A final decision on intervention will come if and when the Syrian army begins using chemical weapons against its own citizens.
Information that the US is looking for a pretext to start an invasion against Syria, and the alleged chemical weapons having become the "red line" for such an invasion has been appearing frequently in the last weeks. What is important here is that the warning comes from a top Israeli official who cannot be suspected of having too much sympathy for Bashar Assad regime.
The statement by General Yaalon comes against a recent claim by Syrian opposition that Bashar Assad has already used chemical weapons. The claim was almost immediately overturned by the same Moshe Yaalon who said that the Israeli government does not have any credible evidence of such use and that the Syrian opposition is probably interested in a foreign intervention happening as soon as possible.
The new statement by General Yaalon makes it clear that the preparatory work for a US invasion is flagrant. And what is needed is at least a minor cause – like it happened back in 2003 when the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell publicly demonstrated some ambiguous photos meant to prove that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was possessing nuclear weapons. Later, it turned out that there were no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever, but the work had been done – Saddam Hussein toppled, captured and executed, and Iraq had fallen into a total chaos which it is still in.
Most probably, the recent claims by Syrian opposition are not credible enough even for their US sponsors. Indeed, such symptoms as "losing consciousness, experiencing severe shortness of breath and vomiting" can be caused by various reasons – definitely not only chemical weapons, but by whatever stuff the militants are used to inhaling or injecting as well.
So, the search for a pretext will continue.
But the question is, why the Israeli officials who, as stated above, have no more sympathy for Bashar Assad than their Transatlantic big brothers are much more cautious than the Washington warmongers?
The explanation is simple. He who seeds wind shall reap a whirlwind. This is what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as if 6,400 plus Americans dead in action were not enough, was repeated in Libya resulting in the Benghazi tragedy. But, in Washington's view, the end justifies the means, and the task of toppling Bashar Assad and subsequently submerging Syria into a chaos not paralleled even by the state of affairs in Afghanistan seems to outweigh all other considerations for the US.
Not so for Israel, which borders Syria and is by no means interested in the creation of a hornet's nest of all kinds of terrorists and jihadists in its "soft underbelly". And this option seems to be the only one plausible if and when Bashar Assad steps down or is toppled. As reported recently by The Washington Post, even the Syrian opposition activists warn the US that it is not the "democratically minded moderates" who are already prevailing within the opposition's ranks and will take an upper hand in case of its triumph, but the most radical jihadists and extremists.
And this is sure to result in a bloodbath with totally unpredictable consequences not only for Syria, but for its neighbors as well.
Sitting thousands of miles away, the Washington strategists may well enjoy playing a new virtual game. But for Israel this is sure to have much graver repercussions. And this probably explains whyeven Bashar Assad's opponents are to a certain extent trying to protect him - at least for the time being.