Sunni Arab Jihadists come in various kinds. There are those who have received the most attention in the American press: the volunteers who arrive from outside Iraq, and who are considered to be part of the local succursale of Al Qaeda. There are the supporters of Saddam Hussein and his regime (often called Ba’athists). There are those Sunnis who are Iraqis, who were never treated well by the regime, but who nonetheless do not wish to see a transfer of power (and thus of money) to the Shi’a.
Many, in all three groups, are convinced that if only the Americans leave, they will be able to inherit Iraq. But they are wrong. And it is wrong to simply assume that they know what they are talking about, and that an American withdrawal would lead to a “victory for Jihadists” (i.e., for Sunni Arabs — we’ll get to the Shi’a in a minute).
Why? Why should we all be fearful of withdrawing, or fearful of voting for candidates who support such a withdrawal, if such a withdrawal will not lead to a “victory for Jihadists” but rather to such constant warfare, of all sides against all sides, that in the ensuing chaos there will be no chance for some “Jihadist victory”?
Those who blackmail us into supporting the continued American presence in Iraq keep referring to the “victory of the Jihadists.” They appear, that is, to share the convictions and predictions of the Sunni Arabs who are now fighting against the Americans as the symbol and support of the current Shi’a-dominated regime. But if the Americans leave, what will happen? Will the Shi’a Arabs be readier to compromise? Or will they be able to unleash their own forces without the staying hand of the American soldiers, who carefully observe all the rules of warfare and try to get the hopeless Muslim soldiers to do the same?
Will the Shi’a, who outnumber the Sunni Arabs by more than 3 to 1, suddenly cease to outnumber them? Will the weaponry they have acquired, from Saddam Hussein’s armories, from the Americans, and from the Iranians, suddenly cease to exist? Will the training they have received as “Iraqi” soldiers and “Iraqi” police over the past few years simply be forgotten? Will they not know how to defend themselves, or to go on the offensive? And what country shares the longest and most important border with Iraq, the one most easily reached and most easily crossed, the one that is not reached by a long trek through the desert? Is it Sunni-populated Jordan or Saudi Arabia or Syria, or is it rather Shi’a-populated Iran?
Many simply do not think beyond the horizon of whatever phrase is repeated to them often enough. Told again and again that “if we pull out, the Jihadists will win,” they then proceed to believe, or to think, or to think they think, “yes, that’s right, if we pull out the Jihadists will win, won’t they, and we musn’t let that happen.” How many will ask: what does this phrase “the Jihadists will win” mean? Who are these “Jihadists”? Is it the Sunnis? Is it the Shi’a? Is it various kinds of Sunnis and various kinds of Shi’a? What does it mean when the word “Jihadist” is used to apply to some Muslims, but not others, in Iraq or elsewhere? And if the “Jihadists” are, say, Sunni Arabs, and if the Sunni Arabs constitute only 19% of the population while the Shi’a Arabs constitute 60-65%, with almost all the rest being non-Arab Kurds who have their own need to supplant the Sunni Arabs in Kirkuk and Mosul, then just how easy will it be for those “Jihadists” to prevail? And with Shi’a Iran next door, will they be able to prevail? Or will they instead have to rely on aid — money, volunteers, and weaponry — from such Sunni states as Egypt, Jordan, and above all, Saudi Arabia? And if that is to happen, won’t Iran supply the same to its co-religionists? And then what?
Does it matter “then what?” Does it matter if the Muslim states are forced to use up their men, their money, their war materiel, their attention, and to worry about Shi’a revolts in eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and worry about Hizballah volunteers arriving? And wouldn’t the Maronites, and the Druse, and the Sunnis of Lebanon, breathe a sigh of relief as those Hizballah volunteers marched off to Iraq?
Impossible, you say? Not at all.
Bad, you say, because Turki al-Faisal and King Abdullah and Mubarak and all their friends and sympathizers — James Baker, Scowcroft, Lee Hamilton (no, he’s more in the ‘two-state-solution’ line, the line being promoted everywhere behind the scenes by the very active Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group) e tutti quanti — say it would be bad?
“Instability” is bad in the Muslim countries, is it?
Was the Iran-Iraq War a good thing or a bad thing? Tell me.
I mean, of course, good for Infidels, not good for the Camp of Islam. Please don’t confuse the two. Not now. And not ever again.