Rubin (quoting Abrams):
The supply of SCUDs to Hezbollah is a violation of Resolution 1701, and Israel has the right to act to prevent it, both under 1701 and as an exercise of the right of self-defense. It should also be made clear that if Israel strikes, it will have U.S. support, and we will veto any Security Council resolution criticizing Israel for doing so.That message would no doubt be heard in Damascus but also in Tehran, where Bashar al-Assadâ€™s new best friends are assessing how badly U.S.-Israel ties have frayed. A reminder that the administration is ready to enforce UN resolutions and back Israelâ€™s right to self defense would come at an opportune time â€” when there is considerable doubt as to both. Will the U.S. do so? It would be welcomed but entirely out of character. And our silence will, of course, send another powerful signal to the mullahs â€“ just as our quietude on the deaths of Americans in Iraq at the hands of Iranians did: that there is no price to be paid for aggression against the U.S. and its allies.
The U.S. government has confirmed the delivery of SCUD missiles by Syria to Hezbollah. Its response? A remarkably tough press release from a State Department spokesman, which reads as follows:
The most senior Syrian diplomat present in Washington today, Deputy Chief of Mission Zouheir Jabbour, was summoned to the Department of State to review Syriaâ€™s provocative behavior concerning the potential transfer of arms to Hezbollah. This was the fourth occasion on which these concerns have been raised to the Syrian Embassy in recent months, intended to further amplify our messages communicated to the Syrian government. Our dialogue with Syria on this issue has been frank and sustained. We expect the same in return.
Perhaps Obama has privately resigned himself to Iran's nuclear ambitions and believes, or hopes, that deterrence will prevent Tehran from unleashing its nuclear arsenal. But what if deterrence won't do the trick? What if the mullahs, believing they are carrying out Allah's will and enjoy divine protection, are undeterred?
The American veto may ultimately consign millions of Israelis, including me and my family, to a premature death and Israel to politicide. It would then be comparable to Britain and France's veto in the fall of 1938 of the Czechs defending their territorial integrity against their rapacious Nazi neighbors. Within six months, Czechoslovakia was gobbled up by Germany.
But will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu follow in Czech President Edvard Benes' footsteps? Will he allow an American veto to override Israel's existential interests? And can Israel go it alone, without an American green (or even yellow) light, without American political cover and overflight permissions and additional American equipment? Much depends on what the Israeli military and intelligence chiefs believe their forces -- air force, navy, commandos -- can achieve. Full destruction of the Iranian nuclear project? A long-term delay? And on how they view Israel's ability (with or without U.S. support) to weather the reaction from Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria.
Michael Young/Daily Star:
In this context, what role are the Syrian arms to Hizbullah playing? To return to Lebanon militarily, Syria needs several prerequisites: An Arab consensus in favor; an Israeli green light; approval by Western governments, above all the United States; and a Lebanese political class that is split over Syria. Assad is working hard on the last of these conditions, and would probably face anemic Arab opposition to a military return to Lebanon if the situation allowed it.