By Michael Ledeen, www.PajamasMedia.com
In the real war, our major enemies are the evil regimes in Iran and Syria, and both are hollow and wobbling, needing only one good push to go over.
Syrian soldiers are defecting in significant numbers, while brave, peaceful demonstrators continue to fill the streets despite the likelihood of arrest, torture, and death. The regime is unleashing mass slaughter, as army troops fire blindly into the crowds from a safe distance, a sure sign that Assad has lost control, despite massive Iranian assistance.
In Iran, the war of all against all at the highest levels of the regime continues unabated. The latest tumult revolves around the theft of billions of dollars from the major banks, and it is accompanied by strikes at bazaars and factories, explosions in pipelines and refineries, and open warfare along the borders with the Kurds, where, despite the regime’s usual disinformation campaign, Iranian casualties have been significant. Somehow the Kurds are being armed, and they are notoriously good fighters.
The defeat of Assad and Khamenei would be a world-changing event, pulling the plug on the ominous strategic alliance that runs from Tehran and Damascus to countries quite close to us, such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. It would weaken Putin’s ability to sponsor dangerous mischief in the Middle East and our own hemisphere. And it would deprive the terror network of safe havens, funding, weapons, logistics, and intelligence, along with the sort of documentation they need (think false passports) to travel safely.
In Iran, the opposition is overwhelmingly pro-Western, and eminently worthy of our support (once again, for those tuning in late, I’m talking about political, technological, and financial support, not military anything), while in Syria we should steer away from those many characters linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist crowd. But there are plenty of good democrats fighting against Assad. Having dithered so long, we are now facing some nasty scenarios, and it may well be that the Free Syrian Army — the defectors from the regular armed forces — will need some sort of military assistance.
These decisions will have to be made by people who know more about the actual battlefield than you or I, but they should be made within a narrow context: what is the best way to bring down Assad and Khamenei? Despite decades of bad policy, the fates have delivered our enemies to us. They are waiting for a swift kick, or a decisive thrust from our side. One will get you ten the tyrants have already made plans for life in exile.
How did this happen, without anyone seeming to notice? I think it is because we are not permitted to tell the truth about the war: we defeated al-Qaeda, Iran and Syria in Iraq, and the consequences of that defeat have been very serious for our enemies. They preached that Allah had blessed their jihad, and when they were beaten, it raised terrible questions to which they have no truthful answers. But the truth is quite obvious to the would-be enemy fighters, who know that the promise of victory was not fulfilled on the Middle East’s major battlefield, and whatever your view of the Afghan fighting, nobody I respect really believes that we are being beaten by the Taliban.
We’re right on the edge of an historic watershed, in which our totalitarian enemies can be driven into history’s bin of losers. It is time for us to declare victory and then impose our will on our enemies by giving their oppressed people the opportunity to free themselves from the bloody tyrants.
It’s up to our leaders to demonstrate they have the will to win. Win a real war, not just a political poll. And by the way, if our current leaders were to do that, they’d do a lot better in the polls.