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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More