News / Asia

What Message Would US Acting in Syria Send to Iran and North Korea?

What Message Would US Acting in Syria Send to Iran and North Korea?i
X
September 01, 2013 7:07 PM
Part of President Barack Obama's argument for a military strike against Syria is a threat to broader U.S. security concerns in the Middle East and Asia. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what U.S. action in Syria might mean for Iran and North Korea.

Syria_Iran_NoKor_WEB_16X9_-_Broadband-FCPImportProResP1-fixed-x264-Platform_YTHDFull

— Part of President Barack Obama's argument for a military strike against Syria is a threat to broader U.S. security concerns in the Middle East and Asia.

Secretary of State John Kerry says acting against Syria's use of chemical weapons matters far beyond its borders.

"It is about whether Iran, which itself has been a victim of chemical weapons attacks, will now feel emboldened, in the absence of action, to obtain nuclear weapons," he said. "It is about Hezbollah, and North Korea, and every other terrorist group or dictator that might ever again contemplate the use of weapons of mass destruction.  Will they remember that the Assad regime was stopped from those weapons’ current or future use, or will they remember that the world stood aside and created impunity?"

Acting in Syria would not only check President Assad, it would show President Obama's seriousness to Iran and North Korea, says analyst Michael O'Hanlon.

"Several dozen cruise missiles, perhaps, and a day or two of strikes is probably enough to achieve the immediate purpose of restoring deterrents of weapons of mass destruction use and hopefully getting countries like Iran and and North Korea to notice as they pursue, or consider pursuing nuclear ambitions that President Obama's red lines to them still mean something," he said.

North Korea has held three nuclear tests and a series of long-range missile launches since international talks on its nuclear program stalled nearly five years ago.  Confronting Damascus now is no time to lose sight of Pyongyang, says analyst Michael Auslin.

"Now that Syria is really heated-up, let us keep your eye on North Korea because they might try to pull something right now when they know all of our attention is focused in one direction, pull something on the undefended side of things," he said.

Syrian troops have reversed earlier gains by anti-Assad rebels with help from Iran and the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Using Syria to send a message to Iran may not work as President Obama intends, says analyst Doug Bandow. "To the extent that Iran feels isolated and threatened, in many ways it's more likely to pursue a nuclear weapon," he said.

Bandow says attacking Syria could further convince Iran of its need for a nuclear deterrent. "A lot of people hope if you break Syria you weaken Iran.  And to some degree you do.  But that does not necessarily help advance your larger objective, which is to encourage Iran to be less defensive and encourage Iran to come into the international community and set aside any nuclear ambitions," he said.

Chemical weapons in Syria also threaten U.S. allies in the region, says Secretary Kerry. "It matters to Israel.  It matters to our close friends Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, all of whom live just a stiff breeze away from Damascus," he said.

Israel has deployed missile defenses against a possible Syrian attack.  But Bandow says striking Israel is too big a gamble for President Assad.

"The Syrian government understands that Israel has overwhelming military force.  So at a time when Syria is engaged in a battle for the regime's life, it can not afford to open a second front with Israel," he said.

Bandow says in many ways the bigger threat for Israel is a win by Syrian rebels because he says those divided opponents would have a far harder time managing state arsenals including chemical weapons.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid