Dennis Ross: War with Iran more likely if action on Syria is not taken

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The failure to take military action against Syria will encourage Iran’s hardline establishment to pursue nuclear weapons, raising the likelihood of an Israeli attack that could drag the United States into a war with Iran, former Middle East adviser to President Barack Obama Dennis Ross wrote Monday on The Washington Post.

Ross noted that after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last decade, the U.S. public is “wear and wary” of any further military engagement in the Middle East.

Lawmakers opposed to any military strike on Syria, Ross wrote, are worried that the cost of the war is going to be “too high and uncertain.”

“The wariness is understandable, but it does not make the cost of inaction any lower,” according to Ross, also a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

He added that if the resolution for military action against Syria is blocked, “there will be no diplomatic outcome to our conflict with Iran over its nuclear weapons.”

“The hard-liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and around the Supreme Leader will be able to claim that there is only an economic cost to pursuing nuclear weapons but no military danger,” Ross noted.

He explained that regardless of the United States having said that It will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, “we are prepared to live with an Iran that has nuclear arms.”

But Israel is not prepared to live with a nuclear Iran and would likely launch an attack against Israel. This attack, according to Ross, “will not inevitably involve the United States, but maybe it will — and maybe it should.”

At this point to cost of not acting against Syria will be seen as not “so low,” according to Ross.

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