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Israel to U.S.: Don't Surprise Us with Syria

Outgoing NSC head Amidror asked for heads up on Syria strike during meeting with U.S. counterpart Susan Rice.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/27/2013, 11:33 AM

Major General (res.) Amidror
Major General (res.) Amidror
Israel news photo

Israel has asked the United States to give it advance notice of any strike it may launch against Syria. The request was presented by outgoing National Security Advisor, Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror in his meeting Monday evening with his U.S. counterpart, Susan Rice.

The request apparently indicates that Jerusalem sees a U.S. attack on Israel's northeastern neighbor as an imminent likelihood.

Amidror also reportedly discussed unspecified Israeli concerns regarding a U.S. attack in Syria.

The meeting between Amidror and Rice is a direct continuation of a series of meetings between the top echelons of the defense establishments of Israel and the U.S., in advance of a possible U.S. strike on Syria.

The talks between Amidror and Rice centered on "Iran, Egypt, Syria, and a range of other regional security issues," said U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, according to AFP.

Israel's cabinet on Sunday appointed Yossi Cohen, the outgoing deputy director of the Mossad spy agency, as national security adviser and National Security Council chief, the Prime Minister's Office said.

Jerusalem-born Cohen, 52, has "30 years' experience in various operational and intelligence positions in the field, as well as in administrative positions" in the Mossad, it said in a statement.

The premier's office said Cohen would in the coming months replace outgoing Council chairman Yaakov Amidror, who held the position for two-and-a-half years, following a handover period.

Meanwhile, speaking to an Arabic-language radio station operated by the United States, Syria's Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah said Monday that Israel would face not only Syria in the event that the US, Britain and France attempted to unseat Bashar al-Assad. A coalition consisting of Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria would respond to any attack against Assad with a response against Israel, he threatened. In addition, terrorist groups in Syria and Lebanon would attack Israel with full force.

Al-Maftah added that Syria has “strategic weapons” that it would use in its attack on Israel. He did not specify what those weapons were.