“Perdicarus Alive or Raisuli Dead”

“Perdicarus Alive or Raisuli Dead”
Vol: 66 Issue: 28 Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nobody is quite sure what Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has in mind for the fifteen British soldiers that Iran kidnapped on the high seas last week. It isn’t even clear why Iran made such a dangerous move.

One line of thinking is that Iran conducted the operation in order to distract the UN Security Council, which at the time, was preparing to vote on sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Another possibility is that Iran is feeling out the British response the way that Hezbollah did Israel last year at Tehran’s direction when Hezbollah kidnapped Israeli soldiers stationed on the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon.

Then, as now, they claimed that they were the injured party. Last year, Hezbollah claimed the IDF soldiers were in their territory. Iran claims the British naval boarding party had strayed into Iranian waters.

One thing is certain. Iran intentionally created this crisis in the full expectation that its aggression would somehow be rewarded.

That is the way such international crises are settled nowadays. The usual result isn’t a pay-back, it is a pay-off.

When Iranian revolutionaries (led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) seized the US embassy in 1979, US President Jimmy Carter ordered an impotent rescue operation involving just two US helicopters.

Eight US Marines died in the desert and President Carter ordered future military options to be set aside.

It is worth mentioning that the original Iranian plan for taking the Embassy was to hold it for a few hours to make a statement and then withdraw before the American reaction got too violent.

The plan was concocted in September by Iranian dissident Ebrahim Asgharzadeh. “Our aim was to object against the American government by going to their embassy and occupying it for several hours,” Asgharzadeh later said.

“Announcing our objections from within the occupied compound would carry our message to the world in a much more firm and effective way.”

No significant American military response came, and, an astonished Islamic world took note of how little it really took to bring America to its knees.

To the delighted surprise of the organizers, the hostage crisis dragged on for 444 days. Iran claimed victory and released the hostages at a time of its own choosing.

When the Marine barracks was bombed by Hezbollah in 1983 killing 241 Marines, President Ronald Reagan ordered a US withdrawal from the region. Hezbollah claimed victory for forcing the US out of Lebanon.

When US forces were overwhelmed by Somali fighters during the ‘Blackhawk Down’ incident, US President Bill Clinton ordered a US withdrawal from the region.

It was the humiliating US withdrawal from Somalia, its objectives unmet, that convinced Osama bin-Laden that the US was a ‘paper tiger’.

Even when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and brought down the full weight of a global military alliance on his head, it took more than a dozen more years before the US took anything resembling decisive military action.

And America’s conduct of the post-Saddam Iraq insurgency war, while brutal by US liberal standards, has been so weak and ineffective that it has only enhanced Osama’s assessment of the American paper tiger in the eyes of the Islamic world.


In 1970, the various displaced Palestinian terrorist groups, led by Yasser Arafat’s al Fatah Party, decided that Jordan’s monarchy might be an easier country to take over than Israel, which had just emerged victorious from the 1967 War.

It set up a state-within-a-state in Jordan, (the way it has in Israel since Oslo.) Uniformed PLO militants openly carried weapons, set up checkpoints and attempted to collect what they called “taxes”. (The way Hamas now operates in Gaza).

But instead of continuing in what were clearly fruitless negotiations, King Hussein launched a ten day war against the PLO in which an estimated five thousand Palestinian fighters were killed. The rest were expelled to Lebanon. The incident is remembered by the Palestinians as “Black September.”

The PLO leaves Jordan alone now.

In Syria in 1982, the “Muslim Brotherhood” (a forerunner of al-Qaeda) set up its own state-within-a-state headquartered in Hama, a city of 350,000 people. From there, the Brotherhood challenged the Ba’athist regime of Hafez al Assad.

al Assad responded by turning loose the Syrian army on Hama. The Syrian response was coordinated by his brother, Rafaat al-Assad, who leveled Hama, later boasting that he killed 38,000 rebels in the process.

After the Hama uprising, the Islamist insurrection was broken, and the Brotherhood has since operated in exile.

When a Muslim warlord named Amed er Raisuli kidnapped a US citizen named John Perdicaris in Morrocco in 1904, it prompted what history called “The Perdicaris Affair.”

Perdicaris, as it turned out, wasn’t really an American citizen, but he CLAIMED he was.

The mere possibility that an American MIGHT be held hostage by a foreign power was enough for President Teddy Roosevelt.

He ordered the Navy to steam toward Morocco as Secretary of State John Hay sent the Sultan of Morocco a telegram consisting of just four words: “Perdicaris alive — or Raisuli dead.”

Perdicaris was released alive and American citizens thereafter were safe on the streets of Morocco.

Last week, Iran kidnapped fifteen British sailors on the high seas under conditions that constitute an act of war against both Great Britain and, by extension, the United States.

Instead, the US is treating it as if it were a British diplomatic problem.

Tehran wasn’t expecting a tersely-worded telegram. It was expecting to be rewarded for its act of piracy. And it took less than a week for Iran to get it.

This week, a bill that would authorize what the Islamic world, including Iran, can only view as a US surrender plan, passed both Houses of Congress.

Ahmadinejad was no doubt pleased to learn that the bill also expressly forbids any US military action against Iran without prior Congressional approval.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said of the bill that the Democrats wanted to send a message to President Bush that the time has come to find a new way forward in this intractable war.

al Jazeera’s headline this morning reads: “US Senate Passes a Bill Calling for Withdrawal From Iraq by March.”

President Bush got the message, loud and clear. So did al-Jazeera. So did al-Qaeda and Tehran. And so, incidentally, did Jerusalem.

When push comes to shove with Iran, Israel is on its own.

Medical Report:

Our God is indeed a prayer-answering God! Thanks to your prayer support, yesterday’s appointment with my family doctor went smoothly and all systems are go. No more appointments for six months.

(It reminds me of the Henny Youngmann joke: “My doctor gave me six months to live. I told him I couldn’t pay him in six months. So he gave me ANOTHER six months.”)

The news clears away any remaining potential obstacles to this year’s Road Tour as planned.

Praise the Lord!

This entry was posted in Briefings by Pete Garcia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s