DAMASCUS, Syria — U.S. and Israeli officials have reacted negatively to reports that Syria has transferred Scud missiles to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Israel has called the development a “game-changing” move by Syria which has the potential to tip the region into a military conflagration.
“Syria claims it wants peace while at the same time it delivers Scuds to Hezbollah, whose only goal is to threaten the state of Israel,” said Israeli President Shimon Peres recently to an Israeli radio station.
Meanwhile, both Syria and Hezbollah are denying that any such transfer of armaments has taken place. However, high-level officials within the Syrian regime spoke to Qnion senior correspondent Jacob Tafnis yesterday evening, quietly confirming that Syria had been considering the move.
“We will not say that any Scuds have gone into Lebanon… yet,” said one official, asking to remain anonymous. “But we reserve the right to assist our neighbor whether or not they are interested in our assistance.”
When asked what the effect of such a move might be on Syrian engagement with the U.S. and the upcoming appointment of Robert Ford as ambassador to Damascus, the official responded: “We are confident that nothing is going to stop President Obama from engaging with us,” citing a recent article in Haaretz that alluded to Obama administration officials saying that “the Scud transfer made a U.S. diplomatic presence in Syria all the more necessary.”
“You see?” the official said. “The more we send weapons to Lebanon, the more they want to engage us,” he chortled happily. “I can tell you that we also have plans to establish a nuclear weapons facility in Gemmayzeh, a chemical weapons plant in Burj al-Barajneh, and a dedicated airstrip for unmanned drones right at the Beirut International Airport,” adding with a conspiratorial wink, “but you didn’t hear that from me.”
Meanwhile, in Gemmayzeh (Beirut’s popular nightlife district), rents are reported to be rising in anticipation of the new nuclear weapons plant, while local residents are hoping that the radiation will convince revelers to take their boisterous partying across town.