A couple things from DEBKAfile. First:
US defense secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday night, April 27: “Hizballah has far more rockets and missile than most governments in the world.” He and Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak were talking to reporters after their talks in the Pentagon. Military sources did not see his as high commendation for Barak’s achievements as defense minister. All he had to contribute on this occasion was: “We do not intend to provoke any kind of major collision in Lebanon or with Syria, but are watching closely these developments.”
Then, in a related tidbit, they reported that Syria has been sneaking Scud A ground missiles across the Lebanon border in pieces.
Scud ground missilesSyria has smuggled three consignments of disassembled Scud A ground missile components across the border to the Lebanese Hizballah, debkafile disclose from Middle East intelligence and military sources Friday, April 23. They do not add up to a complete set of parts for an operational Scud missile. However, another five shipments, awaiting handover at Syrian border bases will provide the missing elements for complete weapons.
I wonder if genocidal murderers recycle. Because, if so, they could cushion the missile components with crumpled up pages from U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559. Waste not, want not.
Anyway, it seems Barak and Gates agree that an aggressive regimen of “careful watching” is all that’s needed to keep the situation in check. DEBKAfile was underwhelmed:
Both defense chiefs seemed to think that careful watching would somehow erase the hostile buildup of deadly hardware. In fact, Barak’s comment told Iran, Syria and Hizballah they had nothing to fear from continuing their “carefully watched” buildup, even though Syria took it a step forward this month. As debkafile’s military sources reported last week, Syrian instructors have trained two Hizballah brigades in the use of mobile Scud missiles which carry one-ton warheads. It does not matter if those missiles are moved physically across the border to Lebanon, because those brigades can operate them against Israel at short notice from either side of the border.
Unlike the United States, Israel has a ringside seat for watching the rockets and missiles pile up just across its 70-kilometer long border with Lebanon. Gates’ comment – and even more Barak’s assurance – gave Syria and the Hizballah space to carry on building a mighty arsenal, which is aimed at only one country, Israel.
Barak as defense minister, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel’s security chiefs need to explain how Hizballah was allowed in the four years since the 2006 war to pile up tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, which in volume and sophistication have already overtaken the weaponry that battered northern Israel then and which have extended their reach to all parts of Israel.
“Careful watch” – without corresponding action to interrupt the massive flow of weapons shipments constantly smuggled in from Syria to Hizballah – is a repeat of the misplaced self-restraint which invited the Hizballah to launch the last Lebanon conflict in the summer of 2006. Dragging Israeli and its homeland into war in the summer of 2010 would serve the political and military interests of Iran, Syria and Hizballah well. It would generate a Middle East crisis overwhelming enough to focus international efforts on calming the situation, so distracting the world’s attention Iran’s arrival at the critical stages of its nuclear bomb program and its drive for sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
If President Barack Obama wants to try some “aggressive personal diplomacy” on the sadistic scion of all this aggression, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in New York next week doing all he can to help the United Nations deal with nuclear proliferation.
I hope he invites Jimmy Carter.