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Recently, an interesting news item relating to Syria seemed to remain under the public radar. In his book "Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide," the Israeli former ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, wrote of how the Russian plan in 2013 to remove Syria's chemical arsenal, and in that way avoid an impending American attack against the country, originated with an Israeli minister, Yuval Steinitz. The Israelis saw a golden opportunity to get rid of what worried them most in Syria, namely the regime's chemical weapons.It is possible that the Israeli preoccupation was solely with chemical weapons, not Assad's survival, but if that is the case, it would also have dictated Israel's attitude toward the Syrian president. If Assad were decisively weakened by an American assault, allowing the opposition to enter Damascus, then what happened to the weapons would have been unpredictable. Once that happens, Iranian funds to assist Assad will be freed up and the Obama administration may more firmly recognize an Iranian "sphere of influence" in Syria.
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