The much anticipated US military strike against Syria is overwhelming American political and media rhetoric in an unprecedented way, perhaps even surpassing the frenzied atmosphere during the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq. The escalating rhetoric coincides with the end of summer vacation and Labour Day, when many politicians, journalists and experts are on holiday outside of Washington D.C.
Ever since President Barack Obama decided to seek Congressional approval of a potential military strike against Syria, “to punish the Assad regime,” observers have noticed increasing reference to the “Israeli factor” and to the impact that any US strike will have on “Israel’s strategic interests in the long term”.
Al-Quds newspaper learned on Monday that those in the American administration and Congress who support “a strategic [US] military strike against Syria to destroy” the regime’s ability to use weapons of mass destruction have now intensified their efforts to “ensure the President is granted Congressional approval on the draft resolution submitted by the administration to serve this goal.” The administration is even resorting “to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most influential Committee in the US capital. Obama allies aim to use AIPAC’s influence to guarantee favourable votes of the draft resolution in the Congress.”
Everyone in Washington recognizes that AIPAC’s financial resources and its strong relationship with lawmakers could greatly influence Congress’s decision on Syria.
According to the Al-Quds source, Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli Air Force General who is currently the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) military attaché to Washington, D.C. and the head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, and who is viewed as “a representative of the opinion of Israel’s intelligence family,” has submitted a memorandum to the US administration. The memorandum reportedly states that, “It is extremely important that President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria does not come out victorious from the war, considering he is the biggest ally of Iran and Hezbollah in the region.”
Yadlin’s memorandum also mentions that, “Israel’s interests are: firstly, the United States shows there is a high price for using non-conventional weapons; secondly, to recover US influence and prestige in the Middle East; thirdly, to ensure Israel will not be dragged into the quagmire of the Syrian civil war; and fourthly, to convince Iran that the United States is determined to keep the US President and US regional allies’ promise to harsh consequences for its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.”
Yadlin has contacted the leaders of AIPAC and has urged them to support the draft resolution in the Congress. He believes the US “military intervention will ultimately lead to the emergence of a moderate political regime which befriends the West.” Most experts in Washington disagree with Yadlin’s opinion and think that any alternative political regime in Syria would be an extremist Islamic regime hostile to the West.
The White House announced on Sunday that President Obama has sent a draft resolution to the Senate and the House of Representatives seeking Congressional approval of a military strike against Syria. The single-paged draft resolution includes a reference to the 1973 law of war powers act, which “grants the President the right to use the US armed forces in foreign operations for a period not exceeding 60 days, without declaring war on that country.”
The draft resolution also states that “the President uses his constitutional right to use United States armed forces if he believes that chemical weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction have been used in the Syrian conflict to deter the use or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, chemical or biological or their components, and to prevent their access to terrorist groups, international or non-international organizations inside Syria.”
According to the US Constitution, only the Congress has the right to declare war against foreign entities.