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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 21, 2002

"Syria is not interested in direct conflict with Israel"

Egypt and Syria sued for peace. Why lose so many men? But other Arab states avoid war and support terror so that it seems a show of Arab solidarity and the only ones to die are the Palestinians. And who cares about them?
A senior Israeli military source interviewed yesterday (18th November 2002) said that there was intelligence information showing that Syria was not interested in direct conflict with Israel, but preferred instead to fight Israel "from a distance" through the Hizballah organization. The senior military source emphasized that the Syrian army trained regularly and possessed an arsenal of ground to ground missiles positioned deep inside Syria, and was well capable of launching an attack on Israel.
The Syrian government, headed by Bashar Al Assad, makes no secret of its relationship with the Hizballah organization. The head of the Hizballah organization, Hassan Nasrallah, has been the personal guest of the Syrian president many times.

The Hizballah organization is the arm of Iran for exporting the ideology of the "revolution". It is situated on Israel's northern front, in South Lebanon. The organization is aware of constrictions imposed on it by its three masters: Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. The organization maintains strong links with Iran, and its members train on Iranian soil. The Hizballah numbers 1000 active fighters, and thousands of reservists. It is a fast growing organization, especially in Southern Lebanon where it is becoming a sort of semi-military organization.

The Hizballah has an arsenal of 220mm rockets, manufactured in Syria, with a range of 75 km. The rocket launchers have been placed at a number of locations along Lebanon's southern border, meaning that rockets can be fired deep into Israeli territory. The senior military source added that Hizballah is known to be working on a modern and longer ranging type of rocket.

The senior military source said that over the past two years the Hizballah had been building up its military strength and infrastructure by a "drill" method. According to this method the Hizballah pushes Israel to the limits of its restraint daily, without pushing past a point that would bring certain retaliatory action from Israel. In this way (by firing anti aircraft missiles along Israel's northern border) the organization keeps with its hard-line "Jihad" image, without going so far as to cause an outright war. "We are observing a lot of covert activity by the Hizballah" said the source.

The Hizballah has claimed many times that it is willing to fight for "every last Palestinian". It is known that the Hizballah is a very focused organization which likes to use shock tactics whenever possible. The military source emphasized that the September 11th attacks had drawn the line for terrorist organizations worldwide, including the Hizballah, which they dare not cross. The abduction of three IDF soldiers from Mount Dov by Hizballah was an incident that severely tested the limits of Israeli restraint, as was the terrorist attack at kibbutz Matsuba. In the attack on Matsuba, the Hizballah employed "trick" tactics such as keeping a low profile, and not taking responsibility for the attack, to prevent Israel from being able to retaliate. The source added that the guiding principle of the Hizballah was that, for the time being, "They are not interested in crossing the line".