The Enemy Alliance extends around the world, from Pyongyang to Caracas, and from Moscow to Cuba. It’s an extensive alliance spread out across the globe in order to take revenge on its enemies. It runs across Asia (North Korea, China, Russia), through the Stans, across the borders of Eastern Europe, and into Iran and Iraq, thence into immigrants flooding into Western Europe, and into our hemisphere (Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua).
The keystone of this global alliance is Iran, at once the world’s largest sponsor of terror, and a constant promoter of terrorism against American targets, from downtown restaurants to special forces on the battlefield.
The 1979 assault on the Grand Mosque in Mecca had a significant family footnote: the first appearance of the name bin Laden in conjunction with a terrorist attack. Osama bin Laden’s brother Mahrous was evidently involved in the operation, and was miraculously spared the executioner’s scimitar. He even gained early release from prison, abandoned political activism, and subsequently devoted all his energies to the family business.
Ever since, Iran has sponsored terrorism all over the world, and has ceaselessly attacked the United States in word and deed. For many years, the Department of State has declared the Islamic Republic the leading supporter of international terrorism, and for good reason.
The Iranians created the Islamic Jihad Organization, and Hezbollah, the big terrorist army based in Lebanon and Syria. Moreover, Iran has long supported Al Qaeda, which baffles a lot of people because it is a Sunni organization, while Iran proclaims that a descendant of the 12th Imam—one of their own—will one day rule the world.
The explanation is quite simple: like Mafia families who fight and sometimes kill one another, when faced with a common enemy, the family heads sit down around the table and make a common war plan. And the descendants of the Prophet share a common destiny, whether it be Shi’ite or Sunni, or even Wahabi.
The mullahs have already established strategic alliances in our own hemisphere once we bailed out of Iraq, with Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, and are working closely with Russia and China. In their own neighborhood, the retreat of the “Great Satan” from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan compels the smaller Middle Eastern countries to either come to terms with Tehran—thereby making the region much more inhospitable to us—or tackling Iran by themselves.
The increase in Iranian power and influence has been accomplished without atomic bombs—the issue that dominates the policy debate over Iran throughout the West. To be sure, an Iranian nuke would be an existential threat to Israel, but so is a non-nuclear Iran, which is the mainstay of the anti-Israel terrorist groups, above all, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. To focus solely on the nuclear question is a serious failure of strategic vision; the issue is the regime in Tehran, whatever its progress toward atomic bombs.
If the United States is to make serious progress toward winning the war, it will have to find a way to threaten the stability of the Tehran regime. Unfortunately, for 37 years every American administration has permitted the Islamic Republic to build up its strength, and even organize assassinations in our capital. Carter, Clinton, and Reagan either directly sold weapons to Iran, or enabled others to do it, as in the case of the secret Gore-Chernomyrdin deal (in violation of Gore’s own legislation). In all those years, no American president has initiated a serious challenge to post-Revolutionary Iran (a pattern that now extends to our inconclusive response to the Islamic State).
Indeed, the only time Iran paid a price for attacking American targets was when an American naval vessel hit an Iranian mine in the Persian Gulf during the Reagan presidency. When we responded by attacking Iranian targets in the area, the Iranian Navy escalated the confrontation, and ended with the loss of about one-third of their ships. But no American president has called for regime change in Tehran; no American administration has supported the many millions of Iranian dissidents, including workers, teachers, students and others who have demonstrated a desire for democracy and the courage to fight for it. Indeed, our Persian-language radio and television broadcasting to Iran more often than not has been critical of the United States than of the clerical fascists who threaten us.
1. For the story of Osama’s brother, cf. The Sunday Herald (Glasgow), October 7th, 2001; Ha’aretz, December 18th, 2002; and The New Yorker, November 5th, 2001.