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Jewish World Review August 25, 2003 / 27 Tamuz, 5763

Michael Ledeen

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Iraq's terrorists have friends in high places


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Long before the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I wrote that the coalition had better be ready for a relentless terrorist assault, in both Afghanistan and Iraq, once Saddam had been toppled.

We had waited an unconscionably long time between the liberation of Afghanistan and the move against Saddam, thereby giving the terror masters in Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh abundant opportunity to plan their response. They decided to repeat what they saw as their winning strategy in Lebanon in the 1980s (driving out the United States and France) and 1990s (compelling an Israeli withdrawal from the south).

Iranian and Syrian leaders made no secret of their intent, and Bashar Assad even gave an interview in which he brazenly informed us -- and potential recruits to the jihad -- that the terror masters would use religiously inspired insurrection, assassination and terrorism, first to bloody and then to humiliate the West, and anyone who joined us.

Just a few days ago, Paul Bremer -- the de facto governor of Iraq -- complained at the large number of foreign terrorists flowing into the country, and he specifically labelled Iran as a prime mover. He announced that intelligence officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were actively organizing terrorist operations.

Tuesday's Financial Times carried a front-page story warning that thousands of Saudis were headed to Iraq to attack U.S. and British targets.

Now perhaps more people will understand that the jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan is not limited to the citizens of one or two countries, but is waged against anyone who tries to make Iraq a free and successful country. The terror masters know that they would not survive successful democratic revolution on their doorsteps, because their own people would demand their freedom.

The facts have been available for a long time, and no one should be surprised at the truck bomb attack on the UN's offices in Baghdad on Tuesday, which claimed the life of the UN special representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

But, as human nature contains an unlimited quantum of hope despite millennia of intensely unpleasant experience, many will resist drawing the obvious conclusions and, even more, be reluctant to take appropriate action.

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The jihad in Iraq is simply a continuation of the terror war against the West that saw its most recent apogee on Sept. 11, 2001. That war has been on for more than a quarter-century, and the terror masters will continue to wage it until they have won or lost.

This terror war is currently centred in the Middle East (although battles are also waged in South Asia), where we are engaged in a regional conflict with Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Until the regimes of those countries surrender or are removed, we will be attacked, both in the Middle East and in our own countries.

And we cannot buy our way out of this war by changing our policies on such questions as Palestine and Israel, or on the presence of armed forces on Saudi soil, or by going easy on the weapons of mass destruction programs of Syria and Iran.

Indeed, those who see peace between Israel and Palestine as the most urgent issue in the region should be the most vigorous in supporting democratic revolution in Syria and Iran, since it is clear that a good deal of Palestinian terrorism has been organized by the mullahcracy in Tehran, and the terrorists have trained in Syrian-occupied Lebanon.

Other lingering misconceptions about the nature of the terror network have got in the way of clear understanding and hence of effective policy. The U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and his British counterpart, Jack Straw, often speak as if they believe we could actually enlist Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran in the war against terror, which is rather like Roosevelt convincing himself that he could enlist Hitler and Mussolini in a war against Japan following Pearl Harbor.

That such serious and distinguished people have embraced a delusion of such magnitude testifies both to the cunning of the terror masters and the painful obligations that the truth imposes on the free societies of the world.

It would be nice to settle things at the negotiating table, and we are inclined to talk and talk, and walk last mile after last mile, to avoid the unpleasant reality that we are indeed at war.

Perhaps the bombing of the UN offices will clarify things, and spur the feckless critics of the war against terrorism to join us. The terror masters do not think that will happen. They expect that the flow of body bags will stimulate world public opinion to demand an end to the "occupation" of Iraq -- which would transform Iraq and Afghanistan from humiliating defeats for the Islamists into glorious triumphs over the West.

The terror masters would then have demonstrated one of their central theses: that the crusaders and infidels of the West have no stomach for real fighting, and lack the tenacity and determination to prevail in this war.

That would be a catastrophe, especially because our victories against the Taliban and Saddam have threatened the terror regimes as never before. Particularly in Iran -- the most powerful engine of the terror network -- the overwhelming majority of the people desperately wish to be free, and passionately want to join the ranks of civilized countries.

Modest support of the Iranian people would probably bring the downfall of the mullahs, thereby removing the linchpin of the terrorist edifice. Without Iran, the Syrians would be unable to sustain the murderous activities of groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and both the Baathist regime in Damascus and the terrorists it has been supporting would be easy prey for their enemies.

The terror masters are wounded and frightened, but they are still on the battlefield and they are determined to prevail. They understand, correctly in my opinion, that it is all a matter of will. We have more than enough power to prevail, but we have yet to demonstrate the resolve to impose victory on our enemies.


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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, ""The War Against the Terror Masters," Comment by clicking here.

Up

07/10/03: The Future of Iran: Armitage might want to rethink that "democracy" line
07/02/03: Looking Toward July 9: Independence Day in Iran?
06/24/03: Iran: Back the freedom fighters
06/17/03: The Iranian Revolution, 2003: Regime change in the air
06/05/03: Academic Standards: A Middle East scholar has his way with the truth.
05/28/03: The Moment of Truth? U.S. policy could determine Iran's destiny
05/15/03: Iran's Path: Stopping the mullahs in their tracks
05/13/03: The Nuclear Axis of Evil: The people solution
05/08/03: Inside the Dark: Applebaum's ‘Gulag’
05/06/03: Tough Guy: Powell's curious priority list
05/01/03: Desert Shame Redux: Want a free Iran and a free Syria? We have to fight for it
04/25/03: Timing Is Everything: We have a narrow window in Iraq to win Shiite support
04/15/03: Political war can remove terror masters in Syria and Iran
04/07/03: The Others: We have miles to go in eliminating the Axis
04/02/03: French Lies: Take the foreign minister at his word
03/31/03: Why muzzle Saddam's foes?
03/28/03: The post-war terror threat
03/26/03: All Fronts: Military war, political war, psychological war
03/24/03: More Bad News for Daschle: Taking out terror of all nationalities
03/21/03: The Killer Pneu: Virus terror from China
03/13/03: Iran: Nuclear suicide bombers?
03/11/03: A Theory: What if there's method to the Franco-German madness?
03/05/03: The Iranian-Election Revolt: The people speak. The West won't listen
02/19/03: The willful blindness of those who will not see
02/12/03: The Europeans Know More Than They Now Pretend? They choose to dawdle and obstruct
02/03/03: Monumental failure: Nelson Mandela had promise
01/30/03: Elevation: The president knows what it's all about
01/29/03: No Leader: France's Chirac is all about personal interest
01/28/03: The Axis of Evil Redux: Same place, a year later
01/27/03: The Return of the Ayatollah: Washington could afford a little more attention on Iran
01/13/03: How we could lose
01/09/03: Fish are Better than Women: Gauging U.S. priorities
01/07/03: The Shape of Things to Come: The terror masters are now waiting for us
12/20/02: A Prophecy for the New Year --- Faster, please!
12/16/02: Scud Surrender: The "W" factor
12/13/02: The Heart of Darkness: The mullahs make terror possible
12/12/02: The Real War
12/09/02: Tom Friedman's Reformation: His Iran
11/26/02: How Tyrannies Fall: Opportunity time in Iran
11/22/02: The Blind Leading the Blind: The New York Times and the Iranian crisis
11/13/02: The Temperature Rises: We should liberate Iran first --- now
11/05/02: End of the Road: Iran's Mohammed Khatami, on his way out
10/29/02: The Angleton Dialogues, Contnued: What George Tenet doesn’t know
10/24/02: The Iranian Comedy Hour: In the U.S., the silence continues
10/16/02: Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper? Channeling James Jesus Angleton
10/01/02: The real foe
09/27/02: The Iranian String Quartet: The mullahs get increasingly nervous
09/25/02: The Dubya Doctrine
09/23/02: Intelligence? What intelligence?
09/12/02: America's revenge: To turn tyrannies into democracies
09/10/02: Iran & Afghanistan & Us: We'll have to deal with the mullahcracy, sooner or later
09/04/02: Iran, according to the Times: All the nonsense that's fit to print
08/21/02: Life and death of Abu Nidal tells us a great deal about our enemies
08/08/02: Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran
08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen