On March 16, Israeli planes struck several targets in Syria. Israel said that it had targeted shipments of “advanced weapons” meant for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
These strikes occur from time to time, and there is usually little but fist-waving and statements from Syria in response. This time was different. Assad’s forces launched several missiles at the Israeli jets, none of which found their mark. More importantly, the next day, the new Israeli Ambassador to Russia was summoned by the Russian government for clarification of the incident. Read more at LobeLog
My latest piece at LobeLog reviews the failure of virtually all of Benjamin Netanyahu’s objectives during his trip to the United States last week. I strongly recommend it.
I hope to have something up on LobeLog later today about the spasm of violence in Gaza and Southern Israel. Here’s a hint: I don’t think it is what it seems to be.
As much as I often heap scorn on Barack Obama’s foreign policy acumen, he is taking the right approach with Iran by pushing forward and taking advantage of the opening by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani while also trying to forestall the hawks by proceeding with caution. Israel, AIPAC and the Gulf States are not blind, however and they are gearing up for an all-out assault in Capitol Hill to sabotage efforts to resolve the sanctions and nuclear dispute peacefully. I examine at LobeLog.
A review of the politics of the debate over a US strike on Syria. Who made political gains and losses and why? One thing that was certainly set back was room in the discussion about doing anything within international diplomacy about a war which has killed 110,000 people and created some 7 million refugees (which amounts to about 1/3 of the population!). Still, how this plays out among important players in the international community and within US foreign policy matters. So, I looked at a few of those key players (by no means an exhaustive list) at Lobelog.
The Syria debate in the United States brought a lot of surprises, not the least of which was the behavior of various sectors of the “pro-Israel” Lobby. Despite the Russians coming along and at least temporarily bailing Obama out of the hole he dug for himself, AIPAC in particular took hit. The damage that caused should not be overstated, but it was real. I explore this at LobeLog.
President Obama shocked many with his announcement that, despite the fact that he had decided to strike Syria, he was going to seek authorization from Congress. At LobeLog, I examine some of the implications for US politics and foreign policy, as well as the immediate meaning for an attack on Syria.
This piece was originally published at LobeLog
If John Kerry wants to find a silver lining in the heavy criticism US foreign policy has faced due to the events in both Egypt and Syria, he might find it in, of all places, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The secretary of state embarked on the talks by saying there would be no discussion of them in the media; that any reliable information about them would only come from him; and that he would not talk about them. Given the history of leaks in such talks and the widespread coverage generated by any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, this seemed like a very ambitious promise. But amid an imminent attack on Syria after the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and the controversial, tacit US support for a coup in Egypt that turned out to be a lot more bloody than Washington probably expected, attention has been completely drawn away from the Israel-Palestine conflict. Continue reading