All In   |  May 03, 2013

Israeli airstrike inside Syria raises questions of US action

Kristen Welker and Andrea Mitchell of NBC News reports on the implications of Israel’s strike in Syria on the United States, and whether or not President Obama will take action.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> past. jim, stay with us. joining me from san jose costa rica , nbc news white house correspondent, kristin welker. kristin, what are you hearing?

>> reporter: well, white house officials right now are referring all reporters to the israelis. and israelis reiterating what we have heard which is that they are not commenting specifically on this strike that mick was just report awning except to say they will do whatever is necessary to prevent hezbollah from getting chemical weapons . so that is what we are hearing right now from officials. i can tell you that president obama did make some of his most definitive comments to date about syria this evening, chris. he made the point during a news conference earlier this evening, that he has all but ruled outputting boots on the ground in syria . he said that he does not foresee a scenario at this point in time in which he would put boots on the ground . this is, of course, significant, because americans did not look favorably on options in terms of dealing with syria . there are a number of other options that the white house has been considering. president obama has been very careful in terms of not really talking about those options that are under consideration. tonight that changed and he said he is not at this point considering putting boots on the ground . using the term, he does not foresee putting boots on the ground in syria . the president has to some extent boxed him in. he said of course if syria uses chem weapons that would be a red line . the white house saying they believe chemical weapons were used but there are still too many questions about the origin of the weapons. president obama not ready to say how he is going to proceed when it comes to syria . so again we are still trying to get reaction to the israeli airstrike.

>> andrea, you mentioned before john kerry is in moscow, on a trip specifically with the intent of trying to move forward diplomatically on presenting a u united front , to avoid further military escalation, to avoid a regional conflict. the chief on stek sell russia which is course with the assad regime, as well as iran. how does it change the news we get about israeli news strikes in syria which have been confirmed now. how does that change the diplomat diplomatic calculus to persuade the russians to come on board.

>> it may be more difficult, in fact, kerry is heading to moscow. he will go there on monday. monday and tuesday. and he will be meeting on tuesday, we're told, with vladimir putin and with the foreign minister. the murussians have been blocking action by the united nations . they have been a serious chief ally other than iran. russians have set repeatedly, as of the last couple days, they do not believe the allegations about chemical weapons or the evidence. so as long as russia is going to prop up assad and as long as the iranians are in there as well, it is very difficult to change the balance of power . it is difficult to find and make sure you secure the chemical weapons , make sure they don't get into the hands of terrorist. israel has said they would not permit hezbollah to get their hands on delivery systems or the aerial bombs or other methods of delivering chemical weapons . so they are making it very clear they're not hiding at all the fact they have taken in action. and as jim was just saying, they can prove they go into syria and take out the construction after nuclear plant that north korea was helping to construct. that is back, i believe, in 2007 . in june of 2007 . so they did that without any protest and they have the range to do that. there is some question as to whether they went into syrian airspace for what we believe was the strike that took place sometime on friday. but this does make it more complicated in getting the russians on board but i don't think there was ever any prospect of getting putin on board. everyone i spoke to from europe as well as arab countries said that putin duck in that russia believed that what would follow assad could be more destabilizing than having the assad regime.