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September 3, 2013 2:55 pm

Syria Crisis Minimizing Israeli Confidence in U.S. on Iran Nuclear Issue

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama

As the Obama administration lobbies Congress to vote for a strike on the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, some in the Jewish state are expressing mixed feelings about the tactic, saying it calls into question the U.S.-Israel alliance against Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

According to a report in the Financial Times, there is a fear in Israel that “any lack of US resolve over disciplining Bashar al-Assad’s government for crossing ‘red lines’ on chemical weapons use…sets a bad precedent for efforts to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.”

Israel’s Channel 2 reported Monday night that  Israel is “discomfited that both Obama and [Secretary of State John] Kerry mentioned Israel as a potential victim of Assad’s chemical weapons.”  Israel, the report quoted unnamed senior Israeli officials as saying, “is not a victim. We don’t need America to take care of threats to Israel.”

The FT quotes Mike Herzog, a retired Israeli general and international fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as saying, “You hear more and more people in government saying, ‘Can we really rely on the US to stop Iran? If they can’t take a decision on a red line in Syria, why should we think they could do so on Iran?”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Obama administration officials “are saying privately that a ‘no’ vote would encourage Iran to charge ahead with its suspected bomb program and would make it harder for the United States to intervene later.”
But it may be too late for Obama to assuage Israeli fears, with some already concluding that US deterrence has been weakened by its handling of the Syria crisis.

“Will the US back its own red lines and do something about Iran?” Yoel Guzansky, a researcher for the Institute for National Security Studies, asked, in the Financial Times. “The answer… is no – we are alone. That’s a very basic feeling – this is what people here think.”

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  • Ethan Coane

    Depending on events the world may finally be able to confirm Israel’s nuclear capabilities. If Assad attacks Israel with chemical weapons can anyone doubt that Israel will respond with WMD’s of their own (chemical, biological, or nuclear)? No American President will be able to counsel restraint as George H.W. Bush did regarding Iraq’s targeting of Israel with conventional Scud missiles during Desert Storm. U.S. military actions must be correspondingly brutally punitive to get the message to Assad.

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud

    Israel stay out of this, Obama has connections with the Muslim Brotherhood, no doubt why he backs rebels. Let us hope the G20 will put a spanner in the works. Iran is irrational enough to hit Israel because it is nearer than US, Israel must take a stand against the US, Iran simply sees Israel as a US State. With draw support for the US decision should it be confirmed, ally with Russia and China, neither of whom back the rebels or Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is putting down rebels, and I am certain Syria and so called Palestinians will find aide coming from different nations, even Europe is with holding. Israel reduce support for the States, let them stand alone along with their Muslim population and Rebels.

  • Wulfrano Ruiz Sainz

    Israel is walking into a trap. Internationalists want Israel wiped off the map.

  • Uriahh

    Mr. Obama’s understanding of things Middle East has been seriously clouded by his belief that he can “reason with” our Muslim opponents.
    Iranian leaders have already made the decision that Obama will ignore his nuclear red line just as he has done with the Syrian gas “Red Line”. It turned a shade of fuzzy pink as soon as he let it pass.
    Mr. Obama enjoys a very strange view of the Middle East.
    The guys in the Black Hats laugh in his face!

  • spktruth

    Israel is losing world opinion. We know that Israel will be the benefactor in another illegal, unconstitutional war on a soverign nation who has attacked no one. Prince Bandar of Saudia Arabia delivered those chemicals to the rebels…as Associated Press reported. American citizens voting NO by 80%! Hell no we wont go to another war for Israel. Its Israel who will be in jeopardy if the US attacks Syria…wake up Israel the world has done so.