Saturday, January 06, 2007
Headline of the Day
Israeli Experts Say Middle East Was Safer With Saddam in Iraq —The Forward
And it goes on to say—
Although few tears were shed in Israel over Saddam Hussein’s death last week, a small but growing chorus — including government officials, academics and Iraqi émigrés — is warning that Israel could find itself in more danger with him gone, and that it might even regret having welcomed his toppling.
“Retrospectively, justice has been done,” Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israel Radio this week. Still, he cautioned, Israel must now be concerned “about what is liable to happen in the future.”
Saddam’s death, Sneh warned, could lead to “a reinforcement of Iranian influence in Iraq.” He said that Iraq had turned into a “volcano of terror” following the war, with “destructive energies” that could spill over into Jordan and Israel.
Such misgivings, though rarely aired publicly for fear of offending Washington, reach high into Israel’s security establishment. Yuval Diskin, director of the Shin Bet security service, told a group of students in a military preparatory program last May that Israel might come to regret its support for the American-led invasion in March 2003.
“Saddam’s regime was preferable — not only for us but for all the states in the region, except for maybe the Iranians,” [Hebrew University security specialist] Barak said. “Saddam held together a divided, tribal, hostile state of Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds. He was a single man who made all decisions, and he was a rational leader. The moment he was gone, everything fell apart.”
How badly did Saddam treat Iraqi Jews?
A few years into the Iran-Iraq war, ... Saddam moderated his anti-Israel stance.... Jews in Iraq were now protected by a special unit and had a phone number to call if harassed. “Nobody could touch us,” said Emad Levy, who lived in Iraq at the time.
The notion that Israel would miss Saddam Hussein doesn't spring lightly to mind. But then who could have believed that I would miss Richard Nixon, who grows enormously in stature when viewed alongside the Presidential Nincompoop?