The Wider War

Ralph Peters makes a startling claim:

IRAN and Syria are at war with the United States. In Iraq. Now.

Washington refuses to admit it. The Bush administration claims that the struggle in Iraq is about the future of the entire Middle East, but won’t concede publicly that other countries in the region are extensively involved. And the outcome they seek is exactly the opposite of what we hope to achieve.

The bloody combat throughout Iraq this past week didn’t only involve Iraqi Ba’athist insurgents and al Qaeda. The Iranians vigorously prepared and supported killer-cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s “Mahdi” militia. Iranians are active agents in the widespread terrorism in southern Iraq. And, according to intelligence shared exclusively with The Post, approximately 30 al Qaeda executives have been allowed to operate from Teheran, feeding agents into Iraq with the collusion of the Iranian government.

To the West, Syria has been increasingly bold in its support of the Sunni-Arab insurgents in Fallujah and elsewhere in the Sunni triangle. Our Marines killed Syrians in Fallujah. They’ll find and kill more. Syrian security services are deeply involved in this fight – and in murdering Americans.

The worst news is that, contrary to Washington’s wishful thinking, the Iranians and Syrians – as well as various terrorist groups – are cooperating. In the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy truly is my friend. Political marriages of convenience are one of the region’s oldest traditions.

Iran, Syria and al Qaeda share one common goal: Preventing the emergence of a free Iraq. They want to stop democracy and social liberty dead in their tracks. And they’re willing to throw in all their reserves to do it.

His policy prescriptions are stark but reasonable in light of recent events: stop “pretend[ing] that gangsters in clerical robes are men of faith.” Peters is optimistic about the outcome:

Our troops are fighting hard. But they’re winning. And most of the encounters do not rise to the level of battles – in military parlance, they’re engagements. They’re tough for the Marines or soldiers involved, but we can do this better than any other military on earth.

Agreed. But do we have the political will to do it?

FILED UNDER: Democracy, Middle East, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Boyd says:

    …do we have the political will to do it?

    Yes, we do.

  2. capt joe says:

    Sure, from the right side, we do.

    The left is much to interested in accomodation.

    So long as Moq-Teddy and ex Grand Keagle Byrd are able to turn public opinion, then we won’t win. We will lose this time and eery time after this. So long as certain ideologues are only interested in electoral victory then we won’t accomplish anything.

  3. ***** says:

    Of course we can win, and likely, very likely will, despite the efforts of the modern day Copperheads in the Democratic Party.