Hezbollah received ballistic missiles from Syria, Clinton warned 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted in a secret cable to State Department employees that Syria is supplying ballistic missiles and other advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, a cable released by WikiLeaks stated.

The cable warned that Syria's actions would jeopardize negotiations with Israel and escalate tensions in the region.

"Undersecretary Burns visited Damascus on February 17 and stressed U.S. concerns about weapons transfers to Hezbollah directly with Syrian President Bashar Asad, who bluntly stated that he knew of no new weapons systems going to Hezbollah," the cable written this past February states. "In light of disturbing and weighty evidence to the contrary -- that Syria currently provides Hezbollah with advanced ballistic missiles and other weaponry -- we want France, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar to make a renewed push to echo our concerns with Syria. ..." the cable said.

Since Hezbollah began after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, it has grown into a major political and military organization serving Lebanon's large Shi'ite Muslim community. The group is accused of using its social service arm as a front for financing its terrorist actions.

WikiLeaks, which has continued to remain on the Web despite efforts by the United States and other allies to stop its dissemination of classified documents, had released 1,269 diplomatic cables as of late this week, out of an estimated 250,000 in the group's possession.

This detailed cable -- sent to U.S. diplomats in London, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Jerusalem, Beirut, Paris and Riyadh, as well as military officials at Fort Meade and the CIA -- contended that Syria "views military support to Hezbollah as integral to Syria's security and as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with Israel over the return of the Golan Heights, as well as a possible stick to bring the Israelis back to the table."

A military official who spoke to The Washington Examiner said "Syria has been supplying weapons to Hezbollah for some time and the region is highly unstable with Hezbollah gaining enormous power due to Syrian and Iranian influence."

Clinton said that the United States must get the French, British, Turkish, Saudi, Jordanian and Qatari governments to dissuade Syria from expanding ties to Hezbollah "especially via the transfer of additional sophisticated weaponry."

U.S. officials said that transferred missiles include Scud-D missiles, which are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

The cable gave officials in the allied nations suggested talking points for their interactions with Syrian officials.

"We would like to convey to you that we have information indicating that Syria is providing increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah, including from its own military stocks," she states in the cable. "For example, we assess that Syria has provided or will provide guided short range ballistic missiles to Hezbollah that could target two-thirds of Israel, including Tel Aviv, from launch sites north of the Litani."

Clinton added that the United States has evidence, which indicated "Syria has made advanced surface to air missile systems available to Hezbollah and has probably provided training on these systems to Hezbollah personnel."

The Syrian government believes that arming Hezbollah bolstered "Syria's security and strength at the negotiating table with Israel, when the opposite is more likely to be true," she stated.

Sara A. Carter is The Washington Examiner's national security correspondent. She can be reached at scarter@washingtonexaminer.com.

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