Bit by bit, we are getting a fuller picture of our enemies on the ground in the Middle East, and the fanciful legend of a bunch of religiously inspired fanatics is eroding. If only someone could convince our so-called intelligence agencies to step away from their false assumptions (Porter Goss was on display last week, babbling about the “Sunni insurgency,” as if that nonsense had not been exploded 30 years ago), we might make more progress.
Iraqis, who are the primary victims of the terror war, know better. Listen to Iraq the Model
The (televised) confessions have shown that some criminals have strong connections with the Syrian authorities from where they get instructions and support. The interesting part of the show was the interrogation with Khalidah Jasim the sister of Khalid Zakiyah who’s one of the most wanted criminals in Mosul who got arrested a while ago in Tikrit. She stated that she was in her 2nd year in college studying psychiatry and that she was a member of a Palestinian military organization that was led by George Habash.
Khalidah Jasim had succeeded her brother at the head of a terror gang, which is the first clue that we are not dealing with an Islamist organization (anyone who thinks that bin Laden or Zarqawi would tolerate a lady in charge had better go back and repeat Terrorism 101). And she says that, quite explicitly, when she tells us that the organization was led by Habash, a Greek Orthodox Palestinian who created the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the infamous PFLP. The PFLP is a Marxist-Leninist organization, not a jihadist band.
So some of the Mosul terrorists are Marxists, not Sunnis, not Baathists, and, at least at the leadership level, not even Iraqis. They are foreign, Christian Marxist killers. And for those who like to keep track of such things, notice that Habash was a medical doctor, and that Khalidah Jasim was studying psychiatry (as Walter Laqueur noted many years ago, medical doctors are oddly prevalent at the highest levels of terrorist groups).
Iraq the Model continues:
She confessed that she has taken her brother’s place in leading the terror group and she’s specialized in preparing TNT used in roadside bombs. She also didn’t deny one of the group members statements that she offered to sleep with him twice in order to persuade him to plant land mines and perform attacks against Iraqi and American troops.
So much for the religious fanaticism of the terrorists. This is a sex-for-murder deal: You do some killing, I give you my body. For these thugs, there is no need to wait for the 72 nubile babes in paradise; Khalidah is available in the here and now. And you don’t have to martyr yourself either; just plant some land mines and send your enemies to their graves.
Iraq the Model doesn’t spell it out, but the Syrian connection is obvious to anyone who follows the terror network. Habash lived (and may still live) in Damascus, where he received respectful treatment from the Assad family.
All of which brings us back to the basic sermon: We are engaged in a regional war against a terror network that cannot be reduced to a simple, ethnic or religious, element. The network is bound together by a common hatred of us and our friends and allies, not by a single religious fanaticism, and the terrorists come in all shapes and descriptions. Their effectiveness is largely due to support from the terror masters in foreign countries, and we cannot win the battle of Iraq without destroying the terror masters in Tehran, Damascus, and Riyadh. There is no escape from this destiny. If they survive, we lose.
It is therefore utterly disgusting to hear reports that our diplomats and military leaders are tiptoeing up to terrorist leaders in Syria, trying to make a deal. It is hard to imagine anything more dreadful or wrongheaded than this, and it was good to hear Ahmed Chalabi on Sunday saying that the new government of Iraq would not make deals with killers who were murdering Iraqis.
Cheery souls will say, with some reason, that there is a fragment of light in the dark picture of our feckless diplomats and commanders negotiating with our murderers. That fragment is the desperate cunning of the terrorists, trying to fool us and thereby buying time. They may even have been trotted out by the murderous fool Bashar Assad, who must fear retribution for the assassination of Hariri in Beirut.
But this is no time for clever negotiation. The tide is turning, of which the most dramatic evidence is the newfound bravado of the oppressed peoples, from Baghdad to Beirut. It is our tide, a tide of freedom, and we must ride it with all our skill and determination. Let the mullahs and the Assads play King Canute; we’re leading the revolution that will wash clean their filthy domains.
Even Hillary knows which way the wind is blowing.
–Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. He is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.