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White House to Syria: a few SCUDs are enough

A Kuwaiti newspaper cornered Israeli leadership with an uncomfortable revelation: Syria had transferred some of its SCUD missiles to Hezbollah.

Not a big secret, huh? Intelligence leaks concerning SCUD transfers persisted for a year, prompting occaisional futile warnings from Israeli leaders.

Syria reportedly moved SCUD-D missiles first close to Lebanon, then into that country. It is not apparent why Syria would divest itself of its newest models, which were tested successfully only three years ago. Syrian SCUD-Ds are unlike their Russian counterparts: they have no efficient optical guidance and are less precise, but they have a longer range—400 miles, compared to less than 200. There is little reason for Syria to target Dimona, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Eilat from Lebanon rather than Gaza.

Syria would be expected to pass its old and numerous SCUD-Cs to Hezbollah. Parting with SCUD-Ds only makes sense if Syria is really preparing for a war and seeking to spread out its arsenals, which were previously concentrated heavily at Al Safir base.

If there ever were a casus belli, it is the transfer of SCUD-Ds to a terrorist organization, which clearly signals an imminent war and an alliance among Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah. Yet, Israel does nothing, and the US has humbly asked the Syrian ambassador to stop further shipments of SCUDs.

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