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Obama Licenses Iran To Ship Missiles to Hezbollah

The logical endgame of President Obama’s Iran policy and his “roundtable” approach to Syria has always been to offer American protection for Iranian missile shipments to Hezbollah. Sounds crazy, right? It is. But after all, as the administration’s hard-nosed diplomats will tell you, there needs to be a compromise in Syria to end the killing, which means that Iran must preserve its legitimate core interest—namely, its “link” to Lebanon, where Hezbollah has tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel.


The White House announcement that President Obama has brought Iran into formal discussions over Syria in Vienna is yet another public step on the path towards one of the most stunning reversals in the history of American foreign policy: formal American backing of Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad who continues to butcher his own people with the help of Russia and Iran. Although reporters have generally represented this development as something new, the White House has in fact been openly set on this course for at least a year. At the G20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia last year, Obama said so explicitly: “At some point…the various players involved, as well as the regional players—Turkey, Iran, Assad’s patrons like Russia—are going to have to engage in a political conversation.”


Around the same time, Obama also signaled publicly his acquiescence to Assad staying in power and having a role during a so-called “transitional” period, thereby moving closer to the Russian and Iranian position on the role of the Syrian dictator. As far back as late 2013, the White House was leaking that the president regretted ever calling on Assad to “step aside.”


Obama’s Syria policy, and the direct threat it poses to Israel, is a continuation of his broader policy of rapprochement with Iran. By recognizing Iran as a principal “stakeholder” in Syria and the region more broadly, America is choosing to legitimize Iran’s local assets and means of projecting power. So if you legitimize Iran as a “stakeholder,” you also legitimize Iran’s “stake.” But what, exactly, is Iran’s interest in Syria? Very simply, it is to preserve the land bridge to Lebanon through which it supplies Hezbollah with heavy weapons like long-range missiles that can’t be moved any other way.


Read the full story from Tablet Magazine.