Thursday, September 02, 2004


Iran or Syria?

There has been a lot of talk about an "October Suprise" coming with a potential for attacking Iran. However, there may be a possibility that the US will turn back to Syria as the next in line in the Middle East. I will lay out my reasons for believing that the Syria option is gaining ground agains the Iran option.

1) Syria may well be easier to sell to defense strategists than Iran at this point - it is much smaller and less populous.

2) The US is currently pressuring the UN Security Council to withdraw from Lebanon. For more on this see Joshua Landis's much better informed comments on the matter.

3) Israel is really racheting up the rhetoric against Syria in the wake of the suicide bombings in Be'er Sheva. With Israel (who stayed out of the Iraq war) as an active ally in an attack on Syria, the going (militarily) would be easier for the US.

4) Recent allegations of AIPAC involvement in spying for Israel in the US focus mostly around US policy towards Iran (Juan Cole has been all over this, so for more information, go there). This bad publicity might make the Iran war less politically enticing to Bush administration people. So Iran moves down on the priority list and Syria moves up.

This is my reasoning. This whole idea just kind of dawned on me just now, so it's not totally well-thought-out. But who knows, Bush administration policy towards the Middle East doesn't always seem that well thought out either, does it? Something to think about.

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