ZOA National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement today following the news of the US strike on a Syrian military airfield following the use of chemical weapons by Syria earlier this week at Khan Shaykhun:
“Last week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians in Khan Shaykhun, killing 85 people and inflicting horrible injuries on more than 500 people, according to reports.
“We were shocked because former President Barack Obama and his Administration reached an agreement in 2014 with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to remove all Syrian chemical weapons so that chemical weapons attacks by the Assad regime that had occurred up to that date would not be repeated. This is, after all, what then-Secretary of State John Kerry declared about this agreement in June 2014:
“Today, the international maritime task force completed the critical mission of removing the last 8 percent of declared chemical weapons precursors from Syria. With this step, 100 percent of the declared chemicals are out of war-torn Syria.”
“This week’s chemical weapons attack at Khan Shaykhun makes clear that the Obama Administration’s assurances on the removal of Syrian chemical weapons were valueless.
“The Obama Administration also promised to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power, then accepted the Vienna nuclear deal with Iran which enables Iran to become a nuclear threshold state within about a decade. Yet, President Obama insisted when the deal was announced in July 2015 that “Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off” for Iran.
“We must now consider the possibility that the Obama Administration’s promises on the Iran nuclear deal are as valueless as its assurances on the removal of Syrian chemical weapons.
“This somber consideration should guide the Trump Administration’s review of the nuclear deal and its strategizing aimed at ensuring that Iran doesn’t become a nuclear power, with potentially catastrophic consequences for Israel, the region, the US and the world.”
Nonetheless, ZOA agrees with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in supporting President Trump’s military action to protect innocent Syrians from Assad’s chemical weapons attacks on them.
President Trump’s decision to strike the Syrian military airfield that launched the sarin nerve agent chemical weapons attack that killed over 85 Syrian civilians last week sent a critical message to Syria, Iran, North Korea and other rogue nations that the U.S. will no longer tolerate WMD-war crimes.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack on his own people – including many Syrian children – is also an important reminder of the dangers Israelis face from the Syrian regime and its Iranian patrons and Hezbollah forces at Israel’s northwestern border. In a post-war Syria, the presence and influence of Iran, Hezbollah and elements willing to employ WMDs needs to be minimized or eliminated. Any thought of an Israeli retreat from the Golan should be completely out of the question. In addition, Iranian-backed terror groups, such as al-Sabirin (which currently operate in Judea/Samaria a/k/a the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza), may get a hold of the sorts of chemical weapons employed by Syria. This is yet another reason why creating a Palestinian Arab state would be a mortal danger to Israel.