Iran Roundtable

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Syrian Chemical Weapons, Punishment & Islamic Republic

The wariness is understandable, but it does not make the cost of inaction any lower. Opponents in Congress, who can be found in both parties, seem to feel that if we simply don’t act, there will be no cost for us. President Obama and Secretary Kerry have pointed out that there will be a great cost to international norms that prohibit the use of terror weapons such as chemical weapons. And surely they are right that if Bashar al-Assad can gas his own people and elicit only harsh words but no punitive action, he will use the weapons again. The price in Syria and the potential for spillover in the region are certain to be high. Additionally, other rogue actors may also draw the conclusion that chemical weapons are not only usable but that there are no circumstances, no outrages, no genocidal actions that would trigger a meaningful reaction from the so-called civilized world.1