Israeli security services are suggesting that Barack Obama could initiate a strike against Syria to punish the regime for its use of chemical weapons against civilians in Ghoutah last week.
According to Haaretz newspaper, the Israeli officials base their belief primarily on the growing pressure on Obama, who said last year that the use of chemical weapons by the army loyal to Bashar Al-Assad would be a "red line". It is alleged that US Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey spoke to his Israeli counterpart, General Benny Gantz, on Saturday to discuss the situation in the region, in particular the deteriorating situation in Syria. Haaretz pointed out that if America opts for military action against the Damascus regime this will require Israel to increase its level of readiness on its northern borders and home front against a number of possible retaliatory scenarios.
General Dempsey is expected in the region next week to participate in a conference in the Jordanian capital Amman. Senior military officers from Europe are also expected to attend.
The newspaper said that President Obama's muted enthusiasm for military action means that any move by the US will be limited; he does not want to embroil America in a new war in the Middle East. As such, it is highly unlikely that Obama will commit US ground troops to action in Syria.