.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Two Topics Not Directly Related, But Regionally Linked

Yesterday two stories came to my attention. Both came from the AP, and while many would state that these weren't related, in my opinion they are.

Al-Qaeda's number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said in a videotape aired Friday that the United States decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq represented "the victory of Islam" and called on Muslims to attack oil sites.

Al-Zawahiri, wearing a white turban and gray robe, waved his finger for emphasis as he spoke in the two-minute exceprt aired by Al-Jazeera.

"I congratulate (the Islamic nation) for the victory of Islam in Iraq," he said.

Al-Zawahiri apparently was referring to comments made last month by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who said President Bush had authorized troop cuts below the 138,000 level that prevailed for most of last year.

"You remember I told you more than a year ago that the American withdrawal from Iraq is only a matter of time, and here they are now...negotiating with the mujahadeen," al-Zawahiri said.

If Zawahiri thinks that the stand down of a few troops constitutes a victory is he in for a surprise. They way I see it is that as long as they continue to blow up civilians, and refuse to engage our troops, he will continue to lose whatever meager support he has. Zarqawi is shouting for more help because he can't stand and fight against us. We outnumber his forces. The native insurgency is falling away. They're running out of bodies to throw at us. As of now, they're relying a great deal on terrorists flowing out of Iran and Syria, and that's slowing to a trickle. Further, al-Qaeda is fighting a losing holding action, nothing more. They can't maintain their pressure or their presence in one area too long before they're found, engaged, and either captured or killed. And if that wasn't bad enough, there's this report to follow up this wonderful al-Qaeda driven fairy tale.

A former vice president of Syria called from exile for the overthrow of the regime he served for decades, saying Friday that "a shameless mafia" is running the country and that its president surrounds himself sycophantic advisers and is unfit to rule.

Abdul-Halim Khaddam now accused Syria of treason, stopped just short of accusing President Bashir Assad of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Khaddam said Hariri was "threatened in a crystal clear way on numerous occasions" before his death in a truck bombing last year--including by Assad himself.

Khaddam recounted how Assad once summoned Hariri to give him a dressing down. Hariri, a Lebanese nationalist who sought to wrest his country from Syrian control, had opposed giving pro-Syrian Lebanese Emile Lahoud an extended term.

"You are working against us and you are conspiring against us. You are seeking to install a president in Lebanon. I'm the decision maker. Anyone who contravenes my decisions I will crush them," Khaddam quoted Assad as telling Hariri.

Asked what Assad may have meant by crush, Khaddam said: "What does crush mean? Crushing with a thousand kilograms of explosives."

Khaddam was for many years Syria's top official in Lebanon and was a member of the ruling Ba'ath Party's regional command, its most influential body, for almost 30 years.

He represents an old guard long seen as wary of Assad, who became president after the death of his father and predecessor, Hafez Assad, in 2000. Bashar Assad took some steps toward political reform, such as freeing political prisoners, soon after taking power. But he later clamped down on pro-democracy activists, leading some analysts to conclude he was hampered by opposition from hard-line holdovers from his father's regime.

This is a significant story in the fact that Khaddam is from the old guard, and he has repeated this twice in the past week. He is calling for a change in Syria; a change that initially started with Syria's pull-out of Lebanon. Assad is under intense scrutiny for his possible involvement in Hariri's death, not just from certain elements in the international community, but from the UN, as well.

Now, I know that the UN is about as vicious as a toothless dog, but the more pressure levied at this man, the more chance for change the people of Syria might have. The Bush Doctrine, when launched in 2001, was simple. Remove the elements that give terrorists sanctuary and strength. Put a stranglehold on their money and their needed equipment. Disrupt their ability to move and hide. And above all, make it perfectly clear to the nations in the region, and of the world, that we're not going to tolerate them turning a blind eye to terrorists that they may hide and support.

In the execution of that doctrine, we have freed close to fifty million people in two nations, who have embraced freedom and democracy. The efforts in Iraq led to the pull-out of Lebanon by Syrian forces. Pro-democracy rallies in Lebanon finally put so much pressure on Assad that he was left with no alternative except to withdraw. On the heels of the death of Hariri, the populace was inflamed with the passion for freedom. They still aren't entirely free from Syrian intervention, but they're no longer an occupied country.

The reason these two stories are linked is because al-Qaeda believes they have a victory, and is relying on a continued influx of terrorists from Syria and Iran. Right now, Syria is so close to a fall that if someone sneezed wrong, the government would topple. Can Syria be involved in a three-front war? I doubt it. I doubt that they could handle the continued resistance in Lebanon, US forces in Iraq, and possible US intervention in Syria proper. Assad doesn't have the manpower to match a coalition willing to walk in and remove him.

And I know there will be people shouting "IMPERIALIST" at me, or anyone who makes this analysis, but this isn't about imperialism; were it about that concept, Iraq never would have had an election; nor would Afghanistan. We allowed both nations to decide for themselves what sort of government they wanted, establish their own constitutions, and elect their own people. We're simply in both nations now as a security force. Unlike UN peackeepers though, we don't sit on our triggers. We shoot back at the bad guys.

And there are others who will fret about Iran. I see no reason to. If Syria is removed as an ally of the terrorist-sponsoring nation--arguably the largest such nation in the region--then it isolates Iran, and opens it up to more pro-democracy forces within it's borders. We know there is a significant dissident movement in Iran. We read and hear about the pro-democracy protests there quite often; ones in which the government deals with them in a fashion similar to that of China.

Al-Qaeda's broken in the Middle East. Their logistical lines are in shambles, there are next-to-no reinforcements coming to help Zarqawi, and he's losing people by the butt-load. Either they're being killed by us, or they're blowing themselves up. Not exactly a smart method to win a war when you waste your troops on futile efforts to terrorize a populace that remains undaunted. Had they succeeded, as Zawahiri proclaims they have, then the Iraqis never would have ventured out to the polls in the subsequent two votes--the one for their constitution, and for their first four-year parliament.

The way this scorecard reads is Freedom-2, Terrorists-0, and things aren't looking much better. Someone had better take that hooka away from Zawahiri before he lapses into la-la land, and someone had better inform Assad his days are numbered. This year could be an interesting one, indeed, for freedom in the Middle East.

Publius II


Post a Comment

<< Home

weight loss product