Hizballah rushes arms to Syria, Iran sets up security cameras in Damascus (DEBKAfile) Exclusive Report 05/11/11 7:44 PM (GMT+02:00)
The shocking impact of the twin explosions which killed 55 people and
injured almost 400 in Damascus Thursday, May 10, galvanized Bashar
Assad’s allies, starting with Iran, into frenetic activity. Within
hours, Tehran had ordered its Lebanese proxy Hizballah to open up its
arms stores and run quantities of weapons and military equipment
across the border to the Syrian army – a striking reversal of the
routine direction of arms supplies. Thursday night, Washington
quietly asked Lebanese President Michel Suleiman to put a stop to the
While the Syrian opposition and Assad regime blamed each other – or
al Qaeda - for the worst attack Damascus has seen in the 14-month
uprising, it was obvious to both that it must have been the work of a
major and very professional undercover agency.
In Tehran, Moscow and Beirut, the scale of the bombing attacks which
leveled a key Syrian security headquarters was judged a sharp
escalation in the offensive for President Assad’s overthrow - more
intense even than the NATO campaign which last year removed the
Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.
DEBKAfile’s sources in Moscow say the event has consequently cast a
dark shadow over relations between the Obama administration and
Vladimir Putin at the outset of his third term as Russian president.
This week, Putin pointedly declined to attend the G-8 summit of world
leaders meeting next week at the US presidential retreat of Camp
David. He decided to send Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev over in his
The Russian president has three large bones to pick with Washington:
a) He suspects American hands of stirring up opposition
demonstrations against him during his election campaign;
b) He is flat against the US missile shield going up in Europe and
the Middle East to intercept Iran’s ballistic missiles; and
c) He is solidly behind the Assad regime which he accuses the US of
seeking to overthrow.
In its message to Beirut, the US reminded the Lebanese president that
the transfer of war materials by Hizballah to Syria was a violation
of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the 206 Lebanon
war between the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group and Israel. Arms
transfers between Syria and Lebanon were banned in both directions.
But his prohibition was never upheld. Regular arms consignments have
been crossing into Lebanon for Hizballah from and via Syria for the
past six years without any interference by the United Nations force
UNIFIL stationed in South Lebanon.
Washington knows perfectly well that no one in Lebanon will stop the
arms flow to Syria either. But the request to President Suleiman is
intended to lay the ground for expanded international and US
intervention in the Syrian conflict.
Another step Tehran took straight after the Damascus bombings to firm
up the Assad regime was to start organizing a network of closed
circuit security cameras to be installed in all parts of Damascus and
its exits and entries for three functions:
1. Opponents of the regime will have less freedom of movement in the
2. The army and security forces can economize on manpower for
securing the city. Patrols will fan out after cameras register
hostile or suspicion movements.
3. Syrian and allied intelligence services can keep track of UN
monitors’ movements. The UN mission is regarded by Syria, Iran and
Russia as “the eyes and ears of the West.” (Copyright 2000-2012
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