(VOA Editorial)  (480)

1Following is an editorial, broadcast by the Voice of America June 14,

reflecting the views of the U.S. government.)

The events of the past few years have brought profound changes to the

Middle East.  The effect of these changes on U.S. policy was the subject of

a recent speech by Martin Indyk, senior director for Middle East policy for

the White House National Security Council.  Indyk said that such factors as

the proliferation of ballistic missiles and the spread of extremism mean

that conflict in one part of the region can have a dramatic impact on

events elsewhere.  As an example he cited the Persian Gulf war, which

demonstrated that "the missile age in the Middle East has created a

situation where Riyadh and Tel Aviv can find themselves under simultaneous

Iraqi attack."

In regard to Iraq, Indyk said the United States will continue to press for

full compliance with all U.N. resolutions, including Resolution 688, which

calls on the regime to end its repression of the Iraqi people.  The United

States has also decided to seek the establishment of a U.N. commission to

investigate the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq

itself.  The purpose, said Indyk, "is to establish clearly...that the

current regime in Iraq is a criminal regime, beyond the pale of

international society."  The United States is also providing strong backing

for the Iraqi National Congress as a democratic alternative to the Saddam

Hussein regime.

Indyk said that "containing the threat from Iran is a more difficult though

no less necessary undertaking."  He said that, "Iran is engaged in a

five-part challenge to the United States and the international community.

It is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism and assassination across the

globe.  Through its support for Hamas and Hizbollah, Iran is doing its best

to thwart our efforts to promote peace between Israel, the Palestinians and

the Arab states.  Through its connections with Sudan, Iran is...actively

seeking to subvert friendly (Arab) governments.  Through its active efforts

to acquire offensive weapons, Iran is seeking an ability to dominate the

(Persian) Gulf by military means.  And, perhaps most disturbing," said

Indyk, Iran is seeking the capability to develop nuclear weapons and "the

ballistic missiles to deliver weapons of mass destruction to the Middle


Indyk stressed that the United States "is not opposed to Islamic government

in Iran.  Indeed," he said, "we have excellent relations with a number of

Islamic governments.  Rather, we are firmly opposed to these specific

aspects of the Iranian regime's behavior, as well as its abuse of the human

rights of the Iranian people."  Indyk said the United States does "not seek

a confrontation, but we will not normalize relations with Iran until and

unless Iran's policies change."