Syria has smuggled three consignments of disassembled Scud A ground missile components across the border to the Lebanese Hizballah, debkafile disclose from Middle East intelligence and military sources Friday, April 23. They do not add up to a complete set of parts for an operational Scud missile. However, another five shipments, awaiting handover at Syrian border bases will provide the missing elements for complete weapons.
Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak disclosed Friday night that Syria had transferred "Scud missile parts" to Lebanon, refusing to elaborate. But he accused Syria of providing Hizballah with game-changing weapons which jeopardized regional stability.
According to Western intelligence sources, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put in an urgent phone call to Syrian president Bashar Assad Thursday, April 22, to urge Assad to make as many Scud transfers to Lebanon as possible and enable Hizballah to deploy them opposite Israel without delay. He implied that speed was necessary because Iran is preparing to strike out against US Middle East interests and he wants Iran's Lebanese proxy to be ready for all possible eventualities. The Iranian president dismissed Israel as a declining force with its political and military strength in a state of paralysis.
The two presidents speculated about the source of the leak to the media about the Scuds for Hizballah. Ahmadinejad said Iranian intelligence had turned up a source in the Syrian military who was probably a mole and offered to help hunt him down.
Friday night too, the Obama administration stamped down harder on Damascus, warning Syria that providing Hizballah "a wider array" of missiles" carried serious consequences. The diplomat, who declined to be named, said: We are concerned with the broadening nature of cooperation between Syria and Hizballah." He stopped short of accusing Syria of arming Hizballah with Scud missiles: "… we have no evidence of Scuds crossing into Lebanon, that's something… to watch," he said.
Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State Jerry Feldman told members of Congress that the administration condemns in the strongest terms Syria's "provocative" behavior in transferring arms to Hizballah. On April 21, a senior Syrian diplomat was summoned to the state department for the fourth strong dressing-down.