"We are receiving daily phone calls from the Americans, who want to know
details and schedules of exercises, what weapons will be used and in what
scenarios," an official said.
Earlier in March, Israel reduced the scope of a major command exercise,
Firestones-12, at the request of the United States. The training maneuver
excised a scenario in which Israel and Syria fought a regional war, and
instead focused on a limited conflict with the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said the administration also pressed Israel to cancel plans
for massive troop mobilization to enhance readiness for a regional war. They
said the White House warned that this could trigger conflict with Hizbullah
"The exercises were planned on the assessment that Syria is likely to
join Hizbullah in the next war," the official said. "We are very much aware
of Syrian preparations and coordination with Iran and Hizbullah."
The U.S. warnings were issued as the White House sought to warm
relations with Syria. Washington has sent a series of high-level diplomats
to agree on reconciliation with the regime of President Bashar Assad.
On March 7, Israel began high-level meetings to prepare for a regional
war. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met senior security officials to
discuss a range of scenarios, including one in which Israel would be
attacked by Syrian non-conventional weapons.