|President Yellow Stain?|
"You can wipe the rest of your life Mister, you will never wipe off that yellow stain"-Jose Ferrer in the classic movie Caine Mutiny
Being the only Democracy operating in the region, sharing a border with Syria, and directly facing the Iranian nuclear threat from Iran, Israel is a big part of the Syrian story. In fact many of the proponants of an attack on the Assad regime are using Israel as part of the rationale. Indeed some of the opposition is also using Israel as part of the rationale.
Israel not wanting to be seen as trying to influence the US' war policies has been very silent at least publicly. As a matter of fact they have been silent since the President drew his red line in the sand except to confirm that Assad had used chemical weapons and that they would defend themselves if attacked.
But Jews are nothing if they don't have opinions and the leadership of the Jewish State has plenty of them.
Before the President drew his red line, Israel most probably preferred that the US stay out of the Syrian "civil" war. They realized that America really didn't have a dog in this fight between two despicable forces and that any foreign entry would inflame the situation and most importantly divert attention from the Iranian threat.
However once this President drew that red line and the Assad regime used those chemical weapons, Israel believed that the US had to act. Israel understood that in this region of the world you must back up what you say lest you become the target.
According to James Rosen of Fox News, Israeli officials are astounded at the weakness Obama has displayed:
"The feeling is that something was wrong here, that this was not the way this should have gone down, that this is not the way a superpower should act," said one former Israeli diplomat who has spent considerable time in the United States and enjoys close ties to the Netanyahu government. "We look at Syria, and we think Iran. ... What conclusions should be drawn about how America will act in other circumstances? Here was a clear red line. It was breached a few times. This looks like a clever move; but America's willingness to 'walk the walk' now is very questionable."Obama's detachment from the Middle East has been a theme of many of the posts found on these pages.
Another senior official, presently in the Israeli government, told Fox News the president was right, in terms of domestic U.S. politics, to "look for cover," and thereby force American lawmakers who would have criticized him for undertaking unauthorized action to "own it, too." But this official said the Israelis, from their vantage point, see the Obama administration as detached from the Mideast and the president, in particular, as ill-equipped to shape events there.
Netanyahu is being very careful to stay out of the American politicking. He has instructed his cabinet ministers to refrain from public statements that will unduly affect the pending congressional vote in the United States. Only the prime minister himself and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon are said to be permitted to comment on the Syrian crisis.
Of course President Shimon Peres, who speaks up even though he has no authority, spoke in praise of the president during a session with foreign ambassadors in Jerusalem on Tuesday (see what en exchange of awards does for loyalty).
Overall this can be a sticky topic. Anti-Semites in America (like Pat Buchanan) still blame Israel for pushing the US into Iraq even though then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon strongly urged W. Bush to stay out. Israel does not want to be seen as pushing the US toward Syria.
On the other hand this is the Middle East where the tribal mentality dominates. Any sign of delay or hesitation is seen by the opposition as lack of will and strength. Sadly that boat has already sailed. Obama's zig-zag toward a Syrian war, disengagement from the Middle East, and Benghazi coverup is seen as fear and weakness by Syria, by the terrorists, and by Iran. And for the next 40 months, until he is replaced in the oval office the United States is in great danger of being attacked.