Meet the Press   |  May 05, 2013

Israeli strikes in Syria: What does it mean?

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell explains what the overnight developments in Syria mean for America’s foreign policy decisions.

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

>> on a couple different fronts. breaking news this morning out of syria where overnight israeli air strikes hit targets in syria for the second time in recent days. news of the first strike coming late friday evening. the president was traveling in latin america . reacting to all this escalation yesterday in an interview with telemundo.

>> what i have said in the past, i continue to believe this, the ace re israelis justifiably have to guard against the advancement of weaponry against hezbollah . hezbollah has repeatedly said that they would be willing to attack as far as tel-aviv. so the israelis have to be vigilant and they have to be concerned. and we will continue to coordinate with israel .

>> continue to coordinate with israel . andrea mitchell is here. a very important line, isn't it, andrea? here you have the president who's issued a red line to syria saying if they move or use chemical weapons it would change his kcalculus about some kind of intervention. what does it mean?

>> first it means many people within the white house believe the president was mistaken in issuing that red line . but now the israelis have taken this over. they've taken this on. this actually takes the heat off of the president. the administration is clearly supporting this. a coordinating, perhaps, intelligence from the u.s. certainly a green light . no caution light here at all. first of all, second of all, the arab leaders are likely to be supportive as well. we know that the assad regime's only partners now are basically russia and iran. this comes just as secretary kerry is going to moscow to meet with putin. this does complicate his mission to try to get russia to somehow soften its continuing support of assad .

>> the conversation i was having last night on twitter in preparation for the program this morning, does this put more pressure or less pressure on president obama to act on syria ? whether that means mobilizing an international coalition of some kind or somehow backing up this red line which as you suggest the times is reporting this morning is almost treated as a gaffe, it seems, from anonymous advisers in the white house quoted in the story.

>> the administration was moving in that direction in any case. a more active role. there's going to be arming of carefully moderated, you know, rebel groups that the cia believes are not the most radical. that's a very dangerous game . but they are moving in that direction. secondly, there is now some more indication of a no fly zone, some kind of buffer. the fact is there has been a big division in the arab world . the turks are arming the more radical groups. the uae, saudis and jordan a supporting the more moderate groups. so the arab world is also divided. israel is doing this now and doing it because assad is so weakened that hezbollah and iran are now saying that we can call the game here. forcing assad 's hand. the assad regime has had pretty much of a detaunt, a quiet detante with israel for decades.

>> andrea mitchell with the latest. you'll be following this, andrea, thank you very much. this