World-changing events 2

 On March 29, local elections will be held in Turkey. If the current government wins these municipal races, especially in Ankara and Istanbul, the country will be encouraged to go even further down the road toward Islamic extremism. Whatever happens internally (where the nature of Turkish society forces it to go more slowly), Ankara’s foreign policy is increasingly aligned with that of the radicals in the region – not only Hamas but also Syria and Iran.

Turkey’s many friends are hoping that moderation and its traditional political virtues win out. But what’s happening there may well be the most important political event in the Middle East since the Iranian revolution 30 years ago. Think of what it means if, in whole or even in part, Turkey goes from the Western to the radical camp; clearly this is a world-changing event.

Then on June 7 come the Lebanese elections. Given the vast amounts of money they have spent, their use of violent intimidation and demoralization due to the Western abandonment of the moderates, it is likely that Iran’s Syrian clients will take over Lebanon’s government. This does not mean domination by Hizbullah but by four allied forces: pro-Syrian Sunni politicians; Michel Aoun’s Christian forces; and the two Shi’ite groups, Hizbullah and Amal.

Already, Lebanon’s president and former armed forces’ commander Michel Suleiman is very close to the Iran-Syrian orbit. This doesn’t mean that Lebanon will be annexed or militarily reoccupied by Syria, or that Lebanon will become an Islamist state internally. But it does mean that Lebanon will become a reliable ally of what Syrian President Bashar Assad calls "the resistance front."

In the region, these two developments will be perceived as two big victories for Teheran, and a sign that the Islamist-radical side is the wave of the future.

And what is the United States doing to fight, stop or manage this visible crisis?

Nothing.

Finally, on June 12, presidential elections will take place in Iran itself. The likelihood is the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, either fairly or through manipulation of the ballot. The Iranian ruling establishment, which might have been persuaded to endorse a less extreme candidate if there had been enough Western pressure to make the incumbent look bad, has backed an openly aggressive anti-Semite.

Even though Ahmadinejad is not the real ruler of Iran, he and his allies are working to make him so. And of course his reelection means not only that Iran is waging a campaign to get nuclear weapons, it will mean that it is moving at the fastest possible speed, with the least likelihood of compromising and the most probability of using such a weapon (or forcing Israel to act militarily to stop the process). By years’ end, or shortly after, Iran might have an atom bomb.

In short, 2009 is looking like a year of massive defeat for the US and its friends in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Washington is blind to this trend, pursuing a futile attempt to conciliate its enemies, losing time and not adopting the policies desperately needed.

The only point in this article by Barry Rubin – all of which is worth reading – with which we take issue is his assumption that the new US administration is merely blind or mistaken in pursuing policies that will strengthen the ‘Islamist-radical side’.

How long will it take, how much more of the same must Obama and the Democrats do, before the understanding breaks over the US electorate and the Western world in general that they mean to strengthen the (up until now) Islamic enemy, weaken the West, diminish individual freedom, and make the population dependent on government. The end of prosperity is the beginning. Next comes the end of liberty. Finally, the enemy wins.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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