By Eli Bardenstein
It is difficult to shake off the impression that in the aftermath of the American indecision, Israel will apparently be left alone in the Iranian case and forced to act militarily alone against Iran, without the U.S.
Translated by Viktoria Lymar
Edited by Steven Stenzler
1/2 September 2013
Diplomatic officials express disappointment with the delay of the attack on Syria, and fear it will boost the motivation of terrorist organizations to deteriorate the situation in the region.
Special edit by IranEdge
Against the background of the U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to wait for a Congressional resolution backing up his desire to attack Syria, a great disappointment was heard throughout the political and security establishment in Israel.
“Obama is a coward. Clearly he doesn’t want to attack and is looking for reassurance. It’s hard to believe that after Congress rejecting his request, he’ll go for such an operation on his own, without the backing of the international system, without the support of public opinion and without Congress,” diplomatic sources said.
Obama's move is of particular concern not merely because of the reaction of the Syrian regime, but rather mainly because of the implications for the Iranian nuclear armament.
Israel’s stated position is to not intervene in the goings-on in Syria, and not push for military action. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would very much like to see a pinpointed U.S. action in Syria, that which would restore Washington’s credibility and strengthen American deterrence in the region. In addition, Netanyahu is interested in an American attack that would symbolize the centrality of the U.S. in the region and thereby also deliver a strong message against Iran and radical elements in the region.
The Prime Minister’s Office, as well as Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, assess that the American administration under the presidency of President Barack Obama is seeking to reduce the military presence in the region and not get embroiled in the regional wars. This is out of willingness to engage in domestic issues and switching the focus of the foreign policy from the Middle East to the Far East.
Despite the differences between the Syrian crisis and the Iranian nuclearization, Netanyahu fears that American irresolution to act in Syria conveys a negative message to Iran that the U.S. will not act militarily to stop its nuke program.
According to the sources, it is difficult to shake off the impression that in the wake of American hesitancy, Israel will apparently be left alone in the Iranian case and forced to act militarily alone against Iran, without the U.S., at least at the first strike. In Jerusalem, there are even those who doubt that America would provide Israel with a political umbrella over time on the day after the attack.
Israeli senior officials estimated that the negative impact of U.S. indecision will also increase the motivation of extremists like Hezbollah to deteriorate the security situation in the Middle East.
Some in Israel assumed that Obama turning to Congress is in terms of an attempt to buy time in order to identify diplomatic solutions which would avert an offensive. One of the possibilities is that Assad destroys or transfers his chemical weapons arsenal to Russia or another country at the cost of no attack... A number of senior diplomats in different countries receive dispatches passing in this regard between the Kremlin and the Presidential Palace in Damascus and the White House... Yet there’s no official confirmation of this.
Russia is actively working to prevent a strike against Assad and checking various options for taking care of the chemical weapons arsenals at his disposal, including their destruction and providing access to the UN inspectors to verify that it’s been indeed done.
Another possibility is removal of the chemical weapons from Syria. In any case, if there is a consensus on the future of the chemical weapons in Syria, it’s going to be done as part of the broader framework of understandings on convening an international peace conference to establish a transitional government in Syria. It may well be that unlike in the past, the Americans will allow representatives of the Syrian regime to take part in the conference.
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With the President Obama’s announcement of his intention to get a “green light” from Congress for such an operation, there opened a window of opportunity for finding a political-diplomatic solution that would cancel the military action against Syria. The opposition to military action among the leaders of the international community, as well as in the American public opinion, provide the time window required to discuss other solutions, not military ones...
[The President] had updated Netanyahu several hours before the announcement of the postponement he made to reporters, and was likely to also update Jordan’s King Abdullah and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, the leaders of the other U.S. allies in the region.
Obama updated Netanyahu so he can remove the alert in the north of the country – but it's not impossible that it's also in order to prevent him and other political officials in Israel from criticizing his decision to delay the strike.
And indeed, Netanyahu has certainly welcomed Obama’s gesture... However, he is very unhappy with postponing the attack and, as he feels, that’s a step towards the “burial” of the idea of military action. [...]
Original Hebrew article:
completed by elements of a follow-up 9/2 article: The U.S. and Russia Discuss Dismantling Assad’s Chemical Weapons (initially titled “The Delay in the U.S. Attack Will Leave Israel Alone against Iran”)
Photo credit: The front page of 9/2 Israel Hayom newspaper [Israeli national most widely-read free daily].
The huge white headline reads: Watching Syria, Thinking Iran
The smaller white letters inside the orange circle read:
If you want to shoot - shoot!