Israeli Intelligence Chief Says Diplomacy Won’t Move Syrian Missiles out of Lebanon

Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, Director of Israel’s military intelligence, said today that the chances were “practically zero” that Syria would remove its SAM-6 anti-aircraft missiles from Lebanon voluntarily or through diplomacy. Saguy told local military correspondents that the Syrians have been making war preparations.

He cited their widespread military maneuvers and civil defense exercises. He said he didn’t think President Hafez Assad wants an all-out war with Israel but would be prepared for a “low profile limited confrontation.” U.S. special envoy Philip Habib, whose mission is to find a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Syrian missile crisis over Lebanon is in Damascus today and is expected in Israel tomorrow.

Saguy said one of the main problems in the region is the instability of the Arab regimes and their internal quarrels. On the one hand, this prevented a common effort on their part. But it also increased the danger that they would use the threat of the “Israeli enemy” to paper over their differences, he said.

Referring to Israel’s air attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor June 7, Saguy said the operation had required “exact and detailed intelligence.” But he insisted that Israel had received no intelligence assistance from the U.S.

NEXT STORY