I am Spartacus

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10STATE17307 2010-02-25 00:12 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET Secretary of State
VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #7307 0560006
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 250003Z FEB 10
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0000
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0000
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0000
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0000
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUETIAA/DIRNSA FT GEORGE G MEADE MD PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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.

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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