IRAN UNLEASHED—16H., B4
Last week, the Obama White House moved to ensure Hezbollah’s ability to point 100,000 missiles at Israel. That’s not how they would describe it, of course. But it was the Obama administration—as U.S. officials are quietly letting on—and not Russia that invited Iran to participate in talks in Vienna to resolve the Syrian civil war. By doing so the White House legitimized the Islamic Republic as a “stakeholder” whose interests in Syria must be respected. But of course, Iran has only one interest in Syria, which is to protect its ally, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, whose regime facilitates the transfer of missiles to Hezbolla.
“What [Iran is] looking for is a Syria that protects their interests and particularly their access to Hezbollah.”)
From the 1983 bombings of the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut to the Iraq war, Hezbollah has targeted U.S. military and diplomatic personnel for more than three decades.
You might think that the government of the United States has an interest in severing the weapons supply line between Iran and a terrorist organization waging war e against an American ally. But that’s old thinking. Obama an is building a new Middle East on the foundation of the Iranian nuclear deal, which foresees a balance of powers among for all the regional actors that will bring stability to a wildly volatile neighborhood. Everyone needs to be deterred, t including American allies. So as the White House sees it, including American allies. So as the White House sees it, at Israel is a necessary condition of Middle East peace.
Iran has not changed its position—Assad will stay says Tehran. The Russians aren’t budging either— they, too, insist that the Syrian president isn’t going anywhere. The White House has long regretted Obama’s August 2011 demand that Assad step aside and has stated its willingness to let the Syrian dictator stay on for at least a “transitional” period. The White House strong-armed Turkey as well. enlisting Kurdish parties at war with Ankara into its anti-ISI5 campaign.
The other big change is Vladimir Putin’s military escalation in Syria. The administration had long argued that there was no military solution to the four-and-a-half-year-old conflict, only a political one. The reality is that Putin’s military solution has paved the way for a political solution, which the White House at least tacitly supports. It has no choice, really, since Putin calls the shots now. Kerry says he wants everyone who has a stake in Syria at the table, but the deck is stacked against those who want Assad gone, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Kerry’s goal in Vienna is to end the war. but to get Russia and Iran to agree, he’ll have to concede their key demand—Assad stays. Therefore, the administration’s role is to line up everyone behind Russia and Iran, to preserve Assad and thus Iran’s supply line to Hezbollah.
Vienna is evidence that Russia and Iran’s interests are in alignment—Assad stays. But it’s not hard to see why American allies are fooling themselves. for the reality is much harder to believe. The Obama administration has legitimized Iran’s supply line to Hezbollah. By bringing Iran to Vienna, the White House has legitimized the Islamic Republic’s war against Israel.
-source–weekly standard (11/9/15). lee smith, anne paterson,