Syria slips Hizballah missiles for destroying Israeli cities
DEBKAfile (Link) (February 7, 2010)
The secret transfer of the mobile surface-to-surface Syrian-made Fateh-110 (range 250km) missile to Hizballah sparked the prediction Friday, Feb. 5 from an unnamed US official that cross-border arms smuggling from Syria into Lebanon outside state control was �very dangerous� and �paved the way to war similar to Israel-Hizballah conflict of 2006.� DEBKAfile�s military sources report that Israel warned Syria through at least two diplomatic channels against Hizballah using this lethal weapon, which is capable of reaching almost every Israel city.
Our sources disclose: Syria pulled the wool of Israel�s eyes for the transfer by openly training Hizballah in the use of SA-2 and SA-6 surface-to-surface missiles. Israel had warned it would deem their passage into Lebanon Syrian casus belli by Syria.
The Fateh-110 is still more lethal, accurate and dangerous than the SA-2 and SA-3. it confronts Israel now with a Hizballah armed with a solid-fuel propellant, road-mobile, single-stage, short-range ballistic system weighing three tons with a half-ton warhead and a range of 250 kilometers. It is not deployed in surface batteries but fired from mobile launchers, which the solid propellant renders capable of firing at speed with little advance preparation, before returning to the fortified underground silos Hizballah has sunk in mountain areas across Lebanon.
These features make the Fateh-110 a very tough target for Israeli bombers to strike.
According to our intelligence sources, Israel posted warnings against Hizballah using the weapon through US Middle East envoy George Mitchell who called on president Bashar Assad in Damascus on January 20 and, even more emphatically, through Spanish foreign minister Miguel Moratinos who arrived in Syria on Feb. 3 after talks in Jerusalem. The message he carried was that if Hizballah ventured to fire the Fateh-110, Israel was determined to hit back at strategic and military targets inside Syria.
This warning instantly prompted the war rhetoric which emanated from Assad and his foreign minister Walid Moallem. Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, known for his undiplomatic, blunt style, responded by warning Syria that it stood to lose the next war and the Assad family would lose its grip on power in Damascus.
Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak are presumed to have endorsed the first part of Lieberman�s comment as representing their own view. But the minister added the personal threat on Syria�s leaders on his own initiative.