Amir Taheri quotes two Middle Eastern notables in his column yesterday, and I think it is worth repeating the statements here:
Assad has also liberated scores of political prisoners and promised to hold multiparty elections soon. Last month a petition signed by over 400 Syrian prominent citizens offered a damning analysis of Ba’athist rule and called for political and economic reforms. The fact that the signatories were not arrested, and that their demands were mentioned in the state-controlled media, amount to a retreat by Syrian despotism.
“What we need is a space of freedom in which to think and speak without fear,” says a leading Syrian economist. “Bashar knows that if he does not create that space, many Syrians will immigrate to Iraq and be free under American rule.”
A similar view is expressed by Hussein Khomeini, a mid-ranking mullah and a grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic in Iran.
“I decided to leave Iran and settle in Iraq where the Americans have created a space of freedom Hussein Khomeini says. “ The coming of freedom to Iraq will transform the Muslim world.”
Hussein Khomeini is one of more than 200 Iranian mullahs who recently moved from Qom, the main centre of Iranian Shiism, to Najaf and Karbala, in central Iraq, to escape “the suffocating atmosphere of despotism in Iran.”
Choosing to immigrate to Iraq? I think these two quotes–to say the least–are a great indicator that US policy in Iraq has already had positive affects. And, if the lack-of-liberty-being-the-root-of-terror proposal is correct, the US is off on a good start in the war on Terror.