The perfidious White House leaking Israeli secrets again

US leaks Israel involvement in Syria bombing

A few days ago a mysterious explosion destroyed another Syrian missile base, apparently from a missile launched from the sea.  Despite the rumours and the usual finger-pointing at Israel, Israel kept maintained a strict silence as it usually does after such strikes, in order that the Syrians or their allies should not feel “obligated” to retaliate.  However a day after the missile strike, the US publicly confirmed that it was indeed Israel that had carried out the strike.

An Obama administration official confirmed to CNN Thursday night that Israeli warplanes struck a military base near the Syrian city of Latakia.

The target, according to the Obama administration official, was missiles and related equipment the Israelis felt might be transferred to Hezbollah. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.

The attack has not been confirmed by the Israeli government.

Earlier Thursday, the Al-Arabiya network reported that Israel attacked in Syria twice Wednesday night – near the port city of Latakia and in the capital Damascus.

A Syrian news website reported that a missile fired from the Mediterranean hit a Syrian missile base near Latakia, but Al-Arabiya’s report was the first on an alleged attack in Damascus.

Sources quoted by Al-Arabiya said that in both attacks missile shipments were completely destroyed. According to the report, the attacks targeted SA-8 missiles which were meant to be transferred to Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

The report on the alleged Israeli attack launched Wednesday night was published by Syrian website Dampress.com, which quoted eyewitnesses as saying that there were no injuries in the explosion but severe damage was caused to a base located near Snobar Jableh, south of Latakia.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported of a blast in an air defense bases in the same area. On Wednesday, Lebanese press reported that Israeli Air Force jets circled over south Lebanon.

In July it was reported that a “foreign army” attacked in the Latakia area a stockpile of Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles belonging to President Bashar Assad’s forces. The Yakhont missiles have a range of 300 kilometers and are considered very accurate.

It would seem that Israel tried to cover its tracks by pointing the finger elsewhere:

MTV Lebanon quoted “sources in Jerusalem” as saying that Turkey was behind the attack on the air defense base near Latakia. According to the report, which was not confirmed by any other source, the attack came in response to the downing of a Turkish fighter jet a few months ago.

As for the missiles themselves:

The SA-8 is a fairly outdated missile that was already in use by the Syrian army in the 1980s. This is a portable missile, that operates on one vehicle, on which a detection radar is also installed, together with the missiles and another radar for fire control that aims the missile to its target. This vehicle, which runs on caterpillar tracks, can rapidly change location with hardly any preparation for the firing itself. It travels, stops – and fires. Since its dimensions are small, it is very easy to conceal it and thus very difficult to uncover and attack it. Immediately after the missiles are launched, the radar is turned off and the radiation cannot be tracked.

The SA-8 hit and shot down an Israeli Phantom jet in Lebanese airspace during the First Lebanon War in 1982.

The most important factor is that the Russians sold Syria heaps of the renewed and more dangerous model, the SA-17, a missile that is even more difficult to expose, its range is longer, it is more precise and can employ several targets at once. This missile is a strategic weapon in the hands of the Syrians, even more so if they manage to transfer it to Hezbollah, as they have tried relentlessly for some time.

Returning to the Israeli attempt at plausible deniability, Israel is furious at the White House for leaking about its role in bombing the Syrian base (emphases added):

Israel is fuming with the White House for confirming that it was the Israeli Air Force that struck a military base near the Syrian port city of Latakia on Wednesday, hitting weaponry that was set to be transferred to Hezbollah.

Israel has not acknowledged carrying out the strike, one of half a dozen such attacks widely ascribed to Israel in recent months, but an Obama administration official told CNN on Thursday that Israeli warplanes had indeed attacked the Syrian base, and that the target was “missiles and related equipment” set for delivery to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel’s Channel 10 TV on Friday night quoted Israeli officials branding the American leak as “scandalous.” For Israel’s ally to be acting in this way was “unthinkable,” the officials were quoted as saying.

A second TV report, on Israel’s Channel 2, said the leak “came directly from the White House,” and noted that “this is not the first time” that the administration has compromised Israel by leaking information on such Israeli Air Force raids on Syrian targets.

It said some previous leaks were believed to have come from the Pentagon, and that consideration had been given at one point to establishing a panel to investigate the sources.

Channel 2′s military analyst, Roni Daniel, said the Obama administration’s behavior in leaking the information was unfathomable.

Daniel noted that by keeping silent on whether it carried out such attacks, Israel was maintaining plausible deniability, so that Syria’s President Bashar Assad did not feel pressured to respond to the attacks.

But the US leaks “are pushing Assad closer to the point where he can’t swallow these attacks, and will respond.” This in turn would inevitably draw further Israeli action, Daniel posited, and added bitterly: “Then perhaps the US will clap its hands because it will have started a very major flare-up.”

While we are left wondering what the HELL the US is playing at, speculation is running rife in Israel:

Channel 2 speculated that the US might have leaked word of Israel’s attack as a warning to Israel to desist from such actions. Alternately, it might be seeking to signal that it was part of the tough policy designed to prevent a flow of sophisticated weaponry to Assad. But these and other possible explanations simply didn’t justify the leak, which the TV report described as “illogical” and “foolish.

Jerusalem’s reported anger with the White House over the leak coincided with efforts by the Administration to assure Israel that it is holding to a tough line on Syria and in the effort to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, and is maintaining its robust military partnership with Israel.

How will this irresponsible, not to say perfidious, behaviour of the White House affect Israel’s trust that the US will act to counter Iran’s nuclear program?

Jerusalem’s reported anger with the White House over the leak coincided with efforts by the Administration to assure Israel that it is holding to a tough line on Syria and in the effort to thwart Iran’s nuclear program, and is maintaining its robust military partnership with Israel.

On Thursday, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, reiterated America’s commitment to thwarting Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions. “Let me be absolutely clear: President Obama is determined to ensure that the Islamic Republic does not acquire a nuclear weapon,” Power said at the Anti-Defamation League’s centennial conference held Thursday in a Manhattan hotel. Addressing the subject of nuclear negotiations with Iran, she said the Obama administration considers a bad deal worse than no deal and that the administration will not accept a bad deal.

Uh-huh. After the White House leak I can’t see many Israeli security officials trusting America to keep its promises or its mouth shut.  Interestingly, even the liberal pro-Obama American Jewish community appear to be worried:

Hagel added that “the Israeli and American defense relationship is stronger than ever, and it will continue to strengthen.”

Nonetheless, the ADL’s national director Abraham Foxman, who has close ties to the Israeli leadership, told the conference that American wariness of foreign military involvement is making it seem “weak and retreating.” In unusually bitter comments, Foxman declared that, “The combination of America’s unsatisfactory involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the financial crisis at home, have generated a broader opposition to American military involvement overseas.”

[…]

The perception of weakness could harm US efforts to get Iran to end its nuclear push, Foxman warned. “I hope that we get our act together.”

Israel joins you in your fervent hope Mr. Foxman.

As mentioned above, this isn’t the first time that the Obama Administration has irresponsibly leaked Israeli security or diplomatic secrets.

And Israel is not the only victim of American seepage. The Americans also leaked the identity of a British double agent who exposed the “underwear bomber”.

Who can teach the Americans to keep their lips zipped? And is there anyone who can explain what on earth they think they are doing? Because not only is it a scandal and an outrage, but it’s completely mystifying.

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13 Responses to The perfidious White House leaking Israeli secrets again

  1. Linda says:

    Don’t know why Israel didn’t simply say that whoever leaked the ‘misinformation’ was hallucinating and making up silly stories. Why did we AGREE? I really don’t get politics.

    • anneinpt says:

      I think if Israel did so, it would give the impression of “the lady doth protest too much”. Better to keep shtum in public and give the Americans what-for in private. That’s assuming that we have the guts to do that…

      I also think this is beyond politics or diplomacy. Something is rotten or worse in the States. I just can’t figure it out.

  2. PeteCA says:

    I couldn’t begin to tell you what the US Gov’t policy is on this issue – or why things were handled as they were. But I can tell you that the whole world pretty much jumped to the conclusion that it was Israel who did this. Who else – the attacks were spot-on with accuracy and seemed to be based on very precise intel.

    Most people seem to understand that Israel is trying to eliminate weapons that could fall into the hands of Hezbollah, or eliminate weapons in Syria that could make the situation there worse. I don’t think people have a big problem with those types of actions.
    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree that the whole world, including israel itself, assumed pretty accurately that Israel was the culprit. And of course it’s all a diplomatic game. However, as long as Israel can claim “plausible deniability”, i.e. “Wot? Me guv? No way! It was the Turks / intra-Arab fighting / an accident!”, then Arab honour can be maintained and a quasi-peace will stay in place. But if it becomes obvious that Israel carried out the bombing, then the Syrians / Lebanon / Hezbollah / Iran / Palestinians etc., will feel obliged to retaliate in order not to be shown as having been beaten by the Israelis. That’s the way the Middle East works, and EVERYONE in international diplomacy understands this. The Americans used to understand this too and it is a mystery why they have stopped abiding by these unwritten rules.

      If, as the US claims, it is working towards Middle East peace, then either they have a very poor idea of what peace is or they have a very poor idea of how to achieve it in such a volatile region.

      Or our suspicions are correct and US attitudes towards Israel are much more malign than we have given them “credit” for.

    • cba says:

      Pete, you wrote, “Most people seem to understand that Israel is trying to eliminate weapons that could fall into the hands of Hezbollah, or eliminate weapons in Syria that could make the situation there worse. I don’t think people have a big problem with those types of actions.”

      I agree that most NORMAL people understand that. But read the comments on this story on the website of the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, to see the kind of unhinged, Jew-hating stuff that gets spewed with great regularity. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/israeli-warplanes-strike-syria-u-s-says-1.2304250

  3. PeteCA says:

    If I had to guess – and this is complete speculation – I would say that if the US Administration did “out” this raid as an Israeli attack, they are probably attempting to be perceived as neutral. In other words, they do not wish to jeoprardize an “improving relationship with Iran” by appearing to support an overt attack on Syria. That would be my guess … but it is a total guess and there may be other reasons.

    There are still a lot of older Americans (I am one) who remember what Hezbollah did to our US Marines in Lebanon in 1983. People who remember that incident will never forget it, and Hezbollah has not changed in their fundamental nature at all. So for this reason it is worthwhile to remember that there are a lot of people who support Israel when you make raids to stop advanced weapons from falling into the hands of Hezbollah. Those raids not only make Israel safer – they make the world safer for everyone.

    Unfortunately, some nincompoops and younger people (with short term memories) may not be aware of the dangers posed by these extremist groups. The entire world seems to have a very shotrt-term memory span these days.

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      If America thinks it is being “neutral” with Iran at leaking Israel’s military secrets, then they have no business being involved in the Middle East. There is no “neutral” here. There is only one side or the other. Surely the Americans know this by now, and if not they shouldn’t be allowed to play any part here at all.

      I know, as we all do, that the American public at large is very supportive of Israel and understands and appreciates Israel’s actions. Sadly the American public don’t get a say at the UN and other international institutions which are the ones that get to influence what goes on in our region.

      I agree about the world’s short-term memory nowadays. And even more sadly, some of those “nincompoops” you mentioned are in the White House, State Dept. and the Administration.

  4. Reality says:

    So considering the US has spied on us & half of the world & leaked information why don’t we arrest theirculprit ,lock him up for 30 years & throw away the key a la Jonathon Pollard?

    • anneinpt says:

      Trouble is the “culprit” is the US Gov’t itself and not one particular person. Bibi is anyway much too much of a wuss to threaten the US. A while back Israel caught an American spy and we just returned him to the US without demanding Pollard or anything else. We are our own worst enemies.

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