April 23, 2013
Is Obama in Trouble Because of Israel (Again)?
Israeli officials confirmed today that the Syrian Assad regime has used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels:
This puts Obama to the test, having declared in the past that-
So Israel, again, is causing trouble for Obama. And no, I don’t think this was an intentional attempt to embarrass the President. However, the American resolve to show the world that there are “consequences” will be tested in the coming weeks. That is, unless "consequences" mean putting Assad on trial, some day in the future, when the war is over and the regime is long gone. There is definitely reason to suspect that that is what Obama means by “you will be held accountable”, but the US can make Assad pay much sooner if Obama decides to do so.
It is important to note that even though Obama has suggested in the past that he isn’t a fan of red lines – more specifically, he doesn’t like it when Israel draws them in regards to Iran - Obama drew a clear “red line” on the Syria matter:
Putting together a plan is good, but using it is another matter. As Leon Wieseltier wrote last week:
Well, it was now more or less verified. By Israel.
Remember that post ('Worry about Hagel-out, worry about Kerry-in')? Yesterday, as the Hagel visit ended on a positive tone, John Kerry once again put his foot in his mouth and demonstrated his ability to make Israelis worry:
In case you are wondering, Israel isn’t going to make a big fuss about this. Clearly, Kerry didn’t mean much – he was just talking without realizing how dumb and unfounded this comparison is. And besides, we are in the midst of an era of good feelings following the reset of the Obama-Israel relations, and no one wants to ruin the good atmosphere over the Kerry comments.
You think Obama is facing a test with Syria? Think about the test Netanyahu has to face.
Assuming that Yadlin isn't just talking Kerry-style, the meaning of what he says is clear, and isn’t very different from the meaning of today’s news on Syria:
Israel will soon have to act against Iran, come up with a very good excuse as to why it didn’t act, or be exposed as a paper tiger (that is, an animal that makes noise but doesn’t have teeth to back that noise); Obama will soon have to act against Assad, come up with a very good excuse as to why he didn’t act, or be exposed as a paper tiger as well.
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