Israel slams Obama, unsure Syria strike will work

Monday, September 09, 2013 |  Ryan Jones

The Israeli government supports a US strike on Syria, while many experts in the Jewish state say military action might make matters worse. But one thing most agree on is that US President Barack Obama has handled the situation very poorly.

Headlines across all of Israel's major newspapers on Sunday decried the loss of American deterrence in the region thanks to Obama's seeming zig-zagging on whether or not to take punitive action against Syria.

Israel is very sensitive to such a scenario because most peace agreements the Jewish state is pushed into rely heavily on American security guarantees.

"If Obama's conduct up until last week unsettled his allies in the Middle East, today it is seriously beginning to worry them," read the lead article in Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot.

Israel's government wholly agrees with the Obama Administration's conclusion that the regime of embattled dictator Bashar Assad was clearly behind a recent chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400, and therefore fully supports military action.

Others have vocally disagreed with that assessment, though for Israel the point is that Syria has lots of chemical weapons and someone there has proved they will use them. And that can only mean one thing - those weapons must be disposed of, one way or another.

And while Israel has no particular desire for the radical Islamists that make up the Syrian opposition to win the war, as Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon noted at a security conference on Sunday, the Assad regime is the second largest facilitator of terrorism in the world, so few Israeli tears would be shed should it fall.

Others felt American military intervention could only lead to a more dire situation for Syria, Israel and Western interests in the region.

"I find it hard to believe that intervention will bring about a substantially better situation," former Israeli National Security Council director Uzi Arad said at the same conference.

Israeli military officials are fairly certain Assad will not risk Israeli retaliation by hitting the Jewish state in the event of an American strike. But, Syria has many allies, such as Hezbollah, who would love nothing more than drag Israel into the conflict.

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