Rice's Middle East Agenda

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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has embarked on a mission to the Middle East to reinforce the U.S. position on the recent surge of violence. Secretary Rice was right to announce that pressing for a ceasefire is not necessarily the best way to further the cause of peace — particularly if it rewards Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, which have done much to instigate the current conflict. Rice should make the case that the United States remains anxious to promote solutions that will bring stability and security to all nations in the region. She must be clear to all sides that there are three unchanging messages from Washington.

”Terrorism is Intolerable”


Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran have repeatedly demonstrated that they consider terrorism to be a legitimate instrument of foreign policy. Hezbollah believes that attacking Israel will raise its prestige in the region and expand its control over the countryside. Syria hopes that the chaos will allow it reassert its control of Lebanon. Iran promotes the fighting to divert attention from efforts to end its nuclear ambitions. These are contemptible actions. The United States rejects the proposition that the intentional slaughter of innocents is an acceptable way to promote any agenda. Secretary Rice must dissuade the terrorists and their state sponsors from the notion that they can benefit by terrorist tactics and press others do the same.

”Moderation Matters”

The Arab world is hardly unified in its support for the Shiite-dominated Hezbollah. Many Sunnis fear that the group and its sponsorship by radical Shiite mullahs in Tehran are as much of a threat to them as to Israel. Even terrorist weblogs are debating whether an emboldened Hezbollah is a blessing or curse. The United States must reaffirm its support for moderate Arabs who recognize that the only real chance to achieve the blessings of honor and justice is to reject groups like Hezbollah that would slaughter or enslave one people to promote another.

”Freedom Always Finds a Way”

Hezbollah is at war