The dust has yet to settle from Saddam’s fallen statues, and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is already busy making sure that we don’t topple yet another despotic Arab regime that seeks the destruction of the American people. Not only is that a very un-American thing to do but, incidentally, it also goes against the very interests of the Arab people that the ADC purportedly represents.
ADC communications director Hussein Ibish, a recent graduate of the Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahaf (Baghdad Bob) school of journalism, has recently been making the rounds in American and Canadian media lambasting what he sees as the conspiracy of hawks (read: patriots) in the Bush administration to “use the war in Iraq as the starting point in a campaign completely to reshape the Middle East” Ibish also sees efforts by President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to pressure Syria to cease harboring Iraqi war criminals, turn over smuggled Iraqi weapons of mass destructions, and halt its support of international terror as “exceptionally alarming.”
What Ibish fails to recognize here is that (newsflash!) the war in Iraq was but one step in the giant leap to defeat both the terrorists and the nations that provide the necessary logistical and moral support that empower said terrorists. And if that just happens to “completely reshape the Middle East,” well, I’m sure the 200 million Arabs living under inhuman subjugation to illegitimate tyrants would appreciate that. This Arab surely would.
And since when did shilling for Syria, one of the prime backers of al-Qaida’s satellite terror group – Hezbollah, become such a rallying cry for American Arabs? It would behoove Ibish and his rifaq at the ADC to take a closer look at the “American” portion of their namesake.
In an op-ed that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ibish attacks former CIA Director James Woosley for calling for a “World War IV” against terror. Apparently, the reference to a multilateral global effort to rid both Americans and Arabs of the evils of terrorism is a deeply disturbing problem for the ADC and Ibish.
According to Ibish, “many Americans supported the war in Iraq because they genuinely believed it would make our country safer and bring freedom to a people living under brutal tyranny. They never signed on to an agenda that amounts, as former CIA director James Woolsey puts it, to ‘World War IV.'” Interestingly enough, the “many Americans that supported the war because they genuinely believed it would make our country safer and bring freedom to a people living under brutal tyranny” did not include Ibish and his fellow ADC proto-Baathists.
Here, Ibish attempts to pull the wool over the readers’ eyes in order to have us believe that he is simply “one of us,” and that he truly has the national interest of our country at heart when he stands in opposition to Woosley’s “World War IV.” But just what is this “World War IV” that Woosley speaks of, and since when was Ibish the anointed omniscient knower of what the American people “signed up for”?
In a Wall Street Journal column, James Woosley refers to “World War IV,” a term first coined by Professor Eliot Cohen, as the “struggle against terrorism and rogue regimes” that would necessarily require “a long and heavy commitment and the defeat of a totalitarian ideology.” Since when have the American people been against that?! Certainly not the 80 percent of us that do currently support that very same doctrine put forward by President Bush in his policy (which subsequently lead to the Gulf War II stage of the War on Terror). Ibish seems to conveniently ignore that most Americans actually believe that the axis of evil is … evil (how very un-French of us)!
Ibish’s Baathist credentials shine through, as the rest of his op-ed seems to take its cue from the Syrian government mouthpiece Al-Tishrin.
Ibish claimed that President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld “wasted no time in laying down the basic charges that would form the case for an attack against their next target of opportunity: Syria. First, Syria is accused of cooperating with Iraq by allowing weapons to be smuggled back and forth across the border during the war, and of harboring former Iraqi officials – no evidence has been presented on either of these counts but, even if true, they would hardly form a legitimate cause for war.”
Basically, until Syria or its long-reaching terror network turns the entire Eastern Seaboard into a thermonuclear barbeque pit, we have no “legitimate cause” to go to war. Could it be Ibish has been taking one too many dips into some communal hashish (Ibish is a self-avowed hedonist whose personal diet would likely starve half of the Arab world)?
So, how does Ibish reconcile his belief that the American people (excluding, of course, him) who truly did support war in Iraq because “they genuinely believed it would make our country safer and bring freedom to a people living under brutal tyranny,” must consequently reject any notion of preemptive strike against another murderous oppressive Arab oligarchy?
Simple, you see: The Syrians are our friends and allies. Again, Ibish’s duplicitous agenda is readily apparent, the crux of his argument is that Syria isn’t anything like Iraq, so we shouldn’t attack Syria. But this is coming from the spokesman of an organization that declared “Concerns about weapons of mass destruction can be dealt with diplomatically and are no justification for launching an unprovoked attack [against Iraq].”
Again, with the obvious implicit understanding that until we face provocation in the form of yet another mass slaughter of American citizens, we ought not to do anything about preventing it from happening in the first place. So to people like Ibish and the ADC, even if Syria was anything like Iraq, we still shouldn’t launch a preemptive strike to ensure our nation’s security.
Even better, Ibish sees no parallel existing between the Syrian Baathist regime headed by a Stalinist epigone and the Iraqi Baathist regime formerly headed by a student of Stalin.
“Under no circumstances could one argue that the Syrian and Iraqi governments have been allies during the past 25 years. The antagonism between these two intense Baathist rivals has been profound, as witnessed by Syria’s participation in the first Gulf War in 1991 on the American side.”
I see … so in a closed society where one cannot travel between cities without a passport, the busloads of potential mujahadeen crossing the Syrian border into Iraq with the explicit intent to kill our American soldiers magically manifested all by themselves. Not to mention the fact Syria’s illegal use of an adjoining oil pipeline with Iraq only served to prop up Saddam’s regime and aid it in surviving sanctions for the past 12 years.
In fact, this is yet another act of hypocrisy on part of the ADC, as they have always been adamant supporters of the Assad-family terror dynasty. Both Hafez and son Bashar enabled Saddam to stay in power by helping the dictator circumvent the sanctions – all the while the ADC was busy mounting a series of media blitzes and campus “teach-ins” here at home calling for the removal of sanctions, which otherwise would have been much more effective had it not been for the Assad regime coming to Saddam’s rescue.
In fact, the ADC’s ubiquitous relationship with Damascus borders on the criminal. Amazingly, Hussein Ibish denies that Syria has any connections with terrorist organizations whatsoever. Ibish is incredulously outraged that anyone would suggest otherwise, calling the indictment of the Syrian government’s terror connections as being “essentially an Israeli accusation adopted wholesale by our government to provide leverage for Israel.”
Ah yes, how convenient for Ibish to have the Jews as his go-to explanation for all these wacky ideas that a murderous Arab regime could harbor anything but good-will toward mankind.
Perhaps the military wing of Hamas, Ahmad Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, Al Aqsa Brigades, the terrorist branch of Yasser Arafat’s Al Fatah, and Islamic Jihad – which all maintain active terrorist training camps just outside of Damascus – have all turned over a new leaf and are now strictly dedicated to humanitarian purposes and international harmony.
I can see the Al-Jazeera special already.
But Ibish isn’t done yet – he is graciously willing to concede the possibility that Syria might have weapons of mass destruction, but “it is absurd to make an issue out of Syria’s alleged chemical weapons when its immediate neighbor Israel is a major nuclear power.”
But is it so absurd? Last time I checked, all the calls for the death of the imperialist infidel state of America came in Arabic.
In keeping with the ADC’s newfound role as auxiliaries for Syrian autocracy, Ibish goes on to whitewash Syrian occupation of Lebanon – a previously moderate and democratic Arab country. Again, not only does the ADC ignore the obvious, but it seems to be content in ignoring the wishes and interests of the American-Lebanese community that have inhabited this country for multiple generations.
Not only have the Lebanese been the most fervent supporters of American pluralism, but their country once stood as an oasis of liberty amongst a desert of dictators. But, according to Ibish and the ADC, democracy in the Middle East “cannot come at the point of a gun.” Basically, it would be a mistake for America to come to the rescue of another oppressed Arab people living under a tyranny of terror.
But why not ? If tyranny in the Middle East comes at the point of a gun, would it not logically follow that democracy must necessarily also come to fruition through a similar manner?
By attempting to sell the American public his purposefully distorted sound-bite that reform in the Arab world is only possible without outside interference, Ibish spits upon the memory of the 10,000 killed in the northern Syrian city of Hamma in 1981 – all slaughtered after an attempted uprising against the Assad regime – and the thousands of Lebanese kidnapped and executed in Beirut following the Syrian invasion in 1975.
Indeed, how many more Hammas and Beiruts must it take until Ibish and the ADC see their “fellow” Arabs as worthy to live a life of normalcy?
It’s time that the ADC take its cue from American-Arab groups like the Council of Lebanese American Organizations that are proud and thankful to be Americans and free from the life of misery that their ancestors once endured. Unlike the ADC, the CLAO is truly representative of the American Arab population. The council is a federation of local, regional and national organizations that represents the 3 million Americans of Lebanese descent. The ADC, on the other hand, seems to have a very limited clientele consisting mainly of Arab despots.
In a letter sent to the White House last year, the CLAO said, “As an American organization, the CLAO appeals to the U.S. administration to publicly denounce the Syrian occupation of Lebanon … the CLAO is very optimistic that under President Bush’s leadership, world justice will finally be championed, dictators will be further isolated and weakened, and larger countries will no longer be permitted to occupy smaller weaker ones. Free Lebanon is the cornerstone of building a new democratic and moderate region and a leap in winning the fight against terrorism.”
These are the true Americans. These are the real Arabs. It’s time for Mr. Ibish and the ADC to act accordingly.
Oubai Shahbandar is one of the nation’s leading young conservative activists and currently a senior studying philosophy and political science at Arizona State University. He currently holds the proud distinction of being the first and only conservative student activist barred by his respective university from holding or running for any student government office.