Israel Syria War: Does Israel Owe the U.S. An Explanation?

Reports of Israeli air strikes on a possible weapon transit headed for Hezbollah have been exacerbated by recent news of lack of prior American notification. Although the United States is close allies with Israel, recent news has identified that U.S. officials were not informed of the air strike. The physical action makes logical sense. If the possibility that "sophisticated weapons system would fall into the hands of people like Hezbollah" was backed by credible intelligence, then using military means to prevent that reality is rational. In a blanket statement addressing the air strike, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official endorsed the idea of preventing the possibility of weapons entering the hands of Hezbollah by "any means necessary." The remaining question, however, is in regards to the protocol Israel should use when conducting military strikes that have huge policy implications for the U.S. If the principle of Israeli autonomy and sovereignty is rigid to the point where its actions do not warrant any type of forewarning to U.S intelligence, then the U.S cannot be blamed for an apprehensive outlook on intervention.

The civilian casualties in Syria have been steadily climbing, especially with the recent military strike near Damascus that is said to have killed dozens of soldiers. Despite this reality, Yair Golan, a general in the Israeli Defense Forces, stated that "There are no winds of war." The Israeli government's statements claim that the military action to the region is in response to targeted attacks by Hezbollah. The strike, despite killing Syrian military personnel, had only one purpose: stopping Hezbollah. But the death toll of over 300 soldiers on the Syrian front gives the impression that General Golan’s words are empty. To state that war is not even within the realm of possibility does not give justice to the consistent and active tension between both nations.

The contention that continued Israeli strikes would bring the nation to the brink of war with Syria is legitimate. U.S. investment in the region warrants notification of planned or imminent military action. According to Reuters, "Israel typically does not feel it has to ask for a green light from Washington for such attacks," a type of mentality which leads to fracture and distrust. The opposition fired back stating that such feelings are irrelevant because the U.S. could never sway from its unwavering support of Israel, and if Israel goes to war, the U.S. will follow suit. Due to this reality, a calculated strike must be made with U.S. notification; the difference being between approval and notification. Israel is not a puppet nation and is not submissive to U.S. authority; however with actions that have such a heavy affect on U.S. foreign policy, it is absolutely necessary for the Israeli government to include U.S. intelligence on actions that may lead to an all-out war in the Middle East. 

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John Mathew

Hello, I'm a 2nd year at the University of Virginia studying politics and Economics. I love discussing policy and developmental economics with just about anyone with an opinion on the subject. Apart from academic interests, you can ask me anything about basketball (especially the NY Knicks!), running, and super smash brothers, I love them all. Feel free to contact me with any questions about my work!

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