A Strange Israel-Iran-Syria Axis

Atomic, biological, chemical weapons of mass destruction.

It is strange that all three contain or are reputed to be in advance stages of developing weapons of mass destruction. For me, only fission or fusion bombs can destroy “economically” on a horrific mass scale. Chemical and biological weapons have led to comparatively few deaths in human’s unending search for dominance, empire and control.

Yet these three countries are connected in another way. From a realist’s standpoint chemical weapons make sense in Syria’s realpolitik. Developed or purchased well before the 2011 initiation of the civil war, they were intended to deter Israel from using nuclear weapons or perhaps invading Syria to destroy its putative nuclear weapon’s ambitions–it just bombed them anyway. If Syria’s CW stockpile were in response to Israel’s well-known but ignored nuclear weapons stockpile, then a non-violent alternative to the Rice-Powers-Kerry War (yes under the direction of President Obama) would be to engage Israel to ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 (NPT) and accept full-scope I.A.E.A. safeguards at Dimona and other nuclear assets in the Land of Zion.

Iran may or may not be developing the capacity to construct fission weapons with HEU: highly enriched uranium with rare U-235 isotopes. They clearly are developing the capacity to fission the atom and create nuclear-powered sources. Their supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini has issued a long-standing fatwa against the possession of these monstrous systems that nuclear weapons represent. If Iran is pursuing a nuclear option, it is not to destroy a third country but to deter Israel. Nuclear weapons cannot be used rationally and nations who develop them prefer strongly not to use them for fear of retaliation. In America’s eyes, Israel is the ally, the victim, the sacred power. In other lands, Israel is seen appropriately as an expansionist power, an aggressive nation but hardly the only one in the region and as a full-fledged nuclear nation that poses an existential threat to certain countries.

We need not only an end to the settlements in Palestine but also an end to the nuclear-chemical weapons proliferation in the region. President Obama should demand that a regional conference to eliminate all W.M.D., atomic, biologic, chemical weapons be destroyed, subject to international inspection. If Syria sees a denuclearised Israel, it would have a incentive to eliminate its chemical weapons. If Iran were convinced Israel would join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, its resistance to full-fledged inspections and comprehensive safeguards would have no rationale and no international support. Bombing is not the road to peace; diplomacy and a more balanced, less ethnocentric approach to Middle Eastern affairs are.

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