Syria is Iran's route to the sea

Since at least last December, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has insisted that Syria is Iran’s “route to the sea.”

He has said this publicly at least seven times, the most recent being during Monday night’s debate.

Once, consider it a slip of the tongue. At least seven times? Sticking to message.

But what is the message?

Well, one message is that a politician can keep repeating a blatant falsehood related to foreign policy. Your base could care less. And the news media? They don’t seem to care, either. Oh, wait, we went down that road in 2002-2003, with “weapons of mass destruction.”

Romney adds that Syria is Iran’s sole ally, which seems to be the only reason news organizations don’t rap his knuckles. Then he criticizes the current administration for … not being more involved in Syria’s democratic movement. But we can’t send troops, of course. But we can arm the citizenry. (Vietnam, anyone? Afghanistan, anyone?)

He talks a tough line about dealing with Middle Eastern leaders and then says, in talking about Iran, that he’s going to follow Ronald Reagan’s policies.

Now that’s a slip of memory. Iran-Contra, anyone?

Check out the Storify: it’s me channeling Jon Stewart.

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
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ShannonLeee
Guest
ShannonLeee
3 years 11 months ago

the question is…

if you gave Romney a blank map of the middle east…. could he point to Iran? I doubt it.

there is an obvious ignorance of the middle east there, but again, i blame his campaign people for having their heads up their butts when they allowed him to say that one.

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
3 years 11 months ago

I think he just loves the phrase. I’ll bet we get to hear him say again before the election!

CStanley
Guest
CStanley
3 years 11 months ago

The explanation given by his campaign after previous uses of the phrase is that he specifically means the Mediterranean Sea.

It is odd phraseology esp since he has got to know that it will raise questions about his geographical literacy. I can only assume that this is a dog whistle phrase- I’m guessing that this might be something that Israelis and Zionist jews in the US might say or recognize, as a way to point out the strategic importance of Syria if war between Israel and Iran becomes a reality.

Davebo
Guest
Davebo
3 years 11 months ago

“The explanation given by his campaign after previous uses of the phrase is that he specifically means the Mediterranean Sea.”

Provide either Turkey or Iraq, neither great friends of Iran, allow passage.

The qualifier “He meant the Med” is just as nonsensical especially given recent tension between Turkey and Iran and Iraq’s deep hatred of the regime and dependence on US support.

It wasn’t a dog whistle phrase. It was basically shouting that he had no concept of what he was talking about.

CStanley
Guest
CStanley
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t think Iran having contiguous transit is the point though Davebo. Syria is a base for Hezbollah, and all Iran has to do is finance it. Money can always flow,without direct contact..

ShannonLeee
Guest
ShannonLeee
3 years 11 months ago
the fact that Iran has direct access to two different seas and must go through another country to get to the Med… well, that makes the statement pretty stupid. CS, is correct…what they are doing is trying to link Syria and Iran (not that they need any more linking). Considering the current rhetoric from the Rep party, they probably plan to argue that we need to invade both countries. Which like Bush, Romney will hand over to some neocon retard who will get around 10,000 of our military personnel killed. Foreign policy is important people. Iraq will end up costing… Read more »
zephyr
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zephyr
3 years 11 months ago

If Bush/Cheney had never orchestrated that idiotic and costly invasion, Iran and Iraq would still likely be expending most of their energy and focus on each other. So what idiotic and costly war is Romney fantasizing about for his own legacy?

ShannonLeee
Guest
ShannonLeee
3 years 11 months ago

Z, I think the problem is that Romney, like Bush, would hand over foreign policy to some neocon war monger and then walk away. I doubt Romney has plans to invade anyone…the Republican Party, a different story.

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 11 months ago
“It is generally recognized that Syria offers Iran strategic basing/staging access to the Mediterranean as well as to terrorist proxies in the Levant. This is a large reason why Iran invests so much in Syria.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/10/22/fact-check-irans-route-to-the-sea/ Romney knows his maps, and knows there is no direct route to the Med. You can disagree with him but no need to insult his geographical knowledge: “Romney’s comments are more accurate than they first seem,” citing a news report that Iran was building an army base in Syria and quoting an expert on the importance of Syria to Iran.” Furthering his theory: “We… Read more »
zephyr
Guest
zephyr
3 years 11 months ago

I think you’re right Shannon. To the extent the GOP could control Romney (an easy bet I think) the results could overshadow even the Iraq debacle. The best way to make sure this never happens is to keep power OUT of the hands of the neocons, OUT of the hands of the chickenhawks. The LAST thing our country needs is another costly war on credit.

ShannonLeee
Guest
ShannonLeee
3 years 11 months ago

DDuck Iran and Syria dont even touch. I’ll give you that Iran seriously influences Syria, but Romney’s statement was patently false. You can try to talk it better, but the words that came of his mouth were factually wrong.

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 11 months ago

SL, did you read the article? And they do touch strategically as do Venezuela and Iran.
Don’t you read Tom Clancy. Iran smuggles a nuclear device into Syria, no they aren’t contiguous and Mitt and you know it, Syria then gives it to Hezbollah at or near the SEA and threatens Israel by land or by SEA.

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 11 months ago

Bridge to somewhere and the sea.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/world/middleeast/iraq-faces-new-perils-from-syrias-civil-war.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
It’s called Iraq, which DOES touch Iran and Syria. Since Iran is supplying arms to Syria, how difficult would it be to supply a nuclear device to Hezbollah?

Rambie
Guest
Rambie
3 years 11 months ago
DDuck, yes, you can twist logic into a pretzel and make any two counties “touch”. A case can be made that Iran is, or was, supporting Syria. I think the real reason they use that phrase is much more simple: 1- The Romney campaign are trying to link, in the minds of voters, Iran and Syria. Which is pretty much what CS said above. 2- As to the geography quiz, how many of your average Americans would be able to point to Iran or Syria on a blank map? They are hoping the average voter will hear “Iran-and-Syria”, irregardless of… Read more »
SteveK
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SteveK
3 years 11 months ago

Since Iran is supplying arms to Syria, how difficult would it be to supply a nuclear device to Hezbollah?

It would be impossible… Iran DOES NOT HAVE a nuclear device.

Rambie
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Rambie
3 years 11 months ago

SteveK, they don’t yet (that we know of) but they are working on it. However, regardless of who won in 2008, they’d be “Four Years” closer to one today.

SteveK
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SteveK
3 years 11 months ago

SteveK, they don’t yet (that we know of) but they are working on it. However, regardless of who won in 2008, they’d be “Four Years” closer to one today.

Rambie – If you, or anybody, know this as a documented, provable fact I sure would like to see this proof.

Edit to add: Iran’s possession of Nuclear Weapons fall in the same category as Israel’s lack of Nuclear Weapons… Mythology.

Rambie
Guest
Rambie
3 years 11 months ago

I did not think that was actually up for debate. I do believe that Iran is working on nuclear weapons.

SteveK
Guest
SteveK
3 years 11 months ago

It’s not up for debate because you believe it to be true?

“Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.” – Ambrose Bierce

Rambie
Guest
Rambie
3 years 11 months ago

Sorry, guess I wasn’t clear Steve.

I didn’t know there was a debate about Iran working on Nuclear weapons. I believed it was an accepted point.

I myself, do believe they are working on nuclear weapons, just like N Korea was when they kept denying it.

If they are not, then all the better. I’d rather error on the side that Iran is working on it than they are not.

dduck
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dduck
3 years 11 months ago
CStanley
Guest
CStanley
3 years 11 months ago

I had forgotten about this:
http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2011/02/23/iranian_warships_reach_mediterranean/

Clearly the Iranians do either seek a real or (most likely) symbolic presence in the Mediterranean,

Google “Iran builidng permanent base in Syria” and you’ll see that the Zionist zealots are claiming this is happening. That is what I meant when I called Romney’s comment a ‘dog whistle.’

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 11 months ago

CS, you hit a homer again. Great link.

“There is already some indication that Sunni insurgents in Iraq have tried to coordinate with Syrian fighters to set off a regional sectarian war, Iraqi tribal leaders said. ”
“It has unsuccessfully pressed Iraq to halt flights from Iran that traverse Iraqi airspace to ferry weapons and fighters to the Assad government, although The Associated Press reported that over the weekend a government spokesman said Iraq would begin random searches of Iranian aircraft.”

SteveK
Guest
SteveK
3 years 11 months ago
Wikipedia – Islamic Republic of Iran Navy What the Iran Navy has… In terms of major surface ships, Iran relies on its Alvand Class Frigates as well as the new Jamaran-Class Frigates which indigenously developed in Iran is a reverse engineered Alvand Class with Modern Electronics and Radar and Armament. Iran’s three destroyers are over 50 years old and are kept in material reserve at Bushehr. The Iranian Navy does not include capital ships; their largest ships are five frigates and three corvettes, all of which are armed with modern anti-ship missiles. This breaks down to: 3 – 50 year… Read more »
dduck
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dduck
3 years 11 months ago

TM, you can’t, I can. Like I heard: I know what Jack met her for, and it’s the same thing Iran has been doing to us for a long time. The route to the sea is through, or over Iraq, the same as the weapons route to the Syrian government.

ned_ibrahim
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ned_ibrahim
3 years 11 months ago

Can you name the last US president who mistaken Iran for Iraq? Two large wars and a major party candidate still doesn’t know the difference?!

dduck
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dduck
3 years 11 months ago
KG, Iraq might just become a long drive to the Syrian beach: “The deal includes provisions for using Iraq as a transshipment point for weapons supplied by Moscow and Tehran and headed to Syria, to help its besieged regime withstand the popular uprising that has been going on since March of last year. Some of the weapons will also go to Lebanese Hezbullah, as Maliki believes that the survival of his regime is tied to Hezbullah’s continued presence in Lebanon and the survival of Bashar al-Assad. The reason Iraq is being encouraged to step up is that Iran, the main… Read more »
Rcoutme
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Rcoutme
3 years 11 months ago
STOP!! If Mitt Romney (and I am sort of willing to give him the benefit of the doubt) does, in fact, know that Syria and Iran do not share a geographical border, then he made a major debate gaffe. When in a debate, particularly one in front of the American people (notoriously horrible in geography), one wants to use a metaphor, one HAS GOT TO mention it as such! Romney did not say, “Metaphorically speaking…” That leaves him open to the charge of either gross incompetence or gross negligence. Take your pick, either one is not flattering.
dduck
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dduck
3 years 11 months ago

Correct, Rc.

cjjack
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cjjack
3 years 11 months ago
Just how credible is this threat … to anything other than sowing enough FUD to get hawks elected to Congress and the White House? The military threat Iran poses to the United States is effectively zero. They’re not even the strongest military power in the region by a long shot. We could park an aircraft carrier off their coast that has more firepower than their entire navy and air force combined. The nuclear threat posed by Iran is absolutely zero. They have no weapon, no delivery system even if they had a weapon, and even if they had both, we… Read more »
The_Ohioan
Guest
The_Ohioan
3 years 11 months ago
Well this is certainly a different take on our problems in the Middle East. By author William F. Engdahl. His take is that natural gas is the new oil and Israel is more concerned about controlling it than in Nukes being shipped in from Iran. [The significant question to be asked at this point is what could bind Israel, Turkey, Qatar in a form of unholy alliance on the one side, and Assad’s Syria, Iran, Russia and China on the other side, in such deadly confrontation over the political future of Syria? One answer is energy geopolitics. Huge gas resource… Read more »
StockBoyLA
Guest
StockBoyLA
3 years 11 months ago
Only a Republican can say that Iran needs Syria to get to the sea and then have half the country (Republicans) believe it (and even defend Romney) and the other half (non-Republicans) believe the maps. Jesus, no wonder the Republican Party is filled with people who believe that woman can stop rapists sperm from impregnating them, or that it is fine to enshrine hate and discrimination in the US Constitution, denying some rights to citizens, or women do not deserve equal pay for equal work, or it is fine to let children starve to death. If Romney wanted to let… Read more »
CStanley
Guest
CStanley
3 years 11 months ago
TW: The article that CStanley linked to just proves that Iran doesn’t need Syria…. nor does Iran even USE Syria as a conduit… to get to the Mediterranean. So how is Romney (or advisors) even right that Romney meant that Syria is Iran’s route to the Mediterranean? Stockboy- that transit only happened because of Egypt (which controls passage through the Suez canal) being in transition. Previously (Feb 2011 I think) Iran had tried and failed to get through, when Mubarek’s govt was still clinging to power. In the months right after the Egyption govt fell, Iran again tried the display,… Read more »
dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 11 months ago

By the sea, by the sea by the beautiful sea, Assad and Ahmadinejad how happy they’d be.
Thanks for that info Ohio. Pipeline to the sea is better than route to the sea, see.

Question, is it easier to build a dirty truck/ship nuclear bomb then a missile born one?

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
3 years 11 months ago

Just how credible is this threat … to anything other than sowing enough FUD to get hawks elected to Congress and the White House?

Exactly. The real threat comes from the people who continue to flaunt the mindset that threw us into Iraq. Take a moment and consider what the republican fear mongering machine has accomplished in the last dozen years. It is shameful. They most certainly do NOT deserve the keys to the White House until they have demonstrated they deserve the trust of citizens. They’ve done nothing to earn that trust so far.

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 11 months ago

Z, you can’t “demonstrate” anything when you are a candidate. Look at all that bull that candidate Obama gave us. We can only judge by their demonstrations IN the WH, the rest is potential malarkey.

CStanley
Guest
CStanley
3 years 11 months ago

Well this is certainly a different take on our problems in the Middle East. By author William F. Engdahl. His take is that natural gas is the new oil and Israel is more concerned about controlling it than in Nukes being shipped in from Iran.

Sorry but he lost me at ‘Brookings=neocons”.

The_Ohioan
Guest
The_Ohioan
3 years 11 months ago

C S

That’s why I suggested starting on page 2 – The geopolitical dimension. He’s definitely a radical, but his information is still interesting – some things I didn’t know.

CStanley
Guest
CStanley
3 years 11 months ago

I agree it is an interesting angle and the article seemed pretty plausible despite his rather odd perspective.

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