Letter: Taming tyrants

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Sir: As a humanitarian, I feel obliged to assist David Aaronovitch in finding a non-military solution to the Iraq crisis ("Unfortunately, there really was no alternative to bombing Iraq", 22 December).

During the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, Ayatollah Khomeni needed to be "kept in his cage" with not a whimper from the British or the Americans when Iraq invaded its neighbour, and used chemical weapons against Iran.

Now it seems that recently Saddam Hussein has become a brutal dictator. The Anglo-American definition of a ruthless dictator is one who no longer falls into line with Washington's diktat.

There is another state within the region which has defied the will of the international community. This state continues to threaten its neighbours, indeed has illegally occupied the territories of not one but three countries. It has abused the rights of citizens living under its rule and has been a serial breaker of promises in the peace process. It has amassed a stockpile of nuclear weapons and refuses to sign up to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. This state is Israel.

Saddam Hussein is a tyrant. He should be made to comply with Security Council resolutions and should be prevented from acquiring horrific weaponry. Israel must also be made to comply to UN resolutions. It must also be open to weapons inspections.

There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world. Islam is the fastest growing religion, with an increasing political influence in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the former Soviet republics.

The leaders of the Arab countries represent a failed nationalist ideology. The leaders of the Western world would do well to realise that the kings and self-appointed presidents in the Arab world will not remain in power for long. A bitter and resentful Islamic world, suspicious of the West and the United Nations, is the last thing that Britain and America would wish to create. We are, I fear, fast approaching its birth.

The alternative to bombing, Mr Aaronovitch, is a comprehensive and just Middle East peace process. Only then are the tyrants exposed and isolated.


Edmonton, London