SCUDs and Syria
Israel has a legal right and a moral obligation to keep Syrian arms out of Lebanon.


Elliott Abrams

According to recent news stories, Israel believes that Syria is supplying SCUD missiles to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. Should Israel bomb Syria to stop them? As the charges and threats from both sides multiply, the story of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 is worth recalling.

On Aug. 11, 2006, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1701 as part of an effort to end the war then raging in Lebanon between Israeli and Hezbollah forces. The resolution was the product of long negotiations involving primarily the United States, France, and the governments of Israel and Lebanon. The final text made crystal clear — over and over — that supply of weaponry by Syria to Hezbollah was prohibited. Relevant provisions of the text read as follows:


The Security Council, . . .

the efforts of the Lebanese Prime Minister and the commitment of the Government of Lebanon . . . to extend its authority over its territory, through its own legitimate armed forces, such that there will be no weapons without the consent of the Government of Lebanon . . .

the importance of the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory . . . for it to exercise its full sovereignty, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the Government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the Government of Lebanon . . .

Calls upon
the Government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel . . .

further that all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft . . . the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territories.