Sentence of US Hikers in IranAug 22, 2011
The report out of Iran this weekend was disappointing- to say the least! The sentence of the U.S. hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal to eight years under the charges of illegal entry and espionage was unexpected. The chatter out of Iran had been that the two were likely to be released. But, let's be clear. Shane and Josh are pawns in the geo-political triangle between the U.S., Syria, and Iran. As Syria contends with internal unrest from the populist protests against the Assad regime, the world community has asserted that Bashar al-Assad must step down from power. Additionally, the U.N. is weighing a decision to refer members of the Assad regime to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. The Obama administration has called for Assad to resign. The hard-liners in Iran have likely stepped in to the judicial process so as to convey to the U.S. a penalty for its stand against the President Assad and his regimes crackdown on protesters. Iran has long allied itself with Syria thus extending its reach into territories west of its borders. Syria has likewise relied on Iran's financial resources to maintain a sense of stability, even when economic indicators in the country have been poor. Central to the geo-political triangle has been Iran's use of proxies through the Syrian borders to meddle in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For decades Iran and Syria have furthered instability and terror in the Middle East region. It is without a doubt that the Iranian sentence of these two young men has "Syria" written all over it. Iran is sending a message to the United States. But they are making two innocent hikers pay for crimes they did not commit.
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