Obama dismisses Hezbollah, Iran threats

Published September 10th, 2013 - 10:20 GMT
A protester holds a poster burning on which is depicted former US president George W. Bush taking off a mask of current President Barack Obama during a demonstration of in Beirut. (AFP)
A protester holds a poster burning on which is depicted former US president George W. Bush taking off a mask of current President Barack Obama during a demonstration of in Beirut. (AFP)

US President Barack Obama has said that it was possible for Iran and Hezbollah to launch "asymmetrical strikes" in response to US military action against the Syrian regime but dismissed them as nothing more than "the kinds of threats that we are dealing with around the world."

In interviews with six television stations on Monday, Obama said he would not take a recent threat by Syrian President Bashar Assad as credible.

“I don't take it as a credible threat in the sense that Mr. Assad doesn't have the capacity to strike us in a significant way,” he said.

Some of his allies like Iran and Hezbollah do have the capacity to engage in asymmetrical strikes against us. Our intelligence, I think, is very clear that they would not try to escalate a war with us over limited strikes to deal with this chemical weapon issue,” Obama told his interviewers.

He stressed that Iran and Hezbollah would only engage in strikes if they thought that the threat was extraordinarily significant towards them and their interests.

“Our embassies in the region, US personnel in the region, they're always potentially vulnerable to asymmetrical attacks. But the truth of the matter is, those threats already exist from a whole range of groups,” he said.

The US president added that Washington takes those threats “very seriously.”

Obama's interviews came as part of his effort to reach the public directly to win Congressional support on a strike against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

He said he understood the "skepticism" of members of Congress and the American public, but he warned that US national security interests are at stake if Syria is allowed to use "one of the world's worst weapons" without consequences.

 


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