August 17, 1999
Stop ignoring Saddam
BY: Laurie Mylroie
It has been nine months since UN weapons inspectors were in
That is a danger which cannot be ignored, and addressing it
is far more important than whatever
Indeed, last week, the Barak government publicly revealed its concerns about the Iraqi danger. Its outspokenness stands in marked contrast to the Netanyahu government, which was strangely reticent about the Saddam menace.
Consequently, the Israeli public was left with the
impression that the
The Gulf war is not over for Saddam. Indeed, when George Bush ended the war with Saddam in power, the Shamir government regarded it an error of such magnitude that it set out to assassinate the Iraqi leader. But a tragic training accident occurred, the operation was canceled by the Rabin government, and in the years since, the danger posed by a resurgent Saddam faded from our consciousness.
That danger should have been recognized after the August
1995 defection of Hussein Kamil, Saddam's son-in- law, who had overseen
More than any other Israeli official, Ehud Barak has pressed the
The Iraqi National Congress represented the prospect of
overthrowing Saddam through a popular insurgency. Backed by the CIA, the INC
never received arms from the
In August 1996, Saddam marched some 40,000 troops northward
toward the Kurdish city of
It didn't even discuss the threat publicly at home. That's
why Israelis panicked in January 1998, when former UNSCOM chief inspector
Richard Butler said that
There are two ways to deal with the Saddam menace. One is to
return UN inspectors to
Others believe that will not work, and that Saddam must be
eliminated. That is the view of the US
Congress, which believes the
Last year Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act. Those who
believe the Saddam threat is acute want a significant
Such regions could include
One would think that would be of great interest to Israelis.
Yet the issue is scarcely discussed. That the Barak
government has said there is a serious Iraqi danger is a welcome first step.
But there should now be a full- fledged Israeli debate about how best to deal
with that menace, while the signal should be given to American Jews that they
should press the issue in
The writer is publisher of Iraq News, and, with Judith Miller, co -author of Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf (Random House).