Friday, June 30, 2006
Know Your Enemy
Michael Ledeen offers a timely lesson on terrorism and
Ledeen’s thoughts on Iranian proxies in
Al-Reuters speaks of “Iranian fighters” mixed in with “Shi’ite militiamen.” But lots of Shiite militiamen entered
I have been saying for years now that those who have been insisting that the “insurrection” is primarily an internal, Iraqi phenomenon, have missed this basic analytical conundrum: are those people Iraqis or Iranians? Should we call them “Iranian agents” (or as al-Reuters prefers, “Iranian fighters”)? Or should we call them Iraqis who spent time in
The important thing is that they are working for
In contrast, Ledeen’s observations about Iraqi Shia, and why many of our analysts and decision-makers get it wrong:
The single greatest distortion of reality in the war is that old chestnut about the profound hatred and total incompatibility between Sunnis and Shiites. The truth is that Sunnis and Shiites happily cooperate when it comes to killing Americans, Europeans, Jews, Christians, Suffis, Bahais, and anyone else who can be defined as an infidel and/or crusader. This has been going on for a very long time. In the early Seventies, for example, the (Shiite) Revolutionary Guards were trained in
Obsessed by this great distortion, our analysts have lost sight of the profound internal war under way within Shiite Islam, the two contending forces being the Najaf (Iraqi, traditional) and the
Thus it is a mistake to assume–as it is so often—that Shiites in
Ledeen makes the critical argument here that:
We are wrongly focused on the Iranian nuclear threat, which is obviously worth worrying about, but this excessively narrow focus has distracted us from the main threat, which is terrorism.
It always helps to know who your real enemies are. In the case of radical Islamic terrorism, there is a primary state sponsor for such activities, who for too long has acted through various proxies to fight against the US and drive us out of the Middle East, by whatever means they can make that happen.
Aided and abetted, of course, by our own natural reluctance to sustain a long term war, and those political forces that constantly squeeze out partisan advantage with every negative event or operational setback.
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