No Negotiations

Ralph Peters argues that it is now time to “drop the hammer” in Iraq to show that we’re serious.

Moqtada al-Sadr is Iran’s man in Shi’a Iraq. Several months ago, he slipped across the border to meet with Hezbollah terror chiefs that Teheran had invited from Lebanon. The factions struck a deal to cooperate against the Coalition in Iraq.

Hundreds of Iranian agents and fighters have been confirmed to be in Iran. The actual number is probably in the thousands. They’ve swelled the ranks of Sadr’s “Mahdi Army” and stiffened its backbone.


Our president must make no mistake: Any “settlement,” any halt short of the annihilation of the killers who want to destroy the future of Iraq, will be read throughout that troubled country and the greater Islamic world as a resounding victory for the terrorists. They’ll be viewed as having defeated the U.S. military, stopping it in its tracks.

Reality is immaterial. In the Middle East, perception trumps facts. Only uncompromising strength impresses our enemies. The president can’t afford to listen to the counsels of caution.

Nor can we afford to listen to Arab opinion, as we did in 1991 with disastrous results. Doubtless, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s “president,” will tell Bush to stop the operation in Fallujah during his visit this week.

The apologists for terror are piling on, from the hateful rhetoric of al-Jazeera, which encouraged attacks on Americans all week, to the corrupt sheiks of the Persian Gulf who are responsible for so much of the decline of the Arab soul.

If we do not pursue our enemies unto their deaths while we have the chance, Fallujah will prove to be Bush’s Mogadishu. And the forces of global terror will have won again.

I would agree. It would also be interesting to know what’s going on behind the scenes in our relations with Iran.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Art Keon says:

    Have to agree that you don’t negotiate under duress. But the Shrubbies are. Can’t they manage anything?


  2. Boyd says:

    Have to agree that you don’t negotiate under duress. But the Shrubbies are.

    I must have missed that, Art. Can you cite where the Bush administration is negotiating something they shouldn’t?

  3. Art Keon says:

    Hi Boyd:

    The US has been negotiating a ceasefire with those who control Falluja. With the truce “Civilians” are streaming out of the city, along no doubt, with many of the insurgents. Wouldn’t it have been better to finish the job?



  4. Boyd says:

    You need to pay closer attention, Art. Where did you read that the ceasefire was a negotiation?

    The ceasefire was not negotiated. It was declared by the US. Unilaterally. I believe (not presented as fact, since I don’t know, personally) that it was to allow civilians to leave (with lots of inspections on the way out, to be sure) and to allow the insurgents to surrender before they’re killed. But the fact is that there is no negotiation involved here.

  5. Boyd says:

    Oops, left out one point. The “negotiations” in Fallujah are between the insurgents and members of the Governing Council. Reuters tried to leave a different impression (I know, shocking!), but there are no ongoing negotiation between the U.S. and the insurgents.