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12/17/03 - MIDEAST REACTS TO SADDAM CAPTURE - 2003-12-18

Around the world, people have welcomed the capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. U.S.-led coalition troops found Saddam near his hometown of Tikrit on December 13th. He was hiding in a man-made hole, only about a mile from one of the many grand palaces he had built for himself when he lorded it over the Iraqi people.

U.S. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez says that Saddam Hussein’s capture cannot be expected to bring an end to terrorist attacks by members of his ousted Baathist regime. But General Sanchez says the capture “will be regarded as the beginning of reconciliation for the people of Iraq.”

Arab journalist Said Sadek Amin says Saddam Hussein’s humiliating capture may dampen enthusiasm for dictatorial rule elsewhere in the Middle East:

“I hope that other dictators will take a hint and reexamine their ideas about endless rule, even against the will of the people -- rigging elections, refusing to reform, all the excuses that they bring so as not to bring democratization. The mask of lies has fallen.”

One of those who have not gotten the message is Abdel Aziz Rantissi, a leader of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. He warned that Saddam Hussein’s capture would lead to more terrorism. Hamas is one of several terrorist groups whose suicide bombings Saddam Hussein supported. But such groups, as increasing numbers of Palestinians realize, have brought nothing but misery to the people whose welfare they claim to be advancing.

The defeat of Saddam Hussein’s evil regime, and now his capture, says President George W. Bush, came about “through patience and resolve and focused action”:

“And that is our strategy moving forward. The war on terror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cell by cell, and victory by victory. Our security is assured by our perseverance and by our sure belief in the success of liberty.”

The U.S., says President Bush, “will not relent until this war is won.”