Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Same War

Michael Ledeen, National Review Online:
No one should have any lingering doubts about what’s going on in the Middle East. It’s war, and it now runs from Gaza into Israel, through Lebanon and thence to Iraq via Syria. There are different instruments, ranging from Hamas in Gaza to Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon and on to the multifaceted “insurgency” in Iraq. But there is a common prime mover, and that is the Iranian mullahcracy, the revolutionary Islamic fascist state that declared war on us 27 years ago and has yet to be held accountable.

It is very good news that the White House immediately denounced Iran and Syria, just as Ambassador Khalilzad had yesterday tagged the terrorist Siamese twins as sponsors of terrorism in Iraq. For those who doubt the Iranian hand, remind yourself that Hezbollah is a wholly owned subsidiary of the mullahcracy (with Syria providing some supplies, and free run of the territory), and then read what Iraq the Model had to say yesterday, Wednesday: READ MORE
Hizbollah is Iran's and Syria's partner in feeding instability in Iraq as there were evidence that this terror group has a role in equipping and training insurgents in Iraq and Hizbollah had more than once openly showed support for the “resistance” in Iraq and sponsored the meetings of Baathist and radical Islamist militants who are responsible for most of the violence in Iraq.
Notice, please, that he says Iran “sponsored the meetings of Baathist and radical Islamist militants...” He is talking Sunnis here, the same Sunnis who, according to CIA deep thinkers and scads of academic experts, cannot possibly work closely with Shiites like, ahem, the mullahs of Tehran. Iraq the Model isn’t burdened by this wisdom, and so he just reports what he sees on the ground in his own country.

Notice also that over the weekend there was a “security summit” in Tehran, involving all of Iraq’s neighbors, at which Iran’s moonbat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made one of his trademark understatements about Israel. “The existence of this regime will bring nothing but suffering and misery for people in the region,” he mildly commented, and then said that the anger of the people might soon “lead to a vast explosion that will know no boundaries.”

Sounds to me like he knew something before the rest of us. As well he should, because Iran has been quite busy in Lebanon of late. The Lebanese Tourism Ministry’s Research Center announced an amazing statistic in early July: in the first six months of the year, 60,888 Iranian tourists visited Lebanon. No other Asian country came close (the Philippines ranked second, with a bit over 12,000). I don’t think that there’s enough disposable income in mullahland to cover the expenses of more than ten thousand people a month headed for the Beirut beaches. Do you think, as I do, that a goodly number of those “tourists” were up to no good? Maybe some of them were working for the Revolutionary Guards Corps? Or were Hezbollah operations people? I’ll bet you your favorite farm that one of them was the world’s most wanted man, Imad Mughniyah, the operations chieftain of Hizbollah, the world’s most lethal terrorist organization.

Actually I won’t bet; it would be unethical. We know that Mughniyah flew to Damascus a while back with Ahmadinejad, and went to Lebanon to work with his buddies.

In this war, there is no meaningful distinction between Iran and Syria, they work in tandem. It’s just that Iran gives the orders and Syria obeys.

There’s a lot of fanciful analysis of the recent expansion of the war, revolving around a general “why?” and a more specificwhy now?” Someone said that Iran was trying to distract world attention from the upcoming U.N. showdown over the mullahs’ atomic program, which seems silly to me. A U.N. debate serves Iran’s interest. It deflects attention from our growing awareness of Iran’s centrality in Iraq, and the urgency of going after the regimes in Tehran and Damascus. That is where Iran’s doom lies, not in the endless charade about the nukes.

I don’t think it is worth our time and energy to try to answer the why now?” except to agree with Allahpundit who remarked that there does seem to be something special about dates numbered “11.” The important thing to keep in mind is that both the Gaza and northern Israel attacks were planned for quite a while, which means that Iran wanted this war, this way. It isn’t just a target of opportunity or a sudden impulse; it’s part of a strategic decision to expand the war.

Iran has been at war with us all along, because that’s what the world’s leading terror state does. The scariest thing about this moment is that the Iranians have convinced themselves that they are winning, and we are powerless to reverse the tide. As I reported here several months ago, Khamenei told his top people late last year that the Americans and Israelis are both politically paralyzed. Neither can take decisive action against Iran, neither can sustain prolonged conflict and significant casualties. Meanwhile, the Supreme Leader said, the terrorists are all working for Iran, and we will expand the terror war.

Don’t think for a moment that they worry about victims in Gaza or Lebanon. They are delighted to see Israel fighting on two fronts, because they will use the pictures from the battlefield to consolidate their hold over the fascist forces in the region. After a few days of fighting, I would not be surprised to see some new kind of terrorist attack against Israel, or against an American facility in the region. An escalation to chemical weapons, for example, or even the fulfillment of the longstanding Iranian promise to launch something nuclear at Israel. They meant it when they said it, don’t you know?

The only way we are going to win this war is to bring down those regimes in Tehran and Damascus, and they are not going to fall as a result of fighting between their terrorist proxies in Gaza and Lebanon on the one hand, and Israel on the other. Only the United States can accomplish it.

Last week, President Mikheil Shaakashvili of free Georgia came to Washington and reminded us–not that it was much noticed — of America’s revolutionary mission. But President Bush heard it.I just sent over to President Bush the letter that Georgian freedom fighters years ago, and it never made it to the White House. It was intercepted by KGB and all the people who wrote it were shot,” Mr. Saakashvili said during a visit with the president in the Oval Office. I'm sure lots of people out there in Korea (and he might well have added, Syria and Iran) are writing similar letters today. And I'm sure that those letters will, eventually, (arrive)...because that's a part of the freedom agenda that President Bush has and we strongly believe in.”

As do millions of Syrians and Iranians. And you know what? Millions of Arabs all over the Middle East do too. Give them a chance to fight for their freedom, as we did with the Georgians. The longer we dither, the more likely it becomes that we will sadly and unnecessarily find ourselves in a military confrontation of some sort, with all the terrible consequences that entails.

Faster, please. Your options are narrowing. You cannot escape the mullahs. You must either defeat them or submit to their terrible vision. There is no other way.

- Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.