As I promised, as the days of Obama draw down, the jihadis are stepping up the terror tempo. They know that there will be no reprisals from the Oahu links, and they fear Trump’s lineup of tough guys in the cabinet, so they’re in a hurry to kill infidels while the killing’s good. Therefore we, along with the other Western nations, are at maximum risk right now, until roundabouts January 20th.
And the killing’s plenty good, isn’t it? Berlin, Zurich, Ankara, Moscow, with a very nasty plot uncovered in Melbourne, and yet another involving terrorists in Detroit, Maryland, and Virginia. Not to mention the ongoing slaughter in Syria, and, on Christmas day, Cameroon.
What does the “western world” do in response? Declare the Western Wall “occupied territory.” This is no accident, since the jihadis believe that they have unleashed holy war against infidels. That war will not end, in their view, until we infidels have been crushed and subjected to the will of a caliph. They’ve got plenty of support from the Russians, without whom thousands of Iranians and Iranian proxies would have been killed in Syria and Iraq, and the Assad regime would have been destroyed.
That would have been a better world, but Obama did not want that world. Nor did the feckless Europeans, who act as if profits on Iran trade compensate for the open subversion of public order. Indeed, as Christmas arrived we were treated to the spectacle of the bishop of Rome—aka Pope Francis–blaming material misery for the jihadist assault on the West. Thus the first Jesuit pontiff surrenders the moral high ground to his mortal enemies.
Maybe Obama should convert and run for pope.
Paradoxically, the jihadis and their secular allies are launching their new assault just as they are suffering systematic setbacks on the battlefield, their own internal conflicts are intensifying, and there are signs of a religious and patriotic revival within the boundaries of their archenemy, the United States. Walter Russell Mead neatly catches the irony that, just as Obama handed the Palestinians a resounding political victory, a sober look at the situation suggests that the Palestinians have not been this weak, this divided, or this helpless in many decades.
In like manner, the Iranian regime, flush with its success in Aleppo, is increasingly riven. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has had two medical events in the past 10 days, and the scrambling for the succession has resumed. You may have noticed that General Qasem Soleimani has returned to the front pages, which invariably happens when the leader is ill; the Revolutionary Guards want him as the strongman of the next regime (he can’t be supreme leader for lack of theological standing, but he could still be a dominant figure). And it isn’t all peaches and cream for Soleimani, as recent demonstrations in Tehran against the rape of Aleppo make clear. Iranian apologists love to tell us that Persian nationalism overwhelms internal tribal and sectarian divisions, but Iran has lost thousands in Syria, and the Persian nationalists don’t like their husbands and sons dying to save Bashar Assad.
What would President Trump do if Khamenei passed from the scene, and millions of Iranians took to the streets again? The president-elect has said he’s not a great enthusiast of regime change, but it’s hard to imagine he’d abandon the Iranians as Obama did seven years ago. He ought to be thinking it through.
Yes, I know good news is hard to swallow, but we are living in a revolutionary moment, of which the Trump election is a dramatic symptom. The crisis of the Islamic Republic would be a fitting end to the Obama era. He dreamt of a glorious strategic alliance with Iran, and a definitive lethal blow against Israel. How fitting with the Divine sense of humor to have the Palestinians and Iranians to wreck their own enterprises.
You never know. Life is full of surprises.