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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
If you’re confused about the Saudi Arabia-led air attacks against Islamist rebels in Yemen and can’t tell one group of head-choppers in Iraq and Syria from another, don’t despair. All you need is imagination.
Close your eyes and imagine that those countries and terrorists have nuclear weapons. Imagine their barbarism going nuclear as they blow up cities, wipe out ethnic and religious groups and turn the region into cinders.
Now open your eyes and realize you’ve seen the future, thanks to President Obama’s policies. It is a future that will be defined by Obama’s Wars. Yes, plural.
I’ve written frequently about the likelihood of a dystopian “Mad Max” scenario if Iran gets nukes. My thinking is guided by a belief among American military and intelligence officials that a nuclear exchange would take place in the Mideast within five years of Iran getting the bomb. To judge from events, the future is arriving ahead of schedule.
The fact that a top Saudi official wouldn’t answer a question about the kingdom’s plan to get nukes is an answer in itself. Proliferation in the world’s hottest spot was guaranteed once Obama abdicated American leadership, a decision that led our adversaries to conclude we would not stop them and our allies to conclude we would not protect them.
A future where it would be every nation for itself was trouble enough, but something far worse is unfolding now. Obama’s courtship of Iran and his willingness to let it go nuclear is speeding up the race to chaos.
Iran wants it both ways — nukes and a free hand to impose its Islamic Revolution throughout the region. Against all good sense and the lessons of history, Obama is saying yes and yes.
Sightings of the Revolutionary Guard leader, Maj. Gen. Qasem Suleimani, leading Iranian-sponsored militias against Islamic State in Iraq has spread alarm throughout the region. The fears reached a fever pitch when Iranian-allied Houthi rebels took over Yemen, chasing out our soldiers and allies with chants of “Death to America, death to Israel.”
Iran long held designs on a Shia Crescent and control over Arab lands, which helps explain why Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others counted themselves as our allies. They are furious as they watch Iran get a nuclear pass from Obama and a green light to expand its power.
The nuclear program will have the United Nations stamp of approval, as will Iranian control of four Arab capitals — Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and now Sanaa, Yemen. Indeed, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry suggest Iran even could be an ally in the fight against Islamic State and al Qaeda. Already there has been coordination there, leading critics to say America is acting as the Iranian air force.
Israel, of course, sees the pattern as insane and a threat because Iran has threatened to wipe it off the face of the earth. In retaliation for complaining about the nuke deal, Obama denounces our ally and threatens to “re-evaluate” our support for the Jewish state.
But Israel is not alone, with our Sunni Arab allies also viewing Iran as their mortal enemy. Sen. John McCain quoted one of those Arab leaders as concluding, “We believe it is more dangerous to be a friend of America’s than an enemy.”
These are unprecedented developments, veering so far from the norm and happening so fast that consequences are piling up faster than they can be comprehended. Alliances built over decades are shattered in a relative flash, inviting aggression and endless conflict. The toxic brew of Islamic fanaticism and nuclear proliferation could ignite a world conflagration.
These are grim thoughts, expressed because it is impossible to imagine any other outcome of Iran’s rise. It remains the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism and supports Hezbollah and Hamas and now the Houthis in Yemen. As for Iranian influence in Iraq, one analyst is calling Suleimani, the Revolutionary Guard commander, Iraq’s new “viceroy.”
Remember, too, Iran muscle and munitions are keeping Bashar Assad still standing in Syria. The wholesale death and destruction there — an estimated 200,000 people killed and millions displaced within the country and out of it — could be a prototype of its new empire.
While there are many dark and complex forces in play and blame to spread around, the most important catalyst of the violent disorder has been the reversal of America’s policies. Under Obama, we have switched sides, an abomination that ensures a legacy of infamy.