Israel’s ambassador to the United States noted Sunday that the Jewish state came to the administration “years ago” to warn “Bashar al-Assad is too reckless.”
President Obama, though, began his term by trying to establish ties with Damascus and sending the first U.S. ambassador since 2005, Robert Ford, to the region in January 2011. President Bush pulled America’s ambassador out in 2005 after the assassination of Lebanese politician Rafiq Hariri.
“We have long advocated for Bashar al-Assad’s departure, long before, actually the outbreak of hostilities,” Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said this morning on Fox News Sunday.
“His father was, remember Hafez? He was reckless, but somehow predictable — reckless but somehow responsible. His son is reckless and irresponsible and ruthless,” Oren added. “And he has provided 70,000 rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon, tens of thousands of rockets to terrorists everywhere. He had tried to create a nuclear facility, secretly. Hafez al-Assad probably would have never done something like that.”
“So, he had to go. He was a loose cannon throughout the region and a danger to the entire region. If he goes now, we would view that as a positive development. He’s an ally of Iran. He’s an ally of Hezbollah. We understand that if jihadists were to come in, it wouldn’t be good. But, it perhaps wouldn’t be as bad as the current situation,” the ambassador said.
Israel has good intelligence on the ground in Syria and is watching developments regarding the regime’s stash of chemical weapons “very carefully.”
“We have been watching it many months now and it’s not new to us. Syria has a varied, deep chemical weapons program. It’s geographically dispersed as well and were those weapons to pass into the wrong hands, into Hezbollah’s hands, for example, that would be a game changer for us,” Oren said.
“Can you imagine, if Hezbollah, with its 70,000 rockets, got its hands on chemical weapons? That could kill thousands of people.”