|Obama told to follow red line at Tel Aviv tarmac
Red lines. When it comes to the Middle East, US President Barack Obama is encountering them everywhere. They are painted on the ground as directional markers for visiting dignitaries, and they are in Obama's and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's foreign policy rhetoric as not-to-be-crossed warnings to Syria and Iran.
As Obama prepared to tour a missile battery that is part of Israel's Iron Dome defenses, an aide at the Tel Aviv airport directed the president to follow the red line on the tarmac, AP reports.
“Bibi's always talking to me about red lines,'' Obama quipped, referring to Netanyahu by his familiar name.
Netanyahu has set red lines on Iran's nuclear development capabilities. Israel repeatedly has threatened to take military action should Iran appear to be on the verge of obtaining a bomb. The US has pushed for more time to allow diplomacy and economic penalties to run their course, though Obama insists military action is an option. The issue has become a point of tension between the two allies.
Obama himself has used the phrase to describe limits that could prompt action against Syria's Assad. Any use of chemical weapons by Syria, Obama has said, would constitute a “red line’’ that if breached could prompt direct U.S. intervention. It's a threat that could be tested amid new accusations that the regime used chemicals in an attack in a village in the north of Syria.
Referring to the painted red lines at the airport, Obama joked that it was “a psychological ploy.’’
Netanyahu replied: “It was minutely planned.’’