In Brief, How the Syria Crisis Affects Israel

Nothing Congress will do next week will make the Syria crisis any worse than it already is for Israel. President Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons was likely crossed long ago, with no response. Likewise, Obama’s demand that Assad leave power was an empty ultimatum. The U.S. deterrent is no more. A limited strike against Syria will, at best, have symbolic value but will expose Israel to Syria/Hezbollah/Iran attacks.

On the other hand, nothing Congress will do next week can weaken Israel’s hand in dealing with Iran on its own. The very act of deferring to Congress after Obama already promised action has made it clear that he cannot be trusted to do what may be necessary to stop Iran from achieving nuclear power status. In other words, Obama’s weakness has placed Israel in grave danger but also given it a window to do what it must.