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The Gathering Storm

Syria picks up arms and security.

10:20 AM, Jul 1, 2010 • By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
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The Obama administration’s policy of engagement with Syria has yielded yet more rewards.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Iran has sent Syria a sophisticated radar system that could threaten Israel's ability to launch a surprise attack against Iran's nuclear facilities, say Israeli and U.S. officials, extending an alliance aimed at undermining Israel's military dominance in the region.

The radar could bolster Syria's defenses by providing early warning of Israeli air-force sorties. It could also benefit Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group based in Lebanon and widely believed to receive arms from Syria.

How much more evidence is required before a policy can be called failed or worse than failed – counterproductive?

Israel is facing grave dangers from the enormous arsenal of short-range rockets Hezbollah has amassed in Lebanon, which has grown, as the Journal also reports, to more than 40,000 from 12,000 in 2006.  These rockets may, within a year or two, enjoy the protection of Iran’s nuclear umbrella, which will in turn be safeguarded by the Syrian radar.

Among other things, the transfer of the radar almost certainly violates a UN Security Council resolution barring Iranian arms transfers abroad. Once upon a time we could count on thunderclaps in the UN on behalf of Israel by American ambassadors, including Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and John Bolton. But now, Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s envoy to the UN, has been all but invisible.  

Benjamin Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week to meet with Barack Obama.  There would not be a better moment for him to try to wake up the world—or at least American public opinion—to the gathering storm.

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