Obama’s climb-down on Syria attack spells “military nightmare” for allies Israel, Turkey, Jordan
US President Barack Obama’s about-turn Saturday night, Aug. 31 on the planned US military operation against Syria’s chemical weapons has shaken up the volatile Middle East balance of strength, spelling for Israel, Jordan and Turkey what Western and Israeli military sources called the day after “a military nightmare.”
Syria, Iran and Hizballah are let off the hook by the lifting of the imminent US military threat against Bashar Assad over his use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21. Not only that, but the threesome have won an unforeseen tactical advantage: President Obama’s turn to Congress to authorize that attack gives them at least a fortnight for launching a pre-emptive strike against US forces and its allies.
Syria and Hizballah’s defenses are already upgraded against the projected US strike and their forces on peak readiness. Rather than hanging around and waiting for the US Congress to go through with a debate, which only starts in the week of Sept. 9, they are fully capable of forcing the pace on their own terms, with the object of getting the US operation cancelled altogether.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, will not waste the opportunity for pursuing further advanced weapons transactions with Iran and Syria.
A high-ranking Israeli office commented Sunday that the three hostile allies, having achieved an indefinite postponement of the American military threat with Moscow’s help, can be expected to press their advantage with further diplomatic and military mischief. Trouble looms for Israel, Jordan and Turkey if Russian and Iranian intelligence experts estimate that an aggressive move will strengthen the hands of the US lawmakers opposed to US military intervention in Syria.
Syria's allies may deduce that high war flames in the Middle East will stoke the anti-military congressional faction’s pressure on the administration to keep American out of the region. They will argue that even the very limited action proposed by Obama would be enough to drag America deep into the Syrian mire.
Two Republican senators have already come forward as nay-sayers. Directly after the president’s speech, John McCain and Lindsey Graham said they would vote against any limited military action in Syria short of an offensive for toppling Bashar Assad.
September is a sensitive month in Israel because most of it is taken up with festivals, starting in Rosh Hashanah, followed by Yom Kippur and then the Feast of Tabernacles.
debkafile’s military sources say that the government and military command decided in hectic overnight discussions to take no chances. Against possible negative repercussions from the US president’s bombshell, they decided to maintain the high state of security and military preparedness along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
The three-tiered anti-missile system therefore remains in place and the gas mask distributions stations were reopened to the public Sunday morning.