In the New York Post, Amir Taheri sums up reaction to the Democrats’ Congressional victory among our enemies:
Radical elements across the Middle East see last Tuesday’s defeat of President Bush’s Republican Party as their victory.
Iraq: The assumption is that America will cut and run.
Iran: Radical circles are unanimous in their belief that Iran can now proceed with its nuclear program without fear of U.S. and allied retaliation. They expect Democrats to revert to Clinton-era policy and seek a “Grand Bargain” with the Islamic Republic – acknowledging Iran as the major regional power and recognizing its right to the full cycle of nuclear technology.
This perception has boosted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cause in next month’s crucial elections. Ahmadinejad argues that Bush’s defeat vindicates his own policy of “standing firm against the Great Satan he hopes to see his faction win control of the Assembly of Experts – a body that can elect and dismiss the “Supreme Guide.” Ahmadinejad would thus control all levers of power in Tehran.
Israel: Radical Islamists in both Iran and the Arab countries believe that the Democrats’ victory indicates “growing American lassitude.” They believe that, once it becomes clear that Americans don’t want to fight for the Middle East, many in Israel would emigrate to America and Europe to escape the constant daily pressure from Islamist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
Taheri is relatively optimistic that our enemies may be wrong about the Democrats:
The mullahs and al Qaeda may soon find out that their celebration of “the end of Bush” was premature. Some Democrats may have promised cut-and-run. But, once in power, the party as a whole may realize (to its horror) that, this time, those from whom Americans run away will come after them.
I think the terrorists are right about the Democrats, but agree with Taheri that the damage they can do will be limited as long as Bush remains President:
One more fact for the mullahs and al Qaeda to take into account: Their nemesis, the reviled Bush, is around for another two years, and unlikely to dance to their tune, even if the new Congress demanded it. And two years is a long time in politics.
Of course, we won’t know for sure whether the Pressident has become more willing to “dance to the terrorists’ tune” until the Baker-Hamilton recommendations come out, and we see the administration’s reaction to them.