The mullahs need to know
President Obama means it
Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen raised the core issue on BBC America on Wednesday. Click image to enlarge.
IN THE MILLIONS of words hurled around the globe about Syria this week, the one topic at the core of the debate seems to be MIA.
A thorough search of U.S. media reveals little or nothing about the true purpose of President Obama’s decision to launch a military strike on Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry did briefly mention it, but no one was paying attention – or reporters missed it entirely.
It is not that Bashar al-Assad has crossed a “red line.”
The true message is aimed at the mullahs who run Iran. It is they who must believe the U.S. is serious about the consequences of crossing red lines. If they don’t, it’s full speed ahead with their nuclear bomb building plans.
WATCH A VIDEO DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUE BELOW THE FOLD
ABOUT THE ONLY REFERENCE to this other “red line” came, briefly, when Clinton-era Secretary of Defense William Cohen spoke Wednesday on BBC America News with Katty Kay.
Otherwise one has to turn to media abroad.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty got the memo. Here is its story. Click image to enlarge.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty explored the issue in a story on Thursday headlined Iran Lurks Behind Washington’s ‘Red Line’ On Syria.
Charles Recknagel writes:
“Prior to this week, Iran was rarely mentioned in connection with the Aug. 21 chemical-weapons attack around Damascus that Washington says killed 1,429 people.
“Instead, Western powers discussed the need to enforce a global “red line” against governments using chemical weapons. The target for the message: the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which Western intelligence agencies say launched the attack.
“But now the talk in Washington is about a second “red line” that also needs to be enforced. And this time the government to receive the message is Iran.”
Recknagel was one of the few reporters paying close attention to the hearings in Congress.
“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned Iran repeatedly as he sought U.S. Congressional support on Sept. 4 for military action against Syria,” he wrote.
“Iran – I guarantee you – is hoping we look the other way,” [Kerry] said. “And surely they will interpret America’s unwillingness to act against weapons of mass destruction as an unwillingness to act against weapons of mass destruction.”
THIS IS ONE of the Obama Administration’s strongest arguments in favor of its position, and yet even The New York Times didn’t get the memo.
A continent away, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has been listening to local debate, as well.
“The French government, too, this week included Iran in its arguments as it briefed parliament on its plans to participate in punitive strikes,” Recknagel reports.
“To not act [on Syria] would be to put in danger peace and security in the entire region but also beyond that – our own security,” French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told parliament on Sept. 4.”
This comes after a stark warning just three months ago that Iran is getting much closer to its “red line” as time goes by.
The Israel National News story about Iran nearing its “red line” in June. Click image to enlarge.
Those who stand most to lose from Iran’s atomic program are paying very close attention indeed.
In a story headlined Steinitz: Iran is Getting Closer to Nuclear ‘Red Line’ Elad Benari of Isradl National News repored on June 11:
“Iran is getting closer to reaching the “red line” of nuclear capability set out by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, warned Minister of Strategic Affairs, Intelligence and International Relations Yuval Steinitz on Monday.
“Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Steinitz said Iran is working round the clock to enlarge its nuclear infrastructure with the eventual aim of developing an industry capable of building up to 30 bombs a year.”
But Steinitz reportedly said Iran was biding its time and building uranium-enrichment facilities before making the final push for weapons-grade material.
Israel and many Western governments suspect Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as cover for developing a weapons capability, a charge denied by Tehran.
In the U.S. one has to go back all the way to April to find some media discussion of Iran and its “red line.”
David Gergen raised the topic on Face the Nation on April 28. Click image to enlarge.
IT WAS ON the CBS Sunday talk show Face The Nation on April 28 (coincidentally, the day this blog was registered) that David Gergen raised the topic. (Watch the broadcast below)
“If [President Obama] doesn’t respect his own red line on Syria, there is no question that Israel and Iran will look at that and say, ‘Well, we can’t trust the guy. He’s not going to be tough,’ ” Gergen said.
“Once a president of the United States draws a red line it becomes important to the world. Everybody else reads in to how he responds to a red line.
“Is he serious about Iran? Is he not serious about Iran? He’s drawn a red line on Iran. If he doesn’t respect his own red line on Syria, there is no question that Israel and Iran will look at that and say, “Well, we can’t trust the guy. He’s not going to be tough.”
As the debate in Congress reaches its climax early next week, this point should come up again and again … and again!
It is the issue at the core of the debate, and the strongest case that can be made for striking at Syria despite all the unintended consequences. Even AIPAC realizes this, as do the people of Israel.
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