Democracy in the Middle East; Iraq, Likudniks and Bush Administration Policy

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 5, 2004 | Go to article overview

Democracy in the Middle East; Iraq, Likudniks and Bush Administration Policy


Byline: Arnaud de Borchgrave, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

For many American Jews, anyone who writes disapprovingly of the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and of his Dionysian neo-conservative backers in Washington is evidence of "classic anti-Semitism." The mere reference to "neo-cons" is interpreted to mean an attack against a "Jewish cabal." This is particularly galling to someone who is entitled to live in Israel under the Law of Return and who has been covering the Middle East on and off for half a century - and is the fortunate recipient of 10 major journalism awards for Middle Eastern reporting. Israeli newspapers - particularly Ha'aretz, the New York Times of Israel - make our own critiques tame by comparison.

What one reader described as "overtly anti-Semitic screeds" were columns that described the grand design of the Bush-Sharon doctrine "meritorious if it works." The creation of a democratic state in Iraq, we explained, was the opening phase of a policy designed to surround Israel with democratic states, thus guaranteeing the Jewish state a generation of security. We also expressed doubts that this worthy objective was achievable, witness the current situation in Iraq and a cursory examination of contemporary Iraqi history.

What seems to be particularly vexing to American Jews is to be reminded that this grand design originated in a paper written in 1996 by Richard Perle and Douglas Feith for the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, an Israeli think tank. The document was titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." It was intended to be a blueprint for the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The complete break with the past was to be a new strategy "based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism."

Israel, according to this 1996 Perle-Feith paper, would "shape its strategic environment," beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the restoration of the Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad (Iraq and Jordan, prior to May 1958, shared a joint monarchial system). …

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