb - and without the Pakistan bomb, neither the Iranian nor the North Korean bomb would be as advanced as it is. The Saudis support terror on a lavish scale: a Saudi crackdown on terror financing would put al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad out of business.

2004-01-30 00:00:00

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