Rice Cites Democracy as Cause to Hope for Peace
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2005 People's growing preference for democratic processes and a corresponding opposition to terrorism are increasing the opportunity for peace, America's top diplomat said in Jerusalem Nov. 13.
"Today we have hope for peace because the international community is united in its historic struggle against terrorism," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on a stop of her tour of the Middle East.
Rice said Middle Eastern populations also are clamoring against using terrorism as a method of solving societal or political problems. "And they are rejecting the bankrupt belief that national struggles or religious teachings legitimize the intentional killing of innocents," she said.
For example, senior government and religious leaders from around the world, including top officials and private citizens across the Middle East, have condemned the Nov. 9 terrorist bombings in Amman, Jordan, that killed 57 people. "Fortunately, now, leaders and clerics and private citizens are stepping forward and taking to the streets and calling this evil by its name," Rice said. "This is a profound change, and there are others."
Political reforms are under way in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while Libya has given up its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Rice said. And the Syrian government is becoming increasingly isolated from the world community over its policies over Lebanon and Iraq, she noted.
Rice said the end of Saddam Hussein's rule and Iraq's achieving more freedoms for its 25 million people are also heartening for world peace.
"We have hope for peace because Saddam Hussein is no longer terrorizing his people, threatening his region and paying the families of suicide bombers," Rice said. Today, the former Iraqi dictator is sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.
After decades of tyranny under Saddam and other despotic rulers, Iraqis are looking forward to governing themselves by the rule of law rather than by the rule of guns or beatings, Rice said.
Iraqis today are working through their new democratic process to avoid civil conflicts that terrorists would clearly like to ignite, Rice said. "They have freely voted twice. They have written and ratified a constitution," she said.
"But perhaps the most extraordinary and hopeful change of recent years has been the growing consensus, led by the United States, that we must support the chorus of reform now resounding throughout the Middle East," Rice said.