Baku-APA. If President Barack Obama has disappointed Syrian rebels by deferring to Congress before bombing Damascus, he has also dismayed the United States' two main allies in the Middle East, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have little love for each other but both are pressing their mutual friend in the White House to hit President Bashar al-Assad hard. And both do so with one eye fixed firmly not on Syria but on their common adversary - Iran.
Israel's response to Obama's surprise move to delay or even possibly cancel air strikes made clear that connection: looking soft on Assad after accusing him of killing hundreds of people with chemical weapons may embolden his backers in Tehran to develop nuclear arms, Israeli officials said. And if they do, Israel may strike Iran alone, unsure Washington can be trusted.
Neither U.S. ally is picking a fight with Obama in public. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the nation was "serene and self-confident"; Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal simply renewed a call to the "international community" to halt Assad's violence in Syria.
But the Saudi monarchy, though lacking Israel's readiness to attack Iran, can share the Jewish state's concern that neither may now look with confidence to Washington to curb what Riyadh sees as a drive by its Persian rival to dominate the Arab world.
Last year, Obama assured Israelis that he would "always have Israel's back". Now Netanyahu is reassuring them they can manage without uncertain U.S. protection against Iran, which has called for Israel's destruction but denies developing nuclear weapons.
"Israel's citizens know well that we are prepared for any possible scenario," the hawkish prime minister said. "And Israel's citizens should also know that our enemies have very good reasons not to test our power and not to test our might."
That may not reassure a U.S. administration which has tried to steer Netanyahu away from unilateral action against Iran that could stir yet more chaos in the already explosive Middle East.
Israel's state-run Army Radio was more explicit: "If Obama is hesitating on the matter of Syria," it said, "Then clearly on the question of attacking Iran, a move that is expected to be far more complicated, Obama will hesitate much more - and thus the chances Israel will have to act alone have increased."
Israelis contrast the "red line" Netanyahu has set for how close Iran may come to nuclear weapons capability before Israel strikes with Obama's "red line" on Assad's use of chemical weapons - seemingly passed without U.S. military action so far.