February 21, 1998 in Nation/World

Cda Native Has Lived In ‘Hornet’s Nest’ Dolan Has Seen 2 Decades Of Middle East Conflict

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The threat of domestic terrorism may be increasing with every warning President Clinton issues to Iraq.

Reports in Israel indicate Saddam Hussein has been preparing a terroristic response in the U.S. while stockpiling nonconventional weapons in his Iraqi “palace complexes,” said Dave Dolan, a Coeur d’Alene native who has chronicled tensions in the Middle East for nearly two decades.

“This crisis does have the potential to explode,” Dolan said during an interview Friday while visiting Coeur d’Alene.

Hopes to reach a diplomatic solution to provide U.N. inspectors unlimited access to Saddam’s arms sites have waned recently. Clinton repeatedly has threatened military force if access is denied.

In Jerusalem, the feeling is the U.S. must make an “all or nothing” commitment to military force, said Dolan, a CBS news correspondent who has authored two books about tensions in the Middle East.

Israelis were left disappointed in 1991 when former President Bush pulled troops out of Iraq short of forcing Saddam from power.

“They tend to feel like that’s like going into a hornet’s nest, swinging at it, killing a few and leaving the queen bee,” Dolan said.

Israel - which at the insistence of the Bush administration stayed out of the Gulf War - was left with the image that it backed down from Saddam’s challenge. This time, Israel stands ready to respond should Saddam choose to attack it, Dolan said.

Israeli leaders realize a military response could worsen relations in the Middle East, but believe they must take that chance.

“They were worried then and they’re worried now about the psychology of the situation,” said Dolan, who has lived in Israel the past 18 years.

Dolan arrived in the Middle East as a 24-year-old journalist looking for a break from jobs he had held at Coeur d’Alene and Spokane radio stations. He went to Israel under the sponsorship of a U.S. ministry to work on a kibbutz - a cooperative farming and living program.

He planned to stay only a year. Word of his U.S. broadcast experience got around and he soon was offered a job at a South Lebanon radio station in 1982.

Dolan was the station’s news director when Israeli forces pushed into South Lebanon a year later. War planes zoomed overhead.

“I was reporting on a story that was happening outside the door of the station, literally,” Dolan said.

He moved to Jerusalem in 1984. After spending four years covering U.S.-related terrorism incidents for a Boston-based CBS affiliate, he landed a network job.

Dolan, 42, still works part time for CBS, but now spends nearly half the year speaking around the world about the conflict in the Middle East.

He’s currently promoting the release of his latest book, “Israel at the Crossroads, Fifty Years and Counting.” The paperback book is an update of “Holy War for the Promised Land,” which was published in 1991.

Considered by many to be an expert on the Middle East, Dolan said Saddam will not stop producing nonconventional weapons unless he is forced to. If that means U.S. military action, there must be a total commitment, he said.

“If it’s not all, then maybe it should be nothing,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

Lecture

Dolan is scheduled to speak twice next Sunday at Coeur d’Alene’s Bethel Baptist Church.

This sidebar appeared with the story: Lecture Dolan is scheduled to speak twice next Sunday at Coeur d’Alene’s Bethel Baptist Church.


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