Netanyahu to press Obama to stop Syrian weapons transferstransfer weapons to Hezbullah.
The Obama administration has made clear that it would intervene militarily only to stop the Assad regime using its chemical or biological weapons or transferring them to extremist groups. Israeli officials say they feel they have been left alone to deal with the spread of Syria's arsenal of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles.
Israeli warplanes destroyed a Syrian convoy at the end of January which Israeli officials say was taking Russian-made ground-to-air missiles to Hezbollah. Binyamin Netanyahu's government has made clear that it would strike again in similar circumstances. A senior official said: "Maybe it would be better if Israel doesn't do it, but who is going to deal with it?
"These missiles are not just a problem for Israel," the official added. "They include [anti-ship] missiles, and who has the biggest navy in the Mediterranean?" – a reference to the US. Israeli military and government officials concede that it is unlikely that they will be able to persuade Washington to take military action in Syria unless chemical weapons are involved.
But they want to use Obama's scheduled five hours of talks with Netanyahu on Wednesday evening to secure a guarantee of US support for more pre-emptive Israeli strikes, even if they risk provoking a cross-border conflict with Hezbollah. "What I hear over and over again from Israeli generals is that another war with Hezbollah is inevitable," a western diplomat said, pointing to estimates that the Shia militia has up to 60,000 missiles hidden in southern Lebanese villages. He said neither side had anything to gain from a new conflict now.Netanyahu will also try to get Obama to agree to move up the timetable for stopping Iran - an effort at which Netanyahu is even less likely to succeed. Read the whole thing.
My guess is that the best we can hope for from Obama is diplomatic cover in the event that we need to attack Syria. There is no way Obama is going to get involved in a military conflict right now.