From the Shooting-Ourselves-In-the-Foot Department
The Wall Street Journal notes:
A U.S. attack on Syria would likely dash expectations of progress in nuclear negotiations with Iran and undermine new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s call for improving relations with the West, diplomats said.
An attack on Damascus would likely give Iranian hard-liners, who oppose a nuclear compromise, the upper hand over moderate President Hasan Rouhani, who has made foreign policy and nuclear talks a priority.
“A direct U.S.-Iran conflict in Syria will only widen the chasm of mistrust needed to be bridged in order to reach a nuclear accommodation,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Obama would be bombing Iran’s main ally, strengthening the hand of hardliners in Tehran and undermining Rouhani’s room for maneuver.
Officials cautious of intervening say targeted strikes to punish Mr. Assad for using chemical weapons risk triggering a bloody escalation. If the regime digs in and uses chemical weapons again, or launches retaliatory attacks against the U.S. and its allies in the region, Mr. Obama will come under fierce pressure to respond more forcefully, increasing the chances of full-scale war, the officials say.
And, of course, Russia—which has declared that it won’t support an American action against Syria—could up the ante, too, by backing Assad more powerfully in response.
As we’ve previously noted, attacking Iran would only speed up its development of nuclear weapons, empower its hardliners, and undermine the chance for democratic reform. The same is true for Syria and any chemical weapons which the nation possesses.
Indeed, the key architect of America’s war plan against Syria says:
If we start picking off chemical weapons targets in Syria, the logical response is if any weapons are left in the warehouses, he’s going to start dispersing them among his forces ….
If they’re dispersed away from central government warehouses to scattered military forces, they are more likely to be used.