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Peace Dominoes Begin To Fall
By Dick Morris


July 23, 2003
Wednesday - 12:15 am


Does anybody seriously believe that there would be a cease-fire between Israel and the most extreme Palestinian terrorists groups if the United States did not have 150,000 troops in Iraq?

Isn't it obvious that Israel's willingness to ignore scattered acts of violence and seriously pursue negotiations is closely linked to a newfound sense of security born of the willingness of the United States to use its muscle to reward its friends and punish its enemies?

Can anyone deny the linkage between American pressure on Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia and the new attitude toward negotiations among Hamas and Hezbollah?

And what about the massive and growing student demonstrations in Teheran and other Iranian cities against the repressive regime of the ayatollahs? Can there be any doubt that the students are encouraged to stand up to the government's religious police and vigilantes by the massive American and British presence next door in Iraq?

The most sensitive weather vane in the region, Saudi Arabia, seems to have a new determination to close down the terrorists operating out of its territory. Do you think the U.S. invasion of Iraq could be a catalyst?

The so-called global community, amazed that the United States is prepared to act on its own when it drags its feet, seems energized after the war in Iraq. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), after its dismal performance in Iraq, now seems keen on tracking down and stopping Iranian efforts to build a bomb.

Even North Korea seems more willing to talk after watching the United States military make short shrift of the vaunted Iraqi army.

In this space, before the war, I spoke of a new domino theory, predicting that a successful attack on Iraq would trigger a chain reaction of peace, negotiations, regime changes and cease-fires across the region. Now it's unfolding before our eyes.

But the American and British media are far more focused on determining who lied about weapons of mass destruction before the war started.

Never mind that we have been searching for only three months in a nation the size of California, or that we have found chemical warfare suits, gas masks and mobile weapons labs. The media have rushed to the conclusion not only that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that Bush and Blair - and Clinton - lied when they said there were. That story, likely to be debunked by reality any day, occupies their full attention at a time when the dividends of the Bush policy are evident to anyone with eyes to see.

The ongoing terror raids in Iraq against our forces indicate that we have not finished paying the price for setting in motion the forces of humanity and peace. The sniping at Bush and Blair from the liberals and the media demonstrate that, domestically, no good deed goes unpunished in our harshly partisan environment. But why can't the left bring itself to admit that the war in Iraq has catalyzed the forces of peace in a way nobody thought possible a year ago?

The liberal mantra of the spring of '02 - that no invasion of Iraq was possible without first settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - has been stood on its head. It is now obvious that no solution to that intractable battle could happen until the invasion of Iraq had succeeded.
It is only by the demonstration of American willingness to act and to accept casualties that Israel felt sufficient wind at its back - and the Palestinians a sufficient gale in their faces - to make serious talks possible. Until Bush acted in Iraq, the Israelis felt alone and isolated and the Palestinian suicide bombers seemed triumphant.

But now, the American military presence in Iraq has bolstered those willing to take risks for peace in Israel and, likely, made the Saudis, Syrians and Iranians think twice before aiding their Palestinian allies. Facing a sharp drop in funding from their traditional friends, the Palestinians may be willing to sign the peace that can bring them American funding in return for a cessation of violence.

Dick Morris was an adviser to Bill Clinton for 20 years. Morris is a political consultant, commentator and best selling author. Look for his newest book, "Power Plays" available now and look for Dick's new book, "Off With Their Heads - Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists In American Politics".


Copyright 2003 Dick Morris
Distributed by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. to subscribers for publication.


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