How Obama Is Letting Iran Win in Syria

by Benjamin Weinthal

The U.N.–Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, resigned his post yesterday, singling out the U.N. Security Council for failing to protect Syrians from violence. “When the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council,” said Annan.

This was the same top U.N. diplomat who famously asked and answered this question about Iraq’s former dictator: “Can I trust Saddam Hussein? I think I can do business with him.”

Sadly, the Obama administration’s decision to subcontract its Syria policy to Annan and his Russian and Iranian enablers (and the defective U.N. Security Council) has prolonged a 17-month bloodbath and solidified Tehran’s military networks in Syria. Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) declared in late May that Annan’s plan was non-existent, and noted that the U.N. peacekeepers “are just becoming better at counting the dead.”

Assad’s campaign to decimate Syria’s reform movement reached 10,000 deaths in late May. A mere two months later the death toll has doubled to over 20,000 lives. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, deemed Obama’s Syria strategy a “policy of paralysis” and has called for lethal military aid to the rebels seeking to dissolve the anti-American Assad regime.

Obama’s philosophy of inaction toward Syria’s reformers mirrors his abandonment of Iran’s pro-democracy activists who took to the streets to protest the 2009 fraudulent presidential election. A policy rooted in political realism, rather than intervention, ensures the stability of the Syrian regime, the Lebanese-based terrorist entity Hezbollah, which is believed to be active in Syria, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This troika of global terrorism (coupled with Russian support) provides Assad’s lifeblood.

This week, former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld told Steve Malzberg that “Syria is a very close ally with Iran” and they are “active in supporting various terrorist networks, including Hamas and Hezbollah.” Rumsfeld added, “It would be highly desirable to break up that relationship” between Iran and Syria.

There is no shortage of prima facie reasons to intervene in Syria, including seizing Assad’s chemical weapons and knocking out the Syria-Hezbollah-Iran axis. 

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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