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September 1, 2013 1:19 pm

Israeli Officials Express Frustration Over Obama’s Syria Indecision

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President Barack Obama. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s equivocation over the possibility of a strike on Syria has riled Israeli officials, Israeli daily Maariv reported Sunday.

“Obama is a coward,” one diplomatic source told the paper. “It’s clear he does not want to attack and is looking for reassurance.”

On Saturday, President Obama delayed a decision over military action against Syria in order to seek Congressional approval, delaying a possible strike on the country by more than a week.

Official Syrian state media mocked the U.S. president, calling his redirection an “historic American retreat,” Reuters reported.

Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad also accused the U.S. president of being indecisive. “It is clear there was a sense of hesitation and disappointment in what was said by President Barack Obama yesterday. And it is also clear there was a sense of confusion as well,” he told reporters in Damascus.

Israel’s stated position is not to intervene in Syria’s ongoing civil war, but according to Maariv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would like to see American action in Syria so as to restore its credibility and strengthen American deterrence in the region.

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  • Otto Waldmann in Sydney

    US posturing has a very good rationale.
    It has nothing to do with Pres. Obama, but with tangibles on the ground.
    Of the two evils, a secular Syrian strong structure is far more preferable than the opposite alternative, which, in fact is NOT a structured alternative at all.
    Assad is only compromise personally to the extent of no longer being able to keep a cohesive political structure in HID country. The substantive structure of the “Assad” type power is relatively acceptable.
    The only problem MAY BE Iran and Hezbollah. If Iran and Hezbollah could be dealt with in isolation, without affecting the Hassad type political structure, then Syria would no longer be a problem. US cannot intervene against the Syrian Govt. without having a reliable replacement of Assad, one that could also abandon Iran and Hezb.
    Under these circumstances Israel ,for instance, can isolate the Hezb. entity as well as address the Iranian far vaster issue without any endorsement by any other international bodies. If and when Israel shall intervene “surgically” against the two, then, if Syria receives support ( yes support ) from the West against the fundamental fanatics, then the Syrian issue could be solved in isolation. Problem is that those fundamentalists shall seek revenge against their defeat in Syria.
    Since this won’t be a Pentagon ( you know that mob quite incapable to sort out major political issues cum military “exercises” ) problem per se, all Western, Eastern and some Arabic concerns will brace together “intelligently” upon increasing the existing effort against the “known” fundamentalist enemy.
    Have you noticed that Obama is nowhere in my story ??!!!
    That is precisely because I am not all that fond of the bloke, anyways……

    • In my contrary, Obama should understand complain of Syria’s rebel because if situation remain like this moment Middle east will be in problem and Russia will Confuse Asaad to destroy his own Country with this political business.

      • Otto Waldmann in Sydney

        in my contrary, Shmulik, I wish you and kol haAretz, a hearty Shana Tova !!!


  • otherpov

    Understandably, Mr Obama has second and third thoughts about involving US funds and troops into the raging conflicts in Syria and Egypt. By bringing it to Congress, he has brought this to we, the people. Do Americans want to sacrifice libes and money into these unsolvable messes? We will find when We, the People have spoken

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud

    Israel, for the moment as the US must bide time. Russia has with held weapons to Syria, if chemical’s can get to FSA rebels. To what lengths would the FSA go to, acquire equally dangerous weapons? Clearly FSA will resort to any crime? Saudi has played a role here? Clearly a dispute exists between Muslim factions in Iran, and Saudi? Until the rebel uprising in Syria – Syria adopted a more secular stance, taking in so called Palestinians from Israel. Providing citizenship and education. Assad may be a dictator, though benign in comparison to Stalin. With such large populations of impressionable, uneducated Muslims, there is no other way to govern. Many Arab States due to the backwardness,clinging to ancient customs, consequently producing too many children through virtual child brides, such populations are difficult to manage. Educated secular Muslims are quite different. Superstitious and religious fanatics come from uneducated classes. Afghanistan is a classic example. Peasantry objected to Marx attitude ‘Religion the opiate of the people’. Muslims have now taken Islam to the extreme. Fanatics preach deep seated superstitions, picking from the Torah and Old Testament, myths of Isaac Ishmael. Desperate to right a wrong? Ishmael first born, SHOULD be God’s chosen people? This, Israel is the fact, Israel is up against? Many of Israel’s problems stem from malcontent superstitious ‘so called Palestinians’. These people gather terrorists, the Western Liberal simply doesn’t understand the mind of these people, who in turn play on the PC, sentimentality of the ‘Bleeding Heart Liberal’ world wide. Sweden is a classic example. Russia and China both have adopted an objective stance. Israel cannot be seen to back rebels? Blame for 21st August must be apportioned to FSA rebels.

  • Plain Talk

    The first priority is to show 100 percent evidence that Assad and his people were the ones that used the gas. It is absolutely no good to say “we are confident” or “very strong evidence” and all that other nonsense. It has to be 100 percent clear cut. Without that, all military action will only intensify the belief that the West has no regard for international law.

  • Mel

    Obama’s vacillation is not caused by Vaseline overdose. To historically-informed Jews, worldwide empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood should be alarming, but it is the single, shining foreign policy success of Team Obama since Day One. By 2011, it was obvious that his vague, open-ended “I have a plan” campaign retorts ended with “to party in as many places as I can as often as I can.”

    How Hashem pronounces Judgement on Jews who voted for Obama in 2012 remains to be seen.

    By bruising his ego, Assad begs a token response from rank amateur Obama’s slave mentality. Could psychiatric treatment be another motive for legal seal of his past? Would Americans knowingly elect a nut? Remember Agnew?

    In sum, Ma’ariv knows Bibi’s intents better than Bibi? Leave others’ tents and register your own Party List.

    Media responsibility is to report the news, not make it!
    When media sensationalism incites innocent deaths, it shows publisher confusion between Freedom and License.
    Economic boycott of press incitement is long overdue.
    “Loose Lips Sink Ships!”

  • vivian

    It is a wise decision for Pres. Obama not to take part in any war outside of his own for in the end America will be blamed. In as much as there is no clear friend among the two: Bashar & Hezbollah VS. Al Qaeda Et. Al. & Rebels ; what other interest except to tell the world that the USA is the leading Super Power.

  • What a mess. Too little, too late-Obama

  • Liz Wagner

    Obama announces he will attack Syria, then puts that plan on hold by dumping the decision into the lap of Congress. This, of course puts Congress in a difficult position. Obama has already committed the U.S. to executing an attack, even though it isn’t clear what he thinks this course of action will accomplish. Congress may not think Obama’s plan to attack Syria is a wise one, but voting against may further damage what little credibility America has left in the Middle East.

    Then, of course, there’s Obama’s unacknowledged death wish for Israel. Any attack by America, or our allies, on Syria carries with it the risk that Assad will respond by attacking Israel. Obama knows this. By announcing his plan to attack and then delaying such action, Obama has bought Syria, and anyone else in the region itching to hit the Jewish state, time to organize and prepare an attack on Israel. Maybe it’s just my fear talking, but I don’t trust Obama when it comes to Israel’s safety. He’s sent arms to Turkey. To Egypt. I can’t help thinking he’s provoked all this trouble in that neighborhood to give Israel’s enemies the opportunity to launch a massive attack on Israel. If he were serious about stopping the bloodshed in Syria and terrorism elsewhere, he would focus his sights on the head of the snake: Iran. Instead, he has done nothing to stop Iran from exporting and orchestrating terror all over the world.

  • Irving D, Cohen

    I’m glad that President Obama didn’t allow himself to be stampeded into acting completely alone, without the approval of other nations and the Congress. I would have preferred his coming to this conclusion a couple of weeks ago, but he’s correcting his error now, and that makes me happy.

  • Responsibility comes with the extraordinary position within world affairs that a president of the United States represents.
    If this particular president speaks with the authority vested in his position and therefore within himself, neither he nor the world can afford indecision as events overtake his inability to see his way through to responding in a manner that ensures words and intent match reaction and action.
    Sober second thought should precede announced intentions that are later yanked off the table.

  • DungeonDevil

    I hope the U.S. is not reverting back to the isolation policies of the 1930’s that precipitated WWII.

  • Judy Silver-Shapiro

    Since he came to office, this US Pres has been the most hostile toward ISRAEL in history. Indecisiveness and cluelessness are his middle names. He will use ISRAEL to pressure the US Congress. If they fail to agree, ISRAEL will ,similar to his UN fiascos, be blamed. To not call Congress back in session for a decision on war, and to wait until Sept 9 is rerehensible. He is the first muslim-born US President in history, and that impacts any and all of his dcisions. He is NOT leader in any sense of the word.

  • Uriahh

    Mr. Obama clearly lacks any will to get his hands dirty mixing into the Middle East morass!
    It’s reminiscent of the several times UN sponsored “peace keeping forces” have left their posts at the first growl from a local Arab despot. Remember the UN gang that ran from the Sinai when Nasser growled?

    Obama is now proving how undependable any UN or foreign group might be when faced with a threat from one of the countries separated by the group. In the end, Israel cannot rely on such groups or promises!

  • gord

    so is this a big surprise? president dithers is an embarrassment to mankind.

  • Efram Paul

    I think it is an oxymoron to use Obama and credibility in the same sentence. Given his track record, can anyone really say that his behavior is uncharacteristic?

  • There is a new thriller on Amazon Kindle, The Bahrain Protocol, which is apropo for this article. It predicts a war in the immediate future-between Israel and Iran; but with a twist that is no longer far fetched. What if Israel-no longer trusting U.S. intentions-finds common cause with an old nemesis-Saudi Arabia – and they partner to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities?

    The book puts you on the streets of Bahrain, within the ranks of rioters who burn down schools, destroy buildings, and fire bomb policemen on the orders of Iran’s Hezbollah to distract the U.S. until Iran gets the nuclear bomb; and in the cockpit of an Israeli F15, barreling down the throat of the enemy with ground penetrating bombs; and it’s only the beginning. And it’s a great read.

    Will Life imitate Art?