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THE INTERVIEW

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Latest update : 2012-02-24

Robert Malley, Middle East-North Africa Program Director, International Crisis Group

Amid the current sabre-rattling over Iran's nuclear program, Robert Malley from the International Crisis Group tells Annette Young the chance of Israel taking military action against its conflict-ridden neighbour, Syria, over its chemical weapons stockpile, poses a far greater threat.

With the current sabre-rattling over Iran’s nuclear program, Robert Malley from the International Crisis Group tells Annette Young the chance of Israel taking military action against its conflict-ridden neighbour, Syria, over its chemical weapons stockpile, poses a greater threat than a raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

He says if there was to be ongoing civil war in Syria, the Israelis may stage military strikes to destroy any stockpiles of chemical weapons to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

But the former advisor to the Clinton administration and now the ICG’s Middle East director says the situation in regards to an Israeli military strike against Iran “has rarely been more confusing while at the same time, ominous.”

“It is certainly more possible today than ever before because Israel feels much more threatened with Iran entering what it calls a zone of immunity,” he says. “This is because it sees in the U.S, a presidential election with a presidential candidate unlikely to oppose such a strike. And with the United States having departed Iraq, it could fly over Iraqi airspace without any difficulties thus making it easier to strike Iran.”

By Annette YOUNG

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