The Real Reason to Intervene in Syria

(Foreign Policy)- James P. Rubin- Iran's nuclear program and Syria's civil war may seem unconnected, but in fact they are inextricably linked. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. It's the fact that just reaching the nuclear threshold could embolden Iranian leaders to call on their proxy in Lebanon, Hizbullah, to attack Israel, knowing that their adversary would have to think hard before striking back. That is where Syria comes in. Hizbullah, which is sustained and trained by Iran via Syria, has proven able to threaten Israeli security interests. The collapse of the Assad regime would sunder this dangerous alliance. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the Assad regime's fall "will be a major blow to the radical axis, major blow to Iran....It's the only kind of outpost of the Iranian influence in the Arab world...and it will weaken dramatically both Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza." Success in Syria would be a transformative event for the Middle East. Iran would no longer have a Mediterranean foothold from which to threaten Israel and destabilize the region. The writer was assistant secretary of state during the Bill Clinton administration.

2012-06-05 00:00:00

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