Syria debate should not hinge on sending a ‘message to Iran’

Issue 954 - 20 Sep 2013 | 3 minute read

One of the more bizarre arguments put forward by the Obama administration as it pushed for military intervention in Syria was that failing to respond to the horrific chemical attack on Ghouta would send the wrong ‘message’ to Iran. On 3 September, secretary of state John Kerry mentioned Iran four times in his brief opening statement to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as he sought to convince them of the need to strike. “Iran is hoping you look the other way,” Kerry said. “Our inaction would surely give them a permission slip for them to at least misinterpret our intention if not to put it to the test.” Defence secretary Chuck Hagel took a similar tone. “Our refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America’s other security commitments, including the president’s commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he said.

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