Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly discuss the possibility of joint Israeli-US airstrikes on Syrian arms stockpiles when US President Barack Obama visits Israel later this week.
Netanyahu will try to convince Obama that the US should aid Israel if there is sufficient evidence that missiles are being passed on to Hezbollah forces, Britain’s The Guardian reported Sunday, citing an unnamed Israeli official.
Obama has made it clear in the past that the US would intervene in order to stop Syrian president Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons or transferring such weapons to Hezbollah.
However, the source, close to Netanyahu, told the paper it seems like Israel has been “left alone” to deal with the Syrian threat.
“Maybe it would be better if Israel doesn’t do it,” the Israeli official said. “But who is going to deal with it?”
In January, Israeli fighter jets reportedly targeted and destroyed a Syrian weapons convoy which was believed to have been carrying ground-to-air missiles, apparently on their way to Hezbollah terrorists.
Israel is also expected to pressure Obama to draw a definitive red line for military action against Iran, although the president’s administration has been reluctant to do so as of yet.
Contrary to statements by Netanyahu — that the moment of truth concerning Iran’s nuclear program was spring 2013 — Obama said in an interview with Channel 2 news Thursday that the US estimates that Iran can produce a bomb only in about a year, given its current rate of progress, and intimated that US action would not come before year’s end.
“Our timetable and the Israel timetable aren’t entirely congruent, but the United States does not want to have to react to Israeli military action,” Dov Zakheim, a former US under-secretary of defense, said at the Herzliya Conference last week.
“We don’t want the tail wagging the dog, and with all due respect to Israel, we’re still the dog,” Zakheim said.
The Prime Minister’s Office told the British paper that it was more likely Netanyahu would find a sympathetic ear on Syria than on Iran.