Syria has transferred long-range Scud missiles to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Israeli and U.S. officials alleged, in a move that threatens to alter the Middle East's military balance and sets back a major diplomatic outreach effort to Damascus by the Obama administration.
...Republicans pressed on Capitol Hill to block the appointment of a new American ambassador to Damascus, according to congressional officials. The White House said it was pressing ahead.
The Scuds are believed to have a range of more than 435 miles—placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's nuclear installations all within range of Hezbollah's military forces. During a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah used rockets with ranges of 20 to 60 miles.
Israeli officials called Scud missiles "game-changing" armaments that mark a new escalation in the Mideast conflict. They alleged that Mr. Assad is increasingly linking Syria's military command with those of Hezbollah and Iran.
...President Barack Obama has made engaging Mr. Assad's government a cornerstone of his Mideast policy, hoping to woo Damascus into a regional peace process and lure it from a strategic alliance with Iran.
...A spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, who went as an emissary to Damascus on April 1, said that he couldn't comment... Detractors of the White House's policy of engagement with Damascus seized on the news Tuesday as evidence Mr. Assad has no intention of breaking Syria's strategic ties to Tehran and Hezbollah.
... "It's increasingly hard to argue that the engagement track has worked," said Andrew Tabler, a Syria analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a regional think tank with no party affiliation that some view as pro-Israel.
Little wonder the Democrats are known far and wide as "The Party of Weakness".
This isn't going to end well.
Hat tip: Dan from New York. Linked by: Michelle Malkin. Thanks!