US join Israel against Iran and Syria
National security adviser to President Barack Osama talked to his Israeli counterpart on Monday for talks on Iran's nuclear program and the civil war in Syria. The meeting, which was only disclosed after it happened, came amid concerns that time is running out for diplomatically defusing the standoff with Tehran.
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon met with Israel's Major General Yaakov Amidror for consultations on Iran, Syria, and a range of other regional security issues. US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a written statement. "These meetings were the latest in a series of regular, high-level consultations between the United States and Israel, consistent with our strong bilateral partnership, and part of our unshakeable commitment to Israel's security."
Israel was drawn into the fighting in neighboring Syria for the first time on Sunday, firing warning shots across the border after an errant mortar shell landed near an Israeli military installation in the Golan Heights. While Israel appeared eager to calm the situation, its response was a potent reminder of how easily the Syrian civil war — already spilling across borders with Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan — could explode into a wider regional conflagration.
Israeli officials threatened even tougher retaliation if attacks persist. They fear that the instability in Syria over the past 19 months could spill across the border into Israel, particularly as President Bashar Assad's grip on power grows increasingly precarious. Israel has little love for Assad, who has provided refuge and support to Israel's bitterest enemies through the years. But the Syrian leader — and his father before him — have kept the frontier quiet for nearly four decades, providing a rare source of stability in the volatile region.
In recent weeks, incidents of errant fire from Syria have multiplied, leading Israel to warn that it holds Syria responsible. Israeli officials believe most of the fire has come from Syrian government forces, although they think it has been inadvertent and not been aimed at Israel. "We understand this was a mistake and was not meant to target Israel, and then that is why we fired a warning shot in retaliation," said Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman. Defense officials said an anti-tank missile was fired, and there were no reports of casualties in Syria.
"We understand this was a mistake and was not meant to target Israel, and then that is why we fired a warning shot in retaliation," said Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman. Defense officials said an anti-tank missile was fired, and there were no reports of casualties in Syria.
Yiftah Shapir, an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, a Tel Aviv think tank, said neither Israel nor Syria has an interest in allowing Sunday's hostilities to spin out of control. "I see the warning fire as an attempt to prevent any escalation," he said. "In Israel, no one wants a war with Syria or even an attempt to intervene in the events. The only thing that worries us is a spillover by this form or another. So I think it's a warning 'Take care.'"
Officials have repeatedly warned that Assad may attack Israel in a final act of desperation if he fears his days are numbered. Israel also fears Syria could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists or descend into sectarian warfare. Another lingering fear is that Syria's chemical weapons and missile could fall into the hands of its Lebanese ally, the Hezbollah guerrilla group, or other anti-Israel militants if Assad loses power. There are also concerns that Syria could become a staging ground for attacks by al-Qaida-linked groups battling Assad.
Courtesy: The Financial Daily