Defense Minister Barak
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Barak: Hezbollah Scuds undermine stability
Following reports of Syrian transfer of missiles to Lebanese-based group, defense minister says move violates UN resolutions

The transfer of Scud missiles from Syria to Hezbollah "undermines the balance of power and threatens regional stability and calm," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday.


Speaking following reports of Scud missiles being transferred to Hezbollah, Barak said the military build-up in Lebanon "is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions."


During a visit to the family wing of the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Barak made it clear that Israel has "no belligerent intentions" towards Lebanon, adding: "We recommend that everyone maintain the calm."


Earlier Tuesday, Barak visited the Air Force base at Ramat David with Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Benny Gantz and Air Force Commander Ido Nehushtan.


"The Air Force is our pillar of strength in the face of threats near and far," he said. "The IDF is trained, prepared, and has both eyes open in every direction. With strength and deterrence such as this, Israel must attempt to reach peace with its neighbors."


American and Israeli officials believe that Syria has transferred long and medium range surface-to-surface Scud missiles to Hezbollah which could target most of Israel's territory, the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper reported. This could explain recent tensions on the northern border. Ynet reported last month that IAF aircrafts flew over Lebanon.


According to the report, which is based on American sources in Washington, Israeli and Western intelligence services have discovered that the Syrian army has been training Hezbollah operatives on how to operate a line of missiles from Syria's weapons arsenal including anti-aircraft and medium-long range Scud missiles.


The US sources told the paper that Israel has warned Syria, via Turkey and Qatar, of its intention to bomb Lebanese and Syrian targets should the missiles cross the border and reach Hezbollah. The Syrian ambassador to Washington was summoned for a talk.


The transfer bears a symbolic significance boosting the Shiite group's confidence since the only bodies which hold surface-to-surface ballistic missiles are sovereign states. Hezbollah has therefore become the only non-governmental organization in the world to hold such weapons.


One can assume had the missiles been "tie-breaking weapons," the IDF would have already taken action. It should also be noted that Israel is currently abstaining from taking any step which would divert international focus from Iran sanctions.


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