By Barry Rubin
Sometimes a big scoop is lying in plain sight and this often happens nowadays because either the mass media does not pick up a big story or the experts don’t properly analyze it. So while what I am about to tell you has been in the public domain for more than three years, it is of tremendous policy importance yet has been totally neglected:
Hizballah, the Shia group that now dominates Lebanon’s new government, is at war with the United States in Iraq.
Consider that this fact—as we will see in a moment—has been known to high-ranking U.S. government officials for years but has had zero impact on policy. The Obama Administration has accepted Hizballah’s political power as well as its Iranian and Syrian sponsorship, with no real opposition. It does not regard Hizballah as an enemy and senior officials favor official contacts with that terrorist group.
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Consider this information from the public record and the statements of U.S. officials that was published almost three years ago:
“In his testimony before the Armed Services Committees of the Congress on April 8, 2008, General David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, reported that the Iranian Qods Force, with the assistance of Lebanese Hizbullah’s Department 2800, was training, arming and guiding the “Special Groups” in Iraq. Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, head of the Communications Division for the multinational forces in Iraq, also noted a month previously that terror operatives arrested at the end of 2007 reported they had undergone training in Iran directed by Hizbullah activists. Two activists of Lebanese Hizbullah (one of them Abu Mousa Dukduk) operated in the framework of the `Special Groups.’ U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said in August 2008 that the interrogations of Hizbullah activists within the secret cells of the Mahdi Army (Jaish al-Mahdi) demonstrated the deep involvement of Iran in terror attacks against coalition forces and attempts by Iran to “create a Lebanonization or Hizbullahzation in parts of southern Iraq.”
So here are no less than three senior American officials—one of whom, Petraeus, has just become head of the CIA—saying that Hizballah (my preferred transliteration) has been at war with the United States, killing and wounding Americans. Information to that effect also comes from Hizballah itself, as noted above and in this clip from the official Hizballah television station detailing three specific attacks on U.S. forces.
Why is this significant? Because it is a clear demonstration of the fact that Syria and Iran—about which there is a lot of additional information—and their client Hizballah are at war with the United States by any definition of the word. Yet the Obama Administration neither factors that into its policy nor explains this to the American public. On the contrary, to this day the Obama Administration is the world’s biggest defender of the Syrian dictatorship that is killing Americans despite this government’s 2.5 year effort to persuade that regime through being nice to change its behavior.
If Hizballah is at war with America—and one can add previous Hizballah attacks such as that on the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 242 Americans—then a Hizballah-dominated government in Lebanon is a direct threat to U.S. lives and interests. And if this is so, the fact that the international commission has just found both Syria and Hizballah to have been involved in the murder of Lebanese leaders shouldn’t just be a matter of verbal concern but of a real attempt to inflict serious damage on these enemies.
This would also suggest that America’s number-one security problem is not al-Qaida but the alliance of Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, and the Iraqi insurgents, supported by the Turkish regime.
Incidentally, the Muslim Brotherhood, though not directly involved in the fighting, has constantly supported the Sunni insurgents in Iraq and cheered the deaths of Americans there. Yet this, too, is not made clear to the American people nor has it affected the U.S. government decision to open official contacts with the Brotherhood. We are constantly told that the Brotherhood has moderated and even that it opposes violence.
And how did the Brotherhood respond to this initiative? It did so by conditioning a dialogue on a change of U.S. policy to oppose Israel.
Consider this, how often does a great power simply ignore the fact that others are waging war against it and pretend that it isn’t happening at all?
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His articles published originally in places other than PajamasMedia can be found at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com