Skip to comments.A Step in the Right Direction: Iraq is a battleground in the larger war, not separate from it.
Posted on 08/29/2003 9:35:50 PM PDT by Ooh-Ah
Before there was Iraq, there was Lebanon. In 1982, following Operation Peace for Galilee, JINSA reported on the international terrorist haven that had arisen in Fatahland the southern part of Lebanon controlled by Yasser Arafat. Aside from the expected mélange of Middle Easterners, there were Japanese Red Army, German and Italian Red Brigades, Nicaraguan Sandinistas, Salvadorans, Colombians and Peruvians. There were Iranian Shiites, East Germans and Bulgarians.
Before there was Iraq, there was Lebanon, again. Religious Iran and secular, Baathist Syria made a deal to use Syrian-controlled Lebanon as a base for Hizballah to attack Israel. Today, Israel faces Iranian missiles that can reach Haifa from Lebanon.
Nevertheless, critics of the war in Iraq still claimed action there would be diversion from the war on terror because al-Qaeda is religious and Saddam secular and because no link between them could be proved. The first point is demonstrable nonsense and the terrorists have proved the second point themselves.
War cannot be waged on pathology (i.e., terror) and the President was correct in his formulation that this is a war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them. Terrorism requires a combination of state-supplied assets and terrorist-supplied killing power. Saddams ouster, like that of the Taliban, would deprive terrorist
forces of one more land base. So they are defending their territory and their interests.
Aside from Baathist Iraqis, coalition forces have found themselves facing Syrians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Saudis, Iranians, Egyptians and others. Some have al-Qaeda links; some dont. Some are religious; some are secular. Some are Sunni; some are Shiia. Some were in Iraq before the war; some have infiltrated since.
Like the collaborations that came before, where they converge far outweighs where they differ. They share an anti-Western, anti-Israel, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, totalitarian ideology. They share a well-founded fear that if they lose in Iraq, none of their other land bases will be secure. And they share both ideology and fear with the remaining state supporters of terrorism Iran, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt.
The US-led coalition in Iraq has announced that some 45,000 Iraqi border guards are now being stationed along the Syrian, Saudi and Iranian borders to try to stem the flow of foreign terrorists into their country. This is a step in the right direction for two reasons: first because it is Iraqis who have the most to gain by protecting their country from infiltration so it is a job best done by them; and second because it responds to the reality that Iraq is a battleground in the larger war, not separate from it.
Goodbye: The last permanently stationed American forces decamped from Saudi Arabia today. We cant think of a better place to be leaving.
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