But deep down, they really, really want peace! “Syria gave advanced M-600 missiles to Hezbollah, defense officials claim: Army intelligence worried by Lebanese militants’ growing rocket arsenal – but says Syria has a genuine desire to strike a peace deal with Israel,” by Jonathan Lis and Amos Harel in Haaretz, May 5 (thanks to Alexandre):
Syria has delivered advanced M600 rockets to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon within the past year, Israeli defense officials said on Wednesday.
The M600, a Syrian copy of the Iranian Fateh-110, has a range of 300km and carries a half-ton warhead. If fired from southern Lebanon it would be capable of hitting Tel Aviv.
Latest claims of arms transfers to Lebanon follow recent accusations by President Shimon Peres that Syria Hezbollah gave long-range Scud missiles, capable of inflicting heavy damage on Israel’s cities.
Other government figures, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, have since avoided repeating the claims and it is unclear whether Damascus could have delivered the 44-foot liquid-fueled missiles, handling which requires complex logistics, undetected.
Yet doubts over the Scuds have not masked growing fear in the Israeli defense establishment over Hezbollah’s rapidly expanding arsenal. On Tuesday the army’s head of intelligence research, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, told the Knesset that the Scud transfer was the “tip of the iceberg”.
“Even today Hezbollah has missiles of all ranges types, including solid-fueled rockets that have a longer range are extremely accurate,” Baidatz told the Knesset’s foreign affairs and security committee.
Baidatz warned that arms transfers were not sporadic but reflected long-term policy in Tehran and Damascus….
But despite strong backing for Hezbollah, Syria remained keen to strike a peace deal with Israel, Baidatz said.
“A political settlement with Israel is high on Syria’s list of priorities and intelligence shows a will to reach an agreement – but on their terms, meaning a return of the Golan Heights and American involvement” he said.
In other words, surrender and give us what we want, and we won’t fight you anymore.