After Seventeen Years, Is an End to the War on Terror in Sight?

Sept. 12 2018

Yesterday was the seventeenth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s bloody attacks on New York and Washington. Clifford May uses the occasion to reflect on the state of America’s long war on jihadism:

A grand illusion to which Americans and Europeans are susceptible [is that] war is an aberration, and peace is the normal state of the world, a condition to which all peoples aspire. Even a cursory reading of history shows this to be wishful thinking. . . . The grim reality is that after seventeen years of conflict, we have not decisively defeated al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Far from it: al-Qaeda franchises proliferate and, according to Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “the Taliban’s men contest or control approximately 60 percent of [Afghanistan]—as much ground as at any point since the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.” . . .

[Meanwhile], the Islamic Republic of Iran’s long-term goal remains, as it has for nearly 40 years, “Death to America!” Its supreme leader now projects power into Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Gaza, and Iraq. He aids those fighting Americans in Afghanistan. He sponsors terrorists with impunity. . . .
.
[O]ur enemies do not appear exhausted, discouraged, or underfunded. Do we know them yet, or are we still trying to imagine what “drives” people to “violent extremism?” Do we have the stomach to endure the long war—which, I believe, should be recognized as a multi-front struggle against jihadism? Do we have the patience to develop a winning strategy even if that requires—as it clearly does—much trial and too many errors?

In the days after the 2001 attacks, it was said that a sleeping giant had been awakened. Today, there are many on both the left and the right telling the giant to go back to bed and pull the covers over his eyes. If that’s where our enemies find us, they’ll know what to do.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Washington Times

More about: Al Qaeda, Iran, ISIS, Jihadism, Politics & Current Affairs, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war