Es gebe „keinen Zweifel“, daß Syrien ein Lager mit Chemiewaffen „zurückbehalten“ habe, sagte Mattis bei der Pressekonferenz, doch diese Sache müsse „diplomatisch gelöst“ werden.
Ich zitiere dazu die Beschwerden, die Debka daraufhin veröffentlicht hat, mit meinen Hervorhebungen:
Mattis answers with regard to Syria were … vague and noncommittal, leaving Israel unclear on the following pivotal points:
- While the American Raqqa operation is on the cards, nothing was said about its aftermath.
- Where do US-Russian military relations stand in Syria and what must Israel expect to happen next?
- Since Russia has gathered the Syrian fighter jets under its wing, how will Israel be able to take action in Syrian air space when necessary to uphold its security interests?
- What if Syria defies the American threats and continues to use chemical weapons? It is clear that the Assad regime’s sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 was a well-planned overture to an all-out offensive to capture the northern Idlib province, where 50,000 rebels are barricaded with their families. Some are refugees from other areas trampled by the Syrian army. Many are associated with Al Qaeda and other Islamist organizations. The Assad regime will now resume that offensive and no doubt again resort to chemical weapons.
- What is US policy regarding the Iranian forces fighting in Syria and their Shiite militia proxies? Where does Washington stand on Hizballah?
- Will the US go through with a former Trump plan to establish security zones in Syria with the help of Jordan and Turkey?
- And most importantly, how far does the Trump administration support Jordan’s military steps in southern Syria? Our military sources report that Syrian rebels backed by Jordanian intelligence and US air support have gone on the offensive against Islamic State forces in a southeastern area ranging from the edge of the Druze mountains up to the Iraqi border. The Jordanian offensive is slow-moving, which attests to hesitance in its intelligence services over how far to go. Israel is most concerned by the battles taking place in the last few days in Deraa, the main town in southern Syria not far from its northern border.
- What is to be done with the ISIS affiliate, Khalid Ibn al-Wallid Army, which is parked in the Golan-Yarmouk pocket at the junction of the Syrian, Israeli, Jordanian frontiers?
- The last two questions call for clear US answers, because if the US-backed Jordanian-rebel operations goes much further, it will open the door for the pro-Iranian proxies including Hizballah to move in. They are already standing ready 70km north of Deraa waiting for the ISIS affiliate’s fighters to be cleared out of the way so that they can march in and effortlessly take over this strategic corner up to the Israeli border.
Israel’s leaders were unable to draw the US defense secretary on these questions before he ended his visit Friday. They have mostly themselves to blame. By their policy of abstention from military initiatives on Israel’s northern frontiers, its prime minister, defense minister and chief of staff have made the government non-players in a crisis that vitally affects national security. Unlike Jordan, which took the chance of going into action, Israel was left on the sidelines and therefore kept waiting for answers.