- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2011

President Obama is empowering radical Islam across the Arab world. He is presiding over both the American decline and the rapid advance of our mortal jihadist enemies. From the Middle East to North Africa, the Arab Spring has turned into an Islamist winter. Contrary to the administration’s claims, the popular uprisings have not led to a “rebirth of freedom” - the emergence of liberal democracies in distant Arab lands. Rather, Muslim fundamentalists have used street protests against corrupt, autocratic regimes as a Trojan horse to expand Islamic militancy.

In Tunisia, an Islamist party with ideological ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is poised to win national elections. Its goal is to repeal the nation’s secular traditions (inherited from the French empire) and erect a Muslim theocracy. Its platform calls for banning alcohol, forcing women to wear the veil and implementing Shariah law. Non-Muslims and women are to be treated as second-class citizens.

Next month, it will be Egypt’s turn to hold elections. The Muslim Brotherhood is expected to gain the largest number of parliamentary seats. Its aim is to restore the global caliphate and return Cairo to the rule of fundamentalist clerics. Its foreign policy is based upon hatred of Israel and America. The Sinai already has become a sanctuary for terrorists and a staging ground for attacks on Israeli cities. Since the overthrow of strongman Hosni Mubarak, rampaging Muslim mobs have murdered numerous Coptic Egyptians and destroyed Christian churches. More than 100,000 Christian Copts have been expelled - an act of deliberate religious cleansing. About 8 million Copts are left in Egypt. The Brotherhood views them as a “threat” to the “Egyptian nation.” The country could be on the verge of religious and civil war, yet Mr. Obama is shamefully silent about the anti-Christian pogrom taking place.

In Libya, Mr. Obama supported the rebel movement. Col. Moammar Gadhafi lived by the gun; he died by the gun. Gadhafi was a brutal dictator whose bizarre regime turned Libya into a giant prison. No one should shed a tear for that butcher - especially considering his involvement in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which claimed the lives of 270 people, including many Americans.


The question, however, is what comes after Gadhafi? Because of Mr. Obama’s policies, NATO has armed, trained and financed the creation of an Islamist Libya. Jihadists fill the ranks of the rebels. Many of them were in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing and maiming U.S. soldiers. There are even al Qaeda members among them. Islamic fighters have raided Gadhafi’s military stockpiles and stolen more than 20,000 surface-to-air missiles. Some have found their way into the hands of Hamas; others may be used to shoot down American commercial airliners.

Tripoli’s interim government, the one the administration keeps telling us is “moderate” and “pro-democracy,” has just announced that Libya will be governed strictly by Shariah law. It has legalized Muslim polygamy. It has banned charging interest on loans, forcing banks to be Shariah-compliant. The rebels openly acknowledge that their ideological soul mates are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, not America’s Founding Fathers. Contrary to Mr. Obama’s spin, George Washington has not crossed the Mediterranean. Instead, the Prophet Muhammad has - paid for by U.S. taxpayers and backed by U.S. bombs. The Muslim crescent is on the march.

Still, Mr. Obama’s greatest failure is Iraq. He has ordered all U.S. troops to be withdrawn from that country by the end of the year - except for about 150 soldiers to protect our huge embassy in Baghdad. He is hailing the decision as a fulfillment of his 2008 campaign pledge. It is a betrayal of the more than 4,400 Americans who died in the war as well as the tens of thousands maimed and crippled. A power vacuum will result with Iraq falling under Iran’s sphere of influence. Tehran seeks a Shiite vassal state. It is meddling in internal Iraqi affairs. Iraq is splintering along religious and ethnic lines. Iraqi Christians have been decimated by Islamist insurgents. Iran’s mullahs are on the verge of exporting their radical Shiite revolution - even at the risk of inflaming Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds. Americans did not bleed to benefit Iran’s fascist theocracy. They fought - and died - to establish a pro-Western Iraq.

Top U.S. generals have warned that the rapid pullout will reverse all of the strategic gains of the 2007 troop surge. This is why they recommended that at least 10,000 troops remain behind - to train and assist Iraqi national forces and to counter Iranian influence. The Obama administration argues that Baghdad refused to grant immunity to U.S. soldiers from Iraqi prosecution while serving there. Hence, Washington could never agree to such conditions. Yet, had the White House pushed harder and cultivated better relations with our Kurdish allies in northern Iraq, Baghdad would have capitulated. America then could establish several military bases, especially in Iraqi Kurdistan, from which to project regional power.

Instead, Iran’s mullahs have won. Once Tehran acquires the nuclear bomb, it will be able to blackmail its neighbors, dominate the region and impose a stranglehold over the world’s oil supply. The trend is clear: American power is in retreat. In its wake are the new invading barbarians.

Like emperors in the final days of Rome, our leaders can pretend that the barbarians pose no imminent threat. Everyone knows, however, that Mr. Obama is simply managing America’s decline. His warm embrace of the Arab Spring as a pro-democracy movement simply camouflages the sad reality of our time: The Islamists are rising, threatening freedom wherever they tread.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.