- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday morning that Iran and Hezbollah “could possibly” strike Israel, depending on how the United States gets involved in Syria, but that the consequences of inaction are far too great not to act.

“I believe that, to some degree, there is clearly bluster, certainly by the Syrians,” Mr. Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, said on CBS’ “This Morning. “The Iranians and Hezbollah … ultimately could possibly strike against neighbors in the region, including our ally, the state of Israel.”

Mr. Menendez and his committee have called Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a Tuesday-afternoon hearing, when they will make the case for limited airstrikes against the regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad for its alleged use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21. 

“But I also think that not acting has huge consequences to the United States,” Mr. Menendez said. “It sends a message to those very same countries — the ayatollah in Iran. … It sends a message to North Korea about our determination to stop them from continuing to make the Korean Peninsula a nuclear peninsula. It sends a message to terrorist groups: Seek access to chemical weapons because the world will largely stand by when you use them. I think those are ultimately national security questions we cannot have come to fruition as a result of inaction.”

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