White House Warns Syria Not to Transfer Arms to Hizbullah

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The White House on Thursday warned Syria not to transfer weapons to Hizbullah, as tensions mounted following reported Israeli raids on a military research center and a Lebanon-bound weapons convoy.

"Syria should not further destabilize the region by transferring weaponry to Hizbullah," said Ben Rhodes, a U.S. deputy national security adviser.

Earlier on Thursday Syria warned that it reserves the right to retaliate to what it says was an Israeli air strike on a military research center near Damascus, as it lodged a complaint with the United Nations.

Israeli officials and the military have declined to confirm or deny any involvement in the alleged attack, and had no comment on separate reports that its warplanes had struck a weapons convoy along the Syria-Lebanon border.

Over the past week, Israeli officials have stepped up the rhetoric about Syria's weapons stockpile, which includes chemical agents, warning of dire consequences if they end up in the hands of Hizbullah against which it fought a devastating war in 2006.

But following reports of a pre-dawn strike Wednesday on a weapons convoy heading for Lebanon, coupled with accusations by Syria of an Israeli hit on a military research center near Damascus, official Israel fell silent.

"The best thing that Israel has been hoping for for a long time is that the West will take control of these weapons," admitted Tzahi HaNegbi, an MP who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Israel has always said that if sophisticated weapons coming from Iran, North Korea and Russia fell into the hands of Hizbullah, it would cross a red line," he told army radio.

"But the world is not ready to take such a decision as it did in Libya or Iraq, so Israel finds itself facing a dilemma which we alone can resolve," he said, saying Israel was left with no choice but to take preventative action.

If Israel had indeed attacked military targets in Syria, it was to prevent Hizbullah from changing the strategic balance of power in the region, former top army officer Dan Harel told the radio.

"We are not ready to accept that Hizbullah changes the balance of force," said Harel, former deputy head of the Israeli military.

"We have said it many times in the past. If Israel did do what is claimed, it was to maintain the military balance with Hizbullah," he said.

Israel has said Hizbullah obtaining chemical weapons would be a casus belli which would cause it to act "without hesitation or restraint" but the Jewish state has also warned about the group obtaining other advanced weaponry, such as anti-aircraft systems and surface-to-surface missiles.

Israeli commentators said it was unlikely that the convoy which was attacked was carrying chemical agents, suggesting it could have been transporting anti-aircraft missiles which could damage Israel's aerial abilities over Lebanon.

"Israel is particularly concerned about the Russian-made SA-17s because they could substantially restrict the Israel Air Force's freedom of movement over Lebanon, an area where today it can operate virtually unhindered," wrote Haaretz's defense correspondent Amos Harel.

Commentators said the modus operandi was very similar to the 2007 bombing of a Syrian nuclear facility, widely understood to be an Israeli strike but never acknowledged by the Jewish state, which remained silent over the raid.

"The reasoning was that as long as Israel didn't claim responsibility, it would be possible for Syrian President Bashar Assad to deny that anything ever happened, and therefore he wouldn't feel obliged to respond," wrote Harel.

"The critical question is what Hizbullah... will do."

So far, Hizbullah's only response has been a strongly worded condemnation issued early on Thursday in which it denounced "a new Zionist aggression against Syria."

Earlier this week, Israel transferred two batteries of its vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system to the north, and press reports also spoke of a spike in demand for gas masks.

"When engaging in such activities, we could face an attack by Hizbullah or possibly Syria, that's why we must prepare our defenses and Iron Dome is part of that," former top military intelligence official Danny Rothschild told army radio.

Despite the heightened tension in the north, pundits said it was unlikely the strike would spark an immediate escalation.

"The signs have increased recently that the winds of war are blowing in the north," said the Maariv daily.

"That said, all the assessments are that the attack -- which did or didn't take place, would not lead to an immediate round of fighting in the north. Hizbullah's arsenal is reserved first and foremost for the day that Israel attacks Iran and not as a response to an attack on an arms convoy," Maariv added.

Comments 18
Thumb min-canada 31 January 2013, 19:35

Earlier on Thursday Syria warned that it reserves the right to retaliate by dropping more tnt barrels on innocent civilians lined up for bread. Ooo3a ha! Walla minkasser el dinye. A7sanelkon ma t3eedooha!!

Thumb min-canada 31 January 2013, 19:44

Hizbullah's arsenal is reserved first and foremost for the day that Israel attacks Iran and not as a response to an attack on an arms convoy," Maariv added.

Thumb andre.jabbour 31 January 2013, 20:14

a true cancer in deed!

Default-user-icon Rihetkon Betfattess (Guest) 31 January 2013, 20:20

Thank you machos above for ridiculing a "falling" (or perhaps an already fallen?) regime. My compatriots of March 14, oh great warriors, you never cease to amaze the hell out of everybody else. Knowing as much as you do that the FSA (aka the Syrian warriors from Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan) controls the majority of the Syrian territory and are about to once again cause the re-collapse of the ASSad regime (ask gabby654321 and Dr. Arreet 7akeh because they... well... duh... umm... are clueless?), shouldn't the multinational FSA start pointing their weapons and focus their struggle against the Israelis or there is still plenty of time for that? Oh, I forgot that they, like you, oh warriors, rely on the UN to curb the 60+ year-old Israeli aggression. God bless, Herculeses!

Thumb bigsami 31 January 2013, 20:28

"Hizbullah's arsenal is reserved first and foremost for the day that Israel attacks Iran".......and that folks sums it up. These so called party of God are not here to defend Lebanon....and this so-called formula "resistance-army-people equation" they preach to their conditioned fools is nothing but BS! This is an Iranian militia using Lebanese soil as a base - period! May God rid us of this evil group once & for all so that Lebanon can be free again!

Missing hitech 31 January 2013, 21:07

Israel and Hiszbullah deserve each other. They are both evil, cold blooded killers, and have no respect for human life. They both think they are above any norm or rule. Let them go to the middle of the sea and fight each other until the last man alive on each side. All we want is to live in peace. The jews are God's cursed people who never had a moment of peace in their history and never will bring peace to anyone, and Hizbullah are are terrorists and nothing more than human scum. God's curse on both of them. All we want is to live in peace and raise our children to fear God and no one else.

Thumb bigsami 31 January 2013, 21:36

I'll second that hitech....throw in those conditioned fools/followers in that batch as well (BSThrower to top the list).

Missing samiam 01 February 2013, 17:14

the sad thing is that they need each other too. Israel needs to justify its aggressions by pointing out hostile groups and regimes like HA, Hamas and Syria and these groups in turn use these actions to fear-monger to justify their own existence

The cycle has to be broken somewhere and until that happens, we will continue to live in this vicious cycle.

Thumb bigsami 31 January 2013, 21:34

You spoke too soon tony. Schizo Farsi could not bear it anymore and had to come out of the sewage w/ his aliases. Low life Persian scum!

Missing peace 31 January 2013, 21:39

syria will never transfer weapons to lebanon as the gvt of lebanon said and repeated they are disassociated with the conflict so M8 will never accept it, no?

or am i naive? LOL!!!!

Missing peace 31 January 2013, 21:44

you cannot compare arms deals between two countries and arms deals between a country and a political party...
you should rather find it scandalous as you find scandalous your so-called arming of syrian rebels by the opposition. it is the exact same logic...
as a "patriot" you should rather ask syria to arm the lebanese army and not a bunch of iranian mercenaries....

but we know FPM double standards.....

Missing peace 31 January 2013, 22:28

still funny as usual sissy boy... not answering the posts but beating around the bush as usual...
stupidity is what qualifies FPMers bets....

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 31 January 2013, 22:29

Flamer- you can't possibly beleive what you just wrote about hizb being part of the lebanese fabric. The rest of the country has faith and dosen't fear? I nearly fell out of my chair when I read that! kid you either have to be one of the most gullable people I have ever met or you must think everyone is exttremly stupid. Either way what you typed is commical at best.

Missing peace 31 January 2013, 22:35

oh by the way sissy boy: hezbollah is a political party not the state of lebanon as you seem to take them! so a state (syria) should give arms to a state (lebanon) and not to a political party.

i guess then if any other political party gets tons of weapons from another state you wouldn t bother in your twisted sick FPM logic!

and your orangina repeated till 2005 that hezbollah was a terrorist party...but alzheimer took the best of you it seems!he was 20 years late then? hahaha! see how STUPID you can be? you are insulting your leader when he used to say what i still say today! toi compris? the difference is that he sold his ideas for dollars i didn t ...

but too difficult for your brain full of air to understand...pityful but you entertain us little claoun!!!

Missing peace 01 February 2013, 12:09

"hezbollah is part of the parliament and the cabinet, thus it's part of the state"

this is absolutely not what your general said during decades labeling hezbis as terrorists... i agree with him and still do when you blindly forget his past stances like a true little sheep you are...

"a few crackheads like you and your friends cant handle reality.."

so i guess your general was a crackhead for decades!!!
funny how you easily forget that.... see how stupid your logic is: you are saying that M14 has the same position as your general had for decades but you insult M14 and forget what orangina kept repeating because it makes you brain bug otherwise!

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 01 February 2013, 18:19

Flamer- your comments seemed to be geared towards convincing yourself and justifying your support for Hizb far more than a legitimate argument. All I can say to that is whatever you have to tell yourself to sleep better at night.

Thumb smarty 01 February 2013, 01:47

(✖╭╮✖)

Default-user-icon Horus (Guest) 01 February 2013, 05:18

God Bless America !!!