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September 07 2013

Pentagon Is Ordered to Expand Potential Targets in Syria With a Focus on Forces - NYTimes.com

Pentagon Is Ordered to Expand Potential Targets in Syria With a Focus on Forces - NYTimes.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/world/middleeast/pentagon-is-ordered-to-expand-potential-targets-in-syria-with-a-focus-on-fo

President Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that the government of President Bashar al-Assad has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

September 02 2013

Israel, stop kibitzing and let Obama work - Haaretz 2nd of September Editorial

Israel, stop kibitzing and let Obama work -
Haaretz 2nd of September
Editorial
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.544796

The disappointed voices that arose on Sunday from belligerent circles in Israel in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision on Saturday night to put on hold for now the military operation against Syria might create the false impression that most, if not all, Israelis are eager to see an attack on Damascus.

The long lines at the gas mask distribution centers and the traffic jams that can be expected on the roads leading out of major population centers in the event of an American attack against Bashar Assad’s regime teach us that the disappointed voices belong only to a few. The majority of people in Israel are breathing much easier upon hearing of the postponement and even the burial of the operation. It is important for the American public and administration to know that Israelis – both those who fear a Syrian response against Israel as well as those who doubt such a response will occur – have no interest in encouraging Washington to once again be drawn into a war in the Middle East.

Obama was right in not allowing his actions to be dictated by his personal pride – in the face of Assad ignoring his warnings – or by concern that the American superpower would turn into a laughingstock. The outcome of an operation is determined by the advance planning. Countries do not go out to battle assuming the perfect scenario will unfold. In this case this means the complete destruction of all the weapons of mass destruction by precision attacks from the air without injuring civilians and without American casualties or captives. Accidents and surprising developments are an inherent part of a military action. What can go wrong is sometimes worse than the situation the military blow was intended to fix. This is especially true under the conditions of a civil war in a political entity split between ethnic groups and religions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters were quick to praise his exceptional wisdom in being skeptical about American policy regarding Iranian nuclear weapons. This is a complete distortion of the Syrian lesson. Israel depends on American aid – from war planes to the veto in the United Nations Security Council – and this dependence is increasing as the government’s policy on the occupied territories and the peace negotiations is isolating Israel from the rest of the world. The American policy, for its part, cannot be based on a whim. In democratic nations clear-cut evidence is required to convince the public – weary of war – to pull the trigger before the diplomatic alternatives have been exhausted.

It is possible that at the end of a bitter debate in the Congress and votes in the committees and full House and Senate, Obama’s decision, now frozen, to use military force against Assad’s chemical stockpiles will be approved. In any case, it is essential that the decision be made on Capitol Hill, and not in Jerusalem.

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