Israel Blasts White House Leaks on Syria Strikes

November 2, 2013  

Israeli officials expressed anger Friday at the White House’s decision to disclose that Israel carried out the two attacks on targets in Syria Thursday. The attacks in Latakiya and Damascus are believed to have targeted SA-8 missiles that were about to be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

An Obama administration official confirmed to CNN that the target of the Israeli strike was “missiles and related equipment the Israelis felt might be transferred to Hezbollah.”

According to Channel 2, Israeli officials said the US leak was “incensing and also puzzling.”

The television station’s diplomatic correspondent, Udi Segal, said that it is not clear what aim the leak served. Segal said that there is speculation that perhaps the Obama administration wants Israel to attack less often in Syria, or that it does not want to antagonize Russia. Another explanation is that the US actually wants to be perceived as being privy to the attacks, in order to show Sunni allies like Saudi Arabia that it is fighting the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis, but the reporter added that in his opinion, all of these explanations make little sense.

Channel 2‘s panel of experts agreed that the interests of both Israel and Syria are best served by remaining silent on the attacks, since neither side is interested in a larger-scale conflict. Veteran Defense Correspondent, Ronny Daniel, said that the US’s behavior “could really start a large scale conflagration here.”

“By exposing that Israel is behind the attacks, the US is bringing us nearer to the day in which [Syrian president Bashar] Assad will no longer be able to swallow these provocations, and he will have to respond, and if he responds then Israel will probably have to respond in kind, and then maybe, in the White House, people will clap their hands, because they have started a very large fire here.”

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