I caught a tiny bit of Dennis Prager's radio show today on my way to get text-messaging added to my cell phone plan for my daughter's phone. His guest today in the third hour was Dr. Walid Phares, an expert on terrorism and the Middle East. Phares has a new book out, The Confrontation: Winning the War Against Future Jihad, and Dennis had him on the show to discuss the book and what we can learn from it.
You can listen to that hour of the show in the "radio show" link above (April 02, 2008, H3), and I did just that after I got home.
A couple of Phares's answers took Dennis by surprise (my transcription isn't exact)
DP: Did our involvement in Iraq & removal of Saddam strengthen Iran?
Dennis expected the answer to be, "Yes, because removing Saddam removed a check against the expansion of Iran's influence." But it wasn't.
WP: No. If we left Saddam in place, he and Ahmadinejad would have teamed up against America and the West. There is an addage, "Me and my brother against my cousin. We and my cousin against my enemy."
Phares said that there were signs of Saddam and Ahmadinejad coming together against the West. He said that after the Iran-Iraq War, after Saddam invaded Kuwait and it became clear that America was going to invade Iraq (under Bush-41), Saddam sent some of his military equipment into Iran for safekeeping. So Iran was not a deterrent to the growth of Saddam's power against the West any more than Saddam was a deterrent to Iran's growth.
DP: What is the solution to Israeli/Palestinian dispute? What do you say to the people who claim that if we just bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians, then all the turmoil in the Middle East will subside?
WP: I wish. The jihadist movement, which is threatening the WORLD, has an ideology and has existed before the Palestinian conflict, before the existence of Israel as a country in 1948, before the US had a policy in the Middle East, and before the United Nations and the League of Nations in the 1920s, so that alone takes care of the linkage between the rise of the jihadist movement and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Had the jihadist movement NOT existed, most likely the Arab-Israeli conflict would have been solved, and the evidence is very clear who, in the '90s, is sending rockets from Gaza. It's Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, and they are supported by Syria and Iran. There is a force in the region which is obstructing any peace process, including the Arab-Israeli process, and any political process, including in Iraq.
DP: We have it all backwards. If you solve the jihadi mentality, it will solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
That is exactly right. Which is why all the efforts of the Bush Administration to force "peace" on Israel are doomed to fail, just as all the same efforts by the Clinton Administration were doomed to fail. As long as we put and keep the destruction of the jihadist movement on the back burner, there will be no real peace in the Middle East.
Destroy the jihadis wherever they are, including (especially) in Gaza, and teach their children to love and not hate, and then maybe we can solve the Arab-Israeli dispute once and for all.