Syria Threatens War, Olmert Dismissive

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday that Syria is ready for a war with Israel. PM Ehud Olmert said Israel has no intention of attacking.

Ezra HaLevi,

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday that Syria is ready for a war with Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel has no intention of starting that war.

“Syria grows stronger every day,” Assad told the Arabic Dar Al-Hayat daily, adding that Israel is a “bitter enemy.” He also said that contacts between Syria and Israel take place about once a month, with no results, due to Israel’s refusal to unilaterally withdraw from the Golan Heights. "We do not know whether war will take place, but we should not disregard this possibility," Assad concluded.

Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said Sunday that, "If Israel rejects the Arab League peace proposal, resistance will be the only way to liberate the Golan Heights."

Israel has annexed the Golan Heights, the high ground overlooking northern Israel, after liberating it from Syria in 1967 during the Six Day War. More than 40,000 Israeli Jews now live in the Golan.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded to the threats Wednesday before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He said Israel has no intention of attacking Syria and opined that Syria will not attack Israel either, but is talking about defending itself if attacked.

MK Israel Katz (Likud) slammed Olmert’s response to Assad’s war talk during the committee meeting. "You are mistaken to think that the Syrians are increasing their strength for self defense,” he said, addressing the prime minister. “The Syrians are planning a terror attack in the Golan Heights in the summer and are building fortifications to prevent Israel from defending itself when the attack comes. You should be warning the Syrian president, not reassuring him," Katz said.

A terror attack perpetrated by Hizbullah along the Lebanese border is what triggered the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Syria Building Advanced Missile-Launch-Bunkers
The Christian Broadcasting Network has gone into further detail about Syria’s preparations for war. Missile expert Uzi Rubin describes what he terms “Syria’s Cape Canaveral,” referring to the headquarters of the American NASA space agency.

One installation features Syrian missile launchers housed in more than 30 huge concrete bunkers surrounding an operations command center. “They learned the trick that even shorter-range missiles that are fired in salvos from multiple rocket launchers are very effective against Israel's civilian population," Rubin said.

Another military site includes a drive-through building were chemical warheads are stored. "The Scud D can hit any point in Israel from the furthermost point in Syria near the Iraqi border,” Rubin says. “It was done specifically in order to have this range to hit every single point in Israel.”

UN Concerned
The UN Security Council issued an expression of "serious concern" Tuesday in response to concrete reports of the amassing of Syrian arms smuggled over the border to Lebanon.

The council dispatched a mission to assess the implementation of UN resolution 1701, which brought the Second Lebanon War to a close with guarantees that the UN would prevent the smuggling of arms to the Hizbullah from Syria.

The council called on Syria to take “further measures to prevent arms transfers.”