politics, history and the war on terror
Sunday, April 11, 2004
An Old Enemy Resurfaces  

The suspension of offensive operations in Fallujah, Najaf and other cities and the ongoing talks between the IGC and Sadr highlights the complexity of the situation in Iraq and the difficult decisions faced by the coalition. Reasons given for the suspension of operations include the current Shiite holiday of al-Arbaeen, which means hundreds of thousands of religious pilgrims are currently inside the city of Najaf and other Shia holy cites, political pressure inside the IGC to work a solution to the fighting and to allow humanitarian aid to be distributed to the non combatants involved.

This decision can hurt the coalition as it allows militants groups to adapt to the tactics of collation, rearm and regroup. It also gives Sadr some measure of legitimacy and stature among sympathetic Iraqis and demonstrates weakness to both Iraqis and the enemy.

To further complicate the situation in Iraq, reports of active Hezbollah (and by association Iran) involvement in with Sadr's Mahdi militia are beginning to appear. This should come as no surprise as Sadr has openly proclaimed "I am the beating arm for Hezbollah and Hamas here in Iraq" and travels to Iran several times a year for consultations. Hezbollah is the varsity of the international terror organizations; its state support from Iran, vast network of recruitment, political and financial support and operational expertise makes it a formidable enemy.

Hezbollah's involvement in Iraq leads to the following conclusions:
-The Sadr related violence was inspired by Iran.
-The violence in Iraq will only increase in the coming months as transition to the interim Iraqi government approaches.
-The establishment of democracy in Iraq is a mortal threat to Iran.
-Iran is so threatened by the progress towards democracy in Iraq that Iran feels it must actively engage the U.S., a dangerous proposition.
-Iraq is indeed the prime front in the War on Terror, as this is a war against global terror and not just al Qaeda (despite the objections of many internationalist and liberals). Iran's willingness to use state sponsored terror in Iraq and pursue nuclear weapons proves the battle is far greater than the pursuit of al Qaeda.

Those who do not see Iraq as a vital front in the war are not looking at the big picture. As stated from day one, the War on Terror is a war against the nexus of terrorist organizations, states that condone or sponsor terrorism, and the distribution network of weapons of mass destruction. Iran is guilty of being a prominent player in all three areas. Our blood debt with Hezbollah stretches back to the Marines barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983 and the Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran in 1996. To win the war this debt must be settled. Just as Sadr and the Ba'ath resistance in Iraq had to be addressed at some point, so too must Hezbollah.

Posted by bill roggio @ 8:00 PM