Israel wants international troops at Syria/Lebanon border


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Israel wants international troops at Syria/Lebanon border

Staff Reporter

Israel is calling for deployment of international troops at nine Lebanese border
crossings where Hezbollah is attempting to smuggle truck-laden missiles from 
Syria, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week.

Miri Eisen said Israel has raised the issue of arms smuggling with UN Secretary 
General Kofi Annan, who visited the region last week. ³It¹s being discussed...We
say to the United Nations and Kofi Annan that this issue is not being dealt 
with.² she said.

In a telephone interview from Israel, Eisen laid out Israel¹s case that 
Hezbollah must be prevented from re-arming ­ particularly through overland 
routes from Syria.

Hezbollah has been repeatedly violating UN resolution 1701, which calls for its 
disarmament and which embargoes new weapons to the Lebanese group, she said. 
Because of the success of Israel¹s blockade of Lebanese ports and airfields, 
Hezbollah has turned to an overland route for arms replenishment.

Eisen said Israel is concerned that Hezbollah is attempting to smuggle Katyusha 
missiles on trucks through the border crossings, as well as suitcase-sized 
anti-tank missiles.

Iran is the source of the trucked missiles and Syria the anti-tank munitions, 
she said. The missiles are being shipped overland from Iran, through Turkey and 
Syria to Lebanon. Thousands of trucks enter Turkey from Iran each day, mostly 
bound for Europe, and Turkish authorities cannot search each one. Those destined
for Lebanon then traverse Syria.

³Syria and Lebanon have a 330-km long border which has no fence,² she said. The 
trucks can enter Lebanon through any of the nine border crossings. ³We have 
evidence they are trying.²

Eisen would not indicate if Israel was interdicting the shipments, saying, 
³Israel reserves as always the right to self defense.²

Eisen¹s comments came as Israel tried to draw international attention to 
Hezbollah¹s repeated attempts to rearm in violation of UN resolution 1701 and to
Iran¹s and Syria¹s roles in providing munitions to the Islamic terrorist group. 
She said Israel¹s successful embargo on Lebanese ports and airfields will 
continue until international troops take over. She called for an international 
presence on the Lebanese border with Syria as well.

Eisen noted that Israeli intelligence had learned that Syria provided Hezbollah 
with sophisticated Russian-made anti-tank missiles that were used extensively in
the Lebanon war. ³The short-range anti-tank missiles had a devastating effect on
the troops and it is difficult to give protection against it,² she said. ³They 
fired a couple of hundred anti-tank missiles and hit around 25 different 

(Globes Online, an Israeli business website, reported that 52 tanks were hit by 
Cornet, Concourse and Metis-M missiles. Of that number 22 were penetrated by 
missiles and 23 soldiers killed.)

Eisen said the anti-tank missiles have been traced back to Syria. Cyrillic 
writing on some of the missiles indicate they originated in Russia and were 
supplied to Syrian forces.

In a related development Israeli Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni asked the United 
Nations to adopt a resolution preventing Iran from arming Hezbollah. She also 
called on the international community to pressure Lebanon to release two Israeli
soldiers, whose kidnapping triggered the month long war.

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