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Wag the Dog: Israel to press Obama to use air strikes in case of Syrian missile transfer

21st Century Wire says… As we predicted many times earlier, instead of helping to call for peace, Israel has been planning to use the Syria crisis to its own advantage. What other vested interests do the Israelis have in the Syrian conflict? We’ll soon find out…

US expected to resist Israeli pressure to attack Iran, while Tel Aviv unlikely to yield on Palestine, leaving Syria a common goal

By Julien Borger

Israel will use President Obama’s visit on Wednesday to try to persuade the US to carry out air strikes on Syria if there is evidence that Syrian missiles are to be handed over to Hezbollah in Lebanon, or at least to give full support to Israeli military action to prevent the transfer.

On Wed, Obama lands in Israel to do what all American Presidents have done since Clinton.

On this week’s trip to Israel and the West Bank, Obama will also come under Israeli pressure to lower the US threshold for military action against Iran, while the US president will try for an Israeli commitment to a peace process with the Palestinians. Neither side is likely to be successful, leaving Syria as the most promising arena for agreement.

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…

Read more at the Guardian

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