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After the rogues
[Daily Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Date: Jul 26, 2002
Start Page: 09.A
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

Sadly, social and political advancement will not happen overnight in Iraq, Syria or the Palestinian Authority. Indeed getting rid of [Saddam Hussein], [Assad] and [Yasser Arafat] could prove to be the easy part of the job. It is correct for President [George W. Bush] to at least try to help reform the Middle East. The challenge, however, of forcing political reform upon reluctant, well-entrenched and ruthless leaderships could prove as difficult as ending the Cold War was for his predecessors.

TAKING the Ba'ath regimes in Iraq and Syria as examples, both are ethnic minority tribes ruling over a wider population by means of fear and coercion. Both also have been known to use brutal force against any internal opposition groups, including the use of chemical weapons. Crucially, both have been in power for so long that they have expertly removed the major opposition figures from the scene. As a result, there are no clear viable, and moderate, alternative leaderships to the current despots. Consequently, even if any US action proved successful we would likely be left with the Romanian model of political change - where the leader changes, but the ideology remains relatively intact.

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