The Obama administration has sent Syrian president Bashar Assad a stern warning that he will be held personally accountable and face consequences if Israel and the Palestinian Authority are subjected to a terror campaign – whether by Hizballah or the Palestinian extremist groups based in Damascus, debkafile reports from Washington. The warning went out Thursday, Sept. 2, as Israelis and Palestinians sat down to talk in Washington in the shadow of threats from extremists sheltering under Syria's wing and after two attacks on the West Bank.
The caution was put in Assad's hands in Damascus by Fredric Hof, adviser to US envoy George Mitchell as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met for the first time under the aegis of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah.
debkafile's sources do not know exactly what was said at the interview but Saturday, Sept. 4, they confirmed the severity of the US message to the Syrian ruler.
Our military sources report that last week, Syria and Hizballah took joint steps against a possible Israeli strike against the sophisticated rockets which Hizballah is storing for safekeeping at Syrian bases close to the border and holding ready for immediate use. Hizballah militiamen have been visiting those bases to learn how to use the advanced hardware.
Assad is deepening his military partnership with Hizballah and advancing joint preparations for war under Iranian sponsorship. Last Sunday, Aug. 29, he urged Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to stand solidly behind Hizballah when they met in Damascus. The Syrian ruler stressed to Hariri "…the importance of supporting the resistance [a euphemism for terrorism used by radical Arab elements] as the only way to preserve Lebanon's strength and security against regional threats."
Our sources report that the hands of Assad and the Iran-backed Hizballah are detected in fomenting terror in another part of the Middle East – Iraq, especially in Baghdad.