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US Should Keep Focus on Syria, Not Iran

Iran's nuclear threat should not be part of the US congressional debate over whether to authorize airstrikes in Syria.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tour a technology expo at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem March 21, 2013.   REUTERS/Jason Reed   (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR3F9EB

As US Congress begins its debate about whether to authorize force in Syria, there will no doubt be a temptation to draw on arguments that a failure to send a forceful message to Bashar al-Assad may only embolden Iran, undermining US President Barack Obama’s assurance to Israel that the United States “has its back” when it comes to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.

With Israelis lining up for gas masks and some Iranian lawmakers threatening retaliation against Israel in response to US-led strikes on Syria, concerns about Israeli security and the “message” US action (or inaction) will send to Iran will likely be a key feature in congressional deliberations.

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