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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
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Obama Stands to Win in Syria and Iran without Firing a Single Shot

President Assad may have miscalculated the effect of the term "chemical warfare" on the collective consciousness of his Iranian allies.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem says 'terrorists' in Syria have carried out the country's equivalent of 9/11

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem says 'terrorists' in Syria have carried out the country's equivalent of 9/11

As things appear on Wednesday morning, following the announcement by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Lebanon’s Al-Maydeen TV, U.S. President Barack Obama has won a big victory at no cost whatsoever in blood or treasure.

“We fully support Russia’s initiative concerning chemical weapons in Syria, and we are ready to cooperate,” FM Muallem said Tuesday night, promising: “As a part of the plan, we intend to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. We are ready to fulfill our obligations in compliance with this treaty, including through the provision of information about our chemical weapons. We will open our storage sites, and cease production. We are ready to open these facilities to Russia, other countries and the United Nations.”

He followed with this commitment: “We intend to give up chemical weapons altogether.”

Now, the cynics among us would be quick to note that verbal—or written, for that matter—commitments in the Middle East (or anywhere else, for that matter) are not worth the C-drive space their downloaded to, and I would have endorsed those doubts, if not for a few additional factors.

First, President al-Assad’s two major supporters, Russia and Iran, are emerging as the guarantors of the deal by which Syria will turn over its chemical weapons and abandon its chemical weapons program.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told a news conference in Tehran: “The Islamic Republic of Iran favors that initiative and we find this to be within the framework of putting a halt to militarism in the region.”

And Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Syria’s chemical arms handover will work if the U.S. renounces the use of force against the Assad government: “Of course, all of this will only mean anything if the United States and other nations supporting it tell us that they’re giving up their plan to use force against Syria. You can’t really ask Syria, or any other country, to disarm unilaterally while military action against it is being contemplated.”

Which means that all the sides fully expect the U.S. to make good on its threat of an attack, should the Assad regime start playing games reminiscent of the games the late Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein was playing with the Bush 1 and Clinton administrations over the inspection and dismantling of his WMD stash, in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

The U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet is still parked outside Assad’s door, and the same Tomahawks that are not being launched at his weapons stocks today can easily be shot a month from now, should Assad endeavor to hankipanki.

But there’s more. In his haste to rain chemical hellfire on his enemies, the energetic Assad failed to consider just how allergic his Iranian allies and benefactors are to the term “chemical warfare.”

During the Iran–Iraq war that began in 1980, right after the Islamic Revolution, Iraq was using mustard gas and other chemical agents, delivered by bombs that were dropped from airplanes. It is estimated that as many as 100 thousand Iranian soldiers were victims of chemical attacks. Official estimates do not include the civilian population in border towns, including children, who developed blood, lung and skin complications. Nerve gas agents killed about 20,000 Iranian soldiers immediately, according to official reports. Of the 80,000 survivors, some 5,000 seek medical treatment regularly and about 1,000 are still hospitalized with severe, chronic conditions.

With all their high regard for Assad as their main asset in the region and virtually their only provider of access to Hezbollah and Hamas (the latter having disengaged from Tehran for now) – the Iranians might find it difficult to stomach his penchant for chemical warfare. He’ll get no sympathy from them.

But, not to accuse the Iranians of sentimentalism, Tehran may also have taken home a valuable lesson from this week’s events – or non-events, for that matter. They’ve seen Obama sticking to his guns while all around him allies, including his own party’s lawmakers, have been moving away from the idea of an attack. The fact that the president did not give the order should not signal that he would hesitate to give it in the future – and I think the Iranians have made a note of that.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei just announced on Wednesday: “We hope the new U.S. approach toward Syria is serious, and not part of its normal deception and backhanded approach, which is arbitrary and wrong.”

That’s practically an enthusiastic endorsement for Khamenei.

The art of speaking softly while carrying a big Tomahawk is not easy to master—I don’t believe GW Bush knew the first thing about it, and neither did President Clinton. But Bush 1 understood it and played it with skill and precision. I’d like to think that President Obama has acquired a similar understanding of what it means to be the world’s last remaining superpower: it means letting your super powers be tested as little as possible—until you bring down the hammer of God big time.

Living down in the coastal city of Netanya, I’m ecstatic that America is not raining hellfire on its enemy a couple hours’ car ride away from my back yard. If it turns out it was also the smart thing to do – I’ll be the first one to stand and applaud President Obama.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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12 Responses to “Obama Stands to Win in Syria and Iran without Firing a Single Shot”

  1. Shemayah Shiloh Phillips says:

    Finally. A little credit.

  2. Isaac Cohen says:

    It could work both ways. Either Iran will label Obama as a wimp and continue to spin its centrifuges or it will opt for the Syrian model, i.e., give up building a nuclear weapon under strict UN supervision.

  3. Walter Richards says:

    How in the world is syria going to hand over ALL their chemical weapons if
    there is a civil war going on. Who is going into the combat zones to inspect?
    Russia and Iran as guarantors? Hey there's a bridge in brooklyn I can sell to you.
    What is happening here is the the incompetent Obama is being allowed
    to take his foot out of his red line mouth. A surrender of some weapons
    will occur but it's doubtful that all weapons could be eliminated.
    In fact how do we know that Assad even has control over all the weapons?
    There is fragmentation on both sides. A local general could still horde some weapons.
    But Obama will given his escape and an opportunity to wreck more havoc in
    the Middle east.

  4. Anonymous says:

    CHANGING HISTORY DEPARTMENT – This writer talks about Saddam Hussein playing games with Bush and Clinton concerning hiding his "WMD stash." As I recall history, Hussein never had a WMD stash. But who cares about the truth.

  5. Robin Rosenblatt says:

    Is this a joke? Did he say it in Arabic or English? have you every heard of "Takia" the Islamic law to lie in order to advance Islam.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "Obama stands to win"?, till now are only words, "between fact and said there is a great narrow", I don't see any way a winning Obama, sorry.

  7. Anonymous says:

    "Obama stands to win"?, till now are only words, "between fact and said there is a great narrow", I don't see any way a winning Obama, sorry.

  8. Yechiel Baum says:

    they all have big ears like jackasses. They won nothing since it is all deception!

  9. Ch Hoffman says:

    sounds good all around

  10. retiredinmaerim says:

    Very interesting view you have, much different from what I have reading from others.  Hope you are right.

  11. whomever believes this crap will suffer the cosequences and mostly us here in Israel what hogwash and this is reported as the 'truth' by this site

  12. whomever believes this crap will suffer the cosequences and mostly us here in Israel what hogwash and this is reported as the 'truth' by this site

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