U.S. and Israeli officials say that Syria has transferred Scud missiles to Hezbollah, the Lebanase Shia militia that has long clashed
with Israel. The long range of Scud missiles, which can reach for
hundreds of miles, has stirred up diplomatic and military concerns
worldwide. Here's what happened and what it means for the region.
- How War Could Start The Center for New American Security's Andrew Exum warns, "everyone
hold your breath. Because this is how wars start." He writes, "the next
Israel-Lebanon war starts when either a) Hizballah or Israel does
something stupid or b) Hizballah acquires 'equilibrium-breaking' weaponry like powerful long-range rockets or anti-aircraft weaponry.
Israel might decide, in the event of the latter, that it must act
preemptively and that the very fact that Hizballah possesses such
weapons is casus belli enough."
- So Much for Obama's
Syria Outreach The Wall Street Journal's Charles Levinson and
Jay Solomon say the move "threatens to alter the Middle East's
military balance and sets back a major diplomatic outreach effort to
Damascus by the Obama administration. ... Syria and Hezbollah both
denied the charges. But the allegations already are affecting U.S.
foreign policy: Republicans pressed on Capitol Hill to block the
appointment of a new American ambassador to Damascus."
the Middle East Arms Race' The Guardian's Simon Tisdall explan,
"From an Israeli perspective, the balance of terror in the Middle East
just tipped dangerously. ... To many in the region, Israel's undeclared
and internationally uninspected arsenal, including hundreds of nuclear
warheads, looks considerably more threatening than a few truckloads of
North Korean-made Scuds. While this remains the case, there is no reason
to believe the headlong Middle East arms race will stop."
This Changes Hezbollah Haaretz's Amos Harel and Avi
Issacharoff predict, "Scuds are weapons in a league of their own.
This will be the first time that any terrorist-guerrilla group can boast
of possessing ballistic missiles of the kind that usually comprise the
arsenals of organized armies. ... Iran would prefer that the Scuds be
used as a response to any Israeli attack against its nuclear
installations, while Hezbollah may view Scuds as the fitting Lebanese
answer to a more local clash with the Israel Defense Forces."
of Jordan: War Imminent Steve Clemons reports that Jordanian King Abdullah,
in a private meeting with U.S. Congressmen, predicted "imminent" war
between Israel and Hezbollah.
- Are Scuds Effective? Neal Ungerleider says "It is important to remember that when Scuds were last fired at Israel
during Gulf War I, they caused relatively little damage to local targets
and were rather less precise than feared. However, it is not known
whether the Scuds sent to Hezbollah have more precise aiming capability…
but odds are that they do."
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