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Syria’s Chemical Weapons: A Motivation for an Israeli Strike on Iran

March 30th, 2012 - 3:23 am

There has been extensive mention of Syria’s chemical weapons capability in the usual outlets, for example, Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel blog. But there has been virtually no mention of what should be the greatest source of concern. Deterrence has always worked with the Assad regime: if Syria were to use chemical weapons against Israel, Damascus would be turned to glass. The Assad family does not want that to happen, but the mullahs in Tehran do not care much one way or the other; they have never liked Arabs to begin with. If Iran gains control of some part of the chemical stockpile, it gains a retaliatory capability against Israel outside its own borders, and that is something Israel cannot tolerate.

There really is nothing to be done about the Syrian disaster without neutralizing Iran’s malignant influence, as I’ve tried to explain throughout.

For both Iran and Israel, the window of opportunity is closing. Iran cannot sustain the sanctions regime indefinitely, and its probable response is to accelerate its nuclear program. Israel faces the risk that Syria may become a platform for non-nuclear WMD attacks by Iran.

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage assembled from multiple Shutterstock.com images.)

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