"The truth is that 'we' can't be sure what actually happened at the site of the attack," said James Russell, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. "It seems likely, however, that Assad did not honor the commitments to give up all Syria's chemical weapons in the deal brokered by Russia.
"Iran continues to pursue its interests and create a balance of power that is favorable to the Islamic republic," said James Russell, a former Pentagon official and a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. "There is nothing surprising about any of this. In some respects, the decline in U.S. influence in the Persian Gulf and Middle East is seeing the resurgence of regional states directly confronting one another for regional power and influence. Iran is in the game. No question about it."