Fletcher in the News

Expert Warns Syria, Iran Team Effort is Worrisome: Interview with Professor Martel

Boston Herald

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Warmongering threats by Syria and Iran to put Israel in their crosshairs are likely part of a coordinated effort to pressure the United States to back down from considering strikes against Syria, an expert told the Herald.

“From the Israeli point of view, this has to make them nervous. But I think it’s political rhetoric to unnerve the Israelis, which is designed to put pressure on us,” said William C. Martel, an international security expert at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. “I see the efforts of Russia and Iran to support Syria now at all costs. I think that’s something that should worry us because it appears they are working in a coordinated fashion.”

Martel, who said the likelihood of an attack is very low because Israel has a more powerful weapons cache than Iran, said he worries President Obama’s threat to take action without following through after earlier, smaller chemical weapon attacks has damaged the United States’ standing in the world.

“I think that we communicated to the rest of the world — to Russia, Iran and Syria — we make threats that are not serious,” Martel said. “The leaders in those capitals aren’t quite sure what the U.S. is going to do now.”

Momentum appeared to build yesterday for Western military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime for allegedly using chemical weapons on civilians, with the U.S. and France saying they are in position to strike and Syrian leaders vowing to use all possible measures to repel it.

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