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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Syria provides ballistic missiles to Hezbullah, Clinton issues stern warning

One of the main things the Wikileaks document dump shows is how the US position in international affairs has deteriorated.

In February of this year, the US discovered that Syria was transferring 'new' ballistic missiles to Hezbullah. Syria agreed to stop doing so, but one week later, the US discovered that the transfers were continuing. The reaction? Secretary of State Clinton issued a stern warning to the Syrians. Smart diplomacy? No. Totally ineffective diplomacy.
Just a week after President Bashar al-Assad of Syria assured a top State Department official that his government was not sending sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah, the Obama administration lodged a confidential protest accusing Syria of doing precisely what it had denied doing.

“In our meetings last week it was stated that Syria is not transferring any ‘new’ missiles to Lebanese Hizballah,” noted a cable sent by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in February, using an alternative spelling for the militant group. “We are aware, however, of current Syrian efforts to supply Hizballah with ballistic missiles. I must stress that this activity is of deep concern to my government, and we strongly caution you against such a serious escalation.”

A senior Syrian Foreign Ministry official, a cable from the American Embassy in Damascus reported, flatly denied the allegation. But nine months later, administration officials assert, the flow of arms had continued to Hezbollah. According to a Pentagon official, Hezbollah’s arsenal now includes up to 50,000 rockets and missiles, including some 40 to 50 Fateh-110 missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and most of Israel, and 10 Scud-D missiles. The newly fortified Hezbollah has raised fears that any future conflict with Israel could erupt into a full-scale regional war.


In February, the White House announced that a new American ambassador would be sent to Syria after a five-year hiatus. The next day, William J. Burns, a State Department under secretary, met with the Syrian leader.

During the session, Mr. Burns repeated American concerns about weapons smuggling to Hezbollah, one dispatch noted. Mr. Assad replied that while he could not be Israel’s policeman, no “new” weapons were being sent to Hezbollah.

Soon after the meeting, though, a cable noted that the Americans received intelligence reports that the Syrians were about to provide Hezbollah with Scud-D missiles, which are based on North Korean technology. (Some recent intelligence reports conclude that the group has about 10 such missiles stored in a Syrian warehouse that Hezbollah uses, according to American officials. The Defense Intelligence Agency believes that two have probably been moved to Lebanon, according to the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.) The United States officials also worried about Hezbollah’s vow to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyah, a senior fighter killed in a 2008 car bombing the militant group said was the work of the Israelis.

In a classified cable in February, Mrs. Clinton directed the embassy to deliver a warning to Faisal al-Miqdad, the deputy foreign minister. “I know you are a strategic thinker, which is why I want to underscore for you that, from our perspective, your operational support for Hizballah is a strategic miscalculation that is damaging your long-term national interests.”

The Syrian official’s response was dismissive, according to an American cable. He denied that any weapons had been sent, argued that Hezbollah would not take military action if not provoked and expressed surprise at the stern American protest. The complaint, he said, “shows the U.S. has not come to a mature position (that would enable it) to differentiate between its own interests and Israel’s.”
By the way, the Fateh 110's are considered a major threat because they are quite accurate. But the dismissive manner in which the Syrians treated Clinton's entreaties tell you all you need to know about the Obama administration's 'smart diplomacy.' I can't even call it an epic fail because degrading the United States' military capabilities is something President Obama wanted to do all along.

What could go wrong?

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At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the article: "Syria was transferring 'new' ballistic missiles to Hezbullah" -------------- You see from syrias standpoint they are telling the truth. You see those missiles are at least 2 to 3 weeks old. So they haven't sold "new" ones. --------- This is the weakest my country has ever been, It wouldn't surprise me to see russia take over a few of the countries they lost when the ussr broke up. I am actually surprised they haven't already. Wondering why china hasn't taken over Taiwan yet. The obama administration would do nothing to stop them, that is for sure.


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