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Friday, July 20, 2012

Washington trying to stop Israeli attack... on Syria

The Obama administration is trying to prevent Israel from taking preemptive action to protect itself... against Bashar al-Assad's Syria.
Pentagon officials were in talks with Israeli defense officials about whether Israel might move to destroy Syrian weapons facilities, two administration official said. The administration is not advocating such an attack, the American officials said, because of the risk that it would give Mr. Assad an opportunity to rally support against Israeli interference.

President Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, was in Israel over the weekend and discussed the Syrian crisis with officials there, a White House official said.


Behind the scenes, the administration’s planning has already shifted to what to do after an expected fall of the Assad government, and what such a collapse could look like. A huge worry, administration officials said, is that in desperation Mr. Assad would use chemical weapons to try to quell the uprising.

“The Syrian government has a responsibility to safeguard its stockpiles of chemical weapons, and the international community will hold accountable any Syrian officials who fails to meet that obligation,” Mr. Carney said.

Any benefit of an Israeli raid on Syria’s weapons facilities would have to be weighed against the possibility that the Assad government would exploit such a raid for its own ends, said Martin S. Indyk, the former United States ambassador to Israel and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

He and several administration officials said the view was that Mr. Assad might use chemical weapons as a last resort. “But it crosses a red line, and changes the whole nature of the discussion,” Mr. Indyk said. “There would be strong, if not overwhelming sentiment, internationally, to stop him.” Russia, in particular, would probably have to drop its opposition to tougher United Nations sanctions against Syria, and Mr. Assad’s other remaining ally, Iran, would probably not look too kindly on a chemical attack.

The Obama administration must also worry about Mr. Assad’s arsenal, including chemical weapons, falling into other hands, including those of Al Qaeda — a risk at the center of the administration’s concerns, according to Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group.

“The government is falling,” Mr. Malley said. “But what will the fall look like? It could fall in Damascus, but not elsewhere; it could crumble in other areas but not the Alawite ones — there are a lot of variations to this.”
Doesn't Indyk's excuse for not letting Israel attack Syria sound familiar? It's the exact same excuse that the Obama administration keeps making for Israel not taking out Iran's nuclear capabilities.

The only people who seem to have something to fear from Assad's chemical weapons, so long as they remain in his own hands, are the Syrian people. What the rest of the world has to fear is that those weapons will fall into the hands of Hezbullah, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Israel - more than any other party - cannot allow that to happen. The idea that Syrians will suddenly unite around Assad because Israel attacks his chemical weapons capability when the only party against which Assad is capable of using those weapons is the Syrian people... is laughable. There is no way that the Syrian people will now unite around Assad. None.

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