Washington DC, January 12, 2007/Reform Syria Blog - Farid Ghadry/
-- First it started on January 4 with sanctions against Syrian research organizations by the US Treasury Department then it was amplified a day later to include a ban on Syrian arms suppliers in Russia, China, and N. Korea, and now it seems that the US has upped the ante even more by raiding an Iranian outpost that may yield the kind of intelligence to deter Iran from meddling into Iraqi affairs.
For one, the sanctions and freezing of assets are considered Cold War era tactics, the raid on the Iranian Diplomatic Mission (or rather Terrorist Mission) is closer to war than we could ever come to. The question becomes: What's next? Will Syria see action against its interests along the lines of what happened in Irbil against Iranian interests? Is the Syrian Embassy in Baghdad a center for logistical support for terrorism in Iraq? Will the US raid the Syrian Embassy in Baghdad next? It is obvious, from these actions, that we are witnessing the birth of a new policy in how America responds to Iran and Syria.
The patience of this administration, which has baffled many and tested the fortitude of us all, has expired. In its place, we see a more vigorous policy that, in spite of the polls and the threats by opponents to the War in Iraq, will deliver dignity to the US military for the sacrifices they made on a scale never to be forgotten as well as security to the millions of Iraqis who actually voted for their own democratic government.
The US has finally Iran and Syria in its eyesight. The likely scenario is that more violence will envelop Baghdad as the President has warned in his speech. In final analysis, all Syria and Iran can do is exacerbate further the situation in Iraq by administering more of the same violence that we have been accustomed to. I say accustomed here not as a negative (even though all of us dread the next bomb and the next victim in Iraq) but rather as a matter of fact: Syria and Iran can do no more than what they have done already and more of the same is really the same.
But for the US, these tactical changes will mean much to change the situation on the ground.
For one, the US is going on the offensive by cleaning Baghdad from terrorists. We all witnessed this kind of new offensive on January 10 in Haifa Street in Baghdad. Unlike last time when the US simply cleared areas and left them to be occupied again, this time around the US intends to stay in those areas patrolling them with additional troops and interacting with the Iraqi population.
Furthermore, acting on intelligence has become a high priority and we will see proactive responses against terrorist centers more often in the future, which invariably will mean more street fighting in Baghdad. This will force the enemies of Iraq to disperse, thus disabling their capacity to organize and strike as often as they did in the past.
It is too early to predict how the US will respond to the Syrian-Iraqi porous borders. The intelligence the US has on the Syrian terrorist pipeline is pretty accurate due to the capture and interrogation of several Syrian fighters who have joined the ranks of al-Qaeda. If Assad changes tactics, it will force Mohammad Nassif to re-build, which means more time and resources on the part of Assad's machine of destruction.
If Assad does not change his pipeline route, the US more than likely has a plan to finally deal with Assad's stubborn, destructive behavior in Iraq. Either way, the giant is fully awake and its wrath will be felt by Iran and Syria in the months ahead.
Moreover, it seems that Turkey has joined the US in its fight against terrorism in Iraq in return for concessions from the US to deal with the thorny PKK problem. How this will play out in the North of Iraq remains a mystery but for all intended purposes Turkey seems to have joined the ranks of the Willing judging from their responses to the President's speech.
This means that its bases are now available to the US anyway the US sees fit. A word of wisdom to all the pundits who are looking at the elections of 2008 through a peephole, or to those who support the old status quo in the Middle East that gave birth to 9/11, or to those who are afraid of change because it means that many less cocktail parties to go to, it behooves all Americans to unite behind a determined President whose intentions are to safeguard our freedom and to help usher one to the people of the Middle East.
As a Muslim American, it always surprises me how little we all understand the goals of the violent Islamist movements. Does the idea of an extreme Muslim Caliphate in Baghdad governing the Muslim world help us all understand better the importance of today's war? If this happens, the Khomeini era will be remembered with nostalgia.
As a prediction, 2007 will be the year in which the US will act as a superpower and will win like a superpower is supposed to. We all have seen what Iran's Ahmadinajead and Syria's Assad can do, now it is time for them to witness what America can do. It is about time.