Lessons from Syria's Chemical Weapons Use

(Commentary) Michael Rubin - Multiple reports suggest that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus killing hundreds. One overarching lesson from the Syrian chemical weapons abuse is that the red line imposed on radical and rejectionist regimes should be their acquisition of chemical weapons rather than their use. Syria shows that given enough time, ideological and radical regimes will use the capabilities they have. Syria has had a chemical weapons capability for decades. Sometimes, preempting the ability of a state to acquire the worst weapons is a paramount national and international interest. Let the world condemn Israel for striking Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, and Syria's secret nuclear plant in 2007, but frankly the world is much better off with those programs and facilities eradicated. President Obama might now reconsider what the Syria situation means for Iran: Should Iran achieve a nuclear weapons capability or an outright arsenal of nuclear weapons, then the chance exists that at some point Iranian ideologues will choose to use such weaponry. The time to act is before rogues can equip themselves with weapons beyond the pale; not after. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School.

2013-08-23 00:00:00

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