UN Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen says arms are being smuggled into Syria across the Lebanese border.
Now, this is very interesting, because until recently, observers – myself included – had dismissed ‘discoveries‘ of arms factories and large-scale weapons shipments as theatrics aimed at tarnishing the Syrian rebels. When Syria’s allies in the Lebanese government impounded a ship full of arms (some Libyan) in Tripoli, eyebrows were again raised. What convenient timing, just as the UN monitors were reporting on breaches of the ceasefire.
Roed-Larsen believes he has confirmed, though, that arms are indeed going from Lebanon into Syria. There is an arms trade. Roed-Larsen was sent to Lebanon to report on the demilitarisation of Lebanon’s militias. The irony is that he has been monitoring the border for illegal arms crossing from Syria into Lebanon – now he’s seeing weapons going the other way.
While the arms trade is the inevitable result of a brutal, year-long attack on a civilian population by one of the world’s strongest armies, using the Lebanon border is unfortunate. It provokes the Syrian army into doing nasty things like mining the border which is more likely to kill refugees fleeing the fighting, than prevent weapons flooding into Syria.