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Forget Syria — Neutralize Iran

Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes cogently argues that America should "stay out of the Syrian morass" in a commentary today in the Washington Times, concluding that

...protracted conflict in Syria offers some geopolitical advantages:

It lessens the chances of Damascus from starting a war with Israel or re-occupying Lebanon.

It increases the chances that Iranians, living under the thumb of the mullahs who are Assad's key ally, will draw inspiration from the Syrian uprising and likewise rebel against their rulers.

It inspires greater Sunni Arab anger at Tehran, especially as the Islamic Republic of Iran has been providing arms, finance, and technology to help repress Syrians.

It relieves the pressure on non-Muslims: indicative of the new thinking, Jordanian Salafi leader Abou Mohamad Tahawi recently stated that "The Alawi and Shi'i coalition is currently the biggest threat to Sunnis, even more than the Israelis."

It foments Middle Eastern rage at Moscow and Beijing for supporting the Assad regime.

Pipes says better what I proposed (in the form of an interview with the ghost of Cardinal Richelieu) last February: America should place its own security interests before supposed humanitarian concerns. We can no more prevent sectarian and ethnic war in the Middle East than we can prevent lunar eclipses. We can do a great deal, however, to make sure that the such conflicts do not spill over into our garden, and to steer the ultimate outcome to our strategic advantage.

In the case of Syria, whatever happens in that miserable ethnic patchwork of a country, the changeling brat of colonial cartographers, makes little difference to us--unless, of course, Iran is able to use Syria's WMD for its own purposes. Iran is the threat, not Syria. The scandal is that the administration has done nothing to neutralize the Iranian threat.