9/03 Links Part 1: Murray - The Syrian paradox, Kissinger’s Good Option, Hezbollah Mobilizes Fighters

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Will Assad Unleash His Palestinian Terrorists Against U.S., Israel?
Informed sources told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that the PFLP-GC has reached an agreement with the Syrian regime, Iran and Hizbullah to retaliate for a US-led military strike, and that Israel would be the first target of such retaliation.
Hussam Arafat, one of the leaders of the PFLP-GC, said that his group would not remain idle "while Syria is being slaughtered."
"Any Western aggression on Syria," he added, "would serve the interests of Israel and we will stand with Syria and join it in war."
Pro-Assad Palestinian terrorists based in refugee camps in Lebanon are also said to be preparing to "defend Syria against Western aggression." Many of these terrorists are affiliated with Syria's allies in Lebanon: the Shiite terror group, Hizbullah.
Earlier, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization also warned that its members would retaliate when and if Syria is attacked. The organization, based in Damascus, has a few thousand terrorists in Syria and Lebanon.
Palestinians in speeding truck penetrate airport security
Additional roadblocks were immediately deployed and, when the truck breached a second barrier — nearly hitting the guard stationed there — security personnel shot at the truck, eventually causing it to stop. The two Palestinian men were ordered out of the vehicle and arrested.
During an interrogation, the men, who hail from the West Bank cities of Jenin and Qalqilya, claimed that they were car thieves, and that they had just stolen the truck in the nearby town of Beit Dagan. They said that they entered the airport road by accident and panicked when they saw the Israeli security personnel.
As the US pledged $148 million to the PA, the PA pledged $15 million to released prisoners
The Palestinian Authority has announced that it plans to give 5,000 released security prisoners who served more than 5 years in Israeli prisons a Dignified Life Grant. The Head of the Statistics Department of the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, Abd Al-Nasser Farwaneh, said that the amount distributed would be "15 million American dollars." The PA's intention to use "American dollars" for released security prisoners, most of whom are convicted terrorists, was reported by the official PA daily the very same day that the US announced it was giving the PA "$148 million" - "American dollars" - for the PA's general budget.
Abbas on Syria: ‘We Will Never Support the Bombing of an Arab Country by a Foreign State’
“We don’t accept for any Arabic country to be attacked and we condemn the use of chemical weapons by any group. The solution to the Syrian crisis must be political and there is no military solution. We want a peaceful solution for Syria,” Abbas said in a speech to Fatah’s revolutionary council, according to Ma’an News Agency.
Asserting that the U.S. is likely to attack Syria, Abbas was unequivocal in stating the PA’s “position towards it is fixed, we are against a military attack.”
In turning to Congress on Syria, Obama overrules top advisers
People close to the deliberations say Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, national security adviser Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power largely agreed about the need to use force to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad. While there were some differing views about the speed and the scope of an attack, there were no splintered factions the way there had been during first-term debates over taking action in Libya or launching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
The advisers, two of whom are former senators, were also willing to proceed without congressional authorization. But on Friday night, after a week spent speeding toward military action, the president made a stunning turnabout and decided he wanted approval from lawmakers before carrying out an attack.
Israel ‘uneasy’ being painted by Obama as potential WMD victim
Israel is “discomfited that both Obama and Kerry mentioned Israel as a potential victim of Assad’s chemical weapons,” Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Monday night. "Israel," it quoted unnamed senior Israeli officials saying, “is not a victim. We don’t need America to take care of threats to Israel.”
Israel’s army, the sources said, was perfectly capable of protecting Israel from any dangers posed by Assad.
Israel shoots test missile over sea, raising alarms
Russia raised a brief alarm in the Middle East Tuesday after apparently detecting a joint Israel and US missile launch test in the Mediterranean.
Israel’s Defense Ministry confirmed that it carried out a successful trial involving a new type of Sparrow target missile, which was meant to test Israel’s missile tracking capabilities.
Douglas Murray: The Syrian paradox
The problem then is this. If any country carries out punitive strikes against the Assad regime they will undoubtedly and rightly be demonstrating the international community’s revulsion over the use of chemical weapons. But if the targets that are hit in the resulting strike are meaningful (government buildings, installations etc) then there is the risk that such an intervention could tip the balance in the Syrian civil war. If that balance is tipped and Assad is severely weakened or even falls as a result then whoever carried out the strikes will be at least partly responsible for what comes next. That is a responsibility which neither America, Britain, France nor any other Western power can handle and it is one which none of us wants.
So – and here is the imponderable – the only purpose of strikes must be to hit targets which are meaningless. As I say in today’s Spectator podcast that means something akin to President Clinton’s futile lobbing of missiles at an aspirin factory in Sudan as a response to the 1998 al-Qaeda embassy bombings in Africa.
Kissinger’s good option
Kissinger believes Syria should and will break up in some fashion — indeed, the independent-minded Kurds have already created a de facto state with a potent military, the Druze have their own militias and Assad’s ruling Alawites, in preparation for a retreat to their traditional homelands should they lose the civil war, have heavily fortified Alawite territory. This break up, sooner rather than later, is Kissinger’s preferred outcome yet the West is misguidedly acting to thwart it.
UK Government let British company export nerve gas chemicals to Syria
The Government was accused of “breathtaking laxity” in its arms controls last night after it emerged that officials authorised the export to Syria of two chemicals capable of being used to make a nerve agent such as sarin a year ago.
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, will today be asked by MPs to explain why a British company was granted export licences for the dual-use substances for six months in 2012 while Syria’s civil war was raging and concern was rife that the regime could use chemical weapons on its own people. The disclosure of the licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride, which can both be used as precursor chemicals in the manufacture of nerve gas, came as the US Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States had evidence that sarin gas was used in last month’s atrocity in Damascus.
Syria tried to buy banned weapons material from Swiss
Since 1998, the government of Syria made 14 attempted purchases which were flagged and rejected by the Swiss export control watchdog, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
Among the items sought for purchase were a bioreactor, an industrial vacuum pump and valves, reported AFP. The State Secretariat’s spokeswoman, Marie Avet, said the 14 rejected deals were worth a total of 1.7 million Swiss francs ($1.7 million).
German Intelligence Concludes Assad is Behind Chemical Attack
The German intelligence agency (BND) has enough evidence in its possession to conclude that President Bashar Al-Assad ordered the suspected chemical attack in Syria on August 21, Russia Today (RT) reported Monday, citing a report in the German weekly Der Spiegel.
French PM Shares 'Proof' Assad behind Chemical Attack
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has shared intelligence with lawmakers he says proves the chemical attack on 21 August came from government forces.
The dossier shared with the French parliament today (Monday) reportedly includes satellite images showing a large offensive on the Damascus neighborhood of Ghouta coming from government controlled areas to the East and West of the area held by rebel forces.
The intelligence is said to span nine pages and concludes that “Unlike previous attacks that used small amounts of chemicals and were aimed at terrorizing people, this attack was tactical and aimed at regaining territory.”
Stream of refugees out of Syria passes 2 million mark, UN says
If the conflict continues 3.5 million people Syrian refugees are expected by the end of the year, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said.
“At this particular moment it’s the highest number of displaced people anywhere in the world,” he told reporters in Geneva. “Syria has become the great tragedy of this century — a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.”
Report: Iran Thinks Israel is Close to Striking It
Iran believes that Israel is close to stiking its nuclear facilities, according to a report in Lebanese newspaper Al Jumhuriya, cited by Maariv/NRG. According to the report, a senior Iranian official recently visited Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in his hideout in the Dahiya section section of Beirut to discuss this assessment.
A senior military source confirmed to the Lebanese newspaper that the meeting had, indeed, taken place, but said that it had not been held inside the Dahiya – a neighborhood controlled by Hezbollah – but outside it.
The senior source said that the Iranian official is a military officer and that the meeting was devoted to the military and logistical readiness of Hezbollah for a confrontation with Israel, which, he added, is just “a stone's throw away” from Lebanon.
Hezbollah said to mobilize troops ahead of possible showdown
Members of Hezbollah have “disappeared” from villages across Lebanon, AFP reported Tuesday, citing Lebanese media and witnesses. The report noted that Hezbollah fighters in strongholds along the coast, in the Bekaa valley, near the Syrian border and in southern Beirut had left town, with many turning off their cellphones to avoid being tracked.
While security measures remain in place, checkpoints around the terror group’s nerve center in the capital are now being manned by teenagers instead of regular Hezbollah fighters, the news agency said.
Three Men Charged in Lebanon for Firing Rockets Into Israel
Three men suspected of firing rockets into Israel from Lebanon last month were formally charged on Monday, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.
State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr charged Lebanese nationals Youssef Mohammed al-Fleity and Omar Abdul Mawla al-Atrash and a third, unnamed individual, with shooting the rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel.
Report: Hamas Members Arrested in Attack on Egyptian Police
Egyptian authorities reportedly have arrested 11 people suspected of killing 25 Egyptian police officers in an ambush last week. Five of the suspects are Hamas members, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat reports.
The arrests took place several days ago but were kept secret for security reasons, the newspaper reported. Three foreign nationals were among the suspects.
A Hamas spokesman denied the allegation, calling it part of an Egyptian campaign to delegitimize the group and justify Egypt’s recent closing of smuggling tunnels into Hamas-run Gaza.
Egypt army pummels Sinai militants, killing dozens
Egyptian helicopter gunships fired rockets early Tuesday at militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula, causing “dozens” of casualties, a security official said.
He said the two aircraft surprised militant gatherings in three houses in two locations, al-Muqataa and Touma, south of the town of Sheikh Zuweyid near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Attacks by Islamic militants surged in the lawless Sinai after the toppling of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi in a July 3 coup.