- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Saudi king is no peacemaker

As I first read the Op-Ed “ ’Peacemaker’ king” (Tuesday) about King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, by S. Rob Sobhani, I thought I was reading satire, so divorced from reality is its content. Not only do the so-called Mecca accords not advance peace in the Middle East, they are actually inimical to it. American interests are not served by an agreement that props up Hamas nor by one that lasts only a week or two before the internecine blood fest in Gaza resumes (as it has). And to call the Saudi king a “peacemaker” and a “visionary” is to ignore the fact that it is radical Saudi ideology, developed in the kingdom and actively promulgated by it, that lies at the heart of Islamic fascism.

King Abdullah is acting entirely in his own interests as his neighborhood grows exponentially more dangerous. The Mecca get-together was prompted by accelerating Iranian influence in the region (and particularly among the Palestinian radical leadership) and was an attempt to counter that influence. The king’s concern for the Palestinians is bogus. No one in that part of the world has forgotten Palestinian support for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which placed the Saudis directly in harm’s way. And Americans should not be persuaded that a repressive regime whose hand was all too evident on September 11 should suddenly become an “equal partner” in Middle Eastern peacemaking.

DAVID KROSS

Columbia, Md.

In his effusive praise of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, S. Rob Sobhani overlooks the fact that the king has been operating only in the best interests of his nation and certainly not as a man dedicated to a just Arab-Israeli peace. At the Mecca conference, he was able, by completely bowing to the wishes of Hamas, to establish a temporary truce between the warring Palestinian Arab factions at the expense of the future security of Israel.

With Saudi Arabia still nominally at war with Israel, he has reiterated the key points of both Hamas and Fatah, namely, immediate withdrawal of Israel to the indefensible pre-1967 armistice lines, and the right of return of the descendants of Arabs displaced during the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict to the 1948 Israel, insuring the end of the Jewish state.

King Abdullah’s proposals are a sham designed to suppress the Shi’ite-Sunni conflict, which threatens the safety of its oil-producing areas and, at the same time, to allow the Arab-Israeli conflict to be exacerbated by a Hamas government dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Admittedly, King Abdullah is a master politician, but his goals are in direct opposition to a future equitable resolution of the Middle East problems — a further isolation of Israel and a continuing cold war against that nation, while giving free rein to funding its enemies.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

The ‘fall guy’

While there is a certain degree of assurance when we see that even people high up in the Bush administration are held responsible for their infractions, I get the feeling that former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. ended up being the fall guy for other people within the administration (“Libby found guilty on 4 counts,” Page 1, yesterday). Apparently some members of the jury feel the same way, and one of them said so after the verdict was read. It is great when justice is served, though I would hope that the questions of what happened with the leaking of a CIA agent’s name don’t stop now that the trial is over.

STEVEN M. CLAYTON

Ocean, N.J.

Opposing views

Tarron Lively’s article “Critics rap plan for NW condos,” (Metropolitan, Sunday) is the best article I’ve seen in any of our local newspapers on pressure for overdevelopment along upper Wisconsin Avenue. In addition to the more than 70 people who came out to demonstrate at the site where the John Akridge Development Co. proposes building a seven-story residential building, more than 500 residents living within three blocks of the site signed petitions opposing the project. They represent more than 91 percent of the residences in that area.

The article quotes Allie Hajian of the group Ward 3 Vision as supporting the Akridge project. Unlike those who signed the petitions, Miss Hajian does not live near it and will not have to face the consequences of additional gridlock on Wisconsin Avenue and cut-through traffic on our parked-up neighborhood streets, or fear for the safety of her children.

DAVID FRANKEL

Washington

Clinton, Iraq and 2008

Tod Lindberg’s claim that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vote for the authorization of the war in Iraq is a problem in her run for president is accurate for two reasons (“Hillary Clinton’s Iraq problem,” Op-Ed, Tuesday).

First, most liberals still falsely believe Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities were not a threat even though her husband used military force against Saddam several times for that very reason.

Too many liberals continue to believe there was no real evidence that Saddam had WMD in spite of the irrefutable fact that President George H.W. Bush’s administration provided precursor WMD materials to Saddam and stood by quietly while he used them to mass murder the Iraqi Kurds and then mass murder Iranians.

The other more important reason her vote is a problem is because it assisted the current Bush administration in starting a war that has turned out badly. Very badly.

Some may have predicted that would happen or believed invading Iraq was a costly distraction from going after Osama bin Laden, or would only make global matters worse in the long run. There is simply no way anyone could have rationally predicted the abysmal performance of the Bush administration’s execution of its war powers — and its repeated incompetence in mismanaging a war while at the same time mismanaging a vital occupation.

Mrs. Clinton is a brilliant politician but I don’t support her. While there is no doubt in my mind that she would be a better president than any Bush or even her own husband, I no longer believe in politicians.

As I see it, the only person who is really qualified to lead our nation out of its divisions and failed policies is an individual who is not a politician. Someone who is an authentic person first and a true leader second. I can only hope that either party nominates just such a candidate in 2008. There appears to be a few from both parties that fit this description.

CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville, Md.

Thank you

The Metropolitan editor deserves commendation for the excellent news obituary article recalling the distinguished military career and signal accomplishments of my father, Chester Joswick (“Chester Joswick, 79, retired warrant officer,” Obituaries, Friday).

Historian Merle T. Cole, however, should have been cited as the author of the January 2001 Anne Arundel County History News article discussing the runaway missile incident. My father’s observations to Mr. Cole correcting inaccuracies in contemporary newspaper accounts of the incident by the New York Times and The Washington Post served as the basis for the article.

It should have also been noted that my father was not only awarded a Meritorious Service medal but National Defense Service and Army Commendation medals as well. The latter cited him for “noteworthy achievements” that “gained for him the respect and admiration of those with whom he associated.” Finally, my father’s sister, Christine Joswick, resides in Lemont rather than “Lemon,” Ill.

JOHN J. JOSWICK

Laurel

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