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Ralph Peters is a regular columnist with the New York Post. Register here for access to the Post's Online Edition.



  Inviting Attack
by Ralph Peters [author, novelist] 3/30/07

Seized illegally, 15 British sailors and Royal Marines are hostages in Iran. Thanks, Speaker Pelosi.

It’s amazing that Big Media hasn’t made the obvious connection between the congressional Democrats long- promised move to hand over the keys to Iraq to al Qaeda and the decision by Iranian hardliners to bolster their position within Iran by grabbing those Brits.

The Iranians didn’t even wait for the final vote count. The rhetoric in the wake of the turnover in Congress was sufficient to convince them that Washington is ready to bail out of Iraq. The extremists in Tehran want to push us out of the Persian Gulf, as well.
Ralph Peters - Contributor
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications. [go to Peters Index]

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his faction have been losing ground internally, but they hope a confrontation with the West will unite the people of Iran behind them. The Revolutionary Guards weren’t ready to take on U.S. forces directly, but they felt confident they could get away with grabbing Brits - and so far, they’ve been proven right.

Iran’s hardliners watch our actions closely. Sometimes they read the smoke signals correctly, sometimes they don’t. They calculated that Prime Minister Tony Blair is now so weak that he wouldn’t dare retaliate. Furthermore, they figured that the Bush administration has been pushed onto the defensive by Congress and wouldn’t move to aid our main ally.

What the coming days will hold depends upon the political algebra in Tehran and London, Washington and Baghdad, Brussels and even Moscow.

But the one thing that cannot be disputed is that, without the congressional moves to impose a withdrawal date for U.S. forces in Iraq, the Iranian regime would never have grown so bold. In Middle Eastern warfare, a classic tactic has been to retreat in the face of strength, but to attack when your enemy withdraws or shows signs of weakness. That is exactly what the Iranians are doing.

They’re doing something else, too: trying to drive an ever-deeper wedge between Shias and the West. Iran’s extremists portray the Great Satan America and our allies as the implacable foes of the Shia. But ever-fewer Iranian Shias buy it: Their lives have been ravaged by their own regime, not by satellite broadcasts of “Desperate Housewives.”

But the Tehran tyrants have had more success on the parallel track: Convincing Westerners that all Shias are our enemies. This, in turn, makes it easier for Washington pols and lobbyists who’ve been bought by Saudi money to make the case that we should re-embrace the Sunni Arab dictators and demagogues who led us down the path to 9/11.

The Dems on Capitol Hill pretend that setting a deadline for a troop withdrawal won’t even have serious consequences in Iraq. Yet the reverberations are already ringing through the entire region. Not only do Iran’s worst fanatics feel emboldened, but the Saudis whom President Bush has been trying to hug anew treat us like beggars.

Speaking to the assembled leaders of the Arab world this week, King Abdullah declared that the U.S. troop presence in Iraq is “illegitimate.” Abdullah also dragged out the Palestinian issue again, damning Israel. Of course, the Saudis have always been willing to fight to the last Palestinian, while keeping the people of the West Bank and Gaza on starvation rations.

Saudi money’s always available to spread hatred, but not to build world-class universities, hospitals or industries for the Palestinians.

For good measure, our pal Abdullah deplored the violence in Darfur - for which he blamed “foreign interests,” suggesting that the aid agencies and international observers, not the Khartoum government, are to blame for the ongoing genocide. (It’s all Angelina Jolie’s fault!) Meanwhile, the Egyptian regime is reinforcing its despotism, while Syria’s looking at Lebanon and salivating again.

Back in Iraq, the Dems’ “Contract With al Qaeda” undercuts the progress our troops have been making since the arrival of Gen. David Petraeus (the Dems tossed him the keys to the car, but won’t give him money for gas). For all too many politicians, our 2008 elections are more important than the fate of our soldiers or the Iraqi people.

They’re doing all they can to guarantee failure. After a year of tragic setbacks, our new tactics in Iraq have brought real signs of progress. Ultimately, of course, that progress may come to nothing. Sunni assassins may succeed in reinvigorating the religious war with the Shia - who’ve behaved with restraint for the past few months.

Success is never guaranteed in any war.

But that’s no reason to guarantee failure. Threatening to cut off funding for our troops is simply despicable.

The Republicans in this administration made unforgivable mistakes in the Middle East.

Now the Democrats appear determined to do even graver damage. And they utterly refuse to consider the consequences of their actions.

The Pelosi-Murtha Democrats won’t even confront the likely results within Iraq if we quit prematurely. As for considering the effect their duplicitous bills and votes have on the calculations of bad actors elsewhere in the Middle East, the Dems just shut their eyes and cover their ears.

We’re in an appalling position where our enemies in Tehran, Riyadh, Khartoum and Damascus, and in al Qaeda’s compounds in Waziristan, are thinking ahead with greater clarity than our elected officials in Washington. This isn’t about politics.

It’s about the fate of hundreds of millions of human beings. It’s about our national security. It’s about the defense of civilization.

It’s about the lives of our men and women in uniform. And it’s about the 15 Brits held somewhere in Iran because the U.S. Congress signaled that there will be no penalties for attacking those who fight in freedom’s cause. CRO

Ralph Peters' latest book is Never Quit The Fight.

This piece first appeared in the New York Post
copyright 2007 - NY Post

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