by Adam Gonn
JERUSALEM, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- As the world closely watches the United States mulling a military strike on Syria, some Israeli media began to speculate how Washington would handle a future confrontation with Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced Saturday that he will seek the approval of the congress before launching a military strike on Syria over the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.
Obama's decision was met with surprise in Israel and immediately led to speculations by the media over how Obama would handle a potential confrontation with Iran.
However, analysts that spoke to Xinhua said that the Israeli punditry was comparing apples with oranges, for Syria's use of chemical weapons is a threat mainly to the rebels inside Syria, but a nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the U.S. closest regional allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
"These are two very different things," Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum of the Bar-Ilan University told Xinhua on Sunday.
He noted that as Obama is seeking the approval of the U.S. congress, "waiting a couple of weeks will make a difference in the kind of action and effectiveness of the kind of action."
A military intervention is most likely to target units connected to the use of chemical weapons in addition to command centers, but will not strive to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad or severally damage his military capabilities, thereby reducing the risk of Assad retaliating against Israel, Turkey or Jordan, which could lead to a larger regional conflict, noted Teitelbaum.
Obama has in the past been criticized by Israeli right-wing politicians for being lenient on Iran, by insisting that the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union be allowed to work their course before deciding on military action.
Meir Javendanfar, a lecturer on Iran at the Interdisciplinary- Center in Herzliya, said that while there are some people within the Netanyahu administration who would probably see Obama's moves as weak, "I don't think that Obama isn't serious about Iran."
"Some might start using this as an excuse, saying that 'well, if he is behaving this way, and it's only a limited strike, and he is hesitating then, how can we expect him to go to war with Iran if Teheran ever crosses the redline?" Javendanfar said. "If they are looking for an excuse, they would find one."
Teitelbaum noted that a U.S. president has many domestic audiences to play over, "Israel has to show some consideration for the president's domestic dilemmas."