Is Obama completely inept – or is he being diabolically clever? By drawing his “Red Line” so publicly, he has made it almost impossible to pull back from a military intervention in Syria, without losing face personally and completely destroying US credibility. And yet, it is not Obama who will be blamed when the US is drawn into a conflict in which, whoever wins, the West will be the loser. It is Israel. Whether by accident, or by design, Obama has made sure of that. Obama has publicly linked Israel’s safety to the carrying-out of an American strike on Syria, thus making it difficult, if not impossible for AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) to oppose him on this.
Obama has managed to embroil Israel – and American Jewry – in a civil war in which we (and they) want no part.
Obama knows that AIPAC knows, that if the US loses its credibility over Syria, she also loses her credibility vis-a-vis Iran, in such a way that sanctions will have no chance of dissuading the latter from pressing on with her nuclear programme (if they ever did have any chance), leaving the military option as the only viable option. And if the US won’t use her military power against Syria, there is no reason to believe she will do so against Iran. But if America is dragged into a war in Syria, against the will of the majority of the American people (and, I might add, against the wishes of most Israelis also), the chances of persuading the US (and the rest of the world) to act militarily against Iran dwindle away almost to nothing. So, either way, Obama manages to avoid taking action against Iran.
As for the so-called “Israeli/Jewish pressure for a strike on Assad” – far from Obama being pressured by AIPAC, it is Obama who has sent AIPAC to lobby in Congress for an American attack on Syria. Israel has nothing to gain from such an attack. It would be “Out of the frying-pan, into the fire” – because the fall of Assad would mean the rise of an extremist Islamist government, tied to Al Qaeda, in Syria – and all those chemical weapons which Assad may or may not have, would then be in the hands of Al Qaeda. In fact, regardless of who used chemical weapons in “the attack in question”, it is quite possible that the rebels already have access to chemical weapons.
Nor will the blame be confined to Israel. The antisemites are out in force. For example, The Centre for Research on Globalization – which has been accused in the past, not without reason, of Holocaust denial and of promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories – does not hesitate to scream: “Watching the scale of the Jewish pro war campaign should lead us to consider the possibility that Jewish politics (not just Israeli politics) is a grave threat to world peace.”
Obama also knows – and knows that AIPAC knows – that if the US loses her credibility, Israel’s enemies will be emboldened, being sure that a US which failed, despite its promises, to act against Assad after publicly labelling him the guilty party in the use of chemical weapons, is also unlikely to stand by Israel’s side in any future military conflict. In short – a USA which cannot be relied upon is bad for Israel. But a USA which attacks Syria and gets bogged down in what, we are now told, is likely to be a somewhat longer military campaign than originally anticipated, is also bad for Israel. In other words, whether the USA now goes ahead with a military intervention is Syria, or whether she does not – Israel is the loser.
If the US does attack Syria, Israel will be the one blamed for dragging America into another war. Israel has declared, on more than one occasion, that she has no interest in taking sides in the Syrian civil war. Yet respected newspapers such as the New York Times come out with inflammatory headlines such as: “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria” . Now the New York Times is no friend to Israel, so let’s just see who their columnist Jodi Rudoren (well-known for her anti-Israel opinions) quotes to back her claim:Amos Yadlin, a former head of Military Intelligence (now retired from the IDF and holding no Israeli government position). Yadlin is entitled to his opinion, but he does not speak for Israel.
If Netanyahu is now supporting an American strike on Assad’s forces, it is not because Israel has any real desire for such a strike to take place but because Obama’s “Red Line” (and Kerry’s even more preposterous “Munich Moment” comparison – as if one can compare a civil war between two, equally brutal, terrorist armies, and the invasion of a peaceful state by a megalomaniac dictator and his cohorts) has pushed events into a situation where an American failure to act after promising to do so, given a certain set of circumstances now seems more dangerous than the alternative – bad as the alternative may be. Obama has actually left Netanyahu no choice. In fact – it’s a no-win situation for Israel, caused by Obama. Because if Obama fails to get the go-ahead from Congress, it won’t only be the US that lose face. As far as Obama is concerned, it will be Obama himself, more than anyone else, who loses face – and he is likely to try to “compensate” by acting the Strong Man and twisting Israel’s arm, to make more unilateral concessions which will only weaken Israel and which won’t lead to peace.
On the other hand, if Obama fails to win Congressional support, he may try to save face by touting himself as the President who, although pushed by the evil Zionist /Jewish lobby, respected the wishes of the American people and, guided by the principles of democracy, accepted the will of the People as expressed by Congress.
Like so many ordinary Israelis – and Americans too, no doubt – I am finding it hard to decide what is really going on here. So, I leave it to you.
Is Obama unbelievably inept – or diabolically clever?