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Israeli PM Netanyahu, “Hizbullah has missile Base in Syria”
The Jerusalem Post reported today that Israeli PM Netanyahu had informed Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, during a state visit to Italy that Hizbullah has a Scud Missile base in Syria.
Syria agreed to transfer Scud missiles to Hizbullah after intense and repeated efforts by Iran to convince it an Israeli attack in the north was imminent, the report added.
However, the weapons were not transferred out of Syria, but instead Hizbullah was allowed to have a base inside Syria, according to the report.
This report follows one by The Times of London on Friday that satellite photos show that Hizbullah terrorists have been living in armed bases stocked with surface-to-surface missiles in Syria.
This evidence contradicts remarks by Syrian strongman Bashar Assad during a Charlie Rose interview aired Thursday night on PBS. Witness Assad’s comments about “peace with Israel” and dismissal of the Hizbullah Scud missile threat:
"If we have peace and we're sure that we are going to have our land back then surely Israel will live normally, like any other country in this region," said Assad.
Earlier in the week, Assad said that he was willing to sign a peace agreement with Israel in exchange for the Golan Heights.
The Syrian president also dismissed claims that his country supplied Hizbullah with long-range Scud missiles, stating that it was an "anecdotal story [told by] Israel."
Assad has questionable credibility. Therefore, why should the Obama administration have any trust in Syrian auspices to secure peace in neighboring Lebanon and with Israel? Israel has just conducted its fourth annual civil defense drill. This drill was a demonstration of Israel’s national resolve to defend itself.
The Assad regime made additional billions illegally by smuggling oil from neighboring Iraq at below world market prices despite UN sanctions against the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. All done while selling its own oil at world market prices in the E.U. and lying about it to Western leaders, like former Bush Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
Before I reached the chapter in Rubin’s book about father Hafiz, who died in 2000 succeeded by son Bashar Al-Assad, I mused to myself this is all too familiar. It’s a real, rather than fictionalized, version of “The Godfather” Don Corleone and his son and successor Michael Corleone, and siblings and relatives wiped out for crossing the ‘capo da capo tutti’. Rubin perfects that analogy with revelations about favored elder son Basil’s fateful crash into a concrete abutment near Damascus airport, the cultivation of young Bashar who succeeded Hafiz, the three decade long Ba’thist dictator and air force general, and the forced exile of ‘uncle Rifaat’, Hafiz’s younger brother and thug who tried to seize the reins of power when Hafiz suffered a heart attack in 1983. Twice exiled in 1984 and finally in 1998, his properties were seized in 1999 and warned that he would be tried if he came back to Syria.
As Rubin puts it, “substitute Alawites for Sicilians” and voila!
Another example was the ‘mysterious’ suicide in October 2005 of the Syrian ‘supremo’ in control of Lebanon, the late Syrian Interior Minister and long term intelligence chief, Ghazi Kanaan. He was purportedly too heavily involved with the assassination of late Lebanese PM Rifak Hariri and was interviewed by UN Security Council investigators. Hariri, a billionaire construction mogul, was ironically a beneficiary of the reconstruction of civil war torn Lebanon playing along with the Al-Assad economic stranglehold on his home country. Twice PM, Hariri came to the realization that Syria should be forced out of Lebanon. But he paid the ultimate price for crossing the Al-Assads on a free trade deal.
While, Bashar was viewed initially as an internet surfing ‘soul mate’ by neighboring King Abdullah, II of Jordan, that veil was quickly lifted , and Bashar revealed himself as someone who would ruthlessly and recklessly pursue the family and Syria’s objectives of enriching themselves and exporting destabilization through terrorist proxies. Terrorist proxies were harbored in Damascus, neighboring Lebanon and in Gaza. Proxies like Hizbullah under Shia icon Sheik Nasrallah, the personal representative of Ayatollah Khamanei of Iran, who perpetrated last summer’s clash with Israel that cost Lebanon $10 billion in damages and thousands of casualties.
The other overarching observation threading through the Rubin volume is the remarkable blunder by Western political leaders in not recognizing the malevolent intransigence of the Al-Assad ‘mafia’. Witness the Assads destabilizing through terrorism by sending proxies to murder dozens of politicians, diplomats, journalists and PMs in Lebanon and Jordan. Thus, they stifled and frustrated any hopes for a ‘global’ solution in the Middle East. Clearly the Assads want a greater Syria that includes Lebanon, Palestine-meaning Israel, and Jordan as an inheritance from the last Caliphate –the Ottoman Empire. Then there are the Hezbollah terrorist bombings of American Marines, French paras, kidnapping, torture and murders of US CIA and Marine UNIFIL officers, and al Qaeda insurgent attacks across the border against U.S. forces in Iraq resulting in thousands of deaths. I would also put in the same ‘terrorism by proxy’ category the Hezbollah ‘hits’ against Panamanian Jews on a commuter plane, the Israeli Embassy, and the AMIA Jewish communal center in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994. These are indicative of the Syrian junior partnership with Iran.