Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why The US Cannot Guarantee Israel's Security

Jonah Goldberg writes:
So here's the deal. Israel claims that Syria is giving Hezbollah Scud missiles that can hit pretty much all of Israel. And the State Department is very concerned -- concerned about the safety of Lebanon.

American and French officials have both said that they were aware of the Israeli concerns but did not know whether the missiles had actually been delivered. “If such an action has been taken, and we continue to analyze this issue,” the State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said on Wednesday, “clearly it potentially puts Lebanon at significant risk.” [emphasis added]
Now I have considerable sympathy for Lebanon. And obviously it would get caught in the crossfire since Hezbollah is based there and, if the claims are true, the Scuds would be launched from Lebanese soil. But this is the State Department's first concern?
Goldberg points out that looking at the full transcript of the daily press briefing does not make you feel any more assured that the US is concerned about Israel's security:
QUESTION: Yeah, on the Middle East. Again, these reports about the Syrians moving Scud missiles into southern Lebanon and are giving them to Hezbollah have emerged. Senator McCain raised the issue at the hearing on Iran this morning and Under Secretary of Defense Flournoy said that the U.S. is very concerned by these reports. Do you have anything to add to that? And – well, that’s the end of the question.

MR. CROWLEY: We are concerned about it. And if such an action has been taken – and we continue to analyze this issue – it would represent a failure by the parties in the region to honor UN Security Council Resolution 1701. And clearly, it potentially puts Lebanon at significant risk. We have been concerned enough that in recent weeks, during one of our regular meetings with the Syrian ambassador here in Washington, that we’ve raised the issue with the Syrian Government and continue to study the issue. But obviously, it’s something of great concern to us.

QUESTION: Well, the Syrians deny that they have any – (a) that this is happening, but (b) that they have anything to do with it. Do you accept that denial?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s – I mean, there’s a broader issue here. Regardless of the issue of Scuds, we are – we remain concerned about the provision of increasingly sophisticated weaponry to parties in – to Hezbollah. And this is an issue that we continue to raise with Syria, other parties in the region. And this is a clear threat to Lebanon’s security.                   
Finally, someone in the press finally recalls that Israel is in the area:
QUESTION: But you don’t – you’re not afraid that this could jeopardize Israel’s security? I mean, you’re talking about Lebanon.

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, it’s a clear risk to a number of countries in the region, given the range – and again, I’m not confirming anything.

QUESTION: Well, and given the mission of Hezbollah, right?

MR. CROWLEY: But given the range of those particular systems, if that report proved to be true, that would be a threat to a number of countries in the region, including Israel.
Pity that someone had to drag this 'admission' out of Mr. Crowley--and even then, Israel is only one of the countries that would be threatened by Hezbollah. No mention, though, of what those other countries are that Hezbollah has been threatening to attack.

This from the US, which is promising to.guarantee Israel's security--how does the US plan to do that when it apparently does not know who Israel's enemies are?

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