Washington DC – December 21, 2009 – (Farid Ghadry Blog) — The media’s attention to the Hariri’s visit to Damascus is due, to a large extent, to the story behind the visit rather than to its mundanity. No other sitting prime minister in contemporary politics had to accept the violence of his neighbor and endure illicit appendage of his country just so other nations and their leaders wash their hands from the many problems that neighbor poses to the region. It goes to show that violence in the Middle East pays. Killing Americans pays and terrorizing your neighbors at will pays. Who wants to bother with peace and co-existence anymore?
Who else is watching Lebanon fold again into Syria’s orbit because of violence? Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, Fatah al-Islam, and 99 other organizations of terror named after catchy words from one Koranic verse or another. They watched the actions of Assad in pursuit of terror and tyranny yield some very high returns. When the west sells Lebanon short, it opens the flood gates to would-be terror groups, many unwilling to accept the central role Damascus plays in embryonic terror cultivation. Those are also paying attention when they see terror succeed. They have a new rugged territory to plan their attacks from: Yemen. They all understand that President Obama is not about to declare another war ever during his presidency.
No polls have been taken prior to the Hariri trip by any Lebanese or Arab entity to capture the mood of the Lebanese people the majority of which voted for the March 14 movement. Whether by design or by wanderment, the opinions of the Lebanese seems not to matter much to Saudi Arabia or the US. Will they acquiesce to the Assad hegemony? Or will they continue the struggle for independence and sovereignty? Which age group can Lebanon rely upon to defend its identity going forward? This time around, Assad intends to smother Lebanon’s democracy to permanently destroy the most potent and independent mechanism able to threaten his regime and no one at the White House fully grasps what they have done to this gem in the heart of extremism.
If political correctness guides your foreign policy the way it guides your local politics, turning a blind eye to the Assad terror is not too dissimilar from the Obama administration turning a blind eye to Fort Hood. Incrementally, as extremism grows at home because of self-inflicting negligence, it will also keep growing overseas because of ill-conceived policies. The same people with the mentality to miss 9/11 are prevailing today when it comes to Syria; their argument that Assad, the Alawite, represents the first-line of defense in the eradication of Sunni-based Islamic terror is founded on hope springs eternal. The only answer to Islamic terror are accountable politicians and not more tyranny in the form of supporting the agendas of Middle East authoritarian regimes and engaging with their rulers as if 300 million Arabs and 70 million Farsis simply do not exist.
The most disturbing aspect of selling Lebanon short is the disrespect today’s policy of engagement with Syria and Iran heap upon the US Armed Forces who perished in Iraq because of the terror dispensed by Assad and Ahmadinajead. We seem to forget their sacrifices by rewarding those who had a direct hand in their demise. Some US policy makers, of course, are arguing for the policy of “cutting losses” to justify their retreat more befitting of countries with unremarkable history than a superpower whose narrative is abundant with successes based on the pursuit of freedom and democratic values. When the US cuts its losses, democracy around the world loses. Have you seen Chavez beaming smiles lately or heard Qaddafi’s gifted oratory at the UN or watched Ahmadinajead discharge his venom of anti-Semitism or witnessed the death toll of Iraqis perpetrated by Assad and Ba’athism? These are all images of defeatism of the United States of America.
But there is also this ray of hope that all is temporary. The embrace of Assad’s terror, the selling of Lebanon down the river, and the cold shoulder the US gives the democratically elected government of al-Maliki. It is all by design. Retreat, regroup, then strike back, one enemy at a time. Certainly the Hariri UN International Tribunal can surprise us all positively when it is obvious to all that Assads’ liabilities exceed his assets. However, in my opinion, hope cannot be the alternative to one’s control of one’s destiny. The US and France, two great nations, have accepted defeat, not because the people of Syria or Iraq rose to fight them (i.e. à la North Vietnam), but accepted defeat to violent thugs, pirates, and Bazaar horse traders hated by their own people. History will not be kind to those leaders who follow the path of least resistance; the history of Roosevelt, Churchill and DeGaulle against tyranny testifies to this truth.