Daily Israel Report

US Arms Reach Hizbullah, American Military Attache Admits

'Small amounts' of US weapons reach Lebanese terror group, admits Col. Richard Burgess, outgoing US military attache in Israel.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/27/2010, 5:19 PM / Last Update: 12/27/2010, 5:26 PM

Some of the American-funded weapons that are being supplied to Lebanon fall into the hands of Hizbullah, the outgoing US military attache in Israel, Col. Richard Burgess, has admitted.

In an interview for official IDF journal BaMachaneh, Burgess said: "The arms we transfer to Lebanon could fall into the wrong hands. Small amounts indeed do. We have a good idea of what reaches the hands of Hizbullah. But I would say that the important weapons do not. It worries us, but not at a level that would cause us to stop the financial aid and change our policy. Stopping the aid would cause more damage than a few items that fall into the wrong hands."

After making the admission, the journal reported, the colonel was quick to qualify his statement. "One must remember that there are means of control, control mechanisms, in order to prevent the weapons transferred from reaching the wrong hands," he added.

"This is one of those cases in which you need to look at the bigger picture," Burgess continued. "Right after the incident on the northern border, the U.S. Government stopped financial aid to Lebanon for several months. During those months, there were countries like Iran that offered Lebanon their assistance, and that is dangerous. If we do not have good relations with Lebanon, someone else will. And we do not want countries like Iran and Syria, which are enemies of Israel, to help it."

Regarding Iran, Burgess echoed earlier statements by U.S. officials. "We are willing to do anything it takes to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," he said. "Means of active defense by Israel and the U.S. are definitely an possibility. Israel has a right to defend itself, and if it and the U.S. decide that this is the best way to protect Israel, or the region in general, it will do so."

"At the end of the day," he explained, "if you take a leader like Ahmadinejad, and give him maximal power, you are faced again with the scenario of the 30s, with the guy with the tiny mustache. That is a risk Israel cannot afford to take."