President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel is expected to include the usual hectoring on attacking Iran and some pro-forma US threats to actually do so, but likely no real policy change. Rather, Israeli officials insist, the real focus will be on talking Obama into attacking Syria.
Israel already attacked Syria once in late January, and almost immediately thereafter it was revealed that President Obama “green-lit” the attack, as well as any other attacks Israel might want to launch on Syria.
Of course giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light to attack almost anyone is bound to please him in the near term, but now, his aides say, he feels “left alone” by the green light, since it didn’t include any specific US offers to help with the war they’ve been planning.
Israel’s government is keen to move from the air strikes against Syria to a more full-scale offensive, with the possibility to seizing more Syrian territory as a “buffer zone” being raised, even though Israel already took a buffer zone in 1973 and never gave it back.
The hope among Israeli officials is that any Israeli offensive can include “joint operations” with the US, which would launch rounds of air strikes against the Syrian government’s missile caches. President Obama’s position on Syria has come into question in recent days, but if attacking Syria can be sold as a way for his administration to quiet Israeli officials (temporarily) about attacking Iran, it seems entirely possible they will do so.