Today, 5 years from his first attack, Assad has ordered a chemical attack on Idlib. That means that Israel and the United States are still confronted with the same problems of being attacked or having to attack those in Syria. The players are the president of Syria, Assad, Russia, Shiite Muslims (Iranian Islamic religion) , al-Qaeda terrorists, and the Free Syria Army (FSA).
For the USA, if Assad wins the war, it would mean that the Russian-backed Shiite axis would have a victory. A rebel victory could mean that there would be a way for al-Qaeda power-sharing or even domination of Syria. "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was collaborating with Russia and Iran "to prevent an Aleppo-like disaster" in Idlib."
Israel was honored with Obama's visit in late March 2013 and Netanyahu and Obama struck "a grand bargain." Obama would do "whatever it takes," military action, to stop Iran from going nuclear. Netanyahu carried out his side of the bargain: "he freed 26 pre-Oslo Palestinian terrorists, enabling US Secretary of State John Kerry to announce resumption of peace talks in late July." Then Obama's part was not carried out.
Assad used chemical weapons against his rebellious civilians in August 2013. Obama had warned him that using chemical weapons would "cross the red line" and trigger an American response. Obama did not carry through, like a parent warning children and then doing nothing. He then referred the issue to Congress, and nothing happened. This was seen as trying to backtrack on his threat. It was his perceived weakness and caused others to question his credibility when making commitments on things said about Iran and Palestine by Netanyahu of Israel and others in the world. They figured that if it took Congressional approval and having a broad international coalition for a limited strike against Syria, who had used weapons of mass destruction on his own people, what would it take to launch a big operation against Iran who was on the brink of developing nuclear weapons and with the threats they had already made, would gladly and joyously use them on Israel immediately?
What about right now? Assad is again known to be planning on using chemical weapons on civilians in northern Syria, Idlib. The northern Syrian province of Idlib is the last remaining stronghold controlled by forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad..A pro-Assad Syrian MP, Fares Shehabi, told BBC Reality Check that there were as many as 100,000 "al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists" in Idlib, of whom 40,000 were what he called "hardcore radicals". Idlib: As Syrian government forces complete their offensive in southwestern Syria, attention has shifted to the northwest province of Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold.
|May 2016 , Residents inspect a site damaged by an airstrike in Hafsarja, in the insurgent stronghold of Idlib province, Syria|
Air raids have pounded areas in Syria's last rebel-held province of Idlib, killing several civilians and raising further concerns that an all-out government offensive is only a matter of time.
"Idlib is home to some three million people — around half of them displaced from other parts of the country — and UN says an attack on the region could result in the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life in the 21st century."
"The first signs of the predicted mass movement of Syrian civilians seeking to escape an imminent joint Russian-Syrian air assault emerged on Monday when the UN said 30,000 of the 3.5 million people in the opposition-run enclave of Idlib had already been internally displaced."
|Idlib in May 2017|
The USA gave them a 9 month deadline to come to peace accords. The Palestinians were due to reach their expiration date in the coming Spring and the Iranians were expected to reach their nuclear breakout at the same time. Netanyahu met with the French Foreign Minister, Larent Fabius in late August. He talked of the stalled response of Obama that would cause Iran's nuclear ambitions to see a green light with the Ayatollah's zeal to use them. "Assad's regime has become a full Iranian client and Syria has become Iran's testing ground."
Netanyahu had to set goals for Israel.
1. Deter any possible Syrian, Iranian or Hezbollah retaliation against Israel if and when USA attacked. To do this they had to make the results very clear: Israel's response to attack would be devastating. "If Israel identified any attempt whatsoever to harm their tiny country, Israel would respond with great force." Their enemy knew what they said, they meant.
2. Israeli leaders were quietly pleading the case for an American strike for major strategic reasons. Failure to act plays into the hands of their worst enemies, the Iranian-led Shiite axis which included Assad's Syria and Lebanese based Hezbollah Shiite militia, backed partly bankrolled and armed by Russia. A successful strike would mean Assad's eventual ouster, could break the Iran-Hezbollah land connection through Syria, isolate Iran, and maybe force the Russians to leave this last Middle Eastern foothold they wanted. It could strengthen USA's counter allianace with the Sunni Arab world of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and oil-rich Gulf States. USA needs to show the world one cannot use chemical weapons-only conventional weapons in a battle. The USA credibility and world leadership was in jeopardy.
|Damascus, the capital where Assad lives|
This was the fear of the Russians and why they didn't want the USA to strike. They had a huge investment here in Assad's Syria. Russia sells billions of dollars worth of weapons to them. Russia has a port at Tartous which is their only naval base in the Mediterranean-their only naval base outside of the former Soviet Union.
For Israel, 2 questions remain:
1. Would Obama have the gumption to act with or without Congress?
2. If he acted, would he get the scope of the operation right?
A little attack would be as bad as no attack at all or worse. Assad could become strengthened and embolden Iran.
A big attack could trigger a wider regional war. Did Obama want to tip the balance in Syria against the Assad regime? Israel figured that Syria after being attacked would not attack Israel and would also not use chemical weapons. He would know that if he did, his own life would be on the line. If Assad did attack Israel, Israel would retaliate and change the regional balance of power. Israel has to be sure when and when not to take a risk for peace, when to bite the bullet and when to trust the USA.
Today, President" Donald Trump says slaughter in Idlib would make US 'very angry." As it remains, Russian and Syrian places have bombed densely populated enclave hours after President Trump warned Assad not to "recklessly attack Idlib."
The White House on Tuesday threatened military intervention if the Syrian government used chemical weapons.
Magazine: The Jerusalem Report, September 23, 2013. (2 years after USA's 9/11.
Book: Messages From A Syrian Jew Trapped in Egypt -tells of the chemical attack on his own people of Syria