Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Israel Matzav: US rebukes Syria over scud transfer

US rebukes Syria over scud transfer

On Monday, the US called in Syria's ranking diplomat in Washington, Deputy Chief of Mission Zouheir Jabbour, to "review Syria’s provocative behavior concerning the potential transfer of arms to Hizballah."

"This was the fourth occasion on which these concerns have been raised to the Syrian Embassy in recent months, intended to further amplify our messages communicated to the Syrian government. Our dialogue with Syria on this issue has been frank and sustained. We expect the same in return."

The diplomatic rebuke came after reports said the U.S. believed Syria intended to transfer Scud missiles to Hezbollah, but isn't clear if the missiles were actually shipped to Lebanon.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the transfer of any arms, and especially ballistic missile systems such as the SCUD, from Syria to Hizballah," Duguid said. "The transfer of these arms can only have a destabilizing effect on the region, and would pose an immediate threat to both the security of Israel and the sovereignty of Lebanon."

"The risk of miscalculation that could result from this type of escalation should make Syria reverse the ill-conceived policy it has pursued in providing arms to Hizballah," he continued.

"We call for an immediate cessation of any arms transfers to Hizballah and other terrorist organizations in the region," Duguid said. "Syria’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism is directly related to its support for terrorist groups, such as Hizbollah."

I'm sure Baby Assad is quaking in his boots. Arutz Sheva notes:

The statement stopped short of confirming the reports, which Syria has denied, but a senior U.S. official told Reuters that it was a sign that the allegations were being taken seriously, explaining, "We wouldn't have called them in if we didn't think something was going on."

But of course, by refusing to confirm the transfers, the State Department avoids having to use that magic word 'condemn' that they used with respect to the administrative approval for the apartments in Ramat Shlomo last month. Kind of amazing, isn't it? The State Department condemns Israel for announcing an administrative approval in Jerusalem, condemns 'any' transfer of ballistic missiles (as if they're equivalent), but refuses to confirm any arms transfer by the Syrians so that the State Department doesn't have to 'condemn' them. Barry Rubin calls it "better late than never." I think it's too weak to rate even that label.
Israel Matzav: US rebukes Syria over scud transfer

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