A Wall Street Journal editorial has claimed that Israel has attacked Syria at least four times in 2013.
The editorial, which appeared in the print edition of the newspaper on Tuesday, was critical of U.S. President Barack Obama over his inaction on Syria, while noting that Israel has red lines and it acts on them when they are crossed.
It asserted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s comments during an interview with CBS this week were confirmation that Israel had carried out air strikes near the Syrian port city of Latakia to destroy Russian-supplied anti-ship missiles.
I'm not in the habit of saying what we did or we didn't do," Netanyahu said, adding, "My policy is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hizbullah and other terror groups.”
“So Israel has red lines after all,” said the Wall Street Journal. “Mr. Netanyahu's non-denial amounts to confirmation that Israel has launched at least four attacks on Syrian targets this year. Previous targets include a convoy of surface-to-air missiles headed for Lebanon, and an arms depot near Damascus believed to contain Iranian ballistic missiles that could have brought Tel Aviv within Hizbullah’s range.”
The article then went on to criticize Obama, who has in the past said that use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be a red line that “would change my equation.” The editorial quoted two similar statements by Obama, one dated August 2012 and another one from this past March.
“As everyone—most especially Bashar Assad—now knows, Mr. Obama has no red lines regarding Syria or chemical weapons,” the editorial charged. “Even his belated policy change to deliver small arms to the opposition is bogged down in bureaucratic inertia and congressional resistance. Readers may or may not think the U.S. should involve itself in Syria, but serious powers cannot issue empty threats and not expect consequences.”
The U.S. government, which has confirmed that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel forces on multiple occasions, has said it will increase the “scope and scale” of its assistance to rebels in Syria in response.
U.S. sources said last week that congressional committees are holding up a plan to send U.S. weapons to rebels fighting Assad, fearing such deliveries will not be decisive and the arms might end up in the hands of Islamist rebel groups.
Finally, noted the Wall Street Journal editorial, “In his CBS interview, Mr. Netanyahu was also asked when he would be prepared to take military action to stop Iran's nuclear programs. ‘Well, I can tell you I won't wait until it's too late,’ he replied. The Prime Minister has been saying this for nearly two years, perhaps waiting for the U.S. to act instead, but he is learning in Syria that Israel will have to enforce its own red lines.”