* With the capture of Saddam Hussein, the IDF has lifted its ban on reporting a planned 1992 assassination attempt on the former Iraqi dictator: “Elite IDF Sayeret Matkal unit trained for Saddam hit in 1992”
* Israeli military analyst Elliot Chodoff writes that though Saddam’s ouster is a positive for Israel, it would be “foolishly oversimplistic” to believe that Israel no longer has signficant security threats – the position articulated by NY Times columnist Tom Friedman in a recent opinion piece. Says Chodoff:
It would be nice to see the Middle East as having been thoroughly transformed by the American campaign, but it is simply not the case. True, Saddam is out of the picture, and this has had a positive effect on Israel’s security. But there are more than a few leaders out there vying to replace him as a threat to Israel’s security, and some of them are in the east: Syria and Iran, to name a couple.
* Barry Rubin on the endangered species of Arab liberals:
The Middle East has been more effective at exporting authoritarianism than the West has been in exporting democracy…There is no great liberal theorist or reform advocate who galvanizes people in the Arab world. There is no major original book which provides a manifesto for moderation, and no powerful political party or movement pushing for democratic change.
* An informative article on Christians living in the disputed territories:
Despite…the general atmosphere of conflict during the last few years, the Christian communities continue to thrive. According to Israel’s English-language daily, the Jerusalem Post (November 18, 1994), the number of Christians living in Israel has trebled since the re-establishment of the State in 1948. Whether they are praising political actions of the Israeli government or criticizing them, Israel’s Christian population continues to experience freedom of speech, religion and movement.
Sadly, the same cannot be said about Christian communities living under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule. Here, they struggle for a place and a voice in a largely Moslem, non-democratic society.