Thursday, April 15, 2010

US concerned about Syrian intentions over Hezbollah

According to the following report, Hezbollah is fiercely opposed to Israel.

US concerned about Syrian intentions over Hezbollah
From BBC News online by Kim Ghattas
BBC State Department correspondent, Washington
Thursday, 15 April 2010 03:27 UK - excerpt:
The White House has said it is increasingly concerned over reports that Syria is sending sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon, a day after the Israeli President Shimon Peres accused Damascus of supplying Scud missiles to the militant group.

The reports are a blow to the Obama administration's attempt to engage positively with the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad after years of tension between Washington and Damascus.

"We are obviously increasingly concerned about the sophisticated weaponry that ... is allegedly being transferred," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. "We have expressed our concerns to [the] governments [of Lebanon and Syria]."

Mr Gibbs was responding to questions about the Israeli president's comments. He did not confirm that the transfer had taken place but warned it could have a potentially destabilizing effect on the region.

Israeli fears

Hezbollah is backed by Iran; both are Israel's arch enemies. If the militant group obtains medium and long range ballistic missiles, such as Scuds, this could alter the military balance in the region.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a war in 2006 during which Hezbollah fired rockets into northern Israel but Scuds would put all of Israel within reach.

Israel's president has said Syria is supplying Scuds to Hezbollah

Some military experts however believe Hezbollah already has longer-range missiles, in which case this latest development would be important because of the signal it sends at a time of simmering tension in the region.

Israel is worried about Iran's nuclear programme and has often warned it could strike Iran if it felt threatened.

Syria and Hezbollah would be likely to be immediately drawn into the conflict. But Iran's allies could also choose to strike pre-emptively at Israel.

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