Friday, September 06, 2013

Israel's take on the Syrian debate in the U.S.

Israeli officials have consistently made the case that enforcing Mr. Obama’s narrow “red line” on Syria is essential to halting the nuclear ambitions of Israel’s archenemy, Iran.
I just don't see how that makes sense at all. I mean, chemical weapons are not the same as nuclear weapons. The Iranians are a strong supporters of the ban on CWs, having been a country that was the victim of Saddam's chemical weapon attack in the 1980s (Just as the Japanese are strongly in favor of global nuclear disarmament, having been the one country to be nuked).

I guess the logic is that if the U.S. enforces this "red line" by force, then it is more likely to strike Iran if it crosses that other "red line" of gaining nuclear weapons. But does anyone actually believe that? Whether a country gets attacked depends on a whole lot of factors. North Korea crossed the nuclear finish line without an attack, largely because a strike on NoKo could trigger a nuclear response. In fact, Israel constantly beating the anti-Iranian drum is the biggest incentive to Iran to get the bomb as fast as it can. Any country in Iran's situation, with both the regional power and the world's superpower openly debating an attack in the world media, would be seeking some way to deter such a strike.

The fact that Israel wants the U.S. to attack Syria should be another reason to oppose the plan. One of the criticisms of a strike is that it might drag Iran into a conflict with the U.S. But that's something that Israel wants. I don't actually think that a Syrian strike would lead to a U.S.-Iranian war, but I could be wrong. And the fact that Israel is itching for the U.S. to hit Syria makes me think that they think a widened conflict is more of a possibility.