Israeli Officials Explain Weapons Transfer "Red Line"


Jerusalem, Feb. 15 – Multiple Israeli and international outlets are reporting that Israeli Air Force jets bombed a Syrian weapons convoy overnight Tuesday. Speculation about the strike is converging on the possibility that Israel intercepted a shipment of SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles that had reached Lebanon from Syria and were bound for Hezbollah. Syrian state-controlled media, meanwhile, is reporting that Israeli forces bombed installations inside Syria, and there are rumors that the allegedly targeted buildings were part of Syria's nonconventional weapons program.

At stake is a "red line" that Israel set as early as summer 2012, under which Jerusalem would take action to block the transfer of Syria's nonconventional weapons to terrorist groups fighting either for or against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Israeli officials and foreign policy analysts fear that Syria's chemical and biological weapons could be deliberately transferred to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah or could be seized by Al Qaeda-linked opposition forces in Syria.

The Israel Project has compiled a cluster of multimedia resources unpacking Israel's development of its "red line" regarding chemical and biological weapon transfers. At the bottom of this post are selections from a TIP YouTube collection documenting Israeli officials emphasizing warnings to Syria over potential transfers. Click on the photos to go to the selected videos, or click on the link at the very bottom to go to TIP's full YouTube playlist on this issue.

Above the videos are audio selections from a press briefing held this morning in Jerusalem by TIP, in which a former top Mossad official, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Amnon Sofrin, briefed reporters. Sofrin discussed potential scenarios under which Syria would seek to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah in spite of Israeli warnings. The event was held before news of today's incidents leaked, precisely in anticipation of a potential deterioration in the Syrian security environment.

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