Iran and the Democrats: The folks to watch
We are beginning to realize that we have been at war with the nation-state of Iran and didnít know it. It is a war that actually began in 1979 when Jimmy Carter pulled the Persian Rug out from under the pro-U.S, anti-Soviet, Shah of Iran, and assisted the radical, Islamist mullah, the Ayatollah Komeini, to come to power in Iran. Surely, Carter didnít intend for Iran to become an anti-U.S., radical-Islamic theocracy. But thatís what happened.
Now, Iran has far larger designs than just tightening the grip of radical, Shiite Islam on its people. While the demise of Saddam Hussein made Iranís western border more secure, the prospect of a Sunni-controlled, western-oriented government in Iraq upsets the Shiite theocrats of Iran. The reaction of the mullahs has been to ship tons of munitions and hundreds of terrorists into Iraq.
It doesnít take much imagination to see where the Iranians are going with all this. They want a Shiite-controlled Iraq to be an Iranian satellite. That, plus joining the nuclear club (either actually or ďplay-pretendĒ like the late Saddam Hussein), would make Iran the dominant power over the Persian Gulf.
Thatís why the Sunni Arabs donít want a U.S. withdrawal. But, if we leave, Syria, Jordan and Turkey would move quickly to strengthen their positions: Syria would probably annex Lebanon and also press Israel for the return of the Golan Heights. Jordan would insist on return of more of the West Bank. Turkey might slaughter its Kurdish population. The Palestinians in Gaza might insist that the Arab nation-states surrounding Israel try, yet again, to drive the Jews into the sea. The U.N. would hold a meeting.
If the congressional Democrats succeed in driving U.S. forces out of Iraq, the nuclear-armed, but small, Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is left as the regionís leading military power. But ,without the Golan Heights and the West Bank, the IDF would have to abandon conventional weapons and go nuclear at almost the outset of hostilities. That is why we may see the IDF and/or the U.S. eliminate Iranís burgeoning nuclear capabilities sometime before January, 2009.
The idea of a Shiite Iranian controlled Iraq has driven the Sunni Arab nation-states to want to buy more defensive weapons from the U.S. and that is what is happening right now.
Meanwhile, it might be useful to look at Iraq as a giant ant hill occupied by several species of ants that detest each other. In March, 2003, we took a stick and poked it into the giant ant hill to rid it of Saddam, its militant and dangerous leader. But, when that was done; what we did not expect was that the various species of ants would start killing each other. Nor did we expect neighboring ant hills (read Iran and Syria) to send some of their ants to join in the killing.
In politics, it is said, ďNever interrupt your opponent while he or she is busy committing political suicide.Ē So, the cold calculus is that an American military presence in the Heartland of the Middle East, i.e., Iraq provides two benefits: (1) It causes al-Qaeda to focus its efforts in Iraq, rather than against us here at home and (2) Islamists are killing each other at rates that would cause the ACLU and other leftist organizations to go into orbit if U.S. forces were racking up Muslim body counts that high.
The tragic downside is the loss of American lives and the devastating impact that has on the families of our killed and wounded.
Meanwhile, North Korea appears to have caved in to our military and diplomatic pressures and has shut down its five nuclear reactors. So now, the folks to watch are the highly-secular, congressional Democrats, who count on a U.S. defeat in Iraq to capture the White House, and the highly-religious Iranians who are determined to take over Iraq, either directly or indirectly. Geo-politics makes for some pretty strange bedfellows.
Syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, William Hamilton, is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval War College and a former research fellow at the U.S. Military History Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is also the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy Ė two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2007. William Hamilton.