|MAY 1997||PUBLISHED BY AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL|
CLINTON AND TERROR
Germany's recall of its ambassador from Iran, and the possibility that it will impose economic sanctions on Teheran, offer the Clinton administration an example, however mild, of how the West should deal with regimes that sponsor international terrorism.
The German action comes in response to a German court ruling that the assassination of four Iranian Kurdish dissidents in Berlin in 1992 was authorized by a group which included Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Minister of Intelligence, and the Iranian government's foreign policy director.
The Clinton administration praised the court ruling and urged Germany and the European Union to respond by imposing economic sanctions on Iran. Even if Germany alone imposes sanctions, they will be felt in Teheran, since the Germans export $1.3-billion worth of goods to Iran each year, and import about $650-million worth in return.
Yet while Washington urges the Europeans to get tough with terrorists, the Clinton administration itself refuses to take any meaningful action against Arab regimes that sponsor or aid terrorists.
The administration has never taken any serious action against Syria, despite the fact that a dozen international terrorist groups have headquarters in Damascus or Syrian-occupied Lebanon, and Syria continues to sponsor the Hezbollah rocket terrorism against northern Israel.
Syria's role in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, in which 270 people were killed, has never been fully investigated by the U.S., despite substantial evidence that the attack was at least partly the work of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a Syrian-controlled Palestinian Arab terrorist group. More recently, there is evidence of a Syrian connection to last year's bombing in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, in which 19 American soldiers were killed. According to the London Sunday Telegraph, the massive truck bomb used in the Dharan attack was constructed by terrorists in Syrian-controlled Lebanon and driven through Syrian territory on its way to Saudi Arabia. A prime suspect in the bombing fled to Syria but then conveniently died --the Syrians
say he committed suicide-- before he could be questioned by Saudi authorities. Yet there is no indication that any serious U.S. investigation of the Syrian connection to Dharan is underway.
Washington should also be more than a little concerned about Syria's growing alliance with terrorist Iran. The Iranian Defense Minister recently visited Damascus to make arrangements for the deployment of 25 Iranian fighter jets in Syria; to sign a deal providing Syria with 50 more Scud-C missiles; and to pledge Iranian financing of Syria's forthcoming arms purchases from Russia.
Nevertheless, the State Department's policy towards Syria still revolves around the notion that Syria should be praised and coddled so that it will agree to take the Golan Heights from Israel. Although Congress has passed legislation imposing strict trade sanctions on terror-sponsoring regimes --and Syria is still on the official list of such regimes-- the administration pushed through a loophole to allow certain kinds of trade with Syria.
The Clinton administration likewise refuses to face up to the PLO's aiding and abetting of terrorism. The administration knows that Arafat has given the "green light" to terrorist groups to attack Israel. It knows that he has never expelled the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine from the PLO, despite their continuing terrorism. It knows that Arafat has never extradited terrorists
May 1997 - 1 - Outpost