ABU DHABI Ñ The United States will not be satisfied with toppling Saddam Hussein, but also seeks to change other regimes throughout
the Arab world.
Richard Perle, chairman of the U.S. Defense Advisory Board, said the
regimes include those in Iran, Libya and Syria. Perle told Arab
journalists during a trip to London last week that the U.S. tactic would
differ for each country.
Perle, who is close to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is said to be
one of the architects in the Bush administration on the policy of the
toppling of the Saddam regime, Middle East Newsline reported. He has played a leading, if behind-the-scenes role in
diplomatic, political and military aspects of the current
Iraqi-U.S. confrontation as well as the war against terrorism.
Change is needed in all those three countries [Iran, Libya and Syria],
and a few others besides," Perle told the London-based author and analyst
But Perle said the regimes in Iran and Syria could be changed without
direct U.S. intervention. He said the United States would help democratic
reform movements in those countries.
"I think Iran can be changed by the action of the Iranian people," Perle
told Taheri, an Iranian exile. "I believe that Syria, too, can organize
change from within."
In a separate interview with the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat, Perle
listed what Washington would demand from Damascus. The key demand is the
expulsion of groups deemed by the State Department as terrorist groups.
"A lot will be required from Syrian President Bashar Assad not only in
terms of reform, but also the closure of the offices of terrorist
organizations and the return of Lebanon to the Lebanese.
Perle told Taheri that Washington would be tougher with Libya, which has
been accused of developing medium-range missiles and weapons of mass
destruction. But Perle would not elaborate.
"As for Libya, it is a weird case," Perle said. "For the time being it
is out of world reality. But the colonel knows that we have our eyes on
Perle said he does not expect significant Arab opposition to U.S. policy
in the Middle East. He said the U.S. effort against the regime of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein has garnered the support of at least 12 Arab
countries. He did not name them.
"Not a single Arab state is making the slightest move against our policy
on this issue," Perle said. "And at least a dozen are actively cooperating
with us in whatever field we require. What interests me is that almost all
Arab states are showing a sense of realism and an understanding of their own
interests on this issue."