Israel: Syria strike ‘restored American regional leadership in a big way’

by WorldTribune Staff, April 7, 2017

U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian air base on April 6 “restored America’s regional leadership in a big way,” an Israeli cabinet member said.

“There are things that only the number one superpower in the world can do,” Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Transportation Minister and a member of the cabinet’s defense forum, said on April 7.

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on April 6 after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria in retaliation for this week’s chemical weapons attack against civilians. /AP

“In contrast to the failed policy of leading from behind, which led to Iran’s entrenchment, the United States has restored America’s regional leadership in a big way in the Middle East.”

Katz, who made the comments during an interview with Army Radio, said that U.S. defense officials “updated Israel in real time” during the attacks in which 59 guided missiles were launched in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that U.S. President Donald Trump “in both word and action,” had “sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision.”

Israel, Netanyahu added, “hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Teheran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Netanyahu to protest the Israeli prime minister’s condemnation of the chemical weapons attack in Syria. Putin said the allegation was unproven and that Netanyahu should have waited for an international investigation before commenting.

Knesset member Avi Dichter, a former head of the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, told Army Radio the disagreement did not signify a deterioration of relations with Russia. “There are understandings in place” despite rhetoric intended for media, he said.

Russia last year joined Iran’s military intervention in Syria in favor of Assad, who has lost control of roughly 75 percent of the internationally-recognized territory of Syria since the eruption in 2011 of a civil war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

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