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April 14, 2010

Smart Diplomacy: Syria Transfers Longer Range Missiles To Hezbollah

Obama has been pretty clear about his desire to improve relations with Syria. He appointed an ambassador, which Bush had refused to do for a number of years, with the express idea of wooing Syria away from Iran and Hezbollah.

Baby Assad is unimpressed.

Syria has transferred long-range Scud missiles to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Israeli and U.S. officials alleged, in a move that threatens to alter the Middle East's military balance and sets back a major diplomatic outreach effort to Damascus by the Obama administration.


The Scuds are believed to have a range of more than 435 miles—placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's nuclear installations all within range of Hezbollah's military forces. During a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah used rockets with ranges of 20 to 60 miles.

Israeli officials called Scud missiles "game-changing" armaments that mark a new escalation in the Mideast conflict. They alleged that Mr. Assad is increasingly linking Syria's military command with those of Hezbollah and Iran


A senior U.S. official involved in Mideast policy said Washington was uncertain why Mr. Assad would escalate tensions with Israel. But in recent months, Israeli and Syrian officials have publicly charged each other with preparing for war. The U.S. official said Syria's arms transfer could have been meant as a form of deterrence.

White House supporters replied that the U.S. needs close engagement with Syria all the more because of provocations like the Scud surprise, in order to be better placed to sway Syria.

"If anything, we need (an ambassador) in Damascus full time just to ensure that reality gets its day in court now and then," a senior administration official said.

Well, I'm sure our new ambassador, who was approved by the Senate Foreign Affairs committee today, will give Dr. Assad the same kind of dressing down Prime Minister Netanyahu received from Secretary of State Clinton and Vice President Biden.

And don't worry, Sen. John Kerry says Syria is committed to peace. Uh huh.

I love how the unnamed administration official idly wonders if maybe this move is defensive in nature. Damn Jews always threatening terrorists!

Back in the real world, why would Assad to this? Well, let's take a quick stroll around the neighborhood...Obama can't wait to get out of Iraq and has shown zero interest in changing Iran's political structure or dealing with their nuclear program. The only things he's shown real interest in is snuggling up to tyrants and slapping Israel around as much as possible.

Assad on the other hand is in bed with Iran and their assorted terror groups.

It's pretty clear that Iran looks at Israel as the only real threat to their nuclear ambitions, so they had their under-boss in Damascus ship some weapons to the foot soldiers in the field.

The message from the home office in Iran? "Attack us and guess what you're going to be facing 10 minutes later."

It's pretty clear that not only won't Assad pay a price for doing this with his new found friend in the White House but he will probably receive all sorts of new goodies. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Obama to lift the sanctions on Syria or exert pressure on Israel to deal with Syria on the Golan Heights or other bilateral matters. In exchange Syria will no doubt deliver some nebulous promises of cooperation and good behavior.

Thanks to Obama's super awesome powers of diplomacy, thugs can smell America's weakening resolve. Now we see what that translates to on the ground... Israel has a new military threat to factor into their Iranian calculations and they have confirmation that Obama's willingness deep held desire to put daylight between Israel and the US is emboldening mid-level players like Syria against them.

It's almost as if a weak America invites not cooperation but more aggressive behavior form thug nations. Who knew?

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posted by DrewM. at 05:26 PM

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