Viewing cable 10STATE17307, DEMARCHE ON TRANSFER OF BALLISTIC MISSILES TO
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|10STATE17307||2010-02-25 00:12||2010-12-06 21:09||SECRET||Secretary of State|
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S E C R E T STATE 017307 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/24/2020 TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MASS IS LE SY SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON TRANSFER OF BALLISTIC MISSILES TO HIZBALLAH REF: TEL AVIV 404 Classified By: NEA A/S Jeffrey Feltman for reasons 1.4(b,d) ¶1. (U) This is an action request: see paragraph 3. ------- Summary ------- ¶2. (S/NF) Per reftel and other information, the Government of Israel (GOI) is concerned that Syria intends to imminently transfer SCUD-D missiles to Hizballah in Lebanon. We share this concern. The transfer of such weapons would constitute a significant escalation of a potentially volatile situation that could threaten regional stability. Embassy is requested to demarche SARG officials at the highest possible level to communicate the points below and report responses via front channel cable. NEA will deliver the same points to the Syrian Ambassador upon his return to Washington. End summary. -------------- Action Request -------------- ¶3. (S/REL SYRIA) Post is requested to use the following points in demarching the SARG on the imminent missile transfers to Hizballah. Begin points: -- Mr. Vice Minister, Washington has asked me to follow up on an issue that Under Secretary Burns raised privately with President Asad last week. We are growing increasingly concerned about the risk of a regional military conflict -- one that could have dire consequences for Syria. We believe it is in our mutual interests that we share our concerns with you again. -- Just weeks ago, we saw how the war of words between yourself, Foreign Minister Muallim and the Israelis could have quickly escalated out of control. President Asad assured U/S Burns that Syria had no interest in escalating the potential for conflict with Israel. With that assurance, we want to discuss with you frankly two increasingly worrisome issues that we believe could spark the next conflict. -- First, we are concerned about Syria's provision of increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hizballah. In our meetings last week it was stated that Syria is not transferring any "new" missiles to Lebanese Hizballah. We are aware, however, of current Syrian efforts to supply Hizballah with ballistic missiles. I must stress that this activity is of deep concern to my government, and we strongly caution you against such a serious escalation. -- Next, we are concerned that Hizballah is still planning an operation to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyeh. While Hizballah may be willing to risk a renewal of the 2006 conflict, it does not seem to be in Syria's interest to accept that risk. -- While Syria's influence over Hizballah's operational decision-making may be limited, the political reality is such that a major escalation would surely complicate our efforts to improve our bilateral relationship, and undermine our efforts to build political conditions conducive for re-launching Middle East peace negotiations. We therefore urge you to use whatever influence you have to avoid such a scenario. -- Your interest in avoiding war should require you to exert maximum restraint, including restraining Hizballah and preventing the group's acquisition of such lethal, long-range weapons. -- Iran and Hizballah both have interests that are not in Syria's own strategic interest. I know you are a strategic thinker, which is why I want to underscore for you that, from our perspective, your operational support for Hizballah is a strategic miscalculation that is damaging your long-term national interests. End points. CLINTON