Mossad director Meir Dagan: Syria speeds up arms deliveries to Hizballah while extending fake peace overtures to Israel

In a briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee, Dagan said Monday, Syria had accelerated its arms deliveries to the Lebanese Hizballah and is in the throes of a strong bid to overthrow the Siniora government. Furthermore, Syria’s Bashar Asad is bent on exacerbating the dangers facing US troops in Iraq. The Mossad chief said Asad is actuated by three motives:
Consolidating his influence in Lebanon, recovering the Golan from Israel and ridding himself of international pressure. The Syrian ruler is maneuvering to show Israel up as an opponent of peace compared with his own momentum. A positive response by Israel would be a stab in the back to moderate Arab rulers.
debkafile‘s political sources reported Sunday that the latest spate of Syrian peace chatter is a bid to tilt in favor of Damascus the tussle in Washington over the Baker-Hamilton recommendation to approach Syria and Tehran for help to stabilize Iraq. The White House is opposed to this proposition; US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has strongly indicated that their price would be too high.
Israeli ministers were divided over the issue at their cabinet session Sunday, Dec. 17.
Wary of playing into Syrian hands, prime minister Ehud Olmert said Israel must not start negotiations with Damascus at a time when US president George W. Bush is insisting that Bashar Asad first stop instigating war. Defense minister, Labor leader Amir Peretz said the price tag is clear – the Golan – but cited the high importance of breaking Syrian ties with the extremist axis. Fellow Laborites urged the importance of taking advantage of Syria’s “peace overtures.”
Commenting on Syrian foreign minister Walid Moallem’s statement to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius – that Syria does not demand the Golan as a precondition for talks, Israeli vice premier Shimon Peres retorted that talk is cheap; the Asad government must first show its good faith by shutting down Palestinian terrorist headquarters in Damascus and suspending its arms deliveries to Hizballah.

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