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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Arab Leaders Wouldn't Get a Break From Kerry

August 12, 2004

Re "Bush Fires Up Mideast Reform," Opinion, Aug. 8: Neil Hicks quotes Egyptian novelist Ibrahim Eissa as saying, "Every Arab government is hoping for the defeat of George Bush." This because President Bush has pushed for reforms that oppressive Arab governments would rather not have to deal with. But it's hard to imagine any president after 9/11 not going to the hard-line Arab governments and saying, "OK, game over." Certainly Al Gore would have, and certainly John Kerry will continue to push for human rights and reform in the Arab world as a necessary front in the fight against terrorism.

What Bush has left shamefully -- and shockingly -- alone is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What velocity there was after 9/11 to go over and just sit there until there was a working resolution, thereby depriving Al Qaeda and like-minded terrorists of the use of Palestinians as their poster children. Arab governments should not believe they will get a free ride from a Democratic administration in terms of pressure for reform. A more interesting question is who Osama bin Laden is hoping to see in office the next four years, and that, without question, is George Bush.

Katy Hickman

Eagle Rock

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