It’s an opportune time to ask: what other country in the world would be expected to tolerate a massive arms buildup by a jihadist pseudo-state on its border, as Israel has faced from Hizballah? “Israeli officials say Syria gives Hezbollah Scuds,” by Mark Lavie for the Associated Press, April 14:
JERUSALEM – Israeli defense officials said Wednesday they believe Hezbollah has Scud missiles that could hit all of Israel, a day after Israel’s president accused Syria of supplying the Lebanese guerrillas with the weapons for the first time.
Israeli officials say the introduction of Scuds could alter the strategic balance with Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that battled Israel to a stalemate during a monthlong war in 2006.
President Shimon Peres, speaking in Paris, charged that Syria is playing a double game, talking about peace, while “it is delivering Scuds to Hezbollah to threaten Israel,” according to a statement from his office.
The remarks by Peres, whose position is largely ceremonial, went beyond public assessments of senior Israeli defense figures. He gave no details.
In Washington, the Syrian Embassy dismissed the allegations and accused Israel of trying to divert attention from questions about Israel’s nuclear program. Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear arms, though it does not confirm or deny this.
“If we are to discuss armament in our region, we should begin with Israel’s massive nuclear weapons arsenal and continuous arming with top-caliber U.S. weapons, which helps perpetuate its occupation of our territories,” said embassy spokesman Ahmed Salkini. “The timing also indicates a sinister attempt to undermine any U.S.-Syrian rapprochement.”
Translation: We’re getting called out, and it’s really awkward.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday the Obama administration has relayed its concerns to Syria at the highest levels about weapons that could destabilize the region.
Some Scud missiles have a range of hundreds of miles (kilometers) and could reach any target in Israel if fired from Lebanon. They can carry an explosive warhead of up to 1 ton.
The defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence assessment, stopped short of stating unequivocally that Scuds are now deployed in Lebanon. […]
Boaz Ganor, an expert from Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center, said Scud missiles in the hands of Hezbollah could be a game-changer, not only because of their potential for damage.
“In Syrian hands, it was rationally administered, and now it’s not clear that in the hands of Hezbollah it will be administered rationally,” he said.