- Edge in Democrat-leaning Americans not enough to make up for GOP turnout: poll
- London mayor flies Palestinian flag at town hall to support Gaza
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Eric Cantor says he’ll resign on Aug. 18
- Ted Nugent slams ‘lying freaks’ at liberal media: I’m ‘doing God’s work’
- Joe Biden’s secret love: Skinny-dipping, Secret Service agents say
- Just-forged Israel-Hamas cease-fire ends in rocket fire
- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
Iran’s fury: Ready to unleash Hezbollah, kidnap Americans if U.S. strikes Syria
Statements reveal leaders in Tehran not unified on response
Question of the Day
“I think Syria is a real window into the soul of the Iranian regime and a real test of whether or not Rouhani has not only different intentions than his predecessor but whether he has the capacity to implement a significant shift in Iranian foreign and national security policy,” says Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
“The question is really how does Tehran’s revolutionary elite see Syria and does Rouhani’s perception of Syria depart in any way from the supreme leader” and the military, Mr. Dubowitz said. “If Rouhani were a moderate leader, then is he using his influence to question the supreme leader’s support for the Assad regime in Syria?”
Meanwhile, the extent and details of the relationship between Iran and Syria remains mysterious, although the two nations have been allies to some extent since the 1980s, when Syria was the only major Arab state to side with Iran in its war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
For instance, it is difficult to gauge whether Tehran was directly involved in Mr. Assad’s recent decision to use chemical weapons against rebel-held civilian areas. Iran was itself the victim of the most-widespread and significant use of chemical weapons since their development a century ago — by Saddam during their nations’ eight-year war.
“My sense is that the Iranian leadership is very ticked off at Assad,” said Mr. Parsi, who added that some in Tehran likely see the Syrian president as acting recklessly and thus “undermining their objective of making sure that [he] survives.”
Alternatively, Mr. Dubowitz contends that “Assad would not have used chemical weapons without the approval and the knowledge” of key players in Tehran, if only Gen. Suleimani, since he is believed to be in control of Iranian forces on the ground inside Syria.
“I don’t believe there’s a strategic and operational gap between the Iranian regime and Assad,” Mr. Dubowitz said. “So it may turn out to be a massive Iranian miscalculation to have permitted Assad to use chemical weapons. I think the reason they did though is because they truly believed President Obama was bluffing. I don’t think they thought he was serious about intervening in Syria.”
One of the more outlandish calls for retribution to a possible U.S. strike appeared last week from Iranian blogger Ali Reza Forghani, who called for kidnapping and “amputations” of American civilians worldwide.
Within hours of a U.S. strike on Syria “a family member of every U.S. minister, U.S. ambassadors and U.S. military commanders around the world will be abducted,” Mr. Forghani wrote in a post that also personally warns Mr. Obama that there are many people “all around the world that can assault [your daughter] Sasha.”
But Western analysts say Mr. Forghani, while being known for radical positions and posting from a country that tightly regulates Internet access, has a narcissistic streak, and they do not believe he represents the official Iranian line.
Reza Kahlili contributed to this report. Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of “A Time to Betray.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- Israel's ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
- U.S. intelligence nearly certain pro-Russian separatists downed Malaysian Airlines flight
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- MH17: Fear of ground-to-air missile strike becomes nightmare reality in Ukraine
- U.S., China to participate in unprecedented joint ground force exercise
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- PRUDEN: Cooling the manufactured impeachment panic
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Congress leaves Obama holding the burden of border children
- Just-forged Israel-Hamas 3-day cease-fire ends in rocket fire
- Islamic militants seize Benghazi as U.S. evacuates Libya
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world