MI: Syria bolsters Hizbullah despite Israel-talks

Intelligence official also updates Knesset on Hamas weapons development; Abbas' limited authority in West Bank.

Hizbullah fighters 224.8 (photo credit: AP [file])
Hizbullah fighters 224.8
(photo credit: AP [file])
Damascus continues to strengthen Hizbullah, and "plays a significant role in transferring weapons to the south of Lebanon," Head of Military Intelligence research division Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz told the Knesset on Monday. He added that "at the same time as negotiating with Israel, Syria is working diligently on its own army, especially in terms of missiles and rockets." Regarding Iranian-Syrian relations, Baidatz said that Damascus was not faced with "a dilemma of whether or not to sever their ties" with Damascus because of talks with Jerusalem. Baidatiz said Syria entered into negotiations with Israel out of self-interest. On the other hand, he believed that the country was "serious in its intention to come to a peace [agreement with Israel]." He also spoke of Hamas, saying that the group would "continue to work on terror attacks," regardless of ceasefire negotiations with Israel. Baidatz also said the flow of weapons into the Gaza Strip was continuing, and Hamas was working on weapons development - specifically improving the range of missiles and rockets. According to Baidatz, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas's authority in the West Bank is limited and will gradually diminish. He surmised that if nothing is done to rectify the current situation, Abbas may not be re-elected in the January 2009 elections.