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We have a very extensive knowledge of what is happening in Syria.
September 21, 2013 1:14 PM   Subscribe

The Spies Inside Damascus: The Mossad's secret war on the Syrian WMD machine.
On Aug. 20, 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began shifting around or using his chemical weapons, Obama would consider that "a red line." The implication was that such a move would lead to American intervention in Syria. Some officials from the Israeli Foreign Ministry believed that Obama drew the line because he believed it would never be crossed. If that was his assumption, he made it based, in part, on assessments received from the Israeli intelligence services, which have waged a multidecade clandestine campaign to strip Assad of his deadliest weapons -- and which also have emerged as the United States' primary partners in collecting information on Middle Eastern regimes.
posted by andoatnp (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I kind of get the idea that this would read better as "we have very extensive knowledge as to what is happening in Assad's part of Syria".
And if the US and Israeli's did not I would be sort of surprised. Which makes me question the recent shenanigans even more.
posted by adamvasco at 2:27 PM on September 21, 2013


I can certainly see why the Israeli government would want the Americans to believe 1) that Israel has accurate information about what is happening in Syria and 2) that Israel is faithfully reporting that information to the Americans.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:31 PM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can certainly see why the Israeli government would want the Americans to believe 1) that Israel has accurate information about what is happening in Syria and 2) that Israel is faithfully reporting that information to the Americans.

Yep. Countries are not "buddies". Being allies, or enemies for that matter is a temporary state of affairs and it doesn't reflect any kind of totality of behavior even within those contexts: sometimes interests align along some axis, and not along another axis. Everything is fluid. Israel certainly has a powerful hold on the U.S. foreign policy for a variety of reasons, but we should always keep in mind that Israel is focused on its own interests, period. George Washington's caution against the dangers of permanent alliances between the United States and foreign nations is still good advice, which we have clearly not followed.

Be that as it may, Israel acts in its own interests and we should be under no illusion about any information which they may give. We should always keep that in mind, as we find ourselves yet again, half way around the world, being cajoled into spending blood and treasure to pull out someone else's chestnuts out of the fire, while having no compelling national interest there at all.
posted by VikingSword at 2:59 PM on September 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I can certainly see why the Israeli government would want the Americans to believe ... that Israel is faithfully reporting that information to the Americans.

As an American who has worked extensively with Israelis in the private sector, I believe Israelis to be culturally predisposed NOT to share useful information with others.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:04 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I believe Israelis to be culturally predisposed NOT to share useful information with others.

This is reporting from the Department of the Bloody Obvious, I presume?
posted by DreamerFi at 3:10 PM on September 21, 2013


As an American who has worked extensively with Israelis in the private sector, I believe Israelis are culturally predisposed NOT to share useful information with others.

I'm not sure there is any relevance to "cultural predispositions" when it comes to national interests - I don't think there is anything unique about Israel when it comes to being careful with information that may impact its national interests, which is what we're discussing. There are many actors in that region who would want to steer us in a given direction, and would be happy to use any information in artful ways. Certainly Turkey is quite the interested party there, as is Saudi Arabia, and gulf states which are arming the Syrian rebels.

There is no sense in demonizing or singling out any one country. I mentioned Israel specifically, because that's what's in the FPP. But there is no doubt that we should be just as cautious and clear about our own interests when it comes to dealing with any other country.
posted by VikingSword at 3:12 PM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


VikingSword: I have worked with Israelis in the private sector only; nothing to do with national interests in this case.

My attempt at wry humor seems to have fallen flat ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:24 PM on September 21, 2013


Yea, it really came off as trolling to start another "lol fuck Israel" circlejerk tbh
posted by emptythought at 4:35 PM on September 21, 2013


Not my intent ... I troll way better than that.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:12 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought the push against Syria was safely behind us, and peace was breaking out... false hope. 8(
posted by MikeWarot at 5:39 PM on September 21, 2013


Until America takes concrete action to reduce her dependency on oil, there is no way to be sure we can avoid being dragged into Syria.
posted by ocschwar at 5:43 PM on September 21, 2013


Until America takes concrete action to reduce her dependency on oil, there is no way to be sure we can avoid being dragged into Syria.--ocschwar

Actually, Syria produces very little oil: 180,000 barrels a day, compared to, say Iraq or Iran, which produce 3 million barrels a day.

Oil is only an issue because of the possible disruption of its neighbors' oil production.
posted by eye of newt at 5:56 PM on September 21, 2013


Here's a list of oil production by country (it has a higher number for Syria than the other source I found, but it is still comparatively low).
posted by eye of newt at 6:01 PM on September 21, 2013


Actually, Syria produces very little oil: 180,000 barrels a day, compared to, say Iraq or Iran, which produce 3 million barrels a day.


No, but it's a hop skip and a jump from a lot of places of significance to the oil sector, which means we have an interest in who gets to be in charge of the place.

We need to get DIS-interested in that. And that means getting off oil.
posted by ocschwar at 7:03 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


U.S. oil imports fall to new low
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 9:17 PM on September 21, 2013


The USA would be interested in the Middle East even if it were self-sufficient in oil, as long as other countries were not. Self-sufficiency would actually give it more of a free hand in taking military action. Anyway, it's a good article, but as I said in another post: covert action is like antibiotics: cheap, and effective, and every time you use them you increase the level of resistance.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:47 AM on September 22, 2013


Joe in Australia
History has shown we were not interested in the middle east until oil was "found", well there is the whole archeology craze. Remember who Japan was getting oil from and look at hydrogenation sic sp that the Germans...opps.
anyway your wrong.
posted by clavdivs at 12:19 PM on September 22, 2013


Syria's riches lie in Natural Gas.
And then there is it's geographical usefulness for Pipelines.
posted by adamvasco at 2:16 PM on September 22, 2013


Clavdivs: Oh REALLY?
posted by happyroach at 2:48 PM on September 22, 2013



History has shown we were not interested in the middle east until oil was "found", well there is the whole archeology craze.


Not true. The Great Unpleasantness of the 19th Century sparked a British interest in Egyptian cotton, not to mention the Egyptian portage and canal routes to India.

And there was the whole matter of keeping the Mediterrenean free of pirates. But those itnerests are a lot less VITAL without oil.
posted by ocschwar at 8:12 AM on September 23, 2013


The Shadow Commander: Qassem Suleimani is the Iranian operative who has been reshaping the Middle East. Now he’s directing Assad’s war in Syria.
posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Middle East sir, not the Med and I was refering to Americans. And we have solved that ole pirate problem if you have the coin does england have the coin to keep the Suez open if things go south hellnoyoudon'tandwon'tgoitalonecauseyoucannot.

now the crusades I blame on the Germans. (kidding, ja.)
posted by clavdivs at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2013


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