- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2006

As they lay siege to one of the last bastions of democracy in Beirut, agents of the Syrian and Iranian governments and their principle cohort, Hezbollah, are assiduously moving forward joint strategic designs that intend to kill as many Americans as possible while smothering much of the region in a darker hue of repression.

The extent of the Syrian and Iranian ascendancy for the security of the West and the region are chilling. The press quoted senior U.S. intelligence officials for the first time last week detailing the long hand that Syria and Iran play in conjunction with radical proxies in fermenting terror and mayhem from Beirut to Baghdad. Officials described how Iranian Revolutionary Guards worked in tandem with Syrian military intelligence to facilitate the travel and training of radical Iraqi Shi’ite militants connected to Moqtada al-Sadr — whose Jaysh al Mahdi militants continue to kill American soldiers armed with Iranian weaponry and Hezbollah training — in advanced Hezbollah-run training camps nestled in one of the world’s last free-trade zones of terror, the Beka’a Valley on the Syrian-Lebanese border.

It was reported that senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Ghasem Soleimani and Hezbollah super terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, widely credited in planning the Marine barracks bombing in 1983, regularly conferred in Damascus with Bashar Assad’s point man on Lebanese, Iraqi and Iranian affairs and former head of Syrian intelligence, Muhammad Nasif Khayr-Bayk — an “old guard” member of the late elder Assad’s inner circle who now carries the title adviser to Vice President Farouk al-Shara to overlook any suspicion to his real role.

Messrs. Mughniyeh and Soleimani are deadly both in their single-minded focus in killing Americans and their skill and cunning in doing so. Mr. Khayr-Bayk is considered the ruthless brains of the regime and the principle architect of Syria’s dual support to both Sunni and Shi’ite extremists. His fingerprint can be found everywhere, from coordinating with the virulent Sunni head of the al Qaeda-supporting Association of Muslim Scholars Harith al-Dhari to regularly conferring with ranking former Iraqi Ba’athists Fawzi al-Rawi and Izzat al-Duri as they plan joint Islamist-Ba’athist terror operations in Iraq out of Damascus.

To add to this already deadly symphony of America’s worst enemies, the Syrian regime, again with Mr. Khayr-Bayk taking the lead, has hosted a steady stream of senior delegations of Sadr’s military and political advisers. As a result, Sheikh al-Sadr opened an office in both Beirut and Damascus as the tripartite relationship blossomed into a radical Shi’ite axis with a singular aim: to coordinate and amplify efforts designed to bring down the fledgling democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, and oh yes, bleed the U.S. military into submission in Iraq.

The combined thirst for Western blood of these scheming parties ought to already have been a serious cause of concern for those leading the choir for “diplomatic engagement” as a means to secure our exculpation from the travails of the security crisis the United States faces in Iraq. And as Syria, Iran and their allies in Lebanon openly agitate to overthrow a government that they condemn as a Western puppet (read: democratic), it becomes even more painfully clear that Mr. Assad, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, and Sheikh al-Sadr don’t mean to simply deliver a message, they intend to defeat us.

The problem is most poignant in the lack of cohesive debriefings that the U.S. military intelligence is capable of to warn the executive branch of how extensive the high-level operations conducted by Syria and Iran have been. The U.S. military is either troubled of expanding its operations to pre-empt Syria and Iran or apprehensive that new fresh intelligence might be questioned by a wary U.S. Congress, leading to non-starter arguments. Either way, the no-policy approach towards Syria and Iran, is bursting our confidence. What other “Hate America” dictator could be waiting in the wings, smelling blood?

Meanwhile, Mr. Khayr-Bayk has been negotiating, with the U.S. military attache in the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, the means by which Syria will disintegrate all seven operations they created and today control — including al Qaeda’s Abou Ghadiyah and Jund al-Sham, whose operational terrorist camps near Latikia Mr. Khayr-Bayk is in direct contact with — in return for, among other things, Lebanon and the Golan Heights.

The events unfolding from Beirut to Damascus to Baghdad and onto Tehran are a gathering storm of those that seek to both impart serious harm to America and to finally snuff out the quickly fading embers of liberty in that part of the world. This is why Beirut today is an Alamo of sorts and Lebanon’s own William Barret Travis is none other than Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. But unlike the fate of the Texans, the March 14 group needs Sam Houston to arrive a bit earlier.

Farid N. Ghadry is president of the Reform Party of Syria.

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