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Thread: U.S. Neocons Hoped Israel Would Attack Syria

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    U.S. Neocons Hoped Israel Would Attack Syria

    US neocons hoped Israel would attack Syria
    Israel considered expansion of conflict in Lebanon 'nuts.'

    By Tom Regan |

    The White House, and in particular White House advisors who belong to the neoconservative movement, allegedly encouraged Israel to attack Syria as an expansion of its action against Hizbullah, in Lebanon. The progressive opinion and news site reported Monday that Israeli sources say Israel's "leadership balked at the scheme."

    One Israeli source said [US President George] Bush's interest in spreading the war to Syria was considered "nuts" by some senior Israeli officials, although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has generally shared Bush's hard-line strategy against Islamic militants.

    After rebuffing Bush's suggestion about attacking Syria, the Israeli government settled on a strategy of mounting a major assault in southern Lebanon aimed at rooting out Hizbullah guerrillas who have been firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel.

    In a July 30 story about Israel being prepared for a possible attack by Syria in response to its attacks in Lebanon, The Jerusalem Post noted the White House interest.

    The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] was also concerned about a possible Syrian attack in response to the ongoing IDF operations in Lebanon. It was also known that Syria had increased its alert out of fear in Damascus that Israel might attack.

    Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.

    Neoconservatives, or 'neocons,' believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled military power to promote its values around the world. Several prominent neocon columnists have recently written about the need for Israel to take the current conflict beyond Lebanon to include the countries they consider to be Hizbullah's main backers – Iran and Syria.

    In his blog for National Review, columnist Michael Ledeen wrote last month that "we have to [go] after [Syrian President Bashir] Assad."

    The hard work on the ground belongs to the Israelis, and you are right to say we have done well to support them rhetorically. But we have to [go] after Assad, and we have not done that. Perhaps this is due to my own ignorance; it may be going on behind the scenes (not movie scenes, the real ones). I hope so. But I don't see it. I don't see or hear our leaders condemning the Syrians and the Iranians, aside from the original White House statement (in direct conflict with the statement from the State Dept, let's not forget) holding Syria and Iran responsible. Okay, so they're responsible. And then?

    There has to be a "then." And it has to be aimed at the total destruction of Hizbullah and the downfall of the regime in Damascus. Otherwise, it will all rewind. There will be no semblance of a strong, free, and independent Lebanon, and the next time around things will be much worse. You will see more and more Iranian missiles, in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in Israel. It's a war, not a debate.

    William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, also believes the US needs to go after Syria and Iran.

    For while Syria and Iran are enemies of Israel, they are also enemies of the United States. We have done a poor job of standing up to them and weakening them. They are now testing us more boldly than one would have thought possible a few years ago. Weakness is provocative. We have been too weak, and have allowed ourselves to be perceived as weak.

    The right response is renewed strength – in supporting the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, in standing with Israel, and in pursuing regime change in Syria and Iran. For that matter, we might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions – and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.

    But Alon Ben-Meir, professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, argues the opposite side, that now is the time to engage, not attack Syria, and that the Bush administration "will forfeit another historic opportunity to bring an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, however remote that prospect may now seem."

    The Syrian government knows only too well that the administration is fully committed to a regime change in Damascus. From the Syrian perspective, this, in itself, justifies any effort to thwart the American design. If the administration wishes to see a real change in Syria's behavior, it must first assure President Bashar al-Assad that the United States has no intention of undermining his government. It is absurd to think that any government will cooperate in its own downfall. That said, however justified American grievances against Syria may be, Damascus can also compile a long list of its own grievances. Neither side's complaints against the other can be adequately addressed by public pronouncements or recriminations. Only a direct dialogue provides the clarity to realistically assess each other's intentions.

    In a recent piece entitled "Ending the neoconservative nightmare," Ha'aretz columnist Daniel Levy writes that the neoconservative agenda for Israel has actually hurt the country. Israel, he said, found "its diplomatic options narrowed by American weakness and marginalization in the region, and found itself ratcheting up aerial and ground operations in ways that largely worked to Hizbullah's advantage..." Mr. Levy wonders if, after the Israel-Hizbullah crisis is over, Israelis will understand the "tectonic shift that has taken place in US-Middle East policy?"

    The key neocon protagonists, their think tanks and publications may be unfamiliar to many Israelis, but they are redefining the region we live in. This tight-knit group of "defense intellectuals" – centered around Bill Kristol, Michael Ledeen, Elliott Abrams, [Richard] Perle, [Douglas] Feith and others – were considered somewhat off-beat until they teamed up with hawkish well-connected Republicans like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Newt Gingrich, and with the emerging powerhouse of the Christian right. Their agenda was an aggressive unilateralist US global supremacy, a radical vision of transformative regime-change democratization, with a fixation on the Middle East, an obsession with Iraq and an affinity to "old Likud" politics in Israel. Their extended moment in the sun arrived after 9/11.

    Finding themselves somewhat bogged down in the Iraqi quagmire, the neoconservatives are reveling in the latest crisis, displaying their customary hubris in re-seizing the initiative. The US press and blogosphere is awash with neocon-inspired calls for indefinite shooting, no talking and extension of hostilities to Syria and Iran, with Gingrich calling this a third world war to "defend civilization."

    Disentangling Israeli interests from the rubble of neocon "creative destruction" in the Middle East has become an urgent challenge for Israeli policy-makers. An America that seeks to reshape the region through an unsophisticated mixture of bombs and ballots, devoid of local contextual understanding, alliance-building or redressing of grievances, ultimately undermines both itself and Israel. The sight this week of Secretary of State Rice homeward bound, unable to touch down in any Arab capital, should have a sobering effect in Washington and Jerusalem.

    Finally, Spencer Ackerman writes in The New Republic Online that a growing split between traditional conservatives (champions of 'realistic' foreign policy) and neoconservatives (champions of 'moralistic' foreign policy) will only become more pronounced over the next few months, as traditional conservatives increasingly rethink the Bush administration's actions in Iraq.

    Conservative recriminations over Iraq are igniting all across Washington, with opponents of the war loudly assaulting its leading champions (see Francis Fukuyama v. Charles Krauthammer and George Will v. William Kristol.) But what the Hulsman incident [the dismissal of senior foreign policy analyst, John Hulsman, from the neoconservative bastion the Heritage Foundation last month] reveals is that the war's supporters aren't about to passively absorb criticism and issue public apologies. They are going to fight back against their critics – and an ugly debate will become much uglier.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    Shows how crazy Bush and his team is. A Hezbollah/Syria combination would destroy Israel.

  3. #3
    Partridge Guest
    But Israel has what neither of them have - 200+ nukes. Fuck with Israel too badly and they will fuck you up forever.

  4. #4
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    Yeah but they wont do it.

  5. #5
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    Unless of course Iran tried to nuke Israel first...with the nukes they don't have.

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