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The U.S. Versus Syria and Iran: Winning the War on Terror (JCPA-JERUSALEM CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS) JERUSALEM ISSUE BRIEF Vol. 4, No. 23 By Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (ret.) 05/23/05)Source: http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief004-23.htm JCPA-Jerusalem Center Public Affairs JCPA-Jerusalem Center Public Affairs Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
  • Before the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon were attacked, there were eight countries supporting terrorism. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and North Korea were involved in shipments of arms to terrorists. Saudi Arabia provided sanctuary, training, and funding for terrorist organizations.

  • This list has now been reduced to five countries, and some of these are in transformation as well, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

  • If we follow a strategy that takes the nation-states that continue to support terrorism out of play, the non-state terrorist organizations will fade. For example, Hizballah will fade if its umbilical cord with Iran can be cut.

  • In November 2004, Fallujah was by far the most dangerous city in the world. Now it is the safest city in Iraq. We cannot permit sanctuaries to exist anywhere in the world that enable terrorist organizations to spread their terror.

  • There is only one war today and that is the global war on terror - there are no other wars. The rest are campaigns within the war on terror. The problem between Israel and the Palestinians will not be solved until we solve the greater regional problems.

    Only a Handful of States Back Terror

    In the book End Game: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror, Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who was Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and I offer a strategy for winning the war on terror.

    During the first term of the Bush administration, it was very apparent to us even before the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon were attacked that there were eight countries supporting terrorism. They included Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and North Korea, which were involved in shipments of arms to terrorists. The eighth country is Saudi Arabia, which has provided sanctuary, training, and funding for terrorist organizations. This list has now been reduced to five countries, and some of these are in transformation as well, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, to some degree.

    The Muslim Brotherhood moved to Saudi Arabia in 1954, and bin Laden was born there in 1957. The Saudis have spread their ideology of Wahhabism throughout the mosques of the world, including some 1,500 in the United States primarily funded by Saudi Arabia. Radical Islamic preachers have created a network of´ Wahhabi schools, so the transformation also has to occur within the Muslim community.

    The non-state terrorist organizations - Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Abu Sa´if in the Philippines, Jemaah Islamiah in Southeast Asia and Indonesia - are all interconnected in terms of funding and support mechanisms.

    If we follow a strategy that takes the nation-states that continue to support terrorism out of play, the non-state terrorist organizations will fade. For example, Hizballah will fade if its umbilical cord with Iran can be cut.

    Eliminate Terrorist Sanctuaries

    In November 2004, Fallujah was by far the most dangerous city in the world. Now it is the safest city in Iraq and its people are moving back. In Fallujah we found an enormous amount of arms and ammunition. Almost every building contained some type of arms. We cannot permit sanctuaries to exist anywhere in the world that enable terrorist organizations to spread their terror. The U.S. had allowed such a sanctuary in Fallujah. It made the mistake of thinking it was possible to negotiate with those whose intention is to kill and to take back the power that was taken away from them when Saddam fell.

    Another mistake the U.S. made in Iraq was in setting up the coalition provisional authority, which basically was a State Department organization in charge of a war zone. It was a mistake not to call back the police and the military immediately, and it was a mistake not to put in an interim government immediately, as the U.S. did in Afghanistan.

    Once the United States committed to fight the Germans and the Japanese in World War II, the war lasted three years and nine months. We are already in this global war on terror for a longer period. The war has to be decisive, quick, and it has to have finality. Having a long duration of combat results in more casualties for both the military and the civilian populations. This war will continue for a long time unless certain things happen, including cutting off the money from the nation-states that provide a geographical base for supporting terrorism.

    There is only one war today and that is the global war on terror - there are no other wars. The rest are campaigns within the war on terror. The problem between Israel and the Palestinians will not be solved until we solve the greater regional problems.

    Focus on Syria

    It is possible that chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction were moved out of Iraq between January 15 and March 8, 2003. The U.S. has satellite pictures of 18-wheel trailer trucks going to two locations in Syria and one location in the Bekaa Valley.

    If any military action is taken in Syria, it may focus on the training areas outside of Aleppo. The U.S. should not tolerate any terrorist training camps in Syria that support attacks on coalition forces in Iraq.

    Since Arafat passed away, Hizballah has become the main support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad with financial support and arms. These terrorist organizations must be dealt with. We must not be so naive as to think that we can negotiate with them.

    Dealing with Iran

    If the U.S. selects a military option in Iran, it would probably not involve ground forces. The action would involve covert operations and would primarily be done by air. The U.S. has the capability to do what it has to.

    If Iran is attacked, Russia will do nothing because it doesn´t have the capability to do much right now. China is not going to do anything either. The Chinese are more interested in the transfer of technology and have no interest in leaving their borders to come fight in the Middle East.

    I believe that if the operation in Iran is done correctly, the Iranian people will take care of the rest. The U.S. does not want to occupy that country.

    Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely (ret.) is military analyst for FOX News. He had a distinguished 32-year career in the U.S. Army, retiring in 1991 as deputy commanding general, U.S. Army, Pacific. Gen. Vallely is chairman of the military committee at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and is the co-author of End Game: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror (Regnery, 2004). This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on his presentation at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem on March 9, 2005.


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