Thank you, Israel.
By attacking Syrian military targets, Israel has finally (if inadvertently) taken the conflict in the region to where it belongs -- to the doorstep of Assad's corrupt and bloody regime.
This is something that has needed to happen for months. Syrian rebels and innocent civilians have been systematically slaughtered by their own government while the entire world, including the United States, has watched and done little but wring its hands.
Did Syria really use chemical weapons against its own citizens? Is the intelligence accurate? Will going to war in Syria paint President Obama as a warmonger like his predecessor? Will intervention make the situation even more volatile? Can we afford to pick another fight in the Middle East just as we are trying to wind down in Afghanistan?
All great questions, but unfortunately the Syrians don't have time for us to do this type of soul searching, not with a brutal dictator like Assad trying to crush the opposition any way he can. Given enough time, the 'red line' that President Obama drew for Assad will be crossed (if it hasn't already), only by then it might be too little too late.
Israel's actual reason for the attack -- the likelihood of Iranian-made missiles being shipped to the terrorist group Hezbollah -- is itself valid. Israel, as well as its Arab neighbors, have enough problems already without an arms transfer like this making matters worse. But even if Israel's real motive is self-preservation and not altruism, as long as their actions damage the military capabilities of Assad's government, it is a worthwhile endeavor.
America would do well to stand by Israel in this decision and follow it up with its own response to Assad's escalating aggression. The situation in Syria will not resolve itself on its own, and one way or another international intervention will become necessary. The only question is how many Syrians will die before that happens and how long we will wait before our conscience cannot take any more.
I think that time is now and I think President Obama should take advantage of Israel's having opened the door. Anything less would be a betrayal of our democratic ideals and humanitarian principles.
SANJAY SANGHOEE has worked at leading investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein as well as at a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School and is the author of a fast-paced thriller entitled "Killing Wall Street", which be released on June 1st,2013. Please follow him on Twitter @sanghoee and visit his website at www.sanghoee.com
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