Commentary Magazine


One War

Time and again, the Bush administration has tried to hammer home the message: Iraq is not a sideshow but a central front in the jihad being waged against the West. This message, however, does not resonate. Iraq still seems to many Americans to be a pointless detour.

Since Bush and Cheney are so unconvincing on this score, perhaps someone will listen to Hizballah, which openly argues that defeating America in Iraq is the key to Israel’s destruction. This clip, translated by the indispensable MEMRI-TV, is a must-watch.

Here’s what Abdallah Safialdeen, Hizballah’s representative in Iran, said on Iranian Channel 4 on March 4:

The day that Hizballah won the war shaped the future of the region. It led to what we are witnessing today: America’s actions, the domestic problems of the Zionist regime, the confusion of Europe. . . .

The Europeans are very confused now, and don’t know what to do. The horse that they put their money on—Israel—can no longer fulfill the role it played in the past. America has not had any success anywhere in the region. In our opinion, the harbinger of this lack of success was the victory of Hizballah, the bitter defeat of the Zionist regime, and its incompetence in the region. . . .

Do you know what an American withdrawal from Iraq will mean? It will mean that Israel will lose its support. It will mean that the Lebanese Hizballah will not need a large-scale war in order to enter Palestine. Hizballah will be able to simply walk into Palestine.

Rest assured that the day the American forces leave Iraq, the Israelis will leave the region along with them.

What was one of the reasons for Olmert’s recent visit to America? He went there in order to say to the Democrats: “Don’t say that the American army will leave Iraq, because this would mean the annihilation of the Zionist regime.” This is because the annihilation of the Zionist regime has begun.

Like some of our friends say, Palestine is no longer a problem for us, because the Americans will be forced to leave Iraq. With or without a war against Iran, they will be forced to do so. The moment they leave Iraq, you, the Muslims of the world, can walk into Palestine, because Israel will no longer exist. It will be over and done with. Even with America’s [help], Israel could not do a thing.

The Americans will be kicked out of the region, without accomplishing anything. The American forces will be kicked out of the region, in disgrace, humiliation, and defeat. Therefore, this victory was very important. It was a landmark in the history of the Islamic world and the entire region.

It matters little that much of this is fantasy. What is not fantasy is the fundamental point: there is just one war, and neither side can ignore victory or defeat in a particular theater. A loss in Iraq is a loss for America is a loss for Israel. By the same token, the defeat of any of the jihadis, whether in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, or Iran, affects all of them.

Our enemy knows who they are and whom they are fighting. Is it too much to ask that we get straight who is on our side, who is against us, and the fact that we—and they—rise and fall as a team?