By Newt Gingrich
While Americans have been focused on the economy and domestic politics, the Middle East has been deteriorating in very threatening ways.
In the last few months, events have begun to turn against the United States, Israel, and freedom in the Middle East. If you want to share this big-picture overview of threats in the region with your friends, there are buttons at the top of this message.
Consider the following developments:
1. The Iranians are on offense in Iraq and the United States is losing ground. The radical cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, has called for his followers to stop killing Americans on the grounds that it could delay our departure, but warned that if our troops do not leave by the end of the year, his attacks will resume. American military leaders have publicly testified that Iranians are providing equipment, training, and intelligence to help kill Americans. Yet nothing is being done to stop Iran.
2. The Obama Administration's decision to reduce the American military presence in Iraq to 3,000 creates the potential for a catastrophic disaster. Since the Army deploys in brigades of 5,000, splitting up a brigade can only signify a political calculation. Yet a small American military force will not be able to defend itself. The Obama Administration is creating a tempting target for the Iranian radicals to see if they can humiliate us. It would be much safer to pull all the troops out than to leave so few that they are in peril.
3. The American Embassy in Baghdad is an absurdity. It was designed when we were on the way to being the dominant power in Iraq. It covers too much space, has too much staff, and requires 3,650 people to defend it on a billion dollar contract (while thousands more work inside). Sustaining something on this scale is going to be very expensive and yield no results of comparable value. This embassy should be closed and a very modest and defensible building should replace it.
4. The Turkish government has become increasingly Islamist in its language and policies and is rapidly reversing the 90 year legacy of Ataturk's efforts to create a modern, open Turkey. The Turkish flotilla to Gaza last year was so clearly in violation of international law that even the United Nations has said Israel was right and Turkey was wrong.
This enraged the Turkish government, and it is threatening to send a new flotilla to Gaza defended by Turkish warships. This could lead to a Turkish-Israeli confrontation that could be very dangerous.
5. The Iranians announced Monday that their first nuclear reactor was going on line in a public demonstration of their determination to become a nuclear power.
6. Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of Syria and ally of Iran, continues to kill his own people with Iranian help. While some pro-American governments have fallen, pro-Iranian dictators are being sustained.
7. Egyptian radicals are building pressure for a diplomatic break with Israel, ending the 33 year peace process which has made the region more stable and less dangerous. Mob attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo are an indicator of the potential hostility which could explode and reshape the region.
8. As I wrote over a month ago, the United Nations General Assembly is on the verge of recognizing a Palestinian state in a unilateral step which will embolden the radicals and put Israel in greater danger. Meanwhile even the "moderate" Palestinians indicate this is not a step toward peace but merely an interim step in Palestinian statehood forced on Israel.
Chuck DeVore, who served as a Reagan appointee in the Pentagon and is an expert on foreign affairs, has written a special report on the situation in the Middle East and threats to Israel's survival. You can read it here.
Despite all of these events, there is no evidence the Obama Administration has any idea how dangerous the world is becoming, or that it has a plan to deal with them.