Israel warns against Russian arms supply to Syria

JERUSALEM Sat May 18, 2013 2:58pm EDT

Former centrist Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni holds a news conference in Tel Aviv November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Former centrist Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni holds a news conference in Tel Aviv November 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Nir Elias

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Saturday that advanced weapons supplied by Russia to war-torn Syria could end up in the wrong hands and be used against the Jewish state.

A Russian shipment of Yakhont anti-ship missiles to Syria was condemned by the United States on Friday and Israel is also alarmed by the prospect of Russia supplying S-300 advanced air defense missile systems to Damascus.

While Israel has declined to take sides in the civil war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels trying to topple him, Western and Israeli sources say it has launched air strikes inside Syria in a bid to destroy weapons it believes are destined for the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told Army Radio: "(Weapons) could reach others in Syria or Lebanon and be used against Israel."

"These are not just any weapons, they are tie-breakers, and that's why there is a responsibility with all world powers, certainly Russia, not to supply such arms," Livni said, adding that Israel had the right to defend itself.

Israel has neither denied nor confirmed reports that it attacked Iranian-supplied missiles stored near Damascus this month that it believed were awaiting delivery to Hezbollah, an Assad ally which fought a war with Israel in 2006.

Senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad said the S-300 and the Yakhont would likely end up with Hezbollah and threaten both Israel and U.S. forces in the Gulf.

"If Hezbollah and Iran are supporting Syria and propping the (Assad) regime up, then why shouldn't it transfer those weapons to Hezbollah? You don't even have to be an intelligence expert, it makes sense that they will," Gilad told Channel Two television's Meet the Press.

In comments to Israel Radio on Friday, Gilad said: "If you ask the Russians if these weapons will be passed on to Hezbollah, they will say: 'No, that is against Russian law.' But it's not certain that Russian law is something they will respect. So if Hezbollah can put its hands on them, it will."

The two-year-old civil war in Syria between Assad's forces and rebel fighters has killed at least 80,000 people and driven 1.5 million abroad.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (45)
baaljibal wrote:
From the best point of view the world believe that the western world, European and Israelis should and must exterminate the terrorists hezballah peons in southern Lebanon, then move to Syria and finally allow the world to rest from the Iranian evil causing all the pain to this precious planet. the relief is on the way!

May 18, 2013 3:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
IslamBlows wrote:
These missiles are not a “tie breaker”.
They are anti-ship missiles, and Israel would destroy Damascus from the air if the Syrians (any of them) are stupid enough to attack.

Pretty soon, just every other “arab spring” country, Syria will be back to throwing stones over a fence at Israel.

May 18, 2013 4:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
umojaresearch wrote:
As America still supports Israel, American Servicemen are still without Justice.

Justice Still Missing for Liberty
Justice Still Missing for Liberty

By Journal Staff on Fri, Jun 15, 2012

ON JUNE 8, 1967, Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats attacked in international waters the American intelligence vessel USS Liberty, killing 34 American sailors and wounding 174. American carrier planes were launched but immediately recalled by President Lyndon Johnson, who said that he did not want to “embarrass my ally,” who at the moment were strafing the Liberty’s life rafts.

Despite the National Security Agency withholding tapes and documents that bear on the matter, there is overwhelming evidence, including NSA intercepts of the pilots’ transmissions, that this was a deliberate attack, seemingly designed to keep the U.S. from knowing of Israel’s impending attack on the Golan Heights, which Washington opposed. The Liberty sailors were ordered to be silent on pain of court martial, and the Navy conducted a superficial investigation, admitting that its purpose was not to “assign culpability.”
To this day the official position of the Israeli and American governments is that the incident was an accident, which is about as likely as the attack on Pearl Harbor being accidental.

It makes me ashamed to be an American.


May 18, 2013 5:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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