Israeli view of Syria: ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death’

The New York Times reports: President Obama’s position on Syria — punish President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons without seeking to force him from power — has been called “half-pregnant” by critics at home and abroad who prefer a more decisive American intervention to end Syria’s civil war.

But Mr. Obama’s limited strike proposal has one crucial foreign ally: Israel.

Israeli officials have consistently made the case that enforcing Mr. Obama’s narrow “red line” on Syria is essential to halting the nuclear ambitions of Israel’s archenemy, Iran. More quietly, Israelis have increasingly argued that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.

For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.”

The synergy between the Israeli and American positions, while not explicitly articulated by the leaders of either country, could be a critical source of support as Mr. Obama seeks Congressional approval for surgical strikes in Syria. Some Republicans have pushed him to intervene more assertively to tip the balance in the Syrian conflict, while other politicians from both parties are loath to involve the United States in another Middle Eastern conflict on any terms.

But Israel’s national security concerns have broad, bipartisan support in Washington, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby in Washington, weighed in Tuesday in support of Mr. Obama’s approach. The group’s statement said nothing, however, about the preferred outcome of the civil war, instead saying that America must “send a forceful message” to Iran and Hezbollah and “take a firm stand that the world’s most dangerous regimes cannot obtain and use the most dangerous weapons.” [Continue reading…]

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Comments

  1. Not only this cruel response, but the “red line” of chemical weapons was given to Obama by Netanyahu, who is fanatical about Israelis being in danger of such weapons. As in 1991, then 2003, masks and kits are being supplied at vast expense to all the Israeli population to carry with them at all times, despite theer having been no CW used towards Israel, only by them towards their foes.

  2. How long have we been told that Iran is just months away from, acquiring Nuclear bombs and will use them, on Israel? As for Assad, well, he’s being tared and feathered by the U.S., but there is deafening silence about the atrocities that Israel subjects the Palestinians too. It’s time the U.S. removed the protective blanket that Israel is wrapped in, let them stand on their own two feet, then we will see just who is the big bully in the M.E. The idea that American lives should be shed in defense of Israel, is too much to pay.