GAFFNEY: Lessons from the Yom Kippur War

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Forty years ago this week, Arab armies launched the Yom Kippur War at a moment when practically every Israeli was preoccupied with religious obligations. The Arab coalition very nearly succeeded in their long-standing goal of driving the Jews into the sea.

Such a peril arose principally because the Israelis failed to understand the enemies they were confronting at that moment — and their perception that the Jewish state was, if not weak, at least unready for a concerted, coordinated attack. As has happened so often in the past, such a perception need not be right to precipitate war. It just has to take hold in the minds of freedom’s foes.

Four decades later, we have much to learn from this experience. Now, as then, the forces of the Free World are ignoring the nature and ambitions of the enemy arrayed against it. We are engaged in behavior that encourages the latter to behave aggressively toward us.

Seen from the vantage point of the Middle East, for example, there appears to be a widespread consensus: What I think of as the Obama Doctrine — diminishing our country, emboldening our adversaries and undermining our friends — is sowing the seeds for escalating instability. The result may once again be war. Perhaps it will be a regional one. Perhaps, as the Yom Kippur War threatened to do, it will spread beyond the Middle East.

While the recent raids by U.S. special-operations units in Somalia and Libya are commendable — and indeed, long overdue — like drone strikes targeting al Qaeda-linked individuals, these actions cannot begin to make up for the Obama administration’s failure to recognize that, far from being on the “path to defeat,” Osama bin Laden’s organization is continuing to metastasize.

This bit of national security fraud, which was perpetrated for nakedly political purposes in the course of last year’s presidential election, is greatly compounded by another: the proposition that al Qaeda and its franchises are the only jihadist danger we confront. In fact, they are but subsets of a much larger threat posed by those who fully share bin Laden’s supremacist agenda of imposing Shariah worldwide.

Specifically, Team Obama persists in its efforts to embrace, legitimate, empower, fund and arm the wellspring of that Islamist threat; namely, the Muslim Brotherhood. Even after the Egyptian military forced Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi from power, rounded up the group’s leadership and, most recently, banned it outright, President Obama remains on the wrong side of history.

In Egypt, that may drive the new government into the arms of the Russians. In Syria, Libya and Tunisia, it has us helping jihadists. It also contributes to a policy of weakening and otherwise isolating the one state in the region that stands as an actual counterweight to these forces, Israel.

The question occurs: Why?

Clearly, Mr. Obama is personally sympathetic to what he perceives as a “nonviolent” Islamic group with whom we can do business, and he has surrounded himself with subordinates who share this view. It ignores the fact that the federal government has proven in court that the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission in our own country is “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within by [our] hands.”

The Obama administration’s own clueless proclivities toward such enemies are being powerfully reinforced by Muslim Brotherhood-associated individuals now advising the president and U.S. national security agencies. A free online course produced by the Center for Security Policy ( details the roles played by six such individuals.

One of them is Mohamed Elibiary, a Texas-based Islamist activist with a long-record of associations with and advocacy for the Muslim Brotherhood. He was recently reappointed to the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council and given the title of senior fellow there.

Yet, as Charles Johnson reported at the Daily Caller on Oct. 7, Mr. Elibiary makes no bones about his support for convicted terrorists and their funders. Worse yet, an annotated series of interviews with Mr. Elibiary conducted by the Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro, published the same day by the Center for Security Policy, establishes that Mr. Elibiary has used his advisory role to discourage the prosecution of his friends on material support for terrorism grounds. He has also played an instrumental role in the purging of official training materials of information about Shariah and civilizational jihad that our homeland defenders, law enforcement, intelligence community and military need to know to protect us.

A similar sort of wishful thinking and failure to calibrate the enemy nearly destroyed the Jewish state in October 1973. The potential cost of our persisting in such a mistake today is as predictably high as it is avoidable. In order to avoid the bitter fruits of the Obama Doctrine, we have to understand our Islamist foes and take a page from the new Egyptian government — by removing them and those who do their bidding from positions of influence and power in the United States.

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