Is Iran the Real Target?
The chemical warfare perpetrated on innocent civilians in Syria by the Assad regime has produced at least two obvious effects.
First, the attacks have instigated horrified outrage on the part of all civilized nations. There is something different about chemical weapons, even though rifles and missiles kill people just as surely as gassing does. There is something about watching soldiers, children, and infants gasping and struggling for air that reaches the most hardened hearts -- a special horror well captured in Wilfred Owen's WWI poem, "Dulce et Decorum Est." That unique horror is why all civilized nations have banned the use of chemical weapons.
Second, and more importantly, the attacks have proved Syria has in fact used chemical weapons against its own citizens, thus providing the "red line"" the Obama administration needed for intervention in Syria.
In response, the administration has moved military equipment into place near Syria in preparation for a retaliatory strike against Assad's regime. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Defense officials have said the U.S. is considering cruise-missile strikes from navy ships in the Mediterranean." In the meantime, according to the same WSJ piece, there appears to be a massive attack of self-preservation going on among the nations surrounding Syria.
But while the world is focusing on Syria and the horrors unfolding there; while the administration is considering retaliation against Syria's regime, Syria may not be the main target of the massive military buildup and the scramble for sympathetic alliances. The real target may be Iran and the country's nuclear bomb sites.
For years, Israel and the U.S. have warned about the danger of Iran having the bomb. Iran's leaders have long wanted to match nuclear weaponry with their gotterdammerung ideology. Israeli and American intelligence sources may have discovered a nuclear "red line" is about to be crossed.
The consequence of such a discovery could mean "diplomacy" is finally ditched and a concerted and focused attack on Iran begins, with Syria providing the cover allowing the attack.
The U.S. and Israel, supported by other allies, may have decided to attack now before the nuclear "red line" is crossed and nations see that line written in blood; before a nuclear holocaust makes Syria's chemical warfare seem relatively insignificant. We do live in dangerous times.
Fay Voshell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org