"Oh Iraqis, just listen to what your American enemies are saying these days and you'll know that victory is close…" this is a slogan among many others we hear everyday on one of the terrorists' mouthpieces.
They are talking about the anticipated change in America's policy in the region and this possible change has been interpreted by the terrorists and their supporting dictatorships as the prelude for the victory of the powers of darkness over the "losing" project of America and its friends.
That's the project that aims at getting rid of these extremist powers and allowing freedom to flourish in the region.
It's neither new nor unexpected from our region's leaders and politicians (with a reservation on the word politicians) to misread signals coming from American or western statements. We'd always lacked clear strategic vision in our region and most of our movements are reactions rather than genuine actions because it's rare to see intellectuals or reasonable thinkers given a real role in governance. In fact most of the leaders have either inherited the crown or are lucky guys who took over after successful coups.
That also applies to even our primitive parties which are often small family dictatorships.
Such misreading by unqualified leaderships had always led to moves from their end that brought catastrophes upon the region and history of the middle east is full of examples.
What made me want to write about this issue is the way in which the middle east has read America's announcement of an imminent change of policy. Apparently here, the leaders got it this way: that the change in strategy would be from one of victory to one of exit.
Perhaps the Iranian statement was the clearest (and I consider Nejad a symbol of the nature of middle eastern leaderships) when he said something that shows clearly the way they misunderstood America's position, he said "we are ready to help America walk out of its trouble in Iraq…" it's very obvious from these words that they misunderstood "a change" as a surrender.
Meanwhile other anti-American powers moved to escalate the confrontation on the Palestinian, Iraqi and Lebanese fronts in a way that reflects a renewed hope in a near triumph against the US and its project in the region. We again began to hear voices saying that it's only a matter of time before a chopper evacuates the American ambassador from the IZ to mark a logical end (from their point of view) for the struggle of the mighty extremist powers.
The ideology of the extremists believes in "either victory or martyrdom" and now they think they are closer to the former and this will be used to attract more of the reluctant to the camp that considers itself close to victory and we'll see intensified media efforts invested in this field.
What I want to say here is that now I believe more that I must disagree with those who claim that wrong American policy breeds extremism, and now I believe more than ever that wrong signals that might be interpreted as weakness are what can be exploited by the enemy to give more credit to extremism especially under the current circumstances.
To put it simply; saying that a policy that aims at ridding the world of regimes and criminals such as Saddam, al-Qaeda, Ahmadinejad or Assad is a wrong policy that breeds extremism is utterly stupid.
I personally do not think that America changed its policy from victory to exit but I see that it hasn't been good at expressing its intentions nor sending the right signals, and when I say right I mean clear even to those who have a problem understanding things.
What the free world needs to do, the US and UK in particular, is to make their messages clear and loud so that wrong interpretations by extremists do not cost us losses that can be otherwise avoided.
The message ought to be clear and loud that the change in strategy will be to renew and empower the strategy from one of victory to one of nothing but victory.
Here I see steps such as considering adding more troops in Iraq and imposing sanctions on Iran to have a positive impact; more strategic than tactical though as this will express beyond doubt that nothing short of victory would be the goal of the new strategy.