Critics point to any number of signals over the years that the Obama Administration is nowhere near as supportive of Israel in reality as it is rhetorically.
We may soon find out. Israel is essentially surrounded by its enemies. Incursions into the Golan Heights have not occurred for years but are happening now. Rocket fire from Gaza has escalated. Jordan is seeing the beginnings of what lit off the civil war in Syria. Rhetoric from Egypt is unmistakably Jihadist, and will eventually result in vacating the long standing peace treaty with Israel. The Brotherhood long opposed that treaty murdering Sadat over it; the Brotherhood is in charge now. It’s just a case of timing.
Hiz’bAllah, while not standing shoulder to shoulder with Assad’s fighting forces is securing the Lebanese border against the rebels; playing cozy until the wind direction is determined. Saudi money, as it always does, plays all sides of the equation. One has to wonder where Hiz’bAllah procured a high tech drone; Iran?
Iran’s presence is unmistakable in both Syria and in Gaza and has been Hiz’bAllah’s main benefactor. Iranian weapons are everywhere as are support personnel from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Reza Kahlili also reports that Iranian missiles are trained on Riyadh Saudi Arabia in the event that Saudi money assists with the downfall of Assad.
What if both Hiz’bAllah and Hamas in Gaza have missiles capable of reaching the main Israeli population centers? What if the drones are capable of being armed? If Syria collapses to the rebel insurgency the easy connections to Iranian arms and support would then have to cross sectarian boundaries.
U.S. presence and leadership in the Middle East, has been, at best, flaccid. Support for Israel, politically, has been weak. The signals to the Arab world from the President have been unmistakable and are a part of the calculus applied by Egypt and Iran specifically. Israel has long been seen by the Left as the source of all problems Middle Eastern.
So which is it going to be? The potential for escalation is real, this time given what is happening in Egypt and Syria if could easily become a regional conflict. Is Israel, in fact, our closest ally in the Middle East? If so what resources will the U.S. commit to Israeli security? What will the U.S. response be in the event that the current circumstances escalate?
This set of circumstances will likely result in a level of conflict that will illuminate the administration’s actual view of Israel and its place in the U.S. security universe. In the converse it will also demonstrate the administrations true position relative to the Arab and Iranian Middle East. There is little doubt that military and intelligence coordination with Israel is strong; what of the political?
Will the U.S. administration provide full throated political support for Israel? Will the tone be, once again, that Israel that must demonstrate ‘restraint’ in the face of hundreds of rocket attacks? Will the rejection of ‘violence’ be directed in two directions or only one? Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr has already asked Secretary Clinton for “immediate U.S. intervention” to reign in Israel.
If indeed Hamas continues as they have in recent days they know additional Israeli responses will be forthcoming; Hamas counts on it. They count on the International press supporting the false victimization of Palestinians; they count on the pressure that brings to bear. They count on the money, especially in light of Iran’s financial problems of late.
Circumstance will demand, for good or ill, exposure of true attitudes toward Israel by the U.S. administration.