Poison gas and poisoned hearts

Radical Islam’s demons of death are a mutating virus of terror


The focus of the debate that will determine whether the United States fights another war in the Middle East is Syria’s poison gas attack. The infamous terrorist state is home to the largest stockpiles of WMD in the region. President Barack Obama says he does not want to kill Bashar Assad nor overthrow him; he simply wants to send a shot across the bow to weaken the Syrian leader’s regime.

The reality is that the al-Qaeda wing known as the Islamic State of Iraq (SISI) is operating in Syria, and has been gaining a greater foothold in that country over the past twelve months. Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, is considered one of the most effective fighting forces with Assad’s troops. The group’s name means “victory front” and is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department.

The Syrian Liberation Front and the Syrian Islamic Front number over 150,000 fighters, three times the number of the Free Syrian Army, which is considered non-sectarian. These two groups espouse an Islamic ideology. Thousands of Free Syrian Army fighters have defected to Jabhat al-Nusra and pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.

Syria is, and always has been, a terrorist state with links to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), and other terrorist organizations based in Damascus. More than 60 percent of all business transactions in the country are made in cash; neither do 80 percent of all Syrians use banking services because of corruption and terrorism.

The debate that is now being held is a core issue in Syria. With mosques, madrasas, and mullahs holding the trump card and tribalism overcoming nationalism, how is it possible to fight a war with a terror regime hoping that an even worse terror regime will not gain power?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has checkmated Mr. Obama by proposing that Syria’s chemical weapons be placed “under international control as a way to avert a Western military strike.” This is the best possible news for Iran’s leaders. The Syrian crisis was a test to see if the United States would blink in the stand-off against Iran’s proxy. Russia will now redouble its support for Syria and Iran’s nuclear program.

Putin wants to rebuild the Russian Empire, not only procedurally, but also economically. He believes he can do that with the aid of a non-Arab Persian state as an ally, precipitating the launch of a trillion dollar nuclear arms race among the Arab Gulf oil states. Russia would be the primary vendor.

Several years ago, I met with then prime minister Ariel Sharon in Washington, DC, and asked him how many of the 2,000-plus terrorist attacks in Israel had involved Christian Arabs blowing up Jews. He looked at his ambassador and replied, “None. Absolutely none. Why?” I replied that it was a heart issue; Christian Arabs have Jesus’s teachings in their hearts and do not celebrate a culture of death. I added that those who killed Israelis have poisoned hearts: “It’s a heart and spirit issue, Mr. Prime Minister. As long as radical Islam fuels and feeds this demon of death, the spirits inside them are not required to clear customs.”   

Two of America’s enemies are killing each other in Syria, and innocent civilians are tragically caught in the middle. For the US to think it can legislate peace by bombing Syria is paramount to believing poverty can be eradicated by deposing pirates.

The Middle East is the last bastion of family-owned corporations called “countries” that are thugocracies that deceive the masses with theocracy. Until hearts are changed, the virus of terror will continue to mutate.

Dr. Michael Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest novel, The Locket, based on the pursuit, arrest, trial, and execution of Adolf Eichmann, debuted at Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center on June 15, 2013.