Report: Syrian Interference in Lebanon, Arms Transfer Prompted Israel to Mull Attack on Weapons Depot
Syria's alleged interference in Lebanon and its increasingly sophisticated weapons shipments to Hizbullah have alarmed U.S. officials and prompted Israel's military to consider a strike against a Syrian arms depot, U.S. and Israeli officials told The Washington Post.
But Israel has so far hesitated to take military action out of concern that such a strike could touch off a conflict even bloodier than the 2006 war, said an Israeli military official.
The Obama administration's efforts at dialogue with Syria have done little to stop the flow of weapons, end Damascus' practice of sheltering Palestinian leaders of militant groups, or counter Syria's interference in Lebanon, which has undermined the U.S. effort to promote Lebanese independence from external actors, according to the daily.
It said that while the U.S. maintains sanctions against Syria, American allies such as India and Turkey have inked trade deals with Damascus in recent months that undercut the American effort.
And Syria's alliance with Iran remains strong, to the dismay of U.S. officials who, as the WikiLeaks cables show, had hoped to drive a wedge between Syria and Iran, in part to stop the flow of weapons to Hizbullah.
Asked about the likelihood of Israel striking at a border area where transfer of weapons is taking place or one of the camps inside Syria, the Israeli military official told the newspaper: "This is definitely one of the options Israel has. Of course any attack like this could lead to an escalation."
“Persuading Syria to break its alliance with Hizbullah's chief patron, Iran, would be a key step toward ending the shipments. But it is in Lebanon that Syria's regional resurgence has been felt most profoundly,” The Washington Post said.