For GOP Ticket in 2000: a Woman VP

Regarding "GOP Looks to Future, Sees Governors" (Sept. 23): The Republican Party does indeed have a talent pool of state governors who are potential presidential candidates. But to win in 2000 and beyond, the GOP will probably have to balance its ticket with a more moderate, progressive vice presidential candidate.

Whether the perception is deserved or not, the GOP is seen as far right, anti-women, and somewhat mean spirited. It would seem to make sense for the Republicans to select a female vice president who has the reputation of being pro-women's rights.

Gov. Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas each fills the bill as a woman who could help bring the image of the party more into the mainstream of American society. They are all pro-choice to one degree or another and could help narrow the gender gap currently favoring the Democrats.

Of course, it would probably make good sense for the Democrats to also select a female candidate for either the presidential or the V.P. slot.

George A. Dean

Southport, Conn.

Syria's place in Mideast peace

Regarding "Wild Card in Mideast Peace:Syria" and "Syria Questions Its Place on America's 'Black List'" (Sept. 24) : It was refreshing that Israel's violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the occupied Golan Heights is mentioned. Why is this a rare occurence in the news media?

Although the Israeli government has claimed the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to territories occupied in June 1967, virtually all governments in the world disagree. The Geneva Conventions set a minimum standard of conduct by nations in conflict. The selective application of these Conventions by a signatory state weakens the Conventions and makes it harder for other nations to be held to their standards.

Syria was kept on the United States' list of nations supporting terrorist activities solely on the grounds that Abdullah Ocalan's Kurdish Worker's Party (PKK) operated from Syria and had carried out acts of terror in areas of Turkey bordering Syria. Many analysts felt that anti-Turkish PKK operations, which may or may not have had Syrian support, were weak grounds for keeping Syria on the "pariah" list.

Finally, Syrian forces entered Lebanon as the largest contingent of the Arab League's "Deterrent Force" (quwat al-radda) in 1976. This force began to bring some peace to Lebanon. However, the 1978 Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon demonstrated to Syria potential vulnerability along its border with Lebanon. A withdrawal from Lebanon would necessarily be contingent upon a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

The subsequent Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the continued de facto occupation of the so-called "security zone" in southern Lebanon reinforces Syrian fears and perceptions of vulnerability.

The Middle East conflict has grown more complex over the years and it is worth pointing out the legitimate fears Arab nations have of Israel, as Israel's concerns seem to be the basis for reporting on the region.

Kent Morris

Los Angeles

partner, Morris & Morris

Middle East Consultants

Your articles on Syria have broken the pattern of cookie-cutter stories that so frequently appear in the press. The Arab-Israeli peace process is breaking down over our unwillingness to confront Israel on its designs on the occupied territories. We publicly call on both sides to avoid actions that will aggravate the situation.

But whereas Congress will cut funds and offices of the Palestinians, nothing is done as the Likud government unilaterally grabs Arab homes or properties. Syria is correct in opposing the upcoming summit. To bring the Likud government to its senses, Arabs should stand firm.

Joseph Elias

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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