Dana Gordon

Iran’s Czechoslovakia, an opportunity for the West

Here is an opportunity -- a relatively easy one -- for the US and allies to defeat a dangerous enemy, and the Obama regime will not take it

Iran is taking Syria and making fools of the US and its allies. Is the US afraid of Iran? The US is acting as though it is. And so is Iran. Iran is no doubt a serious threat to nearly everyone — and in many more alarming ways than with a potential A-bomb — and the US should not bow before it but stand up to it. Why doesn’t the US do so?

Iran is the sworn enemy of the United States and Israel, and a belligerent and aggressively expansionary one that supports terrorism all over the world — in its oft-stated aim to dominate the world with fundamentalist Islamism as well as to destroy Israel.

It is clear that if the Bashar Assad regime survives in Syria, it will be because of Iran’s ever-increasing aid and involvement. If Assad falls, Iran will be there, as well. No other external force is as active in Syria as Iran is. This is the upshot of Hillary Clinton’s “Iran will do whatever it takes”: Syria will essentially be a western province of Iran, far more dominated by Iran than it was before. And this can happen well before Iran is really deterred by economic sanctions, which it may never be. The Revolutionary Guard regime in Iran will never let the Iranian people’s hardship stop it. The Revolutionary Guard has already spent at least $10 billion infiltrating Syria during the recent uprising. Iran’s successful progress in Syria will negate much of the (questionable) effect the sanctions are having.

Yet the US either doesn’t see this or doesn’t care. How can you not care when your, and your allies’, sworn enemy gets so much stronger and more dominating? It’s not as if the US can’t easily reach Syria and control the situation, militarily, without a huge commitment. Cutting down Iran’s reach now would be like stopping Hitler before he was strong enough to defeat France and Poland — but much easier. And that was very doable and would have prevented World War Two, and probably the Holocaust. Everybody understands the WWII example, historically, but nobody in power seems to see that it really holds a lesson for now. This horrible history is repeating itself right before our eyes. Well, sure the US could eventually defeat Iran in a major war, but why let it go that far?

And Israel: Israel will have its worst enemy right at its borders, in control of Syria’s chemical weapons — Iran won’t even need an A-bomb. And what a deterrent to Israel these chemical weapons will be, while Iran goes ahead and builds its bomb.

This, too, is happening right before our eyes. How long before Israel and the US react? Or even the Europeans? Or the new Ottoman sultan? So far they all talk the talk, but won’t walk the walk. Just like England and France while the Nazis built up their power.

And yet, if Iran is defeated in Syria, it will be severely set back, and will be much more vulnerable to further setbacks. Here is an opportunity — a relatively easy one — for the US and allies to defeat a dangerous enemy, and the Obama regime will not take it. Indeed they could defeat two dangerous enemies this way: Syria and Iran. The murderous Assad regime would be gone and many Syrians would be grateful to the US. And the Iranian regime would be very seriously damaged, perhaps irreparably so. That is, in Syria, Iran can be attacked without attacking Iran. This is unprecedented and has tremendously promising implications. (If “attack Iran” is too strong an idea for some, the euphemism “stop Iran” may be used.)

This is not to be construed as a distraction from the problem of Iran’s drive to make a nuclear bomb. Indeed, Iran’s defeat in Syria will weaken Iran, add to its difficulties, and be a drag on its nuclear project. Eyes need not be taken off the nuclear project in the meantime.

Obama, pointedly, appallingly, did not come to the aid of the Iranian people in their revolt against the Islamist regime three years ago. His Cairo speech was an apology to the Muslim world implying the US and the West bore responsibility for its ills. He literally bowed to the Islamist king of Saudi Arabia. He has allowed Iran strong influence in Iraq. He didn’t protect his ambassador in Libya. He apologized to embassy attackers. He apologized for freedom of speech. He said he thinks al-Qaeda is almost defeated. He prohibits terms like “Islamist terrorist.” Does this give us a clue to his inaction now? What is he thinking? What is the Obama regime’s worldview? Are they afraid to tell us? Do they have one?

Well, he does use drones to fight in Pakistan and Yemen, and he keeps troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Give him that. But even there, the Taliban know when we are leaving and they are preparing for the event. And these theaters of war are far from Iran, far from Syria, far from Israel.

Judging simply from their behavior, one might wonder if Obama and his supporters could be stealth allies of Iran or of Islamists. Aren’t they acting something like it? Or do their politically correct — or politically expedient — rules make it impossible for them to speak the truth, or to see the truth, and to respond adequately. PC makes it all relative. Is he afraid to openly take a stand for the United States? After all, the left-wing view of the US is openly, consistently anti-American. Just read its history books. Or does his PC regime simply not see what is going on? Or all of the above? Whatever it is, the lack of US response to Iran’s aggression is very strange, and simply encourages more of it.

'Does this PC regime simply not see what is going on?' (illustration: Arie Katz/The Times of Israel)
(illustration: Arie Katz/The Times of Israel)

Let’s give the Obamists the benefit of the doubt: of course they don’t support Islamist thinking. Well, they may think, maybe that kind of thinking is OK for the Islamists themselves. But the problem with this conceit of tolerance is that the Islamists want world domination.

The American left is essentially anti-war. This is a big obstacle to Obama intervening in Syria: many Democratic votes. The trouble is, some enemies of the US are not anti-war. And the trouble is, the American left doesn’t actually believe the US has enemies; it’s always all just a big misunderstanding. Of course the enemies will be happy to take what they want without war, if we let them.

Russia warns NATO to stay out of Syria. Russia? If the US helps the Syrian rebels in a big way and tells the Russians to go away, they will. Or they would if they had not learned they could bully Obama. Still, all he has to do is stand up to them. The Russians are not a major power; they are weak, a minor menace. They’ll make trouble elsewhere and the US will have to stand up to them again. They’ll learn, eventually, to be more respectful of the US, if the US respects itself.

It’s not just the “red line” for Iran’s bomb that is the big problem. The Islamist regime’s power is growing in many ways, ways which are not being opposed. The longer we wait, the stronger the regime will get. And when will they stop getting stronger? What makes you think they will stop?

The “sanctions” are not going to confine the regime’s political and terrorist tentacles; the sanctions just provide cover for the world to pretend it is doing something, and for Iran to continue relatively unhindered. While the world waits for sanctions to take effect, Iran expands its hegemony. This has been proven, year after year. Does no country have the courage to stand up to this brutal, primitive regime? Or to join Israel in doing so? Or to join the Iranian and Syrian people in doing so? A stronger Iran will even become a threat to its friend Russia. The nuclear issue, while real, is also a smoke screen, obscuring the view and meaning of Iran’s other successful aggressions.

It’s not clear this is happening, you say? When it becomes any clearer, it will be too late or, at best, far more costly to defeat. As it is, the Syrian rebels have the fighters on the ground to do the job; they just need air cover and better weapons. If they don’t get these soon, Assad may yet wipe them and their families and relatives out — what do you think “cleanse Aleppo” means? Remember what Bashar’s father did to the city of Hama. There will be many Aleppos, many Hamas, many “Srebrenicas,” all over Syria.

What countries have the insight and the courage to stop the Iranian regime in Syria now?

About the Author
Dana Gordon is based in New York. His writing has been published in The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary Magazine, The New York Sun, and The New York Times