Israel warns Assad not to start war

June 29, 2011 at 9:30 AM
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JERUSALEM, June 29 (UPI) -- Israel has reportedly warned Syrian President Bashar Assad not to start a war with the Jewish state to divert attention from his domestic problems.

News of the warning comes from the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday. Al-Jarida said Israel sent a message to Assad through Turkey following intelligence reports of unusual Syrian troop movements.

Those reports included information that long-range ballistic missiles had been moved into positions that could be used to target Israel.

"It's almost a cliché -- this is what he always does," said Andrew Tabler, a Syrian expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "He's under pressure at home, so he deflects attention."

Tabler told the Post Assad did the same thing during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

"This time it's with the Palestinian cause," he said. "This is not going to work."

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