Donald Trump has promised a response to Syria for its recent chemical attack against civilians. Damascus' ally Iran continues to provide troops and money to Syria, to threaten the United States and Israel, and generally spread its malign influence.
What to do about these two growing problems? Richard Golberg, writing for the New York Post, has a few suggestions.
Trump should start with strikes against the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons delivery infrastructure. The president should also make clear he won’t withdraw from territories the US military and its allies liberated from ISIS in eastern Syria until all our national-security objectives are achieved.
These territories constitute 30 percent of Syria’s land mass and put America and our allies in control of 70-90 percent of its pre-war oil production. That’s the kind of leverage over Putin that Trump needs in order to negotiate an end-state in Syria that doesn’t include Assad, Iran or ISIS.
The president should then target the financial lifeblood of Iran’s strategic hold on Syria: the Central Bank of Iran. In January, Trump promised to stop waiving sanctions on the bank unless Europe helped him fix Obama’s nuclear deal. But the deal can never be truly fixed so long as Iran can use its central bank to spread evil outside its borders.
It’s time for Trump to signal his intention to allow the sanctions waiver to expire.
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