Hezbollah’s brand-spankin’ new Scud missiles
Alright. How do you make the Middle Eastern situation even more volatile? Syria has figured out a way: Ship a batch of Scud missiles to Hezbollah to use against Israel. ABC reports:
The reports first surfaced in the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai, which said the U.S. administration has delayed the appointment of its new ambassador to Damascus in response to the weapons’ shipment. It also said Syria’s ambassador in Washington Imad Moustapha, was called in by State Department officials who expressed U.S. displeasure at the latest development. The controversial arms shipment was also discussed by Sen. John Kerry during his recent visit to the Syrian capital.
Israelis, naturally, are not too happy about the news. Veteran Israeli commentators Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff write in Haaretz:
Scuds are weapons in a league of their own. This will be the first time that any terrorist-guerrilla group can boast of possessing ballistic missiles of the kind that usually comprise the arsenals of organized armies. In recent years, Hezbollah has amassed an extensive and dangerous array of rockets, all in defiance of Israeli threats and international condemnation.
The Scud will serve as an important, significant addition to the group’s cache of projectiles, even though it would be reasonable to assume that these arms will only be deployed as a last resort. The question, ostensibly, is who determines the proper timing of a last resort. Iran would prefer that the Scuds be used as a response to any Israeli attack against its nuclear installations, while Hezbollah may view Scuds as the fitting Lebanese answer to a more local clash with the Israel Defense Forces.
It is important to remember that when Scuds were last fired at Israel during Gulf War I, they caused relatively little damage to local targets and were rather less precise than feared. However, it is not known whether the Scuds sent to Hezbollah have more precise aiming capability… but odds are that they do.