Friday, February 10, 2006

Secretary Rumsfeld Warns Syria and Iran

The administration is ratcheting up its rhetoric with Syria and Iran:

TAORMINA, Sicily (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, days after calling Iran the world's top state sponsor of terrorism, ratcheted up the pressure on Tehran on Friday with fresh accusations of interference in Iraq.

Rumsfeld, in Taormina, Sicily, for a meeting of NATO defense ministers, used an appearance in Europe for the second time in a week to talk tough over Iran, which the United States and European Union fear is covertly developing nuclear weapons.

Asked during a news conference about U.S. assertions that Iran, as well as Syria, supports insurgents in Iraq, Rumsfeld said: "We have undertaken a series of initiatives to try to persuade them that their behavior is harmful to a new Iraqi government and indeed harmful to the region. Thus far we've not been successful."

"I think they're making a mistake," Rumsfeld said, "although I can certainly understand that from their standpoint having a free and sovereign and democratic Iraq on their borders probably is not terribly encouraging to their type of government. So I can understand their resistance to that."

The message to Syria and Iran appears to be: "Don't do anything stupid, because the United States will be there to catch you when you do, and we'll be sure to make you answer for you wrongdoings."

This seems quite appropriate to me. Although it is highly unlikely that this threat alone will be enough to stop either of the rogue nations.